The purpose of meditation is to acquire information which is not readily accessible to the senses. As a fundamental rule, direct knowledge of divinity, reality, the truth, can only occur once the psychological conditions that trap our perception are removed.
All of us in Gnosis long for intimate wisdom, the radical transformative experience of speaking directly with the divine. However, while we may engage in deep prayer, calling out intensely for guidance, asking for instruction, the reality is that we cannot receive the message, the response, when our minds and hearts are distracted and afflicted.
It is like comparing our prayers to a broadcast, like an SOS call, an emergency signal. We desperately yearn for truth, for knowledge, for wisdom, and we pray. We supplicate. We ask for help, and yet, metaphorically, psychologically, we have the radio playing at full blast.
Many people know how to pray, to talk with the divine, to supplicate, to beg, and may even be very eloquent at it. However, the reality is that nobody knows how to listen: to receive the essential message of divinity, which is not apprehensible to our cloistered, negligent, conditioned consciousness.
If we are honest, we will see that our lives are filled with noise. I do not mean just while we drive our car or listen to our iPod. The truth is that our mind is constantly thinking.
We are always conceptualizing, debating, arguing, projecting associative thought, ideas, lectures, sermons, warnings, onto the screen of our existence, to the point that we don't even have any awareness of our surroundings. We talked about this briefly in the lecture on awareness, being present in the moment, absence and presence, paying attention. We tend to be very lost. The mind is not concentrated on what we are doing. We are consciously asleep. We are not awake.
It is in the stillest moments in our lives when we acquire the most clarity, even when such realizations are startling and often times disturbing. In the silence of discontent, in the inquietudes of our heart, in our most intimate longings, we have received a secret impetus, an insight, a divine intuition. As Al-Junayd stated about retreat:
“Sufism is sitting for a few moments without cares and worries with God.” —Al-Junayd
Divinity always speaks to us. The problem is that despite our prayers, we do not know how to abandon identification, anxiety, despair—to be capable of perceiving and even understanding the reply. We do not know how to listen, to receive.
Divinity speaks in the form of intuition: to know without having to think about it. Rationalization and our over-reliance on concepts, intellectual processes—this is the obstacle. This is the lock on the door that leads to divine experience, genuine wisdom.
We have to make a very clear distinction between the mind or intellect, and the consciousness. Hopefully in this series of lectures, you have grasped the thread about this distinction and the different qualities inherent within our innate capacity to perceive: the consciousness, the Essence.
Consciousness is the capacity to see, to perceive. It is not thought. It is not the mind. Humanity likes to think that our essential nature is thought. But this is not true. The French philosopher Descartes was wrong when he said, “I think therefore I am.” To think is not to be, to be present, to be watchful.
You could be listening to this lecture, but if your mind is chattering, you are not present. You are not being here and now. You are dreaming.
Consciousness is very dynamic. It is a very broad spectrum that is beyond the conditions or limitations of thought. This can be very evident through a traumatic experience. I am sure some of us might have been in a car accident before: some kind of danger in which your consciousness was shocked into being present. In a single instant of danger, a person confronted with the split-second decision of to be or not to be, can respond appropriately to a crisis without needing to think at all, without needing to rationalize. You can be driving your car, and then you can turn away from oncoming traffic, because in the moment prior, you were distracted. You were not paying attention. It is only much later after the heat of an ordeal like that that we even begin to think about the calamity that was avoided.
This indicates to us that thought is a very slow process. It is not quick. We have other functions in our psychology that are much more expedient, fast. A lot of people like to deify the intellect. Academics, scholars, intellectuals, defend and acclaim the mind. They believe that it is superior to all else, and this is wrong. This is limited.
Consciousness is the potential to experience and respond to life with lucidity, with judgment, which can operate much quicker than thought can, than any type of intellectual deliberation. Like in the example I offered you of driving a car. You didn't have to think in the moment. You just acted because you knew what you needed to do to survive.
Thought is a projection, and if you study Tibetan Buddhism, especially the writings of Padmasambhava in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, in the chapters on the nature of conscious awakening [Introduction to Awareness], he explains very beautifully how the mind, the intellect, the self, is always projecting its thoughts on to experience, and it doesn't see the reality. The mind constantly projects its films upon the screen of existence, and we, hypnotized, simply follow its thread, its associations, its connections, not recognizing that this is a form of conditioning.
It is a type of agitation and movement that is contrary to meditation. It is not stillness. Our minds are constantly in a state of hypertension, we can say. We tend to be very agitated in the West, North America—over excited by many distractions in life, and yet, while the mind is constantly in tension, this does not mean that our consciousness is awake, that it is comprehensive, that it is understanding of what is happening in our daily life.
Understanding or comprehension is a distinct characteristic of the consciousness, but this can only emerge if we perform a very fundamental shift in our psychological sense and center of gravity.
Where we are within our behavior and our conduct? Where do our actions come from? We have to observe this. We have to question this. We have to analyze.
In truth, we must make the consciousness active and the mind passive. This is a tremendous turn in direction within our psychology, because right now our mind is active and our consciousness is asleep. If you do not believe me, you can reflect on a moment in your life in which you weren't paying attention, perhaps like in your car, and perhaps learning a hard lesson that you nearly died because you weren't remembering yourself, where you were, what you were doing.
Our mind currently dominates everything we do, and of course, anybody who studies meditation recognizes this as a fact or to a point. We realize that the mind is a source of our problems. It is not the panacea. It is not the solution, regardless of what our culture and society believe. It is easy to see and to reflect on how overthinking, constantly worrying, daydreaming, and ruminating about a problem, only makes us worse. It makes us suffer, and this is something we want to avoid. But better than avoiding the problem, it is better to look at it with clear and untainted eyes—a serious examination of our mental stream.
The truth is that when the mind is receptive, when it is calm, lucid, it becomes an amazing instrument, an intelligent vehicle through which we can work for divinity and humanity. The mind can be a wonderful gift if it is balanced, if it is harmonized, if it is in equilibrium with all the other centers of our psychology.
It could become like a lake. It can reflect within its crystalline waters the starry heavens. When it is still, it is profoundly deep, reflective, intuitive.
Comprehension and understanding are the direct apprehension of a consciousness without having to think, without having to rationalize. Thinking is a disturbance in the mind. It is like when you thrash in a lake. You are swimming, or you throw a stone into the depths. Thought is like that. It is a rippling of the waves of our mind. Our mind ripples with reactions, in an egotistical way, from the center of our existence to the periphery, which is our senses.
Although a lot of people do not recognize this fact, but it is possible to comprehend life without relying on thought. Thought is a disruption within the flow of existence. Thought itself can flow serenely without having a rippling effect, leaving its wake within our interior psychology. You can do this by watching yourself: allowing existence to flow through you through the path of concentration and serenity, which we are explaining today.
Comprehension is the capacity to know with a receptive mind, an intuitive mind. You simply know the answer to a problem. You direct your attention. You allow your mind to rest. You let it receive. It waits. It is like a chalice, and in the Christian symbology, the Holy Grail partly represents this: the chalice that receives the blood of Christ, the energies and principles of the divine. But of course, you must clean the inside of the cup and not be like a Pharisee, only worrying about the exterior: your college degrees, your job, your career, if this is something that really matters or is on the forefront to you.
Instead, our psychological purity is what matters. We can intuit, we can comprehend, we can understand when the consciousness is engaged with life, and the consciousness is only engaged when our personality, our habits, all those customs relating to our language and culture, our racial identity and heritage, our concepts of mother flag and nation, when our traumas cease, when they no longer dominate our states.
The mind and the personality, which are necessary, need to become passive. They have to serve as a vehicle and not the operator. But learning to distinguish this is very difficult. This is why we practice concentration in the beginning, to develop the consciousness, to separate from the lower qualities of our self, which must be examined.
The consciousness in truth can direct the mind, or the ego can, نَفْس nafs, selves, conditions. The consciousness, when it is in command of the centers of our psychology, know how to manage energy for the Spirit, for upright action and even the betterment of humanity. This signifies a very profound state of perception—continuous, consistent, clear. It is unconditioned by a sense of self, physically, materially, culturally, etc. When the “I,” the ego, is absent, then the consciousness experiences the plenitude and silence of God.
Silence and serenity is the spontaneous natural state of our Being. The problem is that we have smothered all this, all our good qualities, within attachments, cravings, ignorance, mechanicity, reactions, fear. This is why we don't understand or receive clear messages from the Being. This is why we have so much delusion in our lives, why we are confused.
Despite our most cherished beliefs, we can learn to understand and receive the messages of the Being with great efficacy, with clarity, with facility, with ease, when we adopt the appropriate training.
While meditation schools, lectures, and books can provide instruction about the form, the spirit of serenity, it is only understood from experience. This is why Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi stated the following:
“Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation.” —Rumi
The First Stage of Worship
All schools of meditation teach how serenity, internal silence, is the prerequisite for meditation. Prophet Muhammad was known to have said in the Hadith, the oral tradition of Islam, that “an hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” Yet what is contemplation?
We explained previously that the Arabic term is مشاهدة mushahadah: to witness the truth, to perceive new information about reality.
Contemplation is the state of meditation. When you bear witness in a court of law, you are verifying what you have seen, heard, and experienced to the best of your ability. The same with contemplation of your innermost divinity.
Witnessing and experiencing the truth obviously occurs in degrees. It has many levels of experience. It is multi-dimensional in relation to the universe and our own inner constitution. Consciousness and truth have infinite potential for expression and investigation of the physical and even the internal worlds. However, to even begin to have a space for contemplation, whether of a book, a scripture, a teaching, an event in your life, a virtue you have experienced in yourself or an ego you have self observed, we must acquire some initial stability of concentration and internal serenity.
Which is why Prophet Muhammad stated:
“The first stage of worship is silence.” —Prophet Muhammad, Hadith
In our example of sending out an emergency signal from the radio, you cannot receive, let alone understand the codes, the response, if you are distracted.
So as I said, many people already know how to pray. People go to church and synagogue, to mosques, to Buddhist temples, to monasteries. They have many formulas they use to pray and they are all very beautiful and necessary. Yet the reality is that few people know how to receive. This is why there's so much absence in many people's hearts. Very few people know how to listen within. This is because distraction is our common state of being.
If you sit to examine your psychology, not in the future, but here and now, even if just for 10 minutes, you will directly perceive that your mind is all over the place. You may be spacing out. There are discursive, fragmented thoughts, memories, everything pulling you in many directions. It may be due to fear, pride, hatred, lust, desire, ego, س nafs.
Silence, on the contrary, is a psychological space in which we can actually learn to understand and directly communicate with divinity without vagueness, without: “Maybe I did and maybe I didn't.” No ambiguity. No abstraction. No theory. No belief. You simply know.
It could be good to have external silence when you are seeking to cultivate a meditation space or practice, since a very welcome or warm and calm environment is conducive for beginning meditators to really actualize the first steps of their discipline, which is equanimity, dispassion, serenity, clarity.
Outer and Inner Silence
The Sufis explain this very well, that there are two forms of silence: external and internal.
“Silence has two parts, outer quiet and the quiet of heart and mind.” —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is from Al-Qushayri's Principles of Sufism. Let us recall that just as there are levels of instruction, teaching, and practice with in Sufism, within Buddhism, Gnosticism, etc., likewise, our degree, our intentions, and the depth of our silence is characterized in distinct categories and grades.
There are levels to serenity. It is not like we are just going to sit and practice and suddenly the mind is completely blank instantaneously. There are gradations to different states of inner silence. We can examine two categories according to the Sufis, the one who trusts in God and the Gnostic who has already had some experiences with divinity. Al-Qushayri states,
“Someone who trusts in God stills his heart as a way of laying claim to his sustenance. The gnostic stills his heart in acceptance of destiny through the quality of harmony with God.” —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
If you have been following the sequence and practices of this course, you will see that mystical experiences, astral projections, dream yoga visions, etc., are the natural result of working with Gnostic practices, including mantra, pranayama, sexual alchemy, transmutation, runes, sacred rites for rejuvenation, jinn state exercises, many exercises. If you have tasted such experiences and verified them through a consistent discipline, you naturally gain trust in divinity. You become familiar with divinity to your degree, in accordance with the level of your practice.
Therefore, we have confidence in the practical reality and consequence of a still mind, of a silent intellect, a balanced heart distinguished by its equanimity. We practice so as “to lay claim to our sustenance,” which is why Samael Aun Weor stated that “meditation is the daily bread of the wise.” It is our food, our nourishment. It is what gives us strength, and when we verify those states, it encourages us to practice further, which is what the Sufis are stating.
Likewise, the Gnostic, the initiate, stills his or her heart, enters internal silence and accepts whatever mystical state arrives spontaneously within the screen of his or her consciousness.
But how do these two, the one who trusts, and the Gnostic, defer? We can examine further in this quote:
"The one relies upon the fineness of His work. The other is content with the totality of His decrees.” —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So as beginners, we rely on the refinement of His work, which signifies ethical discipline. We restrain negative behaviors and, in turn, we enact virtuous behaviors, which are known as ethics, precepts. These help us to conserve energy so that we can awaken our consciousness. By refining our actions, our Essence, our soul, becomes stronger and empowered. This is the meaning of the doctrine of شريعة shari’ah, the law, the divine commands.
Only after truly defining ourselves for many years in meditation does one learn “to be content with the totality of His decrees,” which have to do with very profound mystical states: the exaltation of our Being, whether in daily life, or especially in the dream state. It is also indicated and indicates an acceptance of His states, whether of absence or presence, as we discussed previously.
Al-Qushayri concludes here:
“With this meaning they have said: His misfortunes came over you, And the cares of your inner being were relieved.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So with familiarization and acculturation to these principles of serenity and silence, we gain greater confidence in the Being. This is faith. This is knowing. There is no doubt there. You know what consciousness is and you know what the Being is because we act ethically in each moment.
When we establish this training, we can face extremely difficult hardships and ordeals relating to the path of initiation, and this is because divinity is testing us to determine:
What are our states?
What have we developed?
What is our level of being?
Despite all these challenges, we remain at peace. This is a great victory.
We also related in prior lectures how when we remember the presence of divinity, even in a tragedy, in a deep trauma, amongst cataclysms like that are happening today, we don't suffer. We know we are protected or guarded. We are defended in times of need, so that our deepest longings for instruction and guidance are fulfilled in practical life.
I have to say that this pandemic has definitely been very terrible for many people, and in my case, I know as a result of my work that I have been blessed by divinity, have been aided in many of my needs, so I am very grateful for that. I have that faith. It is what I have experienced not only physically, but internally, in the internal worlds. So this is what confidence is. We know, and yet to know this security, this confidence, this humility in divinity, it is necessary to really master the power of speech, which is the science of silence.
The Eloquence of Wisdom
All meditative traditions emphasize the wisdom of silence. Samael Aun Weor, the founder of our tradition even stated that “silence is the eloquence of wisdom.” But what does this mean?
We learn to receive wisdom through physical and psychological silence, through having a mind in a profound state of receptivity, dedication, and respect for divinity. We learn from others, the world, and our teachers through having a humble, silent, and receptive mind.
Passivity of the personality, the tongue, and the mind are the prerequisite of learning, whether any field of study. One has to listen. One has to engage with the consciousness to understand, so that the consciousness is awake, so that it is reflecting its brilliant character, its lucid attention, its diligent activity and its penetrative engagement with life.
Have you ever listened to a lecture or a person and found that your mind is talking while they are? This type of internal chatter has to cease if we really want to gain a genuine appreciation of reality and others, especially.
In Buddhism, the bowl of our consciousness must be up to receive whatever arrives. Samael Aun Weor dedicated an entire chapter in The Revolution of the Dialectic that detail these principles. I'd like to read to you the following, “The Defamation of the Word”:
“The explosion of a cannon destroys the glass of a window. On the other hand, a soft word pacifies anger or wrath. Nevertheless, an insulting, inharmonious word produces anger or melancholy, sadness, hatred, etc.
“It is said that silence is golden, but it is better stated with the following words: it is as incorrect to speak when one must be silent as it is to be silent when one must speak!
“There are criminal silences, there are infamous words. One must calculate with nobility of manner the result of spoken words, for often times one hurts others with words in an unconscious manner.
“Words filled with a sense of bad intentions produce fornication in the world of the mind. Arhythmic words (distorted words) engender violence in the world of the cosmic mind.
“One must never condemn anyone with the verb because one must never judge anyone. Slander, gossip, and calumny have filled the world with pain and bitterness.
“If we work with Sexual Super-dynamics (which is alchemy), we have to comprehend that the creative energies are exposed to all kinds of modifications. These energies of the libido can be modified into powers of light or darkness; it all depends on the quality of the words.
“The perfect human being speaks words of perfection. The Gnostic student who wishes to follow the path of the revolution of the dialectic must become accustomed to controlling the tongue. One must learn how to handle the word.
“It is not what enters the mouth that causes harm to humans, but rather what comes out of it! The mouth supplies insults, intrigues, defamation, calumny, and debates. All of these things are what harms humans.
“Therefore, avoid all types of fanaticism because we cause great harm to human beings, to our fellow men, with it. One not only hurts others with insulting words or with fine and artistic ironies, but also with the tone of the voice, with the inharmonious and arhythmic accent.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic: “The Deformation of the Word”
So in synthesis ,speech can serve divinity and ennoble humanity, or it could destroy and sabotage our happiness and the happiness of others.
Sufism and the Qur’an speak abundantly about the need to show respect in our verb. Gossip and slander have really destroyed spiritual movements, political movements, as we are seeing now, today. The foundation of genuine spirituality is the ethical and conscious expression of our words, which have the power to unite communities, or it can destroy them, as we are seeing abundantly today.
Let us read some excerpts from this chapter from Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
“A wise man said that the human being was created with only one tongue, but with two eyes and two ears so that he may hear and see more than he says. Ibrahim bin Adham was invited to a banquet. When he sat down, the guests began to gossip. He remarked, ‘It is our custom to eat the meat course after the bread, but you have begun by eating the meat!’ (He was pointing to the saying of God, ’Would one of you like to eat the dead flesh of his brother? No, you would abhor it’ (59:12)).” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
To enter meditation, we have to really conserve our energy. This includes our mind, our emotions, our vitality, and our will. Negative words waste energy and waste our potential, the ability to awaken consciousness. This is why the Sufis spend a lot of time focusing on verbal discipline, the chastity or purity of the tongue.
“A Sufi said, ‘Silence is the tongue of forbearance.’ Another said, ‘Learn silence as you have learned speech. Speech will guide you, and silence will protect you.’ It is said, ‘The chastity of the tongue is its silence.’ And it is said, ‘The tongue is a beast of prey. If you do not tie it up, it will attack you.’” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this is verifying what Samael Aun Weor wrote. Chastity, while the sexual principle of conserving and transforming energy, applies to our speech. For as Samael Aun Weor explained, we modify our sexual energy based on our words, our qualities. If our speech is lustful, negative, degenerate, we will radically fortify our desires, our ego, our نَفْس nafs. When we have purity of speech, dignified words, and harmonious communication with others, we empower the soul and the Spirit of our neighbor.
However, there are degrees of psychological, of ethical, of verbal, of conscious purity, which is studied within the three-tiered structure of Sufi and Gnostic meditation.
The Degrees of Silence
We discussed extensively regarding the three stages or degrees in meditation: introductory, intermediate, and advanced practice. Or شريعة Shari’ah, طريقة Tariqah, and حقيقة Haqiqah / معرفة Marifah: the divine law, inner meditation, and mystical experience, respectively.
Silence has levels of application within different contexts and even refers to states of initiating development within spiritual schools. In the beginning, meditators struggle to control their tongue: to not indulge in vain conversation, to not talk about politics, debates, argumentation, disputes, words filled with anger or resentment. This is due to the fact that we waste a lot of energy on these things, especially when we speak with ego.
Remember that we also spoke a lot about the nature of breath: the three types of soul mentioned in Kabbalah and the Qur’an, which relate to the degrees of silence on the spiritual path. Let us review these:
Our egos are نَفْس nafs, nafas, which translate as “breath.” We even find in the opening of Ecclesiastes, chapter 1 verse 2, how through the breath we indulge in vain things. We waste our potential, our energy, our dynamism:
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” —Ecclesiastes 1:2
The Hebrew term for vanity is הֶבֶל habel. This is the original name for Abel in the Bible who was killed by Cain. This is a symbol of how through the wrong use of speech, whether it is vulgar expressions, nonsense, inconsequential, meaningless words, incoherence, negative emotions, desire—we kill Abel, הֶבֶל Habel, our consciousness.
Cain is the soul that inclines to evil: Nafsu-l-Ammara, which is wrong thoughts, wrong feelings, wrong actions. These all find their synthesis within speech.
Speech is a form of alchemy, whether for good or for evil. It combines and expresses the inherent nature of our psychology. When we wish to convey to others our ways of thinking, our feeling, our being—we speak. We create circumstances based on the amalgamations, the combinations, the articulation of words. We empower our speech through the internal content and intent of our psychological state, here and now.
Speech is modified by sexual energy, and vice versa, which is why adolescents’ voices change during puberty: the development and invigoration of hormones and sexuality. How you manage your verb is predicated upon sexual energy.
To even obtain the beginning stages of serenity, we have to refrain from vulgar speech, from vain words, from excessive discussions, from polemics. We waste a lot of energy this way that is necessary for really entering serenity. It is an act that really agitates the mind, and when you are trying to meditate, it is counterproductive. It is like punching holes in the bottom of your boat when you are out in the middle of the ocean. You are going to sink.
Instead, let yourself rest. Let the waves of the ocean calm. Do not churn and stir up the mud. This is all part of ethics. We waste energy through egotistical speech, through vain breaths of desire.
In this manner, when we conserve our energies that are usually wasted through explosions of angry words, violent words, we then have the fuel and the power necessary for prayer, for mantras, for vocal exercises that can consciously redirect that storehouse of energy, of psychic power, emotional force, sexual energy, towards a noble purpose, which is the awakening of our consciousness. Inner silence of mind is the foundation of Gnostic practitioners or those who have divine experiences: knowledge of God.
Rumi stated in the beginning that “silence is the language of God,” the Being, who speaks through hunches, intuitions, here and now. When your mind is naturally, spontaneously quiet, time ceases, like you see here in this image of a Sufi in meditation facing a clock. We no longer think of the future or the past. We are fully engaged within ourselves in the moment.
This is the entry point to receiving objective knowledge. However, you cannot hear or register those intuitive impulses, let alone act on them, if your mind is constantly disturbed, if it's afflicted with noise. That noise is anger. It is the thoughts of pride, fear, laziness, lust, gluttony, etc. Internal chatter is the definite characteristic of ego, of a conditioned self.
By restraining ourselves from wrong action, by fulfilling ethical precepts from our religious traditions, we cultivate a psychological atmosphere that is very clean. It is reverent. It is ethical. It is compassionate through patience, direct perception, and insight. We get very strong. We have more happiness in our life. We have more strength. This is the antechamber. It is the precinct. It is the space in which divinity can communicate with you and guide our actions.
In this way, this is how we blame ourselves. This is how we work with the self-reproaching soul, Nafsu-l-Lawwama. We learn to discriminate against our defects with our consciousness. We work with meditation. We analyze and critique all the expressions of the ego within our three brains.
So when you develop familiarity with these qualities of serenity and inner peace, which is born from intuitive action, we learn to acclimate ourselves. We learn to respond with virtue. We don't react mechanically to life like we used to. This is how we really love and remember divinity, حضور hudur, the presence of the Being, when you really restrain any thoughts that are distracting and distracted, which attempt to pull us away from our connection, the thread and continuity of the moment, of our awareness, of our mindfulness.
Beginners restrain their tongues from wrong speech. Gnostics attain silence through intuitive action, when you act without having to think about it. You simply know. This is the quality of the heart, not the intellect. Lovers of God never forget the presence of their Being because they never allow even a fragment or a hair, a distraction the size of a hair’s width, into their consciousness, which is Al-Qushayri states:
“It is said, ‘Silence for the common people is with their tongues, silence for the gnostics is with their hearts, and silence for lovers is with restraining the stray thoughts that come to their innermost beings.’” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So those masters that never forget their innermost divinity have acquired the soul at peace, Nafsu-l-Mutma'inna. Their silence and serenity is eternal. It is permanent. It is unfaltering.
The Definition of Serenity
Let us explain some more practical dimensions about silence and serenity. We have an image here of the human machine. This is our constitution. It maps all of our processes, psychological level, and even a spiritual level as well.
Right now, the centers, the intellect, the emotions, our movement, our instinct, and our sexual qualities tend to be mechanical, conditioned: fulfilling the impetus and impulses of desire, the ego. Silence must exist with an all five centers if we really want to enter meditation. This is a state of suspension of all activity, whether physical or psychological, where we withdraw our consciousness from the physical senses, and, more importantly, from internal disturbances. In the same manner that the limpid pool ripples from the movement of an insect or a stone, likewise, our psychology ripples with any physical or psychological movement, any disturbance.
How do we disturb our body? If we are meditating, we move too much. Maybe we scratch an itch. We adjust our posture all the time. Maybe we feel discomfort or pain. Maybe our bodies are too excited, too tense, agitated. When we sit to practice meditation for however long we resolve, it is important that it is done with the purpose of not moving throughout the duration of the practice.
If we are moving during our practice, we are not meditating. Silence and stillness has to exist in our body first. Therefore, we have to resolve to ourselves not to move. I know beginners struggle with this, where after five minutes, one can't maintain one's position. But with training it gets easy.
It comes to my mind stories of Samael Aun Weor and even his wife Master Litelantes who would meditate for 4 hours without moving. So, they were very advanced practitioners. It's something that we can cultivate gradually.
We must not move. This is why it's really important in the beginning to select the meditation posture that is very conducive for relaxation, so we can concentrate. We can be vigilant and calm. The body has to be able to rest so that it's not a distraction, it’s not an obstacle. We have to be relaxed and sleepy, but not completely drowsy, somnolent, falling asleep while losing our continuity of attention, of our self-awareness.
Our spine should be straight. It should promote the flow of subtle energies or winds, the vital forces, which are in our psychology and even our physiology, as we explained on the lecture on Breath. However, our posture should be natural. It should not be tense. Your spine has to be firm enough so that you stay awake, but it's relaxed to the point that you forget the body. You don't forget what you are doing consciously, but you let the body rest, to fall into slumber. But consciously, we are awake. It's a very delicate balance. It is very subtle and something that you can only master with experience, with trial and error.
The body has to rest and the consciousness must avoid fascination, dreaming, and sleep: lacking attention. But for this, our movements must cease. The instinct or the impulse to adjust, whether from discomfort or pain, is an obstacle. In the beginning, spend a lot of time figuring out what posture works for you so that you can forget the body. You can focus on what's really important, the object of your meditation.
Likewise, our desires must be seen. They have to be observed. They have to be understood. Our emotional center has to be at peace. So we spoke about the motor-instinctive-sexual centers, which is really one type of activity. It is the spine located in our body and it's also the mechanism and intelligence of movement, impulse, reactions and sexual impulses that have to calm. But likewise, our heart has to be a peace. We have to learn to have silence not only in our movements, in our instincts, in our impulses, in our sexual cravings. There has to be stability, but likewise our heart.
We spend a lot of time talking about sexual energy in the previous lectures. You can't achieve stillness, the spontaneous and controlled relaxation of your body, without the help of the creative sexual energy. There is just no way around it. It is the fuel for conscious empowerment. Again, if you are new to this concept, study our former lectures. We explain these details in great length.
When the body settles, you can focus more within your introspection. You can also reflect and relax upon your thinking. There has to be stillness of mind. This means there is a lack of associative memories. There isn't a churning of distractions. There isn't a dispersion of thought, like light being projected into a fog. The clouds must evaporate. Thought must cease.
Cessation occurs through an inversion of our psychological state. Right now our mind is very hyperactive. And in other ways, it's also dull. It's heavy. It's clouded. It's not still sometimes. Maybe it's agitated. Or maybe it's too lazy. It lacks vibrancy or lightness. Meanwhile, our consciousness is very asleep. It's passive. It's inactive. It's inert. If you don't believe me, I am sure if you attempted meditation or sat for a few moments trying to experience the state of not thinking, not day dreaming or fantasizing, it is very difficult in the beginning. Perhaps you may select an object of concentration, but you forget the focus. The mind wanders. We forget what we are doing.
If we are honest, we can see from experience that this tends to be our daily state. It is a snapshot of what our entire existence is like. So this is the reality for beginning meditators. The mind and the body are obstacles and our consciousness lacks the profundity and the strength, the power to remain focused. However, through practice, this is going to change. Our consciousness must be profoundly active and the mind has to become perceptive, passive, and still.
This is why pranayama, sexual energy, is very important. It is the creative waters of genesis that can create the soul. This energy can calm the mind, the heart, and the body. It is the requisite. Consciousness, which is serene perception in its natural state, knows how to see our psychological contents with clarity. It also knows how to maintain continuity without forgetting what it is doing, when we are trained. It's not accessible oftentimes in the beginning, but with discipline it becomes our moment-to-moment state.
So consciousness is often characterized by the following qualities:
It is peaceful. It is accepting. It is content. It is tranquil. It is a state of equanimity. It is internal silence. In its true form, consciousness is the serene, tranquil, undisturbed and unwavering ability place attention and to perceive reality but without agitation. It doesn't reject what it sees. It doesn't justify it either. It is not discontent. It is happy, luminous, and clear. It is perception free of the desire for good or ill, from attachment, from aversion, from yes and no, from positive and negative. It perfectly accepts reality.
Right now, we don't accept anything that contradicts our desires, if you were honest. Simply look at the politics today. When the world is not the way we want it to be, we suffer. We are conditioned. We are filled with psychological defects. We crave. We have emotional attachments. We have fear. We have aversion or we are in agony, mentally, emotionally, and even physically.
Just as we must suspend the thinking process, we also have to rest our emotions, the emotional center. And this can be very difficult to control. Thoughts are much more easier to calm, but negative emotions can be very disastrous. This is why ethics is essential. Curtailing negative behaviors, even emotionally. Controlling the heart, making it into a temple and offering to our Spirit. To make it clean. Emotions are very volatile. They can be explosive. They are fast and often uncontrolled without training. But with time and practice, it gets easier.
So an effective way to achieve serenity and silence is through selecting an object of concentration and focus. Concentration and serenity really go hand-in-hand. To be able to concentrate on one thing, you have to be serene, to not be distracted. But at the same time, serenity is grounded in your ability to focus on one thing: to not let the chaos of the mind take over.
Some basic exercises include taking an object of concentration and focus. This is exclusive meditation. You select an object like a stone or a dot on a wall, a mantra, a sacred image, and you dedicate your entire attention upon that one thing. You exclude everything else. This is for the purpose of developing continuity of perception, undistracted attention. If you forget what you are doing, bring yourself back. Don't beat yourself up. Don't be negative or morbid, but simply be gentle. Recall your practice. The Buddha said that if you lose your attention a thousand times in your practice, but regain it a thousand times as well, you performed a very good exercise, a very successful one.
Non-exclusive meditation focuses on the mind itself. It's a little bit more difficult. Actually, we could say it's a lot more difficult if we have never trained ourselves to concentrate here and now. It means to observe the contents of our psychology moment by moment, to look at the reality of our thoughts, our feelings, our impulses from a state of serene reflection. We even observe the act of observing. We are within our root nature, looking, examining, not labeling or dividing ourselves in our attention, but simply being. This can be a very profound meditation for great illuminations.
In this meditation, we don't exclude anything. You withdraw your consciousness from the world and enter your own clear, pristine luminosity: the sharpness and acute perception of our Essence when it is trained. We look at our mind stream. We see it for what it is. This is the purpose of entering deep states of inner silence, where we can even comprehend very subtle distractions that emerge in the mind that are not perceptible to our ordinary senses. This is self-observation. It is self-reflection taken to a deeper level, which, when you practice it diligently, it can result in illumination. You can have an astral projection. You leave your body because your body falls asleep, but you are perfectly awake as a soul. Very deep. Highly recommend it.
Tranquility and the Tree of Life
Such experiences of spiritual illumination are mapped here. We have been going back and forth upon the Tree of Life discussing this diagram in detail. Here, we are going to relate it to tranquility in a very powerful verse from the Quran. This is from Al-Fath (48:4).
“He it is Who sends down the Tranquility (sakīnah) into the hearts of the believers, that they might increase their faith along with their faith—to God belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and God is Knowing, Wise.” —Al-Fath 48:4
The Hebrew term שכינה Shekhinah, according to Jewish mystics, is the power of the divine feminine. She is otherwise known as الْبُرَاق Al-Buraq, the lightning power of the Divine Mother within the Muslim tradition. She is the sacred cow of the longest (and second) Surah in the Quran, أل بقره Al-Baqarah. She is the force of intelligence, בינה Binah in Kabbalah. She is the top left sephiroth on this diagram. She is the Kundalini, the sexual creative power of God. She is the one who grants tranquility to the meditator.
So this stop trinity in this map expresses the most subtle aspects of divinity known as כתר Kether, חכמה Chokmah, בינה Binah, which in Christianity is denominated Father, Son, Holy Spirit. These are not people. According to Prophet Mohammad, the Christians had degenerated their tradition and literally believe that the trinity are three people, and this is wrong. Instead, they are forces and principles that are one. It is unitary. It is one light that expresses in many ways—three ways specifically, as we see the number three paralleled in this diagram below in the three trinities of this glyph. Kabbalah is the science of numbers, numerology, as we explained.
בינה Binah, Shekhinah, the tranquility, سكينة sakīnah, the Divine Mother, is the spiritual, the electromagnetic, the sexual creativity of divinity. This is the power that can grant you intelligence, inner peace, tranquility, cognizance.
Our willpower, תפארת Tiphereth, the human soul, is إحسان ihsan, as we explained previously. It is beautiful action. It is willpower, concentration, the Essence fully developed when it obeys divinity above: the five sephiroth, above the middle center of this glyph, תפארת Tiphereth. תפארת Tiphereth is beautiful action. It is the focal point for manifesting and governing or expressing the top trinity above. It is also the perfection, the splendor of expression from גבורה Geburah, divine justice, and חסד Chesed, the mercy of our Spirit.
When we utilize these intelligent principles, the sexual energy, it stabilizes the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth [emanations] below: נצח Netzach, the mind, הוד Hod, the emotions, יסוד Yesod, vitality, and מלכות Malkuth, the physical body. When we do this, our willpower is very strong. It is also very serene. It is the center of this whole diagram because through willpower is how we determine everything, whether we follow egotistical qualities below or we ascend above to higher states.
Real serenity is penetrative. It is serene. It is the ability to maintain an unwavering attention upon the object of our concentration, without forgetting our purpose or the clarity of our seeing. It is the foundation for meditation.
And with practice, it eventually doesn't take any effort. In the beginning, it's very hard, but with practice, when you are familiar with it, you enter it at will. This is the Zen statement of entering a state of meditation without effort, without exertion. It is the effortless effort. Our willpower, our concentration, our attention, when it is guided by the intelligence of the Divine Mother, the wisdom and supremacy of the Being, it knows how to acquire genuine faith in the teachings and to learn how to be a soldier in the Army of the Voice, according to Samael Aun Weor, which are the Elohim, the Gods, the buddhas, the masters, the prophets, the enlightened ones: those who have reached perfection through this path. The compelling intelligence and energy of tranquility, serenity, and sexual creativity allows the consciousness to experience freedom, freedom from conditions of mind.
But how is this accomplished we may ask? Abdullah Ansari of of Herat states the following in his Stations of the Sufi Path:
“Tranquility is peace that God pours into the heart of His friends so they taste freedom. Tranquility of the heart is found in three things: in devotion to divine unity, in service, and in certitude.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Pat
Unity, Service, and Certitude
Let us examine how to experience tranquility, serenity, according to Abdullah Ansari of Herat, the Sufi Persian initiate.
“Tranquility found in the devotion to divine unity brings about three effects in the heart: fear for a day that has not yet come, knowing God who one has not yet met, and loving God whom one has not yet seen.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So as we explained previously, divine unity is a state of spiritual and psychological integrity. It means that our consciousness is unitary. It is not fragmented among so many different aggregates, egos, desires, نَفْس nafs. When we free the consciousness and unite it with divinity, we perform religion, from the Latin religare, “to reunite.” This is also in Arabic دين, din: judgment, to judge ourselves, so that we can unify our states, perfect them.
As we annihilate egos, we gain greater reverence. We even gain expectancy of future events, prophetic visions, which detail the coming destruction of humanity according to the Abrahamic traditions.
We also gain confidence in and fidelity to the teachings. When we see that we are really, at the beginning, a multiplicity of defects, a consciousness that has the potential to become spiritual, we become encouraged when we realize the facts of our practice, that we are changing, even if we don't have any supreme ecstasies or samadhis, states of the soul that are very deep. They're wonderful and beautiful, but we are not driven by attachment for experiences. This is a common problem amongst meditators. It is learning to practice without craving the result.
We also love divinity and the doctrine, the state of His qualities and virtues within ourselves, even if we don't witness Him through the highest degrees in the Tree of Life.
There are levels upon levels of experience. “Light upon light,” says the Qur’an [24:35]. We have to work with where we are at and be humble, to accept what divinity provides but to always strive and work without craving, without attachment.
The Sufi master continues:
“And the tranquility in service brings about three things in the heart. It leads the wayfarer to act according to the Prophetic tradition so that he tastes wealth even in poverty. It helps the heart of the wayfarer to trust the people of this path so he becomes free from obsession and temptation. And it helps the heart of the wayfarer to forget people so he becomes free from hypocrisy.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So through tranquility or serenity, we learn to follow the example of the prophets, the great masters, the luminaries: people who have really established great traditions, who are perfect in their character. This is so that we can have an abundance of divine qualities of the consciousness, even when we recognize that we are really poor, spiritually. We tend to be very afflicted. We suffer a lot. We are degenerated, and yet, we do have virtue inside, and this is our anchor that keeps us committed and dedicated.
Tranquility also teaches us to rely on the group, the teachings, the sangha, the spiritual community, to commune with other spiritual aspirants who are very humble and sincere, those who are really working effectively and seriously upon themselves. We gain trust. We gain communities. We gain the perfume and honorable association of real friendship.
But also tranquility teaches us not to worry about other people. We don't gossip. We don't slander others when they are not present, and even when we are in front of them. This is so that we are not hypocrites.
Abdullah Ansari of Herat continues:
“And the tranquility of certitude also brings about three things in the heart: contentment with what one receives as one’s portion from God, so one becomes free from being deceptive; next is valuing gain and loss equally, so one becomes free from being defensive; and third is acceptance of God’s guardianship, so one becomes free from all attachments.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So certainty of the truth will arise from tranquility when we are silent and still, when we learn to accept our current circumstance as a reflection of our karma, our past actions, because we reap what we sow. In this way, we don't deceive ourselves. We don't lie to ourselves that we deserve more, but we accept the facts with humility.
Neither do we become attached to victory or defeat. We learn to abide within a state of equipoise. There is no need to defend our pride, any sense of arrogance, our position, our desires. We accept the way things are, but strive for the better.
Lastly we accept that divinity is truly watching out for us. Not from a belief, from a mere sentiment in the heart, but from experience. We also don't become attached to circumstances because divinity is the unknowable, the truth from moment to moment.
Serenity in Capital, Hope, and Love
There also exists some other points for consideration. Let's see them from Abdullah Ansari of Herat:
“From the field of Tranquility the field of Serenity is born. God, the Most High, says,
‘O soul made serene’ (89:27).” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Again, this is el-Nafsu-l-Mutma'inna, the soul at peace, Neshamah, the spiritual soul, which is perfected in us when we reach the end of initiation.
“And serenity is peacefulness joined with intimacy. It is of three kinds in the capital with which one is endowed (naqd), of hope, and of love.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
What does it mean to become intimate with God? It means to know His states and His qualities inside through different levels of being, different experiences. This is cosmic capital. It is currency.
If you ever awaken in the astral plane and beg for help from divinity, if you are given money by the masters, by your Being, it is a symbol of receiving Dharma: divine favor, blessings, because it is money and payments by which you have earned through your spiritual work. It means to be endowed with conscious virtues. When we really annihilate the ego and develop patience, serenity, humility, compassion, faithfulness, sacrifice, compassion, naturally, the law is the law. We are rewarded for what we do. The whole Qur’an is based on this, that the unjust will suffer and the just will reap harvest of bounty. It is one of the central themes of the whole Muslim tradition and basically any religion. So if you want cosmic capital, to be endowed with hope and love, learn to perform good actions. Divinity never withhold His blessings for those who do good.
This quote continues:
“Serenity in one’s capital is of three kings: the serenity of the neglectful in respect to possessions, the serenity of the wise in respect to experience, and the serenity of the sincere in respect to confidence of being accepted by God.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
In a basic level, we could become serene in relation to material goods. So we talked a lot about in the lecture on renunciation about this. We may be neglectful at times of certain things, but we don't worry about them. We don't worry about loss, about losing a profit. We are content.
The wise are serene from experience because they know that all trials shall pass. No matter how difficult an ordeal, how painful it is, if you maintain your serenity and patience, it will subside. Life is transient. It is not eternal. As the Qur’an teaches, life is but a distraction from the real work and the Hereafter is really more worthwhile, if we but knew.
“And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah, so will you not reason?” —Al-An’am, 32
To be sincere and to know it signifies one's confidence, one's connection with divinity, that one is humble when God grants favor and to not be filled with mystical pride.
This quote continues:
“And serenity in hope is in three things: the reward earned by one who strives with his heart at peace, the reward given to one who waits expectantly for God with his heart in peace, and the reward granted to one who had severed all attachment to the world with his heart at peace.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
We receive the greatest gifts from the Being when we are striving selflessly in His cause. We concentrate upon him and work on our defects, our egos. This is striving in holy war mentioned in Islam, the war against our defects, not against our neighbor.
We also receive abundant experiences when we have faith from our works, that divinity is with us. For as the Apostle James stated, "Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). But if you have works, practical disciplines, you will gain experience naturally.
We also receive blessings when we no longer have any internal attachments to this world, but interact with it without identifying, to have serenity in that regard.
“And the serenity of those in love has three signs: being engaged with God’s work rather than one’s own, being mindful and aware of God rather than being aware of oneself, and loving God rather than loving oneself.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
In synthesis, one should love humanity more than one loves oneself. We also should be aware of divinity rather than the ego, to be absent. It's better to be absent to the ego and present with the Being, and, to love divinity more than we love our desires.
Practices and Conclusion
In conclusion, we have some practices that you can fulfill so that you can reap the fruits of this teaching.
Each day develop your self-observation or inner accounting. In Arabic, this is محاسبة muhasabah. It means to analyze or to take account of our virtues and our defects. We do this moment by moment. We self observe. As a consciousness, we are examining our intellect, our emotions, and our body, the three brains of Gnostic psychology or the five psychological centers: intellect, emotions, and the motor-instinctive-sexual centers, respectively.
Observe these qualities in yourself. See them. Separate. Look at them, and everyday, develop your meditative concentration. You can adopt a meditation posture, find a position that works for you in which you can relax completely, in which you can focus a hundred percent on the object of your focus, of your concentration.
And if you have questions, I invite you to ask them.
Questions and Answers
Question: Does developing clairvoyance and working with the mantra related with that gland help one get or experience the illuminating void?
Instructor: Yes, to a degree. Clairvoyance, for those of you who are not familiar, is a French term meaning clear vision. We have been discussing in this entire lecture and course what perception is. Clairvoyance was a term given by some French initiates in order to mask the essential nature of their practice, to give it a technical flavor so that they would avoid derision and persecution.
Really, clairvoyance is our capacity to imagine, to perceive, to see non-physical imagery. Now, working with mantras to develop clairvoyance, the ability to imagine and perceive non-physical imagery, aids us with many things. I'd say that not only developing the third eye or the pituitary gland, the Chakra Ajna, it is the fundamental requisite for experiencing the illuminating void. In truth, to really enter that divine absolute abstraction, the Absolute Abstract Space, known in the Muslim tradition as اللّٰه Allah, “The Nothing,” “The No.” The negation of this universe requires that we learn to project and have that experience by going through our crown chakra, more specifically. The crown chakra relates to omniscience, and, if you enter the illuminating void, you pass beyond all universes and relativity, all conditioned experiences.
So that chakra is really deeply related to the highest experiences that are really divine. You can do the mantra Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Swaha, which is the the heart mantra from the Prajnaparamita Sufra, very well-known and documented and extensive.
I recommend you practice those mantras and work with your crown. But also, if you work with your clairvoyance, that's good too. You need to learn to see your defects, to observe them, reflect upon them, take account of them, so that you can eliminate them, so that they can die. The more light you free from the cage, the more of the genie that you liberate from the bottle, the easier it will be for you when you really reach the void and you are about to enter, so that your ego fear doesn't take you out of the samadhi.
Question: Sometimes it seems that during the death in motion, asking the Divine Mother to eliminate in the ego in the moment, just doesn't seem to work. What should we do in these moments?
Instructor: So that's a good question, because there are a number of people in the Gnostic movement who have the assumption and the belief, or the teaching, that you can eliminate the ego and its deepest roots, little by little, by asking for annihilation moment by moment.
You are observing your mind and you look at the egos that have emerged in your interior and ask for annihilation in the moment.
It comes to my mind a lecture by Samael Aun Weor. It was a lecture for students of third chamber, of which certain missionaries who propounded the doctrine of the death in motion were not present. This lecture that he gives is available at Glorian.org, “Questions about the Elimination of the Ego,” where Samael Aun Weor had the same question asked of him. He replied that it's good in the moment to ask for removal, but it's not enough. In the moment, if you are being overwhelmed by ego, a defect of anger, of pride, of resentment, of lust, you can ask your Divine Mother to help you, to resist those impulses. In this way, you are asking your Divine Mother to starve this aggregate, to not feed it, but merely observing it in the moment and asking for annihilation, he said it's not enough. It's a flawed method. It doesn't work, because the ego is very deep. It has profound roots that have to be comprehended in meditation. You simply cannot go deep enough with the physical senses and in this physical plane. You have to really abandon the body, introspect, and enact the stages of silence and serenity and go deep within, so that you can observe those aggregates within the subconscious, unconscious, and infraconscious regions of our interior worlds.
We have to be very profound, very serious, because a lot of people have made this mistake and have cut out that teaching from Samael Aun Weor, confusing a bunch of people. But in reality if you study that lecture by our guru and teacher, our Sheikh, he is very specific and clear. Meditation is essential if you really want to annihilate the ego. You can't eliminate what's in the puddles. You have to go into the ocean, so to speak.
Question: In these times of lock down, a lot of ways to sacrifice and serve others are cut off. Do you have any insights or advice you can share?
Instructor: There are a lot of us who need help. Obviously, we have to look at our unique skills and talents, our disposition. But if you have a Gnostic school, especially, that you are supporting, that is good. I know in our school, I have often been asking volunteers to help transcribe lectures, because we found that getting this knowledge out to people, especially in these times, is really important, so that people can be educated about how to live and change their suffering, their states of being. I know some schools ask for donations. Glorian Publishing as well offers the books of Samael Aun Weor, especially. Supporting them is wonderful, so that other people can get access to these teachings. That really is the best gift you can give to somebody. Maybe it's donating a book. Maybe it's volunteering your time. That's something that you have to evaluate.
Some suggestions or things you could do, obviously, is support your local school. That is always a benefit, and really, in the path of sacrifice for humanity, we always learn to give up something of value to us, whether it's time or money, energy especially, in order to give to others, and that's never always going to be easy. Real sacrifices are painful, but you give what you can. You do what you can. For me, lock down, the most important thing for us has been to teach others, but not everybody is a missionary or a teacher or an instructor or will become one necessarily, but if you go on to visit Glorian.org, especially, you can help us out by looking under a section about volunteering. There are different ways to help volunteer, whether it's writing book reviews for Samael Aun Weor, getting people access to these teachings, especially. There are many ways that you can volunteer your time.
Any other questions?
Question: Does developing polyvoyance give us the power to see everything and everywhere at once, and how does ubiquity work? How could one person possess two bodies at the same time?
Instructor: That's something I don't understand either. You know personally, I remember speaking with Samael Aun Weor in the astral plane, where I invoked him on my property of my old house. He came from the sky, landed in front of me in the form of his bodhisattva, as you see in Mexico, the pictures of him. He was dressed in a suit, a very distinguished gentleman, and he invited me to walk with him. He told me while we were discussing things how he has the power of ubiquity, that he can be in many places at once. Of course, I was just amazed by that because I can barely even be conscious in my astral body or my physical body.
For my understanding, with polyvoyance, your ability of the consciousness is really infinite and that one can be conscious of many dimensions at once, not just the physical or one dimension at a time, but everything in unison. Very elevated masters like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, Moses, Samael Aun Weor, have that ability, because they developed it. Now, ubiquity is simply the capacity the consciousness to exist in more than one place at once. For us, that is something mind-boggling and for me it definitely is, but from my personal experiences with Samael Aun Weor and other masters, I have been able to evidence and see that they develop their consciousness to such a degree that it's really incomprehensible.
