We are continuing our course on the science of dreams, the experiential knowledge of awakening consciousness. We talked previously about some common ideas surrounding what people have called astral projection, out-of-body experiences, lucid dreams, awakening, near-death experiences, and we are going to dive very deeply into many practices so that we can augment our perception.
Our consciousness has the capacity, when trained, to be awake even when the physical body is asleep. Even when dreaming during the eight hours we go to bed, we are in an intensified state of awareness. We do not enter into a type of amnesia, unconsciousness, sleep, dullness, but learn to instead verify what religions have called heaven. When one has that experience for oneself, one knows. It is not a matter of belief, of thinking a tradition or institution is true or not. It is rather about testing these realities for ourselves. When we verify what these states are like from experience, we have what is called genuine faith, real knowledge, real understanding.
Theories Regarding Dreams
But what are dreams and visions specifically?
In psychology, Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are the doorway to the unconscious and that by looking at our dreams we can understand ourselves.
He talked about what is known as manifest and latent content within dreams. The manifest content of a dream is its narrative. We can all think of a dream that we had in which there was a form of logic, a storyline, a progression of scenes, dramas, comedies, tragedies within our own consciousness.
The latent content of a dream has to do with its meaning, and this is something that has deeply interested many people, psychologists. The latent content of a dream, according to Freud, could signify how that dream represents something physical. For example, we could have a dream of being assaulted by an animal. We are filled with fear, terror, resentment, agony, and if we carefully examine our life, we can find that these psychological states that we find in dreams reflect something that is going on in our personal life. Perhaps we have a relationship with someone in which we feel that fear, like we are being hunted, persecuted, shamed, and therefore, the animal in the dream could represent how we react to a particular person in our physical existence.
Or perhaps someone has a dream of a serpent, being bitten and attacked by a snake. Obviously, that symbol is prominent in many religions for a good reason, because the language of different religious traditions and mythologies is oneiric. It is dreamlike. It is from the world of dreams.
Carl Jung emphasized how the symbols of dreams are the foundation of all religion because all religious traditions teach symbols, allegories, parables, stories that are processed and have been manifested through dreams, through that language, a type of logic.
Having a dream about a serpent obviously can be something about temptation in one's physical life. We are very familiar with the Genesiatic story of the Bible.
Now other people have posited different ideas about dreams. John Hobson basically described through neuroscience that dreams are a form of protoconsciousness. They are a virtual reality, according to this theory, that helps us to navigate the problems of daily life.
Some have posited different theories, different ideas, like the threat-simulation theory. People have argued that dreams are engrained in our biology from an evolutionary perspective, in that dreams were developed within the consciousness in people, growing humanity, evolving humanity, in which people were trained to confront their fears in dreams. That is one possibility that is described by scientists.
There are other theories too: expectation-fulfillment theory, basically referring to how dreams release built-up tension. Someone can experience emotion in a dream that is a form of release because those desires in daily life can be repressed. That is very known within psychoanalysis and Freudian psychology. This also explains, according to some scientists, how when those types of dreams are fulfilled, they are forgotten, because the energy related to that emotion is released. That is one perspective.
There are many theories about dreams, many beliefs, and they all offer some type of perspective in relation to why this occurs. In our Gnostic tradition, we have very different approaches to the study of dreams, not just merely limited to a biological component or the study of the brain, such as in NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement), or REM sleep in which we dream. Those are valuable in their level, but they have a very limited utility. Merely looking at the biology of a person when approaching dreams, this often delimits or cuts off any type of mystical, experiential, divine component.
Now Carl Jung was very interesting because he risked his reputation by declaring the spirituality of dreams, often to the denigration of his colleagues. So much of the knowledge that he taught was very ciphered because the type of wisdom he was expressing about how to experience dreams and how to understand them is often very much misunderstood or condemned.
Now what is interesting about Carl Jung's theories about dreams is that he talked about what is known as a collective unconscious. He believed that humanity inherits, through lineages, biology, and ancestry, different religious symbols. That would explain, according to this idea, why different religions across the world, different cultures, shared the same symbols or what he called archetypes.
Archetypes are basically parables. They are codes. They are an intuitive, spiritual, and divine grammar. A symbol can carry multiple dimensions and levels of meaning, which is why dreams are so powerful. They do not merely just communicate on the level of a type of logical analysis of our common current everyday intellect, but instead, they reveal a type of logic that is beyond our current level of cognition. It is something that has to be developed and practiced with in order to deepen, in order to be worked with and effective.
Carl Jung and Freud had very different opinions about dreams. They came into many conflicts and it would seem that the collective unconsciousness of Carl Jung would contradict Freud's interpretation that dreams are merely just a personal expression of your own daily life. So there was that apparent contradiction between theories according to scientists.
Now what is interesting is that despite this difference, they are both revealing different aspects of a very nuanced problem. Dreams are often a reflection of our daily life, our habits, our actions, our drives, our impulses, our desires. But also according to Jung, there is something spiritual that can be experienced within that state. It does not mean that our desires, conditions of mind, mental projections, fears, anxieties, and worries that manifest in dreams are somehow sacred. In fact, there is a duality within our perception that we study very deeply in this tradition.
There is a conditioned self: pride, fear, anger, lust, envy, jealousy, hatred. There is also a part of us that is not conditioned by any element of that nature. It is spontaneous joy, freedom from pain, compassion. We call that the soul, or in our tradition, consciousness, the Essence of a person, their true nature. It is this Essence that we seek to develop because the Essence, the soul, which right now is in a very undeveloped, latent state, can be awakened. It can be free of all types of distractions of mind: paranoia, hatred, wrath, vanity, defects. It is that part of us that is not conditioned. It has the capacity, as we said previously, to communicate with divinity, our own inner truth, reality, what religions have called God in their original essence.
But the problem is that our consciousness is very much trapped and limited. So, often for most people, our dreams seem to be just a personal reflection of our daily life. We feel fear. We are worried about our jobs. We are insecure. We are proud. We are hateful, whatever it may be, whatever our particular idiosyncrasy, psychological crutch, or limp that manifests within dreams. But also Jung is pointing out there is something more here that is possible for individuals to experience and to understand, to not only initiate, but also to sustain and to perfect at will.
Dreams and Visions
So we make a very clear distinction in our studies between dreams and visions. This is where you find that distinction between Carl Jung and Freud in relation to whether dreams are collective or whether they are personal.
Dreams are merely projections of our own minds. Think of your experience like a film projector in which reality is a screen. Often times, rather than looking at what is there, we are always projecting ourselves onto reality. This not only occurs within the eight hours when we go to bed at night, but also even physically while we are awake. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they are talking and then you are thinking more about what to say next? We do not even hear what they are saying. It is because we are projecting our mind, our desires, onto the impression of this person who is talking with us. That is a dream.
There are many types of dreams. We dream all the time, not only when we physically go to bed. We are dreaming in our waking life by distractions and afflictions of mind. We are going to go very deep into this very nuanced problem, how we dream all the time.
But a vision is different. That is when the projector stops projecting. When you are physically at rest, your consciousness is active but the mind is perfectly still, in a state of calm, peace. Then instead of churning with affliction, in the stillness and the perfect quietude of being, images from our internal worlds emerge. They reflect within our consciousness and then we live those dramas within the internal worlds. You can experience astral projections. You can experience dream yoga, lucid dreaming. We are awake in that state and then you can see what is actually there.
A vision often includes a type of symbol. It is a drama that is living, in which you are both a participant and a witness. Those dreams have a very allegorical character. They are very sacred, and they teach something very practical about how to live our daily life. Divinity always wants to teach us through visions, when the mind is calm and receptive, so that we can learn how to be better people, how to be more ethical, how to bind our communities, how to make people strong, to help others no longer suffer. But of course, this requires training. It is a type of work in which we are going to didactically explain through each lecture. We will study different practices so that we train the consciousness to be alert, aware, mindful.
This in itself is genuine mysticism. The word mysticism comes from the Greek mysterion. It originates from the root word myein, “to close the eyes,” and relates to mystikos: an “initiate,” or someone who initiates a different lifestyle, what religions have defined as the sacred mysteries of communicating with the divine, like Moses on Mount Sinai, Arjuna talking to Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, Prophet Mohammed receiving the Qur’an from the Angel Gabriel.
Many of these stories bear a type of unifying element, and that is the science of dreams. These are all dream symbols. These are all visions in which, instead of having a mind that is clouded and obscured, driven by problems, by negative habits, mechanical desires, instincts, we instead have a crystal clear, sharp, open, receptive, intuitive mind, a mind that is not always churning with thoughts, but instead knows how to put thoughts in their place in order to understand.
That is a very distinct and different quality that meditation teaches us, not to be so caught up in rationalization, because that is a type of obscurity. As I said, we could be thinking about something, perhaps a friend, a family member, a relative, or something else, while we are with someone having a conversation. That is a dream. That is not being awake, even while physically being in the body.
Learning to become a mystic means becoming a meditator. Silence the mind. Let it relax, calm. Be clear. Be sharp and alert, not distracted, so that we can receive insight, intuitions, and understandings from that intelligence that religions have called God.
Again, God is not some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, but is presence, formlessness, Being. That is how you learn to see the heavens, not just some physical place in the atmosphere or some temple someone goes to on pilgrimage. Instead, that journey is within. That understanding and experience is personal. But to do that requires we learn to comprehend how we dream. We must understand the path that leads to the cessation of dreams and leads to the awakening of consciousness.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky stated in the scripture she transcribed known as The Voice of the Silence:
Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion. ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
So that consciousness can perceive in the superior worlds where we go every night. When we dream, we go to sleep at night for eight hours. We astral project and enter that region, but without awareness. If we learn to overcome our own illusions, psychological habits, and conditions that trap us, we can learn to see and know these realities for ourselves. That is a form of harmony, real harmony, real integrity, the perfection of the soul, in which we end pride. We end hatred. We end fear. We stop laziness. We end lust. We end all these passions of mind and defects that we often very much cling to. When those cease and are perfectly still, then we can know something superior. That is a form of harmony in which we integrate consciousness that is usually very much dispersed in many different habits, right?
We can be at home, obviously, many people are working from home now. Hopefully, that has changed. We can be at the computer desk doing a project, but then think of something else, thinking of a friend, a fiancée, a partner, a spouse, a relative. Or we feel hungry and have the instinct to get up, to get something to snack on. Or we have the emotional feeling that “I want to listen to some other type of music now because I want to relax.” We have many elements in our psychology that are always going all over the place. We are very distracted. That in itself is the origin of many problems, because we are not really addressing the necessities of life with full consciousness, directed attention, awareness, focus―in which we finish a task, give it all of our depth, and soul, and being, so that it can be something magnificent―and really create something superior, instead of just multitasking, because that is the mind and desires going in many places. We lack integrity.
This is why consciousness, when it is trained, can be focused and sharpened so that when we practice that skill in the day, physically, when you go to bed at night, your consciousness is already trained. It is exercised. It knows how to work. Instead of falling asleep and after eight hours, waking up in the morning without any remembrance, we enter that dream world with lucidity, with intentionality, with focus.
The Fifth Dimension
So what is the dream world? This is something that has fascinated a lot of people for as long as there has been recorded history and scriptures.
We mentioned in the first lecture how the world of dreams is the same place as the world of the dead. This is why in Greek mythology, Hypnos and Thanatos, sleep and death, are brothers. If you want to know how conscious you will be when you die, look at how you are when you go to sleep. Do you remember anything? Or do you just sleep eight hours and nothing? That is a barometer of how conscious you are.
While this can be a very disturbing realization, the truth and reality are that there is the potential to develop something truly profound. That is something that is learned. It is a gradual skill.
I know some people like to think of astral projection as given to only the few who are graced by divinity. It was just given to them at birth. The reality is that is not true. At some point in the development of that individual soul, that person had to work. It is acquired. It is a form of self-mastery, in which by training oneself, one can go into what is known as the fifth dimension. Some people call it the astral plane, the world of dreams, heavens, jannat amongst the Sufis and the Muslims. Whatever name we want to give to that reality, it is the fifth dimension.
Now, in terms of dimensionality, we are all familiar with three dimensions: length, height, and width, the physical plane. But scientists have also talked about the fourth dimension, which is time. Einstein is very famous for talking about relativity, the space-time continuum, which is basically a form of development and temporality in which all experience at our level is processed.
But the astral world is beyond time. The world of dreams, the world of the dead, is beyond time. That is why if you awaken consciousness within that state, you can see things happen there that are going to come true physically later. The fifth dimension is beyond time, things you can witness that are from the past, the present, and the future. That is why in the Book of Daniel in the Bible, prophets such as Daniel were able to interpret events that were going to come true later through his dreams. This is the essence of prophecy.
But also one can see the past in a very visual form. It is like watching a movie, in which you are witnessing events but also participating in them. Some people have called this the Akashic Records, the memories of nature in which every action is recorded and imprinted within nature. That is known as eternity. Eternity is also a circle, but it is also a loop, because past, present, future meld into an eternal now―something very beautiful, mystical.
If you want an example of that, I remember, a long time ago, walking in the astral plane. I was in some city. I was just looking at the billboards because I was curious. I was practicing my mindfulness and being in remembrance of myself and not losing my attention, just observing the things going on there.
When I am talking about that type of experience, I do not mean it is something vague or unclear or amorphous. There is more color, lucidity, crispness, depth than even being physically awake. We have that potential.
So I remember looking at a billboard and I saw an advertisement for a movie that had not come out yet. I believe it was one of the Indiana Jones films: “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” or something like that. I woke up, and then, I do not know, six, seven years later they announced that they are making this film. So I just found that interesting. Whether or not it has some utility is another thing, but it is interesting. I saw something that existed in the internal world before it became physical.
That is what inventions are like. People imagine or conceptualize or have an idea for something. It exists within the astral world before it becomes physical. That is just the way the universe and the mind work. Things kind of just trickle down from more abstract realities into more manifest reality―so, something timeless, but because it is beyond time, you can see things that are going to happen, that have happened.
In this dimension, you can fly. You can teleport. You can walk through walls, because that dimension is governed by very different laws: elasticity, plasticity, levitation. This is why people report dreams of flying. Perhaps we have had that experience ourselves, levitating in the air, going places.
But for most of us, we do not really see what is there objectively. We tend to just interact with our own mind, because our mind, as I said, projects its dreams onto the screen of that dimension. So we do not really, in our current state, see the objectivity of that plane. But if you turn the projector off, quiet the mind, enter meditation, concentration, awareness, you can enter that state with vigilance, with awareness, and then actually see what is going on. That is the real joy and beauty and mystery of that type of science.
So the question becomes: who dreams?
As I said, or hinted at, we often like to think that because we go to bed for eight hours and we do not see anything, that we do not dream, but the truth is that we are dreaming all the time.
We dream when we are washing the dishes. We are remembering or recalling something in the day or projecting an idea about the future, like what we are going to do later, but not actually watching what we are doing.
We can be driving our car, having a conversation, or listening to the radio, thinking about it, trying to analyze a podcast, perhaps, but we are not paying attention to the road and we get into an accident. It is because we are dreaming.
People get on the train and while reading a book, get lost in revelry, thoughts, fantasies, daydreams, recollections, and then we realize that we missed our stop. It is because we are dreaming. We are not awake.
Of course, even at a very basic level, it is easy to understand that there are certain problems to this. Perhaps we are at a job where we have to pay attention to learn new skills, but if we are thinking of something else and we get distracted, we are losing something essential and that we have to ask again for help, and perhaps that could be annoying to an employer. We are dreaming all the time.
So what is important to remember is that the dreamer can awaken. It is a very famous trope you find even in movies like Dune, or Frank Herbert's book. “The sleeper must awaken.”
All religions teach the need to awaken consciousness. “Awake, awake, Deborah, arise Barak," says the Old Testament, I believe in the Book of Judges, the story of the Prophetess Deborah, made the declaration saying "you need to awaken consciousness," because we have the illusion that we are awake, that we are present, that we are mindful, that we are aware.
Often times, if we are very serious and analyze our daily state, we find that we are usually very distracted. Our thoughts are in one place, our feelings are in another, and our desire to act is conflicted. We are split. But by learning through training to focus on what we are doing at all times, to be aware, to be observing ourselves, our thought processes, our emotional reactions to life, our sentiments, and also our will to act, our impulses, we start to discover that we are something much deeper than thought, feeling, and will―something much more profound.
Consciousness exists even before thought. I know in our Western culture we like to idolize thinking quite a bit, but in truth, it is actually a very slow machine. It is a processor of energy and matter and perception at its level. We need the intellect and to know how to use it, but it is not really the defining factor of an individual.
We can touch a hot stove, burn our hand, and retract our hand in pain. We have the instinct, the impulse, to first get out of danger. Perhaps we feel frustrated and angry. We feel that visceral pain of having been burned, and then we think right after that, “that really hurt!” It shows us that thought is actually a much slower process than many other aspects of our psychology.
The reason why I am mentioning all of this is that if we want to understand what awakening consciousness is within the dream state, it is important to understand how we process information and experiences in life in different ways. We will go into a lot of depth into this, specifically when we talk about “How Do We Dream?” But by understanding our own thinking, our feelings, and our impulses, we no longer let those habits and desires simply run amuck. We understand them.
Instead, we can respond to life with intelligence instead of just reacting to someone when someone criticizes us or when we feel anger or fear or depression or whatever it may be. All of those are forms of dreams, different thoughts perhaps, but also many times different types of emotions which we often indulge in, in life.
Sushupti: Profound Sleep
We explain that there are different types of consciousness, different states.
There is Sushupti, which is profound sleep. That often is associated within Hinduism and Yoga as physically going to bed, and when eight hours pass, we do not remember anything.
But also on a more practical level for us, there is profound sleep when we look at mobs, lynches, crowds propelled by violence, war, because those people, even though they are physically active doing things, they are not really conscious of their neighbor. They are driven by fear, instinct, self-preservation, the desire to kill. That is a profound state of sleep, in a spiritual sense, in a conscious sense. If we were really conscious of other human beings, we would feel love and compassion for them, because we understand that we all have the natural inclination to avoid suffering and find happiness. Everyone has that ingrained within the substrate of their very being.
So Sushupti is profound sleep. Basically, people who are murderers, who kill, who commit violence in any form, are very unconscious. It is important to dissociate from the assumption that sleep is merely just related to the physical body, because the physical body, in truth, could be doing things, but yet we are not aware. This is very well known in Yoga and Buddhism especially.
Swapna: Dreaming Sleep
Let us talk about Swapna, dreaming sleep. What is dreaming sleep?
As I said, we dream in the day, often. We can argue with people, wanting to assert our beliefs, political ideas, religion, culture, race, doctrine. All these things that our modern world often adulates and worships are in fact a form of dreaming. It is an illusion. These such things are very temporal. They do not last. They are not eternal.
The soul, the consciousness is eternal. It does not have a beginning and an end in its ultimate sense. We adopt different beliefs and ideas and cultures and habits and ways of thinking whenever we lose that connection with our true origins. We are often very much distanced from our true nature, but we can see glimpses of it day-to-day. We find selfless acts of heroism, compassion, love, sacrifice, benevolence, patience, kindness, in which we are not really thinking for ourselves. We are doing for others. But those types of experiences tend to be very minimal―if we are honest―very limited.
What we have instead are a lot of dreams: “I am a republican.” “I am a democrat.” “I am a capitalist. “I am a socialist.” “I am a philosopher.” “I am a scientist.” We have a lot of ideas about who we are. We often cling to things―our name, our culture, our habits, our beliefs―as something substantial, as something permanent. But the truth is that these things always change, right? There are always perhaps different circumstances that happen in our life. To use a very silly example, maybe we are a republican, then something happened in the media, especially in this past year, and then we change our beliefs. We change our ideas. But the truth is that even those ideas do not necessarily have a type of eternity. There are conditions. They do not really reflect the type of values that we call the divine. So knowing that distinction is very challenging. It is very difficult because of attachment, because of the type of hypnosis of identifying with our own conditions of mind, habits, etc.
Jagrat: Waking Consciousness
This is why we study Jagrat, which is waking consciousness. Notice we are not just talking about the wakeful body, that the body is awake. This does not just refer to the physical body being active and doing things, because we can be, as I said, driving our car but not paying attention. It has to do with consciousness that is perceptive, that is alert, that is understanding, that is seeing the impressions of life, but not necessarily just labeling experiences with the intellect or judging a person based on our emotions.
Perhaps we feel aversion to someone based on their race or their caste, their culture, their language, their beliefs, their politics. We feel perhaps negative emotions about them, resentments, pride―whatever it may be. Or certain relationships, we feel conflicted. We do not know how to act around certain people and we kind of get stuck between this clumsy deliberation.
But the reality is that waking consciousness knows how to intuitively respond to any situation with lucidity, with compassion. It does not necessarily mean complacency, like letting a person walk all over you. Consciousness can be firm, but loving, kind, patient. It does not identify with problems in life. It does not suffer. The consciousness knows how to act. It is the intuition of knowing what to do at any time. You do not have to think about it. It is beyond thought.
I know in one example, I remember I had a conflict with a person from years ago and I was in a situation where, years later, I had to speak to her out of necessity. I could not avoid her. I felt that conflict in myself, that fear like “I do not want to talk to this person,” the thoughts, and the logic, and the reasoning, and the resentments, that were stewing there. But then I was observing all that process in myself and I understood that, just by looking at that defect within me, that it was wrong. I intuitively knew that this person is suffering, therefore, “I am going to act.” Putting my prejudice and self behind me, I went up to the person and had a conversation with her, and it turns out that she was very grateful for me, for showing that olive branch and making that connection. That is one example of really being awake. I just saw myself, my own defects, observing that. That is waking consciousness.
We have a practice in our tradition called self-observation in which we learn to understand the origin of thought, feeling, and will, even before they emerge, because we are activating that sense and skill within us that is often very atrophied.
Turiya: Spiritual Illumination
It is in that way that we can access what is known as Turiya. This is spiritual illumination. This is what all the diverse religious traditions have called ecstasy, samadhi, spiritual states in which there is no distortion of mind there. In terms of dream yoga, you can be physically in bed, have an astral projection, and there is no type of obscuration in your perception. You are seeing what is there. You are fully lucid. You are clear. You are in control, and you can investigate and you can navigate those regions with competency.
It also has to do with the type of perception relating to a divine being like a prophet. We call them masters. We call them buddhas, angels, gods. They do not have pride, laziness, fear, calumny, gossip. They are perfect―no fault. We can access a state like that in a temporary sense, but obviously, it is something that has to be gradually developed through discipline. But there are beings, prophets, angels―whatever you want to call them―who did it. This is why we study their teachings very profoundly, in their original sources, not what institutions say they say, but what are they actually saying from experience. In that way, we have no doubt.
The Line of Life
We talk in our studies about the line of life.
It is very important to analyze where we have come from and where we are going. That is why many people study religion and spirituality in general. They have a yearning to understand the origin of the soul, the origin of the world, the meaning of faith, the meaning of compassion, where we came from and why do we suffer. Perhaps that is the most compelling reason why anyone goes to any church or school or religion or community.
We study the line of our life very diligently because our own life is a book. It has many chapters. If we want to have self-knowledge about higher realities, it begins by knowing ourselves, knowing where we came from physically, but also psychologically, our habits, our ideas, our personality, our culture. These are the things that come to us. Or better even said, we come to it. I think that is even an more accurate description.
We are born in this world, and as children, we are very innocent. If we look at any child, we see the beauty of the soul there that has not been tainted or contaminated by defects. But with time and through gradual exposure to parents, school, family, language, culture, customs, that initial brilliance of a child is dimmed. It gets swallowed by pride, anger, hatred, defects. We call that ego, self, egotism, desire.
Most people tend to go through their life, from that initial state, acquiring and acquiring more experiences, accumulating more and more―family, job, reputation, income, retirement, whatever it may be. While there are necessary components of life that we need to work with, it is not the definition of a person. There is something more. There has to be something more than being born and going through adolescence with all of its turmoil and suffering, its pain, its uncertainty, its abuse, becoming adults who are trying to piece together their lives, and then getting married, having children, and then dying, and then… what then?
Why be so caught up in that? It does not mean that we reject all these things and live like hermits. That is another extreme to life that does not offer a very long-term solution.
The Line of Being
Instead, we begin where we are at. Fortunately for our spiritual life, there is something more. There is a point that intersects with our daily existence. We call it the vertical path. On the horizontal beam, we have the line of life, but here vertically intersecting in the form of a cross, we have a line of being. This has to do with the quality of our life, the quality of our states.
Of course, as you see here, there are inferior qualities of life and psychology and also superior states of mind. I have named some of them for you. In the inferior levels, you have ego, selfishness, more attachment, more aversion, more craving, more desire to accumulate more and more, many ideas, theories, beliefs, philosophies, doctrines. The mind just wants to saturate itself and acquire more and more information, because it thinks by feeding that desire, we are going to be happy.
Knowledge is useful in its place, but it is not fundamental for a person to be spiritual. There is a balance there. We have to make that distinction.
We often go from birth to death dreaming. We dream while we drive our car. We dream on the train. We dream while married. We dream while making love. We dream and have many desires and beliefs and habits that we invest our energy into. Wherever we direct our attention, we expend energy. We often find in life that we are very depleted, which is why as we approach our elder years, we are decrepit. We are sick. We are old. We are weakened. That energy that can fuel our spirituality is often very much wasted, invested in the wrong things, identified with the wrong things.
When we die, most people go to the grave, they enter the dream world, but are not aware that they are dead. Personally, I met my grandfather in the astral plane. He died a long time ago. I was in a room with my family who were still alive, talking with them, and then I realized, “why am I talking to my grandfather here? He is dead!” As I was talking to them, they did not know where they were.
So it is a pretty alarming thing, and something that should not necessarily fill someone with fear, but with urgency. It is a very different, nuanced principle, to have urgency. To want to awaken consciousness is different from being fearful: “Oh, if I go to the grave, then what?” Fear is another condition of the mind. It is an inferior state of being, something that we can overcome by looking at it. By learning to understand ourselves in the moment, we can access superior states of consciousness and then we stop dreaming. We are no longer filled with fear, with agony, more problems.
The superior line of being is developed in us where we ascend vertically in the moment. It has nothing to do with time. Spiritual development, in a conventional sense, occurs gradually, obviously, because we are in physical bodies. We are in this physical world and we are subjected to the laws of nature, time especially, the fourth dimension. But the consciousness does not belong to time. It is eternal. But unfortunately, because we dream physically, we are not aware of it. We do not realize it from experience.
Anybody who has had an astral projection obviously has tasted some glimpse of that and knows for themselves that it is real, and that we are more than just our physical body. So this pushes us to want to know ourselves, know our defects, our faults, so that we cease dreaming.
We are aware of the moment, because every moment we advance towards death. We progress in this line of life towards an inescapable end. But this should not be a source of morbidity or shame, anxiety. Obviously, these are emotions that are very common for people, because we do not understand where we came from or where we are going. But if you awaken your consciousness, you will know. You know where you came from, where you are, and where you are going, what your trajectory is.
We follow the trajectory of our actions through life, consciously or unconsciously. By making conscious decisions, we are learning to develop our perception so that, physically, when we die, we welcome it―not out of some quirkiness, being dark. Instead, it is born out of acceptance and understanding. For me personally, I know what will happen when I die. I have been able to awaken enough consciousness within the internal worlds to be shown what it is like after the body is dead. Therefore, why be afraid? You do not have to be afraid. It is a natural process.
What one could be afraid of instead is not living one's life ethically, taking advantage of this precious time that we have, moment by moment, to make changes, small changes, gradually. In that way, we do not necessarily become victims of life. We do not react to problems. Instead, we can comprehend our situation and learn to respond with intelligence.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life
We talked briefly about this image in our previous lecture, something that we will go back to periodically. It is known as the Tree of Life. It is a Jewish symbol, but also a universal one.
In Jewish mysticism, they talk about Kabbalah. This is the Tree of Life within the Book of Genesis. Rather than constituting a literal tree in Mesopotamia that existed however long ago in the physical Middle East, it is really a symbol. It is a map of consciousness.
It depicts the inferior states of consciousness and the most superior, ascending towards a higher and more elevated spirituality. These are not spheres or levels of being that are mapped out in physical space. It is not like there is some sort of verticality to this. It is a symbol. It is an allegory. These spheres, known as סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, are known as emanations. They are qualities of consciousness. They are also dimensions. This is a map of us as a psyche, but also of divinity, and also where we go when we sleep, when we dream. There are different levels of matter, energy, and consciousness.
Right now we are in the bottom sphere. This is known as מלכות Malkuth in Hebrew [the Kingdom], the physical world? It is our physical body.