God is everywhere. The Absolute has its center everywhere and it's circumference nowhere. So for those masters, it is very easy. They can manifest in many places at once, be seen talking with other people in two different distinct countries at the same time at the same hour. But, you know, that's the faculty of a resurrected master. Those are beings who have really transcended the laws of relativity. They have entered the Absolute to their degree and are able to come back and express to us their knowledge. Very beautiful. Very profound. Something that's really quite amazing.
Question: Is it okay to recline on the back of a chair while meditating? I heard it could be bad for your spine. Also, what about involuntary movements, yawning, jerks, while meditating. Do those go away with more experience? One of the quotes was, "and it helps the wayfarer to forget people so he becomes free from hypocrisy." I want to watch the debate after this lecture. Are there stages to letting go of the attachments or must they be dropped once and for all?
Instructor: So the first question, yes, it's fine. You can lay your back upon the end of the chair where you are meditating. Some people find it more comfortable to sit up with your back straight, not leaning into the chair, so to speak. You have to gauge your own body and your own unique physiology, but also your chair itself. Make sure it's comfortable for you. So you can lean back if you need to. I've had great meditations leaning back in a recliner, in a sofa and a chair. I was able to maintain my attention pretty well. So make the adjustments if you need to and find an arrangement that's going to be conducive for you.
As for involuntary movements as yawning and jerks, they do eventually go away. The more you let go of the body and relax and are really concentrated, your body will start to be supple and to obey your consciousness. There is a term in Buddhism called pliancy in relation to really developed stages of concentration and serenity. It means that your body is perfectly still. It is serene and calm and doesn't present any obstacle to your meditation. So in the beginning, yes, it's often that you may yawn or your body may jerk because your energies are settling. Your vital body is settling. So, be patient.
As for the quote "and it helps the wayfarer to forget people so he becomes free from hypocrisy," in relation to the debate. Of course, obviously we watch what we want, but whatever you see or perceive in life, the important thing is to not be attached to what we see, to not be filled with fear or antagonism or anger or resentment or doubt. Simply look, observe. I believe also to the last point, the last question, whether one should watch the debate, obviously, I think if we want to be entertained, yes, we can watch what's going to happen. But obviously, in one sense it's important to know what's going on in the world, but at the same time, we shouldn't necessarily condition ourselves too much by all the craziness that's going on. If you find that you're overwhelmed with too much attachment to the news, it can be good to drop it for a while. Obviously, that's a balance you have to strike in yourself.
I thank you all for coming.
Spiritual retreat holds a very special place within every single tradition of meditation, whether in Sufism through the lodges, khanqah or khaniqahs, monasteries within the Christian tradition, the temples of the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus. Meditation retreat signifies the abandonment of the world, to dedicate more time, more effort, more energy, more seriousness, more study, to the spiritual path that leads to the liberation of the soul.
Retreats are a wonderful reprieve. They allow us to abandon the hustle and bustle, the chaos of our modern society, the world. While this was true, even in the times of the prophets, it is even more pertinent today in our modern world through the advent of the internet, smartphones, social media, Facebook, exponentially improving technology. This is made life in the West (and it is now spreading into the East) even more accelerated, hyperactive―we could say―distracted from, really, the point of life, the purpose of existence.
In our world, we believe that our bank account, our job, our career, our television shows, our entertainment, our media, constitute the reality of who we are and what is of value. Obviously, if we are studying meditation and spirituality, we understand that this type of lifestyle has flaws. In essence, it is superficial. There is not much depth in a life of games, of sitcoms, of jobs that do not really fulfill our deepest sentiments, our greatest uneasiness and longing. Because people do not like to introspect, to be serious, to analyze the causes of suffering inside, people look to the external world for their panacea, their healing, their drug.
In the history of humanity, it is never been more difficult to really develop a spiritual life than today, because there has been a fundamental shift in the psychology, the pace, the momentum of modern living. Gnosis or Sufism, Buddhism, Judaism, the meditative traditions, the contemplative sciences, teach us that we need to slow down. Our life is hectic. We have many responsibilities and duties, obligations in life, and we are constantly running around pulled in so many directions that, really, it is very difficult to get a hold of and a grasp on our existence, with the Essence, with the consciousness, which knows how to live life intensely, with rectitude and with love for humanity.
The Essence is the most beautiful part of us that can really blossom into a profound, deep, penetrative wisdom. Our Essence knows how to live fully without distraction, to be aware, to be attentive. But as we mentioned in the previous lecture, to do that we have to renounce a lot of superfluous activities, things that over engage and distract the mind.
Our culture is very much hypnotizing, seductive, manipulative. It is based upon drawing and stealing our energy into avenues that really are a dead end. This is why every spiritual tradition emphasizes so much the need for retreat, to leave behind all the temptations, all the seductions, all the illusions of society, the world, even if but for a very brief time. This is so that we can really dedicate our efforts to really create the soul, enliven it, to empower it.
While it is been very difficult to practice retreat due to this pandemic, we can, if so willing, fulfill our own meditation retreat in our home. It really does not involve much. We are going to provide you some parameters, some guidelines, and some suggestions that can help you if you are able and willing to perform retreat, and hopefully if this pandemic clears, sooner rather than later, we would love to have another retreat as provided on our websites, so that we can really cultivate spiritual force in our efforts and practices, to awaken the consciousness. But of course, if this is not possible, we still have the exercises and the teachings.
We can gain a lot of inspiration, a lot of profound changes by applying the principles of meditation and of retreat, and so we are going to outline what some of those are according to the Sufi tradition, the Gnostic traditions.
The Purpose of Retreat
Why emphasize retreat in this course? It is because life wants to swallow us alive. We have obligations. We have duties, responsibilities, work events, family gatherings, engagements that really lull us to sleep, which, while a necessary part of living in society, tend to put us on autopilot. They also prevent us from really deepening our awareness of the present, our quest of the consciousness to reach the divine.
It is important that we really feed that spark of inquietude in the heart, that dissatisfaction, that uneasiness we feel in our moment-to-moment life in relation to a problem, in relation to our trajectory―perhaps a career change, our existence, our family, our marriage. We feel a hunch in our core being that something must change. This is really the essence of why we begin meditation and spirituality.
It is also the reason why we enter retreat, because we need to comprehend something more. It is the intuitions of the soul, the language of divinity, the intimate silence of our inner God. We receive that impulse through our heart, through hunches, and because that is usually very weakened in us, or better said, we feel that flame in the heart and yet we have so many distractions outside of us, that candle flame tends to get snuffed out. But again, and again, if we are really persistent in this path, we find that we continue to feel that inquietude, that yearning for something more. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated in The Great Rebellion in the chapter called “Inquietudes”:
“Trivialities and nonsense, while having no particular transcendence, still have the power at any given moment to extinguish that first spiritual disquietude, that intimate longing, that insignificant spark of light, that hunch which unsettles us for a moment without our knowing why.
“If those who are currently living corpses, cold sleepwalkers in nightclubs or simply umbrella salespeople in department stores on the avenue, had not suffocated their initial intimate uneasiness, they would at this moment be spiritual luminaries, adepts of the light, real Humans in every sense of the word.
“A spark, a hunch, a mysterious whisper, an unexplainable sensation felt sometimes by the butcher on the corner, by a shoe-shiner or a highly specialized doctor, is all in vain. The foolishness of the personality always extinguishes the primary spark of light, later continuing with a coldness of the most frightful indifference.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion, “Inquietudes”
Retreats really gives strength when we are with like-minded people. When we practice retreat, when we meet other aspirants of this teaching who are really sincere and are working effectively in themselves, we gain strength for our own path.
Retreat is like a chorus in a musical performance. The instructors are the conductor. The composer is the guru of our tradition: Samael Aun Weor. His music are the writings and teachings that we have, and the mighty chorus, that resounds like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, is the voices of the initiates who work together in harmony, who create that synthesis, that profound alchemy in which forces mix, commune, and work like a conduit, in order to receive divine aid at a greater magnitude, profundity, impact.
Also, it is important that when we have retreats, we can study some essential principles that help us to take advantage of the small time that we have. Obviously in our past retreats we only have so much time, and really by the time people get used to the exercises and the lectures and the practices and are really ready to go deeper, it is already time to leave. So what's important is that we gain knowledge and inspiration, but also we go home into the world, back to society, in order to practice these principles, deeply, with greater momentum, so that whatever hardships we face, we conquer them with intelligence and wisdom.
While renunciation teaches the student to abandon psychological attachments to life, retreat is the method and the medium for perfecting and enlivening the flames of our spiritual longing. This is why Al-Junayd stated the following:
“Sufism is sitting for a few moments without cares and worries with God.” ―Junayd
Principles of Retreat and Seclusion
Let us examine the principles of retreat and seclusion:
“Khalwah, retreat, belongs to the purified, while uzlah, withdrawal from the world, marks the people of union. The seeker needs to withdraw from his own kind in the beginning stages. Then, in the last stages, he needs to retreat in order to confirm himself in intimacy with God.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Retreat is a means of purifying the Essence. For those of you who have attended Gnostic retreats, we have many exercises to work with energy, to work with concentration, to work with imagination. These are our faculties that we develop in ourselves so that we can gain knowledge of the causes of our suffering, and so that we can gain intimate wisdom, experiential knowledge of our Innermost Being. As beginners, we work to develop purity, level by level, degree by degree, and it is important that if we have the time and opportunity, that we make the sacrifice in order to meet others, to learn from others, to share our own knowledge, our experiences, because this is a very beneficial influence upon the psyche. It can really give us a lot of strength to help us understand what purity is.
In the beginning of Sufism, many initiates practice retreat, but also the great masters, the prophets, learn to withdraw from the world. These are the people of union―very high levels of initiates. And while it is easy to read this verse as something physical, in a profound sense, as we have been reiterating again and again in relation to hermetic silence, this has to do more with a psychological separation, a distance from oneself with the illusions of the world.
The masters of meditation prepare for union with divinity through the heights of initiation. Who are examples of the masters of union? What does that involve?
Prophet Muhammad was in the habit of traveling to جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر Jabal al-Nur, the “mountain of light” in Arabic, where he would perform meditation retreat. He would leave for extended periods of time in order to really deeply practice introspection. While this is a physical and a literal history, which is very commonly known in Islamic circles, Sufi circles, more importantly for us, this is a symbolic teaching.
How do we climb the mountain of light: جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر Jabal Nur (because in Arabic, نور nur means “light,” or, the Hebrew אור aur)? And what is that light? It is cognizance. It is awakened perception within the superior worlds. It is intelligence. It is the awakening of the consciousness.
It is referenced many times how Prophet Muhammad was meditating on جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر Jabal Nur when he received his first teaching from the Angel Gabriel. Gabriel spoke to him in what we can say is an internal experience, an astral, a prophetic, superior experience of the consciousness. The Angel Gabriel taught Prophet Muhammad the Qur’an.
If you know the tradition of Islam, Prophet Mohammad was reportedly illiterate. He didn't know how to read and write Arabic, but historically there are some scholars who state that this is inaccurate, primarily because Prophet Muhammad was a merchant, and to make trade deals, he would need to know how to read and write.
But symbolically for us, what does it mean that the Prophet was illiterate? This is a very famous teaching within Islam, how an illiterate man became an illuminated initiate who was able to provide the miracle of the Qur’an القرآن, that beautiful scripture, “The Recitation” in Arabic. What is interesting is that in a spiritual sense, what this represents for us, is that we are all illiterate. We do not have the principles of divinity inscribed within our soul, which is represented through Kabbalah, the science of numerology, of numbers, of the Hebrew, but also the Arabic letters, because Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages that share the same roots. They have the same meanings, esoterically speaking, archetypically speaking.
Prophet Muhammad was able to speak the Qur’an as a miracle, to recite the teachings of divinity within him. But he only did that because he climbed the mountain of light. This is a symbol of what we call initiation, of the mystical, internal Gnostic work. To climb a mountain in the astral plane signifies that we are entering initiation, degrees, higher levels of consciousness. But of course, how does one achieve this?
This is beautifully allegorized in many of the names of this story. For example the word nur spelled in Arabic: ن nun, و waw, ر ra. Or, נ nun, ו vav, ר reish in Hebrew. It is a beautiful teaching, how the light of our consciousness emerges from נ nun. In Arabic and in Hebrew, this letter signifies a fish. Or better said, in Aramaic, the word nun is a “fish”: a symbol of the sperm and ovum within our sexual creative waters. That is where the light emerges. When you conserve that energy and transform it, you raise it up the mountain of your spinal column so that it illuminates your head. You can receive wisdom from Gabriel, or in Arabic, جِبْرِيل Jibril.
In the Nordic language, the runes, which have a profound relationship to these names, you find within the named גַבְרִיאֵל Gabriel, Gibur-ra-el. The Rune Gibor is a swastika, a symbol of a cross in motion that unfortunately was misappropriated by some very mistaken people during World War II and before. That is a symbol of the creative sexual power that circulates within the initiate as they are learning to work with these exercises: mantras, prayer, runes, sacred rites for rejuvenation, imagination exercises, concentration exercises, retrospection meditation―many practices that we use in this tradition and on our retreats in order to develop the soul.
Symbolically speaking, we receive the Word, the Verb, the divine, the Qur’an, the recitation, the perfect expression of God in us, when we learn to raise the light from our sexual organs up to our head. That is how we climb the mountain. That is how we overcome adversities, because if you study this symbol and this extended metaphor deeply, you find that climbing a mountain is very difficult, especially when it is very high―and the mountain of initiation is extremely high, very arduous, very difficult. But we achieve those heights when we are working with energy, with chastity, with introspection, with visualization, with serenity, with the Essence.
Prophet Muhammad was an alchemist. He knew the science of الخيمياء Alchemy: Allah-Kemia. He was married to his first wife Khadijah, whom he worked with sexual magic, his priestess, so that he could raise that light up his spine in order to receive what we call the Venustic Initiation within our tradition. He received the Intimate Christ in Gnostic terms. Divinity entered in his soul and it is symbolized by the Annunciation of Gabriel: how Gibur-Ra-El, the power of the divine, or we could say the Holy Spirit in Christian terms, inflamed his consciousness. It is the force of ? Ra, the solar fire within Egyptian mysticism and אל El in Hebrew, the Spirit, the Innermost, the Merciful: ٱلرَّحِيمِ al-Rahim. We can all receive our own wisdom, our own particular Verb, when we climb the mountain of initiation, which is something inside, internal.
We have to remember that in the Muslim mythology, the Muslim narrative, Prophet Muhammad was commanded by Gabriel to recite and he said, “I cannot.” Gabriel said again, “Recite!” And Prophet Muhammad replied again, “I cannot. I do not know how.” And finally a third time, “Recite!” And the Prophet said, "What shall I say my Lord? What shall I recite?"
This is a beautiful teaching of the three brains. We have an intellectual brain, an emotional brain, and a motor-instinctive-sexual brain. We may be familiar with the story of Peter denying Christ. It is very difficult to really develop these forces in ourselves consistently, practically, in order to really affirm divinity in ourselves. The mind fights, the heart fights, but in the third brain, the brain of action, if we are transmuting the sexual energy, working upon جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر Jabal al-Nur, the mountain of light, we achieve the synthesis and the real work of the path. It is how we learn to recite the Word of God, which is to really reflect the Spirit inside. Beautiful symbology, alchemical-Kabbalistic wisdom.
Retreats are helpful for deepening this knowledge, for learning the different meditative traditions, but also really defining ourselves, really practicing deeply.
Traditionally, many schools of Buddhism and many Sufis would abandon the world for months or even years. In our retreats, we spend a week. We have sometimes done more. The important thing is whatever time we can dedicate, the deeper our results will be, obviously. Very beautiful practice. It is for masters. It is for beginning disciples. It is for all students who really wish to deepen their knowledge. But of course, retreat as we've said, is a way to really confirm our intimacy with divinity.
Intentions for Retreat
When we enter retreat, it is important to really reflect on our intentions. Many misconceptions about retreat exist. People often want to get away from the world. We want to avoid the negativity of our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, our spouse, or whomever. While true, we really carry the seeds of discord within our ego. Let us read a quote in relation to this from Al-Qushayri's Principles of Sufism:
“If the servant chooses to withdraw, his intention must be to separate himself from people so that they will be safe from his evil― he must not be looking to protect himself from their evil. For the first of these attitudes come from thinking little of one’s own ego, while the second comes from making oneself out to be better than other people. A person who thinks little of himself is humble, while a person who sees himself as better than anybody else is arrogant.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So it is arrogant to think that we have to protect ourselves from the evils of other people as if we are saints, like we are martyrs, people who should not dirty their hands in society.
So what does it mean to be humble? To really think little of ourselves. To realize that with the ego alive, we are dangerous, negative, people, and learning to associate with other spiritually like-minded people can give us humility. It can give us faith, because we learn from the experiences of others. We share. We break bread together. We study together. We inspire one another, and we receive knowledge of a superior type, because there is a lot of energy being channeled there if the practitioners are really serious, are really dedicated, because everyone is like a part of a concert, really. Everyone has their own instruments that they play, and when they play in harmony, they create a beautiful, profound wisdom.
So, let's also remember that we should enter retreat because we want to become better people, not because we want to avoid others. The reality is that to think in this way is to proceed mistakenly. We have to learn how to protect other people from our own ego. That is why we enter retreat. We enter retreat because we want to sacrifice better for humanity. We want to become better suited for our Being, to purify ourselves so that we can prevent our own lower, carnal soul, nafs al-ammara, “the soul that inclines to evil,” from inflicting damage, from influencing others negatively.
The Rules of Retreat
So, retreat has basic rules. Let's read some.
“One of the rules of withdrawal is that whoever goes into seclusion must acquire the knowledge that makes his commitment to unity (tawhid) firm, so that satan cannot seduce him through the imagination. Then he should acquire enough knowledge of the divine law that he is able to fulfill his religious duties so that his undertaking maybe built on definite and sure foundations.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The doctrine of unity is central to Islam. It is very profound, subtle, and sophisticated, and beautiful. This is a topic that is very misunderstood and confused by theologians and skeptics alike.
What is unity? In a perfect sense, the Being is unity. Our ego is a multiplicity. We know from Gnosis that our consciousness is trapped in multiple, conflicting, competing, desires. We have to free the consciousness and liberate it from desire, from the ego, so that it can reunite with divinity when it is pure.
The quality of the Essence is very unique and is a very specific flavor that can only be experienced again and again through repeated trial and error. We are not going to be perfect in learning how to discriminate our true nature from our false nature, because our desires are many, vast, and are constantly competing and fighting to steal our energy.
The Essence is beautiful action, as we have emphasized again and again. It has infinite virtuous qualities, like altruism, compassion, conscious love, chastity, happiness for others, inspiration, motivation, diligence, patience, endurance of suffering and ordeals, sacrifice for others at one's own expense, one's own pride, humility. And also, the severity and justice of the consciousness that knows how to weigh a situation with mercy and equilibrium, with splendor. There are infinite virtuous qualities, but they are all united by a single thread which is the continuity of perception, of consciousness.
This is very different from our desires, from our ego. Our ego in its multiplicity, is a fracturing, a dissonance, a sour taste within the mind. If we are really dedicating ourselves to separating from the ego, we begin to see more and more how egotistical states are very problematic. They produce problems. This is the multiplicity of the mind that is the obstacle and the enemy, and why we enter retreat, primarily because the ego in itself, again, conditions our potential.
In Islam, the ego and its multiplicity are the polytheists mentioned in the Qur’an. Or, الْكافِرُون al-Kafirun, the unbelievers, the infidels. All of our cravings, aversions, fears, wants, desires, etc., do not obey or believe in the will of divinity in us.
So how do we understand this dynamic?
We may read and learn and study how altruism, how giving is a very profound virtue, and yet, when we have the opportunity to do so, we examine our mind and we find that we don't want to donate, perhaps in a certain situation, to give of our time and energy. We feel resistance. These are the unbelievers. Or, we learn about compassion, empathy, conscious love in a situation in which someone is really criticizing us. We start to see that constant fluctuation and dynamic of anger, of resentment, of hatred, of pride, with all of its cacophony of thoughts and desires and impulses pulling in multiple directions. When you observe that in yourself, you really understand that we don't have any unitary will.
We may direct our efforts to promoting and fulfilling these precepts, and yet we find that our desires fight against us. This means that we are not really spiritual people. It means that we are infidels, because we have so much desire within, conditioning, egos, نَفْس nafs in Arabic.
If you really want to be sincere, we have to learn and understand what unity is. When you taste it, you will know it. It is a very clear, cognizant, vivid intense state of clarity, of perception, of altruism, of giving. It is intuitive action. It is right action. It dissipates discord. It brings harmony within situations and conflicts. It knows how to understand the solution to a difficult issue through the heart, not the intellect, not through debating or theorizing or intellectualizing what one must do, but simply knowing it and acting for the welfare of others.
Unity is a profound teaching. It is really the heights of realization. There are levels to understanding what unity is, the integration of the soul. But in order to really understand that particular state and quality on a consistent, experiential basis, we learn to work with the practices of our tradition, specifically by having knowledge of the divine law. This is the ethical conduct of the initiates, but also our religious duties, which is our exercises: the practices that we fulfill, such as works with concentration, serenity, or imagination.
It would seem that the Sufis are speaking badly about imagination, that Satan seduces one through visualization, because we have to remember that imagination is dual. It can be conditioned or it can be liberated. It could be negative or it could be positive, liberated, free. Our desires project through imagery onto the senses, seeking to fulfill their desires. But visualization practice, working with positive imagination: the ability to hold in one's concentration with vivid intensity, non-physical imagery is an essential skill we learn to master, because that quality of consciousness allows us to access the internal worlds.
This capacity to perceive non-physical imagery has to be done at will, not mechanically, not through associative thinking or daydreaming, mind-wandering, in which we have no control over what we see. The imagination that we speak of is very specific. By learning those practices we could really go deep in our work.
So as we have emphasized again and again, the practical foundations of meditation include shari'a, ethical conduct. This is something that we can learn. We read about it. We listen to lectures. We read scriptures. We do book studies. We talk about the teachings. We learn them. We gain an intellectual understanding and appreciation of the different precepts of religion as we have emphasized again and again, such as non-violence, non-stealing, sexual purity, charity, pilgrimage, such as in the Muslim faith.
There are even five pillars within Islam that constitute the divine law, practices that can help develop our potential, our compassion, our ethics, our kindness. This is different in different religions, but they all share the same root, which is how to work with liberated consciousness, how to curtail negative behaviors so that we don't infect our heart, our conscience. We don't make ourselves sick, spiritually, because people who are filled with hate, who live within an atmosphere of wrath, are very depleted of energy, and they suffer incredibly. They make others suffer, which is worse.
Silence and Insight
So divine law helps to curtail all of that. This is so that we can enter silence or samt, equanimity, serenity. When you learn to act ethically with precepts, you calm your mind, naturally. Through the work of self-observation and learning to respond to life consciously, to transform the impressions of life as they enter our consciousness, our mind naturally begins to settle, to become serene, to become calm. But this only happens when we separate from the mind. We look at it for what it is. We don't try to label anything we see, to justify it, or to hide from it. Simply look. Perceive what is in your heart, your three brains, your thoughts, your feelings, your will. This is how we gain insight, firasah in Arabic. This is clear perception. This is the faculty of imagination, visualization. It is the ability to see not with physical eyes, but with psychological and spiritual senses.
If I tell you to imagine an apple, you can see it. It appears in your mind. That is visualization. Now, insight or imagination, comprehension born from seeing, occurs when we learn to develop that capacity intentionally, not mechanically by hearing about some associative word like an apple and then you see it in your mind, but instead learning to cultivate the capacity to perceive with imagination, with different exercises, such as taking a candle, imagining the flame. Observe it. Look at the colors and the fluctuation of the flame, the wax, and then imagine it with clarity, in detail.
You can only learn silence and insight through practice. You can learn about the concepts, but it won't have any substance unless you have experienced it.
When you really develop silence and insight, serenity, and visualization or, concentration and imagination, the ability to focus serenely and to perceive it clearly in your consciousness, that is how you witness unity. This is التوحيد al-tawhid. This is witnessing the truth. This is samadhi, ecstasy, mystical experience. This is the unity and integrity of the soul, the integration of the consciousness. Literally, it is when the soul abandons illusion, the ego, even if for a few moments, in different levels of nature.
This can occur physically, but also in the internal planes, in the Tree of Life, in the different dimensions. We could be sitting to meditate and suddenly we start perceiving an experience, not with physical senses, but with the consciousness, in which we receive symbols and messages and understandings and dramas that we are both witness and spectator. We receive insight, or better said, symbols through our Being, through living dramas, allegories, that have to be interpreted with the consciousness.
When we learn to understand these messages, we really march in the path towards unity, unifying our consciousness. We do so through one-pointed will. We learn not to be distracted. Whatever you sit to practice meditation upon, whatever you focus your concentration on, don't think of other things. Don't get distracted. Renounce distractions, whether they are physical, energetic, through sensations or lights and sounds and mystical experiences, things that are really captivating and interesting but really are just temporary. Let them go. Don't be fascinated by what you perceive.
Also, do not be hypnotized by emotions, especially negative emotions, because we have a lot of that. We have to renounce negative feeling, but also the churning of thought, intellect. And by concentrating our willpower, and letting it rest in equanimity, with meditative equipoise, we can receive the light of unity. This is how you proclaim the Shahadah, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad” or any Prophet “is the Messenger of Allah,” the divine.
So unity is something that occurs in levels. That perfect unity of the Being has many qualities and virtues. It is infinite. We study the Tree of Life to understand all those dynamics in detail, the relationships between those principles, the ten sephiroth, the lower seven bodies, the trinities. Everything is a unity that expresses a multiplicity. So therefore, the bridge between monotheism and polytheism should be understood, because sadly, the exoteric public doctrine of Islam rejects many religions because they are interpreted to be polytheist. Many of them do not understand what Kabbalah is, that it is a map and structure the soul, the unity of God, how divinity expresses in levels. Or as the Qur’an teaches, “Light upon light!” (24:35)―level upon level of being. There are more rarefied levels of being and more manifest, concrete levels of being.
So, the Being is a unit, is perfected, is divine. We are multiplicity because we have egos. We are polytheists, whether we consider ourselves Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or whatever, Gnostic. We are infidels because we have the ego. We are fractured. We have no integrity, no unity of will. We have a multiplicity of wills. So, comprehend what unity is. Learn about that state of being, the perfection of your Innermost through experiences. Through that vision of the consciousness, you can see that really, in the depths of all traditions. They are all the same. They teach the same principles. Those are different archetypes and qualities of divinity expressed amongst the cultures and religions of the world. They all share the same roots.
The Essence of Seclusion
It is also important to remember that the essence of seclusion is more than just leaving society behind. It is an internal psychological work. It means to hermetically seal our energy.
People who waste energy never awaken. The question is, how do we waste energy?
Let us seriously investigate our life.
What types of activities drain us? What relationships, events, cyclical occurrences, behaviors, mechanical habits, tend to take away our vitality, our ability to really dedicate to spiritual practice? We have to learn to answer that question, personally, through reflection.
The question also becomes: how do we learn to seal ourselves, our psyche, from losing energy, whether it be mental, emotional, sexual, especially? How do we lose energy? How do we save energy? Let's examine some quotes that can help us understand this, from Al-Qushayri's Principles of Sufism:
“Withdrawing from the world does not mean going away from inhabited places. The essence of seclusion is to isolate blameworthy traits in order to substitute the divine names for them. Thus it was asked, ‘Who is the gnostic (arif)?’ and they replied, ‘A creature distinguished,’ that is, someone who appears to be together with people, but is inwardly separated from them.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Separation is key. Do not be attached to your actions, to your desires, to what anger wants, to what vanity desires, to what greed clutches on to. Non-attachment does not mean dysphoria, in which we don't have a sense of orientation or self, meaning: one is disassociated in a clouded obscured, amorphous state. That is not what we are talking about.
Non-attachment is clarity. It is vivid attention. It is expansive awareness. It is the identity of our Essence with its virtuous qualities, the ability to act ethically with precision and with compassion. That is non-attachment.
We give. We act for the benefit of others, not being attached to what may happen. We give from the qualities and the treasures of our heart. This is how we save energy. This is how we transmute energy.
You take the sexual energy; you conserve it. But also we have to learn how to direct it with the Essence. When you empower your consciousness through pranayama and runes, especially alchemy, you learn to direct that force in an intelligent way. But if we do not save energy, we invest ourselves within desire, within nafs.
We have to separate from the ego in order to see it. This is what it means “to substitute blameworthy traits with divine names.” In Hebrew, we have a name called hashim, which relates to השם Hashem, “the names,” and you find this even in Arabic have the same pronunciation even. Hashim, Samael Aun Weor mentions, are the igneous particles of the consciousness, the energies of the psyche. When we perceive and not act upon negative states, egos, we learn to transform hashim within us, the names, the particles of the soul, which usually are trapped in ego, in desire.
So in Muslim mysticism, they emphasize that there are beautiful names of Allah, and this can be graphed in different ways upon the Tree of Life, which we have mentioned some correlations before, specifically such as with ٱلرَّحِيمِ Al-Rahim, the Merciful, which is Chesed, the Spirit of Kabbalah. The Compassionate, الرحمان Al-Rahman, can relate to Chokmah, Wisdom.
These divine names relate to principles and forces in us that we have to understand. When we learn to not invest ourselves within desire, we learn to substitute blameworthy traits with the divine names, with the hashim, the forces of God, so that you are cultivating a space in yourself that allows for meditation to exist, because when the mind is chaotic, you cannot meditate. If you are burning with hatred all day and you sit down to introspect, you are not going to attain anything.
Instead, curtail your negative habits. Seclude your psyche from attachments. The seclusion that we seek is internal. That is the beginning.
Inner Seclusion and Intimacy with God
Real seclusion, retreat, is internal. It is dependent upon our level of being. Our heart has to be secluded. It has to be separate from any ego, any naf, any desire. You cannot look to externals to know the truth, whether from teachers, from lectures, from scriptures even, from books, but from your own consciousness. That is how we really develop, and that is how seclusion, retreat, becomes fruitful, is with this basis, with hermetic sealing, with hermetic silence.
Let's read some quotes from Revelation of the Mystery, Kashf al-Mahjub by Al-Hujwiri that relate to these principles.
“It is related that [Al-Qarani] said, ‘Safety lies in solitude,’ because the heart of the solitary is free from thought of ‘other,’ and in no circumstances does he hope for anything from mankind. Let none imagine, however, that solitude (wahdat) merely consists in living alone. So long as the Devil associates with a man’s heart, and sensual passion holds sway in his breast, and any thought of this world or the next occurs to him in such a way as to make him conscious of mankind, he is not truly in solitude; since it is all one whether he takes pleasure in the thing itself or in the thought of it.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
So we can be in retreat but occupied mentally with other things. We have to avoid associating anything with Allah.
It is a very beautiful teaching with Islam. The Qur’an teaches we should not associate with anything other than God, but how do we associate with anything other than divinity? That is when we are distracted. Remember that Al-Wasiti said, "The greatest form of worship is watchfulness in the moments," primarily because we don't learn to associate with anything other than Him. Meaning, don't get lost in thought, with thinking. Do not be distracted. Instead, enter silence, concentrated.
“Accordingly, the true solitary is not disturbed by society, but he who is preoccupied seeks in vain to acquire freedom from thought by secluding himself. In order to be cut off from mankind one must become intimate with God, and those who have become intimate with God are not hurt by intercourse with mankind.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
So we can be solitary or unitary in our consciousness but involved in the world. We cannot enter real retreat if our mind is always preoccupied with other things, and where we are at or what we are doing.
Intimacy with God occurs in levels. We gain intimacy with divinity in accordance with our level of being, through our efforts, our practices. These are different experiences we can have and levels upon the Tree of Life. These are levels of remembrance, levels of witnessing, whether in dreams or in meditation.
Two Kinds of Seclusion
There are some points emphasized by Ibn ‘Arabi in The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed which reiterate the points we have made. There are two types of seclusion: internal and external. These are both very valuable to know and it is important to know the relationship between them. Ibn ‘Arabi states:
“Seclusion leads to silence for man, since one who withdraws from human company has no-one to talk to, and that naturally leads to silence of the tongue. There are two kinds of seclusion: firstly, the seclusion of the aspirants (murīdūn), which consists of not associating physically with others; and secondly, the seclusion of the verifiers (muhaqqiqūn), which consists of having no contact with created things in one’s heart: their hearts have no room for anything other than the knowledge of God, exalted is He, which is the witness of the Truth in the heart that results from contemplation (mushāhada).” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So the seclusion of the aspirants has to do with not being around a lot of people. It is even good on retreats to practice silence physically. On some of our retreats, but also in many others that I have attended amongst different Gnostic groups, have beautifully implemented silence of the tongue. So we could be surrounded by other students or teachers in this tradition eating and dining with people, but not talking physically.
Of course, this is very difficult because, obviously, when you are with a group of Gnostics, you want to share and learn and commune with your brothers and sisters in this path, but there is something very valuable about learning not to talk physically. You begin to understand and perceive in yourself your different egos, which want to socialize or be funny or be impressive, to look really spiritual amongst others, to really show off. These are things that we can see in ourselves if we practice this, and this is the value of physical silence, the seclusion of the aspirants.
But what is even more beautiful than that is the seclusion of the verifiers (muhaqqiqūn). What does it mean to verify? It means to know from experience those mystical states in which we don't have any contact with creative things in our heart. Our heart is not focused on anything else but their quality of remembrance of the Being. There is no other room except knowledge of God, and this results from mushahada, which means “contemplation, witnessing, meditation.”
Examine your heart when you sit to practice. Be sincere. Is your mind thinking of other things? Is your heart churning with emotion? Is your impulse to do anything else but meditate? Are you preoccupied with anything other than the knowledge of your Being? It is something only you can evaluate. Only you can really know.
Three Motives for Seclusion
In synthesis, Ibn ‘Arabi states that there are three motives for seclusion. Let's examine these in depth:
“The people of seclusion have three motives: (1) the fear of the evil of other people affecting oneself; (2) the fear of one’s own evil affecting others―this is a higher perception than the first, as in the first case one thinks badly of others, while in the second one thinks badly of oneself, and thinking badly of oneself is better since you are more knowledgeable of yourself…” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
Al-Hujwiri made the same points that Ibn ‘Arabi is emphasizing. This is very common knowledge among Sufis.
“(3) the preference for the company of the Master from the Sublime Assembly―the most elevated of men is one who parts from himself out of preference for the company of his Lord.” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
Seek company of the divine prophets through your experiences. Specifically, learn to project into the astral plane. Awaken your consciousness from dreams. Learn to consult with your inner God, who has all the knowledge that you need to rectify any issue.
Divinity is wise. We can go upon the [Glorian Publishing] forum and ask for help for certain issues. Really, the most that instructors can do is really teach how to practice, primarily so that people learn to become independent.
Learn how to receive help inside, to seek company of God. Divinity is a much more profound intelligence and wisdom, really, than any physical person can provide, so learn to practically experience this for yourself. Verify for yourself through dream yoga.
“One who prefers seclusion to the company of others prefers his Lord to that which is other than Him. And no-one can know what gifts and mysteries God showers upon the one who prefers his Lord.” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So what are these gifts? These are samadhis, dream experiences, astral consciousness, wisdom from the mental world, from the Buddhic world, from the Nirvanic worlds, from the heavenly world, the جنّة Jannah, the superior dimensions. No one could really measure their infinite profundity, their expansiveness.
“Seclusion never happens in the heart unless the heart feels an estrangement from that which one is separating from, and an intimacy with the One with whom one is secluding oneself, which is what drives one into seclusion.” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So the question is, what is our قِبْلَة qiblah?
We have mentioned before that in mosques, they have a niche within the walls pointing towards the Middle East, towards Mecca, towards the Kaaba, the holy stone. One prays in that direction, قِبْلَة qiblah, when one is in deep prayer within the tradition of Islam.
Esoterically speaking, قِبْلَة qiblah has to do with your concentration.
Upon what do you concentrate?
What is the quality of your concentration?
Is it sustained for long periods of time, or is it spotty? Sometimes attentive, sometimes not?
Are there more degrees of attention or less degrees?
Are we more inattentive than we are attentive?
قِبْلَة qiblah really has to do with the quality of our concentration in our prayer. The more sincere we are and analyzing our level of being and focusing on the object of our concentration, of our dedication, will determine what we are focused on, will determine our trajectory.
For most people their قِبْلَة qiblah is in television, movies, TV shows, violence, extortion, crime, etc. Therefore, what is our قِبْلَة qiblah? What is our motive? What is our center of gravity? Because Samael Aun Weor mentions that we have a psychological center of gravity, which is typically in the ego. We have to develop a permanent center of gravity within the Essence. This is our قِبْلَة qiblah. So, examine that. Meditate on that. What do you more focused on in life? What do you contemplate more than other things? What is your focus, whether physically or in your mental states, especially? Examine the relationship.
What is real silence?
Spiritual retreats have often been silent with the exception of instructions and directions during meditation. This helps us to curtail negative internal chatter, to force the practitioner to be aware of oneself in relationship with the world or with others. Many people enter retreat and while silent with the tongue, continue to chat very loudly in the mind, commenting on everything one sees.
Let's look at what Ibn ‘Arabi has to say about this in his Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed:
“Seclusion has no need of the extra condition of silence, as silence is necessarily included within it, insofar as it is silence of the tongue. As for silence of the heart, seclusion does not necessarily lead to it, since one could converse with oneself about other than God and with other than God, exalted is He. This is why we have considered silence to be one of the pillars (arkān) on the Way in its own right.” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So how often does our mind wander? This is something we should evaluate and examine. Reflect on this quality of being, how attentive you are, because our internal chatter tends to be very focused on specific psychological songs.
Many people, when they drive their cars or listen to the radio do so by listening to music or favorite songs. Some people even have a very specific unchanging order. They have a music playlist, whether on their iPhone, iPod, whatever it may be. And so, while we may listen to music or not, everybody has a psychological song.
What is a psychological song? It is our narrative that we tell ourselves. It is our life story. It is our epic Mahabharata, our own tale in which we are the great center, the protagonist, the hero, the martyr, upon which all of our circumstances gravitate. We tend to tell ourselves that we are wronged, victimized, blamed, whatever our particular idiosyncrasy may be. We are the great hero, while everyone else is the villain. We were right, but we were wronged, etc.
We tend to repeat our own song like a broken record. And of course it is going to be different for each person. For some people, it may be self-pity, feeling inadequate that they can succeed in life, that they have always been cheated, lie to, abused, etc.
Some people sing songs of vanity that they are always great, they are wonderful, and that people don't appreciate their integrity or compassion or altruism, whatever it may be.
We repeat our songs, even if no one wants to hear it, because in honesty, everybody else has their own psychological song. Everybody sings their own tune, so to speak.
Internal chatter, this psychological repetition of mental verbiage, has to be curtailed and ended. You don't do it by pushing the mind away or telling the mind to shut up. When you learn to observe and separate from the mind, it starts to calm. When you observe the mind and it is talking at you and chattering, but you are not giving into it, you are not feeding it, you are learning to enter silence and seclusion―real retreat.
So you could be physically at your job but learning to really enter, psychologically, an attitude and a space of meditation and retreat. This is really the foundation and the key. Separate from the mind. Self-observe your thoughts, your feelings and your actions. Stop giving your energy into desires, conditions of mind. This is because in solitude even, we have a lot of negative egos, a lot of painful temptations. When we are alone, we are by ourselves, oftentimes the worst egos emerge. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated the following in Treaties of Revolutionary Psychology:
“It is indispensable to observe oneself when alone in the same manner as when associated with people.
“Very different “I’s,” very different thoughts, negative emotions, etc., present themselves when one is alone.
“One is not always in good company when alone. It is just normal, very natural to be very badly accompanied when in complete solitude. The most negative and dangerous “I’s” present themselves when one is alone.
“If we want to transform ourselves radically, we need to sacrifice our own sufferings. Often we express our sufferings in articulated or inarticulated songs.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
I am pretty sure that most people, after a while, get very tired of listening to the same tune. But ironically, in our life experience, this is not true.
We sing our songs how we are victimized and harmed and blamed and betrayed, whatever it may be, whatever our tendency is, whatever egos we like to feed most of all. We have to examine what that chatter is, what that language is, what the results are, because if you invest your energy in defeatism or vanity or whatever it may be, we don't change the situation.
We have to learn to sacrifice our own sufferings. Give up pain. Give up our attachments to pain, to egotistical states. Let's not express our suffering so much. Obviously, if there's something really traumatic and difficult, it is good sometimes to talk with people, especially when we need guidance, but that is something you have to evaluate on your own.
So it is important to remember that, like animals, our culture has us domesticated, very well-trained. We are taught to adopt behaviors and beliefs and ideologies that are contrary to our spiritual nature. These are simply beliefs, attitudes or perceptions of how life is that really don't have any basis. This is the reason why our society and our world is such a mess, because people believe reality to be a certain way. However, they don't really have any basis in experience of the consciousness.
Because we have different beliefs that conflict with reality, with our experiences, with each other, we suffer. This is because the egos of different people sing their psychological song. Everybody thinks that they are the victim. Simply look at different conflicts throughout the world where everyone, both sides of different issues, say that they are the victim, not the perpetrator. So they justify their behaviors, and likewise, we too justify everything we do. And this is the problem. We sing our songs articulately or inarticulately to ourselves. This is something that keeps us very asleep. So, it’s something to consider.
The Witnessing of Unity
What is the witnessing of unity? Some profound teachings from Ibn ‘Arabi, al-Sheikh al-Akbar, who is considered the greatest of Sufi teachers, he emphasizes some points that we have mentioned already, but which I'd like to emphasize here:
“One who makes seclusion their practice grasps the mystery of the Divine Unity (wahdāniyya). In terms of knowledges and mysteries, this brings to him the secrets of the Uniqueness (ahadiyya) insofar as it is a quality. The true spiritual state of seclusion, whether it be that of the seeker or the verifier, is to be transcendent of all attributes.” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So what is the uniqueness? This is الأحد al-ahad in Arabic, the unity. Or this is where we get the Shahadah, where we declare the unity of God:
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ
la ilaha Illallah Muhammadur rasulullah
There is no God but God and Muhammad is his Prophet
This is paralleled within the Jewish tradition by the Shema.
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד׃,
Shema Yisrael Iod-Havah Elohenu Iod-Havah Echad
Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One
…الأحد Ahad in Arabic or אֶחָֽד Echad in Hebrew, unity.
What does it mean when we are a verifier or seeker to experience the spiritual state of seclusion? It means to be transcendent of all attributes, meaning: egotistical qualities. We have to give up our identity as an ego. To experience the clarity of the Essence, we have to be selfless. Again, not from a state of dysphoria, of obscuration, of mental dullness, of confusion, but a state of awareness and attention and the identity of the consciousness.
Let us continue:
“The highest state of seclusion is retreat (khalwa), for it is a seclusion within seclusion, and its fruit is stronger than that of ordinary seclusion. One who makes seclusion his practice must have certainty regarding God, exalted is He, until he has no thought that will distract him and take him beyond the confines of his seclusion. If he lacks certainty, then let him prepare himself to be strong enough for seclusion, in order that his certainty may be strengthened by what is revealed to him in his seclusion.” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So we have talked previously about what certainty is: اليقين Al-Yaqin.
There are three forms of certainty within Islam or Sufism:
Knowledge of certainty means we understand the teachings and the scriptures, the doctrine, the wisdom, from the intellect. But the seeing of certainty has to do with when we experience these truths for ourselves, through personal, living knowledge, not through belief or from reading a book, from listening to a lecture, from reading a scripture. It is what we know through experience, through facts.
The truth of certainty has to do with when we really receive wisdom from God. We receive visions and insights from divinity that are indisputable, that are factual, without illusion, without question.
This is how we really make use of seclusion. We have to have certainty of the practices. Obviously, if we don't really understand what these teachings are about and we try to enter retreat, it can be very difficult; obviously, learning it for the first time. So we need to have some kind of development or understanding of the teaching so that we can really go deeper.
By understanding the science and the method of the practices of meditation, we have no thought that will distract us and take us beyond the confines of our seclusion. Meaning, we don't really get lost in the practices. If we lack certainty, then let us prepare ourselves to be strong enough, meaning, in this case, some meditation retreats practiced by the Sufis were very extensive, very long, very arduous, not really recommended for beginners. If you come to one of our retreats, you'll find that we have it pretty easy compared to many of the traditions, especially.
“There is no other way. This is one of the firm preconditions governing seclusion. Seclusion bequeaths knowledge of this world (dunyā).” ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed
So, we gain knowledge of the world, our ego, through meditation, as we have explained in relation to retrospection meditation especially.
So in synthesis, I'd like to relate to you and provide to you a resource: a retreat schedule that you can adopt. You don't have to use it strictly in this manner. It is simply a guideline that you can use, that you can modify at will to help really deepen your spiritual life.
It is divided into morning, noon, and evening practices―some simple time frames that you can use if you have the time and the energy and the dedication to do so.
If you look at these links, you'll find different books or practices, references, resources that you can study in relation to these exercises, whether from our own Gnostic Meditation course or Meditation Essentials, the Nordic Runes, working with energy, the seven vowels, recitations at dawn, specifically, when we invoke energies of divinity, of Christ, through mantralizing, performing prayers through the Nordic yoga. Also, there is time for lectures and scriptural study―free time, of course, but also sacred rites of rejuvenation, dream yoga, Jinn practices, etc. I won't go through all of this in detail, but you can use this resource to help you if you are willing.
Recommended Sources for Meditation and Spiritual Practices
Alchemy Techniques for Married Couples
Dream Yoga Exercises
Mantras and Prayers for Protection
Meditation Courses and Resources
Pranayama for Single Practitioners
Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation
So in synthesis, it is important to understand what seclusion is. To synthesize everything we have stated, the most important principle is that if you want any type of meditation or retreat to be effective for you, learn to cultivate a space of serenity and insight. This is something that you can only do through daily consistent discipline, moment to moment awareness.
I would like to open up the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: What does it mean to sacrifice our own sufferings if you want to transform ourselves?
Instructor: Oftentimes, our pain is self-chosen, to quote Khalil Gibran in his poem The Prophet. We like to waste energy. Oftentimes we have a problem in life, a situation, and it becomes very difficult to resolve. We don't see a solution. We see that we are in darkness. We have a lot of uncertainty, a lot of pain. But stewing in the filth of our mind, by letting ourselves boil in the heat of our own negative emotions, it is not going to resolve the problem. When you give your energy unnecessarily into wrong mental states, we deepen our suffering.
Instead, it is better to step away from the problem, to separate from it, to separate from the mind, to not give your energy to negative emotion, because in reality, negative emotions are very infectious. They make ourselves sick. They make other people sick.
So you have to consider that if you are very upset with a problem, it is not going to be easy to resolve it if your mind is clouded. Therefore, we must sacrifice our sufferings. Meaning, if you're in a lot of pain and you feel like you want to just vegetate, to vacillate, to not act in a situation, to not respond in any way, to not really introspect in yourself, it can be really useful to spend that time to practice.
Sometimes, if we are in a negative emotional state, it can be very difficult to meditate. Therefore, we could do something like runes, prayer, pranayama, walks in nature, some exercise to distract our mind from the problem, and we can learn to invest our attention in a worthy cause, which is the transformation of our pain.
When I have been in very difficult, moral, ethical suffering in relation to different problems in my life, I have deepened and intensified my practice. I remember I worked at one job that was very difficult. I had a very hard time transforming the negative emotions of my clients, and I was suffering a lot because I felt inadequate to really help them. So what I would do is, when I was in a lot of pain, I would do hours of runes. I mean literally, one to two hours, sometimes even more. I would really dedicate myself to spiritual practices so that I can stop or cease my own suffering. By providing good energy into my psyche, I was able to calm down and to face my problem with equity, with clarity. This is just one method we can use.
Use the practices in our tradition that can help you, whatever is going to resonate most with you that helps you ease your pain so that you can really focus on what's important. If there is something you can't change that you are suffering about, then why suffer about it? There is no solution. But if there is a solution, then you can act effectively to change it. This is how we sacrifice our pain, because pain is not necessary. We don't have to churn in the mud, so to speak.
Question: When I am doing a concentration imagination exercise, is it okay to mantralize at the same time to clear the mental chatter, like AUM?
Instructor: Yes, it takes some skill. You know, obviously a mantra like Aum is very useful for charging our psyche with good energy. Now, if you are concentrating on the mantra, that's really good. But also, you can visualize light and energy in your heart, especially. So those can go hand-in-hand.
There are different dynamics to different practices, different mantras. Some mantras are provided with certain visualization exercises. So I recommend that whatever practices you are doing that, you know, you really fulfill them with fidelity, whatever those stipulations are in the writings of Samael Aun Weor, but if you do the mantra AUM or OM, you can visualize light in your heart, concentrate on the vibration of that mantra.
So when you perform a mantra, it is not merely just saying or reciting some sounds, but it is concentrating on the energy. It is visualizing that force in you. It is developing your focus, your perception. It is a very dynamic thing.
Question: The next question is, I try to imagine my inner Father or my Monad as a tremendous light that descends from the heavens above. Is there a more accurate vision like the light descending from the crown of the head?
Instructor: There are different visualizations. The best visualization practice is going to be any state or experience you have had internally. For example, in many cases I have meditated on my Innermost, mantralizing while imagining my Being, remembering my inner God as I perceived Him in the astral plane, even beyond.
You can visualize the Father as a light in the heart. You can even visualize that energy descending from your crown to your body. In certain runes like the runes Tyr and Bar, work like that. You are invoking the Divine Father to enter your head as you are bringing your hands downward, mantralizing the vowels Tyr, and then Bar.
So different practices have different orientations, but the important thing is that follow your intuition, what you need to work with. You can imagine a light in your heart, the mantras like O or Om, etc., but also you can imagine the light descending from the crown of the head, especially with certain mantras like INRI or the practice with Ares, if you studied the book Practical Astrology [Editor's Note: See also the mantras INRI, ENRE, ONRO, UNRU, ANRA for developing the chakras].
Question: One of my biggest temptations has been my ego constantly pushing me astray when it comes to furthering and deepening my practices. What is the best way to supplicate the higher forces to help develop will? Sometimes, conjurations work well for me, but sometimes I feel that I fall and allow my intellect to remove me from it and I fall back again into not intensifying my work and developing my will.
Instructor: I find some of the best practices for developing willpower are the runes, especially the Rune Dorn. You can stand facing towards the east when facing the sunrise or early morning hours are good for this. Place your heels together, left hand on your left side, right hand on your right hip. Pray to your inner Being to grant you the will of Christ.
Do the mantras: TA TE TI TO U. You prolong them. Feel the vibration of those forces in you. Pray to your Divine Mother Kundalini and the Holy Spirit to empower your Essence so that it can fulfill the will of Christ.
Remember, in the story of Prophet Muhammad when Gabriel said, “Recite!” and Prophet Muhammad said, “I can’. I don't know basically how to read and write,” and Gabriel said again, “Recite!” and he says, “I do not know how,” and then the third time, Gabriel said, “Recite!” and then Prophet Muhammad said, “What shall I recite my Lord?” This is precisely a symbol of what you are talking about: how in the path we struggle to really fulfill divine will. We struggle in our practices. We feel that we are disconnected.
You can work at the Rune Dorn, especially. That is how we recite the word of divinity so that we can receive blessings from divinity above, from Gabriel, Gibur-Ra-El: our own Spirit.
You can work with the vowels or any of the seven runes, especially, for as long as you need. An hour or more if you need to. That is a very great way to energize your practice, to give you a lot of force to do other things as well, to meditate profoundly.
Question: Do you believe people can pull energy from one person to another?
Instructor: Personally, I don't believe that. It is something that I know from experience. We call those people witches, sorcerers, black magicians. They steal energy from people because they cannot create on their own. They reject the Holy Spirit, the creative power of divinity within sex. They don't learn how to cultivate their own energy, and because they are vampiric, they need to thrive off the psychic energy of others. And there are many ways that they steal vital energy from people. This is why we learn practices of conjurations and prayers to protect ourselves. You can study our lecture called Basics of Spiritual Defense on our website, especially the course Spiritual Self-Defense to learn how to protect yourself.
Question: Sometimes one feels strong when around worldly activities, such as dealing with problems and traffic, but sometimes it all seems unbearable and one feels an urgent need of solitude. Do you find this fluctuations to be normal on the path to total inner silence?
Instructor: Yes. Obviously, you have to gauge your own level of being and your needs. It can be very difficult to be around the cities for a long period of time or to be in difficult situations. This is why people enter retreat in different traditions. When we are depleted of our energy, we feel like we need to recharge. It is good to go out in nature and enter retreats or practice with like-minded people so that we can gain more force. So yes, there are periods in which it is very difficult to walk this path. It is very normal. The important thing is that we are consistent with our practices and that we can make sacrifices so that we can practice more effectively, but also get out of the world, or better said, get out of the hustle and bustle of our modern society.
Question: Thank you for this series of lectures on Sufism. Would you please introduce a few books that I can fundamentally learn more about Islam, Sufism, and contemplate and understand the link between Gnosis and Sufism? As a Muslim, I know that there is a root. All mysticism should direct to the same point. Any recommendations or suggestions would be helpful in this regard.
Instructor: So probably the best book to understand the heart of every single religious tradition is The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor. He explains some points in which the mysteries of alchemy and sexual magic that he teaches so openly, is represented within Islam and Sufism, especially. He makes some comments in certain chapters about the Muslim initiates, especially. That's the best book that I know of that really explains the secret key within every tradition, especially Islam and Sufism.
Once you know the writings of Samael Aun Weor very deeply, especially that book, as well as The Mystery of the Golden Flower, you can pick up Sufi manuals of retreat and spiritual practice and understand what they are talking about. Some Sufi texts that I really recommend besides the Qur’an, especially, are Revelation of the Mystery by Al-Hujwiri, Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri, and The Stations of the Sufi Path by Abdullah Ansari of Herat.
If you want, you can email us and we'll send you a link to those texts. But if you look at the PowerPoint presentations, the PDFs that we are going to upload to our website, you'll find that we have constant references to these three books, especially those three Sufi texts. They are Persian Sufism, the best of Sufism, especially. Samael Aun Weor states in The Perfect Matrimony that the best of Sufism comes from Persia. So it is a very deep statement. I recommend you study those texts, especially.
Question: I recently have been struggling with pranayama. When I do it for over five minutes, my body jitters. It feels very uncomfortable. Do you recommend walking for a while before pranayama?
Instructor: Yes. It could be really good to do that. You might want to get some exercise, especially, primarily because when you start to work with your creative energies, your whole chemistry changes, literally. Your body and processes fluctuate, change. Personally, since practicing transmutation, I have experienced many changes, even in my appetite, my ability to engage in heavy work, even manual labor―you know, getting a lot of strength from the creative impulse.
Sometimes, in the beginning, it can be very difficult to adapt to the vibrations of the sexual energy. They are very powerful. Sometimes with pranayama, we can feel very charged to the point that we become jittery, like you are drinking a very big cup of coffee or an espresso. So, I recommend do short practices. You know, get some physical exercise, especially. Maybe even walk in nature if you can. Ham-Sah is very good for when you are walking out in the middle of the woods, if you have the opportunity. I like to do that when I take a long hikes since it helps me to keep my body and blood circulating, but also circulate the energies as well. Or you can practice in more short spurts. If you feel that you are getting uncomfortable, take a break, but later jump back into the practice so that you can acculturate your body. Learn to make your body adapt to that inward and upward flow of force.
Question: Also, this person said that I feel the energy to be overwhelming. Do you recommend cutting down on meat?
Instructor: Yes, if you find that you have too much fire (the Tattva Tejas from The Panchatattva Ritual) and it is difficult to control, cut down on meat. Limit your meat intake. Sometimes a change in diet can help with that.
Question: When you are in a state of remembrance of the Being, do you put your attention on your heart, breath, or imagine something?
Instructor: Remembrance is a very profound and beautiful quality that is very dynamic. This is something that we are going to dedicate an entire lecture to in this course within the coming weeks.
When you are remembering your Being, when you are self-observing yourself throughout the day, you should be aware of your pineal gland, especially. This is the seat of the soul. This is where we look out into our external world, but also our internal world.
Remembrance of the Being is also a quality of the heart. You are observing from your third eye or the pineal gland, especially, introspecting within and perceiving within your internal states in relation to external events. So you are perceiving through the senses, but also you are exercising your internal senses, your psychological sense of understanding thought, feeling, and will.
Remembrance, more importantly, is a quality of your superior emotional center, and this has to do with emotions that are very subtle and pure. Obviously, in the beginning we struggle to understand or taste that state, but is something that you can learn to cultivate by doing pranayama, working with breath, in which your body settles. Your mind settles. Your imagination clarifies.
You can sit down in your practice of visualization, but also mantra, pranayama. You are concentrating on your breath and you are visualizing the energy flowing in you. In this way, you are remembering your Being. You are becoming aware of the energies of God in you and how they flow inside. So this is dynamic. This is a very integral process.
We sometimes teach these practices in different ways because people have different needs and also because the capacity of the consciousness is very broad and spatial. It is vast. When you get adept at imagination exercises and remembrance of divinity, you can learn to focus on your breath, your heart, your third eye, and your body at the same time. But in the beginning, it could be good to focus on one or the other, so that you have enough stable concentration to focus.
Sometimes focusing on the breath is enough. It is very easy to do that with practice and it is difficult in the beginning because we haven't been trained yet. So whatever exercise you adopt for concentration, it could be very good to simply focus on your breathing with pranayama or do an imagination exercise such as the candle, or mantralize the vowel O. Be aware of your breath, but also imagine a light in your heart. These are all states of remembrance.
When you are really focused, when you are really in prayer, you are obviously going to be engaging different practices throughout the day, but the most consistent practice in the state of remembrance is self-observation, self-remembrance. You do that by focusing on your pineal gland, but also learning to respond to life ethically. Remember your heart, your conscience.
Question: Regarding laziness, I sometimes feel I have so much energy to practice, to read, to contemplate, etc., etc., but some other time it happens that I have not much energy to do the practices, although deep inside I feel so much need to practice meditation. What is your opinion about this so much back and forth?
Instructor: It is the ego, the resistance of the mind. Our desires know that their life is threatened through this spiritual work, and so we face resistance of the mind. We know what is best. We know what we need to do. We feel the inquietude in our heart to practice deeply. However, because the ego knows that through these exercises it is going to be eliminated, it fights. We feel laziness. We feel depleted. We don't feel enthusiastic. We feel uninspired, etc. That is because the mind. Our own inner satan knows that its life is threatened. And so it challenges us at every step.
The solution is to comprehend where that laziness is coming from. Look within to see where it is in you and what activities your mind avoids. Sometimes not being inspired has to do with a lack of energy. This is why I like to do runes, especially. They give you a lot of force, a lot of power. They can push you to really meditate deeply, which is why we emphasize those practices again and again in this course, but also especially in our resources in this lecture, especially. You know, sometimes the way to resolve the problem is to put more fuel in your car. If you want to drive to a certain destination, you got to fuel up. You do that with working with the creative energies. That is how you are going to have the strength necessary to overcome obstacles.
Question: Must all runes be performed with a specific accompanying physical posture or can vocalizations be made like mantras while seated in a meditation posture?
Instructor: There are certain mantras that you can do on your own when you are seated, but the real benefit of the runes is that they are engaging forces in nature as a result of our physical position. They are a form of yoga, and when combined with prayer, concentration, awareness, attention, and remembrance, we learn to cultivate energy in our body, in our mind and heart.
Question: Also, where can I find the best description or perhaps video instruction about the runic postures and mantras? And also I am finding the runes that are paired with others?
Instructor: There is a video on Glorian Publishing’s website that show the seven vowels, especially. That is one of the primary practices we do, but perhaps in the future we will have other instructional videos that teach how to do all the runes. That would be something very useful for people, I think. The best way to perform the runes is as described in The Magic of the Runes by Samael Aun Weor. That book explains how the runes are paired, which practice has to do with what, and how to do them in very clear and simple directions.
All religions and mystical traditions that teach meditation always emphasize the need for a very difficult principle: renunciation. However, like striving or holy war within Middle Eastern mysticism, renunciation is very misunderstood.
Renunciation is typically recognized as giving up material possessions, abandoning society, in order to pursue a life of spirituality, seclusion, introspection, inner peace. In the Gnostic tradition we are very different, distinct, when we use this term. We emphasize that true renunciation is a psychological attitude. It is non-attachment, regardless of one’s material possessions, one’s external life. The truth is we can be physically very wealthy, and yet be true renunciates, or extremely poor and very attached to this world.
Renunciation is a state of being. It means to be perfectly sealed within oneself, to not waste any energy of the psyche, and this is really important when we talk about the principles of meditation, specifically because in the path of striving, we are learning to concentrate, to focus our will, our attention, to remember the presence of divinity at all times, without exception. It is impossible to do this if we do not give up bad behaviors, activities that drain us, attitudes and desires that create conflict, agitation, impatience, and a lack of presence with where we are at and what we are doing.
We have to save energy, and this is really important, this is essential. There are many people who practice meditation, but who do not renounce behaviors and activities that produce pain. When we invest ourselves into anger, into resentment, into pride, and especially lust, we basically have no energy left to experience reality, the Truth within ourselves. It is impossible to experience the divine, al-Haqq, the Truth, our Innermost Being, the divine, if our mind is afflicted with cravings, with desires, with attachments.
All of this obscures our perception. These are conditions of mind we have been emphasizing again and again. This is the lower soul, نَفْس nafs, which in the Gnostic tradition we denominate ego, or egos, that multiplicity of conflicting and contradictory desires and selves which all strive for dominance in our interior. So long as we do not renounce negative thinking, negative emotions, which are so problematic for humanity, and negative actions, we cannot know the Truth, and this is precisely what we want in Gnosis.
In any mystical tradition, we want to know divinity to have experiences, to know the truth of heavens, hells, the soul, of God, of masters, angels, prophets, Elohim, gods, buddhas, whatever we want to call those beings who were once like us, who in reality reached those heights of attainment because they renounced the ego, the self, conditioned psyche. Those beings are perfect, but the reality is that they were once like us, and we have that potential to be a pure perfect expression of God, to really know divinity from personal experience, not from belief, not from accepting a dogma, but from facts, from witnessing the truth within oneself, one’s experience, one’s consciousness.
How do we know that desire leads to suffering and that this is the reason why people do not have any knowledge of the Innermost, of God, of the Being, of الله Allah, whatever name we want to give to our divine source? The reality is that people spend their entire life chasing after desire. We are told by society to fulfill our passions. And it is interesting, we think that following our dreams, our passions, is what will lead us to a plateau of eternal happiness, a vague and amorphous heaven that has no grounds in experience. If we spend our lives chasing after passions and desires, which is really egotistical, if we are serious and analyze our own psyche, we find that these elements do not produce any type of cohesion, integrity, and divine knowledge.
The word passion, even in the literal sense, can refer to the Passion of Christ or the Master Aberamentho within the Gnostic tradition. Really the term passion means “suffering.” So when people tell us follow your passions, follow your desires, follow your dreams, we are really telling each other to be hypnotized, because most of our desires, behaviors, internal states, are conditioned, are negative, and we know this from the writings of Samael Aun Weor especially.
We are ninety seven percent ego, afflicted with problems, with pain. All of that has to be renounced if we really want to enter religion, but people do not want to give up greed, backbiting, envy, and especially lust, sexual craving, attachment to sensations that do not last. People chase after desires their entire life without really knowing why, nor realizing that to suffer in the acquisition of wealth is to suffer under the fear of losing it.
Our society is based upon accumulation of everything: sensations, alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, sarcasm, amusement. This is why the Qur’an teaches that really, the life of this world is transient and has no real basis in spirituality, and if we are honest we see that most of our behaviors are precisely this. We crave something. We work to get it and if we get what we want, we suffer because we are afraid we can lose it, perhaps that job, that career, that spouse, that we fought so hard to achieve. Even Jesus said this truth in the book of Mark 8:36:
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” —Mark 8:36
We can pursue a life of materialism, of wealth, of worldliness, of being successful in society, but if that is all we are focused on, if that is our internal quality of being, it means we have a very superficial life. Even Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is vain. It is empty of any profound significance, and if anyone studies religion or meditation, it is because they want to know something more. This is why we study the principles of meditation so that we can know the truth for ourselves, to have a life that is vibrant and filled with happiness and compassion for others, of contentment, because we know divinity and experienced the Truth.
The Truth is a form of bliss and treasure that is wealthy to the soul, but that can only be obtained when we give up our psychology, our psychological attachments, a craving for this or that, the constant churning of the mind, the agitation of the mind that only wants to accumulate sensations and impressions and to go to the grave.
Real wealth is spiritual. It is internal. These have to do with qualities of consciousness like altruism, which binds communities together, with selfless love, conscious love even for one’s worst enemies and persecutors; patience under ordeals and hardships that are excruciating and incomprehensible. Real virtue is the foundation of a spiritual existence, of being. You cannot experience the virtues of the Essence, the soul, the consciousness, if we do not remove the impurities, if we do not abandon activities and behaviors that take the energy of the consciousness and squander it. This is why we study ethics in the beginning of any meditative science, especially within Sufism and Gnosticism. This is why Jesus also taught in the book of Matthew 6:19-21:
19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” —Matthew 6:19-21
People can steal your possessions, can burn your home to the ground, can take your family away, can imprison you, can humiliate you, can cause you physical harm, and yet nobody can take your virtue away from you but yourself. Virtue is like a shield that protects us from many bad situations. But of course, divinity guides the process by which we learn by facing hardships. This is why we studied the path of striving in the former lecture. But with renunciation we are learning to deepen our effort, our willpower, our work so that we are very defined, very precise in our practice and our intentions, in our actions.
No one can steal away from you your consciousness. Only we can give away our soul by giving into behaviors and activities that create pain. We are responsible for our own psyche. No one else is responsible for why we suffer. If we had no ego, we would be an angel. We would be perfected in bliss. But the reality is we invest our identity too much within a multiplicity of desires, and this is why we suffer: we are conflicted, we are split.
Whatever you treasure, whatever you value most, that is where your heart will be. If your satisfaction is based on material things, when you lose them you will suffer. This is the fundamental law of causality. But if we place our value in divine states, in mercy, forgiveness that is based upon conscience, knowledge of the law, the law of divinity, شريعة Shari’ah, then we will have happiness even if situations outside are very arduous, difficult.
There is nothing worse in terms of suffering than a wounded conscience. Even Friedrich Nietzsche stated in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra that “the bite of conscience teaches men to bite.” Really, if we fulfill the law within ourselves of divinity, of ethics, conscience, judgment, الْدِّين al-Din, “the religion” in Arabic or גבורה Geburah in Kabbalah, the justice of the divine, we will march upon the path of intuition, success, knowing how to navigate the reality of life without confusion, without unnecessary pain.
The Being is a true treasure. Knowledge of divinity from experience is to possess the greatest gift that one could ever possess in life, which is why the Hadith Qudsi states the following:
Allah says, “I was a hidden treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created a creation (mankind), then made Myself known to them, and they recognized Me.” ―Hadith Qudsi
Spiritual poverty in this lecture means to be a beggar of the spirit, to really recognize that we lack the qualities we admire so much in masters like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, Samael Aun Weor. We are really destitute, if we are honest. We have a lot of conflict, and pain, and sorrows and afflictions, and this is why we are interested in spirituality, because we want a solution, how to rectify our own errors to cease suffering. This means one has to become like a beggar, really yearning for the truth, aspiring for knowledge with that longing like a fire that burns, even with pain, but it is the fire that gives us light in our daily states, the inquietudes of our own soul that long to return to the Being. Jesus said in the book of Matthew 5:3:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 5:3
This is from the Beatitudes. Now I think some of the translations given in the Bible are very inaccurate, as with many scriptures. “Poor in spirit,” in Greek is πτωχός ptōxós. It means: “to crouch or cower like a beggar.” It is a “descriptive quality of begging, to be bent over, to be deeply destitute in a figurative sense.” Really this verse should say:
“Blessed are the beggars in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” —Matthew 5:3
We have to recognize that our life really does not have much value if we do not know divinity, and this is a type of sincerity and honesty one has to come to in relation to one’s own experiences, otherwise one is not going to be interested in wanting to change. Jesus in this statement was pointing out a very profound teaching: that we need the psychological attitude of receptivity, of striving, of yearning, to receive from the Being and know from the Being, to receive the Spirit from mystical experiences like astral projections, out of body experiences, awakening in the dream state, as we have come back to many times in this course. This is why Homer taught:
“It is better to be a beggar on Earth than a king in the empire of shadows.” —Homer
We are in this world begging for wisdom. It is better to be a beggar in this spiritual path than to have all of the wealth, materially, physically like many other people in society who really are just demons, people with power, influence, but through egotism. It is better to be a beggar of the spirit, because the real treasure is in the soul, not in the external world.
This is the seminal pearl that the merchant of the biblical parable sought to acquire by selling all of his goods, so that he could really enter heaven. This is not a literal story. It reflects a psychological truth, a fundamental shift in our attitude.
Do we practice meditation sometimes?
Do we spend our time in superfluous activities?
How much of our time and energy our will, our actions, our activities, our behaviors are really invested in spiritual things?
Do we study a little bit, practice a little bit, but the rest of our day indulge in hatred, pride, vanity?
How much are we willing to really give up, to direct towards spiritual practice, to really achieve wisdom, the happiness and freedom of the soul we long for?
These are some questions we will come back to, that we will analyze and reflect upon.
Rumi summed up these principles very deeply:
“When you enter the world of poverty and practice it, God bestows upon you kingdoms and worlds that you never imagined. You become ashamed of what you longed for and desired at first.” —Rumi
Piscean and Aquarian Spirituality: Renouncing Distractions
So some people feel that if they renounce certain behaviors and activities that they will have nothing, but the reality is that the kingdom of the soul is so vast and incomprehensible, the states of the Being in our experience are infinite. The Truth is infinite, is “the unknown from moment to moment,” says Samael Aun Weor. Therefore, if we give up our conditioned cage and have the courage to step out of prison, we can know that liberation for ourselves.
It is often documented how people who have been in prison for a long time are afraid of leaving because they do not know anyone else. The same is true of our psychological state, but renunciation is precisely having the courage and the will to give up mistaken psychological states.
So, what is a worldly life? Typically, people define this as having a job, or a career, going to school, having friends, indulging in entertainment, travelling, watching television shows, going to religious services, etc. It was necessary in the past within the spiritual evolutionary arc of humanity to abandon society, to focus exclusively within. This was known astrologically as the Piscean era.
It was the abandonment of the world for the sake of inner development. This is a conservative influence that sought to conserve the best values for the sake of the individual. So people who wanted to know this knowledge had to find a school of initiation and prove themselves over many years before they would be admitted. That knowledge was only given by teacher to student—very conservative, based off of lineages, hierarchies, and tests.
We are now in the Era of Aquarius, an Aquarian spirituality. This has to do with the immersion of the individual within society for the sake of spiritual development of self and other, specifically through expedient methods. Aquarius is symbolized by the Water Bearer, the water carrier. This has to do with how this mystical knowledge is now public. It is now available to everybody without exception.
It is not necessary today to live in a khanqah or خانقاه khaniqah (Persian), a Sufi retreat lodge or center, to go to a temple, a monastery, a place of refuge, away from the world, because the esoteric knowledge of the transformation of the self is now completely available to everyone, to the public. Most meditative traditions today are still very Piscean, conservative, especially the Sufis. This greatest knowledge is kept secret by a guru, a master, a teacher, a sheikh, until the student has passed even decades of tests to prove their candidacy.
The Era of Aquarius began in the 1960’s and was initiated by the writings of Samael Aun Weor. This is very significant. We use his writings specifically because they are very clear. They provide a practical basis of understanding and applying the principles of meditation and religion. We use this, his teachings, for their pragmatism, their practicality, and their lucidity, as compared to many Piscean writings that are very cryptic. However, as you have noticed, we use a lot of the different scriptures and teachings from the past, the Piscean knowledge, explaining it through the mysticism of the Aquarian Era.
We know both teachings. They are really one science given in two different ways: one conservative and one liberated, free to the public. In the Era of Pisces, renunciation had to do with people abandoning their home, their life, their job, to live in solitude, to practice austerities. And if you are familiar with Sufism, a lot of the great Sufi masters lived that life precisely. They were very renowned for their life of renunciation, giving up many distractions, activities, and things that really did not have any importance.
In the Aquarian Era, renunciation is life in the world, but to not be of it. This is very profound and very distinct. It is much more difficult than leaving one’s country or leaving one’s home city to go live in the mountains of Tibet to meditate. Renunciation in the Aquarian Era is much more profound and radical. It is also completely transformative and expansive, because the wisdom we can acquire from living in society while renouncing the ego will provide much more lasting and penetrative wisdom.
We find the fuel and food for meditation in our daily life. This is very well known in the Fourth Way School of Ouspensky. We do not have to live the life of a monk or a yogi, a fakir sleeping in the wilderness on a bed of nails, but we can learn to develop the best qualities of those paths in balance. This is known as the Fourth Way. This is the Gnostic path. It is much harder to work in this way upon ourselves, but the results are going to be much more solid, stable.
Anybody can abandon the world and gain a lot of abilities: concentration, clarity of mind, focus, perception, imaginative knowledge, inner experiences. They can do so by attending a monastery and dedicating themselves to practice, for a period of time, sometimes months or years in certain traditions. However, the reality is that when these people return to the world after being away from society, its chaos, its energy, its density, they become distracted again. Many people have related how after a meditation retreat, they come back to the cities and they feel like they lost all their development. It is because it is very difficult to develop consistent willpower when we are surrounded by so much distractions, so many impressions of life that really pull us in a lot of directions, keep us very fractured in our attention. This is why many people become confused again. They feel lost especially after having attended a retreat.
Therefore, Aquarian spirituality is definitive. If you can learn to meditate in the big cities, on a train, on a noisy bus, in an apartment where your next door neighbor is blasting music, if you learn to help humanity and annihilate your ego under those pressures, your spirituality is going to be much more robust, very flexible, very firm, strong, like a well-tempered sword.
Sadly, though, despite the fact that we have this knowledge, we have a lot of leisure time, in the West especially, we waste much of our time and energy and our enthusiasm in things that really do not have much value.
We are really in an era of information, as symbolized by the Water Carrier. This knowledge has been catalyzed through the internet, through multimedia, by film, by technology, but sadly, while there is this knowledge, there is also a lot of knowledge that does not produce real fruit. As much as we are in an era of information, we are also in an era of misinformation, and so we can be very attracted to spirituality, but we use our time poorly, whether too much internet, television, entertainment shows, Facebook even, social media. Some people spend hours playing games and which really do not develop any type of comprehension in our soul. They are really distractions.
The reality is that as much as we may want to practice Gnosis, because we invest our energy in activities that waste energy, when it comes time to meditate, we feel too tired, strained, or overwhelmed, or we feel incapable, and it is because we did it to ourselves. Real renunciation is giving up that which diverts us from spirituality in every instant of our life.
We do not have to give up our job, to travel to Nepal, to go to the East to visit a mosque or a masjid or temple and to travel to Jerusalem, the holy city, to find ourselves and find God. The reality is that we have to find divinity in our daily life, amongst the most mundane and difficult circumstances. And so the Qur’an as a scripture of very profound wisdom elaborates some beautiful points in relation to what we have just stated:
“And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah, so will you not reason?” —Al-An’am 32
“Whoever desires the reward of this world—then with Allah is the reward of this world and the Hereafter. And ever is Allah Hearing and Seeing.” —An-Nisa 134
The reality is that when we live in balance and harmony within our three brains, our intellect, our emotions, and our motor-instinctive-sexual actions, divinity will provide for us. This is scripturally emphasized in the Qur’an such as surah 6 verse 160:
“Whoever brings a good deed will get a tenfold reward for it.” —Al-An'am 160
Or from surah 57 verse 11:
“Who would give Allah a handsome loan so that He may give him a manifold reward?” —Al-Ḥadīd 11
Through living with wisdom, we can create a life of spiritual and material wealth, of bounty. There are really two parts of the spiritual equation:
1. Knowing how to live in this world, fulfill our responsibilities and
2. To do so with conscious ethics.
One without the other does not work. You need both. When we become spiritual and use our wealth for the sake of spirituality, to use our time and energy and abilities in a conscious way, we receive a lot of help from divinity. We become spiritual when we use our wealth for the sake of our spirituality, and it is not the other way around. Nothing wrong with having possessions, yet there is something wrong if we simply are possessed by materialism, when this is all we think about and do.
Renunciation on the Tree of Life
We study the Tree of Life to understand what renunciation is, where we came from, where we are, and where we are going.
So renunciation is predicated on the former station, especially repentance. Repentance relates to the Ninth Sphere, as we have related the ninth surah of the Qur’an, Tawbah, or ٱلتَّوْبَة al-Tawbah, “the Return,” or the repentance relating to יסוד Yesod. In Hebrew this is the foundation. This is the work with the creative sexual energy.
Repentance is the Ninth Sphere. We really show remorse and sincerity in our work when we are working effectively with our creative energies, the force of life, spiritually and physically in us.
Renunciation relates to מלכות Malkuth. מלכות Malkuth means “Kingdom” in Hebrew. It is the physical body, our physicality. The path of striving is a bridge from מלכות Malkuth, our physical body, to יסוד Yesod, our creative, vital, sexual energies, even to תפארת Tiphereth, the sphere of beauty, beautiful action, the human consciousness, willpower, the soul.
Notice how we ascend this Tree of Life, we enter spheres, aspects of reality that are more subtle. They have materiality and energy, consciousness even, but at more subtle levels of experience. From the top to the bottom we have the most rarified, simplified, and pure, relating to divine states. And when that force of divinity descends, down this graphic, it becomes material, dense, and more manifest.
We are in מלכות Malkuth the physical world, the physical body, and יסוד Yesod, we sometimes denominate the vital body, the vital energies, the chi within holistic Eastern medicine, such as Chinese acupuncture and many other sciences that study the vital energies that permeate and saturate our physical body. The fourth dimension is יסוד Yesod. Our energies reside in a different level of nature.
Above that we have הוד Hod and נצח Netzach, meaning “Splendor” and “Victory” in Hebrew. This is the fifth dimension. This is where we go to dream. This is a reality, a dimension, in which we have actual experience. It is a real state and quality of perception. It is a real place outside of the physical body. It is the world of emotions and thought. Even though physically we cannot see thoughts or emotions, we sense them. This is הוד Hod and נצח Netzach at our level, in this physical body, in this physical existence. But when we go to sleep at night, the physical body rests and the Essence, the soul with our thoughts and feelings, our will, enters those dimensions.
The problem is that we are unconscious. We do not have any knowledge or remembrance of those states. We may have some dreams here and there in the beginning, but we do not really remember what we were doing within those states. This is why within the Greek tradition, Hypnos and Thanatos, sleep and death, were brothers. If you want to know how conscious you will be when you die, examine those hours when you go to sleep. This is the meaning of the Greek teaching. And the Qur’an also emphasizes many beautiful teachings about how Allah takes the souls of the disciples at night and returns them to the body at a term appointed, a direct reference to how we enter those states although unconscious (Qur’an 6:59-60; 39:42).
This has to become a conscious experience, to awaken in those dreams, to stop dreaming. We do so by learning to be awake in the physical world, vigilant as a consciousness, working with our energies, יסוד Yesod, and learning to observe our thoughts and feelings and impulses to act without investing our energies into negative thinking, negative feeling, and negative action, the ego.
תפארת Tiphereth is the sphere of willpower, we have mentioned many times. It is the beauty of the soul. It is beautiful action. It is the power of the Essence that is developed. It is concentration. It is the will of God when it obeys the higher five סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth, a Hebrew term for “emanations.” גבורה Geburah is “Justice,” the law, شريعة Shari’ah, the conscience of our soul, the divine soul, الْدِّين al-Din, the religion. It is the law, that which tells us what is right and what is wrong in our heart. And usually with our willpower we either obey it or ignore it. In most people we tend to ignore our deepest inquietudes of a spiritual nature and follow our thoughts our thoughts: נצח Netzach, our feelings: הוד Hod, or our instincts within יסוד Yesod or even the physical body.
In order to overcome suffering, we have to learn to follow our conscience, inner judgment, which knows how to act in life with comprehension and ethics. This really has to do with our consciousness, גבורה Geburah.
Beyond that is חֶסֶד Chesed in Hebrew meaning “Mercy.” The Bible refers to חֶסֶד Chesed, the Spirit, as the רוח אלהים Ruach Elohim, the spirit of God that floated upon the face of the waters of existence in order to create life. This is in the book of Genesis. In Arabic, حيم Rahim, or ٱلرَّحِيمِ al-Rahim, is “the Merciful,” is the spirit of God, compassion, divine love.
Above that we have a trinity representative of three forces that expresses one light: כֶּתֶר Kether, the “Crown,” חָכְמָה Chokmah, “Wisdom,” and בִּינָה Binah, “Intelligence.” These are not three people, but intelligences and forces within our interior. This force is known as Christ amongst the Gnostics, or Father, Son, Holy Spirit. It is the light of Allah, the unity.
The problem and division amongst Muslims and Christians has to do with the misunderstanding of this point. Kabbalah clears away the confusion. The Christians are wrong that the trinity is three people as one God. These are not anthropomorphic figures in the clouds. These are forces, principles, archetypes, blueprints for the creation of any existence. These are very rarified and beautiful divine states. This is why in Islam, in that tradition, God cannot be depicted in any form because divinity is formless. These three forces are formless. They are intelligences, principles.
Above that we have the Absolute from which that light emanates, the Nothing, “the No,” الله Allah in Arabic, the negation of all manifested existence. It is the potentiality of every created thing that rests until activated, until it enters manifestation, which is the Tree of Life.
Why study the Tree of Life in relation to renunciation? Because the whole point of spirituality is to renounce lower states of being in order to achieve higher states as mapped out by this graphic, especially the two wings on the sides of the two pillars of the left and the right. It is the wings of pleroma amongst the Gnostics, the entrance into heavenly states.
The physical body and the etheric, vital, creative body of יסוד Yesod are really two aspects of the same thing. They penetrate each other. Likewise, with the other סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth. These spheres are not in some vertical point in space, but exist in us here and now within our experience.
When you sit to practice meditation, you may find that the body is agitated. Your energies are active, flowing within you. This is יסוד Yesod in מלכות Malkuth.
We could be surging with emotion, which is הוד Hod.
Our mind can be racing, that is נצח Netzach.
And our willpower is weak and unable to concentrate on one thing, and that is תפארת Tiphereth.
The path of striving teaches us how to overcome נצח Netzach, the mind, הוד Hod, the emotions, יסוד Yesod, our instincts, and מלכות Malkuth, the body.
Perfect concentration, striving in the path has to do with reaching תפארת Tiphereth. Our willpower is never distracted by anything, not by thoughts, feelings, desires, at all. And it also does not take any effort when it is perfected. This is תפארת Tiphereth, the beauty of the human soul.
Concentration is important: the ability to focus on an object serenely and clearly—with concentration, without being distracted by anything. This is fundamental. We do this by learning to renounce wrong ways of thinking, wrong ways of feeling, and desires.
So the principles of renunciation integrate with striving and repentance. These are different aspects of the same thing. We are studying these principles, separately, but also together because they can give us a lot of insight into where we are at.
If you sit to practice meditation and you find your mind is all over the place, your emotions are surging, your energies are depleted, you are going to find that it is very difficult to concentrate at all. This is why we renounce lustful actions, especially fornication, or known as the orgasm, because that energy which can be given to the soul is wasted, expelled for a few moments of pleasure or sensations. We explain this in synthesis in the lecture on repentance.
With renunciation, we learn to give up lower states of being to achieve higher ones. As Samael Aun Weor stated throughout his writings, “We must become what we are not.” We have to learn to renounce egotistical consciousness in order to obtain liberated consciousness. The best way to do this is by working with the creative energy יסוד Yesod, the foundation. Notice that it is the center of this glyph. It is the middle pillar, the pillar of equilibrium. You will obtain the greatest solidity and focus in your practices by working with your creative sexual energy, without exception. It is the waters of renunciation. As Samael Aun Weor stated in The Aquarian Message:
“Whosoever wants to die in the Lord must wash their feet in the waters of renunciation.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
This is very beautiful, very profound. By learning to renounce animal sexuality, we adopt human and divine sexuality, which means that the creative sexual impulse is never expelled. It is the energy of bliss, of עֵדֶן Eden, and we can learn to cultivate that whether we are single or married.
Notice that renunciation does not have to do with becoming celibate, living in a monastery and avoiding any kind of sexual temptations. Most people who enter monasteries and try to control the sexual energy, but return to society, lose their stability, their balance, because those impressions are the most difficult to control, and yet it is the entrance to renunciation. We have to learn to renounce animal passion. The Sufis beautifully explained this many times in their writings, that desire is the origin of suffering and that it is شَيْطَان Shaitan, שָּׂטָן Satan in Hebrew, the adversary or el-Nafsu-l-Ammara, the lower animal soul that inclines to evil.
Evil has to do not with a moral sense of indignation, but impure states of the ego which produce suffering. If you really want to enter the path of meditation, calming the body (מלכות Malkuth), equalizing the heart and its emotions (הוד Hod), stabilizing and calming the mind (נצח Netzach), we need willpower that knows how to use this sexual energy. It is the power of life. You can create a god within you, divinity within you, the truth, when your willpower knows how to direct יסוד Yesod up, especially within the spinal column.
So this Tree of Life maps out the body as well. We have three trinities which relate to our three brains. The top trinity with our head, the middle trinity with our heart, and a lower trinity with our sexuality. And מלכות Malkuth can relate to our feet. Our spine has energetic currents that raise the creative impulse up to our mind and then to our heart to produce the wings of the angels, the masters.
To become a master means to master everything about our psychology, including the sexual impulse. If we do not do that, if we ignore sexuality, if we try to justify it or repress it, that energy will act, but in subversive and destructive ways. It is better to learn how to understand one's impulses and to redirect them with intelligence, with wisdom, with the supremacy of the divine, the will of divinity in us.
An Astral Experience of Renunciation
This quote reminds me of an experience I had many years ago that I hope will be very useful for you.
“Whosoever wants to die in the Lord (to die in one’s ego) must wash their feet in the waters of renunciation.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
I remember in the astral plane, a long time ago, I awoke and was exploring the backyard at my old home. I was being followed by an entity that I knew was a witch, a practitioner of black magic, a demon: a being that has awakened powers within desire, within ego. This person had disguised herself as a sibling of mine that I have in the physical world, and was spying on me and trying to get close.
When this being got close to me in this astral world known as הוד Hod in the Tree of Life, I decided to defend myself to make this being reveal her true form. We do this through prayers and conjurations, exercises that invoke divinity in order to make whatever entity we confront, to vibrate with the higher dimensions or סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. So I was performing a conjuration, “In the name of Jupiter, Father of all the gods, I conjure you!”—with the mantras “Te Vigos Cosilim!” I covered my solar plexus with my left hand and extended my right hand outward and the form of the pentagram, and I saw a spark of energy emerge and shoot out, which, when it touched this entity, this witch, suddenly I was surrounded by a group of sorcerers.
It was about four of them, mostly female disciples. One of them was a huge witch. She was a giant figure who stood in the circle with me and grabbed me by my solar plexus and lifted me up in the air. And of course, we know that if we don't protect our solar plexus, we can be disabled in the dream state. The solar plexus is where we store our creative energy. It is like a battery, and if you are exposed in that way, you can be disabled or drained. This master of the Black Lodge did not steal my energy, but merely incapacitated me. I remember looking at this group and they were studying me. I felt a lot of sorrow when looking at the eyes of this hierarch of the Black Lodge, a very awakened witch, which if you look at the eyes of these entities in the astral plane, you can see the depths of קְלִיפּוֹת Klipoth, which if you look at this Tree of Life, has to do with the nine inverted סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth beneath מלכות Malkuth, the hell realms. I could see the darkness of her state, a very profound painful, impure quality, but very awake, very alert—alert as a demon. I felt a lot of sorrow for this being before me and for this group for feeling proud that they had incapacitated me.
The only thing I could do was speak to them. I said, firmly, and with strength, “Get thee hence! Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and only Him shalt thou serve!”—from Matthew 4:10. When reprimanding this master of the Black Lodge, I saw, within the depths of her abysmal psyche, a pang of remorse, so lost and smothered within the cage of her ego, to which she hissed at me vehemently like a gigantic and fierce cougar.
I remember, after speaking with them briefly, this witch set me down and let me walk away. And I remember looking back as I was walking across the neighbor's property in the astral plane, seeing this group of witches rejoicing, feeling that they had accomplished some kind of victory. Feeling a lot of sorrow and pain in my heart, I suddenly realized what I needed to do. I looked up to the sky and I invoked, “In the name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the Majesty of Christ! Venerable Master Samael Aun Weor.” Every time I called out to Christ, a divine bell, beautifully imitated within the cathedrals and churches of the physical world, resounded with its metallic power throughout the infinite. And I remember those witches suddenly disappeared. They were gone. They vanished into the underworld from my sight, and Samael Aun Weor was standing close to where they were previously, this group of witches.
He looked at me with a lot of compassion and gestured for me to walk over to him. He said, “Come quickly!” I approached him flying that short distance to reach his proximity and he showed me on the ground a pool of pristine beautiful water and two children washing their feet in those waters. I soon awoke and after meditating for many years on this experience, I have comprehended again and again this statement from The Aquarian Message:
“Whosoever wants to die in the Lord must wash their feet in the waters of renunciation.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Unfortunately, like many of us in the Gnostic movement, I have ties to the Black Lodge that I am working to remove, to comprehend, to overcome. It is a very painful process, to recognize that we have those defects of perdition, of witchcraft or sorcery. It is very rare to find someone in the movement who does not have this. But the symbol is very interesting: two children washing their feet in beautiful waters—to renounce.
We have to learn to renounce the ego, whatever ego is really defined by our most negative qualities. We do so by purifying our consciousness, by becoming like children, innocent—giving up states and qualities that are detrimental to ourselves and others. The way that we do so is through meditating. Conserve your energy. Work with יסוד Yesod, because the waters of יסוד Yesod are precisely the energy that will give you the capacity to change.
When you work with pranayama, with Ham Sah, with alchemy, certain runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, etc., we learn to purify our psyche. Everything in this Tree of Life gravitates towards יסוד Yesod. There would be no Tree of Life without the sexual energy, without the foundation of our spiritual temple. You cannot balance your heart and emotions, your mental states, or even relax your body well if you are not working with these waters, daily.
So that experience really humbled me. It showed me what I needed to do. Those are the same waters, really, cited in stories like The Wizard of Oz, even, in its symbolic folklore. In such childhood tales of the Wicked Witch of the West being disintegrated by the waters of renunciation, in order to liberate, in that story, in a symbolic way, the Winkies: the winged monkeys that are a symbol of the desires that have trapped our soul in hell. You liberate your consciousness by working with this force. It is the force of purity. It is the force of ablution within Islam.
Muslims, before they perform prayer, wash their hands, their face, parts of their body, in order to be suitable for prayer and remembrance of divinity. Ablution (Arabic الوضوء al-wudu) really has to do with working with the sexual energy in its most esoteric sense. You purify yourself with this force. This energy is what grants you the capacity to ascend. You cannot renounce the lower seven סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth without this foundation.
So no matter how difficult your particular path might be, if you are a person who committed a lot of wrong in this life, perhaps, even you were a black magician in past lives, you can change by working with the waters of renunciation, by working with prayer and purity.
Learn to renounce the lower seven סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth in order to ascend in your meditations.
Let your body, your physicality, rest. Work with energy (יסוד Yesod), your vital forces, whether through mantras, prayers, vocalizations, pranayamas, or even alchemy.
Withdraw yourself from your emotions, those negative emotions which creates so much pain. Renounce them. Do not give them your attention. Do not invest yourself in them. Observe and relax your heart.
Likewise, your thoughts. Let your thoughts calm by observing them.
And when you are perfectly in a state of equanimity, when you are concentrated within, not distracted, but serene and clear, you can begin to experience perceptions related to the top of the Tree of Life; from the consciousness, from גבורה Geburah and even from the Spirit , חֶסֶד Chesed, الرحيم Al-Rahim, the Merciful, and even beyond. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated in The Narrow Way:
“We need to die, to die, and to die within ourselves, and to renounce, renounce, and renounce, and to cease existing within all of the seven cosmos in order to have the right TO BE within the Absolute.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
This is a very famous meditation within the writings of Samael Aun Weor, especially Igneous Rose and other books, in which we abandon the lower vehicles by renouncing them, these lower spheres in order to enter higher states. You can study Igneous Rose, especially the chapter “Esoteric Discipline of Mind,” which relates this, but I also believe in the book Aztec Christic Magic [see the chapter "Meditation"].
I'd like to relate some quotes that emphasize these points, what renunciation is, how we achieve it, how we understand the transience of life for our own benefit.
“Abu Bakr said: ‘Our abode is transitory, our life therein is but a loan, our breaths are numbered, and our indolence is manifest.’ By this he signified that the world is too worthless to engage our thoughts; for whenever you occupy yourself with what is perishable, you are made blind to that which is eternal; the friends of God turn their backs on the world and the flesh which veil them from Him, and they decline to act as if they were owners of a thing that is really the property of another.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
In synthesis, do not be attached to the fruits of your actions. Life is transitory. Even in serious practitioners, we have a lot of laziness. I believe the Dalai Lama even stated that he gets up at 3 or 4 in the morning every day to meditate, and even he says “I have a lot of laziness in me.” So we are indolent. It is manifest when we really look, when we examine ourselves.
Do not engage your thoughts in distractions, but learn to occupy your concentration upon the eternal within states of being.
We learn such practices by developing concentration, when we no longer let ourselves identify with worldly impressions or negative states that veil or obscure our perceptions of the presence of our Being.
Turning our back on the world means to reject the beliefs of humanity. Those beliefs that say, “You will be happy when you do this and have a bank account and a car and a job and a career, a family.” We can have all these things and learn to be renunciants. It just means that we are not attached. We do not identify and waste energy in external things.
To be veiled is to be asleep as a consciousness, to not perceive divinity within our own actions because the consciousness is obscured. It is conditioned. We have to remember the presence of God. The quality of God and our states here and now, for divinity is always with us, even if we do not see Him. As stated in Surah 50 verse 16, or the Surah al-Qaf:
“And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” —Qur’an 50:16
Divinity knows all of our thoughts, what our ego whispers within our three brains, to act and to be fed. And if we really pay attention to this internal dynamic and interchange of thinking, feeling, and acting / impulses, we can learn to see that we are not thought, feeling, or impulse, instinct. We see that divinity is closer to us than we thought. We perceive qualities of being as we have explained in this course.
The quote continues from Al-Hujwiri's Revelation of the Mystery:
“And he said: ‘O God, give me plenty of the world and make me desirous of renouncing it!’ This saying has a hidden sense, viz.: ‘First bestow on me worldly goods that I may give thanks for them, and then help me to abstain from them for Thy sake, so that I may have the treble merit of thanksgiving and liberality and abstinence, and that my poverty may be voluntary, not compulsory.’” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Lawful and Unlawful Renunciation
Our psychological attitude is what matters. It comes to mind Krishnamurti. He was a great renunciate. He made a lot of money from his lectures. He lived wealthfully, yet, he was not attached to his career, his possessions, his car, his home. So, we can learn to be the same if that's really what divinity wants for us.
There is nothing wrong with having possessions. What matters is that we are not addicted to them. We are not distracted by them. We are not wasting our time with too many activities. We should learn to minimize them.
This relates to Sufi teachings on what is lawful and unlawful within Islam. This is a very common term used to relate to how divinity allows or supports certain material or even spiritual things. You can even think of the حلال halal, the term meaning, food that is pure: to be حلال halal. To be praised. הלל Hilel in Hebrew, or حلال Halal in Arabic, such as not eating impure foods like pork, not drinking alcohol. These are things that are unlawful amongst Muslims and Sufis, and really even among Gnostics, because those elements will condition our consciousness.
“If you want success with these studies, you must neither drink alcohol, nor smoke, nor eat too much red meat. Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy.” —Samael Aun Weor, Aztec Christic Magic: “Coatlicue”
And so we avoid eating unlawful food, even. This is the meaning of the term. Lawful is that which will purify the consciousness. Unlawful is that which conditions it, in synthesis.
Having wealth through upright living, in a lawful way, in a beneficial way for oneself and others, is a stipulation of the Aquarian teachings. The Sufis relate some beautiful points about this:
“The Sufis have differing opinions in the matter of renunciation (zuhd). Some of them say that one need only renounce the unlawful, because the lawful has been made permissible by God Most High. When God benefits His servant with lawful property and the servant in turn worships Him with gratitude for it, it is not preferable for him to leave it with his own will rather than keeping it with God’s permission.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So having wealth for the sake of supporting a spiritual community, for helping humanity, is beautiful, is wonderful, and even necessary. Let us remember three factors for effective spirituality: death, birth, and sacrifice. Meaning: annihilate the ego, die to the ego, and create the soul through virtuous action, to give birth to our spiritual consciousness by giving birth through the sexual creative energy. And lastly, serving humanity selflessly in whatever capacity we have. In Sufism, this is known as فناء fana, annihilation; بقاء baqa, subsistence; and زكاة zakat, charity.
The Sufis emphasize that in order to really be in the Being, to be present, to subsist in God, we have to eliminate the impurities through annihilation (فناء fana) and that way, our actions are much more charitable, profound, impactful. Samael Aun Weor spoke abundantly about the rights of Canchorrita. When we practice the teachings these three factors, we will by law of Karma receive food, clothing and shelter from divinity.