Above that, we have our vitality, our creative energy. This is known as the fourth dimension. So the third dimension is below and the fourth dimension is above. This is time. It is known as יְסוֹד
Yesod, the foundation, because how we work with our energy is the foundation of spiritual life. As I said, wherever we direct attention and energy, we spend it. So if we spend it within our consciousness, we can conserve that force and learn to awaken our potential.
What people call the astral plane is known as הוד Hod, meaning “splendor” in Hebrew. It is this sphere at bottom of the left pillar, as you see here. We call that the astral plane. This is typically where people go when they have superior astral projections.
To the right of that, we have נצח Netzach, which means “victory.” This is known as the mental world. So there is a mental plane and an emotional plane, mind and heart. These two spheres constitute what is known as the fifth dimension. This is eternity. יְסוֹד Yesod is the fourth dimension. מלכות Malkuth is the third dimension.
But we have inferior dimensions as well, what religions have called hell or the hell realms. Those states are experienced through nightmares. That is hell in a direct way. It is a type of experience that is real, but not in physical matter, energy, and perception, but it is in a more subtle form of experience. This is why we often interact within those states within dreams but do not realize that it is not physical, because the internal worlds reflect the physical and vice versa.
Above we have more superior states, which I will not go into depth here. We have a future lecture that we will talk about called Where Do We Dream? But I want to just summarize this because it is a very beautiful graphic, a very practical tool.
We can use it to understand our experiences, but also when we travel within those dimensions, we can know how to navigate it, because this is the map so to speak. It is important to know and learn this glyph with time because just as one would not travel to another country without knowing its language, its geography, its culture, its goods and bad, in the same way, it is reasonable for dream yogis, practitioners of this science, to understand the structure of that inner reality, so that when you experience it, you know how to navigate. It is a very gradual process which we will talk about in detail.
So we will conclude with an exercise that you can use in order to develop what is known as concentration. As I said, by learning to develop concentration, awareness, mindfulness throughout the day, the ability to focus on one thing without being distracted, we no longer dream. We teach the consciousness to not dream. We teach it to be awake. In that way, that skill will transition from visible life to dreaming life.
So every day, develop self-observation from moment to moment. At the end of each day, reflect on how you did. So this has to do with learning to observe our psychology. It is like being a director in a movie, in which you are the actor, but you are also viewing the scene. Consciousness has the capacity to observe, to intuit, to understand, and this skill has to do with whenever a thought emerges, look at it. Observe it.
You may know that you are seated in this chair listening to me, but are you observing the fact? It is a different skill. Then as we are learning to self-observe throughout the day, obviously it is going to be very challenging. You might realize even before coming here that learning to be mindful and aware throughout the day can be difficult because there are just so many distractions, whether externally or even our own emotional reactions, our thoughts, etc.
At the end of each day, just take five minutes. Reflect: how mindful were you? How observant? how aware? Then, every day perform this preliminary meditation exercise:
Carefully relax your body, heart, and mind. Observe an object such as an image or a lit candle flame without preoccupying yourself in thought, memories or distractions. If you forget yourself, return to the object of the practice.
Practice ten to fifteen-minute sessions at least two or three times a day.
So, we are going to practice this together―if you like―we can stay after. We have a candle here. You just take the candle and observe it. If your mind starts thinking of something else or labeling ideas or talking about it, just become aware of it. Do not try to repress, push it away, or try to get lost in it. Instead, just return to the candle. It is a beautiful exercise in which we learn to understand the distinction between knowing what is going on but also observing it. As I said, you can know something is going on. By sitting in a chair, you can know that you are in the chair, but observing it is active. Knowing is passive―different quality.
At this time I would like to invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: I am a little confused about the self-observation practice. So you are saying that if I am thinking about something that I can not be self-observing? Or is it possible to be both thinking and self-observing? In my job I am thinking a lot. It is an intellectual job, and how am I supposed to be self-observing during the day when I need to also think in my job?
Instructor: That is a good question. The latter is the answer. You can be thinking and doing intellectual things, but observe that. Some people think of self-observation as like “I have to stop thinking.” In the higher degrees of understanding, we do not need to think. But we begin with where we are at. If we have a job that is very intellectual where we are thinking, or teaching, perhaps reading a book, reading something about our job that we have to do―read, but observe that. It is difficult, but it is a skill that is acquired. It comes with patience.
Question: I have seen people who are yogis and they sit still. Is it normal or is it an indication that something is not right if you are not still? There are some actions of the body, which while sitting for a long time that suddenly happens, and I get that feeling that it is not right. Does it show a lack of attention or concentration? How do I realize that? Am I in the moment or not in the moment?
Instructor: Great question. For most people who are not training in mindfulness, it is not a problem because they are not really interested in learning about being conscious of themselves. But as we are learning to self-observe or do a meditation practice, it is important to understand even our involuntary movements―like, perhaps, scratching, or twisting our fingers, or moving a leg, or whatever it may be. Tapping your foot, you know, is a very common thing.
But we have to become aware of that. If you find that you are doing that, observe yourself and then reflect: where is that impulse coming from? It is not necessarily an intellectual question, but it is a perceptive one. You are just analyzing and being mindful of why you are doing that. I think oftentimes, at least for me, when I have observed that in myself, I have come to understand that there is some type of psychological defect in me that is perhaps impatient, or bored―or whatever it may be―agitated. Something psychological is going on in a deeper sense that I am not aware of.
So it does not necessarily mean to have to force your body to be still, but it is better if you just observe it and understand it, because if you understand it, then your psychology is quiet, right? All physical actions are a material manifestation of our internal reality. So things that happen physically come because, psychologically, there is something there.
One thing I wanted to mention is that in one of the earlier slides about the fifth dimension, I mentioned that things happen internally and then manifest physically. The same thing happens with our psychology. So this proves to us that we are in truth very multidimensional. Our thoughts are one thing, our emotions are another dimension to ourselves, and our instincts are another. The more understanding you have of your own psychological impulses, the more you comprehend why you are tapping, and you will stop.
It does not have to be something like, “I cannot tap my foot,” right? That is kind of the mind fighting the mind, and that is not what we are advocating. Instead, it is something about observing yourself, understanding where it comes from, and when you understand that impulse, it quiets, ceases. I believe even Gurdjieff mentioned quite a bit about the need to no longer be doing movements of our body involuntarily, carelessly. It means that we are very unconscious. In fact, one of the best ways to learn self-observation is learning about your posture. Learn about your breathing. Learn about your habits. It is a very simple way to begin. You may notice that perhaps you crack your fingers, or whatever it may be. Begin with that, and as you get more confident, understanding those impulses, then the more relaxed you become. That is really important for meditation, having a relaxed mind, heart, and body. When you have that, meditation is open to you when you are concentrated, when you are aware.
Question: Is there a difference between waking in a dream versus allowing your body to fall asleep and maintaining consciousness?
Instructor: Yeah, it has to do with when you enter the astral world. You might fall asleep physically and unconsciously project and then you wake up in a dream later. That happens all the time. Then other times, obviously, the goal is to learn to fall asleep consciously, so that you enter that state with awareness. So it has to do with how attentive you are.
Oftentimes you can wake up in a dream later because, even though you were not conscious in the beginning, suddenly you start to expand your perception, where you are seeing your surroundings in the astral plane. Maybe you are walking down a street of your old neighborhood wherever you grew up, and then you realized, “Oh, what am I doing here?” For me, I tend to have dreams where I will be at my old house where I grew up as a kid, and I will recognize my surroundings and question, “What am I doing here? How did I get here?” I remember where I came from. I am living in the city now, not out in the suburbs.
So then you can learn to question that and develop that inquiry. That is something you can only develop by learning mindfulness throughout the day. You are self-observing. You are becoming aware of your different thought processes, feelings, impulses, and when you train your consciousness to do that during the day, even when you physically go to sleep, even if you are not aware of an astral projection, you can suddenly start to see things in your dreams where you are getting more lucidity. The consciousness is being trained, is being strengthened. So learning to concentrate and develop those skills helps to see more clearly, awaken more perception. So you can wake up later in the night too. It is different from a conscious astral projection. We are going to talk about how to awaken in dreams later on, specifically.
Question: So earlier you were talking about how Sushupti is a sign of that most profound state of unconscious sleep. You mentioned that some murderers are in a state of profound sleep of consciousness because they do not feel compassion for other people. But can some people be awakened in evil, because some murderers are very conscious of what they are doing you know, like serial killers? It is not like they are asleep. I see what you are saying that they are identified with, like anger or violence or something like that. Could you explain that distinction?
Instructor: Sure! It has to do with the individual. As we mentioned before, we can be aware that we are killing someone. I know a lot of people talk about mindfulness and awareness as sometimes the end-all and be-all of spirituality, but it is just the beginning. Being aware of yourself, so that you can be understanding of where you are at, is the initial step of learning to be a conscious and ethical person. The next step is learning to transform situations with compassion, learning to transform the impression of a situation with awareness, with understanding, better said.
But there is also another flip side to that coin. I mentioned to you and showed you that image of superior states of being and inferior states. We can awaken positively within our consciousness or we can awaken within desire, within hatred, within anger, within pride, because awakening is dual. It does not always end up positively. Now, awakening negatively has to do with giving one's energy to one's desires. So one can be very awake, but through hatred or pride or vanity, and therefore they develop a lot of power in that element. They tend to be very dangerous individuals because they are very influential. They can even be charismatic, influential people.
The difference between the type of unconsciousness I was referring to is for most people. People who have never really trained in any type of spirituality tend to just go with the flow of life. If there is a crowd, they get attracted to it and they go to it. It is kind of a collective hive mind so to speak. But there are people that learn to train themselves to awaken within their own defects, and that is something we do not teach. It is a negative thing.
Question: So the first step is to be awake and be conscious of what I am doing? Then you are saying later on that I have to learn to discern between if what I am doing is driven by pride, or anger, or revenge, on someone? How do I know that it is not that and I am awakening in a good way?
Instructor: Follow your heart. Look at your heart. Your conscience is the best guide. Unfortunately, there are people in our society, in our world, that do not even have a conscience anymore, and therefore those people tend to be very lost causes. But if you look in your heart and examine in a moment an action you performed where you felt pain; your heart will tell you what is right and what is wrong, in most normal people, but not psychopaths, so to speak.
For example, you get into an argument with someone and you are telling yourself, “I want to be patient with this family member.” Then you start to observe in yourself that they start pushing your buttons, because family members know how to do that―resentment, pride, fear, anger, whatever comes up. You are aware of that. Now, just because you are aware of that does not mean that you are going to act ethically, transforming the situation, transforming your consciousness.
The way that you do it is by following the different precepts of different traditions, religions, like kindness and selflessness. If someone insults you; understand the insult, understand where it is coming from and why. Understand that we are not perfect, so why be offended? It is really nothing stable there. Then follow your heart about how you should act, because your heart knows. That is conscience. That is intuition, knowing without having to think about it.
But of course, the difficulty becomes that our mind wants to devour us: anger with its logic says: “They offended me. I am going to get back at them!” So when you observe that process in you, that is great. You are starting to see and understand how you are dreaming. The anger is dreaming. It is projecting its desires. It thinks it is being offended and insulted and it is seeing the situation through a lens. Is it not true that when we are angry, we only see through anger? You do not see through any other way. Every situation becomes interpreted through a false door. That is one way that we sleep. So observe that.
The beginning of change is to stop dreaming. But just because you learn to stop dreaming, in the beginning, does not mean that you are going to be successful, because you just have to really work at it. See what is happening. Be aware of it, and then act appropriately. That is the next step.
Question: We are about to do the practice with the candle and I know there are other techniques that you can use to awaken in dreams. What would be the best method to awaken consciousness here and now?
Instructor: So, there is a lot of things that complement this, right? There is a lot of facets. We will talk about it in a lot of detail. I will explain this to you now, but in the future, we are going to go really in-depth about different ways to do it. Working with all of them together is like building a puzzle.
Now as you said, the primary method is to be aware of yourself in the day. That is why at the very beginning of this course, we are just talking about p, “what are dreams, who dreams, how do we dream?” Be aware of it because that is the foundation. Be aware of how you get distracted in the day and learn to curtail that, not with a type of militant despotism, but with recollection. Remembering yourself is how you start to really use the tools in this course. It is like, for example, if you learn to work with a machine. You have to be aware of yourself first to work it. Children obviously can not operate difficult machinery and that is why you get trained physically. First, you let them grow up. In the same way, we learn to grow up spiritually as a child by learning to awaken our consciousness. Then we start using these different tools and techniques to kind of augment that.
So one of the techniques we use is called the Key of Sol. We have a whole lecture that is going to be about that, where it is an acronym: subject, object, location.
Subject: who am I? What are my thoughts? What are my feelings? What are my actions?
Object: what is in front of me? What am I seeing? Not necessarily questioning with the intellect, but just being inquisitive, the way that a child is inquisitive when they are growing up and looking at a toy or creating something from the imagination. It is a very innocent quality. It does not assume that there is anything there, or merely just projects memories onto reality, but looks at it.
You know, we can be in our house oftentimes, our home, and we do not really observe where we are at, because we just have things in our memory, right? It is easy to get into an accident even in your own home. A lot of people get hurt in their own homes because they are not paying attention. They think they know what is going on or what is around them. Instead, we are not observing. Object has to do with what is in front of us. Subject―ourselves.
Location: where are we? Inquire. Where am I? What am I doing? It might seem silly, obviously, being physically here in this world, but if you learn to train your consciousness in that way, you will eventually start to see things in your dreams because you are observing your thoughts, your feelings, your actions. You start to see objects in front of you and then a location in dreams. Maybe you are not in Chicago in a dream. That is a big alert. Question yourself: “I live in Chicago. How did I get here?” And then you start to realize, “I think I am dreaming. How did I end up in Spain? How did that happen to me?” I found myself in Spain in the astral plane and I am like, “people are talking Spanish. Why are they talking Spanish? What is going on? Where am I?” I realized that I was dreaming.
Then if you want to test yourself, you pull your finger. In the astral plane, the matter of your astral body is ductile. It is elastic. Pull it with the intention of making it stretch. If you are intentional enough and gentle enough, obviously, physically, you do not want to do this too hard. You do not want to hurt yourself. In the dream, it will stretch. Then you will realize, “I could not do that physically. I am dreaming. I am in the astral world! “ That is something you can do physically where you are just training yourself, and then you just get in the habit of questioning, “where am I?” Then physically, discretely, when no one is watching you―thinking you are perhaps weird or unusual―just pull your finger.
In dreams, you can also jump in the air and see if you are going to levitate, right? See if you fly. You can do it physically too, but I like to be more discrete because I am not going to be jumping around and my co-workers looking around at me like, “something strange is going on.” Instead, pull your finger. That is one method, a very good one, very effective.