34. We must be content with the rights of "Canchorrita."
35. The rights of "Canchorrita" are bread, clothing, and shelter. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will: “Probationism”
It is a law of cause and effect. If we renounce behaviors that are animal and destructive, if we renounce unlawful behaviors and activities in accordance with divinity, we will be provided for a space to live, to meditate, to work happily.
Our level of being attracts our life. Do you want better circumstances? Then renounce the ego.
Do not engage in unlawful behaviors, and I am not talking about physical laws in different countries, but in terms of the law of the soul, of the Being.
What is ethical? Behaviors that produce happiness or pain?
Let us choose to follow our conscience. We elevate our level of being by renouncing lower levels of being. This is the key, especially we want to have stability in meditation, consistency in our meditation, focus, concentration, deeper serenity, peace.
The Virtue and Obligation of Renunciation
Renunciation also exists as we learn to be content with what we have, no longer desiring through the disease of “more.”
Desire is fundamentally the cause of suffering. It is a virtue to be content with what we have. People have many beliefs about life and spirituality, and yet they suffer a lot. We can have wealth and yet be the most miserable people on the Earth. There is a statistic that states that if you earn fifty thousand dollars a year or more, you are among the top 5% wealthiest people in the world. Sadly, even though people have abundance, we tend to suffer from internal lack. Therefore, to be attached to worldliness, to perishable things, is absurd.
Renunciation exists when we cease chasing after superfluous things, concentrating seriously on meditation each day, giving ourselves more time to practice, to deepen our awareness, to deepen our states. There is virtue even when we have abundance, but we can learn to even give what we have, to our degree, so that others can benefit. This is how we really refine our spiritual life, to sacrifice for others through compassion.
Let us read some quotes in relation to the writings of Al-Qushayri, The Principles of Sufism, who explains these principles very beautifully about the virtue and obligation of renunciation:
“Other Sufis say that renunciation of the unlawful is an obligation, while renunciation of the lawful is a virtue. From this point of view, as long as the servant is patient with his state of little property, satisfied with what God Most High has apportioned for him, and content with what he has been given, he is more perfect than one who lives richly and comfortably in the world. God Most High has urged people to abstain from the world by His saying, ‘Say: The provision of this world is but small, while the next is better for whoever is God―wary’ (4:77) and in many other verses that may be cited disparaging the world and recommending abstention from it.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So how is renunciation relevant to the study and practice of meditation?
There are many people who complain that they cannot meditate. Their environment is loud. They have a difficult economic situation. Some people complain that they live in a big city, are surrounded by noisy people, obnoxious neighbors, loud dogs, loud children, a small apartment, a difficult roommate, no physical teacher or school guru, missionary, group involved or nearby; one has a difficult spouse or feels they are having conflict in their marriage, their relationship, not having a separate meditation space.
While having a separate meditation space is good, while it's good to have a clean home, while it is beneficial to have spiritual companions or spouse that one can work with in life, a partner, people fail to recognize that if they want better circumstances, they must fundamentally change their level of being.
There are many people who think that they can only advance in meditation if they are married, if they have a Gnostic spouse—and this is not true. What matters is our quality of being.
We will receive what we need and accordance with the law, which is karma, the divine law شريعة Shari’ah. Now, having a home that is conducive for meditation, some people can do it, some people cannot. It is important that if this is your situation, that you have a space where you can find, whether at a temple or nature, some space where you can practice, is good. It is necessary, because if one's home life is very disorganized and difficult, it can become very challenging to really deepen one's meditative discipline.
So, sometimes one's home life can be challenging because we have neighbors or people who are loud. The reality is that we can renounce our own attachments to a different situation.
I believe Dion Fortune from the Western esoteric tradition stated that a person does not know how to meditate if they cannot meditate on a bus or a noisy train. We really learn to develop profound concentration when there are distractions, and obviously it is good to have a home that is silent and clean and pure in which one could really dedicate to these exercises. But if there are difficulties in relation to one's home environment, make the changes that you can and learn to renounce what you cannot change.
The fact is whether there is 5G or not, whether the neighbors are loud, or one's economic situation is difficult, we can still meditate. It is about renouncing distractions in our psyche, not giving your body that itch or scratch, that pain, adjusting oneself all the time and moving and not really focusing within. Renounce many of the problems that really have no basis. Stop investing your energy into them. Simply be. Relax. It could be difficult, but the more you renounce negative thoughts, feelings, and instincts, we learn to change our quality of life, fundamentally. So learn to renounce discomfort, dissatisfaction, the internal dialogue of the ego that says “I can only do this if I have A, B, and C.” We have to learn to renounce suffering, misery, envy, ego. In that way, by changing our psychology, we learn to receive from divinity. We learn to receive help at our level, at our degree.
Renunciation of the Heart
Renunciation is really of the heart. These are some more verses that explain everything we have been stating so far, how it is a psychological attitude:
“I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say... that Sufyan al-Thawri said, ‘Renunciation of the world means to give up placing your hope in it, not to eat coarse food or wear the robe of an ascetic.’” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, stop believing and chasing after dreams that one day we will be spiritual “when I get my own home, find a spiritual group, and marry a Gnostic partner.” We have to stop putting our hopes in external things, because if our psychology does not fundamentally change, then having all these beautiful things will not help. In fact, we will suffer and make a lot of problems for ourselves. What matters is our quality of being, our level of being,
I like to relate some quotes from Samael Aun Weor's book, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, in which he really beautifully summarizes how renunciation is internal, psychological. He states the following in his chapter, “The Internal State”:
“…when people review their lives, unfortunately, they only think that their life is exclusively constituted by external events...
“Wretched people! They think that if this or that event had never happened to them, their lives would have been better...
“They think that fortune came to meet them, yet they lost the opportunity to be happy...
“They lament what they lost, they weep regarding what they despised; they moan when remembering their old errors and calamities...
“People do not want to realize that to vegetate is not to live and that the capacity to consciously exist depends exclusively on the quality of the interior states of the Soul...” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, “The Internal State”
It is important that to really be effective with renunciation, we learn to combine internal states with external events. What this means is that in relation to the appropriate situations, we learn to enact intuitive will. Our conscience may push us to say something compassionately to a co-worker. Perhaps we are at our job and we see that our co-worker is suffering a lot. Part of us may feel shy and may not want to respond in the moment: to keep silent because we are at a work meeting. And yet, our intuition and heart tell us to respond and comfort this person. We learn to renounce or should learn to renounce our own insipid qualities: fear, anticipation, anxiety, in order to do what is helpful for that other person. This is an example of renouncing the ego and learning to enact virtuous qualities of the soul.
So, combine the appropriate state with the external event. Knowing what to do in the moment is the quality of intuition: knowing what to do without having to think about it. We simply comprehend beautiful action, compassionate action. But if we do not renounce our own ineptitudes, our ego, we create suffering in our situation, our circumstances. This is a moment to moment effort.
Let us continue with a quote from Al-Qushayri's Principles of Sufism.
“And I heard him say... Sari al-Saqati said, ‘God strips the world from His Friends, denies it to His purified ones, and removes it from the hearts of those He loves because He is not satisfied with that for them.’” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Beautiful verses that relate different levels of being, as we have been going back to again and again in this course. Who are the friends of divinity, of God? These are the masters, saints, and initiates who renounce the world with the advent of resurrection. Meaning: they fully eliminated the ego and they are preparing to renounce everything below in order to return to the divine through the death of their body. Those who purify their psyches face hardships because of divinity, as a test. We may be denied certain blessings because of difficult situations. They force us to confront our psychology, our stubborn attachments, our own pain. Without challenges, we can't grow.
So, in those cases, we need to learn to renounce our own sorrows, to really develop peace of mind. When divinity really loves His disciples, He removes love of this world from their hearts. This is a very subtle reading. It does not mean that we become very dark, sour, masochistic people immersed in morbidity. Instead, we learn to be in life enjoying and experiencing the diverse situations of life but remembering their contexts.
Remember that when we die physically, our bank accounts, our social security number, our cars, our home, our family, our beloved spouse, our children won't go with us. But, we can learn to love them. Be happy with them and for them, but remember in the context that life is fleeting. It is transient. What matters is our level of being, our internal state, not so much what is outside. We really demonstrate our intelligence when we learn to navigate life utilizing the right psychological state and correct response to the impressions of life.
But for that, we have to renounce reactions, because the mind always wants to react to the impressions of life.
Renunciation has to do with not letting the mind react mechanically, habitually. To do that is to repeat problems. Instead, one has to be conscious. This is why Samael Aun Weor states the following, again, from the same chapter from the Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology.
“Those who know how to consciously combine the external event with the appropriate interior state are very rare.
“It is unfortunate that people do not know how to consciously live; they weep when they should laugh and laugh when they should weep.
“Control is different; the sage can be happy but never filled with an insane frenzy, sad but never desperate and discouraged, calm in the middle of violence, abstinent in the orgy, chaste when amidst lust, etc.
“Melancholic and pessimistic persons think the worst of life and frankly they do not want to live.
“Everyday we see people that are not only unhappy, but moreover, what is even worse, they make other people’s lives miserable.
“Such people will not change, even if they would live daily from party to party, for they carry the psychological disease within them... Such persons possess internal states that are definitely perverse...
“Nevertheless, these people classify themselves as just, saintly, virtuous, noble, helpful, martyrs, etc.
“They are people who esteem themselves to the extreme; people who love themselves too much...
“They are individuals who pity themselves too much and seek a way out to evade their own responsibilities...
“Persons like that are accustomed to inferior emotions and it is obvious that due to such a motive, they daily create infra―human psychic elements.
“Disgraceful events like the setbacks of fortune, misery, debts, problems, etc. are the exclusive property of those persons who do not know how to live...
“Anyone can acquire a rich intellectual culture; yet, few are the persons who have learned how to live in an upright manner...
“When one wants to separate external events from the internal states of consciousness, one demonstrates concretely his incapacity of existing in a dignified manner.
“Those who learn how to consciously combine external events with internal states march on the path of success.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Types of Renunciation
Let's explore different types of renunciation.
“God, the Most High, says, ‘That which is left for you by God is best for you’ (11:86). Renunciation lies in three things: renouncing the world, renouncing people, and renouncing oneself.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
The Three Types of Ascetics
Let's examine what each type of renunciation involves because it is very in―depth, if we have been studying the sequence of lectures in this course. Abdullah Ansari of Herat states,
“Whoever does not refuse the wealth of this world to his enemies is an ascetic vis-à-vis the world.” —Abdullah Ansari of Heart, Stations of the Sufi Path
We should give even unto our worst enemies. We do so by acting compassionately. When we give indiscriminately to others, in whatever capacity we have, we become ascetics: people who are disciplined in this path, the Gnostic work. Samael Aun Weor and the Fourth Way schools reject Fakirism, which is commonly associated with asceticism, such as people sleeping on a bed of nails, living out in the weather, the cold, performing acts of physical austerities, etc. We learn in the Gnostic path to develop our willpower and develop our spiritual life by fulfilling our obligations, our responsibilities in society, by doing what is best for others.
If you want your meditations to be profound, work compassionately and ethically for others. An unethical mind is agitated. It is not at peace. It is not serene. So, don't refuse your wealth even unto your enemies, meaning your spiritual wealth as well—not necessarily physical things, but your time, your energy, your conscious love: to learn how to give even to people whom you feel are every difficult, who challenge you, who create struggles and pains and difficulties for you. This is the meaning.
The quote continues:
“Whoever does not allow his shame over what people may think about his piety coax him away [from worshipping God] is an ascetic vis-à-vis people.” —Abdullah Ansari of Heart, Stations of the Sufi Path
Some people get very embarrassed about being in Gnosis or a spiritual group, such as family members or people who criticize or gossip about us, friends who may misinterpret our actions or the teachings. However, to continue to do what we know is best for spiritual life, we become ascetics in relation to people. We are willing to renounce what other people think of us. We learn to practice alchemy, transmutation, chastity, regardless if all the doctors of the world, people who are very materialistic and conditioned, think that it is wrong. We do not feel shame about the teachings, about the practices, about the work.
“Whoever does not behold himself with self-congratulation nor look upon himself with approval, is an ascetic vis-à-vis himself.” —Abdullah Ansari of Heart, Stations of the Sufi Path
This is most important. We have to not have Illusions about who we are, our quality of being in relation to divinity. We have to see ourselves and the practical facts. This is why we perform retrospection meditation.
We visualize the events of our day in which certain egos acted. We learn to go deep into our psychological states, reviewing the day, how we saw the world and what we think of ourselves, to renounce any Illusions about who we are or what we think about ourselves—to simply observe. Observe the facts. Self-observe. Gather data, and then in retrospection meditation, review your day and examine the different defects you saw. This is how we renounce the ego.
This is how we become an ascetic of the Spirit: to not congratulate ourselves or think that we are worth anything, really. The only thing that is worthy of praise is our Being, which is why in Islam we say, ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّٰهِ, al-Ḥamdu lillāh: “All praise is to God,” the Being. Our inner God is worthy of all praise, but we are just the servant. Therefore we should not accept any type of adulation for ourselves.
The Signs of Renunciation
In this final slide, we will talk about the signs of renunciation.
“Renouncing the world and remaining an ascetic in the world has three signs: remembering death, being content with one’s sustenance, and seeking the companionship of the dervishes.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
In many schools of meditation, we learn in the beginning to contemplate our own death. This does not mean that we are dark people, sick people, or we think it is cool, but because it provides seriousness in our work.
We really do not know when we will die. Therefore, should we waste our time, our lives with meaningless things, or should we develop our consciousness? Again, learn to give up activities that waste time, that do not really feed your spiritual life. If you know that going out to drink with friends is going to make you very pessimistic, very heavy, very sick, mentally, emotionally, then renounce that. Who cares what anyone thinks? In reality, when we renounce a lower level of being, we ascend to a higher one. We learn to associate with more spiritually like―minded people, such as the companions, the dervishes.
This is a symbol of any spiritual group, really, who is practicing poverty, renunciation: giving up psychological attachments. Companionship with other Gnostics can be very helpful, very beneficial, being with people who are like-minded who study the same thing. This is why every spiritual community in the world is necessary. But, it is not definitive.
We will not progress simply because we attend a group. It's good to associate with other initiates, and really the best way to associate with the initiates is in the internal planes, because when you awaken in the Tree of Life, you can learn to communicate with the gods, with the angels. Those really are the dervishes: people who have really mastered this work before, in whom many don't have physical bodies. You can meet them internally by renouncing negative behaviors.
But also, we should learn to be content with our own sustenance, what we have. In the West, we really do not have many excuses to not really practice. If we are in a war zone, that is very different. Obviously, it is going to be very difficult if you have bombs going off in your neighborhood. But typically, in North America, the West, or Western civilized countries, we have a lot of privileges that the world around us envies, and it is really absurd to waste our leisure in stupidities.
Let us continue with the quote:
“Renouncing people has three signs: understanding that the command of God precedes everything else, understanding that providence is firm and established, and seeing that people are helpless and vulnerable.” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
God's command is right, even if it is against what everybody believes: what people cherish and hold dear. And what is the manner by which we understand God's will?
There are many millions of people who preach that they know God. If you seriously ask them and investigate to see whether they are awakened in the astral plane, the internal worlds, the reality is that they are asleep. They believe in divinity, but they do not know. As the Qur’an teaches, "For truly, they are a people who don't know," who do not experience, since “Are those who know equal to those who know not?" (Qur’an 39:9).
God's commands are found through understanding the principles of ethics, conscious ethics, especially chastity. Humanity does not like chastity, purity, and sex. In fact, humanity fights very diligently to preserve lust and desire at the expense of other people's well-being. If you do not believe me, look at the pornography industry where people are exploited and violated. It is very serious. Desire does not produce a harmonious society. It creates chaos.
Therefore, we should learn to understand divinity's commands, especially like in the example I gave you where Samael Aun Weor was showing me that to be effective in my work I had to work with the waters of renunciation. So this teaching is very practical for me. You can learn to have those experiences by working with the exercises in our tradition, especially, as we have been outlining in this course. Our path is firm and established when we work seriously and ask for help, inside. When we receive experiences, we have genuine faith. We learn to renounce again and again, continuously, different states that create problems. This is faith: knowledge born from experience.
People, despite their best virtues, are not necessarily reliable. Only God is reliable, the Being. So, we are helpless before divinity, vulnerable, weak. It is impossible to change without the help of our own inner Being. Even masters who are preparing for resurrection are helpless before God. They are really striving and working hard to obtain those degrees, which are very elevated. But even they are helpless. Therefore, why should we be so arrogant to think that we can do this on our own? We need help from our inner divinity through experiences and through enacting ethical behavior.
Lastly, the following quote:
“Renouncing the self has three signs: recognizing the deceit of the devil, realizing one’s weakness, and seeing the darkness of being lead on by the lure of passion (istidrāj).” —Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So who is the devil? We can point our finger at witches and sorcerers or sorceresses in the astral plane and even physically, but really the devil is our own ego. As I had stated in the previous lecture, we should not be concerned with other people so much but rather our own interior states.
We are 97% ego. Therefore, we are weak. We gradually train ourselves to strengthen our Essence, but this is only achieved when we are honest.
Temptations must be seen and overcome, seeing the darkness of our own egotistical states and really understanding them; meditating, reflecting at the end of your day, visualizing a certain event in which you perhaps acted wrongly and trying to understand it and ask for wisdom about what would have been the correct behavior, so that you can renounce whatever egos were manifesting in that part of your day.
Temptations are necessary. This is how we define ourselves. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light. We overcome these problems when we remember the qualities of our own conscience, our heart. In synthesis, these are some principles relating to renunciation that can feed our meditation practice, because without giving up harmful ways of being, we cannot enact superior ways of being.
So at this point in time, I'd like to open up the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: It seems from your lecture that one way to understand renunciation is in the myth of Heracles and the Hydra, which dwells within the murky waters. It is not enough to implore God and cut off a head, but one must use the fire of transformation to keep the head from growing back. So take alcohol. If one has energy invested towards drinking and decides to renounce it, energy is released. But the reason for the drinking might not be comprehended so the negativity manifests elsewhere.
Instructor: So all the mythologies of the world correlate. The great war of the heroes, such as within the Roman and Greek myths, or any biblical cosmogony, even relates with the مجاهدين mujāhidīn, those who strive in the way of God within the Qur’an. All that teaches psychological truths about how we wage war against our own egos, our defects.
In the myth of Heracles, who is the action of the soul, the beauty of the soul (תפארת Tiphereth), has to fight a many headed beast, the Hydra, which is a representation of our multiple defects. It is not enough to beg God to eliminate, but we have to comprehend with the fire of understanding, with intelligence. We only do that through meditation.
All of our habits and desires, in the beginning, we can learn to renounce what we see in the beginning. Renunciation is based off comprehension. If you just give up a certain way of being without understanding it, then the quality of your ethics is not going to be that deep. Really, if we give up mistaken ways of being, it is because we comprehend from experience how they create problems. So that Hydra, that beast, dwells in the waters of יסוד Yesod, because our own lust, anger, pride, hatred, vanity, lives within those energies, steals the energies of יסוד Yesod for their own purposes. In the beginning, you have to learn to renounce and not give your energy to the ego in the moment.
Perhaps you are with friends and they want to go drinking. You are with them at a bar, but you make the conscious decision not to feed your own egos of drunkenness. So we are not investing our energy into that habit. Instead, we are saving energy that we would have otherwise spent through desire. But that is not enough. What is important and more necessary is to go home, close your eyes, relax. Retrospect that moment in which you were tested, tempted, to behave in a way that you knew was wrong. You have to visualize the scene as it happened: what egos came up, what you said, what you did, what you thought, what you felt, even how you behaved internally without showing anyone.
Ask for comprehension for whatever egos you saw in that moment. Ask to go deeper. Work with the waters of renunciation. Work with your creative energy, through the powers of יסוד Yesod through pranayama, mantra, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, alchemy, and with that energy present circulating in you, you can go deep with the fire of your energies, because the fire of creativity is in the waters of sex, the waters of Genesis. It is that water, the fiery waters, that can learn to disintegrate any ego you have comprehended. But first, you need to comprehend what happened. It is only in that way that you really can eliminate at all.
Renouncing behaviors or repressing what we see without comprehending is going to create problems. Instead, be cognizant of yourself. Be aware. It is important to remember that in our daily experience, what wastes energy is ego, whether through the intellect, our emotions, our movements, our instincts, and our sexuality, which has to do with our thoughts, feelings, and will. We have to learn to study the mind: all the different egos that take the energies, the waters of sexuality, and waste them. Desire takes the energies of creativity and abuses them. Without that energy present, you cannot really renounce anything, comprehend anything.
In our exercise in retrospection, we learn to first see the ego in action and then later, comprehend how the energy steals life from our spirituality.
I will give you a concrete example. I remember working at one job in which I was greatly criticized by certain clients of mine. I remember being criticized by a person, in which egos of anger, pride, and resentment emerged. I observed the different thoughts, different feelings, the different impulses to act, but first, rather than give in to that moment, to what my desires wanted, I renounced those mechanical, repetitious, reactionary behaviors, because I understood in the moment that if I did that, I would suffer and make other people suffer. Instead, I learned to transform the situation by being calm, present, and kind.
Later, I went home, meditated on each defect, visualizing each aggregate I perceived, spending perhaps ten to fifteen minutes on each ego, asking my divine Being to show me the depth of each desire.
When I found that I had comprehended my anger, what it wanted; my pride, my resentment, how they functioned, how they interrelated, how they fed themselves, where they came from, how they emerged, how they sustained, how they acted in my mind—I prayed for annihilation, asking for disintegration from the divine feminine, my Divine Mother Kundalini, or البقره Al-Baqarah within Islam, the sacred cow. Or الْبُرَاق Al-Buraq, the lightning of the divine feminine who annihilates any aggregate we have comprehended and removed.
So, this is a synthesis we have kind of come back to again and again, but is an essential practice we need to understand. You can also look at a lecture we gave called Retrospection Meditation on our website and a course called Gnostic Meditation where we explain this in the seventh lecture at the end, in depth.
Question: I have been struggling with learning to let go of personal success, growing a business. Is it bad to own a business?
Instructor: No, not bad at all. Now, do we do our business with egotism or with ethics, with conscience? There are many wealthy people who learn to act ethically and there are many wealthy people who are completely unethical. Nothing wrong with the business. In fact, if we have a business that really helps people, then we could really do a lot of good for humanity. But the problem is that people are very materialistic-minded, and therefore, they let their ego run the show, and that is where suffering and problems exist.
Any other questions?
Question: I have noticed that as I deepen my practices in the three factors, I have experienced more dreams and the infradimensions, the hell realm, so to speak. This makes me feel sad as I am unconscious in them and cannot control my behaviors. These are actions that I would never perform in the physical dimension. Why would this happen to a devoted student?
Instructor: Because there are levels of being, levels of renunciation. We can be very chaste, devout, pure renunciates in the physical world, very dedicated to Gnosis, and yet, if we examine our dreams and our ordeals in the astral plane, we will perceive egos and aggregates that are very deeply lodged within our unconsciousness, our subconsciousness, our infraconsciousness.
There are 49 levels to the mind according to Samael Aun Weor. The physical body is merely one level. Or better said, there are seven levels within each of the lower seven סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. So there are seven in מלכות Malkuth, seven in יסוד Yesod, seven in הוד Hod, seven in נצח Netzach, seven in תפארת Tiphereth, seven in גבורה Geburah, and seven in חֶסֶד Chesed.
We can understand certain egos in the physical world and be very serious in this path, and yet, in the more hidden layers of our own psyche, there are demons that really cause us pain. And this is a very necessary thing that happens to every student who is serious. We discover that we have a lot of iniquity, and it causes a lot of pain, and this is essential. Now, the next step is, once we have perceived this in ourselves, we have to learn to go deeper into our psyche in order to eliminate those hidden defects.
The best way to do it is by, in meditation, renouncing our body, not identifying with the sensations of our physicality. Don't move. Breathe deeply. Relax. Work with energy, your vital depth, your vital forces, so that your heart, through prayer and concentration, can calm and be filled with positive emotion, superior emotion.
Remember the qualities of your Being, retracting, withdrawing your attention from your thoughts, learning to renounce thinking—not thinking so much, not worrying about how bad we are or what a big demon we are. It is the reality, but it doesn't benefit us by stewing in the mud. Instead, it is better to relax and to remember that we have God within. No matter how impure our ego is, we have divinity inside who is pure and beautiful and divine.
We have to reflect on the qualities of our Being. So if you feel very overwhelmed by how bad the mind is, by hidden dreams that are very disturbing, remember what your Divine Mother is like. Renounce your pain. It is very difficult because we feel that great remorse and sorrow for what we really are. And personally, I have had this many times where I've seen egos in myself that fill me with so much pain that I could not stop weeping. But, the reality is that we have to learn to renounce even our deepest pains, and in that way, withdrawing our senses, learning to concentrate within in a silent state of equanimity, we learn to await the answer from our consciousness, our Spirit. By achieving serenity and renouncing the lower סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth, we can learn to receive help, the guidance we need and the comprehension we need to eliminate those really deep egos. This is the method. This is the process so that we can enter the internal planes with clarity.
Question: From our renunciations, do these teachings become more sacred to us? There is so much information, it is easy to treat the teachings like other information.
Instructor: Yes, obviously if you have experienced this knowledge personally, you learn to have faith, which is knowledge from experience. It is what you know. Not what you believe, not what you think, not what you hypothesize, but what you know from facts. And that gives you strength and courage to renounce things and information and activities that are really useless. And obviously, in this era of information, it's very easy to look at this type of knowledge and to disregard it like everything else because there are just so many teachings and instructions and schools and religions out there, that it becomes very confusing to discriminate what is of value.
We invite you to study the practices of our tradition, especially, and learn to experiment. Do not anticipate what you might have, what you might experience, or to reject them completely, but really test them, so that you can learn to verify from your own knowledge and heart what is true. In that way, you gain confidence of what is real, not from adhering to a group or following anyone or any group or teacher, but really knowing from your awakened consciousness, your soul, and that is something that cannot be taken away from you no matter how much the mind fluctuates or vacillates or changes. The Essence of the soul stays the same. That wisdom is never lost. It belongs to the Being, to God.
Question: Master Samael says that if we sacrifice every element of pain that we feel throughout our life, if we made this our work, whenever we experience even the most insignificant pain, we would die with a completely awakened consciousness and no karma. Can you talk about renunciation and separation?
Instructor: Yes, oftentimes in the words of Kahlil Gibran, the great Sufi Christian poet, “much of our pain is self-chosen.” We choose to suffer because we feel that we were wronged. We were offended, slighted, betrayed, lied to, dishonored, singled out. We have many excuses why we should invest all our energy in singing our psychological song, where we are the great martyrs of humanity. We have been honest and truthful and kind and compassionate, and yet, everybody else is wrong and we have received the bad end of the stick.
This is how many people think. We all sing our own internal psychological songs. Some of us, you know, sing the same songs again and again: the same tragedies, comedies, and stories in which we are the center of our own moral universe in which we are the righteous ones. This type of attitude does not benefit us, and moreover, it does not benefit anyone outside.
We have to learn to separate and renounce from this type of thinking. The way that we do so is through self-observation. Learn to separate as a consciousness from your three brains. Learn to see within your three brains. Look at them, at the thoughts, feelings, and impulses that emerge within the moment. This is مراقبة muraqabah (vigilance) in Arabic, or محاسبة muhasabah, in Arabic signifying “inner accounting,” to take account of our defects, to see them for what they are and not give them our energy. If we were to sacrifice our pains in this way, and these psychological songs that waste so much energy and do not produce any benefit, we will radically transform our situation. We would learn to take on very difficult situations with grace and efficacy.
Most people, and even many of us in Gnosis, we have one slight difficulty and then we complain. We choose to be in suffering in many cases. The ego does not get what it wants and therefore we feel a great crisis in ourselves. Now, that type of conflict is necessary, to feel those egos emerge in us so that we can see them and work on them. But you cannot really renounce the ego if you don't see it for what it is.
How can you give up that what you don't know? You have to see the ego in action. Observe it clearly without judging or labeling it right away, but simply look. Gather the data. Gather the facts. And then when you go home at night or you’re meditating on your day, reflect on what you saw, and be sincere. Be honest. You can't renounce negative ways of being if you don't understand what they are and how they are fed, how they are situated, how they cause problems, how you feed into them. You have to see it. And when you see it, you can learn to comprehend it.
Remember that if you learn to overcome the most insignificant pain with awareness and attention, not investing yourself in it, you learn to overcome many situations and problems that would be very difficult to handle. This is what it means to become hermetically sealed within the alchemical western tradition. Do not give your energy to the mind. Be sealed. Do not let your energy out, but conserve it by not acting negatively, but learning to act ethically. This is really how we should proceed if we really want to die with a completely awakened donsciousness and no karma.
Question: When you say renounce the lowest סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth, do you mean מלכות Malkuth?
Instructor: Yes, that's part of it. So in one meditation, you can basically observe the body, become aware of the body, relax deeply, and then renounce the physical body. Go deep into meditation, relaxed, in a state of concentration and clarity, equanimity, and you can learn to abandon your physicality as a consciousness.
Likewise, you can abandon יסוד Yesod, the vital body; הוד Hod, the astral body; נצח Netzach, the mental body; תפארת Tiphereth, the causal body; גבורה Geburah, the divine soul, and reach חֶסֶד Chesed, the Spirit. And even you can abandon חֶסֶד Chesed to renounce the lower סְפִירוֹת Sephiroth in order to enter the higher spheres of the Tree of Life, and even the Absolute.
It is a form of meditation we can perform, very difficult for beginners, but something that one can master through a lot of patience and experience, through practice.
In synthesis, some books and texts that can help you in this process of renunciation include the book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, especially the chapter called The Observer and The Observed, as well as Individuality.
Practice with self-observation, learn to observe your quality of mind, thought, feeling, and action from moment to moment by learning to see our own defects in action. By separating from the mind, egotism, desires (nafs), we can gather data about our essential qualities of being, so that we can change and renounce behaviors that are negative, and learn to enact positive virtuous action.
Everybody who enters and practices the gnostic teachings always wants to have direct experience, mystical states, knowledge of God. When we read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, it is difficult to not feel inspired by the beauty, the depth, the power of the many personal anecdotes and experiences that he conveys. He often speaks firsthand of astral projections, awakened experiences, out of the body in the internal planes, the higher dimensions of nature, in which he has spoken with his Inner God or the masters of the White Lodge. Jinn experiences. Tremendous ecstasies of the soul.
What is particularly attractive of this kind of writing is that it goes against the theories, the conjectures, the beliefs about religion, or spirituality. These writings are powerful. They inspire us and they should enliven our heart, to push us to want to experience these things for ourselves.
It is not the intention to merely show off this kind of knowledge. That was not the intention of the writings of Samael Aun Weor and many other prophets. As Ibn ‘Arabi, a great Sufi master, stated (paraphrased), “When someone raises a lamp, it is in order to show light, not to be proud of one's elevation.” This is why such experiences are beautiful, are necessary. But if we wish to have that kind of knowledge for ourselves, to follow in the footsteps of the prophets, we must be practical.
There are many people who study meditation. Many decades. People love to read about religion, about mystical experience, about divinity, but they don't practice. Many people are merely content with reading about the Being, reading about experiences, and not working effectively to have that knowledge for oneself.
This is similar to reading about the experience of drinking water and yet one is dying of thirst. If you wish to understand the experience of water, you have to walk to the faucet, the well, and extract that water for oneself and to drink it. While this analogy is very simple, this perfectly illustrates the state of many students, not only within Gnosticism, but all religions, all esoteric schools.
We can hear about how wonderful water tastes. How it nourishes our body. And yet we will be thirsty and starving, emaciated, weak, if we do not drink for ourselves.
This is the same nature of spiritual experience. It is refreshing to the soul. It is liberating. It is the essence of life. Without meditation we cannot drink from the fountain of God, which is the well of our own knowledge, our own inner wisdom, our Inner Being. It is through meditation that we refresh our souls. That we nourish our souls. That we become inspired.
It is fundamental. We cannot know divinity without meditation. It is the method that grants the capacity for transformation.
Annihilation and Subsistence
Transformation is essentially the purpose of our practice. We wish to cease suffering, to comprehend what in us gives us pain. Why do we not know divinity? What have we done that prevents our direct access with the truth?
We always state in these studies, every religion states in its esoteric heart, that the obstacle to interior illumination is the ego. The self. The "I." It is only when we die to the ego, eradicate the self, eliminate pride, fear, hatred, lust, that we can learn to approach divinity. We have been stating that our own conditions of mind obscure our consciousness from seeing the truth. This is well explained within Sufism.
They say that in order to know Allah, to experience the truth, the self must be annihilated. The Arabic term they use is fana. It means “annihilation.” When we die to our defects, when we annihilate the self, that multiplicity of defects: anger, resentment, fear, gluttony, etc., we extract the consciousness that was trapped, conditioned. That is how we generate light—the light of our soul that can allow us to see with intensity, with clarity, the profound mystical states of the Being.
The Sufis also state, when we have annihilated the self, we learn to subsist in divinity. We learn how to be, to be one with God. The term subsistence in Arabic is baqa. It is a profound term relating to Al-Baqarah, the second Surah of the Qur'an, “The Heifer,” “The Cow,” which relates to an aspect of our divinity known in different religions as the divine feminine, the Divine Mother, which the Muslims refer to as Baqarah.
That Surah is very profound. It is the longest in the the Qur’an. It refers to the verb, the power of speech, recitation, mantralization, which expresses the perfect unity of God.
Sufism in its heart, in its true expression, is a very profound and practical teaching through which we learn different levels of being, states of consciousness, elevated aspects of the soul and of divinity. We learned to subsist in our work, to continue in our path only through annihilation, fana. There is no way that we could obtain inspiration to continue in this work if we do not comprehend ourselves.
So we need help. We need inspiration. We need to feel joy in this path. It is very easy to sit in meditation, to observe in our day our own negative qualities of mind. If we only focus on the negative, our own morbidity, our pessimism, our despair, such feelings destroy the consciousness, enmesh oneself in suffering until eventually people abandon meditation because they don't see results.
States and Stations: Levels of Being
And this is the beauty of Sufism, is that we learn about the virtues of the soul, the higher levels of Being, the states of God. Which if we practice diligently, we learn to experience little by little, through gifts of divinity. Mystical states inspire us. They guide us in the work and help us to be consistent, to push ourselves, to be disciplined.
There are many different levels of being, as we stated in our previous lecture. Mystical states are dynamic. They are infinite. A mystical state does not necessarily have to focus on just some internal samadhi, ecstasy from the East, an experience out of the body, but can occur physically, when we understand something profoundly, when we feel joy, happiness, inspiration.
It is important to cultivate the virtues of the soul as we work on the ego. This is what creates balance. If we focus only on our hatred, on how dense the mind is, without comprehending the light, we will become very pessimistic, and such people eventually leave gnosis. They abandon meditation. They abandon what is best. So this is why in Sufism we study. In Gnosticism we study the stations and states of the path.
We explain that stations are levels of being which we acquire through work, initiation, degrees. The states of the soul are given to us from divinity in the moment as flashes of inspiration to help us continue in the path. States are gifts. Divinity provides us with light, but stations or initiations are earned. We need both. Without states of contentment, of magnanimity, of joy, of the power of the Being, we will not be motivated to work further.
Divinity seeks us. This is important to remember. The Being longs for realization of its own nature. We are part of the being and as Samael Aun Weor in The Revolution of the Dialectic stated, "The Being is the Being and the reason for the Being to be is to be the Being itself."
Our divinity wants to know itself and we are part of divinity. The soul is a mirror. It can reflect the images of hell, the infra-consciousness, or if it is polished, to give remembrance. We learn to reflect the heavens, which is something that Ibn ‘Arabi, a great Sufi master, taught in his Kitab al-Ahadiyyah, Treatise on the One Alone. Or as Bayazid Bastami stated, "For thirty years I sought God, but when I looked carefully, I found that in reality God was the seeker and I am the sought."
Inquietudes, yearnings of the soul—these are psychological pressures given to us in the heart from our inner Being to push us to return to Him, to Her. Without that we cannot rise up from our state of suffering.
In this way, we study the levels of being. There are infinite levels of being, but for the sake of clarity and organization, for the purposes of study, the Sufis referred to these mystical states in many ways. As we stated, they sometimes refer to seven states or stations. Forty. A hundred levels. A thousand levels. Really its infinite, but we refer to different systems of different Sufi schools to understand more about ourselves, the dynamism of the soul, the great breadth and profundity of the heart.
So these are degrees or initiations. The stations of the path., initiations that we earn. So the Sufi manuals of great Persian masters, especially, are very wonderful for knowing, contemplating the levels of being, the mystical ecstasies of the heart and the soul, which is why Samael Aun Weor in The Aquarian Message stated:
“The seven degrees of ecstasy through which the mystic reaches the perfect state of the soul are described in the school of Sufism. The school of Sufism teaches about ecstasy. The state and secret of our level [of Being] is revealed in Sufism, because this is the interior state of life in God." —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Ecstasy and Being
What is ecstasy? From the Latin exstatuo, “to stand outside oneself.” This means that we go beyond the mind, our current, everyday, mundane perception. We learn to stand on our own feet spiritually. We remove the conditions in mind so that the genie from Aladdin's lamp may be liberated, even if but temporarily.
The word ecstasy in Arabic is wajd, and ecstasy simply means spiritual experience free of the ego. In the East, they refer to these states as Samadhis. The same definition. Meditations and experiences free of limited physical conditions. They are internal perceptions. The Sufis sometimes refer to these as lights, as inspirations that shine within the heart.
So all these states come to us when we meditate. And as we are proving our consistency, our diligence, our commitment to the Being, we receive help. We receive guidance, because there are certain experiences and qualities that we cannot obtain on our own without help. And we'll talk more about what this involves within the schools of Sufism, especially.
In Gnosis, we refer to this as borrowed light. Sometimes masters of the White Lodge may provide us with experiences to help us, to push us. The Sufis call this barakah, blessings from a master that temporarily awaken the student in a very intense or heightened, clarified state of internal perception, such as in dream yoga, astral experiences, jinn states.
But in order to even receive that help, we have to be working. We have to develop ethical discipline as we explain about Sharia in our first lecture.
“Ecstasy (wajd), befalls the heart suddenly and unexpectedly, coming upon it without design or artificial prompting. Of this the shaykhs have said, ‘Ecstasies are sudden events, but they are the fruits of assigned devotions.’ God increases His kindnesses toward all who increase their spiritual practice.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
The ultimate spiritual practice is meditation, which is fueled by our work with energy. Such as through mantras, pranayama, transmutation. It is important to combine our exercises of Gnosis with meditation because as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Spiritual Power of Sound:
“We can experience the Being, the Innermost, only through profound meditation. The experience of the Being, the Innermost, transforms us radically…
“It is completely impossible to experience the Being—the Innermost, the Reality—without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation. It is completely impossible to experience the Being—the Innermost, the Reality—without having reached a true mastery of the quietude and silence of the mind.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
So the Sufis and our teacher Samael Aun Weor state the same thing. We must work with our assigned devotions, meaning our meditations, our prayers, because divinity provides us with light for all those who increase their discipline, which is why the following quote continues.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that inner events arise out of systematic private devotions. He who has no assigned litany, in his outer being, has no spiritual influx in his inner being. An ecstasy that owes anything to the one who experiences it is not true ecstasy.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So what does it mean to have no assigned litany? It means to have no prayers or practice. Our tradition is replete with innumerable exercises: mantras, prayers, runes, pranayama, alchemy, sacred rites of rejuvenation, meditation. These exercises help to develop quietude of mind, serenity of thought, so that in the stillness of our consciousness, we can experience the truth.
These exercises are fundamental. However, we practice whatever we need in accordance with our level of being and our disposition. Obviously, some people will not be married and cannot practice alchemy until they do so. However, we work with energy: pranayama, runes, and most especially, meditation. Whether we are single or married, we must work with where we are at, so that through accumulating energy, saving our emotional energy, our mental energy, our sexual energy, we have the fuel necessary by which to discipline the mind. Because without energy, we cannot act.
This is why ethics, Shari’ah, is the beginning of religion. Save your energy. Do not waste it through the ego through explosions of anger, of resentment, of pride. It is inevitable that if we are fulfilling the necessary laws and requisites of the path, Shari’ah and Tariqah, we learn to experience the truth, Haqiqah. Through working with the influx of energy available to us when we meditate, we learn through rituals, exercises, practices, to focus our attention.
All of those exercises that work with energy help us with concentration and silence of mind. Without that we cannot have any experiences.
So it's important to establish that foundation First. That is the groundwork by which we enter samadhi, ecstasy, wajd.
“An ecstasy that owes anything to the one who experiences it is not true ecstasy,” said the Sufis, Abu Ali al-Daqqaq, the teacher of Qushayri in his Principles of Sufism.
This is a very subtle meaning. It means that certain experiences that are super normal, very elevated, are given to us as gifts, not because we have earned it, not because we have mastered it, or entered initiation, but because we are sincere and need help. We are yearning to know divinity and because we are practicing, the White Lodge looks upon us and says, “Let us help this disciple and provide an experience, an ecstasy so that it can validate the teaching for him or her.”
So it is very common in the beginning of Gnosis that as we save energy, we start to have experiences. Some people have very intense samadhis or astral projections that they cannot explain. They receive blessings and help which is known as “borrowed light” in our tradition. It is not light that we generate on our own, but we receive from God, from the prophets, because they want to show us something valuable. They want to show us that this teaching is real.
The Sufis call it barakah, blessings, and it is very common within the Muslim tradition to think of the saints, to worship the saints, to venerate them and to ask for their barakah, their blessings from holy shrines, temples, sacred spaces that have been the physical conduit where those masters lived and provided their divine force.
In a more profound level we can receive borrowed light, barakah, internally, when we are out of the physical body. When we stand outside of ourselves, literally, that is an astral projection, an ecstasy in which we are conscious of that dimension.
But all this is founded on our practice.
“Just as, in outward life, it is the ordinary daily transactions in which the servant engages that produce for him the sweetness of acts of worship, so, in inward life, the guidelines the servant confronts are what bring on his ecstasies. The sweetnesses of worship are the fruits of outer dealings, ecstasies are the results of inner efforts.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, what is that sweetness of worship? When you are profoundly meditating, deeply enmeshed in your conversation with your Being, and you feel the elevation of your heart, the sweetness of the soul.
Outward worship at a temple is beautiful. It can be necessary for many people. Attending groups, Gnostic schools, can aid the disciple to feel that sweetness of worship through group practice. We also feel worship in the sweetness of the soul at our daily job, if we are conscious. We deal with people outwardly. We work to follow our own compassionate nature of the soul, raising our level of being in our work physically, and internally. And as we are working on our own negative states of mind, we are performing inner effort.
The internal is a reflection of the external. When your outward life reflects the beauty of your inward life, when you let virtue be your guide, your conscience, your motivation, we naturally develop the sweetness of the work. The joy of the work. We feel ecstasy when we comprehend anger and understand that a discovered defect is a dead defect.
We learn to stand outside of ourselves physically, at our jobs, at our work, in the bedroom. That means that you are observing yourself. The soul is observing the observed, which is the ego. We are standing outside of ourselves so that we can gather data, to comprehend the “I.” As we comprehend what the ego is, we feel joy.
This is what Samael Aun Weor stated, "The greatest joy of a gnostic is the discovery of one of his or her defects,” because when we separate from the mind, we see it for what it is and in that that way we can change. That gives us true ecstasy, joy.
I know people like to think that ecstasy is some samadhi in the clouds. While that is true, we get to that point when we stand outside of our ego as we work in self-observation, or as the Sufis refer to as inner-accounting, muhassabah. We have to take an account of our virtues and our defects. This is the result of inner effort, which develops the sweetness of the soul, and in that way we learn to access supra-conscious states.
There are states of being which everybody reads about and everybody craves. These are states of soul or Being that are at the top of the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, which we studied previously in our lecture on stations. These are qualities of the Being that are very high, which we can only experience after annihilating the ego.
The Light, Unity, and Knowledge of the Being
Being in Arabic is known as wujud, and on the right of this slide we see Arabic calligraphy of the words Al-Nur, meaning “the light,” which is a very famous Surah in the Qur’an, of which we will relate some excerpts.
Al-Nur is the Being, the lights and purity of our own inner divine nature, which the Sufis and Muslims referred to as Allah. This is supraconsciousness, states of understanding that are omniscient, beyond the physical universe. They know how to see and travel throughout all the dimensions of the Tree of Life. So to reach that point, we have to meditate. The Sufis state:
“As for being or finding,” meaning to find God, “it follows on advancement out of wajd. There is no finding the Truth save after the extinction of the ordinary human condition, because when the power of reality manifests, the perception of material things cannot endure.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So these are samadhis or ecstasies, which happen outside the physical body, in which people commonly denominate as experiences. As a consciousness, we are in different dimensions of the Tree of Life as our physical body sleeps. To reach those very high experiences, we have to learn meditation. Suspend the physical senses. Relax the body. Calm the heart. Circulate the vital forces. Relax the mind and concentrate on the Being.
In the quietude the divinity within our very core nature manifests. This is how we learn to find our true nature, the Being, wujud, which is etymologically related to wajd, because the Being is ecstasy. It is a state of happiness that is so vast and limitless that it defies reasoning and bewilders the mind.
To reach that point, we have to lose our common everyday perception of what we think or who we think we are. This is the meaning of the saying by Abu-l Husayn al-Nuri, “For twenty years I have been finding and losing. When I found my Lord, I have lost my heart. And when I found my heart, I have lost my Lord."
There are many Sufis who write and talk about this principle, that to know God you have to lose yourself, but that tradition has not really explained any practical experiences or examples. You find those types of experiences very well explicated in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. For the purposes of this lecture, I will relate to you a samadhi that I experience as a consciousness many years ago.
I was practicing meditation, deeply concentrated, and I let my physical body fall asleep. I was undergoing an ordeal in the astral plane, which I conquered. And I was instructed and taught to project my soul through my crown chakra, the Church of Laodicea, which is the chakra relating to omniscience, polyvoyance, intuitive perception, intuitive clairvoyance. It is our link to the very heavens. And I remember pushing out through that chakra and I entered as a soul, divested of any bodies or vehicles, and returned to my own Ain Soph, which Samael Aun Weor relates to in his writings of Kabbalah.
It is our supra-atomic star, the synthesis of who we are, the real Being, which is a light that shines with glory and happiness in the absolute abstract space. And I as a soul had lost my identity as an individual, to what I thought I was, but was united with That. Pure ecstasy. Being. Wujud. However, I identified again with my mind. I lost the ecstasy and I fell back within the astral plane.
That was a beautiful moment of such joy that I don't forget or cease to think about every day of my life, because that is the real Being. The true identity. Our supra-individuality.
And I remember the saying of this Sufi initiate Abu-l Husayn al-Nuri, "When I found my Lord, I lost my heart, and when I found my heart, I lost my Lord." So in that moment, I was in samadhi, but then I thought about my mind back below and my consciousness got sucked back into existence. I identified with my own sense of self and became forgetful of that light.
It is interesting that even the name of Abu-l Husayn Al-Nuri, his name literally means "beautiful light" in Arabic. So many of the Sufi masters took on names, very symbolic and Kabbalistic, profound. Hassan, Hussein, relates to Ihsan, beautiful action—the beauty or light of the soul, or in Kabbalah, Tiphereth, the human consciousness.
Al-Nuri is the light. The light of Ain Soph, as we see in this calligraphy. It is the beauty of the light. It is supra-consciousness. Happiness without limitations. The limitless. It is the unity of perfect expression of the divine.
This is why the Sufis also state:
“It is also the meaning of the saying of Junayd, ‘The knowledge of Unity is contrary to its existence, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So I'm relating to you this experience with my intellect, with words, but intellectual knowledge of that unity, Ain Soph, is contrary to its existence, because words fail to describe or to attribute anything relating to the Being. Its existence is contrary to Its knowledge or our knowledge of It.
The Shahadah: Declaring the Unity of God
So what is the unity in Islam? They pronounce the Shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith:
“There is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
lā ʾilāha ʾillā Llāh, Muḥammadun rasūlu Llāh (in Arabic).
There are many Muslims who pronounce this prayer, but knowing this phrase in the intellect is one thing, knowing it from experience is something else. Shahadah means “witnessing, to bear witness,” to experience the truth.
And what does it mean to submit to God in Arabic? Islam. Many people follow the tradition, physically thinking that through certain adaptation or adoption of prayers, rituals, behaviors, that one somehow is now following God. But it is important to remember that Shahadah, to witness the divine, comes from mushahadah, contemplation, meditation.
The Ain Soph is Allah in Arabic. The limitless. It is a point in space that is our own true light that wants to have cognizance of Its own happiness, Its own true nature. Allah in Arabic comes from أل Al and the syllable لا La, which literally means “The No,” “The Nothing,” “The emptiness,” which is the Buddhist Shunyata, the abstract light of perfect Seity, devoid of common individuality, that is a form of light, our true nature, Al-Nur. That beautiful light is our own star that guides our interior, which calls us back with longing, which seeks us so that we can return with knowledge to It.