Or try something else: you can put your hand through a window to see if you are going to pass it through. I have done that many times and it works too. The only reason that it works is because we learn to question our dreams. Be self-observant moment by moment.
Question: In the questioning of daily life when we are not sleeping, is that what helps us to wake up when we are sleeping?
Instructor: Exactly. It is the questioning. It is the inquiry.
Question: Is this an intellectual kind of labeling like, “Ok, location. You are in the studio―me, my name?” Or how can I make this conscious and not just in the intellect?
Instructor: Practice. Just do it. Then you find in time that it is not an intellectual thing. In the beginning, you can question yourself. It is easier that way, right? It becomes more of a habit. The beauty of the practice is that it teaches us how to start from being mechanical to how to be conscious. So you are learning to take something that is very mechanical like just walking in the street, or even pulling your finger, or jumping in the air, right? It is a common thing you can do, but with time and practice, you learn to start doing it with awareness. It just takes acclimation, getting used to it, to the point that you may even have times where you have trained yourself so well that suddenly you become vivid in a dream and you know you are dreaming, and then you jump in the air and fly away and go and investigate something.
Question: You talked about the two kinds of dreams you can have, the self-projecting kind and then the fifth dimension kind. Can you lucid dream in both of those?
Instructor: Definitely. Great question. Both. You could be lucid in a dream where you still do not realize you are dreaming.
For a lot of people there is a big step or hurdle there, where suddenly you may have the experience where you see a lot of different colors, and images, and landscapes, perhaps, but you do not really question that you are dreaming. The first step is awareness. The second step is discernment. That is a very delicate skill that comes about as we learn to be more aware physically but also learning to discern our own psychological states. This is the same skill that you use to comprehend how whether or not you are seeing things clearly through the lens of fear, or anxiety, or anger, or whatever it may be. Instead, we are learning to see life without egotism. We need to discern our own psychological states.
It gets easier to discern our surroundings, so that when you are lucid dreaming, you see things more clearly, you can start to question things and then make the leap. When you recognize, “Ok, I think I am dreaming here,” where you even make that first declaration to yourself. That is a big step, just recognizing and questioning, “Am I here?” That is the starting point.
Sometimes it is possible to have visions where you are receiving a divine symbol from your inner divinity through a mystical experience. It can be happening and you are kind of just taking it all in, but you are not necessarily fully aware that you are dreaming, or that you are in that experience, and then you wake up and then suddenly realize, “Whoa, I think I just got an experience from my inner God!” So there is that reality too. But with enough training, you start to learn to be in that state and then suddenly make the discerned judgment of what is actually going on, and then you can say with confidence that “I am dreaming.”
Question: So can you be lucid during a projection of your own mind? Like how you dream at night is a projection of my fear. Can I wake up in that?
Question: Or I can only wake up in the objective in the fifth dimension?
Instructor: Both. In the sense that you can be having a very lucid dream in which your ego is projecting things and you are just seeing your own desires, and even in the middle of that, even if it is very intense and vivid, you can start to realize that “This is kind of crazy,” like “why am I seeing this action film playing out in front of me, and all this weird logic going on?” You can discern, “There is something going on here,” and then you realize, “I think I am dreaming!” It is possible, but usually, with those very intense egotistical dreams, we tend to just go along with it because we are very sleepy.
But visions that are more objective, relating to our own inner divinity, occur within the superior fifth dimension, you could say. We call it the heavenly realms, the heavenly world. It just takes practice and a lot of meditation. You have those experiences and maybe you do not understand them at first, but you know, with patience you learn to discern between them.
This is a powerful topic, one that has captivated generations of people, primarily because in reality, the study of dreams, internal experiences, and the awakening of consciousness within our interior, has very ancient traditions, very profound roots that are not merely a new age novelty. Instead, there have been many practitioners, amongst many diverse religions, who have learned to experience the reality of the dreaming state, and to verify, from their own internal work, how to receive guidance about truly pertinent problems in our daily life.
Anyone who has approached the study of dreams is obviously very interested and invested in understanding some type of experience, some type of inner vision. Perhaps in childhood, we experienced a dream of vivid intensity, of profound clarity, of deep mysticism. This demonstrates for us what is lacking in many forms of religion, which is precisely this experiential dynamic of knowing, for oneself, higher mysteries, higher truths, so that with this knowledge, we can orient ourselves and have a deeper, more profound, enriched spiritual life.
What are out-of-body experiences (OBEs)?
Out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, astral projections, lucid dreams, have been known by many names. It is known as dream yoga, from the Sanskrit yug (योग yoga), “to unite, to bind.” But to bind with what?
All religions teach, from the experiences of their founders, that there is a divinity inside, whom we can access and understand from experience. We can reunite with a truly higher principle, and in that way, we experience genuine religion, from the Latin, religare, “to rebind.” It is the same meaning in both East, and West―different terms, the same principle.
Even the Arabic دين Din, meaning “religion,” has to do with this type of experience. It is judgment, but not of a tyrannical God who punishes those who does not obey a certain code. Instead, it is our own inner process of judging our own faults, so that by comprehending our own conditions and mistakes, our own flaws of character, we can truly awaken our full potential. Thereby we experience the realities of what people call lucid dreams, astral projections, etc.
The Yoga of the Dream State
In the East this term is known as स्वप्नदर्शन Svapnadarśana: the yoga of the dream state. Swapna indicates “dreaming sleep,” and darshana is “auspicious sight,” “revealing” or “appearance.” It is the reverence and the awe that the soul feels when in that state and is directly communicating with our innermost divinity.
If you want examples of what this is presenting, we can look at the story of Moses, such as receiving on a mountain a prophetic vision, where he received the Decalogue, a guidance and instruction for humanity. Or in the Baghavad Gita, Arjuna seeing Krishna when he asks, “Show me your true form. Show me who you really are.” ― and then a vision, an infinitude of figures, men, women, children, full of beautiful forms. This is an exact representation of how the divine abstract becomes concrete, and this is processed in the medium of dreams, where an internal principle becomes a manifested reality. So in that state, we feel genuine reverence, great respect. It is auspiciousness. It is the amazement of an awakened consciousness before the divine.
We also have terms like Theophany, “the manifestation or visions of the divine” in Hinduism, and Darshan can also mean “an opportunity or occasion of seeing a holy person, or the image of a deity.”
So not only do we have our own inner divinity inside, our own particular unique Being, there have been many people in history who have perfected themselves. We call them saints. We call them prophets. We call them masters, buddhas, gods. In the dream state, you can learn to communicate with those who have fully awakened in that realm, who have really refined their conduct, so that we can gain insight in how to live.
Dream Yoga in Tibetan Buddhism
In Tibetan Buddhism, dream yoga is very prevalent. Vasubandhu and Asanga taught five paths to liberation, the third being darshana-marga, “the path of seeing.” It is based on facts, based on the direct perception of that state in which the consciousness, devoid of any type of filter or obscurity, any vagueness, sees the reality of that state for what it is.
I know some people that when they reflect on dreams, they describe, perhaps, a repetition of their day, or a nightmare, a chaotic state, dreams of fear and suffering. While these dreams in themselves demonstrate a quality of our mind that is often ignored, we can learn to take advantage of the dreaming state to understand these deep traumas, perhaps, and experiences. By clearing them away, any type of subjective states of mind, we see directly what is there, the reality of those states without any type of filter or condition of our own mind.
So most of the time when we dream, we are seeing our own psychological condition, usually, as I said, a repetition of our day, perhaps a memory, something very fleeting. Instead, in darshana-marga, dream yoga, we take the potential of that inner reality and make it something amplified, clear, without vagueness. We make it something penetrative and profound.
This is accomplished by learning how to practice certain exercises. It is like training for a new job or going to the gym. You can learn to train your consciousness not to merely project its own desires into that reality, but to see what is actually there. In that way, you are no longer dreaming. You are awake. You are perceiving that dimension, that state of being, without any type of confusion or doubt.
We do this through what in Tibetan Buddhism is known as sadhana. It is daily consistent practice. In this way, we perform a type of Tantra, which is a very popular term in East and West, especially. It means “continuum.” It is a perpetual flow and flux of perception.
So in the beginning, we may find that we do not remember dreams. We do not perceive our dreams. We do not understand them. They are fleeting. They are fragmented or confused. We can learn to become, through training, awake in that state, so that by awakening our potential consciousness, we augment it. By learning to be in a perpetual state of remembrance, to be awake at all times, even when our physical body goes to sleep, we as a consciousness are awake.
In Tibetan, it is known as Milam, known in the Nyingma or Kagyu schools of Buddhism. So, these are very ancient traditions with very deep roots. This image here is popularised within any school of Buddhism. It is called the nine stages of meditative concentration.
You perceive a monk ascending up a spiral path towards the heights of a mountain. He is chasing after an elephant. It is a symbol of how in the beginning of approaching spirituality, we have a very distracted mind, very scattered, very dispersed. We tend to be very identified with memory, or associative thought, or different fears, different chain reactions towards life, and never examining the source. In every Tibetan Buddhist monastery, you find this image, whereby slowly training the mind to slowly overcome its own obstructions, its own faults, we clarify and perfect it, like you see in this image. The elephant goes to sleep. The mind is relaxed―no disturbance―no ripple. It is in perfect equipoise. It is in perfect concentration, to be able to focus on one thing without being distracted. In its highest form, it is effortless. In that way, the consciousness within the meditator enters the dreaming state, but with lucidity, with clarity.
OBEs in the Old Testament
There are many examples within the Bible about dreams. We have the famous story of Jacob’s ladder, where Jacob went to sleep with his head on a stone, and he dreamed of a vision. I would like to relate this excerpt to you:
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
What is interesting is that these are symbols, seeing a ladder from earth to heaven. It is the same symbol that is in Tibetan Buddhism, from being in an inferior, lower state of being in life, and learning to go up in oneself. Perhaps in the beginning, we are afflicted by many problems in life. We lack solutions to difficult issues. We do not how to resolve conflict, perhaps in our relationships, perhaps in our communities. If we introspect and examine ourselves, we can learn to discover that there is potential to, again, awaken and develop a type of consciousness, which, as its foundation, grants us access to higher way of being. So like this dream, Jacob symbolically saw angels ascending and descending―levels and qualities of being, of life, of internal life, of internal spirituality.
OBEs in the Book of Daniel
In the famous Book of Daniel, we also find the emphasis of interpreting dreams, of understanding dreams, understanding our experiences.
Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. ―Daniel 1:17
You see in this image a very famous depiction of King Balthasar, who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Now a little history in terms of Judaism. You find Kng Nebuchadnezzar had sieged the kingdom of Judea back in 586 / 587 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar was from the kingdom of Babylon, and they sacked the sacred temple of Jerusalem, the first temple of Solomon, and took the Jews there, brought them to Babylon. Daniel was among them, and Daniel was known for his ability to interpret dreams, which made him rise to prominence within that kingdom.
Primarily the story that I would like to relate to you is when Balthasar was hosting a feast, in which they used the sacred vessels of the temple of Jerusalem for their party, which was a blasphemy according to the scripture. So according to this, Balthasar and the people in the feast saw a vison that they could not interpret. The words: “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin” appeared. This is very much a dream-like state, a representation. So the men, the sages, and the astrologers could not resolve its interpretation, what it meant, its significance. It was the queen who stepped in to say:
O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
So dreams do not have to necessarily reflect a type of disorder, but instead, we can receive insight in dreams from a superior origin. In that way, by practices and experiences, we interpret and decipher their meaning so that we can better orient our life.
OBEs in the New Testament
We find out-of-body experiences even in the New Testament, Corinthians especially, the sayings of Paul of Tarsus. He mentions:
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
OBEs in the Qur’an
Even within the Quran you find the same teaching. In all the Abrahamic traditions, but even in the mysticism of the Middle East, you find similar explanations:
And with Him are the keys of the secret things; none knows them but He; He knows whatever is on the land and in the sea; and no leaf falls but He knows it; neither is there a grain in the darknesses of the earth, nor a thing green or sere, but it is noted in a distinct writing.
What is very beautiful about this verse is that it is stating that by learning to adopt and practice superior ethics, compassion, kindness, divine love, we get rewarded with experiences. We are shown, in dreams, the quality of a particular psychological work, of our behaviors, of which we get symbols about. This is where you are at, your level of being on that ladder going from earth to heaven. We get insights and we get inspired because we are being shown, in a very direct way, what we can do about suffering.
It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect. ―Qur’an 39:42
So what are these signs? It is inner visions. It is dreams, experiences.
OBEs in Sufism
There are references amongst the Sufis especially, who are the mystics of Islam. Ibn ‘Arabi is known as the greatest of Sufi teachers. He gives some very interesting examples of what we are talking about as well. This is from The Meccan Revelations:
Know that these bodies are the coffins of the spirits and what beclouds them; they are what veil them so that they do not witness the spiritual world and are not witnessed. ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Meccan Revelations
What is interesting is that this word “witnessing” has to do with awakening, experiencing in its most profound sense. It does not mean believing in a tradition or disbelieving, but actually seeing for oneself what diverse religions teach.
So our body veils our perceptions. We are often very conditioned by our senses. But when you go to sleep, you abandon that. You learn to see with internal senses, and therefore you begin to witness higher realities.
So the spirits do not see, nor are they seen, except through being parted from these bodily tombs (cf. Qur'an 102:2)―by becoming oblivious (fanâ) to them in their absorption in spiritual things (and this simply means entering a state of meditation, falling asleep physically, and awakening consciousness in the internal worlds) not through physical separation [which is death]. ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Meccan Revelations
I know there is an assumption in our modern culture that we cannot know what will happen when we die, primarily because, the argument is, no one has ever come back to talk about it. What is ignored by that assumption―which we will talk about a little bit later―is that the same dimension or state that one accesses when one dies is precisely the same as when we are in a dream. So by learning to awaken in our dreams, we can awaken after death.
Therefore since they have inner vision, when they become oblivious to witnessing [their physical] bodies then they witness the One Who gives them Being in the very act of witnessing [being conscious of] themselves. ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Meccan Revelations
Are out-of-body experiences real?
So while religion has talked about out-of-body experiences and mystical states, modern scientists are still trying to catch up. What is interesting is that the Dalai Lama―who is a great master of Tibetan Buddhism―is also a practitioner of dream yoga with a lot of experience about this type of science. He has been making a lot of effort in talking at conferences with different scientists to get them to investigate, in a scientific way with different instruments, these types of testimonies.