There's a Surah in the Qur’an that relates this principle. From Surah Al-Nur (24:35):
“Allah is the light of the heavens (the nine sephiroth) and the Earth (Malkuth, the kingdom or bottom of the Tree of Life). The example whose light is like a [niche] within a lamp (a niche is a supra-atomic point, the synthesis, the Being). The lamp is within a glass, (which reminds us of hermetic science, the science of alchemy), the glass as if it were a pearly white star lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree…” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
That pearly white star is the light of our true nature in the heavens, Allah, Ain Soph, which we learn to experience by working with the oil of the blessed olive tree, known in Middle Eastern science as alchemy, Allah Khemia: the work with energy. That light, that oil, is:
“…neither from the east or the west.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
That tree is neither of the east or the west. On the Tree of Life relating to the sphere of Tiphereth, the East, and Malkuth, the West. The sunrise rises in Tiphereth, the East, which is the goal of our path. To rise up the Tree of Life with light. But if we fall down from Malkuth into the West when the sun sets, we die spiritually. We lose inspiration, allegorically speaking, Kabbalistically speaking.
“Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
We speak abundantly in our studies of the work with the oil, which is a symbol of our sexual matter and energy, which we learn to transform with chastity and purity so that that energy, elevated, is used by the soul, untouched by fire or lust.
“Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills and Allah presents parables (symbols, experiences) for the people and Allah is knowing of all things.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
So we know in Kabbalah that Ain Soph, the Being, is beyond the Tree of Life. It is the negation of all that is existent. It is our true existence, which is non-existence. It is the negation of the self, the complete annihilation of individuality as we conceive it, of grasping at "me, myself, I."
It is only when we fully die, even if only for a moment, that we can enter samadhi, ecstasy. Ibn ‘Arabi speaks abundantly about the unity of God. He says that only divinity can comprehend Himself. So it is a very beautiful teaching, very subtle. While I am telling you that, conventionally-speaking, that my soul united with my own Ain Soph with that experience, it wasn't me knowing myself, but the Being through my soul.
It is a very thorny issue in theology. Very confusing for people who don't meditate. We can think of divinity as light, even as a person who can only know himself by looking in a mirror. That mirror is our soul, is our heart. If we purify the heart, we can reflect the light and therefore divinity gains consciousness of Its own true nature. He witnesses himself through the mirror of the soul.
“With this sense they recite: I find my true existence in vanishing from existence. And from all apparent evidence I see.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So true existence is the Being. It means vanishing from everything that is not that source. We know from our studies of initiation and the Tree of Life that we work in successive degrees, ascending to higher states of consciousness until finally at the very end of the path, we abandon everything that is manifested in this universe to return to that light. The yogis of India refer to this perfect bliss, knowledge, and Being absolute in Sanskrit terms: Sat Chit Ananda.
Sivananda writes about this very beautifully in his books. We can think of it as object, subject, union. These terms or principles describe the perfect state of ecstasy, in which the Being is the object. The soul is the subject and the union is completed. So in that experience the soul that is my true nature was united with That. The light was the light and one could see oneself as both the Being and the soul in union.
This is the meaning of religion, from the Latin religare. Reunion. In Sufism, they refer to this type of experience as Madkhur, the Invoked, which is the Being; Dhakr, the Invoker, who is the dervish or the soul; Dhikr, the Invocation: the call upon the divine, the consciousness of the divine.
In other terms, we say it is the Remembered, the Rememberer, and the Remembrance. It is in that state that the Being has cognizance of Its own happiness. This is the purpose of our spiritual work. To return to that abstract joy. That perfect Being. It is for our own Ain Soph, our own true star, light, and ecstasy of divinity, to have cognizance of That known as Paranishpanna in the writings of Samael Aun Weor.
This is known in Sufism and Islam as the Day of Alast: the covenant made between the soul and Allah, that the soul will return to divinity through the path. This is scripturally validated in the following verses from the Qur’an, Surah 7, verse 172 (Surah Al-Ar’af):
"And mention when your Lord took you from the children of Adam, from their loins—their descendants, and made them testify of themselves saying to them, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said ‘Yes, we have testified.’ This less you should say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Indeed we were of this unaware.’” ―Ar’af 172
So there is a very famous verse within Islam. Many people think it refers to the literal people of Adam and his descendants making a covenant with God. That they will return to their upright ways of living. Some people say this took place physically at Nu’man a valley near Arafat. There are other interpretations of the Qur’an known as tafsir, exegeses, or commentaries on that scripture, that this occurred when Adam descended to the Earth metaphysically. Some say before that or even after. Other Sufis and other initiates comment that it happened in heaven.
This is actually a metaphysical experience. Meaning, we all originated from our own Ain Soph, who is our true nature, our light, which sends its light down the Tree of Life into different matters, energy, into consciousness, forms of expression, so that it can return inward and upward, back to the source with knowledge. “Happiness is not true happiness without cognizance of That.” It is a very Kabbalistic statement by Samael Aun Weor, which you can read about in Tarot and Kabbalah, especially.
So the Being says, “Am I not your Lord? Am I not your true identity?” And that is our covenant. To return to the source, the synthesis of who we are. This is the voice of the silence. It is the source of our own longings and inquietudes. Our deep yearnings for studying this type of doctrine is to know That. To know the unity.
Mythomania and Mystical Experiences
So while many people think that these kinds of mystical states or experiences are indicators of progress, what happens with many people is that while having those types of experiences, many students and even instructors, followers of different traditions or teachings, become confused. They have those experiences and then they return to their body saying “I am a master. I am a great Being. I am liberated!”
What they don't understand is that those kind of experiences are merely states given to us by divinity as a gift. They do not signify that we have entered and subsisted in that state through initiation. We can have those experiences, states of liberation temporarily, but to really be permanently united in That, is a very lofty goal. Very difficult.
As Samael Aun Weor stated:
"Some hermits who isolated themselves within caves, based on rigorous disciplines, attained the ecstasy of the saints and were taken up to heaven. There they saw and heard things that are not easily comprehended by human beings. Nevertheless, their “I’s” continued to exist within their interior.
"Unquestionably, the Essence [consciousness or soul], through rigorous discipline, can escape from within the “I”; thus, it enjoys ecstasy. However, after such bliss, the Essence returns into the interior of the “myself.”
"Those who have become accustomed to ecstasy without having dissolved the ego believe that they have already reached liberation. They fool themselves by believing themselves to be Masters. They even enter into the submerged devolution [descent and destruction within the hell realms of nature, the inferior planes of Klipoth].
"Nonetheless, we are not pronouncing ourselves against mystical ecstasy, against the ecstasy and happiness of the soul while in the absence of the ego. We only want to place emphasis on the necessity of dissolving “I’s” [achieving fana: annihilation] in order to achieve the final liberation.
"The Essence of any disciplined hermit, accustomed to escaping from within the “I,” repeats such a feat after the death of his physical body. Then, his Essence enjoys the ecstasy for some time. Yet, after such time, his Essence returns as the Genie of Aladdin’s lamp, back into the interior of the lamp, the ego, the myself.
"Thereupon, he has no other choice but to return into a new physical body with the purpose of repeating his life on the stage of existence.
"Many mystics who lived and died in the caverns of the Himalayas in central Asia reincarnated again and are now vulgar, common and current people in this world, in spite of the fact that their followers still adore and venerate them.
"Therefore, any attempt at liberation, no matter how great it might be, if it does not take into consideration the necessity of dissolving the ego, it is condemned to failure." ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
This is why in our tradition we speak abundantly about mythomania. There are people who have genuine experiences of God in different levels and because they don't study the doctrine, they get confused. They think they are gods. Mythomania comes from myth of manas, the Sanskrit term for mind. It means “to make a myth of the mind.” The mind thinks it is great, that it is God, but the mind is just the devil. As I explained that experience I had, I left behind my mind, my devil. However, when I identified with my mind again, I lost the experience, falling down into the astral plane, losing the ecstasy.
While that was a beautiful experience, I would never dare make the mistake to think that that is my permanent level. It was a gift. People get confused because they have those experiences but don't really evaluate the quality of their mind. They are not stations: permanent, established, levels of Being. They are states that come and go as blessings from God.
The Definition of States
So let us define what a state is according to the Sufi manuals of the great masters, especially Al-Qushayri from his Principles of Sufism.
“According to the Sufis, a state is a spiritual influence that arrives in the heart without their intending, contriving or earning it, such as joy or sorrow or expansion and contraction or desire or agitation, or awe, or need.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So these are experiences that we receive without intending it, without earning it. And that samadhi that I related to you, that was given to me without my intention and definitely without my earning it. However, I had been disciplined in my practices and was given the gift in order to relate it to this type of knowledge, to clarify things.
So other states such as experiences of that nature can sometimes be even more or less intense, but still very beautiful and profound, like joy or expanding our consciousness. Sometimes there are states that are contracted. We become focused on one thing. Expansion is a type of diffusion into space with a clarified awareness. Contraction is more concentrated, as if we are focusing only on one thing. A very disciplined contracted will. Very strong attention, which also can be as state, a gift, or a desire, or longing, to be agitated in a spiritual sense, to be filled with awe, yearning, or longing for God.
“While stations are earned, the states (ahwal) are gifts. The stations are attained through the expenditure of effort, but the states appear from the fount of generosity. The possessor of a station is confirmed in it…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…or has reached that level of being, has achieved The Major Mysteries according to Samael Aun Weor.
“The possessor of a state is transported beyond it.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So I claim that that experience I had was a gift. I am still in the process of working on myself. Hopefully that I will return to That, to be transported to That. But in order for that to happen, we have to work from the ground up.
“Dhul-Nun al-Misri was asked about the gnostic and said, ‘He was here, and he left.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So what is the true gnostic? A true Sufi, one who is perfected marif’ah, knowledge of God. Knowledge of the truth, and therefore, his or her states and stations are beyond our comprehension. So while that person can be physically present with us, consciously-speaking, they are aware of all the dimensions of nature. Here and now. “He was here and then he left.”
Such beings are very difficult to comprehend at our level because they can access all dimensions of the Tree of Life with will, with intentionality. They are not limited to one sphere. But for us, we find that states are temporary. They come and go. We can be meditating, introspecting, contemplating a verse from a scripture, concentrating on an image of divinity, whether a holy figure, or something as simple as a mandala, a stone, a picture. We can be reflecting on the virtues of our own consciousness, of our Being. And, states suddenly emerge in the screen of our awareness. You suddenly see a landscape, a place, a group of people, a conversation, a symbol, a form of life, images, sounds. These appear directly before us and we are both witnesses and participants. These are flashes of understanding or inspiration. Imagination. If we understand the import of those experiences, we develop intuition, understanding of what those states are communicating.
The Momentariness of States
“Some of the shaykhs have said, ‘The states are like lightning flashes.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, these experiences come upon the heart suddenly, without expectation. When we cease thinking.
“If one seems to continue, it is self-deception." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Many times in our practices, especially in the beginning, we are meditating and we have an experience. We see an image, a sound, a symbol with the type of clarity that is very expensive or clear, and suddenly when we realize what is happening, we return to our body, back to our asana (posture). Those experiences are very temporary. They come in flashes, and then we are stuck in the mind again, seeing all sorts of contents, memories, anxieties, fears, worries that continue on and on. This is the meaning of how if these states seem to continue, it is self-deception.
We have states of the soul that are very clear, very profound, and have a particular taste that is distinct. Therefore we have to learn to sift through the mind and understand that genuine states of the soul appear like lightning. They appear, then they vanish. So we should question our mind. Be very diligent to understand that not everything we see in ourselves is going to be objective. If it seems to continue onward, like all the chain of associative thinking we know of, that is self-deception. That is the ego.
“And they have said, “The states are as their name,” [the verb hala means ‘to change’ or ‘to pass’], meaning that immediately as they come upon the heart, they vanish. They recite: Did it not change, it would not be called a state And everything that changes vanishes. Look at the shadow whenever it draws to an end. It begins its diminution when it has grown long.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Validating Internal Experiences
So it is important that we understand something very essential. Having experiences is not enough. Having mystical states is not sufficient. We have to learn to verify what we see.
Scriptures allow us and show us understanding of what these types of ecstasies are. We have to both have experiences, but also read, study, reflect. When we see that our own experiences are reflected within the writings of the great prophets, we develop faith. We don't get confused. We understand precisely what God was telling us, and therefore we have no doubt as to what we know.
Personally, I have had many experiences that I witnessed firsthand, internally, and only later found evidence physically of what that meant. In the case of that experience I related to you, there are other symbols relating to that vision, that ecstasy, that I confirmed in many writings in order to evaluate its objectivity. And in that way I have faith. I know what that experience was communicating and so there is no confusion or doubt.
So many times we can read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, the Qur’an, the scriptures, any of the experiences that, before we read about them, we have.
I believe I related in our previous lectures knowing about the Tree of Life before reading about it. The ten spheres. the ten sephiroth. It is actually very beautiful to have that experience and then later confirm it. It shows us that we are progressing and that we are on strong ground.
We have to learn that we must not only be practical meditators, but studious disciples. We have to read and know the knowledge in depth. This is known as intellectual spiritual culture. Our knowledge, our studies, help us to clarify and decipher our internal experiences.
So we can have those types of experiences, but if we don't know the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, the nature of the path, we will be very lost. We will be receiving messages from divinity, but not having the knowledge to interpret.
Samael Aun Weor mentions that Kabbalah is the language of the internal worlds. We need to have intellectual spiritual culture. This means: have a very good knowledge of every tradition, especially the Gnostic tradition, so that we learn to be balanced, because many people can have experiences and think that they are objective. But if those experiences go against our ethics, the writings of the prophets, then we are deluded, we are confused. So experiences have to coincide with the writings. Otherwise, we will be in error. We will make false judgments and can make mistakes.
Which is why Abu Sulayman stated in Principles of Sufism (by Al-Qushayri):
“Sometimes one of the subtle sayings of the Sufis stays in my heart for days, but I will not accept it save on [the testimony of] two just witnesses: the Qur’an and the Sunnah.” ―Abu Sulayman al-Darani in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So we have to rely on the teachings of the prophets, those who walked the path before. That is because these initiates have very high levels of attainment. They have a lot of awakened consciousness and can explain things for us that are very difficult. We have to learn to study from masters of Major Mysteries, the prophets, people who really established themselves in accordance with hierarchy, meaning their level being is very high, such as Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses, Khidr in the Qur’an, Samael Aun Weor.
We have to study from masters whom we have validated, whom we know are objective. This is important because many people in our studies have committed crimes and even lost their sanity because they lacked culture. They had experiences that told them that such and such person is a black magician, a sorcerer, a demon. Or, experiences that are contrary to our fundamental ethics of how to behave in life, and therefore they literally committed crimes. You can read about this type of dynamic in Samael Aun Weor's book Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology, where he communicates the link between spiritual perception and the criminal code.
Internal States and Spiritual Facts
The foundational of reason why people make mistakes is because they have internal states that do not coincide with facts. They don't know how to interpret what they see. This is why study and practice is essential. Study the true sources of meditative knowledge, because:
“Being and knowing must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowing is greater than being, it causes all kinds of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing, it can produce cases as serious as that of a stupid saint.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Study is knowledge and practice is being.Together we produce comprehension. People who study a lot but don't experience become pessimistic, morbid, defeatist, confused. It is because they read about experiences that they don't have and wish that they can have that kind of knowledge for themselves, and feel covetous of those who do. They become dark, pessimistic, morbid, angry, envious.
It is important to really balance the two, because there are those who even have a lot of experiences, but don't have knowledge. They become stupid saints. They can receive knowledge from God, but because they can't interpret, they are stupid in a very blunt sense. They don't know how to relate their experiences to physical life. They don't know how to make their inner experiences practical for themselves, what those messages mean, because initiation is our own life lived intensely with rectitude and love.
So balance the two. Read the doctrine, study the books, but meditate. Meditate on what you read. We have to learn to digest all the beautiful symbols and concepts and understandings we get from our teachers, the prophets, the scriptures. And if you have experiences, learn to find books and teachings that explain what those are.
In my case, I remember having that one experience long ago before I even knew certain aspects of Kabbalah. I united with Ain Soph, but I was bewildered because I didn't understand the real depth of that experience. I knew it was my Being, but I didn't know how that related to the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah. Now, studying that aspect of this teaching, it has become very clear. Therefore I am no longer confused about what it meant.
Over the years of even studying more and more, I’m seeing that arch an experience is not particular to me, but it is mentioned in many cosmogonies and writings of great authors. Great yogis, great prophets. So I don't claim that this is something only special to a few people, because we all have that inside. We all can experience that. But it takes a type of work and blessings from divinity.
But learning to decipher what we see, what states we experiences, we have to learn to combine knowledge and being, as I said. That statement by Samael Aun Weor is corroborated by the Sufis:
“The best of states is that which goes together with knowledge.” ―Nahrajuri in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
“Any mystical state that is not the fruit of formal religious knowledge brings more trouble than benefit to the one who experiences it.” ―Abu Amr bin Nujayd in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
This is all based on ethics. We can have an experience internally that we are told we are a great God and that we should do such and such a thing, even when that action contradicts divine law, the ethics of the soul, upright behavior, upright thinking, upright feeling. There are many people in Gnosis who have committed crimes, made terrible mistakes because they did not study the doctrine. They were confused by a negative, subjective, egotistical state, thinking that they were in samadhi, that they were in ecstasy, when the truth is that they were just confused, by the ego, by Shaitan, the adversary, our ego, al-nafs, nafas, the soul or the lower soul.
So any mystical state must be corroborated by the doctrine, otherwise it brings trouble. So if you have those experiences that are confusing or dark, that don't coincide with the knowledge, then you have to discriminate, meditate, interpret, look for the source. And if that type of state is contrary to the law, then disregard it.
We have to be very exact with our concepts. Logical thought and exact concept are necessary in order to develop spiritual perception, says Samael Aun Weor, I believe in the book on Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology.
This is why we study the lives of the prophets. The Sunnah, the scriptures. This is so we know how to live ethically. Ethics empowers our actions and our actions influence our spiritual states. Our spiritual devotions physically is what determines what states we will experience.
There is a famous Hadith in the Muslim oral tradition which emphasizes this point: how our actions permeate everything we are mentally, physically, emotionally, instinctually, sexually. Prophet Muhammad was known to have stated:
“The outer law (shari'ah) is my word, the spiritual path (tariqah) my actions, and the inner reality (haqiqah) my inner states.” ―Prophet Muhammad
So these three levels of instruction: Shari’ah, Tariqah, and Haqiqah, are essential when we study mystical states.
Everything is based upon our ethics or code of conduct, which is the path of the heart. Without that foundation we cannot have true inner states or knowledge, Haqiqah: the experience of the Being, which is embodied in the life of any prophet.
So of course we emphasize again, develop your ethics. Question what you see in your mind stream. Without that we cannot discriminate with objectivity.
When we work effectively in the path, we progress into higher states of consciousness. This is always occurs in accordance with the death of the ego. There are masters prophets who, due to hierarchy, they enter incredibly vast, beautiful states that for average persons is inaccessible, incomprehensible. There is a particular beauty to studying what is known as progressive states (ahwal) because there are prophets who were so elevated in their level of being, that it is very difficult to understand. But, they can inspire us to change, to reach those heights. We have to learn to remove the covers of our perceptions. Remove the veil, the egos, through vigilance.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq speak about the saying of the Prophet, “Something covers my heart so that I ask forgiveness of God Most High seventy times a day.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So this has to do with our work of self-observation. We see things many times, in our mind, that are very negative. And so we learn to ask forgiveness for our faults. We don't have to have any prayer formula, but remorse. This is what this quote from the Prophet means. We are taking account of our own internal states, our egotistical states, so that we can enter superior spiritual states, experiences.
“He said that the states of the Prophet were always in progressive development. When he moved from one condition to a higher one, it would sometimes happen that his attention returned to what he had advanced beyond. He used to count this ‘a covering’ compared to what he was attaining in the immediate condition, for his states were always in increase.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So while this may not apply to us, this is something important to acknowledge. Advanced initiates enter states progressively higher and higher, in accordance with the death of desire, by descending into the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, the infra-consciousness.
So a prophet that has moved very far beyond the ego, still needs to go even higher and higher, because they are refining their consciousness very much. So a profound mystical state which to us can be very high, could be a barrier for a prophet. Because they are developing so much that they are always entering higher states of infinitude, which of course is very difficult to comprehend where we are at, but with practice and meditation we understand more.
These are the levels of being which as Abdul Karim al-Jili stated "The path to God is short. The path in God is infinite. " So even upon attaining union with divinity, there are levels of knowledge of God which go higher. States that go even deeper into that source.
"The Truth’s capacities for depth and subtlety are without end. And since honor is due to the Truth. It is impossible to fully attain this; the servant is always involved in the refinement of his states. No spiritual significance is conveyed to anyone unless there is in his destiny something beyond it, to which it may transport him. This is the point of the saying, “What is good in the righteous is bad in those brought closer to God.” Junayd was asked about this, and recited: Explosions of light glitter when they appear Making a secret visible and giving news of unification.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
These explosions of light are samadhis, experiences, states. And they are a brief allusion to what true unification is, true religion, unity, the Being.
We will conclude with a quote from Samael Aun Weor. The basis of our meditation is silence and perception. Concentration and imagination produce comprehension. Concentration and imagination produce ecstasy, illumination, understanding. When our mind is calm like a lake, it can reflect the heavens. We can reflect superior states.
“Illumination and ecstasy come when the mind is silent, when the mind is quiet. Drowsiness in combination with meditation produces ecstasy. God searches the nothingness in order to fill it.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
So if we wish to have those types of experiences, we must become empty. Empty of ego. Annihilate the ego. Abandon the ego, because in that nothingness, we can experience the true plenitude in beauty of God, who is a state of consciousness beyond all evidence and materiality. So it's good that we learn to study these states and even comprehend that there are levels and levels to that type of experience. And that is possible for us. Without that context, it is difficult to motivate ourselves, to know that there is a goal and that we can obtain it with patience and tenacity.
Questions and Answers
Question: I like to ask whether or not you know, besides just the telling us to okay meditate and quietude and things like that: did the Sufis have any specific practices that are, you know, that is known, that we can learn about?
Instructor: Yes, they speak abundantly about invocation and very commonly within the Sufi schools, they practice what's known as Dhikr, which means “remembrance” in Arabic. It can also mean invocation. In simple terms, this means mantra. Many Sufis will spend decades in their schools, in their masjid, under the jurisdiction or guidance of a Sheikh, a guru, a teacher, utilizing certain mantras.
So a very common one is Allah Hu Allah. They say these mantras out loud, repeatedly and in groups together, in unison, and many times they even encompass these mantras with dance, which is a very sacred form of religion. There has been a lot of controversy especially within the Muslim orthodoxy towards the Sufi schools, especially the Mevlevis, those who practice with the school of Rumi, the whirling dervishes in which those types of dances have been criticized.
But the purpose of any of those exercises like dance, sacred songs, and mantra, is in order to invoke energy. So they want to make sure that they unify song, mantra, movement in order to invoke divinity, and in that way, they bring in good energy. That energy helps to silence the mind, to concentrate the mind, to obtain serenity. Primarily because serenity is developed by working with sacred sounds.
The Sufis place emphasis on this. The mantra Allah Hu Allah relates to divinity on the Tree of Life, which is Ain Soph, Kether, Chokmah, Binah. As well as “Hu,” which means Spirit, Chesed: the Compassionate, the Merciful, which is why in the Qur’an it teaches Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim: “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.”
The Sufis would recite this mantra Allah Hu Allah. Those mantras help the Sufis to obtain union with God. So in that experience I related, I was experiencing my own inner Allah or experiencing the Absolute. Through 'Hu,’ which relates to the breath, the Spirit. So the breath is deeply related, the mantras are deeply related with energy, with the divine.
They also perform exercises of dream yoga, but especially by working with mantra. A lot of the exercises that the Sufis practice in the most esoteric sense are very well hidden, which is why you won't find many aspects of that doctrine publicized. However, from the writings of Samael Aun Weor, it is easy to see that there are exercises that they do in secret, especially alchemy. Transmutation. Meditation. I remember even being on YouTube and looking at a video clip of Sufi group. They were performing Ham-Sah. They were spinning performing the dervishes and breathing Ham Sah in unison, with music, in harmony. So the Sufis know this doctrine, but they don't publicize many hidden roots that we study openly. But there is that relationship there.
Question: Thank you for the explanation and I'm guessing that you know, the Sufis practice, even though not very publicized or published, that the the practices from Master Samael, like you said Ham-Sah, they are probably pretty much include a lot of what Sufis do, right?
Instructor: Yes. Remember that Sufism is still a very Piscean tradition. They are very well known for their conservative nature, keeping their most esoteric practices hidden. That tradition is especially very occluded, meaning: they don't give their practices openly, but the truth is that they do practice the whirling dervishes, such as the sacred rites [of rejuvenation], which we have many similarities to. But their knowledge is not given openly.
The Aquarian knowledge is very different. With the Aquarian doctrine these practices are available to everybody. We don't need to attend a [physical] teacher, a Sheikh, a Guru, a master, to receive these practices. They are available to anybody [Editor’s Note: However, the true master is not to be found in the physical world, but within our own consciousness]. The Age of Pisces was known for its system of instruction in which a Sheikh or master would have to individually pick a student and teach them directly from mouth to ear. Without that, they would not provide their knowledge openly and so they still maintain that system very diligently.
So it would be very difficult to find any of those schools explaining some of the things we are doing here, because with the Aquarian knowledge, in the Age of Aquarius, the exercises for transformation are given openly. The only one who had authority to really do so with the accordance with the White Lodge was Samael Aun Weor, specifically.
Question: I have a question regarding something you said in the beginning about discipline of practice. In the book study ,that one of the first chapters in the book [Fundamentals of Gnostic Education] talks about discipline and the need to not have discipline. Now. I am guessing that you mean something else than what Samael Aun Weor is talking about by discipline and I'm wondering what it is that you mean when you say talk about discipline and practice.
Instructor: Sure, so the statement that the Master Samael Aun Weor makes in Fundamentals of Gnostic Education is a reference to the kind of rigid systems that people adopt intellectually in the mind, especially in relation to certain studies, such as at schools or academies. That type of discipline of intellectual study and eclectic approaches to any kind of field of knowledge, without a practical dimension, is useless.
It is useless to study any discipline of any field, whether in astronomy, science, anything—if it's not grounded in some type of practical work. So in the context of that book, he is referring a lot to the tendency in people to want to merely leave everything in the intellect through rigorous intellectual discipline, like getting a doctorate or PhD or being very obtuse in one's knowledge, specific to one thing that really doesn't address the heart, or the soul.
Real spiritual discipline is when we work on the mind. Samael Aun Weor speaks abundantly in other books, like Igneous Rose, that we must submit ourselves to profound esoteric discipline, which means meditate. Restrain the mind. Conquer the mind. But the danger is, especially with analysis or any religion, that we just study things intellectually and leave it there. The problem with that is that we may have a lot of knowledge intellectually, a lot of discipline intellectually, taking a lot of time in our schedule to read a lot, but not having any practice. It makes people unbalanced.
The essence of real spiritual discipline is combining our meditation with some type of study. One without the other is useless. But combining the two, we produce comprehension. Hope that answers your question.
Question: I think so. It reminds me of, I read about like lunar celibacy versus solar celibacy, and it seems like it's the difference between, I guess intellectually, deciding I'm going to do something or maintaining a rigid form of how something's going to go versus a preparation for which means an open-mindedness. So you're still involved. It's still very involved but it's how you're involved. Is that the way you participate differentiates discipline versus discipline?
Instructor: Real esoteric discipline involves both knowledge and being. We have to combine our studies with meditation. If we don't meditate on what we study, our understanding will be very shallow. But when you combine the two, spiritual experiences, with study of the doctrine, then it's very easy to remove any errors. We don't get confused.
In relation to lunar and solar celibacy, that is a little bit of a different practice. But yes, people who are commonly practicing what's called celibacy, they may read a lot of Christian writings or any other religion or teaching, but they don't really understand the practice of transmutation, working with the body and the energies, and so that's an incomplete discipline, which can relate to this dynamic. People can study that aspect of yoga and religion, but because they lack a practical dimension of what those traditions teach, they are confused and they suffer a lot. But real discipline is when we combine esoterically meditation, transmutation, service for others. Knowledge and being have to be united. Without that we don't comprehend anything.
Question: My question is about the stages of meditation and Master Samael Aun Weor talks about in Igneous Rose that appearing in the vision of the meditator, in a daily basis of the meditator. Like not particularly in the meditation session. I don't know if you are familiar with that quote.
Instructor: So you are saying that to have that experience is some kind of vision even when not in meditation?
Question: Yes. I think he called it color yellow, color red and I believe the third one is blue, and it's sort of like a stage. I believe he explains them as a stages of concentration you are maintaining throughout the day. How should we, if we receive that, how should you look? Is that like a phenomena? An experience? Is it something earned? It seems like it's coming and going and coming again. How should you look upon those things?
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor mentions in Igneous Rose that as we develop our meditative practice we learn to start seeing visions and images, even when being physically active. He refers to this as clairvoyance, spiritual perception, which can form as a type of psychic imagery in the mind, the consciousness, the third eye between our eyebrows. He explains how if we're really diligent about meditation, we will start to understand more things relating to our daily life.
You can be physically active involved in other activities, at work, being with people, and he explains how suddenly we may start to perceive psychic imagery—understanding of the thoughts, emotions, and motives of other people. He refers to this as clairvoyance. It is a profound form of concentration, our attention, of where we are focused, on what we are doing. In that way we start to become inspired by what we see in other people and ourselves.
He also explains in other books that inspirational knowledge pertains to our understanding of interrelations, interdependence, how our thoughts and the thoughts and emotions of others, interrelate—to see that in a conscious way. It can occur with imagery, understanding other people based on that kind of perception, which doesn't have to just occur when we are sitting in our posture, in a silent room in the dark with eyes closed.
It is good to see more and more things, more internal states in relation to external events in the process of meditating. The Sufis speak a lot about this too. We have to learn to match our internal state with the external event, and that comes about by understanding what we perceive. So questioning our internal states, which can be positive or negative, we can learn how to judge, to comprehend, and images can occur as we are interacting with people. It happens quite often and it will happen more with greater clarity as we are refining our meditative practice too.
Question: In the same line, I would say, how can we understand that at the same moment without letting the mind doing the judgment? You know, if you feel something from someone, let's say the mind labels it as a negative, but you know that it isn't actually negative. Everything is a lesson and every everybody has their own Being. So how can we have all the situation's going into the positive or constructive way, even though they appear at the surface as a gossip or it's something that we don't want, you know, to happen?
Instructor: Comprehension occurs as a result of following our inner judgment. That voice of conscience that says this is right and this is wrong. In most cases we tend to follow our mind, which can be clouded, if confused and burdened with a lot of negative emotion. In order to understand what we experience and what is objective, we have to follow our heart. Your heart will tell you that this situation is negative or positive, or this internal state is wrong or good. The only issue is that as you've mentioned, or you’ve implied, we have a lot of ego. It is difficult to discern what is positive and what is negative, what is objective.
So the solution is, because our senses are very deceiving, our mind is very deceiving, even our emotions can be very deceiving, we have to learn how to clarify our attention. This is really the value of meditative practice, is that after a day of self-observation, in which you have seen or witnessed certain things, we have acted our best in the different circumstances of our jobs or family life, we go home, we sit, we relax, we suspend our senses. We work with energy. Circulate the vital force, through pranayama, mantras, or even sexual alchemy if one is married.
When meditating and looking deep within, visualizing that event that we have questions about, put that scene in the screen of our imagination and try to picture everything that happened. But without adding to or taking away.
Be honest. So learning to be honest is a combination of two things. Sincerity is developed in the moment when we see a state or action in us that is negative. Or we sense a negative thing. We may not act perfectly in the moment. In many cases, we tend to follow what our ego wants and we feel the consequences, the suffering resulting from that. So that internal state influenced the external events of our job or our daily activities. And if we feel that pain and suffering and remorse, and even if we acted rightly in the situation, meaning, we felt that we followed our heart and produced a situation beneficial for everybody, still we go home, we meditate, we close our eyes, visualize the scene, and imagine everything that happened relating to that moment.
What was the event? Who is involved? Where did it take place? What time of the day? And going even deeper, what was our mood? What were the thoughts associated with that moment? What were the feelings, the actions that we took, whether for good or for ill? And to ask our Divine Being our Divine Mother, al-Baqarah in Islam, the sacred cow, the divine feminine, to show us what in us needs to be understood.
In many cases, we have too many Impressions entering our mind stream in a moment, which can be very intense and difficult to control and to decipher. So if we get overloaded by that event and may have acted wrongly, we should learn to say, “Well, I made a mistake or I think I did well in this situation, but let me go home later and meditate and examine that situation deeply,” because there may be certain behavior subconsciously that we are not aware of yet.
And this is really the importance of meditation. Real profound change, elimination of our internal states in our daily life, can only occur when we meditate. It is a combination of our daily work, being physically active in the day, learning the sweetness of worship by fulfilling our obligations, as the Sufis state.
So remember that quote that states that we learn to feel sweetness of worship in our outward deeds. This is the first step. We gather data about our ego. Moment by moment, instant by instant. Following our heart to the best of our ability. There are occasions where we may feel that joy, that sweetness in the heart that says, “I know I did the right thing,” or perhaps remorse, “I felt that I did a bad thing.”
Ecstasy occurs, understanding occurs, comprehension evolves, unfolds when we make inner effort. Meaning: go home, retrospect your day, visualize the scene as it happened and ask divinity to help you understand what was going on there and how you could have acted if the situation was wrong, or if one behave badly. That is the only way to really gain clarity, because it's difficult to trust what we see.
We tend to be very clouded people, but it is inevitable that if we are saving our energies meditating daily, reviewing our day, imagining those scenes and asking for understanding and comprehension of the ego, that naturally as we go back to work the next day or repeat the same situation, we will start to see things more and more. If we are changing more profoundly, psychologically, it means that we will act in better and better ways and that conscience in our heart gets stronger.
Question: I wanted to ask you at the beginning, when I first started studying, I only focused on you know, just the intellectual part, like just reading and reading and reading until I can build my practices little by little, but I'm still not... like sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough. Obviously. I am not doing enough, but I wanted to know what is the significance of the difference between, I guess, the [Church of] Laodicea and the Church of Philadelphia! because I was meditating and I went to a place and it was very beautiful, and I asked them what that place was and there was an older man. He said this was Philadelphia, so I'm not sure. Then later I see, well, you know, there's the two glands but maybe I'm not doing enough or I don't know. I don't know what that meant.
Instructor: Those two chakras, our churches, between the eyebrows, Philadelphia, and the Church of Laodicea at the crown, those chakras are known as the Chakra Ajna and the Chakra Sahasrara according to Eastern mysticism. According to the Book of Revelation they are known as churches, and the Sufis refer to these centers as Lataif, the seven world centers [seven organs of perception] in which the powers of the initiate are developed through the help of a master according to Sufi tradition.
Philadelphia literally means “brotherly love.” Philos, delphia: love of humanity, and that has to do with perceptions relating to astral projection, clairvoyance, understanding thought, understanding our own selves, self-observation, awareness. A lot of people like to think that this term clairvoyance only applies to a few people who have a special gift. It is a French term that means “clear vision.” It was invented by a group of people to confuse humanity to make them think that only a few people could have that knowledge, which is a mistake. It was an effort to deflect people from studying their knowledge.
But the reality is that clairvoyance or perception means “imagination.” It's the ability to perceive spiritual images. That clarity of vision occurs in the astral plane, especially, when we awaken in the dream state, or when we are meditating and we start to see images. They can be experiences or landscapes, as I said. Lights, illumination, internal states of the soul. Those visions greatly vary and apply to what we experience in meditation in terms of imagery, psychic experiences, visuals, sounds, even.
Sounds can also relate to the chakra of the throat which is the Church of Sardis in the Book of Revelation, relating to sound, mystical sounds. Those centers are active when we calm the body, calm the heart, calm the mind.
It gets deeper more and more as we are practicing self-observation, as well as imagination exercises. Meaning, we take an image and visualize it and try to picture it with clarity between our eyebrows. We have to develop that type of perception when we are in our work of self-observation.
It is a profound form of clairvoyance to see the ego objectively. To separate as an observer to the observed. The soul, the consciousness, is observing then the nafas, the ego, the animal "I’s,” the lower soul, desires, according to the Sufis. And learning to separate from that we develop greater clarity of perception.
A lot of factors pertain to that element, but the primary one is, in accordance to the name of Philadelphia, philos-delphia, love of humanity, brotherly love, we develop that chakra profoundly when we eliminate anger, because the opposite of brotherly love is hatred. If you want to develop that type of perception with greater clarity, illumination of the soul, we have to learn to eliminate negative internal states, the ego.
This is why in that excerpt from The Aquarian Message we read, "God searches the nothingness in order to fill it." If we are filled with anger, we cannot reflect God. Anger ripples the mind, the lake of the mind. It makes it agitated, and therefore the images of the superior world cannot reflect in our meditation and likewise in our daily states. If we are not working on that negative emotion in our daily life, we won't see with clarity. It will be difficult to understand right from wrong, to observe our own egos in action. But if we develop serenity, love of humanity, the mind calms, we transform our situation, we see our perception, our situation with clarity.
But even beyond that is the crown chakra, which is much higher. It has to do with very elevated experiences like the one I related to you all tonight, in which you leave behind the universe and enter the states of Being which are beyond thought, feeling, and will. Those are states that we can only understand through experience, but it's good that when you are meditating and studying and practicing, that you learn about these experiences so that when it happens you don't get confused.
We are going back to your comments and your question is, that if you want a greater clarity in your perceptions, if you want to understand what that aspect of your soul is, Philadelphia, the Church of the third eye, that Chakra Ajna, we have to learn how to develop serenity, patience, and love. Without that we don't have any clarity in what we see. Sometimes our perception, that third eye, can be negative if it's charged with pessimism, resentment, negativity. Therefore, everything we see will be clouded from that element, which is why when people are filled with anger, they don't see clearly. They can't rationalize. But it seems that the experience you just related has to do with the beauty of the soul that learns how to see with objectivity.
The Church of Philadelphia internally is very beautiful. All the churches of the Gnostic movement are very beautiful and profound. So there are places that you can visit internally, but also relates to certain qualities, perception. So if it's a beautiful experience that you had, it would seem to be that it's indicating to you the beauty of your own clairvoyance when it is pure. If it's clouded by negative internal states, then it becomes a problem. Hope that answers your question.
Question: Yeah, it does because I think this was like a gift like you were saying so that it would motivate me to work towards that.
Instructor: Yes. That is usually how those experiences unfold.
It's convenient that we finish this lecture series on Turandot after the Jewish holidays, specifically Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which began on Monday of last week and culminated on Wednesday of this week. The last two acts of this opera relate to these two holidays, specifically the Jewish New Year, ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah and Act II culminating with יום כיפור Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah literally means, “Head of the Year," from Hebrew ראש Rosh, “the intellect," the head, and השנה Hashanah meaning, “the year." Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is a day of prayer and fasting, where many Jews observe certain rituals in their synagogues as an atonement for their sins, for their faults before divinity. So, all these religions, or better said, all these dynamics of this holiday relate esoterically to this opera.
Rosh Hashanah reminds us of सुषुम्णा Sushumna in Sanskrit. Sushumna is the channel of our spinal column which unites with the head, Rosh. We have the two serpents, Ida and Pingala, in the Caduceus of Mercury, and Sushumna is the central channel or spinal column through which the Kundalini rises to Rosh, the head. Rosh Hashanah, therefore, symbolically speaking, is how we enter initiation, the beginning of life and a way of being, because every time we raise a serpent of fire from the chakra Muladhara up our Sushumna channel to our head, we are achieving the Major Mysteries, as well as certain developments in the soul related to time, to esoteric age.
If you're familiar with the writings of Samael Aun Weor, he states in The Major Mysteries that to learn of your age in the internal planes is symbolic. We stated previously that there were nine initiations of minor mysteries, in which we walked the probationary path described in Act I of this opera. We also find that the nine degrees of minor mysteries relate to the ages 10 through 90. The first initiation of minor mysteries relates to 10 years. The second initiation of minor mysteries relates to 20, and likewise, up to 90.
So, if you ask your Being or the masters of the White Lodge, "Where am I in my development?" they'll tell you, "You are twenty years old" or "You are ninety years old," referring to either the 2nd or 9th degrees of minor mysteries, respectively. To enter the ages such as one hundred to nine hundred, or above and beyond, relate to the initiations of fire, the Major Mysteries.
The Major Mysteries pertain to the awakening of the sacred fire within Sushumna to your Rosh, your head, when you achieve any initiation of fire, whether it be from Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, or Chesed. The seven initiations of fire relate to the seven sephiroth upon the Tree of Life, which pertains to seven hundred years of age. So, when we read in the Bible that Abraham was ninety-nine years old or Noah was five hundred years old, it relates to the minor mysteries and the Major Mysteries.
It's interesting that אברם Abram, our spirit, symbolically speaking, was ninety-nine years old before he was known as אברהם Abraham, when he gave birth to Isaac through the sexual force of שדי אל חי Shaddai El Chai. He was sterile, but we know that this is symbolic, how he and his wife represent us, qualities of our body, of our spirit. Before working in alchemy, we are sterile, infertile, due to fornication. Through scientific chastity, by learning to work with the Hebrew letter ה Hei, our spirit, אברם Abram, becomes אברהם Abraham. Notice that the name אברהם Abraham is spelled when you add ה Hei to אברם Abram, signifying how we give power to our Innermost when we cooperate in sexual alchemy, when we work with the womb, the ה Hei of our Divine Mother Turandot. We need to be fertile so that we can give birth to the soul, Isaac, and in order to enter the Major Mysteries, we must be married.
The first initiation of fire relates to one hundred years old. The second initiation of fire, two hundred years old. Likewise, up the Tree of Life; so every time we complete an initiation, we are becoming new or entering into a new year, a new life. So—Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Sushumna—when the fires illuminate your head.
It's interesting also that the word, "Hashanah," meaning year, also etymologically sounds like the word, שושנה Shoshana, which means "rose" or "lily. " Hashanah, Shoshana, Sushumna are all related to the rose of the spirit, the igneous rose of the divine. The seven chakras or seven flowers of the soul awaken through the sacred fire, when you raise the kundalini up Sushumna, up to your head, and in that way we learn to develop the sacred fire—because if you look at the Hebrew word, שושנה Shoshana, you find that we have the letter ש Shin, represented twice, which means fire, Christ. We also have the ו Vav. שושנה Shoshana literally means "rose," but it refers to the fires in the spine, which we develop gradually within the couple, because there are two ש Shins—the fire of man and the fire of woman that rise up within your spine through the power of נ Nun, which in Aramaic means "fish," but is also representative of the sperm and the ovum, specifically.
We find this beautiful quote from Chapter 2 of the Song of Solomon, Shalomah, the solar man.
"I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters." —Song of Songs 2:1-2
Sharon reminds us of השרון Ha-Sharon. ה Hei is an indefinite article in Hebrew meaning "the," but it also means “the breath,” because in order to create something, we use our speech, our language, the Word. And through the breath, through mantras, we work with the fires of our body, to circulate those energies in a dynamic matter. So in that sense, we are working with השרון Ha-Sharon whenever we do runes, prayer, mantras. The ש Shin and the breath, the fire and the wind of Christ, the strength of God which is אוֹן Aun. The word אוֹן "Aun" literally means sexual virility, so שרון Sharon is literally the fiery breath of our sexual power, but also the word שושנה Shoshana, which is where you get names like Susanna, relates to the lily, which is a beautiful flower representing the seven chakras.
"And, as the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters." ―Song of Songs 2:2
You have the Hebrew term הבנות Habanot, meaning “the daughters," which literally can be translated as “the houses," because the word ב Beth relates to the sort of solar values that we create in a marriage. ב Beth we find in famous terms like בית לחם Bethlehem, the House of Bread.
Prince Calaf created his own solar house in Act II by answering the three riddles of Turandot—Solar Astral, Solar Mental, Solar Causal bodies—and in that way he awoke all his Sushumna, by raising not only the serpents of fire, but the serpents of light on the First Mountain.
And so, on the First Mountain, the Mountain of Initiation, we must dive in the ego to a certain degree, within a matrimony, and by taking the direct path, we can incarnate Christ. This is symbolized when Calaf renounces marriage with Turandot, when she refuses him because he still has desire alive. She won't marry him at that level, as a hasnamuss, as a being with a split personality—one heavenly, one diabolic. He has reached the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries and has a choice to make, to remain in Nirvana on the spiral path, or to renounce heaven and incarnate Christ. So, he chooses to fully eliminate his ego, to renounce marriage at the level of a Nirvani Buddha, and to take the straight path of the bodhisattvas, to which the commoners of the palace said, “You are strong!" He renounced that level, choosing to descend into his own infernos, to die radically to his self, so he can ascend higher.
In this way he starts to approach Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur literally means "Day of Atonement." יום Yom in Hebrew is spelled, י Iod, ו Vav, and ם Final Mem, the letter י Iod we saw previously represents Kether, is a point, the seminal energy of sperm and the ovum which we raise up our spine, the letter ו Vav, through the powers of מ Mem, the waters, our sexual energy.
When you achieve initiation, you achieve a day of Genesis. The book of Genesis is not a story of the creation of the physical world, a literal history, but is symbolic of the seven initiations of fire specifically. In the first day, “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep,” signifying how our psychology is full of darkness. But the Lord said, "Let there be light, and there was light; and God saw that the light was good," and that was the first day, or evening and the day. This relates to the First Initiation of Fire in Malkuth, the physical body. That's the first day of Genesis; the first day of generation.
In the second day, “Let the waters separate from the waters above and below.” השמים Ha-Shamayim, the heavens, with מים mayim, below. And this day, there was no blessing from God, that "It was good," which is very profound—specifically because, when working with the sexual energy, the Sephirah Yesod, there is no guarantee that we'll be successful. This is why the Lord does not say, "It was good." Through the waters we can descend, or better say, fall into Kilpoth. The ninth sephirah on the Tree of Life reminds us of surah nine in the Qur’an, where there is no Bismillah at the beginning. Every surah of the Qur’an has “Bismillah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” but in the ninth surah, it doesn't have that reading, which reminds us of this principle. Through Yesod, the ninth sphere, we may succeed, or we may fail, so, there is the danger of falling. This dynamic is beautifully represented within both the book of Genesis and the Qur’an.
In the third day or Third Initiation of Major Mysteries, “Let the dry land appear. Vegetation from the waters, blossoms and fruits. And God said it was good.” In the fourth day, “Let there be light to the expanse of the sky and the firmament of heaven for days and for years.” מְאֹרֹת Meirot, and the word מְאֹרֹת Meirot means “lights.” We have the word אור Aur present. And in the spelling of מְאֹרֹת Meirot there is no ו Vav, indicating that the light must emerge in our spinal column in the mental body. We must create the Solar Mental Body so that we can see the heavens, the stars, of Nut, the Divine Princess Turandot.
In the fifth day, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures and the great sea monsters, the great whales or אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִם הַגְּדֹלִים At-Ha-Taninim Ha-Gedulim, as well as swarms of every kind. And the Lord said, ‘Be fruitful and increase,’ or ‘Be fruitful and רִבּוּ rabbau.’" The word רב rabba reminds us of Rabbi. Be fruitful and master. This verse doesn't mean, “Be fruitful and fornicate.” It means be fruitful and develop those principles in you through a marriage, through alchemy.
On the sixth day, relating to the Sixth Initiation of Fire, “Let the earth bring forth creeping things of the earth, beasts and cattle, and likewise we shall make man into our image, male-female did Jehovah Elohim create them." And this day, of course, was very good. טוב מאוד Tob Meod, which reminds us of the two serpents, Vav and Zayin, or Od and Obd, specifically. טוב מאוד Tob Meod means very good, but also reminds us of Od and Obd, or Ida and Pingala, in Kabbalah. So when those serpents are raised in us and we become a human being with the Solar Astral, Solar Mental, Solar Causal bodies, then we are a man of the Sixth Day of Genesis, which is what Calaf achieved in Act II.
He united with his soul, his divine soul, at that level, but in order to become a man of the Seventh Day, he did something very drastic, very profound. The Seventh Day reminds us of the Sabbath, Saturn-day, Saturday, Shabbat. Yom Kippur is referred to as the Sabbath of the Sabbaths, representing how when the ego is fully eliminated through atonement on the Second Mountain, then the soul can resurrect within the Being, within the Divine Mother. The spirit is absorbed—Chesed within Binah—all the qualities of the soul, the bodies themselves, etc., are absorbed within the Holy Spirit, Binah, but the ego must be fully eliminated. Calaf reached that level of true human being in Act II, and then he takes the direct path and raises the serpents of light.