Now the problem is there tends to be a lot of skepticism and doubt, which, when we are trying to scientifically verify phenomena, you want to be very rigorous, obviously. So, the Dalai Lama was talking to a Harvard scientist by the name of Alan Hobson. It is known as the Mind and Life Conference. I would like to relate some of this to you at length and talk about this.
Returning to the Mind and Life conference, in his conversation with [Harvard psychiatrist Allan] Hobson, the Dalai Lama raised the issue of knowledge obtained in dreams:
So unfortunately, there is a tendency in some scientists to want to dismiss certain propositions because they seem very unlikely, or they do not fit within a type of dogma, even of a materialistic type. But fortunately, there are a lot of people who are pushing to understand these types of phenomena, of how physical facts align with internal experiences. In that way, we learn to develop conviction, verification, understanding.
As we talked about in previous quotes from religious scriptures, we learn from practice how these types of dreams coincide with certain evidence in the physical world. That gives us what is called genuine faith―not a belief, not a theory, but we know. It is that type of understanding which pushes one to want to investigate, to inquire, and to look into these types of phenomena.
A while later, the Dalai Lama returned to other phenomena that are taken for granted by the Tibetans… ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (pp. 57)
…because in Tibetan Buddhist culture, these types of studies are a very common place. In the West, we are very much alienated from a lot of religious principles, unfortunately, due to the perhaps bad examples of many religious institutions.
Dalai Lama: There are certain people who feel they have out-of-body experiences while dreaming.
Dean Radin makes an interesting point here:
This exchange highlights a central problem in dealing with discussions of miracles. Scientists meeting with the Dalai Lama are undoubtedly interested in anything he has to say, but having been selected as scientific and scholarly experts in their fields, they probably feel a certain pressure to behave like experts, even when they don’t know what they’re talking about. ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (p. 58)
Some examples of how our own inner dreams can validate physical facts and how that is a foundation of genuine faith―my wife and I, before we were friends, had many dreams about each other. We both related, in our friendship and eventually our relationship, that we had certain experiences about each other that were really profound, very beautiful and symbolic, archetypal. As I was learning from my wife certain experiences that she had from training in this science, my own experiences came to my mind. I realized the connection, even though this experience happened ten years ago. It shocked me because I immediately knew the person I was going to marry. But we let the relationship unfold, despite our knowledge, like a flower letting itself show its own innate beauty.
That is an example, one of many, in which you can have a dream that comes true. What validates it? You look at the diverse symbols that are presented and study them. Meditate on them and look at the connection between the facts. That is what really is very moving.
There are lots of examples in which scientists are making a lot of effort to validate these types of perceptions from a materialistic basis, which is wonderful. You can find even on Netflix a show called Surviving Death, where you have the testimony of people who died and have come back, describing very similar experiences amongst many people. You can also look at a documentary on Amazon Prime. It is called Third Eyed Spies. Lttle bit different topic, but it does relate to a lot of these principles.
Now as Dean Radin states:
The discussion panel’s answer to the Dalai Lama’s questions about reincarnation, precognition, and veridical out-of-body experiences might have been a more modest “I don’t know.” Instead, they asserted that science has not studied these issues, or they gave the impression that the reason there is no scientific evidence is because the beliefs are not true. In fact, there is substantial evidence, and the results confirm that at least some of the Tibetans’ beliefs are almost certainly true. ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (p. 58)
Are out-of-body experiences provable?
So building off of this question about “Are out of body experiences provable?” ― we can talk about a very interesting teaching from Sufism where they talk about three certainties. They discuss how there are different forms of knowledge, understanding, and experience, which can apply to many walks of life, many aspects of living.
Now the knowledge of certainty has to do with listening to a lecture, reading a book, studying a scripture, in which you have certainty in an intellectual sense. You are listening, and you are learning, and you are looking at these type of teachings, and they are making sense at their level, in terms of intellectual knowledge. So it is useful. It is useful to have that in the beginning.
But there is something much more deep than that, which is known as seeing of certainty. It is when you have a dream that is so intense, that you feel it is greater and more real than your physical life. You are seeing it. You are just perceiving in that state, accessing a type of experience that is beyond the senses. So what people call astral projections, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, this is seeing of certainty. You have certainty that there is something more than just the body.
But there is something more profound than that as well. There is the truth of certainty. The truth of certainty has to do with when your experiences are coinciding with the physical facts, and you know you have received guidance from the divine, from an inner source.
You can compare the knowledge of certainty to hearing about a fire in a certain part of the country. The seeing of certainty is like seeing the fire for yourself, very distinct. You can read a textbook, and―when you actually do it―it is a very different thing when you are burned by fire. This can apply to different states of being.
So I mentioned an example of having a nightmare, the seeing of certainty, in which you are perceiving a state that is real. You are interacting, whether it is our own mind, or perhaps other qualities of our being, within a different state that is inaccessible to the senses.
Now a nightmare, in reality, can be caused by a number of things. For one, we are perceiving a deeper part of ourselves that is really beyond the range of our ordinary senses. So we can have dreams of being persecuted, or being killed, or even killing, things that we would never do in our daily life, and yet are there. That is seeing of certainty and seeing our own inner hell. A nightmare is seeing what religions call infernal worlds, negative states, and obviously we wake up and we feel relieved that it is over. Some people may have this problem of having nightmares, and what those type of experiences within are showing are very deep seated traumas within the mind, rooted in anger, in pride, in lust, in fear, in vanity, in doubt, that are trapping part of our consciousness in that state. So actually having a nightmare―as difficult and as painful that might be―it can be a blessing, because we are seeing something in us that needs to change. We are seeing the reality of ourselves.
In having certainty of the truth, that just as there is a hell, there is also a heaven, we can really aquire the truth of certainty, because there is not only infernal states of being that are not only accessible to us, we can access what religions call heaven, in which all those conditions of mind, those defects that are mentioned, are stripped away. They are gone, in which you are vibrating with a level of being which is superior, heavenly states in which all the different prophets that came to humanity were teaching people to experience, to know. That is the truth of certainty, when we realize that there is something more than just what modern scientists, or perhaps our contemporary culture, would have us believe.
What are astral projections?
So what are astral projections? This has to do with when we physically go to sleep every night. The issue becomes: are we conscious of the process of falling asleep?
It might seem like a catch-22, or a conundrum, a paradox. How can you be awake when you go to sleep? The reality is your physical body goes to sleep every night, and the consciousness, our soul, the root of our very being, our perception, leaves it. Because it is not very active, we tend to go to bed and we wake up eight hours later and we do not remember anything.
Now the reality―if we really train ourselves and really learn to experience this for ourselves―is that whenever we go asleep physically, we enter the dream world. We astral project every night. We just do not have consciousness of it. We are not aware of it. This is verifiable when you practice some of these exercises that we are going to be teaching sequentially in this course. You can see this where, if you have a conscious astral projection in which your body goes to sleep and your soul is awake, you learn to transition with lucidity, with intentionality, with will.
Eventually with practice it becomes very familiar. It becomes a very welcomed thing. I know how some people can get scared about what is happening. Some of us might even had an experience where we were astral projecting, and perhaps we lost that experience. Perhaps we got scared. We got emotional or fearful. It is easy to be fearful of what we do not know. But the truth is that we do it every night. It is just a matter of becoming accustomed to it, becoming aware of it.
Who can astral project?
Some people think that it is gift for an exceptional few. In reality, anyone can train themselves to do it at will. It is not because some people have received the grace of God and are able to do it intentionally. It is a matter of training, of becoming aware of ourselves, especially throughout the day. Mindfulness is especially well known in many contemporary spiritual schools. We talk about that a lot.
How do I astral project at will?
But we can all learn to astral project at will, to enter that dreaming state with intentionality, when we develop the faculties of consciousness: being aware of ourselves at all times, being mindful, learning to concentrate so that instead of having a mind that is dispersed, thinking of different things, or many thoughts as we are going to sleep, we focus on one thing, one exercise. By integrating our willpower, our consciousness, our concentration, we go into that state with clarity.
We also develop exercises of visualization, which is very popular in meditation schools, especially in Tibetan Buddhism. By learning to visualize images in the mind, we develop the faculty that allows us to deeply perceive dreams. It is the same faculty. It is the same characteristic. Those who have a more robust ability to imagine and concentrate on one thing, on one visualization, and be able to see the different colors of an object, the different details, with real intensity or detail, are able to awaken in dreams much more easily, because you are using the same faculty.
Also, we learn to develop a relationship with divinity within ourselves. That is something that comes with time, obviously, with practice. When you experience these things, obviously, they inspire you. They fuel your efforts.
What are different ways to experience the astral?
So there are four ways we can really experience the astral dimension. One of them is being conscious when we astral project at night, whenever we go to sleep.
Some people awaken in their dreams. They are dreaming and suddenly they realize, “I am in the dream world. I am not here physically!” There are different techniques we can use to verify and test the reality of where you are at, so that you know.
People have also experienced near-death experiences, like in the Netflix show Surviving Death. One lady mentioned how she died on a rafting trip and they brought her back, and she was able to talk about what happened. So she entered the astral world, came back, because it was not her time yet.
Or we can die, and that is the last way one can enter the astral world. So it is interesting that either when we die or go to sleep, we enter that region.
What is the astral plane like?
In truth, it is a material dimension. It is interesting, because for a lot of people, if we just have dreams, things can be very vague or incoherent. But when you remove all the subjective conditions of mind and learn to access that state with an awakened consciousness, we see that there are cities. There is Chicago. There are people driving cars. People are doing things that they do normally in their physical life. Nothing vague there. The reality is it is a type of matter and energy that is not as dense as this physical world, which is why people have reported dreams of flying, passing through walls, putting their hands through a glass window, for example. That is one thing I liked to do when I first started testing if I am here physically, or if I am in the internal worlds. I would go up to a window and press my finger, slightly, with the will that I put my hand through it. Because it is more subtle, you do it, so that you can then realize, “I am dreaming.” But it is a type of matter, energy. There is a reality there. It is just less materialistic. It is less dense, governed by laws like levitation, elasticity, plasticity, ductileness. You are basically able to even pull your finger and see it stretch, fly to distant places. You can drink a cup of water there. You can eat and drink in the astral plane, but it is very different.
What are lucid dreams?
This has to do with having more vibrancy in our dreams, in our inner experiences. We may have moments in which we see something with greater expansiveness or perception, greater depth, and we wake up. Or a lucid dream is you are basically seeing more to what is there.
There is a greater range of perception. You see more colors there than you see physically. But what is interesting about lucid dreaming is that just because we are seeing a panorama of what is there, it does not necessarily mean that we realize where we are at. We could be dreaming or having all of these great images. We are perceiving things in a new way, but we do not realize that we are dreaming.
I know some people like to say that lucid dreaming has to do with waking up, but we make a very clear distinction between a dream and a vision in these studies. Dreaming has to do with the fact that you are projecting from your mind onto that screen of reality. So you are dreaming and interacting with your own contents of your psychology. But a vision has to do with when you let all of that to subside. You let it all rest and you receive knew insights.
But also, lucid dreaming is a wonderful gateway into deeper knowledge, because if you realize or see greater range of perception in your dreams, it means that you are going to be able to see more. But there is some steps that are necessary to transcend dreams.
How do I perceive the astral plane?
We have to train our consciousness through concentration, imagination, meditation. These are techniques that will help us to really know these truths.
How do I navigate the internal worlds?
With familiarity―you become familiar with it. In the beginning, we can get scared. I remember when I first started to practice astral projection when I was really young, I was terrified, because I was lifting out of my body and levitating over my bed, seeing things with more depth than was physically possible. So my fear took me out. But eventually after getting used to that process, now when that happens, I get really happy, because now it is another wonderful opportunity to pursue my spiritual life, internally.
You learn to navigate the internal worlds the same way you learn to ride a bike. You learn the neighborhood. You learn where to go and where not to go with the guidance of your parents, meaning, not just physical instructors, but your own inner divinity. You learn.
Is astral projection dangerous?
No. we do it every night. If it were dangerous, no one would be alive, primarily because you fall asleep, and every time you fall asleep you go into the astral dimension. People who do not go into the astral dimension have insomnia. They cannot sleep, so it is good to take care of that.
Can I get lost in the astral plane and not return to my body?
You can not. A lot of traditions have talked about what is called the silver cord, the Antakarana thread. It is very important in astral literature, where you have a silver cord that connects you with your physical body. You can basically travel throughout the planet. You can go to other planets in the solar system, even to the edge of the galaxy if you want, and yet that cord will bring you back to your body when it is time, when you wake up.
The only time when that cord gets cut, and the person cannot return to their physical body, is when it is their time to die, and that is something that is governed by divine beings. We call them the angels of death. I know in our popular imagination we think of these hooded, skeletoal figures with a scythe as something very demonic and terrifying, and it is because we are not familiar with the process of dying. We are not aware of it. We do not remember, perhaps, in previous lives when we entered this life, and how we have died many times before. That is something you can also verify through experience, by learning how to astral project.
But these beings are very divine. Personally, I have met one such being. When I saw this angel, I was crying because it was so powerful, the presence of divinity, and this is a type of being that can really guide us through the process of sleep and death if we learn to train ourselves
Can one be injured in the astral plane?
No. So you can jump of a roof and end up like Neo in The Matrix, landing on your face first ton the pavement―you are not going to get hurt. It is because your astral vehicle, the body you use in dreams, is subjected to the laws of elasticity, plasticity, levitation. You cannot get hurt like that. Also:
Can entities take over my body during astral projection?
No. It is not like you leave your body and then someone can creep in to your house, your physical body,. It cannot happen. You belong to your car, so to speak, or your car belongs to, you better said. Your body is a vehicle that you operate. You drive it every day. If you want someone else to take over your car and drive your car for you, well, that is what mediums are for. We do not recommend that practice because mediumship, allowing different entities to enter within oneself, is a practice we do not teach. So it is not like you can leave your physical body behind and someone else can sneak in. It cannot happen.
Hypnos and Thanatos: Sleep and Death
Now what is interesting about the relationship between sleep and death, is the Greek myth of Hypnos and Thanatos. So I touched briefly on how we enter the world of death every night whenever we go to sleep. Whenever we go to bed and we dream, we are in the world of the dead. The problem is that we are not aware of it.
Hypnos and Thanatos in Greek, sleep and death, were brothers, because the ancient Greeks knew that relationship. They taught that if we want to awaken after death, we have to awaken in dreams. It is the same process as going to sleep.
The question becomes, “How do we become conscious during dreams?” and “What does it mean to awaken consciousness?”
The Tibetan Buddhists mention that every time you go to sleep, it is like you are dying a little death, which is a quote from Samael Aun Weor as well:
It is stated that a dream is nothing but a small death. ―Samael Aun Weor, Gazing at the Mystery
Our consciousness is not awakened to its full potential. While we have a degree of perception in this physical world, it is very limited. It is conditioned and it is censored through many layers and factors. We call them thoughts, feelings, sentiments, anxieties, worries, daydreams, fantasies, preoccupations, resentments, hatred, desires, appetites. Often times we are so dedicated in our Western culture, catering to our bodies, that we forget to be aware of ourselves, even of our breathing. This is why all meditative traditions teach the need to be mindful, especially, throughout our day, because if we are mindful and awake in our physical body, when we physically go to sleep, we are going to awaken in dreams. It is the same process.
Your eight hours of sleep are a barometer of how awake you are. It can be a very scary proposition. If we go to bed and eight hours pass and we do not see anything, it means we are very unconscious. However, if you have dreams, it means we can start to nudge the door open a bit more until we can enter the temple of mysteries.
Even Plato mentioned this in The Republic. Here is an example of a negative person:
The most evil type of man… in his waking hours, has the qualities we found in his dream state. ―Plato, Republic 9:65
Now it applies not to just bad people, but good people. We have preoccupations. We have thoughts, worries, and daydreams. Perhaps we are driving to work. We have a certain routine we go through. We take the train. Maybe we are thinking so much that we are remembering the past; we forget our stop. We are not awake. We are driving our car. We are thinking of our friend, and then suddenly we nearly get into an accident. It means we are not paying attention. We are not conscious. We are not aware.
Most people tend to go to sleep and merely just repeat their daily life within the dream state. It is because we are not really focusing on our internal states. We tend to go through life mechanically, just reacting to different situations. However, if you learn to become awake of the process, of your moment-to-moment life, your daily states, you start to expand consciousness within dreams.
What are the different qualities of consciousness?
This is bringing us to a point about four states of consciousness that we study. These are Hindu terms. Sushupti is profound sleep. Swapna is dreaming sleep. Jagrat is awakening consciousness, and Turiya is spiritual illumination.
The easiest characterization of this dynamic has to do with physically―you go to sleep―Sushupti. Swapna is when you dream. A lot of people associate, within yoga, Jagrat as being physically awake, but it is wrong. The truth is that these are qualities of consciousness, not whether or not if you are in your physical body or not. Profound sleep is like when we go to bed. Eight hours go by and then we awake, but also physically, if we go through our occupation throughout our day, oblivious to, perhaps, physical danger on the street, or on the train, or driving a car, it means that we are not conscious.
I am pretty sure that we can all think of moments in our day, or perhaps trying to remember months ago what you ate for breakfast on a Tuesday. We cannot remember it. In our contemporary culture, we like to accept this type of distracted state of mind. But the truth is that, spiritually speaking, it indicates for us that we are not aware. We are not conscious. We cannot remember where we went two years ago for a vacation, or amongst friends, what we said, what we thought, what felt, what we did. We are not awake. We do not remember. That is profound sleep.
In certain cases, too, Sushupti has to do with a common state of barbarism of humanity. In one context, it has to do with mob mentality. For example, we see people get in fights on the street, or commit violence, or go to war. That is Sushupti, because people who are conscious of the humanity of other beings would never kill, would never commit violence, even in their thoughts.
So we can see that we all have this inside. We spend eight hours in the bed, and we do not even remember anything. That is Sushupti as well.
Swapna is interesting. It not only has to do with dreams at night when the physical body is at rest, but all of the dreams we engage with in the day. We are washing dishes and we are thinking of that television show we want to watch. We are riding our bike thinking of our neighbor. We had a conflict at work and we are ruminating on what they said or we are anticipating our revenge. We are always projecting our mind and thoughts onto other things and never looking at where we are at. We are not concentrated. We are not lucid. We are dreaming, and physically if you are dreaming all day, then at night we will dream as well.
This is why all religions teach the need to awaken. This is Jagrat. It has to do with adopting a certain discipline in which you pay attention all the time. You observe not only our body, but, with the psychological senses of the consciousness, we learn to observe the sources of even our thoughts, our emotions, our impulses. We learn to become aware of all that, and then we develop the continuity of paying attention all day and not getting distracted by anything. That is mindfulness. It is the continuity of perception. It is Tantra: a continuum and flow of awareness at all times.
When you really develop that in yourself, you begin to get glimpses of Turiya: spiritual illumination, in which we perceive things without conditions or filters, without prejudice, without bias. It is a state of consciousness that is very dynamic and it applies to a very profound range. It has to do with perceiving with objectivity, perceiving like a god, and you can have that in dreams, especially. Physically you can experience glimpses of illumination like that. But especially when you go to sleep with an awakened consciousness, you can be given certain visions from divinity that are very beautiful, and so penetrative that we could not do it on our own,. It is a grace and gift of divinity, but also when the conditions are right, the cause and effects are applicable. When we have set the foundations for experiencing that type of insight, it emerges.
Going back to that Sufi teaching, you will find that it has to do with the truth of certainty, because when you have that type of experience, you have great joy. But the thing to remember is that just having a temporary experience like that does not mean we are enlightened. It is a glimpse into what is possible. It can be given to us as a gift, but to sustain that takes training.
Can machines, frequencies, synthetic sounds, and binaural beats affect the brain and awaken consciousness?
A lot of people have approached astral projection wanting to use different material techniques to produce a spiritual phenomenon, and unfortunately it is mistaken. It is not that simple. For those of you who are not familiar with binaural beats, it has to do with listening to two simultaneous tones, one at a slightly different frequency so that when you are listening, it creates the illusion of creating a third beat, which is in your brain, in order to produce a type of mental state. So there have been certain studies how synthetic sounds or artificial sounds can produce astral projection, primarily from the perspective that it is the brain that we are trying to affect and that the brain is something malleable and can be influenced easily so as to awaken consciousness.
It is true that you can have experiences with these things, but the question is “Of what quality and of what state?” Merely having an astral projection is not enough, because there can be superior astral projections or there can be inferior astral projections. This is something that many people ignore, unfortunately. As I mentioned to you briefly, like that ladder of Jacob, there are heavenly states and there are inferior states. There are more liberated, unconditioned, luminous, unobstructed, clear, divine perceptions, and there are conditioned, selfish, negative, egotistical states―heaven and hell.
We emphasize that spiritual experiences cannot be influenced by mechanical means, primarily because if you are trying to influence the brain to do things for you, it is treating oneself like a machine. Machines know how to react. They are conditioned and they are constructed in such a way as to react to influences.
Now the brain, we have to remember, is merely a vehicle. It is a car that we have to drive. Who is driving the car though? The consciousness is not the brain. The brain is a vehicle of consciousness. It is not the originator of perception. We use the brain and our physical body to interact in this physical world. But it is just that. It is a machine that you can operate with intelligence. Or perhaps it is like working at a franchise or a fast food restaurant, or a meat packing plant. You are just doing things mechanically. You are not thinking, because you just have so much to do. These machines and mechanical methods can not produce the type of unconditioned awakening that we seek, if we are sincere.
Projections, again, can be conditioned by external influences, such as by synthetic sounds, frequencies, binaural beats, but those will awaken perceptions that are conditioned. Awakening is dual. I know in modern spiritual circles, people like to think of awakening as something positive. But there are two forms. If you look at the statements in the Book of Daniel in the Bible:
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. ―Daniel 12:2
…because there are ways to awaken powers and abilities like this, whether for good or for ill. So there is a distinction there. We do not rely on these types of things. We do not need to in order to have positive spiritual experiences. There are many more intrinsic ways to do this.
Can drugs, psychedelia, and intoxicants produce astral projections?
They do, but down in the infernal worlds. Primarily because, whenever you ingest an intoxicant, it is a condition. It is conditioning the consciousness. It is stimulating the consciousness to act, but within pride, anger, fear, laziness, lust, hatred etc. There are ways of experiencing these truths without relying on anything outside of us, but inside. So if you are interested in learning more of the nuances of this topic, you can study an article we wrote on our website. It is called: “How Do Drugs Affect Our Spiritual Development?” We go into a lot more detail than we have the time to elaborate here, but that is the synthesis.
How do I interpret my dreams?
I have talked a little bit about heaven and hell. We see it represented on that graphic on the left. This is the Hebrew Kabbalah, the Tree of Life. It is the mysticism of all religions, not just Judaism. It is a map of consciousness, from inferior to superior levels of being, levels and states of perception.
We have our physicality, which is this bottom sphere. We call it מלכות Malkuth, which means “the Kingdom,” because we have to reign and rule in our kingdom: our body.
But there are superior states and spheres. We call them סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, emanations from the unknowable, divine abstractions or source, and which we seek to return to in our studies. But there are also the inversion, which are the hell realms.
We use the Kabbalah as a map in the same way that you travel to another country. You learn the language. You learn about places to go, the geography, the culture, the customs, so that you can be more informed and navigate with facility. This image is precisely the same thing, but for the inner worlds. If you want to understand your dreams and where you are dreaming, or where you are experiencing things, we study and apply this glyph. It is deep. It is very scientific, very precise, and can give us clarity and understanding about what we are seeing.
We also use the Tarot. On the right we have The Eternal Tarot deck from Glorian Publishing. We use what is known as the major arcana. These are the principles and laws of nature depicted through images. The numbers themselves represent spiritual principles. Some of us may have had dreams where we received a date, or a number, or a time. It is Kabbalah. Kabbalah in Judaism is the science of numbers, how numbers represent abstract principles, which in a dream can apply to certain situations or dramas.
For example, you may have a dream about a certain situation in which you receive a number, and that number, especially one through twenty-two, relating to the first twenty-two cards of the Tarot, give us insight about what is happening there, about what we need to do about a certain situation in life.
These are very deep principles,. There is a lot of extensive knowledge available about them. Especially on our website, you can study The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah if you want to go into depth about what these cards mean.
Even receiving a card in the astral dimension, you can actually see these images. Personally I remember even receiving a Tarot reading from an Egyptian initiate in the astral place, who was showing me cards related to what I needed to develop. The cards coincided with this. Now these cards, they are living art. While they are described through Egyptian imagery and mysticism, they are really universal. The Tarot are beyond Egyptian cultural phenomena. They are even older than our humanity, even other worlds, with other humanities. The same laws apply. We just contextualize them with Egyptian images because it is convenient for our understanding.
But the truth is that these twenty-two laws apply to everywhere in the universe. They all represent different qualities. So we study them so that when we receive a number in our dreams, we can perform certain calculations with how the numbers add up to a unified synthesis or sum. We get the meaning, and we do not get confused about what we perceived. This is why we emphasize in our tradition that all traditions are golden pearls strung upon the golden thread of divinity, because all religious forms embody the same principles like the Tarot.
These numbers apply to all religions, and if we study the scriptures themselves with the knowledge of what the Tarot mean, you find that they mean the same thing. It is the intuitive grammar and building blocks of meaning from the spirit, because the different cards and numbers can add up together to create a synthesis. It is very elegant. It is very extensive. But more importantly, it is very simple. We study it. We learn it. We apply it. So all of these traditions represent these truths.
Should I use dream symbol dictionaries?
Some people have asked: “Should we use dream symbol dictionaries?” We always emphasize the need for independent thought, self-reliance, investigation. It is very easy to open a book, look for the symbol, and try to get an answer. It is the most normal reaction to have when we are experiencing dreams. We want to know what we are seeing, and see what other people have said.
Personally, my preference is to rely on what the prophets have taught, beings who have really demonstrated, through millennia, their caliber, because they are a lot of books in the world that are written by people who never reached that development. It is good to rely on instructors, but proven ones, prophets like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, who, through the scriptures, have related in their symbols the very fabric of meaning. In our spiritual path, when scripture is applied to our spiritual work, we can really interpret what is going on there.
So the thing about dream dictionaries is that the lack intuition, and here is why: you can look at a symbol in a dictionary, and look at one level of meaning of it, but there are many layers to a dream symbol. It is very extensive. Perhaps you have a dream of a cross. I have had that before in relation to a kind of work that I needed to do. But the overall tone was a state of suffering. You are bearing your cross and you will have ordeals. That was the meaning that played out in relation to my physical life, certain hardships I had to face.
But the cross is just not about suffering. It can be the four elements: earth, air, fire, water, or related to our psychology: mind, emotions, physicality, and sexuality, certain aspects of our constitution. We also need to look at what is happening in relation to the symbol. Were we carrying the cross? Was it in front of us? What happened? There are a lot of applications that do not get codified in one strict book.
This is why even in diverse religions traditions you do not find a book with the absolute meaning for everything, although that is what a lot of people think when they think of their religion. But the truth is that all of these teachers and all of these prophets taught in accordance with their capacities, and also of the level of development of the student. While their insights are valuable, it is also good to look at all religions to see how they all complement. Now, that is even at a level of a prophet who can give really deep insight, but just studying one source isolated by itself is like… we are not looking at the bigger picture.
The problem with dream dictionaries is that you find a lot of these testimonies from different people are very contradictory. They conflict with each other. The reality is, if you want genuine insight into the reality of dreams, we have to look to sources that really agree. They all say the same thing. It is all unified. It all points to the same direction. When we have that foundation and see how it relates to our experience, we then gain confidence in its source. But the problem is there are too many contradictory opinions, mostly made from people who have not reached those heights. So it is out of caution of our own development that we don’t rely on dream dictionaries. It is good to be prudent
Can someone interpret my dreams for me?
A lot of people ask―and we have gotten this question from people too―“Can someone interpret my dreams for me?”
It also begs an interesting question too. Obviously, we have a yearning to know what a dream is. We look for insight, perspective, and so we might go to people that hopefully provide that for us. But this relates an interesting dynamic within students, especially.
The Talmud states:
A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read. ―Talmud
Most people in the beginning do not know how to read spiritually. We have a dream. We do not know what it means. We want someone else to read it for us. What would be better, relying on someone to read and teach you through what they can read, or someone to teach you yourself? Is it not true that a person who does not know how to read is vulnerable? Someone could tell you, “This is what it means,” even for example, they do not know what it means or have bad intentions. We do not know, and because we do not know, we should be cautious.
Be prudent, because dreams are important. They are essential for learning to master our spiritual life, to awaken there. Therefore, we should really be critical, not of other people, but of our own selves. This need and this desire for security―we want to be secure in our spiritual life. We want someone to tell us that everything is ok, or to tell us this is what that means. It does not work that way. In reality, the magic of dreams unfold as we meditate.