But he now faces a very great problem, as represented in this final act of this drama. In order to reach the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, it’s very logical that one must pass through the night—Lilith and Nahemah, which opens our discussion of Act III.
Night has fallen on Peking, and no man shall sleep by decree of the divine Princess Turandot. The name of the unknown prince Calaf, which we don't learn of until the very end, must be discovered before dawn, or else her subjects shall be executed. Therefore, the royal guards proclaim her dread command throughout the city in the night, which is followed by the fear and mournful subjection of the people. As I said, Prince Calaf raised the serpents of fire and light on the First Mountain, but while one can achieve mastery at that level, it's a very different thing to achieve perfection in mastery, to fully die to the ego. Only after the ego is fully annihilated can the soul then can unite with Binah, and Binah with the lower seven sephiroth, specifically.
The Second Mountain is the path of descent into the infernal planes within each inverted sephirah: the Lunar hells, the Mercurial hells, the Venusian hells, the Solar hells, the Martian hells, the Jupiterian hells, the Saturnian hells, the Uranian hells and Neptunian hells. Nine inverted sephiroth all relate to the nine heavens on the Tree of Life. You first must descend into hell and face all your evilness, to die radically, in each sephirah below, in order to ascend, to resurrect within a respective heaven. By annihilating the egos relating to the Lunar hell, you rise up to the Lunar heaven, the Mercurial hell to the Mercurial heaven, and likewise until reaching the very end, Kether. That is the level of Chaioth Ha-Kadosh, a holy living creature with no ego.
So, in the prayer to Solomon, the Invocation of Solomon, we state, "Chaioth Ha-Kadosh! Cry! Speak! Roar! Bellow! Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh!" This means, "Holy Creatures! Holy, Holy, Holy!" A Chaioth Ha-Kadosh is an initiate who has no ego, who has the four elements radically purified, and who is now preparing to enter Binah to a higher degree, to resurrect. This was the case of Samael Aun Weor near the end of his life, in which he fully eliminated the ego and was preparing to physically die, because in order to resurrect in the Being, the physical corpse, the flesh of fornication, must leave, to die through a sickness, through karma. The initiate pays all their karma at the end completely, which usually occurs in the form of some type of disease, some type of illness which is incurable and produces a lot of suffering.
So, Calaf is preparing for that precise moment in the opera, where he has to face all the people of Peking who want to know his name, who want to know his secret—who he is—because the riddle that he gave to Turandot was, "If you don't want to marry me, you have to find out my name." It's a very beautiful symbol, because the name in Hebrew is השם Hashem. The Jews always state ברוך השם אדני Baruch Hashem Adonai, or "Blessed be the Name of the Lord. " השם Hashem is the Name, a sacred appellation for יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, Christ. So, he tells her, "Guess my name, and before dawn, if you find it out, I will gladly die in the morning hours."
Of course, there's two ways to die: either in heaven or in hell. Through resurrection or through failure in the second death. On the night of the Second Mountain, we have to face all of our evilness within the ego and the three brains: intellectual brain, emotional brain, motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which are represented by the elements of the cross as we can see in this image. We have the twenty-two Hebrew letters, the twenty-two archetypes, laws of the Torah, the Tarot, the law, surrounding the שושנה Shoshannah, the rose of spirituality, blossoming. א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem reminds us of the figure eight, which again are repeated in this act and all throughout the opera, but in greater hierarchies, greater octaves. א Aleph relates to the intellectual brain. ש Shin relates to the emotional brain and מ Mem relates to the motor-instinctual-sexual brain. It is through these three centers that we are tempted in the physical plane, and in the internal planes by the demons of the black lodge. More importantly, we are tempted by our own ego that doesn't want us to enter the work, or finish the work, if we reach that point.
The very terrible ordeals one must face, which you've seen in this act, specifically and only applies by rising up through the ten sephiroth, the ten days of Yom Kippur. Only by atoning for all our egos through meditation and death do we have the right to resurrect, to achieve the Day of Atonement—once the sun rises—symbolizing the resurrection of Christ in us.
The Tree of Life, the ten sephiroth, represent the different characters of this drama. We've spoken extensively about Timur, Liu, Calaf, as well as the Emperor Altoum, the latter representing Kether, the Solar Logos. The Divine Mother Turandot is Binah, the Holy Spirit. Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, relates to Chokmah, Christ, יהוה Iod-Hei-Vav-Hei. We say, "Hashem," out of respect for Jehovah, but really the name is יהוה Iod-Chavah. י Iod, the head, הוה Chavah, sex. That is the mystery of Calaf's name.
They constantly ask him, "What is your name? Give us your secret." His secret is: he raises the power of הוה Havah to י Iod. This is the secret of chastity. But the opposite path, that of fornication, is followed by a demon named Chavajoth. He's a backwards being whose הוה Chavah, sex, is governing his י Iod, his head, through lust. The name יהוה Iod-Chavah represents how you raise the powers of sex to the brain as an angel, as a master. So all the servants of Kali, the inverted serpent, represented by the negative or severe side of Turandot’s character, seek to find out the secret of the initiate on the Second Mountain. This includes all the people of Peking, and also the main counselors, Ping, Pang and Pong, the forces of diablo, the devil, who seek to pull us from the path, or pull those masters at that level into the abyss.
Samson, Delilah, and the Three Mother Letters of Kabbalah
This drama has been beautifully depicted in the story of שמשון Samson. Samson allowed himself to be put asleep by דלילה Delilah. לילה Lilah means "night" in Hebrew and ד Daleth is the doorway into the infernal worlds, the night. Samson gave away his secret, his chastity, by unveiling how, by cutting his hair, he could be conquered. He loses his strength by admitting his secret, whereby, in his weakness, he was seized by the Philistines, all his egos. When they cut his hair, the Philistines blinded him, meaning that if we fail to maintain chastity at that level, but give into the ego and fornication, then one is spiritually blinded. You must remember that Samson was a giant, a great warrior, a master of Tiphereth, but who fell, who chose to fornicate after reaching that point. שמשון Samson reminds us of שמש Shemesh, which in Hebrew means sun, S-U-N, and אוֹן Aun, sexual strength. So, the power of the sun was castrated in him, a symbol of how any initiate who does not know how to keep his secret, his purity, ends up being swallowed by the moon, לילה Lilah, the night.
Likewise, the Princess Turandot represents both the solar and the lunar serpents, or in other words, the serpent is represented dualistically. Her servants are trying to find out Calaf’s name, so that they can kill him. This is precisely the great drama of this act. Will he in the end marry Turandot, or will he enter devolution? So, as we discussed in Act I and II of this opera, the three mother letters of kabbalah run thematically throughout this work. א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem are hinted at, even represented by the name שמשון Shamshon, Samson. ש Shin and מ Mem, but also אוֹן Aun, with a silent א Aleph, are hidden in this name. The occult significance of this biblical character shows that if we don't use the three brains correctly: א Aleph in the head, ש Shin in the heart, מ Mem in the sex, we're going to fail.
So, it takes great equilibrium and balance at that degree, especially to not be tempted by the forces of darkness, since they fight very diligently to pull the initiate. You see this not only in this opera, but also in stories like The Pistis Sophia, in which Sophia seeks to return to the source of pleroma, but is constantly afflicted. She wants to return to the light, but can't. She is denied every step of her path, but of course, it is that path of denial, in overcoming those temptations, that one succeeds. In the story of Samson, we find that many initiates fail, but in this opera we have a very different story.
The Two Pillars of Kabbalah and the Secret of Calaf’s Name in the Zohar
We're going to look at the name Calaf in relation to the Zohar, a very profound esoteric book that is the spirit of the doctrine, and explains categorically, distinctly, all the elements of the books of Genesis in detail, through commentary. So, the name Calaf, literally is spelled in Hebrew, כלף Kaf-Lamed-Final Peh, and we find a reference to the name כל Kol, Kaf-Lamed, in the Zohar, which partially constitutes the name of the prince which everyone seeks to know.
‘Let there be light,’ namely, אל גדול El Gadol, great God… (Gedulah is the spirit in Hebrew, Chesed, Mercy). The mystery emerging from the primordial aura. ויהי Vayhi, ‘And there was’―mystery of darkness called אלוהים Elohim. ‘Light’—left merging in right. Then from the mystery of אל El came to be אלוהים Elohim, right merging left, left and right. —Zohar
In order to understand this better, we're going to refer to the Tree of Life, specifically the left and right pillars we've been discussing extensively.
In the left pillar, we have all the forces of Binah that descend into the infernal planes. That is why Turandot is dualistic. In heaven she is Kundalini, but when she's channeled through our ego, she becomes Kundabuffer, the tail of demons, the Lucifers, the black magicians. The right pillar on the Tree of Life relates to mercy, the left is severity. The force of Chokmah, Christ, descends from the right pillar down to Yesod, and that is why the Christic energies are linked to our sexual force, our sexual drive, or why the secret of השם Hashem is founded within Yesod. So, on the left pillar of the Tree of Life, we have three sephiroth that relate to certain names in Hebrew in the world of Atziluth, the world of archetypes, because every sephirah on the Tree of Life relates to a sacred name. The name for Binah in Kabbalah is יהוה אלוהים Jehovah Elohim. The name for Geburah in Kabbalah is אלוהים גיבור Elohim Gibur, the strength of God, or the strength of the Gods and Goddesses. And then, Hod relates to אלוהים צבאות Elohim Sabaoth. So, we find Elohim represented in the left pillar.
In the right pillar, we're referring to אל El because the right is masculine while the feminine left pillar relates to all the forces of the divine life that specifically descends in us, but also to hell. When the serpentine sexual energy descends, it becomes the tail of demons. Ida is the fallen serpent in us that we must raise, and it is through a marriage, in which that left serpent unites with the right serpent, back up the head. Because in most people, clairvoyantly, they have that Kundabuffer tail very strong, but in the body of an alchemist that energy is ascending to the head through Ida and Pingala.
Therefore, let there be light means how our own spirit works within the darkness of our psyche. In the Kabbalah, רוח אלוהים Ruach Elohim, the spirit of God, Chesed, works with the waters of genesis in order to conquer the left pillar. By combining the two pillars, male, female, by working in a marriage, אל El becomes אלוהים Elohim because אלוה Eloah means goddess. אל El is God, masculine. Unite them in a marriage, you have אלוהים Elohim. So ים Iod-Mem is masculine plural. And here אלוהים Elohim literally means ‘gods and goddesses,’ because when a husband and wife are united sexually, they have the power to create life. They are a god and a goddess at that moment. But the problem is temptation, the serpent of Eden, the fallen serpent pushes the couple to engage in the forbidden fruit, the orgasm. That is how they lose everything. Light, left emerging right, and then from the mystery of El came to be Elohim. Right merging in left, left and right.
There's also a quote, I believe, in the Song of Songs, as we stated previously, in which Solomon describes this dynamic. From chapter 2 verses 3-6
"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood so is my beloved among the songs. I sat down under his shadow with great light and his fruit was sweet to my taste." ―Song of Songs 2:3
If you read Igneous Rose, we know that the apple tree represents the Glorian, Christ, which is related to the Ain Soph, the Absolute.
"He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love..." —Song of Songs 2:4
Meaning, chastity. The banquet of the Lamb.
"Stay me with flagons. Cover me with apples for I am sick of love (or sick from love)." —Song of Songs 2:5
This indicates the alchemist is so in love with divinity that one is even considered ill by this society, just as everyone condemned Prince Calaf for wanting to enter the funereal trials of Devi Kundalini in Act I. "Stay me with flagons" means to stay with the wine of transmutation no matter what, to be faithful to and enjoy the delights of sexual alchemy. And then…
"His left hand is under my head and his right hand doth embrace me." —Song of Songs 2:6
The left pillar is what sustains the initiates. They must control the left foot, psychologically speaking, because the Master Samael Aun Weor mentions in The Pistis Sophia that the bodhisattva must learn to walk on two feet, symbolically. On the right are the gnostics, the sheep. On the left are the demons, the goats. Sheep and goats. Right and left, but a bodhisattva is neither a saint nor a demon; he or she goes beyond good and evil, to return to the Absolute as a master of the Day.
That term is used by Blavatsky in The Voice of the Silence, but also by Samael Aun Weor. The term day, in Hebrew, is יום Yom, those who attain יום כיפור Yom Kippur, perfection in initiation and mastery. So, the left pillar sustains, which is why Liù, Geburah, the Divine Soul in the beginning of Act I, is the one who says to the multitudes, "How my master is fallen! Will someone raise him for me?" Which is why Calaf jumps in and sings, "Padre mio padre," "My father… my father… I found you again!"
The power of Geburah, Justice, is how we raise ourselves up through the Martian strength of Christ, back to the source. The right hand is what caresses, because the right pillar is mercy, while the left hand or left pillar supports the master. This dynamic of mercy and justice reaches equilibrium within Tiphereth, within the soul, Calaf. As we state in the Invocation of Solomon the Wise, "Mercy and justice, be ye the equilibrium and splendor of my life!" One of the many translations or meanings of the word Tiphereth is splendor.
"God saw that the light was good (Genesis Chapter 1, verse 4)—the central pillar. Good illumining above and below and all directions, through the mystery of Jehovah, the name embracing all sides." ―Zohar
So why is it that the center pillar is the light of radiance that sustains the whole tree of life? It's because the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth literally sounds like Tiph-Aur-reth. אור Aur is the light in the central pillar and the very middle of this diagram, where we find the Prince Calaf, the human soul, our Christified will. That is the very one who is responsible for balancing all the forces of the Tree of Life. The light of Christ, Jehovah, or Chokmah, and the powers of Chesed, reach balance in Tiphereth, Tiph-Aur-Reth. Likewise, Aima and Abba Elohim, the Divine Mother or the Holy Spirit in Binah, find their equilibrium or center of gravity here within the heart. The secret name of Tiphereth in Hebrew is אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei. We find אלוה ודעת Eloah Va Daath, Goddess of Knowledge, the Divine Mother and השם Hashem, the appellation of יהוה Iod-Chavah.
Christ and the Divine Mother are balanced in Tiphereth. The Prince Calaf represents this because in the very opening of Act III, he says, "No one shall ever know my name. My secret. השם Hashem. My light." And, he seeks to fully eradicate desire so that he can return through דעת Daath, sexual alchemy, through marriage with Binah. Therefore, Puccini is showing us how the central pillar of the Tree of Life orients everything. This whole opera is fixated on the Prince Calaf because he is Christ-will. Christ-will is how we achieve resurrection through death of the ego.
God separated the light from the darkness, dissipating discord, so that all would be perfect. —Zohar
This is a symbol how in the inferno, we extract the light from each ego, in order to be fully, radically dead.
God called the light day. What does ‘called’ mean? He called forth and summoned this perfect light, standing in the center, to emit a radiance—foundation of the world, upon which worlds are established. From that perfect light, the central pillar, extended יְסוֹדא Yesoda, Foundation. Vitality of the Worlds. ‘Day,’ from the right side. ―Zohar
As I said, Yesod receives all the forces from Chokmah, Chesed, Netzach, down the Tree of Life. That light must be extracted from the darkness within our own inner infernos, within our own Lunar, Mercurial, Venusian, Solar, etc., infernos. Likewise, all the way down until the Neptunian house—the inverted sephiroth, called the Tree of Death or Tree of Zaqqum in the Qur’an.
And the darkness He called night. He called forth something that generated from the side of darkness a female, the moon ruling by night, called Night, mystery of אדני Adonai, אדון Adon, Lord of all the earth (Joshua 3:11). —Zohar
The word for Malkuth in Kabbalah, the sacred name of Malkuth in the world of Atziluth is אדני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz. Adonai reminds us of the Lord. When you say ברוך השם אדני Baruch Hashem Adonai, you're saying ‘Blessed is the Name of the Lord.’ Adonai should better be read as Adonia, meaning ‘Lady,’ or the beautiful Greek child Adonis. Adonia is the Kundalini in Malkuth, since the earth or physical vehicle receives all the forces from above, so that through the Lord of the Earth, by conquering this body and fornication, we can achieve resurrection.
Adonai also relates to the Lunar forces, which influence Malkuth, since Yesod is the second to the bottom Sephirah on the Tree of Life. It is also already well documented how our physical moon influences many aspects of life on earth, such as tides, menstruation in women, vegetation, animal life, etc. In the Conjuration of the Seven, we pray, “In the name of Gabriel (the regent of the moon or lunar ray), may Adonai command thee and drive thee hence Bael!” Adonai and Bael both mean “Lord,” the former is heavenly, the other is demonic. Or, Kundalini above, Kundabuffer below. Adonai is the mystery of the moon ruling by night, since by working with the lunar forces of Yesod, we become a Lord of the Night, in the positive sense. We conquer the night in ourselves by annihilating the ego on the Second Mountain, the darkness of Act III.
You notice that in the opera, Prince Calaf is singing to the stars. He is in Malkuth preparing to go into his own infernos, because all the temptations of this society, in this world, in Malkuth or within the inverted sephiroth of hell, is where we face great battles, great ordeals. The opposite of אדני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz, the Kundalini, is the Kundabuffer, which is why the Prince Calaf worships the Lord or Adonia, his Divine Mother, in this great aria Nessun Dorma, which we're going to be examining. Adonia is precisely the name of the Kundalini, the goddess of the earth, who can take Calaf out of hell and into paradise.
The right entered that perfect pillar in the center, embracing the mystery of the left, and ascended to the primordial point, grasping there, the power of three points: חולם cholem, שורק shuruq, חירק chireq, seed of holiness, for without this mystery no seed is sown. —Zohar
We just spoke about how the power of Yesod is the foundation of our temple. It is the motor-instinct-sexual brain, the Temple of Peter, the Gnostic Church, which the enemies of God try to prevent us from entering. There are three diacritical marks in Hebrew known as חולם cholem, שורק shuruq, and חירק chireq. These are points that you put on the original Hebrew in order to pronounce vowels. You have three vowels, literally "Eh" with חירק chireq, "Uu" with שורק shuruq and "Oh" with חולם cholem. These vowels are below, middle and above, respectively. This reminds us of the three brains through which our cosmic alphabet is developed. The Hebrew letters represent forces, principles that we can work with, so when we grasp the power of the three points: intellectual brain, emotional brain, motor-instinctive-sexual brain, we work with the seed of holiness, the power of Yesod. For without this mystery, no seed is sown.
And, we find in this opera three temptations, ordeals, that the prince must face in Act III.
All is united in the central pillar, generating the foundation of the world, who is therefore called Kol כל (Kaf-Lamed, which translates as All, or we could also say totality…) for He embraces all in the radiance of desire. —Zohar
What is this radiance of desire? The Ark. The name of Calaf resides in דַעַת Da’ath, the center of the Tree of Life, in Tiphereth, balanced by Yesod, the foundation, which is the secret, his chastity. He had the letter "F" or פ Peh in Hebrew. It refers to speech, the mouth. When you're working with a matrimony and you're pronouncing sacred mantras in the sexual act, you're working with the power of ‘All’ through the word, through דַעַת Da’ath...
And why is it that Kol, כל Kaf-Lamed, reminds us of All, totality? As Samael Aun Weor stated in his books, the act of sexual magic is the key to all empires, the key to all kingdoms. Every universe is formed through moving with the sexual energy, the power of Lucifer. When we work with פ Peh, כל Kol becomes כלף Calaf, since the energies of sex are sublimated to the heart through mantras. That divine energy also only rises in accordance with the merits of the heart, as Samael Aun Weor stated in The Perfect Matrimony. You cannot work with the serpent Kundalini and raise it up the spine without earning it in your emotional center through ordeals, through the development of virtues.
And so, this where כל Kol, All, embraces all in the radiance of desire. And the word desire typically refers to the ego, but in this case, in a poetic way, we could say desire refers to divine longing. Tiphereth embraces all the sephiroth of the Tree of Life because it is through our human will, our spiritual inquietudes, in which we learn to find integration of the soul with the Being.
The left blazed potently, inhaling, inhaling fragrance of all those rungs. Out of that blazing flame, he generated the female, the moon. That blaze was dark, deriving from darkness. These two sides generated these two rungs: one male and one female. —Zohar
In the sexual act, the left pillar becomes the flame. The power of darkness becomes active, and it is by conquering the ego in a marriage, in those precise moments of temptation, in which we learn to inhale the fragrance of aroma of the Tree of Knowledge, but without eating its fruit. This is symbolic of renouncing and eliminating the orgasm. Out of that blazing flame of the sexual furnace the moon is generated, because as Samael Aun Weor mentions, the moon represents the ego. When you're inflamed in a marriage, in the sexual act, we must face the moon, our own darkness, our own mind.
Foundation was linked to the central pillar by the increase of light within it, for as the central pillar was consummated, pacifying all sides, its radiance was increased from above, from all sides in all-encompassing joy. Out of that increased joy, emerged the foundations of the world called Increase. –Zohar
The word increase in Hebrew is מוסף Musaf, which reminds us of Josef, Joseph, Yesod. Joseph represents the power of Yesod, primarily because he was thrown into well by his brothers, the well of Yesod, the sexual energies, the waters, and he had to escape and face imprisonment in Egypt and certain sexual temptations in order to be rewarded by God, his Being.
The term Egypt is never used in the Bible, since the original Hebrew word is מצרים Mitzrahim, literally translating as “the place between the waters.” This is a symbol not only of the whole planet earth, but our physicality, which enslaves the soul through lust, desire, fornication. Ordeals usually take place in the physical plane, whereby we must define ourselves through how we use our sexual waters, our energies.
From here emerges all forces below and holy spirits and souls from the mystery of יהוה צבאות Iod-Chavah Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts. אל אלהי הרוחות El Elohei Ha-Ruchot, God, God of spirits. —Zohar
Leviathan: The Lost Word
The name Calaf in Sufi terms is the lost word. The lost word is mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in certain books such as Igneous Rose. It is the Christ energy that has been lost in humanity and lost to our soul, because we failed to perform the work.
The lost word reminds us also of the fifth day of Genesis. The term לוויתן Levitanim is translated as the great whales or the great sea monsters, which bears profound esoteric significance. These are the serpents of fire, which we raise in the perfect matrimony. תַּנִּין Tannyn is a word that refers to whales, specifically. If you add the word לוי Levi in front of it, you make לוויתן Levi-Tannyn. You spell leviathan. A Leviathan is a great master of the fifth initiation of Major Mysteries, one who has been purified in the tribe of Levi, the path of the apostles and initiates. When you incarnate Christ, you receive the lost word, but to reach that point you must be swallowed by the serpent up to at least Tiphereth, the human soul. And so, the lost word is found in any master who incarnates Chokmah, which we saw in Act II.
In the words of Samael Aun Weor in Igneous Rose,
"God created everything in the lost word. The masters that live in Asia have this word very well guarded. A great philosopher once said, 'Search for it in China and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartar.' The lost word is like a gigantic fish (לוויתן Leviathan); half blue, half green emerging from the depth of the ocean." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
So, what does that mean to be a gigantic fish? It is to be a master of Tiphereth, the Middle East. "Whosoever knows the Word gives power to. No one has uttered it. No one will utter it, except the one who has it incarnated," the Word, the Christ. This is the saying from Master Huiracocha, who was the teacher of Samael Aun Weor.
The word Asia, you can say, is the word Assiah in Kabbalah. The great masters of the Middle East have this word very well guarded. The term Asia is used, but really Asia should be Assiah, since the world of Assiah is Malkuth, the world of matter and action. We can say that Yetzirah, the world of formation relates to the lower trinity of the Tree of Life. The world of Briah relates to the middle trinity of the Tree of Life and Atziluth relates to the top trinity, the three primary forces. Assiah, the world of matter and action is where we must face temptation, in which we must guard our secret, our chastity.
The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled also mentions that one must incarnate the mysteries of the light, to follow the mysteries of our inner name, our inner God. Every one of us has our own inner spirit and our spirit has his own divine name, spiritual name. And, personally I know the name of my Being, but I won't tell anyone, because it's no one's business. I seek to be humble, because in all of us, the Being is great, is holy, divine—but we are not.
It is ironic that certain people in this movement commonly and frequently proclaim themselves to be the master so and so. "I am the master X. Follow me!" And, many people get caught up in politics within groups, identifying with certain people who say they are the master so-and-so. It may be true that the Being is a master, but this does not mean that the human soul is.
Even if you reach Tiphereth, the Fifth Initiation of Fire, one is a master at that level, but… spiritually, the Being is the master, not us! So, it's ironic that people get caught up in pronouncing eloquent names and spiritual names of God, giving away their secret to humanity. Calaf, or better said, Puccini, and many others knew that the way to resurrect is by not talking so much about one's development—but keeping that a secret. Many so-called Gnostics get caught up in this. Many people follow such individuals who say they are the master so-and-so and then get stuck in groups, politics, debates. But the real way to enter initiation is to keep this secret, the lost word, guarded in Assiah, the physical plane. And, in The Pistis Sophia we must face all the temptations in Assiah and the repentance of Sophia in Klipoth.
In Kabbalah, God creates through Briah; the forces of the top trinity of the Tree of Life create through alchemy, through Da’ath, in order to create the spirit, the divine soul, and the human soul. And, the human soul must give form to a solar mind, solar astral body, solar vital body, and transform the physical body into a solar being, a Christic Being. It is by entering the Second Mountain in which we ascend these nine sephiroth, the heavens, and prepare for resurrection.
The Lost Word of the Sufis
We have a beautiful teaching of the Sufis, which explain this very cryptic teaching of the Middle East: how one must find the lost word. ‘Search for it in China and maybe you'll find it even in the great Tartar.’ Idries Shah explains some very beautiful things about the mysteries of the lost word that we're going to elaborate upon and explain in relation to the opera we are studying:
“Seek knowledge, even as far as China,” the phrase which is on all Sufi lips, has more than a literal or even a figurative sense. This meaning is unlocked by analyzing the use of the word “China,” interpreted through the secret language… —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
…which we say is Kabbalah. In Arabic it is the Abjad system. It's the same as the Hebraic Kabbalah. The numbers of certain letters representing different principles.
Prince Calaf is in China and everyone is trying to find out his name, the lost word. “Seek for knowledge even in China and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartar.” Remember that Calaf is the exiled prince of Tartary.
“China” is a code word for mind concentration, one of the Sufi practices, an essential prerequisite to Sufic development. The phrase is important partly because it provides an example of the coincidence in interpretation possible in either the Arabic or Persian languages. Neither has any real connection with the other. The fact that the word for “China” in both, though spelled and pronounced differently, decodes to substantially the same concept, invests this phrase with a special significance for the Sufi.
CHINA. In Arabic SYN (letters Saad, Ya, Nun). Equivalent numbers: 90, 10, 50. Totaled, these letters yield the number 150. Splitting by hundreds, tens, and units: 100 + 50 (no units remain). Retranslated into numbers: 100=Q, plus 50=N. Q and N recombined form a word: QN. The word QN (in the form of QaNN) represents, in Arabic, the concept of “scrutinizing, observing,” and is therefore taken as a symbol of concentration, focus. The injunction now reads: “Seek knowledge, even as far as concentration (of the mind).” —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
Prince Caliph is in China. He is in his own infernos, his own Tartarus, his hells, in which he must discriminate amongst all the people of Peking, all of his defects, to catch them in action, to understand them, so that by comprehending, he may eliminate through the Divine Mother. In order to achieve knowledge, one must work in Da’ath, in alchemy. One must work diligently in the full death of desire.
CHINA. In Persian CHYN (letters Che, Ya, Nun). Equivalent numbers: 3, 10, 50. Before translating into numbers, the Persian letter Che (CH) is first exchanged for its nearest equivalent in the Abjad scheme, which is J. The three sums totaled: 3 + 10 + 50 = 63. Separated into tens and units: 60 + 3. These numbers retranslated into letters: 60 = SIN; 3 = JIM. The word we now have to determine is a combination of S and J. SJ (pronounced SaJJ) means “to plaster or coat, as with clay.” Reverse the order of the letters (a permissible change, one of very few allowed by the rules) and we have the word JS. The word is pronounced JaSS. This means “to inquire after a thing; to scrutinize (hidden things); to ascertain (news).” This is the root of the word for “espionage,” and hence the Sufi is called the Spy of the Heart. To the Sufi the scrutinization for the purpose of ascertaining hidden things is an equivalent, poetically speaking, with the motive for concentrating the mind. —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
You see in this opera how Prince Calaf is scrutinizing his foes, who all want to find out his name, his secret. He is literally in China, Syn, which reminds us of Sijjeen, the lowest hell in the Qur’an, specifically referenced in Surah 83, Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding.’ We find a profound teaching about the word "Sijjeen," wherein resides the book of the lost ones. The opposite is the realm of Illiyun, the highest heaven, wherein resides the book of the pious.
"The record of the wicked is indeed in Sijjeen." Sin, Sina. China. "And, what can make you know what is in Sijjeen? it is a written record. Woe to the deniers on that day who deny the Day of Retribution." Or better said, the Day of Atonement, Resurrection. "And none denies it, except for every sinful transgressor." —Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding’ 83:7-12
"And the record of the pious is indeed in Illiyyun. And, what can make you know what is in Illiyyun? It is a written record witnessed by those brought near to Allah. Indeed, the pious shall be amid bliss, observing as they recline on couches." —Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding’ 83:18-23
Illiyyun can refer to a mountain top, the heights of the Empyrean, the Tree of Life. Sijjeen refers to the lowest hells, so "Seek knowledge even in China, Sijjeen, and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartarus…" because by learning to go through your own hells, with discrimination, is how you develop the spirit, how you will resurrect. The only way to climb the Mountain of Resurrection is by precisely facing all our defects. Every ascent is preceded by a terrible a frightful descent, humiliation.
Even the word ‘sin’ in English comes from this etymology. Sin is an archery term in which, when you're firing towards a center target, you veer off to the left. To sin, Kabbalistically, is to fall through the left pillar, to go down the Tree of Life into Klipoth. That's how you enter devolution, what it means to sin. In this work, we must learn to descend into China, Sijjeen, hell, but without sinning, without sin, to not identify with those realms.
A descent is much different than a fall. To descend is to face all our own evilness with responsibility, to comprehend and annihilate the ego. To fall is to fornicate, to abuse the energies of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, and therefore remain in Klipoth without light.
We said that China is the heavenly kingdom, but in us our heaven is trapped in hell, as indicated in the Arabic Kabbalah. All our parts of our soul are trapped in the ego, and if we wish to achieve the Resurrection mentioned in the Qur’an, we need to atone for our defects through the Second Mountain, Purgatory, the ten days of Yom Kippur.
Therefore, John Milton stated in Paradise Lost, "The mind is its own place. It can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." So, "The inferno is the womb of heaven," says Samael Aun Weor extensively, because it is only by descending into our own darkness, like Calaf does in Act III, by which he develops heaven in himself, by guarding the lost word, his secret.
Search for it in China, with discrimination, and maybe you'll find the truth, the lost word, in the great Tartarus, the inferno, which is what Calaf is doing. He's facing all the temptations of his mind and is rejecting Klipoth. When in hell, we must discriminate what we see with meditation; to not be confused by our own mind or the black magicians. Therefore Tiphereth, Prince Calaf, gets confronted by Ping, Pang, and Pong, IAO, the force of diablo, the devil.
We mentioned that Tiphereth, Prince Calaf, already achieved mastery. In terms of Freemasonry, he was an Adeptus Minor, but now he is preparing for perfection in mastery, to perform the Biblical Exodus, שמות Shemoth in Hebrew. In order to perform the Exodus, which is the return of all the parts of Israel, the soul, with the divine, we must reach Tiphereth first. Only by working with השם Hashem, א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem, by creating the solar bodies, especially the solar causal body, our own Inner Moses, can we incarnate Christ, the lost word, השם Hashem. Remember that the three mother letters of Kabbalah represent השם Hashem, and that השם Hashem spelled backwards is משה Moshe, Moses. Only by entering the direct path, by descending into Klipoth, can we truly incarnate Christ. That is the work of Moses, of the Exodus. We must return to Israel, the Absolute, because we are in exile, but now the Prince Calaf will enter the Exodus through the revolution of the consciousness, by freeing all the parts of his soul from hell.
It’s very interesting that the Book of Exodus is really שמות Shemot, the Book of Names, since the word Shem means ‘Name’ in Hebrew. ו Vav ת Tav is feminine plural. The way that we return to the Promised Land and marry the Divine Princess Turandot, Shekinah, is by guarding our name in the abyss, by freeing the Israelites or parts of the soul that are trapped in sin, Sijjeen, China.
Nessun Dorma: "No Man Shall Sleep"
In the story of Samson and Delilah, Prince Calaf must renounce all the offerings of the darkness, which is why Eliphas Levi has stated, "Woe to the Sampson of the Kabbalah if he allows himself to be put to sleep by the sinful Delilah." Therefore, in the opera, Prince Calaf says, "No man shall sleep." He will not enter the doorway of the night.
When Calaf sings this most famous aria to the stars, we are reminded of the Qur'an and the teachings of the Middle Eastern Sufis. Calaf sings, "No man shall sleep." He's singing to the stars of Urania, the Divine Mother Nut, the cosmic space. As stated in Al-Anam, "The Cattle," Surah 69:7:
"It is he who place for you the stars that you may be guided by them through the darkness of the land and sea. We have detailed the signs for people who know." ―Al-Anam, "The Cattle" 69:7
The following verses from Surah 37 verses 4-6:
"Indeed, your God is One, Lord of the heavens and the earth and that between them and Lord of the sunrises. Indeed, we have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars." —Qur’an 37:4-6
In this recitation, this Qur’an, Prince Calaf is praying to the sky, the heavens during the hour of temptation: Lucifer-Venus, which is occurs between 3 and 4 in the morning. This is when the forces of the black lodge are active in the astral atmosphere, which is why, if you wake up in the astral dimension at those hours and are very weak with lust, it gets very dangerous, because the demons will come after you. If we're diligent and working in chastity, being very strong in our practice, we can’t be harmed.
As you have seen in this opera, Prince Calaf is in ecstasy. He's performing a recitation, the Qur’an, in Arabic terms. He performs night vigil to speak, to pray, to communicate, to ask of his inner God for help during the hour of Lucifer-Venus. Therefore the Qur’an, Surat Al-Isra, ‘The Night Journey,’ verses 78-79, states:
"Establish prayer at the decline of the sun from its meridian until the darkness of the night and also the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. And from part of the night pray with it as additional worship for you. It is expected that the Lord will resurrect you to a praised station." —Surat Al-Isra, ‘The Night Journey,’ verses 78-79
It's good to get into the habit of waking up very early, around 3 or 4 in the morning. If you get up naturally, that's even better, to do mantras, perform prayers. Then, go back to sleep, awaken in the astral plane; you can experience very strong samadhis, because you're channeling and conquering the energies of Lucifer—you're controlling your energies and the temptations of your mind. You can awaken a lot of consciousness that way. In that state you can have certain blissful ecstasies in which you communicate with your inner Divine Mother. This is the occult significance of Prophet Muhammad’s teaching on the night vigil, to be resurrected to a praised station.
The following is from Al-Buraj, the Constellations, Surah 85, verses 1-9:
"By the sky containing great stars and by the Promised Day," or the Day of Resurrection, marriage with Devi Kundalini, Turandot, "and by the witness and what is witnessed, cursed were the companions of the trench, containing a fire full of fuel, When they [the fornicating people of Peking] were sitting near it and they, to what they were doing against the believers [like Prince Calaf], were witnesses. And they resented them not except they believed in Allah, Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy, to whom belongs the dominions of the heavens and the earth, and Allah over all things, is Witness." —Al-Buraj, 85:1-9
If you see stars in the astral plane, the mental plane, it means ascension—where the Divine Mother is showing you that your mind is clear and you're reflecting God inside. You see that firmament. As the Qur’an teaches, "We give signs for those who have certainty" in the astral plane, where you see certain astrological features, like the moon, which means suffering, ego, pain, ordeals. A cloudy sky means too much ego interfering with the intellect, too much rationalization, a cloudy mind, but a clear sky of stars is essential, in which we're radically raising our level being.
Prince Calaf is in samadhi, singing to his Divine Mother in preparation for the Second Mountain. We find such ecstasy reflected in the practice of the mantras, "O AO KAKOF NA KHONSA,” with which we began this meeting today. Let me remind you of the prayer we performed so we can connect it to this beautiful aria Nessun Dorma:
"Be thou, oh, Hadit, my secret, the Gnostic mystery of my Being, the central point of my connection, my heart itself, and bloom (like Shoshanna, the rose or igneous flower of our spirituality) on my fertile lips made Word!
"Up above, in the infinite heavens, in the profound height of the unknowable, the incessant glow of light is the naked beauty of Nut. She reclines, she bends in delectable ecstasy, to receive the kiss and secret fervor of Hadit…
(Hadit is a representation of Binah, the Holy Spirit, the husband of the Divine Mother. We seek to unite with Devi Kundalini, to be so pure that we become one with the Holy Spirit. This can only occur through death the ego, when we, as Tiphereth, become united in Binah through resurrection. Binah is both masculine and feminine: Aima Elohim, the Divine Mother, and Abba Elohim, the Divine Father).
"The winged sphere and the blue of the sky are mine!
"O AO KAKOF NA KHONSA!" —Egyptian Gnostic Prayer
It's on the night of the Second Mountain where the Prince Calaf’s heart is rich, inebriated with the hope of victory, when he says the following holy, ineffable words:
"None shall sleep. None shall sleep… (For I have awakened to one of the mysteries of Daath). Even you, oh princess Kundalini, in your chaste bedroom, (referring to the purified soul and the marriage room of alchemy, the bedroom), watch the stars (the firmament of Kether), that tremble with love and with hope…
"But my secret is hidden within me. No one will know my name, (the secret of initiation or his name, אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei, the name of Tiphereth in the world of Aztiluth, which can be translated as אלוה ודעת השם Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei or Eloah Va Da’ath Hashem, the Name, the lost word). No, no! On your mouth I will say it… (The mouth refers to Daath, mantralization, alchemy). I will say it when the light shines (when the word becomes flesh in me.)"
We spoke essentially about the meeting of השם Hashem, previously. Hashem contains breath, א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem: air, fire, water respectively. And, when we work with the three brains, the three forces in us, we're working with Hashem: I.A.O., Christ, Ignis, Agua, Origo: Fire. Water. Spirit.
So, he's praying to the night, his Divine Mother, to prepare him for the death of the ego and resurrection. Of course, this aria is very well recited today, but people don't know the meaning of what it represents. Little do people see how Puccini beautifully synthesized Kabbalah, alchemy, Sufism, and the Hebrew letters. So, as you can see, in order to understand this doctrine or this opera, we must know kabbalah very well, very deeply.
So, in this aria, Calaf continues:
"And, my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine."
(Or his kiss upon the lips of the Divine Mother Death, because through Da’ath, the lips, is how one dies to ego, through comprehending in meditation and then asking for annihilation, or in the sexual act through mantra, through prayer, through devotion).
The chorus sings afterward, "No one will know his name. None shall discover the secret of his strength. And we," referring to the psychological aggregates we have inside, "will have to die… to die."
Calaf says, "Vanish, oh, night!" Night of Lilith and Nahemah, "Set stars! Set stars! At dawn (resurrection), I will win! I will win! I will win!"
People want to know Calaf's name. The word Calaf reminds us of caliph, a master of Middle East, Tiphereth, since this Sephirah is the east, but also the middle of the Tree of Life. The sun rises in Tiphereth, astrologically speaking, since it relates kabbalistically to the sun. It also relates to Venus as well, the science of love, the Venustic Initiations we spoke about previously.
So the prince is a master of the Middle East, and people want to know his secret. He is facing a similar situation to that of Odysseus in The Odyssey, when the Greek hero is questioned by Polyphemus, the cyclops, in a barren island cave, "What is your name?" Odysseus says, "I am nobody." One must not identify with the ego; one must cease to be what one is so as to become what one is not—to become the Being—dying moment by moment through meditation, self-remembering, comprehension, prayer, and vigilance.
When Polyphemus is blinded by Odysseus, the Greek hero escapes with his life and his crew, but he makes the mistake of taunting the giant, the animal ego. The cyclops was a very clairvoyant ego, with one giant eye, the third eye—a very big demon with powers in hell. Odysseus was taunting him, saying, "I am Odysseus." But, of course, whenever he would speak, Polyphemus would throw a giant rock and nearly crush his ship, since the giant could still hear. So the danger of the initiate at that level is hubris, mystical pride, vanity, the assumption or futile belief that "I'm a master at that level. I am the master so-and-so, follow me!"
This becomes very dangerous for advanced practitioners, to be very arrogant in a spiritual way, to be proud of one’s height. Samael Aun Weor mentioned how, in Igneous Rose, initiates must not get hypnotized by the vertigo of the heights, to assume that one is a great initiate, because only divinity is great. In the beginning, Odysseus blinds the giant and escapes, whereby Polyphemus screams, "Nobody has blinded me!" The funny part is that the other giants on the island say, "Okay… So, what? Nobody blinded you!" It's a pun on words, but at the same it's a psychological truth. Cease to be what you are; be content with having no other identity but that of the Being; if you reach that point, that level. If you become fascinated by your own pride, you will tumble into the abyss and risk getting killed… since the cyclops, while blinded, can still hear you…
The Temptations of the Second Mountain
The servants of Kali, the darkness, the Divine Mother Death of the inferno are led by Ping, Pang, and Pong: I-A-O. Literally the vowels of their names are the vowels of diablo, the devil.
First thing they tell him is, "Divert your gaze from the stars and look down here." This is very interesting. We find in Surah 6 of the Qur’an, verses 3-4:
"And He is Allah, the only deity in the heavens and the earth. He knows your secret and what you make public and He knows that which you earn." So, your actions, your virtues, your defects. "And no sign comes to them from the signs of the Lord, except they turn away therefrom." ―Al-Anam 3-4
Meaning: they turn away from the Divine Mother, the sacred cow of Kabbalah. “La Vaca” in Spanish, the cow, spells kabbalah backwards, the Mother of the Tarot, the second arcanum [The High Priestess].
There's also another verse relating to this dynamic, where they tell him look down from the sky. They want Calaf to turn away from the signs of God and look down at what's going on in Klipoth, through temptation. The Qur’an, in Surat Al-Hajj, verse 66, states:
"And, He is the one who gave you life and causes you to die and then will again give you life. Indeed, mankind is ever ungrateful." —Al-Hajj 22:66
This verse deserves kabbalistic analysis, since many people interpret things literally. The Being gives life through the Mountain of Initiation, through Rosh Hashanah or the serpents of fire and light, and then He causes you to die on the Second Mountain through Yom Kippur. Then He will again raise you through Resurrection. But… mankind is always ungrateful, because even masters of that level still have defects to work upon.
This verse reminds me of an experience I had many years ago, so if I'm relating this to you about the stars, it’s because I've had many experiences where my Divine Mother was showing me my own heavens, heavenly being, or ascension. I remember one occasion, waking up at 4 AM to meditate, and then falling asleep again, I saw the stars in the sky—beautiful glittering stars… very divine, but then my ego was pulling me from the superior astral plane down to the inferior astral plane. I entered Limbo, Klipoth, the lunar sphere, when my ego invoked a big demon, whose name I will not relate here.
This monster, this giant demon, was like Polyphemus, a cyclopean beast. He was trying to convert me, but I fought my way out of his grasp as he was trying to tempt me, to drag me further down into the hell realms. Fortunately, I received divine aid and was able to escape.
So, I remember that phrase from the Qur’an, very much, with a lot of pain. "Surely we give signs unto you as a sign of certainty, but many are they who are ungrateful." I realize that my ego makes me very ungrateful. We must work hard on our ego so that we don't enter temptation, so that we cannot be misled in the internal worlds.
I-A-O, diablo. Ping, Pang, Pong, present before the initiate three more ordeals—three temptations relating once again to our three brains. In preparation for our resurrection, Lucifer provides the most intense and difficult ordeals. To understand this part of the opera, you have to remember the Book of Job: how Jehovah spoke to Satan and said, "Truly, my servant Job is the most humble, the best, the greatest." And of course, Satan says, "Yeah. Yeah. He praises you, but if you give me the opportunity to make him suffer, he will curse You to Your face." And Jehovah said, "So be it. Tempt him, but do not let him die."
And of course, the book of Job is very short, but very beautifully depicts the end of the path, through the process of resurrection, in which the initiate must face criticism and doubt, pain and sickness and disease and suffering and pay all his or her karma at the very end—to the point that even Job's wife and family were against him, telling him, "Why don't you curse God?" And he says, "Naked I was born, and naked do I return into the womb of the earth." God is just, and the initiate pays all his karma successfully if done with acceptance and humility.
There are eight years of trial and tribulation after Job annihilates the ego. Afterward, one must face certain ordeals, certain sicknesses and illnesses that result in death, physically speaking.
Of course, the initiate also faces other ordeals relating to the three brains. We find that riches, money, materialism, and jewels are presented to the initiate Calaf, which relate to Mammon, the mind. They use these jewels and say, "Take all this treasure and go on a journey anywhere you want. Do whatever you want. Take these fragments of stars." They say, "And the jewels." Of course, it's a very profound symbol in the Qur’an, because stars are from above, but in hell those energies channeled become fragments, broken. So they're telling him, "Don't look up there at Christ. Come down with us in Klipoth."
In the experience I had where I got sucked down into the infernal planes, I had to fight very hard to get out, but I did, because at that moment I was praying a lot and I felt a lot of remorse. There was a certain demon, whose name I won't mention, who took me and awoke me in hell, because I have that ego inside, very strong. But I prayed to my Divine Mother, my Divine Father, "Help me get out!" I woke up in my body and I felt terrible. I remember falling asleep again and being in my bedroom in the astral plane reading the Qur’an, but instead of seeing literal verses, I saw symbols, images. And my physical father, my Divine Father in the form of my physical father, came up to me in the astral plane, just smiled, and walked away, because I was studying with a lot of love and devotion.
I also remember seeing the images of that demon who pulled me down to Klipoth. He was a giant Gollum, bigger than this ceiling, like fifteen feet tall, a big rock giant, and in the Qur’an, I saw that symbol of the infidels, الكافرين al-Kafirin in Arabic. Remember we said early in our previous lecture on the Tarot, כ Kaf is the intellect, the cave in which the demons dwell, down in the hell realms. There is even a surah in the Qur'an called الكهف Al-Kahf, 'The Cave,' which indicates how the Hebrew כ Kaf or Arabic ک / ك Kahf have the same kabbalistic meaning.
It's funny, because my physical father has a complete aversion to Islam, very fearful of that religion, but in my dream, my Divine Father was showing me in the form of my physical father: read the Qur’an when you are tempted.
The Prince Calaf opposes the golden calf, money, materialism, hell. The golden calf literally sounds like Calaf. That's the opposite of the prince, so they offer him gold and money, but he refuses. They offer him women, travels, eroticism, lust, sexual perversity and passion related to the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The first ordeal related to money is the intellect, because the mind is always wanting money to sustain itself, but the temptations of the body are related to the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Women of fascinating fatal beauty, hidden beneath their veils, tempt the initiate in the physical and internal worlds. The counselors say ‘take their veils off,’ but of course these are the veils of hell, Klipoth, in which one only finds more and more suffering until one is disintegrated in that region. This is opposite to the veil of Isis, in which one tears it through resurrection to go to the source, the Absolute.
So Calaf denies them too. Ping, Pang, Pong beg the prince that Turandot is sleepless and unrelenting. This shows us how the black lodge accuses us of being cruel, of being evil, because they think that prince should die and not them. And of course, this reminds us of the story of from The Pistis Sophia in which Hitler met a superman. Hitler was an awakened sorcerer, a black magician at that point, and he declared that he was filled with terror before a superman filled with a lot of light. The demons think that masters of the straight path are very evil, because they don't follow the devolving forces. However, neither are the saints followers of the straight path, and therefore the saints don't understand them either. They follow the path of the right. One must follow the path of the middle to achieve self-realization of Turandot. But of course, when we follow the revolutionary path, we are accused of being cruel, demonic, by both the sheep and the goats.
Lucifer is always providing those temptations: mentally, emotionally, physically. And Samael Aun Weor wrote that the worst ordeals are not just brain against sex, sex against brain. Fighting against your lust in the sexual act is hard, but the worst ordeals involve heart against heart, the emotional brain, the emotional center. There are certain traumas or betrayals which are very painful, very difficult, which is why at this point in the opera, Turandot's guards bring out his father, Timur and the servant Liu, threatening their lives if they don't provide Calaf’s name. So, Calaf says he doesn't know them—which, as a simple plot point, makes sense. He's trying to protect his father and the servant, but at a deeper esoteric level, he's saying "I don't know them." He's saying, "I don't know my Being completely yet." As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony, he knew a resurrected friend of his who said that only those who have swallowed soil, achieved resurrection, know anything. Before that, one is only a fool.