Practice meditation. Learn the science of meditation. Become a self-reliant meditator, because really, we can unpack meanings and unfold the significance of dreams over many years. Personally, I had dreams decades ago that have only come true recently, and part of the awe and the joy of that realization is from having worked upon myself, not going to other people: “Tell me what this means!”
If we learn to study genuine sources, such as learning Kabbalah and the Tarot, and learn the diverse symbolism within different traditions, you gain a very expansive lexicon by which to interpret what is happening. It gets easier. It gets intuitive. So in the beginning, we start to study, intellectually, different sources. But the real work comes in meditation. Put aside the mind. Put aside thought, the desire, the fear: “I want this to mean a certain thing,” the anticipation that “I want a certain result. This is what I want the dream to mean!” This is where people can start to get into problems especially. Having a dream, thinking it is one thing, but it means another. Therefore, why get another person in the mix, especially if we do not know their experience or qualifications? So it is good to be prudent.
How do I know if a dream is real or not?
We made a distinction earlier. We mentioned that there is a difference between dreams and visions. A dream is a projection of our mind, which, with its levels and qualities, perceptions and states, can be more objective or less. But the mind for most of us is very heavy. We have a lot of errors. We have flaws. We are not perfect. We have defects. We have fear and anxiety, the yearning for security, ambition, perhaps not for physical things, but maybe spiritual things.
We have a lot of qualities in our mind that is really best described as desire, ego. We want something. We desire something. Therefore, we try to feed our desires. These are conditions.
The soul is something different. The soul can feel great joy and aspiration, yearning for the truth, love for others, philanthropy, kindness, compassion, patience, and the consciousness that realizes its true nature does not dream. It sees. It has visons. It knows. So a dream is a projection of our mind. We are enmeshed within our desires, and as we mentioned, going about our day is being lost in daydreams. It is like being lost in thought, memory, sleep. But a vison is when the mind is calm. It is receptive and it is at peace. We are seeing the reality before us, whether physically or internally.
This is why Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of our tradition, stated in the lecture called "Mental Representations":
True illuminates have no dreams. Dreams are for those who are asleep. True illuminates live in the higher worlds, out of the physical body, in a state of intensified wakefulness without ever dreaming. ―Samael Aun Weor, ”Mental Representations”
There are many examples of this: Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses… we could go on for ever. They did not have a sleeping consciousness. They did not dream. Physically, they can go to sleep at will and project into the internal worlds at will, for as long as they wanted, because they were so exact and rigorous with themselves, holding themselves to such a high standard. Therefore, they taught it to others. We can do the same.
What can I do through astral projection?
There are a lot of things. I find this is perhaps one of the most compelling points about these types of studies, which drew me into studying and practicing this.
Through astral projection, we can receive divine teachings. We can communicate with our inner God. We can receive insight on difficult situations and how to solve them with efficacy, with complete equanimity.
We can also explore the superior and inferior worlds, as demonstrated by this graphic on the right: the Tree of Life, the heaven and hell realms.
In the astral world, you can visit other planets. You can see other humanities that dwell there. When we talk about other humanities, we are not talking about other little green men with antennas, and perhaps little crustacean features, or something really exotic or disturbing like Hollywood would have us presume. Instead, we learn to interact with different species and humanoids who are very spiritual, who are awake. We can get insight from them and they can help us internally.
You can also visit the temples of the universal fraternity of the divine. There are temples in the physical world such as Egypt and other places that are now cadavers. They used to be flourishing with life physically, but internally they are active. You can go into the temples of Giza in the astral world and receive initiation and guidance from the masters there, luminous, enlightened beings. There are many temples throughout the world in the internal worlds, throughout all cultures, because this type of knowledge is universal.
We can invoke genuine spiritual masters. You can learn certain prayers with which you can call unto divinity to send this master to you, to teach you, and that can give you guidance. That is really better than relying on someone helping you physically, is when internally you invoke and you ask a master about a solution to a problem. They will always come, especially if they have perfected themselves. They are here to help.
We can also enact―and this is an uncomfortable topic for some people―spiritual self-defence, because just as there are friendly beings, there are also negative beings. We call them witches. We call them black magicians, sorcerers, warlocks, those that can astral project, but within hell. The live and they dwell within the inferior regions of the astral, the negative infernal planes, and because we have ego, we tend to gravitate to those states, unfortunately. But with training we can awaken and change ourselves.
In that process, we do get confrontations even, but there are proven ways to defend oneself, through prayer, through sacred invocations. We call them conjurations. This is where the term “magic” came from. It is when you exert the consciousness in its defense, so that it is not influenced by any negativity. These methods that we teach in courses like Spiritual Self-Defense on our website go in to great detail about how to practice that. They work, but with training and time we learn to practice these techniques the same way that you go to a dojo to do martial arts. In the beginning you are sloppy―and I speak from experience―but with practice you get very efficient.
You can negotiate your destiny with the Lords of Karma. These are masters who guide the trajectory of humanity. Karma is a very popular term. It means cause and effect. These are beings beyond good and evil. They manage the law of destiny out of compassion. Karma is not some blind law of retribution in which we suffer or “get what we deserve.” Instead, despite our past actions and mistakes, we can receive mercy. We can even go to those hierarches, such as Anubis in the Egyptian mythology, in order to discuss our problems and how to negotiate it, because the scales can be balanced in our favor. We learn to do that by personally speaking with the law.
We can also face and conquer ordeals. This has to do with tests the student can face as a means of provoking and pushing us to develop. So in our spiritual path, we learn to overcome certain adversities and hardships, whether physically or also in the internal worlds. You can have symbolic dreams that represent certain challenges that you need to overcome. They are always managed by divinity. We have related a little bit in our courses previously, but you will find more about that in The Secret Path of Initiation on our website.
We can enter initiation, meaning, we enter a new way of life, to be welcomed amongst the gods, to become perfect like the gods. Also, see the same course in which we talk about that, the degrees and stages by which one unites with the divine, so as to be welcomed by those who have walked before.
We also, lastly, can watch or view the Akashic Records, view prophecies. This is a very compelling topic, and I know a lot of people have talked about the Akashic Records. It is basically like a film of nature. In the astral world, which is very fluidic in the sense that it is very impressionable, it relates to emotions, sentiment, a subtle form of matter and energy. In that dimension, everything is recorded, every action. Even if you speak into an old tape recorder, you can find that there are actually geometric shapes that are imprinted in the film. The same thing with the Akashic Records.
All the history about ancient humanities in different civilizations are imprinted within the consciousness and the memory of the astral world. So if you ask your inner divinity to show you about an ancient point in time, or a certain thing you need to know about the future, you will see images. You will see living dramas, a film. It is like watching a movie, but you are seeing reality. You are not seeing illusion. You are seeing what happened, what is, and what will be. We can learn to access that and really understand things about our humanity and our world that are inaccessible to our physical senses.
In conclusion, we will mention that by knowing ourselves, we will know these things.
The oracle of Delphi mentioned:
Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and its gods! ―Oracle of Delphi
Hence the importance for learning how to awaken consciousness.
So at this time we are going to open up the floor to questions. We have some from the chat, most likely. The other instructor will be reading them for us at the appropriate time, but we also have a lot of people here as well. So feel free to ask.
Questions and Answers
Question: When using the Tarot are you supposed to take in to account the three cards, or just the final number you are supposed to add up?
Instructor: Good question. For those of you who are not familiar with the Tarot themselves, such as doing your own reading, we mentioned some of this in the lecture called The Magician, the first arcanum in our course The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah.
The major arcanum sets the tone, one of the first of twenty-two cards. So there are twenty-two major arcana, and fifty-six minor arcana. You first separate the major arcana from the minor. Shuffle them. Pull out one card face down. You look at the minor arcana. Shuffle, pull out one card. Shuffle, pull out one again. What you do is you look at their relationship. First you look at the individual cards, but the minor arcana and major arcana complement. They work together. So just as you form sentences with words, in the same way, the different arcana all constitute a certain meaning in the end. So you look at the synthesis. You look at the relationship between them, and you also look at them independently. So look at them all together.
Question: How often can one use it, like, can one use it every day or should you change it?
Instructor: You can use them every day if you want. Once a day. If you want to learn about genuine spiritual issues, the thing is not to get caught up in when you get an answer, to doing the tarot reading again, in a sense like you do not like the answer. Therefore you want to get another one. You cannot trick divinity. But if you have a certain issue that you want to explore, you can work with the Tarot. You can use it once a day, even if you want to know different things, such as “How do I proceed about my day? What do I need to know?” I have done it in the past, especially in order to learn about all the different cards, not just the first twenty-two, but all the minor arcana as well. So you can do it once a day if you want, but really dedicate it to genuine issues.
Other Instructor: It can be done more than once a day if you have more than one serious spiritual question to ask.
Question: How can you go about being successful in meditation, because I try but my mind is like “You got to do this… you got to do that!” I find it very difficult to like keep my mind blank, and to not think about anything.
Instructor: Sure! It is a learned skill. We have some resources online. You can study courses we gave, such as Gnostic Meditation, and the Sufi Principles of Meditation, teaching meditation with the Sufis scriptures. We did a whole course on that. What I also like more is on Glorian.org: Meditation Essentials. That is a very synthesized and a very refined way of explaining meditation, step by step, with weekly exercises. I recommend that especially. So if you study that on Glorian.org, practicing each of the exercises for each week, in each lecture, you will get very profound results. That image we talked about, the nine stages of meditative concentration, the course elaborates on that a lot, so I highly recommend it.
Question: You mentioned that with out-of-body experiences, it happens when you are falling asleep. But then I know that the dream state is through REM, so that does not usually happen until you have actually been sleeping for a while. So what is the difference between those two, and the timing? And what happens when you go out-of-body? Do you immediately go in to that realm, or do you, like you said, you see yourself, and then you go into that realm?
Instructor: Sure! So there is a deep connection between the brain and our internal life, because like the Antahkarana thread, we are united with the physical world and our internal worlds. Now a lot of people record having deeper dreams and experiences when we are in REM sleep, when you are really deeply within the internal worlds themselves. It does not mean that people are astral projecting during REM. The reality is that we are projecting in the initial phases of sleep as you are stripping away your identity. Such as when you are falling asleep, you see memories, and dreams, and voices, and sounds, and landscapes, or whatever it may be. That is indicating to us a type of process in which we are starting to increase the light of perception, in which you are in the process of entering slowly in the dream state.
Now a lot people get caught up in those initial phenomena and they are unconscious again. Then they might later have experiences relating to deeper stages of sleep, REM. Now in Tibetan Buddhism, we talk a lot about the four lights. We will give a whole lecture about this especially. In the beginning phases, we start to perceive that we are about to enter into a dream. But if you maintain your concentration in that process, you enter willingly. But with REM sleep, we have already been in the astral plane for a couple of hours, typically. With training and learning to awaken your consciousness, you can be fully lucid throughout the entire time, even to the point that you physically leave your body, you go in to the astral world for a couple of hours, physically, terrestrially, and you can come back with full consciousness withiht forgetting anything. So that is possible. You can have the potential to be that skilled. It is very possible. It just takes work.
Question: Is sleep paralysis our ego not willing to leave our body?
Instructor: Some people have reported sleep paralysis associated with nightmares even. You are in your body but you are not conscious or you cannot move your body. That is usually just the process, sometimes, when you are returning to your body and you have not fully integrated into your physicality, in order to be able to move yourself after having come from dreams. It is not something to be really alarmed about or fearful. I know some people who have mentioned, for an example, I have a relative who had sleep paralysis associated with nightmares. He would see aliens or some other negative things coming at him when he is in sleep paralysis, and he felt defenseless when that happened. But the thing is not to be identified. Sometimes you have just not fully gotten your car to start, so to speak. You cannot be harmed. So nothing to worry about.
Question: Is it possible to get to the astral plane through meditation instead of going to sleep?
Instructor: Absolutely! So actually with meditation and practicing that skill, we are learning to go to sleep consciously. So when you meditate, with enough skill, you let your body relax. You are fully concentrated within. You are focusing on something to investigate. You can imagine whatever the object or goal is. Visualize it and let your body start to slumber. What is interesting about this state of meditation is that we learn to receive new information, when all of the mental obscurations are settled, like the sediment in a jar with water and all sorts of elements. If you shake it all of the time―which tends to be our daily waking state―you have a muddled chaos. But with learning meditation and applying these principles in our daily states, the sediment begins to stratify, layering itself so you can begin to see all the different contents of the jug of your mind.
What helps with that is when you are learning to meditate, you are falling asleep intentionally. It is the same skill. In fact, as you are learning meditation and you learn to go to bed, you are meditating while you are falling asleep. You are meditating even when you are laying down. So meditation, even in your chair or whatever position, you can learn to do that. In some meditations, you want to balance that threshold between wakefulness and sleep. But certain meditations you may find that if you want to learn to astral project, you do so while you are meditating. In fact, the best end result of a real successful meditation is an astral projection, because now you leave the body behind. You have removed certain layers that obstruct your investigation into certain phenomena, and then you can go. So meditation is a state of mind. It is a quality of being, when receive information in a new way.
Question: So when you are in that meditative state, does the body always go to sleep, or can you have visualizations and the body can be still mobile or functional?
Instructor: Great question! The best visualizations occur when you are still, in which you have relaxed enough to the point in which your thoughts cease to be a distraction. You are not churning with emotion. Your body is not agitated, and when you are perfectly still, meaning, you do not move physically or internally, mentally, suddenly images appear. They emerge. We do not will them. We do not intend them. But they just arrive, flashes of insight. You see visions. You see dream-like symbols. You see experiences, landscapes, especially, perhaps. That is indicating that we are approaching it in the right way.
You can have certain insights when you are physically active. It is true, but that take a lot more training. But with time, if you are sitting to meditate and you are stilling all the contents of your psychology, those visions appear magically on their own, and can really inform us about certain things we need to take care of.
Question: Ok, and so any visualization, I guess in that aspect, would be considered astral projection, regardless?
Instructor: Good question. An astral projection is when you are conscious of leaving the body. But often times when you are meditating, you are beginning to enter that threshold of that state, not necessarily projecting all the way through, but you are starting to perceive your inner reality. It is like stepping in between the doorway of two chambers: the physical and the internal. If you are really focused as you are receiving these visions and experiences from your internal dream state, you let your body fall asleep and you go out. But sometimes we might of fallen asleep in our meditation and suddenly we are seeing all of these things too. So there is a dynamic here too. But in both cases, you are perceiving your inner reality. An astral projection is when you are aware of leaving your body. In some cases, we fall asleep and we have no awareness of it at all. So… a little difference.
Question: Can we learn to heal others or ourselves through astral projection or when dreaming?
Instructor: Yes. The important thing is that when you learn to astral project, you use that ability for good. Use that capacity to help other people. You can do so by learning how investigate the karma of your particular situation, or another person if that is granted by divinity, if it is allowed. There ways to communicate not only with the Lords of Karma, but also the masters of medicine. There are beings that are governed by the archangelic hierarchies of influence known as the Angel Raphael―very famous in Christianity, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition―who can help heal people if it is in accordance with the law and with the will of divinity. So you can learn to astral project and go to the temples of healing, to ask for benediction for those who are suffering, always in accordance with the mercy of the law, the rigor of the law, but also with compassion, we ask. We can pray. So you can do that.
Question: When one awakens consciousness in an astral projection, what are the keys to staying awake?
Instructor: We have certain mantras we use. A mantra is a sacred sound. It is a vibratory force. We know that through regular speech, our words can have blessings or curses. There are improper words and proper words. There are qualities of speech in reflection of the quality of our mind. Words spoken from hate harm the mental atmosphere, but compassion and blessings unite communities.
In the same way, a mantra is a type of keynote, a sacred sound which through, either physically or mentally, vocalizing like the mantra “O,” we are learning to attract superior forces.
One simple mantra to do, even when you are driving your car or doing it mentally at work, is “Om” [or O]. Prolong the vowels. You sing it mentally. That type of practice helps to strengthen our concentration so we are focusing on what we are doing. We are aware of what we are doing. We are not distracted. Even when you do that physically, when you learn to train yourself with practice and time, you can find yourself in the astral world suddenly awake. If you feel your consciousness is getting a little weak, a little tired, sing the mantra mentally.
You can sing it out loud even in the astral plane. People are asleep anyways in the astral world. People are not going to care. I know one time I was doing the mantra “Om Tat Sat” repeatedly, and some person in the astral plane was making fun of me: “You look weird.” I did not say anything because he was asleep. He did not realize he was in the astral plane. So it does not matter. Physically, you may not want to say it out loud because people may think you are a little strange, but in the astral plane it does not matter. They can judge you, but they will not remember.
Question: If one cannot be harmed in an astral projection, why do we need to enact spiritual self-defense?
Instructor: Good question! Astral projection is unharmful. Learning to transition into the internal worlds is not a problem. The issue becomes when you encounter beings like sorcerers or demons, black magicians who want to pull you into their path. Now there is not something dangerous about transitioning into the internal worlds. You cannot be hurt in the internal worlds like when you get punched or hit, or you fall over, or you scrape yourself. There is no danger to that. The struggle between positive and negative forces is in the mind. It is a conscious quality in which certain entities will try to exert their will on you to get you to act how they want. We call it black magic. But white magic is wanting to invoke the aid of divinity to work through you, so that you can nullify those types of efforts.
For example, someone comes up to you with a lot of anger, very hateful, very resentful. Maybe we did something wrong, and then if we learn to transform that situation and act kindly, like with genuine compassion, you diffuse it. In the same way, when you are working with certain prayers, you can learn to nullify those type of influences. But astral projection is not dangerous.
Question: Should we conjure and protect ourselves in the astral plane even if it is a beautiful angel, deity, etc.?
Instructor: You can, and it is actually recommended to be cautious, because there are beings that say, “Yeah, I am Jesus.” Anyone can say that, but it does not mean you should trust them. I remember even when I met the Master Jesus, I was scared because when I invoked him, he was a very luminous being. I was so terrified of the intensity of his presence, and I felt fear, like perhaps I called upon a demon instead. But I started to pray more and eventually clarity came.
You can do certain prayers and invocations to ask, “Show me who you really are!” So we will talk more about different practices later on, but you can call upon divinity to say, “Show me who you are” with certain conjurations that will basically clear up the astral environment for you, so that you can discriminate what is going on.
Question: At times in my dreams, I get a sensation of extreme intoxication. It happens suddenly and without taking any intoxicants within or out of my dreams. I feel extremely disorientated and have a very hard time standing up or walking. It feels as though I am very drunk. I tend to work through it, but eventually I have to just sit down. Could you please explain what this may be?
Instructor: Those type of dreams that a recurring are showing us something. If something keeps repeating, like a recurring dream, it means that we need to see something about ourselves. Now, feeling like one has no control over the body in dreams like in the astral vehicle, to be drunk in that state, could imply that there is a lack of control in one’s daily life. Usually dreams will show us something going on factually, something that is happening in your daily state.
So there is a relationship there. You should always examine your dreams in relation to your physical life. If there is a correlation there, then you can have confidence that something is factual here in what you are seeing. So if you feel like you have no control in your dream, examine your life. Examine what is happening throughout your day. Where do you lack ethics in your work?
Question: During lucid dreaming, do you recommend talking to other dream characters? I notice that most try to convince me that I am not lucid when I wake up.
Instructor: Well, if they are trying to talk you out of being awake, then yes, ignore them. There are a lot of weird entities you can encounter, and most of them are projections of our own mind. So if something is starting to distract you in the astral plane, with practice you learn to say, “Ok, I am going to put this aside. I am going to do something else…” so you maintain continuity of your mindfulness.
Question: What about sleep walking? People who go to sleep and within an hour, they get up and walk around a bit with no recollection of it the next day?
Instructor: Sure. In terms of sleep walking, I am not an expert. I have known people who have suffered from sleep walking. It is kind of like having one foot in the dream world and one foot in the body, where you are in such a comatose, psychological sleep that you are acting in a way that you are not aware of. It is like you are dreaming while you are awake, in the conventional sense.
Now the reality is that sleep walkers are in a profound state of Sushupti, which is the deepest form of psychological unconsciousness. But it is interesting. They can be physically active, but they are not aware of what they are doing. That is a more intensified example of what we do all of the time. Now there are greater intensities to these type of conditions. For us, most people tend to get distracted by certain things in the day. We are not really aware, but a sleep walker, we can see them being unconscious. That is all I can really draw from it. I am not really an expert in that. I know some people can get that treated. Pretty sure there are other sources where people can look.
Question: Could it be that they are maybe too identified with their body?
Instructor: Well, in the case of a sleep walker, they are identified, or they are in the body, but they are not aware. So yes, they are identified by some psychological quality, and that is a really good point to make because the reason why we sleep, in a spiritual sense, in a psychic sense, is because we are identified with some psychological condition in us. If we are ruminating in a problem, or stewing in anger, or identified with anger, we feel that we are that identity. We are investing our energy into those extremes. In that way, you lose consciousness of everything else.
So in a future lecture, we will talk about awakening consciousness in dreams, especially, awakening in dreams. We will talk about what it means to identify, where you lose awareness for yourself. Perhaps you are walking down the street and you see some kind of item in a store. Perhaps you go by a book store―that is kind of my guilty pleasure. I will see a book on a shelf, and my energy, my attention, is drawn to it, where I want to go into the store perhaps. If I am not paying attention, I can get distracted by my desire to go explore.
That is identifying and that leads to sleep. There are ways to train against that. So a sleep walker is identified with something, but even they are not aware because they are so unconscious.
Question: Can you speak about the arcana, after the first twenty-two? Why are there minor arcana?
Instructor: So the minor arcana are really an important part of the whole Tarot. We focus very extensively on the twenty-two major arcana because those are the main laws that we investigate. They are really the essential structures of reality. Now for example, the twenty-two arcana, we can associate them with the twenty-two Hebrew letters, and the twenty-two Hebrew letters relate to these twenty-two cards. Just because we synthesize everything into twenty-two characters does not mean that we do not look at the other fifty-six.
Now the fifty-six minor arcana are really important, in that they unpack the nuance of the original major arcana. When you get a Tarot reading for example, whatever major arcanum you receive, that kind of sets the tone for the larger picture. But then how does it apply to you life? How does it relate to different circumstances? How does it show you what is happening in your spiritual work? Those minor arcana clarify the context of those things, and they are really powerful intuitive messages and principles. We sum up everything to the twenty-two cards because those are the main building blocks for everything. But the minor fifty-six arcana are also really important to elaborate what is going on.
Question: I woke in my dreams, but I end up going straight to the hell realms. People, or entities there, kept grabbing or holding me. I tried various techniques to get rid of them, but their response was that they cannot be banished anywhere, because I came to them. I woke up with one still grabbing on to me and I could still see its face. Is it possible to bring entities from the lower realms back to this dimension?
Instructor: I would say in most people, no. There have been certain magicians or practitioners who learned to manifest the astral within the physical, and that takes a certain type of work and discipline. Now sometimes when we wake up physically from a dream, like a nightmare like that or a very intense experience, we still have the residue on us. We are still enmeshed in the dream when we are physically awake. So you might feel a psychic sensation when you are physically awake when you transition back.
I would say, from that experience, it sounds a lot like your own egos, your own defects. You were shown, and they told you that you came to them. It is true. We created the ego, and we gravitate to our own negative conditions of mind because of our own will. It depends on how we want to act. We have a choice in everything.
Now since we understand the teachings and the ways to remedy the problem, we learn to face our own particular karma or situation that we are now in, not with defeatism or with the feeling that “I am such a bad person,” or “I cannot make it.” But instead, we have the tools and we know right from wrong. We can act and change the situation. But unless you are someone like Iamblichus, like a real powerful theurgist, a magician who can invoke angels into the physical world, I would not necessarily fear of having a dream like that and suddenly your own egos are going to come after you from the infernal worlds. The reality is that even though they physically not going to appear, they are with you all of the time in your mind. So the solution is, just be patient.
Question: The statement that you can awaken positively or negatively is extremely intense. Can you give more details? Can a person awaken negatively by accident, meaning without absolute intent, and understanding of what is happening, or do they have to want that to happen? The Essence is always the innocent victim of egos, so I have a hard time understanding these two seemingly opposite ideas. Does that negatively awakened state eventually end?
Instructor: Good question. Now for a lot of us in these types of studies, we tend to carry with us certain defects from past existences. So even if physically we may have not dabbled in black magic or negative arts, it is rare to find someone who does not have that ego. Now for a lot of us who have so much condition of mind, it is very easy to simply push us over the edge, because as Samael Aun Weor mentioned, we are typically 97% ego and 3% free. The 3% needs to learn how to work on the other 97%k like the story of David and the Goliath. David conquered because he had faith in God and a pebble―a powerful allegory.
Now there are people who willingly and intentionally know that they are practicing that kind of art, and they enter into it with full consciousness or they enter into it knowingly, that these exercises are going to awaken them. Because they have those experiences, even though they are within conditioning in hell, they think it is positive. They do not discriminate what they see. For most of us who are in Gnosis, who have dabbled in that type of thing in past existences, we might have an encounter with another entity who seeing our weakness, our vulnerabilities, and can target us. That is exactly the way that these type of situations work, where a black magician will look for a weakness in your defenses, psychologically speaking, in order to pull you or to awaken you negatively.
So sometimes that can happen against our will, in the sense like, perhaps, we are confronted by a black magician and they can disarm us and take our consciousness, especially by grabbing your solar plexus, which is a very venerable area. They take your consciousness and they awaken you within your ego.
But that does not mean it is going to be a permanent state, because you can conjure and get your way out of it. You can defend yourself, get out, and you can return to your physical body and be fine. The reality is that, because we have these weaknesses, it does not take much to trigger us in certain situations. But it does not mean it is going to last forever. You can get insight and guidance from a divinity to help you, especially if you are feeling tested or tempted internally by these negative entities.
Personally, I have encountered a lot of them in my work. I have received guidance internally from my inner Being who was comforting me, especially after certain situations that were very painful where I felt very defeated, like I got beat up by a sorcerer. My Being told me, “You have nothing to worry about.” It is a learning experience. So be patient.
Question: Can we meet our ancestors, or loved ones during astral projection? Would they have information specifically about us or current conditions on earth?
Instructor: They can. It depends on their level of being. There is an assumption in Judeo- Christianity, and even in Islam, that when we die, we are going to go into the afterlife with awareness. But that is not true. It is not based on the scriptures. So we can meet loved ones. Personally, I have met family who have died before. I found them in the astral plane, but they were not awake. They did not know they were dead. That is the case with a lot of people who die. So if you really want to learn about situations on earth and about life, it is good to relate to awakened beings, awakened masters. Sometimes people have recorded moments in their near-death experiences or astral projections where they have met family and loved ones who were comforting them with a lot of light, showing them a strong presence of divinity inside, who were inspiring them that there is something more to life than just bank accounts.
My personal experience with having seen certain family members in the astral has been divinity often takes on forms familiar to us, out of comfort. For example, I have met people in the astral who appeared as a relative of mine in order to demonstrate that there is a person in my physical life who is like a brother to me, or like a sister. It is a symbol. Sometimes when people have these types of experiences, they come back to their body and they think that their loved one is awake in the astral plane. But it could be that divinity was just teaching them and giving them a lot of comfort or support through a familiar figure. So there is that dynamic too. But each person needs to analyze and discriminate for themselves to really understand what is going on here.
Question: Doing some of the practices, I am learning that I am having less lucid or mystical dreams now. Could it be that prior to the exercises I was having lucid dreams based on the ego, and now that I am going back to the basics to build up in the proper way, is it more aligning to an Egregore?
Instructor: You have to discriminate in yourself. Look at the facts. Examine your quality of life. Now divinity will give us experiences, will help us have those experiences when he wants. There are ebbs and flows in perception, in experiences. In the beginning, we tend to get a lot of light. Divinity inspires us with experiences to push us to want to study these things. But you may find that while practicing the knowledge, suddenly you do not have experiences, and there is an interesting dynamic here. Light comes and goes. There are periods of light and darkness, sun and moon, so to speak, philosophically speaking.
The thing to remember is that the practices do not put one to sleep, but there are many factors that go in to play. What is the karma of you situation? What does your Being want for you? Sometimes having experiences can be a problem. Having lots of visions and thinking one is a god, and therefore God says, “You are a megalomaniac,” meaning, you are too proud. Therefore, they cut it off from you.
We learn by bringing light into our own darkness, not by being in the heavens, so to speak. So look to your karma. Investigate it. Pray to your Being. What does he want for you? Be patient, because those types of experiences come and go when the conditions are ripe, when they are necessary.
I thank you all for coming. We appreciate our online audience, and we will continue next month. Thank you!
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