At that level, you know, the master has a lot of light and is developing more and more wisdom. However, they basically still don't know the Being yet, until resurrection, so a lot of trial, temptation and pain is involved. But he says, "I don't know them." And, while on one level, this is showing that he's protecting his family and his father and his servant, it also shows us the virtue that we need at this point in the path… which is silence. Silence doesn't just refer to just how we relate to people in the external plane. It’s not about not talking to people. It means that psychologically, we're silent. No mind. No disturbance. With serenity and insight, we cut through illusion, like Manjushri's sword into the depths of hell, in order to conquer all that evilness, because if we identify with ourselves and with our mind, we enter Klipoth. So, patience and tenacity are the two virtues needed on the Second Mountain according to Samael Aun Weor. The magician must know how to be silent, know how to abstain, know how to suffer, and know how to die to the ego.
It's at this point and time when the servant Liu, Geburah, provides a profound sacrifice, which is personally one of my favorite parts of this whole opera. Liu, the divine soul, tells the audience, "I know his name, but I will not tell it to you. I will keep his secret with me." Of course, this is a symbol of how the divine soul interferes and descends into the initiate on the Second Mountain in order to help. The divine soul, Geburah, relates to Mars and the Sun, since the divine soul is like into the solar logos. She teaches the audience, through her sacrifice, the path of mystical death. She says, "His secret is with me,” because the Sun, the solar logos, the mysteries of השם Hashem, יהוה Iod-Chavah, is within her. The divine soul, according to Samael Aun Weor, absorbs all the principles of Christ in her, through the great work.
She absorbs all those forces through the work, the human soul. All the virtues of our Being are within her, which is why the Qur’an says that she is like a "glass of alabaster" in which the light of Al-Nur shines.
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly white star,
Lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things.
—Surat Al-Nur, 24:35
Allah, the Innermost, is the light. In this verse, He sets forth a parable for his servants, a lamp with a light like a glittering star, contained within a vase of alabaster or glass. Geburah, Liu, is the glass and the light of Allah is Timur, the spirit. So, she is the means of reflecting that divinity in us. She's the divine consciousness who never mixes with the ego, until that initiate has died completely. In the meantime, he can manifest some aspects of the divine soul during the process of the Second Mountain, so that she can help him fight. She does that by sacrificing herself and teaching, through her own death, how to achieve resurrection.
This light is lit through transmutation, the mysteries of alchemy, through the olive tree of knowledge. This tree is neither of the east, Tiphereth, nor of the west, Malkuth, since the light emanates from Da’ath, or Marifah in Arabic. The oil of this tree is the semen, from the Hebrew word for oil, שמן Shemen. It’s interesting that we find even the term שם Shem, Name, in the semen, or sperm and ovum, נ Nun. This is because the power of the initiate’s name is in the brute mercury, the seminal matter. And this is why Calaf guards the secret of his name so much, his sexual purity or scientific chastity. It is the key to all empires.
There's a very similar teaching in the Wagnerian Ring cycle regarding the descent and sacrifice of Geburah within the initiate, in the opera Die Walküre. I think we'll watch it eventually, where Brunhilda, in the German myth, the German opera, represents Geburah, who descends to help the initiate Sigmund, and then Siegfried later on.
A very similar principle is present in the operatic works of the great masters, which we don't have the time to go into depth here, but it's important to remember that the divine soul absorbs Christ and descends to help Tiphereth fight a spiritual war.
Liu, Geburah, is also Martian, the power of Mars, which confuses a lot of people in occultism, because people think of the Martian force as something masculine. The truth is, it’s feminine. You notice that Liu is very sweet? Very serene, very kind, very compassionate, but she's stronger than any of the men in the opera. Primarily because she's responsible for all the pains of the initiate. With her force, her Martian strength, she sacrifices herself. She says, "I know I'll never be able to be with the prince." She loves him, but he loves Turandot. This serves as a simple plot point, a fascinating love triangle, but there’s something very profound here. Puccini is basically showing that, obviously, Tiphereth is in love with Shekinah, Calaf with Turandot. While Calaf doesn’t seem to reciprocate Liu’s romantic love for him, symbolically speaking, the divine soul can only unite with the human soul through death, as we talked about in the play Romeo and Juliet, and one of our lectures on the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah.
In order to unite the divine soul with the human soul, the ego must be completely dead. In that way, the human soul unites with the divine soul and the spirit, and then within Binah, the Holy Spirit, through resurrection. But, of course, this drama must happen first, where Geburah descends into hell to help the initiate, to help him ascend. Liu teaches him that with death, one conquers death, so that one can achieve a perfect marriage with Binah. Therefore, Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "Spirit is the life that itself cuts into life. With its own agony it increases its own knowledge… Did you know that?"
Geburah is Mars, killing, bloodshed. That's her sacrifice, but not against anyone, not a literal killing, but a psychological one. She teaches us how to kill the ego. She teaches the initiate how to die to desire. Liu is showing us that if we want to marry Turandot and unite all the parts of the being, we must die psychologically. We must keep our secret of chastity. We must fulfill the path of Bushido amongst the Samurai, the way of the warrior. Of course, this was a beautiful teaching that degenerated in Japan, but has Zen, Buddhist roots, in which one must die radically to desire. This is the way of the warrior, valkyria, virya, where we get words like virility and virtue.
She is Mars, strength through suffering, which, while sweet and feminine, is the power of the warrior. She's the strongest character in the whole opera. Calaf is very convincing and very powerful, but he couldn't do it without Liu, without the divine servant. She commits seppuku, which originally symbolized the death of the ego. Of course, people think it's literally a physical story about a servant who sacrifices herself, so that a prince can marry a very murderous princess, but of course those literal meanings are, while entertaining, very superficial and absurd. They don’t really withstand an occult, literary analysis.
Liu says that Turandot is girdled with ice, meaning her chastity, severity, which can only be melted by the fire of Calaf’s love. She says, "You will love eventually the Prince Calaf as I love him." Meaning: when the ego is fully dead and the ice of the lunar sphere has melted through chastity, Binah will absorb Tiphereth, and all the lower seven sephiroth through resurrection. So, before the break of day, Liu says, "I shall close my tired eyes never to see him anymore…" except through resurrection. They only see each other through mystical death.
This is when Timur, the spirit who is blind in us, is told about his daughter's death. So he grieves. It's a very painful process for the Being, in which Geburah descends into the initiate. That's because the divine soul and the spirit are one within a master, but in order to help Calaf work in himself, she must descend into him and mix with all the impurities to help him fight. But of course, Timur is blind, grieving. He's the exalted Tartarian king, exiled king of the north, the spirit, and Timur, symbolically speaking, is blind in us. The eyes of Ra, the spirit, are no longer active because we fell, but this doesn't mean that the Being is blind. It just means that in us, that potential is not active, because the Being is always omniscient, even when we are not. The spirit sees. As the Qur’an repeatedly teaches, "Allah is the witness over the heavens and the earth. He sees all things."
"It is dawn my little Liu," Timur says to her. Meaning: Chokmah, the Sun or solar logos, is in Geburah. He also pronounces with great grief that God should be outraged. This is true. The gods, the buddhas would be angered if her death, which is so noble, is not justified with marriage with Turandot… because to reach that point is very high and difficult, but to not make it to the end is very, very painful. One can fall at that point, very easily. It's a very dangerous path, very straight and narrow, which is why the Qur’an says,
"Guide us to the straight path,
"The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray." —Al-Fatihah, the Opening 1:6-7
Every one of us, without exception, has killed our inner God, our inner Being. We assassinated the God Mercury through fornication. We've sinned against the goddess moon and therefore we must pay the price. This is when the multitudes of people say, "Unhappy shade, shameful shade, forgive us!"
And as I said earlier, in the previous lectures, the chorus is dual. It can be heavenly or diabolic, depending upon how the verb is used. So, in heaven it's divine, but in hell it's demonic.
Timur says he will follow to rest beside Geburah, Liu, in the night that knows no dawn. It might seem that the Being is doubting at this point. It's very difficult to escape the darkness in order to turn to the light. He will descend into Klipoth looking for His lost soul if the ego is not fully eliminated, if one fails and enters devolution. So, Ping, Pang and Pong at this point say that this is the first time they look upon death without sneering. IAO, diablo, Lucifer, doesn't mock the descent of Geburah into the initiate. It's very serious.
They say, "Liu, gentle spirit. Rest in peace." Timur and the crowd then exit, which is actually the point, I believe, at which Puccini didn't finish his opera. The rest of the opera was developed by another composer, Franco Alfano, from Puccini’s notes. He made sure that the esoteric message got through for this final work, which is important.
It is at this point and time Tiphereth, Prince Calaf or caliph, the master of the middle east, says to Turandot, "You are princess of death," which is true. In heaven, she is Divine Mother Death, Binah, Saturn, the Sabbath, but down in hell she is Kali who swallows the infidels, al-Kafirin, within the ninth sphere of the inferno. He tells her to come down from her tragic heaven to tear her veil. Only by tearing the veil of Isis through the death of the ego can we achieve resurrection. The veil of Isis, he says, is like ice and water. Again, very symbolic. The ice and water of Yesod must be melted and transmuted in a marriage.
All of this, of course, is very symbolic, which is funny when people see this opera. Obviously, audiences are very fascinated with these dramas, but which are interpreted in a very juvenile sense. Why would this prince want to marry this woman who killed his servant and threatened to kill him? Of course, very literally, it's extremely silly, but symbolically he becomes more aroused by her, in love with her. This is a beautiful symbol of how love and death are one. Divine Mother death is love, the terror of love and law as mentioned innumerable times by Samael Aun Weor.
She resists him. She first says, "Don't touch me. It's a sacrilege." Meaning, to touch the Divine Mother, to approach the Divine Mother with lust, is demonic, blasphemous, but to really be united with her is to be completely dead, chaste. The kiss of the Divine Mother Death requires absolute death of the ego, to become Hadit, the Divine Father, which is Binah, the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit.
But then he takes her in his arms and kisses her. Very dramatic music thunders, representing the fatality and the supreme negation of the self. He has died to the ego completely. He then calls her the flower of the dawn, referring to Venus, the rose, Shoshannah. Rosh Hashanah, the perfected chastity of the initiate.
She says, "How did you conquer?" And then he says, "Do you weep?" She weeps her first tears. Meaning, the eyes of Binah has melted in the fire of alchemy. He answers her with a question. "Do you weep?" Referring to the eyes, since the eyes of Horus which are now open.
Eyes in Hebrew is עיניים Ayni'im, which contains the letter ע ayin. ע Ayin is found in the middle of דעת Daath. ד Daleth is the doorway through which we see, ע Ayin, the truth, ת Tav. It is through the fires of alchemy that we melt the ice of Yesod, and when Turandot weeps, her vision within the initiate is cleansed, is clear. The Truth is visible to both princess and prince, since Calaf is now completely dead to the ego.
Turandot relates how she despised all the people who tried to marry her before, the initiates who said they loved her, but failed. Yet she feared Calaf, because he was like a Mozart, a Beethoven, a Wagner. Some initiates can conquer the moonlight sonata, the darkness of the soul, and come out in the end with the sun. Many end up like Samson. She says the light springs from him, that she felt the fear of conquering and being conquered. Devi Kundalini fears our failure. She also fears the soul being victorious because the inverted serpent is active there, fighting all the time. So, she still tests Calaf even when he has no ego. She tells him to leave while he has the chance.
Even when you're fully dead to an ego, you must achieve resurrection. So, don't think that as soon as you annihilate the ego, (Snaps fingers), you resurrect. It's a long process in which the initiate must be tested, and of course it's a very dangerous work. He must qualify from his initiations. One achieves initiation, but then one must qualify. This refers to how we must pay all our karma with gladness, and not to pronounce anything against God.
The kiss to the Divine Mother symbolizes his submission to her and the summation of mystical death at this point. She's swooning because he's now preparing for the end of the path, the height of the Second Mountain, so at this point she unveils her love for him.
He then says, "My name is Calaf, son of Timur." At that moment, she says, "I know your name!" And there's that excitement in the audience. They're saying, "Okay. She's probably going to have him killed now, since he gave away his secret!"
It seems like she wants to kill him at that point, but the fact that she says, "I know your name" and that "I’ve achieved victory" is dualistic. She has achieved victory in the soul, because he has perfected his submission to God, his Islam, you could say. He said, "My victory is in your embrace, my life is in your kiss!" It is at this point that he says "It is now the hour of trial!" This is the dilemma of “to be or not to be” in which the soul is to be swallowed by Saturn, Kronos, the Holy Spirit. This is the famous Day of Judgment within the Qur’an, whereby the soul is brought before the divine tribunals of the superior worlds to be evaluated by Devi Kundalini-Turandot. The trial and advent of resurrection is the ultimate, defining moment for the initiate, for Calaf.
You don't know until the very end what will happen, until when they are presented in the palace, Turandot says, "Father, I know the name of this stranger. His name is love!" In Hebrew, Love is גדולה Gedulah, Chesed, the spirit. Because now, when the ego is fully dead, the soul integrates with Geburah, all the lower bodies. The spirit is absorbed in Binah, the Holy Ghost, through resurrection.
And so, at the end, she says it is love. Chesed, the spirit, is united with all the parts of the Being. All the audience hears this beautiful chorus sing of the divine marriage of resurrection.
“Oh sun, life, eternity, light of this world and love. We rejoice and celebrate this song and this sunshine. Our great happiness, glory to thee!"
Therefore we conclude with this following quotation from the book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 10:
“Be thou faithful unto [Divine Mother] death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” —Revelation 2:10
The power of sex that guards the prince in his journey is the Rune Laf, the rune of Life. This is the mystery of scientific chastity, of alchemy. The Rune Laf, in the gnostic tradition, is performed on the 27th of each month. 2 + 7=9: the mysteries of Yesod.
Face east in the morning and walk towards the sun with your hands above your genitalia, walking slowly while praying to the Solar Logos to descend into your hands, into your genitalia, and to grant you any particular blessings you need. Remember that the Rune Laf is the rune of sexuality, the rune of life, which can grant us any petition we need when we are sincere and working in transmutation.
When you raise the Rune Laf [לפ Lamed-Fei in Hebrew] to your head, by raising your hands and sexual energy up above your כ Kaf, your crown, you form כלפ Calaf. When the hands are above your head, you are forming the Rune Man. Stretch your arms in a completely vertical fashion above your head, and you form the Rune Is. Isis. Turandot, the Divine Mother.
Through the rune of life, through transmutation, we achieve the secret of alchemy and transform ourselves into true men and women, through the power of Isis-Turandot.
The mantra for the Rune of Isis is "Iiiiiiiiiiisssssssss Iiiiiiiiiiisssssssss." So Calaf is formed in you when you raise Rune Laf to your head, your Kaf or crown. That's the secret of the Calaf, the master of the middle east.
Questions and Answers
Lecturer: Any questions?
Student: China represents the east and the West. Is that Klipoth or what?
Lecturer: Yes. The west is Klipoth because the sun sets in Malkuth and descends into the infernal planes. In the drama of Geburah, Liu, descends into the initiate. It's a symbol of how the sun must descend into the west in order to go into Klipoth, to help us fight all that evilness inside of us, so that you can return to the east with the sun, through resurrection.
Student: So in the book of revelations, is that battle between the east and the west that battle between our brain, our mind and our sexual brain? Or is that the left and the right brain?
Lecturer: Well, it could relate to the battle between brain and sex. The sun must rise into your head through transmutation, not the other way around, where the soul-energies go out and follow the moon.
Student: What precisely are the stars that Calaf praises in Act III?
Lecturer: The Absolute. In the Kabbalah, if you look back at the Tree of Life, you have three regions that are above the Tree of Life. You have Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur. Ain is the Nothingness, cosmic space; the Cosmic Common Eternal Father. Ain Soph is the light of our Being. As a star, the Absolute shines with omniscience and power. Calaf was praising the stars when singing Nessun Dorma, while looking at his Ain Soph, his inner Glorian, his Christ. He prays that his light aid him in himself, which is the Ain Soph Aur, the limitless light. The light is still unitary in the Unmanifested, but when that light enters the universe, it becomes the trinity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, the three primary forces that emanate outward and then reconvene as three in order to create.
So, the Ain Soph is precisely our true Being, the star of Bethlehem. You can also look at the lecture we gave on Arcanum 2: The High Priestess, where we explained some details about the Ain Soph, Beth-le-hem, the house of bread, that shines with the Nativity of the Being, which we saw in Act II with the three magi, reading the scrolls of the initiate, his answers, and praising the birth of Christ in him when he takes the direct path.
Student: Well, does one choose to take the direct path to become an initiate, as opposed to the Nirvanic, spiral path? Does this happen in the astral plane?
Lecturer: Those initiations occur internally. There have been rituals done in the past, physically to commemorate and commence the initiate on the path of the bodhisattva. This doesn’t happen frequently because it's a very rare path. Not a lot of people take it, but the nirvanic path is pretty common. Those initiations occur internally through experiences. Your Being will show you if He wants, since his initiations and path belong to Him.
Student: Are there people on this earth working and achieving initiations?
Lecturer: I know people. I know many. Many of the people in the Gnostic movement are returning to Turandot, the Divine Princess Shekinah. There are many fallen bodhisattvas in this movement that are trying to rise again, like the prince in the beginning of Act I or the beginning of Act II. We hear the stories of Ping, Pang and Pong, who talk about how many princes tried to marry Turandot and how many of them failed. They reached initiation at some degree in the past but fell, and then they try to regain what they lost. It is a very difficult path, especially if such fallen masters are not diligent about working on the ego. Remember that they originally fell because of the mind.
Student: Are there any couples having a child through immaculate conception?
Lecturer: There are people, but usually those people don't talk about it with other Gnostics. Apparently, because there's a lot of gossiping and back biting in the Gnostic movement. Specifically, it's a big game of who can be more spiritual. It's the same ego adopted for other things, more spiritual things.
Student: That's kind of what happens in institutional religion. I grew up Roman Catholic. Very quiet about it, but then something just happened, a deep desire. It was all very natural. Can this happen very naturally? Can you become an initiate without even realizing what's happening on a conscious level?
Lecturer: So, good question. Samael Aun Weor mentions that there are many people who are in the minor mysteries, especially in the very beginning of the path, because they're practicing the three factors: sacrifice, birth of the soul through transmutation, and death of the ego. They may not be very awakened, but they have some degree of light, little by little, and some people may not even know that they passed through the minor mysteries yet. Except by having some experiences later on that show them, but there are people too who have been through the Major Mysteries that don't remember certain internal initiations because their Being doesn't want them to see it. This occurs mostly to protect that initiate from being proud, but in another sense, the work of the path itself is very conscious and very specific. To really know where we're at, we must be very awake.
So, of course there's levels. We do it by degrees. It takes a lot of effort on our part, to know where we are at, and the work requires a lot of patience too, because sometimes the Being, while He is very powerful, has a lot of light, doesn't give it to you until later, when He wants. We must learn how to obey, and not resent not having light, because that's our fault. If we have no light, it's because the Being doesn't want us to have light, and that's why Calaf in Act III suffers so much, because he wants light. He says, "I wish this night would end and I wish the dawn were here!" Every initiate suffers a lot in the inferno and must go through a lot of pain, but he has to be very humble and to accept his fate. Let the light enter him when the light needs it; when the light doesn't want certain things to be done, He withdraws. God divided the light from the night. You can relate this principle to the First Initiation of Fire, in which you start to generate that light, but God says, "Let Me divide the night from the day, let Me take that light from you, so that you don't make any mistakes," so we don’t harm ourselves. Because, while we may have light, we may act poorly. This work takes a lot of restraint on our part.
We mentioned that meditation is a state of consciousness. It is not a technique. Although in this tradition, we study many practices, many dynamics, many exercises that lead to this state within our daily life.
Meditative states, experiences, cognizance can always be understood through the balance of two things: study and practice. This is known as method and wisdom within Buddhism and as Samael Aun Weor, the founder of our tradition stated: “Knowledge and being must be balanced within harmoniously in order to produce comprehension.”
So, we must have knowledge of the method, what different religions teach in their very heart, how to achieve the experience, the perception of the divine. This is why we, in this tradition, study many aspects of religion, because they all teach something very valuable about how to meditate.
In the spirit of this course, we are exploring the science of meditation as taught within Sufism, although we do reference and study Buddhism, Judaism, all religions. We must always study Gnosis wherever it may be found, because the principles of Gnosis are universal, and we know from our studies that Gnosis is direct knowledge. It is cognizant experience. It is the state of meditation, of understanding. And because mediation is universal, we can always drink the wine of Gnosis from a Sufi, Buddhist or Christian cup. The religious forms are different, but the complete knowledge is the same.
The Universality of Gnosis within Religious Traditions
It’s important that we learn to drink this wine, this divine teaching, within every tradition—without exception. But we also must never pollute the purity of that knowledge with extemporaneous things, with novelties, innovations. We must not adulterate the wine of Gnosis through a bad cup, through a filthy chalice.
This is the symbol of how meditation in different traditions throughout time originally taught this teaching, this profound science. But with time and the degeneration of humanity, those religious forms have been corrupted. So, in the times of Jesus, the gospels speak about the pharisees, which can really symbolize any person from any tradition who thinks they know Gnosis, the wisdom of direct experience, but they have merely corrupted the original teaching through belief. And we have mentioned many times in our lectures and courses that belief is not real knowledge, real faith.
When we believe in something, we think it is true or we feel it is true, but we do not know. Faith is Gnosis. It is what we have experienced. It is what we have verified, and this very pure fountain of wisdom which we always must drink from, which we always must validate through our own practice, through our own experiences.
And when we have that experience, we are able to look at any religion, any teaching, and find the principles of that doctrine, to recognize it, to know it, because we have seen it for ourselves. We know it for ourselves. But the pharisee, a type of psychology that thinks it knows, but does not, is prevalent in any tradition. As Jesus of Nazareth stated, the pharisees wash the outside of the cup, but not the inside, which is a symbol of the soul. It also can refer to a religion’s tradition, meditative traditions, where the principles of this doctrine have been lost, because people, thinking that they know and understand the scriptures from experience, they mix that wisdom with impurity.
Also, this is why Jesus stated, we must pour new wine in new wine-skins. It means to have a psychological attitude that is investigative, to open one’s mind to the new. And to simply experiment.
We have to look at these practices and really test them from our own experience, to really have genuine faith, to really know. This is a conundrum or a catch 22 for students who approach any tradition. They are inspired to want to know themselves, to study themselves, to experience divinity. But because we are so corrupt with ego, we often do not know where to look for that wisdom, and so in the beginning we are blind. This is why there is a great danger in the beginning for students: to simply attach themselves to any teaching without verifying or testing it, to accept and believe in it with their minds and hearts, but without awakening the consciousness.
We study all religions. We drink gnosis, direct experience, not only from the writings of Samael Aun Weor but from the Sufis, from the Buddhist masters, from the great Kabbalists of Israel. This indicates that we have to know how to read, to understand. We have to learn how to verify. We have to experiment. This is why we study all religions, unanimously. We look at their essential principles, to know what they all teach in their essence, so that we do not become confused or intoxicated by the wine of theories, of belief systems, of merely accepting or rejecting the doctrine in our mind and heart without really comprehending the value of it.
So, Gnosis again, is real faith. It is witnessing real divinity, which the Muslims call Shahada, the declaration of faith. There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Prophet. We explain the meaning of that term, Shahada, which relates to mushahada in Arabic, signifying mediation.
So, we are going to further explore the principles of meditation according to Sufism, in order to fill a very severe need in our studies. Many people are not familiar with how mediation is taught in the Sufi teaching, how Gnosis is within Sufism.
As we were talking about the allegory of the cup, we also have to be very careful when we study. Gnosis is often the mixed, the principles of meditation are often mixed with corruption.
Every tradition in time degenerates. It is a law of nature. It has happened with Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and even today in the Gnostic tradition.
It is because the root knowledge is often overlooked, untaught or forgotten. To have real wisdom is based on experiencing the truth for ourselves, and in this way, we do not get lost. We do not get confused when we see or hear things that are not in coherence, do not correlate with what we have verified, and this is the importance of studying the divine law and the way, in harmony.
The divine law is that we serve divinity through our practices. The way is that we experience the truth. And in this way, in our process of developing both knowledge and being, studying the tradition and meditation, no matter where it is found―we also test and experiment, we verify. We always look at the principles of a teaching, to see what is pure, what is true, and then we disregard that which is superfluous, corrupted, unnecessary.
The Definition of Principles
I would like to define for you what the word principle means as we are opening this discussion. In the online dictionary, a principle “is a fundamental truth, a proposition that serves as the foundation of a system of belief or behavior or for a change of reasoning.”
A principle is a fundamental law or truth. It is what we can verify, what we can experience. This becomes a foundation for a system, which in this definition refers to “belief.” Or in this definition refers to belief, which is inaccurate.
While principles always make up any religion, in our studies we do not believe in these things. Some people may and they can teach what they like, they can get many followers because they really believe that they know. But we have to go beyond the surface and really get at the heart of what a teaching, a school, a method entails.
Principles can also refer to a code of behavior, which we spoke about very abundantly in the previous lecture on the nature of the divine law, and ethics.
It also can support a chain of reasoning, of understanding, of comprehension.
So, in the beginning of our studies we read, we reflect, we comprehend the knowledge with the mind. We learn the terminology, the explanations, but more importantly we have to apply what we read. This is the balance of knowledge and being. This is the balance that leads us and conducts us towards integrity, to comprehension.
A principle also is “a general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field.” It can be a law, principles like gravity. These are tangible experiences. These are truths that are not merely just a concept. It is a factual element of life.
While the principles of meditation pertain to our mystical states, they refer to how we live our life daily. What we know, what we see, what we verify. We know that if we act with anger, we will suffer. This is a principle or law of human behavior, of ethics. Which is why ethics is always the foundation of any tradition in order to really enter meditation.
As we stated, we find Gnosis in all religions, without exception. Just because Gnosis was the heart of those traditions, not everything that was taught in those faiths has been sustained, has lived, has not been corrupted. It’s sad to say, there are many people who take the principles of meditation, the principles of Gnosis, the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, or Sufism or Judaism or Buddhism, and they adulterate them with drugs, with politics, sectarianism, fanaticism. Many even attribute these qualities to the original heart of the founders of the religions themselves. This is very sad. It creates a lot of confusion, a lot of conflict.
People project their concepts onto the knowledge, and that is how one adulterates the knowledge. Because of a lack of genuine ethics, of following the divine law, many so called spiritual people have driven people away from the actualization or study of themselves. We find this in every faith, especially Islam, which is a tradition that has been greatly abused.
Hopefully, after this course, you will find that the principles of Gnosis are very alive within the original writings, which we always have to examine in light of our own experience and through teachings by Samael Aun Weor, who gives a very cohesive and comprehensive perspective, a practical wisdom that can aid us in understanding these things for ourselves.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of Beelzebub:
“It is absurd to adulterate Gnosis with different teachings because the Christian Gospels prohibit adultery. It is absurd to conceive of Gnosis without the Maithuna, sexual magic.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of Beelzebub
We will make some references to that teaching, tantrism, sacred alchemy, with our discussion of essential principles today.
“We can drink the wine of Gnosis (divine wisdom) within a Greek, Buddhist, Sufi, Aztec, Egyptian, etc., cup, yet we must not adulterate this delicious wine with strange doctrines.” ―Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of Beelzebub:
This means that, we look at what the Sufis wrote, what the Gnostics wrote, and we verify. We look at those traditions with the eye of discrimination and selectivity. We have to look at the essential principles of these traditions and to understand them from experience. There is no other way.
The way must be validated through the divine law and the divine law must be validated through the way.
So, in this way, Bayazid Bastami, a Sufi initiate, stated “The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.”
So, we can never seek for genuine knowledge, just through mere intellectual pursuit. We have to understand these things through practice. So genuine seeking is through daily meditation, daily experience.
The Fundamentals of Meditation: Study and Practice
So how should we approach meditation? To emphasize my previous point, we have to look at the original scriptures. We have to look at the original writings, before commentators or commentary derived from those root sources. Whether we study Buddhism or Sufism or any teaching, we have to look at the founding documents, the original verb, the fundamentals of religion. To really look at it with a clear mindset, an attitude of investigation.
The following is from a Sufi book called Al-Risalah, known as Principles of Sufism, written by a master by the name of Al-Qushayri. His writings were often used by the Sufi master Rumi, amongst the Mevlevi Sufis, his disciples. It is a very rich book that you can study if you wish to understand the principles of Sufism, the principles of Gnosis. We quote from this book extensively because it is a very pure document. If I give testimony of this, it is because it is a text that I have investigated many times and have had experiences internally about, in the astral plane, in the mental plane, beyond.
We have to learn to investigate the written word and to reflect deeply on what we read to balance study and practice, method and wisdom. This is what it means when Al-Jurayri was quoted in this book:
“A clear vision of the fundamentals of religion comes about through the application of their derivative principles, and the derivatives are corrected by comparing them against the original sources. There is no way to the station of contemplation (meditation, mushahada) of states except by esteeming as great the means and principles that God has esteemed to be great.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, the fundamentals of religion refer to the Latin religare, reunion, unification with divinity. We must study and apply, more importantly, derivative principles. What are these principles? Serenity, concentration, faith, ethical behavior, codes of conduct, divine love. These are qualities of mind, of consciousness, qualities of the soul that we can develop intentionally, so as to achieve re-unification with our inner God. We have to study and apply these principles in our daily life through our ethical behavior. The derivatives refer to qualities of consciousness that originate from those laws.
So, a principle is a law, a law of nature, whether in the physical plane or in the internal planes.
What principles do we enact in our life in order to obtain religion? What do we do on a daily basis to guarantee we will experience and know the state of our inner Being, our inner God? What about our life derives from these principles?
By fulfilling ethical conduct, what is the derivative, what is the result in our factual daily life? We have to investigate this. But to know these principles, we can study. This is the beauty of Sufism. It teaches us the level of Being, what we are psychologically, what are the virtues of the soul. So, when we comprehend and eliminate certain defects, we enact ethical behavior and really comprehend our faults. We develop the virtues of the Being in us. We derive genuine contentment, happiness, liberation by following these laws of the soul.
Sufism is very beautiful for that understanding. It teaches us about the virtues of the Being. We can experience these things if we are working seriously. So, “these derivatives are corrected by comparing them against the original sources.”
Another meaning is, we can study the writings of many teachers whether from Buddhism, Sufism, Judaism, Gnosticism. But whenever we really study a tradition, we have to really look at the founder of those faiths. We have to look at the original sources to analyse them, to really understand them, intellectually at first, and then through our experience. So, what I mean by the original sources is the writings of the Buddha, the sutras, the tantras. The writings of Padmasambhava. In Islam, the Qur’an. In the Gnostic tradition, the writings of Samael Aun Weor. We have to look at the original writings of the prophets, beings who really demonstrated a high level of integrity and understanding, the writings of Jesus or the scriptures about Christ. We have to look at these original sources, compare them to everything else that came after, because the writings or teachings of the prophets have precedence. They have the most light or knowledge.
We have to study where the light is most pure and learn to compare what came afterwards with the sense of integrity and discrimination, because impurity comes later. The light initiates, but the shadow emerges afterwards.
It is good to really be studious. It doesn’t mean we just become bookworms. It means we develop our understanding with a lot of patience and practice, because “there is no way to the stage of contemplation, the witnessing of divine states except by esteeming as great the means and principles that God has esteemed to be great” in the teaching of the prophets. They gave methods and means, principles of divinity, laws of the cosmos that are really divine.
We have to really understand what these laws are for ourselves because there is a system. There is a way. There is a path. It is specific. It is based on laws. It is not a belief or a concept to adopt, a behavior to imitate superficially. It is a code of conduct, a way of acting consciously. It is the fulfillment of law, the law of causality. Because the soul cannot be created, the consciousness cannot be developed, if we do not apply the principles or laws that ensure its fulfillment in us. Just as there is a law of gravity, there is a law for developing the soul.
If we wish to return to God, we have to learn to adopt and practice and understand how those laws of divinity operate based on facts. And in this way, when we see how this teaching works, how ethics works, how compassion is really the essence of religion, of harmonizing communities, of bringing real peace and love in our own life and the lives of others―we realize with awe that it is a beautiful knowledge. It is a great thing, that is so wonderful that it is incomprehensible to the mind.
When we experience those states of beatitude, of compassion, of serenity, it truly transforms us. This is how we empower our practice, when we have those experiences. But first we have to study and apply the knowledge. We have to know the principles of God, the principles of meditation, and to work very diligently to experience them. But not out of craving, the desire that wants to have some kind of Samadhi or mystical experience, but simply changing our daily life, working on behaviors that make us suffer, so that we can obtain a state of knowledge, the certainty that certain ways of behaving are wrong, create problems and certain ways of behaving also produce harmony, happiness. This is how we inspire ourselves and this is how we develop certainty, real faith that this knowledge works.
Certainty in Meditation
This is why we are going to examine some writings from the Qur’an that talk a lot about this nature of certainly, of real faith. So, everybody in this knowledge, this teaching of Samael Aun Weor, wants to develop certainty. Every practitioner who is really applying meditation wants to have that verification of the truth, wants to have a foundation, an experience―to really know that we know and that we have experienced God, that we know divinity, in whatever level, because there are degrees of knowledge, but also there are degrees of certainty.
There are some very beautiful teachings within this Muslim scripture. I will preface this discussion by saying the Qur’an is a very closed book. It is a book for initiates, people who are really walking the path of meditation, of the science of alchemy (from the Arabic Allah and the Greek khēmeia), to fuse oneself with divinity in the perfect matrimony, and also the study of Kabbalah.
We know that Kabbalah is the Jewish mysticism, and we will talk about the Tree of Life near the end of this lecture, how the Hebrew kabbel means “to receive” knowledge that we are certain of from experience, relating to our physical life and internal life. Just as there is Kabbalah within the Jewish tradition, we also have Kabbalah in the Arabic tradition, because Arabic and Hebrew, the Semitic languages, share the same roots. They are very ancient.
We always must study the science of meditation, the science of alchemy, if we are married. If we are a single person, we can practice many exercises that work with energy so as to awaken consciousness. This is the science of transmutation, of mutating the creative force of our body into understanding, into light.
The Three Forms of Certainty
There are three forms of certainty within the Qur’an which can help us to understand the whole map of meditation and our own experiences. I have included the Qur’anic verses where you find these terms mentioned and I will read for you excerpts from the Qur’an that talk about these principles. There is the knowledge of certainty ilm al-yaqin. There is the seeing of certainty, ayn al-yaqin, and there is the truth of certainty ḥaqq al-yaqin.
So, what is the knowledge of certainty? It refers to what we know with the intellect. It can study a religion, a system, a principle, a faith. We can have a certain level of certainty in our mind, intellectually that we know. We learn the theory, the concepts, the languages, the terms. We see how the system works, at least in the mind. We have concepts that are organised, a type of rationalization which is necessary in the beginning. This is why when we talked about the definition of principles, it is also “a fundamental truth for supporting a chain of reasoning.” This knowledge is very logical. It is very dynamic, concrete.
Knowledge of certainty refers to things making sense in our readings and our studies, because we have to have that knowledge in the intellect first.
However, we can’t just leave that there. We have to really see with certainty what those principles entail. This is the second level of certainty, ayn al-yaqin.
Al-yaqin means "certainty." Ilm means "knowledge" and ayn, if you studied Kabbalah, refers to sight, the eyes of perception.
To see with certainty means we have experienced what that knowledge entails. We can be reading about astral projection, dream yoga, meditation, samadhi and have that knowledge of certainty in our intellect, of what that teaching entails. This is good, but the next step is to really practice and to experience and see that truth for ourselves. So not just hearing about an astral projection or reading about it, but actually experiencing it for yourself. That is ayn al-yaqin, the seeing of certainty. It is what we have verified.
But there is an even deeper level to that knowledge. Ḥaqq al-yaqin, the truth of certainty. This is a very profound level of knowledge and we mentioned in our previous lecture that Haqiqah is the truth, the highest teaching of yoga, of religion, of meditation. It is the profound knowledge Maʿrifa of the truth Al-Ḥaqq, which is one of the names of Allah in the Qur’an.
To have the truth of certainty means not only just having an astral projection, which is very beautiful, very powerful, very profound. It means to have a tremendous samadhi in which the soul is lost within the Being, in which we become the Being. The Being manifests in us, a state of happiness and liberation that is truly undefinable, profound, beyond words.
It means to be completely free of the ego. There is no ego there. No “I.” No “me” nor “myself.” There is only Al-Ḥaqq, the Truth, which is why the Sufi master, Mansur al-Hallaj stated before the orthodox Muslims, “Ana 'l-Ḥaqq.” He said, “I Am the Truth!” which of course scandalized those people who were very fanatic and religious, institutionalized, dogmatic, because Ḥaqq is one of the names of God, and basically, he said “I am God.”
However, people did not understand that it wasn’t Mansur Al-Hallaj who said that. It was the truth within him saying that. Just as Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I Am.” Only divinity can say that, and that’s a very high level of attainment, the level of a master who is reaching perfection.
It is very profound, and don’t think that you cannot have that experience to a degree in the beginning, because your Being can give you that knowledge, that certainty, if He wants. You just have to be diligent about your work, but don’t get confused after those experiences thinking that we are God, because we are not. We know from experience what divinity is. We have the truth of certainty. We know it. But we return back to our body, from our experiences from dream yoga or whatever, and then we learn to walk our daily life, to continue working, because the experience of the truth does not mean the complete realization of that truth.
Mythomania and the Death of the Ego
In order to self-realize we need to annihilate the ego. This is the problem with certain people in our tradition who have an experience of the truth, the truth of certainty. They unite with God and then they come back saying “I am the Master So-and-so… Follow me!” This has led to many problems in the movement, because experience of the truth is temporary. Self-realization is something else. This is not to denigrate those experiences, because we need those experiences. We need to have truth of certainty in meditation.
We need to know these things for ourselves, but it doesn’t mean that we become mythomaniacs. It’s a term we use in this knowledge, to make a myth of manas, myth of mind. The mind thinking it is God. It is not [Editor’s Note: the term mania is well known as a delirious state of grandeur within psychotherapy and studies on mental illness. See the Spiritual and Mental Health Course for more information on this topic].
So, the consciousness can experience the truth, can see the truth. The mind can have knowledge of certainty knowledge of the truth and the intellect, but the actual experience is something else. The consciousness is not the mind. The consciousness can see with more or less clarity, but to know the truth of certainty we have to be free of ego, even if just for a temporary moment in our meditations.
States of the Truth
The Sufi Master Ibn 'Arabi stated that, “knowledge of certainty is like hearing about a fire.” He said that the “seeing of certainty is like seeing a fire, and the truth of certainty is being burnt by fire.” Degrees of knowledge, degrees of experience. But don’t think these types of states are inaccessible to you. Many people hear about these truths and they become overwhelmed, feeling like it is impossible for them to know this truth, to know these experiences for themselves.
This is why in the Qur’an, chapter 50, verses 15 through 16, states:
“Did We fail in the first creation? But they are in confusion over a new creation. And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” ―Al-Qaf 15-16
There is a lot of interesting teachings in this verse. “Did We fail in the first creation?” says divinity. This first creation is the birth of our body, our physical conception. When speaking about people who don’t really practice mediation, they are in confusion over a new creation. This new creation is the soul, the soul that we develop. The body is one thing. The soul is another. We have to create the consciousness, build consciousness, develop consciousness. In this way we form the true man, the true Hum-man. Hum means spirit in Sanskrit. Man or manas means mind [Hu is also a mantra amongst Sufi schools, representing the breath of God]. A mind that is fully united with divinity, the spirit, that is a true Hum-man.
Divinity in the Qur’an states, “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him.” This is a very high level to attain, to be a real man or a true human being, a woman. “And We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”
People think divinity is far away, but God is with us in every moment. This is why is Ihsan (beautiful action) is to act as if we see God even if we do not, because surely He sees us.
Divinity, the Being, has been given many names in the Qur’an. He is:
We work with meditation, we work with exercises of energy known as transmutation, and we work to serve humanity, to help humanity. We learn these states of being, through applying the principles of meditation. This is what leads us to the three forms of certainty.
We have to learn how to first study what these qualities are, but then we have to see them from experience, and if we are really serious, our Being will enter us and help us, will manifest in our deeds, will manifest and express in our daily life as these qualities: Al-Murid, "The Willing"; Al-Raḥman, "The Compassionate"; Al-Raḥim, "The Merciful"; Al-Alim, "The All-Knowing"; Al-Wadud, "The Loving"; Al-Khaliq, "The Creator"―principles, laws of the soul, laws of divinity, which are very high.
Qur’anic Verses on the Three Certainties
We can taste these in meditation and in our daily life if we are working seriously, working daily. So, it is a means to have knowledge and seeing of certainty. I will read for you some excerpts from the Qur’an where we find these verses, these terms. The knowledge and seeing of certainty are found in Surah 102, known as Al-Takathur: “Rivalry in Worldly Increase.”
This scripture refers to how people, when they approach meditation, or they approach religion, are often afflicted by desire for pursuing worldly things. To have real knowledge of certainty and seeing of certainty is to contemplate the inevitability of death, because if we don’t live our life seriously with this type of knowledge, we don’t know where we are going to go when we die. But if we awaken our perception, we develop the seeing of certainty, we can know everything, then we can generally access the truth.
“Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you
Until you visit the graveyards.
No! You are going to know.
Then no! You are going to know.
No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty...
You will surely see the Hellfire
(states of suffering, the future that awaits those that do not eliminate the ego).
Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.
Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure”
(meaning vain worldly pleasures). ―Al-Takathur
So, if we are serious about meditation, and many times and in many traditions, students are asked to meditate about the certainty of their own death, the death of the body. This is in order to develop commitment to the path. If we are serious about our spirituality, we realise that we cannot waste our time on superfluous things, because eventually we will go to the grave and enter into the internal worlds.
If we are asleep in this physical world, we won’t have certainty of that state of consciousness when we die. This is a very scary thing to think about, because when we physically go to sleep, we black out for eight hours, typically, and we do not remember anything. This indicates that we are asleep consciously in the physical world. However, if we want to have real experiences, real certainty of the afterlife, we have to awaken here and now.
The truth of certainty is given in Surah 56 Al-Waqi’ah (The Inevitable) of which we will read a few excerpts.
“Indeed, it is a noble Qur’an in a register well protected. None touch it except for the purified.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 77-79
So, the Qur’an in Arabic means recitation. It is recorded as a scripture in the internal planes according to the Sufis, guarded by the Elohim or Buddhas, the angels, the masters. It is only accessible to those who are purifying themselves, for those who have the truth of certainty.
What does it mean to be purified? It means to work on our own mind, our own egotism, our defects. If we do not comprehend our own errors and work to eliminate them, we cannot develop our spiritual sight. We cannot awaken within the internal dimensions. The reason why we may not have experiences in the beginning is because of our own psychological obscurations, our defects. If you wish to see the internal worlds, wish to see within meditation what we are, we must remove the veil of our understanding, of the mind.
So, like any scripture, we can only interpret when we are pure, when we have awakened our consciousness. We move beyond the knowledge of certainty. We see it for ourselves and by the grace of divinity we can have that truth unveiled in its totality.
“It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. Then is it to this statement that you are indifferent and make the thanks for your provision that you deny the Provider?” ―Al-Waqi’ah 80-82
Many people are indifferent, even in Gnosis. What does it mean to be indifferent to any religious or spiritual teaching? It means to be asleep. To not feel the urgency to want to change. If we do not feel that longing in our heart to want to know and to give thanks to our inner divinity, it means that we are very hypnotized by our own mind. We are indifferent. We are cold, lukewarm according to the Bible. But anyone of us who is studying this type of knowledge feels a spiritual inquietude, the impetus of the Being that is pushing us to work, to develop the genuine truth of certainty in ourselves. The way we can develop this further is to meditate on our own death. Which is why the Qur’an states:
“Then why, when the soul at death reaches the throat and you are at that time looking on, and our angels are nearer to him than you, but you do not see. Then why do you not, if you are not be recompensed, bring it back if you should be truthful? And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah, then for him is rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 83-89
So many people lead their life mechanically and then they die, not knowing where they will go or where thy came from, and this is very sad. Anyone of us who is studying meditation is pushed by our own inner God. We have the longings to want to really see the mysteries of life and death, to be inspired. It is this inspiration that pushes us to experiment, to know, because we fear and we have that anxiety that we do not know where we are going and that if we do not work on our own conduct, we may end up in states of suffering worse than our present life, because the divine law is cause and effect. We will reap what we sow.
And if we think that we will not be recompensed for our wrong action, then simply look at our life. If we are honest, “bring your proof if you are truthful!” We cannot deny the law of causality. It is in every aspect of nature and the universe. There is this law of Shariah, the divine law.
But if we are brought near to our inner Being, Allah, through meditation, through practice, “then for him or her is rest and bounty in a garden of pleasure.”
“And if he was of the companions of the right (those people who are following this path), then the angels will say, ‘Peace for you, you are from companions of the right.’ But if he was one of the deniers who went astray (the people who feed their ego, who do not work on their mind), then for him is the accommodation of scaling water and burning in hell fire.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 90-94
What is this left-hand path and right-hand path? We will not go into too much detail here, but the right-hand path refers to people who are working to incarnate the Being, who are eliminating the ego. The left-hand path is often referred to as the path of the sorcerers, of black magicians, people who fortify desire and who enter states of suffering which are very intense.
So “Indeed, this is the true certainty. So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great.” That is the end of that Surah.
This is true certainty, and many people often get very afraid when they read the Qur’an. They see the language as very strong, mentioning damnation and hell fire and states of suffering, and become very afraid and very averse to this tradition. But if we waken our consciousness in the internal planes, we find that we are recompensed for what we do. It is the law of nature. If we are good people, we develop our conduct and develop certainty, we know that we will go to better states when physically the body dies. But if we are passionate, filled with hatred, with violence, with adultery, with sarcasm, with Phariseeism, fanaticism, egotism, we will naturally follow the trajectory of our own actions. This is the truth of certainty. The law, the truth, Al-Ḥaqq. It is the way to see how to get out of that, and meditation aids us in that process.
Psychological Work and the Signs of God
Everybody in Gnosis wants to have experiences, as I have been stating. Many people start to practice meditation and do not have experiences. They become very frustrated and discouraged. This happens often and it is a normal process, because it is not easy to first work on our mind, and that’s the priority in this tradition. We do not seek to have experiences, though they are very beautiful and necessary, but the priority is working on our own defects.
This is why it says in the Qur’an Surah 2 as Al-Baqara, verse 118:
“Those who have no knowledge (ilm or marifah in Arabic) say why does not Allah speak to us or come to us a sign?” ―Al-Baqarah 118
Meaning through some kind of meditative experience.
“So said those who were before them, words similar to what they say. Alike are their hearts.” ―Al-Baqarah 118
What does it mean that their hearts are alike? If they want to have experiences, they’re attached to the concept of having Samadhi or mystical vision. For their hearts are lukewarm, their hearts have not been purified.
Remember that we stated in the Qur’an that the Qur’an is only read by those who are purified, and can only be understood in that way. Prophet Muhammad taught in the Hadith, the oral tradition of Islam, “There is an organ in the body which, when it is pure, affects the whole health of the organism. When it is impure it pollutes everything. This organ is the heart, and the polish of the heart is Dhikr, remembrance of God.”
It is like a mirror. If you polish your heart through ethical conduct, your heart can reflect the heavens. Then experience comes naturally, easily. This is why the Qur’an states:
“We have certainly made the signs clear for the people who have certainty.” ―Al-Baqarah 118
We have verified it. But of course, certainty of the truth only comes about by working on the ego, which is why Al-Qushayri in his book Principles of Sufism stated:
“Uncertainty, knowledge does not come about except by the prior fulfillment of its conditions. That is, one must examine things in a pertinent and relevant way.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, this is the beginning, as we were stating. Study the doctrine, memorize it, develop certainty of knowledge. Be pertinent and relevant. Look at those things in your daily life that you want to change the most and look at the aspects of the doctrine that are most relevant to that.
Some people study Kabbalah first, some people psychology, meditation, alchemy. We have to study all these things together in their relationship, but how our study unfolds is natural to us, our own idiosyncrasy. We have to examine things in a very relevant way. Study meditation, how to practice it and apply it to your life. This is what is most important, pertinent.
When we are studying these things and applying these things:
“The when the hints of the divine become continuous and clear demonstrative evidence has been obtained, the perceiver (the meditator), through the succession of lights and his deep reflection upon them, becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.“ ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
As we are practicing, we may experience many things. We develop evidence from our own experience. It is demonstrative. It is factual. Some people when they are meditating may see lights, images, scenes pulling out or playing out within their consciousness. Some people have visions, astral experiences, jinn experiences. When deeply reflecting on these qualities, through time, experience and practice, we become seemingly independent of the consideration of proof. Meaning we are no longer filled with the desire to want to prove these things egotistically.
The desire or the mind says, “I want to know,” but this frustration is the obstacle. We can deeply reflect on these truths, but we do not necessarily crave the understanding or experience. It will appear in our consciousness when we stop thinking about it.
When we silence our mind, relax our mind and withdraw our senses from the physical world, from our body, when the mind is serene and calm, our heart is purified. The deep reflection, the lights of divinity can reflect in us. “This is the state of certainty.” That is when we know we have experiences.
But first polish the mirror. As Rumi stated, “Your goal is not to seek after love, but to merely remove the causes and conditions that have prevented you from knowing it.” Meaning, remove the ego, and in that way we grow spiritually.
The Tree of Life: A Map of Consciousness
When we study the principles of meditation, we are going to study the Tree of Life in its synthesis. The Tree of Life on the left is the map of Kabbalah, is the levels of consciousness, levels of being, which the Sufis speak abundantly about without using the Hebrew language.
We won’t explain all the dynamics of this Tree of Life, but merely introduce it in the context of our discussion, because this map helps us to understand where we are, where we are in our meditation. We have to learn this Tree of Life very deeply, its levels of consciousness, levels of being, so that when we study any scriptures, such as the Qur’an, we can interpret with clarity, with understanding. In this way we apply these principles to our life, so that we can really deepen our meditative practice.
For example, we have the lower seven sephiroth, which means spheres [emanations] in Hebrew. It is a map of the multi-dimensionality of our universe, of the different dimensions of the cosmos, but also of our own psyche.
We have Malkuth, the physical body.
We have Yesod, the energetic, ethereal or vital forces which permeates our physicality and gives it life.
We have Hod, our emotional vehicle or body of dreams. We operate in this vehicle when we enter the dream world, which we navigate in those planes of experience when the physical body is asleep.
Likewise we have Netzach, which is our mind, our thoughts.
We have Tiphereth, our willpower or human soul. It is the beauty of the soul, which the Muslims have referred to with the name Hassan. Hassan reminds us of Ihsan, meaning: beautiful action. It is through our own will that we can act beautifully through divinity, which is our consciousness.
Geburah, meaning justice in Hebrew, is the consciousness, our sense of right and wrong.
Our intuition which tells us what to do, how to act. Sometimes our will in daily life may act egotistically, may follow our own mind or emotions, may misuse our vital energies and the physical body.
Or other times we learn to use our will, to follow our hunches, our spiritual inquietudes, our conscience, which is Geburah, the divine soul.
In this way we learn to practice ethics, so that we can experience the spirit, Al-Ḥaqq, the Truth, Chesed.
On the right we see an image of a Tree of Life within Islam, because the Muslims didn’t explicitly teach about this Tree of Life, although in their writings you can understand those principles, if we are informed, which is part of the purpose of this course, so we can look at these principles and apply them to our studies.
Meditation is experience for when we learn to work with the Tree of Life in us. Calm the body, rest our vital energies, such as through mantras, sacred sounds, alchemy, runes, pranayama, sacred rights of rejuvenation.
We calm our heart through prayer, through humility, through polishing our emotional center, our emotional qualities.
We silence and calm our mind. Withdraw our senses from the physical body, our energies, our emotions, our thoughts.
We concentrate our willpower in order to reflect within, to follow our intuition, our consciousness. In that way we can have experiences of the spirit.
That’s a very synthetic way of talking about this dynamic. We will come back to this again and again, but I merely wanted to introduce this Tree of Life in the context of our course, because we will go very deep into these principles.
Silence and Insight
So, what are these essential principles of meditation that we have been discussing? In the Gnostic tradition, we have concentration and imagination, produces the state of meditation.
Concentration is the ability to focus on one thing, without thinking of anything else.
Imagination is our capacity to perceive images of a nonphysical type. So, if I was to ask you to imagine an apple, you can see it in your mind. It is not physical, but we perceive images that are not physical. That’s a very simple example of this quality. It is the capacity to perceive internal imagery, such as through dreams.
If we wish to have that type of perception very developed, we have to work with many exercises to develop our imagination, which we will be explaining in this course.
Concentration is when we are able to focus on one thing with our willpower, our attention, without being distracted.
We develop our concentration through ethics. If our mind is wild, we can’t concentrate or focus on one thing when we sit to practice, if we are engaging in unethical behavior all day.
We feed our anger, our mind becomes agitated. We feel lust, we pollute our mind stream with conditions of mind, desire, which are contrary to the state of imagination. We can’t see clearly if the mind is chaos.
This is the meaning of polishing the heart. The heart is developed through our ethics. When the heart is polished, we can reflect the images of God, and this is the state of meditation. So, this is the Gnostic conception of this dynamic.
Concentration, imagination equals meditation, the state of comprehension.
The Buddhists refer to this as Shamatha and Vipassana, which relates and completes Samadhi, mystical experience.
The Sufis refer to this dynamic as silence and insight, which refers to witnessing the truth.
They all teach the same thing. While you may be familiar with the Buddhist conception or the gnostic teaching of this dynamic, we are going to explore these principles according to Sufism.
So, by obtaining silence of mind, serenity of mind, we develop understanding or insight. We can see things clearly in us. And of course, there are many practices to develop serenity, concentration, and there are also practices to develop imagination.
The Key to Successful Worship
To conclude, in order to develop certainty in us, to develop real worship of divinity, we have to combine silence and insight, according to the Sufis. Serenity and visualization, concentration, imagination. Dhul-Nun al-Misri was a Sufi initiate who wrote the following:
“The key to success and worship lies in meditative reflection, fikrat. Whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold the invisible realm in the spirit.” ―Dhul-Nun al-Misri
So, this means: polish your mind, polish your heart, act ethically, develop compassion for others, especially when you are tempted to behave in negative ways. Work on anger. Look in yourself at anger. See it for what it is. Comprehend it. reflect upon it. See it. Develop serenity in you so that when you are working on your mind in mediation, you can go deep.
Reflect on yourself, be deep, be profound. In this way we awaken our consciousness to behold the invisible realm, the Tree of Life, in the spirit.
“Whosoever contemplates God through keeping watch over their thoughts which pass through his heart will be exalted by God and in all his outward deeds.” ―Dhul-Nun al-Misri
This is the meaning of “Truly We are closer to you then your jugular vein.” Whomsoever acts by working on their own mind, their own thoughts, by what they can perceive, here and now, will learn to purify themselves. It is only by purifying our mind, by acting ethically that we develop genuine serenity, silence, and eventually insight and understanding.
So, we will be examining these principles very deeply, in the coming months. I would like to invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: I have a question in regard to an indifferent approach. My question is that in a lot of Samael’s teachings, he talks about how we should also have an attitude of indifference towards the studies, not necessarily what you meant as how I understood it, which was to approach it with a state of equanimity (as of that indifference). Not like the attitude of what you said, like laziness, not having the fuel to go after those experiences. Could you please expand a little on that?
Instructor: Absolutely. Very good comment. What Samael Aun Weor mentions about practicing with indifference, has to do with, as you said, being neutral. Having a state of equanimity, not being driven by passion or craving to have experiences, but neither wanting to reject what we see, but to verify and to test.
So, there are two forms of indifference, as you mentioned, and that we were talking about. One is to be in a state of equanimity and to be scientific―test and verify. Look at what the teachings provide. Practice them, but do not expect an immediate reward. Neither fear what the outcome may be, but simply work with them and try them with an open mind.
This is the meaning of pouring new wine in new wine skins, or a new cup, a fresh cup. We learn to drink that experience and those practices by trying them, and seeing what works from experience. But the other term of indifference is (in terms of the Qur’anic language) not really caring about or having an inspiration to want to practice at all.
So, it’s a very different thing as you know. One thing is to practice with the neutral, equanimitous state of mind, but one thing is to be so lazy and intellectual to not want to try anything at all. The latter state is very common in the Gnostic movement, or any tradition really. People may like to study intellectually and are very fascinated by theory and they have the knowledge of certainty of things, but they are really lukewarm when it comes to dedication. Dedication is fulfilled when we practice this science
Question: Would it be accurate to say that serving humanity, showing compassion to others, helping in a soup kitchen for e.g. is wonderful and great thing to do, but to really serve humanity is to act ethically, to not act of negative emotions, not act out of the “I’s,” try not to dominate moments or always be right or point out how others are wrong? Is it accurate to say serving humanity is ethics?
Instructor: Absolutely, because any type of service becomes corrupt if we do it with our desires. If we are working on our anger, our pride, our fear and our negative internal states, that’s going to be the greatest form of worship. It is what Dhul-Nun al-Misri teaches too, and many other Sufis.
While we do not negate the need to want to help other people, we perfect that art when we are being patient with ourselves and other people. In terms of serving humanity, we have our jobs, we have our careers. We have certain services that we are doing to genuinely help others, but that quality of that service is contingent upon our own mental states.
So, they go both hand in hand, but more importantly if we are going to serve well, we have to work on our ego. That is really the greatest form of sacrifice and service, because we can work at job that we really hate, that is very difficult and yet it is where our Being needs us to be.
Personally, I have a job that is very difficult. I work with very difficult clients who test me all the time, who are very negative, and many times I have wanted to quit my job. I have wanted to leave because its been a very painful process. But I found that my Being has put me there, and I have verified this through experiences many times, in order to work on my patience, work on my ethics and work on my mind. When I have been able to change my own negative internal states, my own frustration and anger, I have really been able to serve humanity better at that job.
Our greatest form of prayer for divinity is when we comprehend and annihilate anger, which is why Prophet Muhammad taught “The strongest amongst you is he who controls his anger.” We can’t really help other people if we are afflicted by our own desires.
So they relate to each other: service and death of the ego. They are two aspects of the same thing, including the other factor, which is birth. Birth, death and sacrifice―the three factors of Gnosis. Of course, it’s a form of prayer in which we no longer react to life, we contemplate God in our thoughts, our deeds and our hearts. When we do not act on our ego, but act virtuously, God exalts us and helps us with certain meditative states and experiences. Hope that answers your question.
Question: Yes, definitely thank you. So, the sacrifice and the serving of humanity, that can come through voluntary suffering, whereas the suffering is when you are in an ordeal and you want to argue back and prove that you right, show that you are the victim in the situation but instead you do not act on your anger, your pride and that’s voluntary. Its hard because you want to point out that you are being wronged but instead you take the higher road, and that’s voluntary suffering, correct?
Instructor: Absolutely, and that is really the foundation of developing certainty. People want to experience God, but they do not want to work on the veil that covers them. When we are angry, we do not see God. We see anger. We want to hurt, but if you are changing your mental states, you are tearing the veil of Isis according to the Freemasons. In that way we can really serve the other person, especially when they are crucifying us, metaphorically speaking.
So the purpose of this course is to study and understand, as well as apply the principles of meditation. Meditation in its heart has been taught in the core of every religion, but in accordance with the skills or dispositions, the needs, the qualities of the students, and the particular culture in which this teaching has been given. So in Gnosticism we study a variety of faiths, a variety of teachings, which all point towards the development of the soul.
In the spirit of universality and study, we are going to be examining in this course how the Sufis taught the science of meditation. Sufism is a very beautiful teaching, but which unfortunately is not very well studied in the West; neither is it understood or practiced well, primarily because in Western society, Sufism has taken an academic role, where it has been exclusively limited to discussions and polemics of academies. But in its practical essence, Sufism teaches us how to understand our way of being, who we are fundamentally—to see and comprehend the path that leads out of suffering and towards the personal experience of the divine.
Some of you may be familiar with the poet Rumi. He’s actually the most popular poet in the west. He stated: “Remember that the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” So this statement is very profound and applies to the science of meditative knowledge: how we explore ourselves to perceive and understand what in us makes us suffer and what we can do to change.
Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern gnostic tradition, wrote in The Spiritual Power of Sound:
“It is completely impossible to experience the Being, the Innermost, the Reality (the divine) without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound: “The ‘I’ and the Being”
Meditation as denominated by the Sufis is mushahida. It means contemplation, to witness, to perceive. If you've heard or studied the public teachings of Islam, they have a very famous statement or declaration of faith called the Shahadah, which is the famous postulation: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His prophet.” In a profound way, to witness divinity, to witness the truth in ourselves, to experience what religion calls God, that all depends on meditation—because to bear witness of something, we have to see it. We have to perceive it. And that is what meditation is for. To see divinity. To know divinity. To not believe or leave that knowledge exclusively in the intellect or a sentiment in the heart. To really bear witness of the truth is to be a practical meditator. To practice contemplation, mushahida. That is how we enter the sanctuary inside of us, because all of us have divinity, the reality, the Being inside.
Samael Aun Weor, who founded our tradition, explained that Sufism teaches about the level of being, qualities of consciousness and also the way to perceive in ourselves, to understand the obstacles: that which conditions us and makes us suffer, by perceiving in us that which gives us pain. There is a way to change and to experience what divinity is, what religions have called divinity, no matter what the name from whatever culture.
So the purpose of meditation is to comprehend, to remove suffering and to elevate our consciousness to a better state than what we are presently in.
Meditation is not a technique. It's a way of being, a state of consciousness. Meditation is a profoundly lucid, pristine, cognizant state, that is free of conditioning.
So let us examine ourselves, if we aspire to learn meditation, to fully practice it. What in us is conditioned? What in us makes us suffer? What psychological states do we experience that are problematic for us, that make others suffer, that create conflicts at work and home, in the bedroom? What in us produces our pain?
To change all that, to no longer be afflicted, we practice the science of meditation. It is a state of consciousness: one in which we clearly perceive in us that which needs to change, which can be transformed. Because only from the state of equanimity, of dispassion, of calm, can we truly change our situation.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not daydreaming. It is not fantasizing or spacing out. Neither is it a dull state, a torpidity of mind, a cloudiness. Neither is it simply relaxing. Relaxation is essential, but it is not the state of meditation. It is what leads to it, what sets the foundation.
Meditation is the science of perception, of witnessing the truth for ourselves, to practice mushahida.
By comprehending ourselves, we learn to perceive clearly, because fundamentally all of us struggle with anger, with pride, with fear, with resentment, with envy, with lust. These are qualities of being which are very negative: fear that debilitates, that conditions, that traps the essence of who we really are.
Fortunately in religion and any meditative teaching there is a path that leads out of those conditioned states. But what it requires is a type of renunciation, a type of work, a type of practice. And this practice helps us to perceive the reality of our situation. Not what we believe or we fantasize, what we want to change simply with the intellect, by thinking or feeling, or daydreaming about a utopia, a better situation.
Meditation is the means by which we practically apply profound principles of understanding. As we say in this tradition: “Meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic.” That bread is understanding, because when we understand something in us, when we comprehend defects like anger or pride or resentment, we can learn to remove them. Comprehension is the sustenance of the soul. Comprehension is essential. Understanding the conflicts of our mind and where they originate produces peace, equanimity, serenity.
And so the reason why we suffer is because we don't have equanimity. We don't perceive clearly in us what makes us suffer. Sadly humanity does not really understand or apply the methods for change. People suffer because they do not perceive reality as it is. We have desires that want the external world to change and yet we don't change fundamentally. Because of conditioned elements like fear and pride and anger and lust, we see life through the lens of these desires. Reality is one way, our desires want something else. And because our desires are never satisfied, never fulfilled, we go on through our existence, repeating mistakes, suffering, wanting the situation to change, yet not changing our own perspective.
It would be more radical and interesting if we were to transform our own mental states, because by changing who we are inside, we learn to change our situation.
So in a symbolic way, all of us are addicted to psychological states that produce suffering. But unfortunately we don't like to see this in ourselves. It's not a pleasant truth to understand: that we produce our own suffering and that we also make other people suffer too.
An alcoholic, someone who is addicted to intoxicating substances, may know intellectually that the desire or craving for alcohol is harmful, yet that person may continue to indulge in that desire, that state. They continue to suffer. So we may know on some level, whether we have experienced drug addiction or alcoholism, that engaging in that element is harmful. We may continue to do so anyways.
While this is a very extreme case, this is an example of our daily state. An addict knows that that addiction is wrong, but continues to feed that desire. And because desire never equates with reality, that person continues to suffer. The reality of engaging in that desire is to feel more and more pain, more suffering. And so all of us have addictions, perhaps not to substances, but to states of anger, of fear, of pride, because we want our situation to be a certain way, according to our egotism and desires. And yet because reality is what it is, we fight against it and suffer.
That is the state of the ego, egotism, the self, which we explore in our studies of meditation and seek to comprehend. Because by comprehending desire and the origins of our traumas, our sufferings, we reach the state of equanimity and change.
So on a basic level, we do not comprehend how our own desires make us suffer, because if we understood our desires and how they are never satisfied, we would not act on them or feed them. Because desire, which is always in conflict with reality, can never be filled, never be quenched. And when we don't get what we want, we suffer. That is a state of mind, of egotism.
The Reality of Suffering and Internal Transformation
This is why our world is what it is today, with all of its wars, its chaos, its afflictions. Humanity is in a state of crisis and people like to change the world with politics and theories and beliefs. People attempt to resolve the external situation without even considering how we psychologically are the cause of all the pain in this world. If the individual were to examine him or herself, his or her own mental states, which cause violence, extortion, prostitution, destruction—such a person would comprehend and would enact a superior way of being, a better way of acting, of relating to the world.
Samael Aun Weor wrote in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology that:
“All things, all circumstances that occur outside of ourselves on the stage of this world are exclusively the reflection of what we carry within.”
It is a very difficult realization to make, but anybody who approaches spirituality sees in themselves, observes in themselves, how their states of egotism are the exact reflection of the chaos we see humanity in today. Society is the individual. It is a reflection of the individual mind. Trying to change the society in which we live can never produce results, if the individual does not change him or herself. It is a fundamental law of nature, a dynamic. The society is the individual. How we relate to others is a reflection of our own internal psychological states in which Sufism teaches us very beautifully how to comprehend, to analyze, to know.
“With good reason then we can solemnly declare that the ‘exterior is a reflection of the interior.’ When someone changes internally and if that change is radical, then circumstances, life and the external also change.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So the science of meditation is what will lead us towards that change. As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Great Rebellion:
“In life, the only thing of importance is a radical, total and definitive change. The rest frankly, is of no importance at all.”
So when we study Sufism or any tradition, meditation, we have to be very tired of suffering. We have to be very firm in our resolve, to work on our own mistakes and not to blame others. To change who we are. Because if we cannot change ourselves, it is impossible to change another person, to influence them, to help them. So therefore if we are really working effectively in ourselves, then our situation will change. It is a law of nature, like gravity, like attraction.
What we are psychologically attracts the circumstances of our life. If we are drunkards, we will be at the bar with other drunkards. If we are lawyers, we will be with other lawyers. If we are studying spirituality, we will meet others in a positive sense who are studying the same type of teaching, who also want to change. And so these type of influences help, or don't, depending on our state of mind.
We have to examine the facts. This is the radical zero-base by which we approach the science of meditation, because meditation is a state of consciousness. It is a state of understanding. It's about acquiring information, acquiring data. We have to see and look into ourselves, to witness that which causes our affliction—to see it, not to daydream, to theorize, to believe, to think we are a certain way, because of our cultural heritage or experience, but simply to look, to examine, to perceive.
Because as I provided the example of an alcoholic, they may know intellectually that their desire for alcohol is destructive, that it causes harm. They may intellectually know this and yet continue to engage in that desire itself. So what is missing in this example is observation of the facts: looking at what the situation is, what is the reality.
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions and it is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So this term gnosis is Greek. It means knowledge, but not of the intellectual type. It is conscious experiential perception of reality. There are many levels of this perception, just as within the Muslim or Sufi doctrine there are levels of witnessing the truth.
So you've all heard the famous public declaration of faith: "La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasul Allah” (There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet). There are many people who recite this declaration and believe that they are now followers of God and that they are saved, simply because they think a certain way or feel a certain way.
But unfortunately, gnosis is lived upon facts, it withers away in abstractions. It is an abstraction to believe in a concept, that one is a follower of a tradition, or thinks that one is a saint, to believe that we are holy people because of our religion, of a institution, of a group. These are just concepts. They don't relate to the reality of our situation, about what we are psychologically. Believing in God does not change our anger in a moment of crisis. When we are criticized, we respond or react negatively and create problems, suffering for ourselves and others.
This declaration of faith on a public level does not really do anything, although people are welcome to practice and believe what they want. But in this teaching we like to be practical. What does it mean to witness divinity? To bear witness of something? It means that we've experienced it.
To witness something, or a person who is a witness in a court of law, sees an event with objectivity (hopefully). But in that situation, when we say we have seen something, it's because we've experienced it. It is what we know. It is not what we believe. To really bear witness that there is a divinity inside of us—and that there are many masters of humanity, of any tradition, that we have experienced—is another thing. It's another thing to really have that knowledge for ourselves from experience.
So what is this declaration of faith mean in a more profound level? To bear witness means that one is practicing mushahida, which is the Arabic term for meditation. Because in a state of meditation, when we have abandoned our conditions of mind, our negative internal states, we can in turn enter in to states of consciousness that are more elevated and that are beyond physicality. The body goes to sleep and the consciousness can experience truths that are beyond physical matter and energy. Some people call these dreams, lucid dreams, out of body experiences, astral projections, jinn experiences.
These are states of consciousness that are very real and the one who has experienced them knows those states primarily because of facts, because fulfilling the necessary principles of meditation, by working practically with them, and therefore such a person does not need to believe in anything—doesn't believe in a tradition, doesn't think something is true or think God is there, but knows it, because one has the experience. It is no longer an abstraction, and that unity of God, that the public teaching of Islam fundamentally ignores, is something inside. People like to believe in God as some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, who dispenses lightning bolts to this poor anthill of a humanity. That figure does not exist. Instead it's better to think of, or conceptualize in the beginning, of divinity as a state of consciousness, which is inside of us, our true nature.
The Unity of God and the Soul
And so that unity that there is only one God is something psychological, internal, profound. That unity is a state of being which is very pure, has no suffering, has no pain, no anger, no lust, no desire. It is a definitive state of liberation. But if we look at ourselves and look at the facts of our experience, we find that we have many different desires. We have anger and pride and fear and laziness and gluttony. In one moment we may desire to have coffee cake—in the next watch television, go on YouTube, get into an argument. We are constantly conflicted, moving in multiple directions all at once. We have many desires which are not unitary, they are actually disparate, conflicting, contradictory.
We are a walking paradox, because physically we have this body which is unitary or works as a unit, but psychologically we are not a unit. We are very conflicted and this is why people suffer so much, why we are in the situation we are in. Because we don't look at the reality of our mind.
So meditation is about gathering data about that multiplicity of desires and discursive factors in us, which we seek to comprehend and to eliminate, to change. Meditation is how we see clearly in us what needs to change. Therefore “Gnosis is lived upon facts, it withers away in abstractions,” ideas, beliefs, “and it is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.” So religion as it is taught today has very noble aspirations, but we have to look at the practical aspects of these doctrines, of these methods, to see what works and what doesn't. Because if humanity continues to suffer and we continue to suffer, it means that we are not changing fundamentally. This is the radical foundation by which we address ourselves when we study this type of teaching.
There is a Sufi initiate, a Sufi teacher by the name of Al-Junayd. He was quoted in a book called Al-Risalah, which simply means Principles of Sufism. He elaborates and even confirms what Samael Aun Weor states in this quote from The Revolution of the Dialectic:
“Al-Junayd states: To affirm the unity means to distinguish the eternal from ephemeral.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what does it mean to affirm God? To know divinity, to have that divinity manifest in our very thoughts, our very words, our very deeds, our very ways of acting, our life. To have happiness that is eternal, that is unconditioned, that is pure. It means to distinguish that which is eternal from that which is ephemeral. Meaning, get through the illusions.
Look at the illusions that we continue to engage in about ourselves. It means to look at that which is not concrete, which is not real. Because all these desires, according to any meditative tradition, are not our true identity. Our true identity is happiness, a state of contentment, a state of peace. And so everything else is arbitrary. It is not eternal, and therefore we have to learn how to go inside of ourselves, to calm the mind and to learn to remove the conditions that have trapped us, that we put into place.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, the greatest poet of the Sufi tradition stated:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Therefore we have to rely on facts, observe ourselves, gather data about what we are doing at any given moment. To practice awareness of ourselves. Because as Al-Jurayri, again from this book Principles of Sufism, teaches:
“If someone does not seek to acquire the knowledge of the Unity (of divinity, from experience) through some kind of evidence, the foot of his delusion will slip into an abyss of destruction.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Of course this is a very serious case, but any person who approaches meditation does so because they no longer want to suffer in life, and want to change themselves. We have to rely on evidence; look at what we are. Do not assume we are a certain way, or think intellectually we are or possess certain qualities, but simply to look, to observe, to not daydream. But also not to seek for love, but to look at ourselves, to see what has trapped it. Because by removing these imperfections in ourselves, we can truly experience what love is.
The Three Levels of Meditative Instruction
Meditation was taught in the schools of Sufism very similar to many other traditions. There is an introductory teaching, there is an intermediate teaching, and there is an advanced teaching.
The following words are Arabic: There is Shari’ah (introductory level), there is Tarīqah, (the intermediate level) and there is Haqiqah / Ma’rifah (the advanced level). These are respectively an exoteric or public teaching, a mesoteric or intermediate teaching, and a hidden, secret mystical teaching, an esoteric teaching.
If you study Buddhism you're very familiar with the three schools: Śrāvakayāna, Mahayana, Tantrayana.
We are going to explain a little bit about these terms because they hold a lot of value for studying what meditation is and how to practically and effectively apply it.
People hear the term Shari’ah and in the West this term has a lot of baggage. People associate Shari’ah with Shari’ah law, as the punitive laws of Muslim countries, in which people have been stoned or executed, have been harmed. And sadly people have used that aspect of, or misinterpreted the original intent of this term. Shari’ah simply means law, but it is not a cultural law. It is not morals. It is not dogma.
The Sufis have a very interesting interpretation of what Shari’ah means. It simply means conduct, how one acts. Shari’ah as a public teaching, in the true sense, refers to how we produce actions which bring about the harmony and happiness of others, but also ourselves. This is known as ethics, codes of conduct, ways of being. It has nothing to do with the violence that is truly afflicting the Middle East. Whether people would like to interpret certain scriptures for their own benefit, to promote degeneration and destruction is one thing, but the Sufis have always explored the Qur’an and other mystical writings from a symbolic point of view.
Shari’ah refers to in its true sense, ways of being, superior ways of acting, such as compassion, kindness, understanding, love. It also means to refrain from those negative states of mind which produced suffering: anger, fear, pride, etc. This is the most introductory level of any meditative tradition. Ethics. Producing causes of happiness in oneself. Actions that produce harmony, peace and refraining from behaviors, even mentally and emotionally, which cause conflict.
The intermediate state which is built off of this foundation has to do with the heart. Tarīqah means “path,” and the Sufis explain that this is the path one follows in the desert of life. All of us are in particular situations in life, our experiences. We all have our own sufferings and hardships. We are symbolically wandering in the desert. Tarīqah has to do with those special practices that are for the benefit of others. The introductory level of religion, ethics, has more to do with training our own negative mental states and producing positive states. But the path of spirituality, Tarīqah, is working more for the benefit of others.
So this is a very profound shift in one's focus, in which our meditation is not just about us. We learn to change who we are so that we don't affect others negatively.
I believe there is a statement by a famous Sufi master. His name is Ibn Arabi. He said that he would always go on retreats, khalwa in Arabic, in order to not abandon the world, to avoid negative people, but he would go off into the desert or wherever in order to reflect on himself and work on himself, so that he did not affect others. He said most people enter retreat because they want to avoid bad people, the cities, whatever. But what Tarīqah, the mesoteric level of meditation, the heart of any religion, is more about working for the benefit of others.
We meditate not just for our own benefit, to know divinity for ourselves, but in order to express positive states of being with others. To produce the happiness of others.
This is the path that leads us towards the highest stages of realization. When we work for others, when we develop compassion, when we eliminate states like anger, we are in turn preparing ourselves for even higher degrees of understanding, which is Haqiqah, Ma’rifah.
Haqiqah is truth from the Arabic Al-Haqq, which is one of the names of divinity given in Islam. Ma’rifah means knowledge. Again this is the Arabic equivalent of the word in Greek, gnosis. This is the esoteric teaching. It is the hidden teaching. It has to do with certain practices which are very expedient, in which people who have fully established themselves in meditation and are working for the benefit of others can receive methods and practices in order to truly advance. To have more power and energy and work by which to impact others positively.
This is the equivalent of Tantrayana, the teachings of tantrism or the perfect matrimony explained by Samael Aun Weor. It is the teachings of alchemy according to medieval science, the science of a marriage, how a couple can work together in their matrimony, in their union, in order to transform everything they are for humanity.
Ibn Arabi, who is called the greatest of Sufi teachers, stated that in the introductory level of Shari’ah, “What is yours is yours and what is mine is mine.” There is separatism. Individuals work primarily on their own minds, so that they no longer suffer. In the intermediate path, Tarīqah, “What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours,” he says. People share and commune and work together. People work on their minds, their hearts, in order to help humanity as a whole. And then in the advanced state, Haqiqah, Ibn Arabi states: “Nothing belongs to you or me.” Because at that state of meditation, one is working very seriously and is impacting humanity out of the state of selflessness. For Ma’rifah, he says: “There is no you or me.” There is only God.
This is the highest teaching of religion, because the word religion from the Latin religare means “to reunite.” This is when the soul or consciousness in meditation and through this type of work has united as a consciousness with the Truth, Al-Haqq. No matter what name is given to that Truth, no matter what religion, that divinity. This is a very profound state and at that level in which one can truly say “There is no god but God and Jesus is His prophet, and Buddha is His prophet, and Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, whomever, are His prophets.” That is the highest experience of the truth which we can taste in the beginning if we're working seriously. But these levels are developed gradually, progressively, as we are practicing the requisites.
The Divine Law, the Way, and the Inner Reality
There are some very beautiful teachings about meditation and these dynamics explained by a Sufi writer by the name of Al-Qushayri. He wrote in the book called Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism explanations which are very profound about understanding what this past level instruction entails. He states:
“The divine Law [Shari’ah] commands one to the duty of servanthood.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So again, what is this divine law? Some of you may be familiar with Buddhism, with karma, cause and effect, action and consequence. The divine law is acting for the benefit of others. Curtailing negative emotions so that one no longer suffers oneself.
“The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood [to serve divinity].” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is not a belief. It's a factual practice in which when we are confronted, such as at work, we may be criticized; we feel anger rising in ourselves, hurt self esteem, pride. We learn to serve divinity by not acting on those elements. By first restraining ourselves consciously, looking at ourselves and not acting from a state of negativity. That is how we serve God in us. We don't enact our desires. We learn to act with the soul, with consciousness.
“The Way [Tarīqah], the inner Reality [Haqiqah] is the contemplation of divine lordship.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what is this inner reality as we were saying? It is gnosis. It is experience. When in meditation, we experience what divinity is. It also means that we comprehend ourselves, all of that which clouds the mind, which prevents us from reflecting that divine truth in ourselves.
“Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What is outward religious practice? It has to do with any type of exercise in our tradition or any tradition which is not confirmed, not understood, which is not experienced. It has to be validated by inner reality. Meaning, if we're practicing meditation or any type of exercise, such as pranayama, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, mantras, any type of practice, which we are using to develop our spirituality, has to be verified by inner reality. We have to genuinely perceive how these practices work. How they are effective. Because simply going through the motions of praying mechanically does not produce any results. Therefore this type of practice is not acceptable. We have to really vividly, consciously understand the purpose of any exercise, so that we can become prepared for meditation.
“Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is also not acceptable.” Meaning, having any type of experience, weather in dreams, or in meditation, which have nothing to do with our practice is also not acceptable.
There are many people who by engaging in this type of exercises start to see things in themselves. They have dreams or visions. But unfortunately because the mind is so conditioned, we are so afflicted with ego, that all we are seeing in many cases is a reflection of our own subjectivity, our own conditions. So if someone is filled with anger, they see through anger. They have dreams and visions and experiences filtered through that element.
Unfortunately we have a lot of egotism and we project a lot of our mind into our dreams when the physical body is asleep. So having those type of inner experiences, not grounded in any type of ethics, is unacceptable. If we have visions or perceptions, which are not grounded in our spiritual practices, is also not acceptable. We have to learn to differentiate that which is objective from that which is false, and this is the fundamental quality of meditation. It's discernment. To discern what is ephemeral from what is eternal.
“Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action [or experience] of the real.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this path of ethics, divine law, is an obligation upon us. Divinity does not want us to suffer. Divinity wants us to enact positive actions which produce happiness. It is an obligation. It is a trust and a tryst. It is an agreement that anyone takes, when they are seriously working and looking in themselves to change. And so this way is founded, meditation is founded upon the free action or experience of the truth. We have to perceive and experience these things for ourselves, what religion, scriptures and practices actually entail, and their results.
“The divine Law is that you serve Him, the Way is that you see Him.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
How do we serve divinity? When we are with our loved ones, our parents or family members are really provoking our anger, our self-esteem, our pride—we want to be sarcastic, negative, harmful, hurtful with our speech—we serve divinity when we refrain from those behaviors. That is how we serve divinity. Because religion is about bringing communities together, creating harmony.
“The Way is that we see Him.” In the beginning we don't see divinity. We all want experiences, to have some type of ecstasy of the soul in which we talk face-to-face with our own inner Being, our inner God. Unfortunately, because we are conditioned, we don't see that in the beginning typically, unless we are really working seriously. We serve divinity by fulfilling ethics and we learn to see divinity when we fulfill those basic requirements. Because when we act on egotism, we feed desire and continue to cloud and condition our mind.
As Prophet Muhammad taught in the oral tradition of Islam, there is an organ in the body which, when it is pure, can reflect the truth. It is like a mirror. If it is cloudy, it cannot reflect anything—it is dirty. But when it is polished, it can reflect the truth. That organ is the heart, and the polish for the heart is remembrance—to remember divinity in those moments in which we are really tested. We are provoked to the edge, and yet we refrain from acting on those negative qualities of mind and that we, in turn, enact positive, superior action. That is how we polish our heart, refine our conduct, so that we can see divinity, to know divinity and therefore it is no longer a theory. It is what we experience.
“The divine Law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah is bearing witness to what it is determined and ordained, hidden and revealed.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So again Haqiqah, Truth, to know reality, the Being.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Surah, Al-Fatihah of the Qur'an] iyyaka nabudu—"You we worship"—preserves the outward practice, the divine Law. Iyyaka nastain—"to You we turn for help"—establishes the inner reality, the Way.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So those of you who are not familiar with the Qur’an, one of the most commonly recited prayers in the Muslim tradition states from the very opening of this book:
In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Judgment.
You alone we worship, and to You we turn for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
―Al-Fatihah: The Opening
“You alone we worship.” That is Shari’ah, the divine law. But why? What does it mean to worship divinity in accordance with meditative science?
It doesn't mean to believe or feel in the heart that one is a saint or a good person. To worship divinity is to have that respect and even that anxiety in moments of great trial in which we are truly tested.
We worship divinity by our actions, not through any type of mechanical, canonical prayer, by reciting words, which can have meaning or not. We demonstrate our worship in divinity by our level of acting, our level of being, how we behave in moments of great trial. We worship divinity when we don't feed anger, pride, lust, because we know that those qualities of mind will produce suffering for ourselves and others. We worship divinity because we want to make divinity manifest in us.
So this is the outward practice: “You we worship.” And then the inner reality is established by: “To you we turn for help.” So how is it also that we can worship divinity? It is very simple. We practice concentration, we relax the body, we focus in ourselves and silence our mind. Remove the obscurations of the psyche. Don't think so much. Ask a question of your inner divinity for help, for insight. When we concentrate our mind, we are performing a type of worship, because the distracted mind, a discursive mind, a fractured mind, cannot reflect anything true. It is simply conditioned by its own negativity.
“You we worship” is a type of concentration in which we abandon the mind, we abandon thinking, we abandon emotion, we relax the body, relax everything that we think we are and achieve a type of stillness. When we attain quietude in the mind, when we are no longer thinking so much, when thoughts are no longer there, when the heart is at peace, we can then receive the inner reality, the way. That is when we turn for help. Because remember that the mind and the heart are like a mirror, or even like a lake. If the lake is turbid, filled with waves and conflict, if it is churning with emotion, it cannot reflect any images on it's surface. But when it's still, it can reflect the heavens, the stars, nature.
And this is an allegory of our own meditative practice. “You we worship.” We concentrate. We relax the mind. We silence the mind. And then, when we're no longer thinking, insight, spontaneous, intuitive, emerges. We receive understanding. We can even receive experiences where we witness different states of consciousness, which are not physical. Imagery, which is not physical. Experiences that are beyond our physical reality. This is the inner way. This is how we turn for help. This is when we receive understanding, comprehension and with comprehension there is serenity, there is understanding and peace. When we understand the cause of a certain fault in us or a certain problem, we are no longer afflicted, and then we obtain religion.
“Know that religious obligation is a spiritual reality in that it was made necessary by His command. And spiritual reality, as well, is a religious obligation, in that the realizations of Him were also made necessary by His command.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Another very famous Sufi from the Persian tradition, wrote corroborating the thoughts of Al-Qushayri. His name is Abdullah Ansari of Herat, from the book Stations of the Sufi Path:
“Now, the divine law (Shari’ah) is entirely the divine truth (Haqiqah), and the divine truth is entirely expressed in the divine law, and the foundation of actual realization of the divine truth is the divine law and the claim to follow the law.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So don't think of a law or this law as something physical, political, social. This law has to do with consciousness. Certain behaviors produce sorrow and pain. Certain states of consciousness produce happiness. By learning to work on ourselves, we can learn to experience this truth.
“The divine law and following that law without realizing the divine truth is useless, just as claiming to realize the divine truth without practicing and understanding the divine law is useless. So all those who act without integrating and realizing both of these together are acting in vain.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Simply believing in a tradition is useless. To say, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet,” or to believe in Jesus, in the Buddha and whomever and following a type of moral system, does not change anyone. Morality is, again, different from ethics. Morality are beliefs about how one should act. But that does not mean that one acts consciously. Ethics is what we do practically ourselves, so that we can experience the truth.
The Three Blessings of the Sufis
We will conclude with a beautiful teaching again from the book Principles of Sufism. They talk a lot about three blessings, which synthesize and summarize the foundations of meditation according to the Sufi teachings. It's a very beautiful book that elaborates many anecdotes and stories of which we will relate a few.
There are three blessings: faith, submission and beautiful action, Iman, Islam, and Ihsan. So faith has nothing to do with belief. When you witness something for yourself, you have faith. You have experienced it. You know it. Even as basic as putting one's hand on a hot stove and getting burned. One has faith and knowledge and understanding, that to place one's hand on that kitchen stove is to get burned. That is a very basic level of understanding. But in a more profound sense, we have faith when we verify through meditation what divinity is. What consciousness is. And that certain actions are either the bane or the boon of the soul.
Islam simply means “submission” in Arabic, “to submit.” People like to think that in the public sense, Islam has to do with following a certain tradition or series of prayers, which is beautiful. But in a more profound sense we submit to divinity when we work on our mind. We no longer act on egotism and that is how we act beautifully, Ihsan.
If you’ve heard the Arabic name Hassan, it originates from this Arabic root Ihsan. It means beautiful action. To act with such clarity and intuition in great trials and crises. To do what is right in a moment of great difficulty. That is Ihsan. Actions like that of Jesus, when he was crucified. The love and selflessness he showed to his enemies is perhaps the greatest act of selfless love, a beautiful action, our humanity has ever witnessed.
All of us have that potential to act beautifully and these three blessings are emphasized in the following anecdote:
“[The Angel] Gabriel appeared to the Prophet in the form of a man, ‘O Muhammad,’ he said. ‘What is faith (iman)?’ The Prophet replied, ‘To believe in a God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and destiny—it’s good and bad, its sweet and bitter, come from God.’ ‘You have spoken the truth,’ said the visitor.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So he uses the term belief and in the original Arabic there are meanings which are much more profound. People commonly associate belief with thinking something is true or feeling something is true, but not knowing. Belief comes from be-lieve: to be through the power of love, which is not just an intellectual thing, but is an act of consciousness in which our very ways of acting, thinking, feeling, moving, behaving is done from love and remembrance of divinity. To be present, to be conscious.
“‘You have spoken the truth,’ said the visitor. We were surprised that someone would corroborate the Prophet, both questioning him and confirming what he said. ‘And inform me: What is Islam (submission to God’s will)?’ he continued. ‘Islam is to establish prayer, give the poor their dues, fast during the month of Ramadan and make the pilgrimage to the House of God.’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is the public level of Islam, certain prayers that people adopt and fulfill in a type of kindergarten for the science of meditation. Prophet Muhammad was even known to have said: “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” But in the beginning it is good to pray. To pray to whatever divinity or form of divinity we have an affinity for. Islam is to submit to divinity through our heart, through our actions, where our very ways of being is a form of prayer. We can pray five times a day towards Mecca or any type of tradition that studies meditation. We can adopt many prayers, which are very beautiful and useful. They are all very powerful. But what's essential is that when we pray, we don't think. We don't rationalize. We open up our heart. We reflect in ourselves how we need help.
And to meditate, because an hour of contemplation, is the greatest prayer. To observe ourselves and to learn about what makes us suffer is the greatest form of prayer. It is also in this way that we give the poor their dues, we help others. All of us are poor or poor in spirit, and humanity also is very poor, and needs help.
“To fast during the month of ramadan and to make the pilgrimage to the House of God.” So fasting has many levels. Many Muslims will physically fast during this period of time. On a more profound level, which we will elaborate in the future lectures, fasting has to also do with how we no longer feed our ego. It is a type of fast. We don't give our desires what they want. It is a type of discipline. “And make pilgrimage to the House of God.” This is the famous Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, which is a very beautiful symbolic teaching about the inner work which we will elaborate in future lectures.
“‘You have spoken the truth,’ he said again. ‘So tell me about doing what is beautiful (ihsan)?’ ‘Doing what is beautiful is to worship God as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, certainly He sees you.’ ‘You have spoken the truth,’ he said.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
In the beginning we don't see divinity. We don't know what the Being is. But even though we are clouded of mind, the heart is not polished firmly, clearly yet. Divinity sees all of our actions, our inner being. So acting beautifully is knowing that on some level there are consequences to what we do. This is ethics. And in this way, by developing ethical behavior, we calm the mind. We develop peace of heart. We establish ourselves for deeper states of serenity.
This is how we learn to bear witness, to give testimony of the truth, to experience, to know the unity of the divine. The unitary state of consciousness, which in Arabic is called tawhid.
“I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say... that al-Jalajili al-Basri said, ‘For the testimony of unity (tawhid) to be in force, faith is prerequisite…” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, if we have no experience, no faith, we can not really affirm the validity of any teaching. So we have to really test and validate and experiment with these principles to see what is true.
“‘…for whoever has no faith cannot testify to the unity. For faith to be in force the divine law is prerequisite, for whoever does not hold to the divine law has no faith and cannot testify to the unity.’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We develop faith by experience, by enacting the causes that produce the state of meditation, of contemplation.
“‘For the divine law to be in force refined conduct is prerequisite, for whoever has not refined his conduct cannot hold to the divine law, has no faith, and cannot testify to the unity...’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So in synthesis, we prepare the practical foundations of meditation by developing our conduct. If we give in to desire, we can no longer perceive reality, but if we work on our own negative mental states, our own negative qualities of mind, we can in turn open up our psyche and our heart to know the truth.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Hi, I have a question regarding the word meditation. Would you be able to expound or break down the actual word or maybe the root word, and where the word comes from and what are the parts of the word? Because one of the things that I've been exploring are things like meditation involving a certain posture or the idea of meditation involving certain thoughts or certain practices, when often a state of meditation might be achieved looking at a tree or going for a walk. But then the question is, am meditating or am I moving nearer to meditation? My idea of meditation may not be at all that.
Instructor: Excellent question. In Arabic the word for meditation is mushahida, which relates to the term Shahadah, meaning declaration of faith, to bear witness of something. So meditation in it's proper sense is when we witness with clarity, with no condition of mind present, what the reality of a given situation is, or our own internal states. What is actually going on. Because meditation is, according to Samael Aun Weor in his writings, the state of acquiring information. And there are many levels and qualities of that type of introspection, of that witnessing.
Witnessing can be simply seeing in ourselves defect of anger—in a moment when which we are criticized, we are observing ourselves, being aware of ourselves, our surroundings and we see our quality of mind for what it is. Witnessing can also have to do with being aware of our surroundings as well. Being very vivid, very clear. So meditation is about being awake, acquiring data of our experiences. It's a quality that is very dynamic and there are many levels.
Some people have studied astral projection or dream yoga in which one is awake in the dream state. One is no longer in the physical body, but one is experiencing life in the internal worlds. That is a form of witnessing as well. A state of meditation. But the problem is that once we experience that state, even if it just for a moment, our own conditions of mind, our own egotism, pulls us out.
The way we learn to sustain those states is by again practicing meditation, going into ourselves, silencing our mind, relaxing, suspending our senses, looking inside of ourselves. Consciousness is very beautifully explained in many of the Sufi writings, which we are going to explore in this course, which can give you an idea of what those qualities and states are like. But the best teacher is always going to be your own practice. Examining your own mind and what qualities are objective and clear and what are not. Unfortunately, no one can really teach you that. That's something you have to really work within yourself. We can give you indicators and examples, but actually experiencing what that state is like is something very practical and personal.
Audience: Thank you for the presentation tonight. It was very helpful. You mentioned the fine example of a polished heart. It really made and impact on us here. The other thing is, in doing the practices, you also mentioned not to be mechanical. Wouldn’t the use of imagination, after preparing yourself, in the practices be essential and being able to perform them in a way that you can connect to divinity? This would also be carried on over to concentration and focusing and in our meditations.
Instructor: Absolutely. The term imagination is commonly called clairvoyance. For those who are not familiar with the teachings of conscious perception, imagination, it is the ability to perceive imagery that is not physical. And so whenever we do any practice, whether we are doing mantras or prayers and concentrating our minds, we open up our imagination to visualize and to perceive in our mind's eye the result of the goal we seek.
So imagination or perception, which is given the name clairvoyance, meaning “clear vision,” has to do with qualities of perceiving. When we do runes or any exercise of practice, any mantras, we learn to visualize in our mind energy flowing. Or we can visualize any figure within any tradition that truly inspires us, such as an image of the Virgin Mary or any of the Greek Gods. Imagination is essential to our practices. Meaning, to concentrate the mind is important in the beginning. We learn to concentrate ourselves by working in ethics, and once the waters of the mind and the heart are polished and refined and calm, that's when we can start to see things more clearly in us.
That is what the Sufis call witnessing. We learn to witness the truth when we are serene. We're not thinking. And in that exercise of runes or any type of practice that we do in this teaching, we first calm our mind and we visualize, we pray, we try to see in our consciousness any type of energy we are working with, or working with the Divine Mother in the sacred rites of rejuvenation. For those who are familiar, these are yoga postures that we perform along with prayer and visualization exercises. So we perform certain visualizations in which we ask for help from divinity in order to bring down healing energies in our body and our mind.
We have to see with our eyes closed what we are doing. If we're invoking or calling upon these forces, we have to learn to see them, to imagine them, to perceive them. And there are many levels through perception. So it's important that when we are meditating or silencing our mind or doing any type of prayer, we also imagine divinity in our consciousness and ask for help.
So of course imagination is very important. We will be talking more about that faculty as we advance in this course. We will hold a lecture about that topic specifically, but of course we want to see the prayer, relaxation, concentration, imagination. These are the factors that open up the doorway to experience. With the analogy we're providing, when the mind is calm or concentrated and relaxed in the state of prayer, we can start to perceive superior images, which don't come physically, but are internal and are something very dynamic.
Audience: I have a question regarding to the lecture. Throughout the lecture I kept thinking of a part of the Bible. I forgot the part of the Bible where it says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I don't know why that thought kept presenting itself throughout the lecture. Is there something related to that? Because my understanding to that is, having the fear of the Lord is being able to understand good and evil. So is there a way that you can expand a little bit about that?
Instructor: So going back to the teaching of Shari’ah and ethics, we learn to be afraid of acting wrongly in order to obtain wisdom. Somebody who's not afraid of behaving poorly in any type of circumstance—not in the egotistical sense, but from the state of reverence of divinity—that person will not have any real development.
So that statement, "The beginning of the knowledge is fear of the Lord.” That fear in original Hebrew is pechad. It can also mean reverence or awe. The Sufis talk a lot about the awe of divinity and that we have to have awe and reverence for our inner being, especially when we are tested. Situations arise in which we are conflicted and we really have to feel that reference and awe of divinity, knowing that even though we don't see divinity, divinity sees us. And if we act on our mind, we will cause problems. So that is one level of that meaning.
The beginning of real Ma’rifah, witnessing of divinity, is that precise respect we have for our Being when we feel anger is about to emerge and it's about to take over, but we refrain from acting on that element. That's the beginning, but we go deeper in meditation and look to comprehend in even deeper roots what that emotion was about, and we look at the facts of that. But again, relating back to Shari’ah, ethical conduct is the beginning of knowledge. Without ethics, we can't really have experience or knowledge of divinity.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.