Gnosis, Subsistence, and Love
Welcome everybody! We have arrived at the seventeenth lecture, the final one of this course on the Sufi Principles of Meditation.
We have covered many exercises, many practices, so that we train and stabilize our consciousness. We have learned to withdraw our perception from distractions, and we also learned how to awaken the consciousness so that it can perceive without filters, without obscurations, so that it can understand what it sees.
While we have spoken about spiritual insight and comprehending our experiences, we are now going to go a little bit deeper. We have to understand what consciousness is. Where does it come from? What is its ultimate root? What is the synthesis of a human being?
In our studies we speak a lot about the Being, our Innermost. Some have called it spirit. Some have called it God, in accordance with the language, the culture, the scriptures, the customs of a given people, the idiosyncrasies of a given messenger. But what is the Being? What are its qualities? How do we recognize its states? More importantly, how do we subsist within it?
Many people have approached spirituality from having some type of mystical or spiritual experience. They call it an awakening, but the reality is that such a state has often appeared or emerged seemingly by accident, and the beginning aspirant does not yet know how to activate that quality of being at will.
God, divinity, reality, we can say, is our primordial root, fundamental nature, but what is and what are the qualities of divinity? Sufism explains this very beautifully. Perhaps the poet Rumi, the most notable Sufi initiate from both east and west, in terms of popularity, had characterized the nature of divinity very simply and very profoundly. That nature is love. That quality is bliss, is ecstasy, is conscious love and compassion, infinite joy.
Some people argue that the real nature of a person is anger, pride, hatred, vanity, lust, but this is mistaken. When you really sift through and remove that which is extemporaneous, superficial, artificial, acquired, learned within a person, when you peel away the layers of conditioning, of misapprehensions, of half-truths, of assumptions and beliefs, ideas, religious values, culture, name, language, heritage, etc., you arrive at love.
Love is truly a principle that escapes definition and even words, and yet it is the fundamental impulse that permeates everything, and which drives our actions, spiritually speaking, within its most obscure, mysterious currents.
As I said, some people think our true nature is hatred, anger, or violence, because these are qualities that are very prevalent in humanity, and yet the question becomes: what do we value most? Is it coercion? Is it manipulation? Deceiving our neighbor? Lying to our family and friends, betraying our loved ones?
The truth is that although a person can torture us, afflict us with great pain, they cannot compel us within our very being. There is a resistance in relation to qualities and states like pride, anger, violence, oppression. Persuasion, from conscious love for others, is a truly dynamic force. It motivates people to be inspired, to change, to be a part of communities, to want to listen to others, where its opposite, which is coercion―a type of violence upon the mind and body of others―produces a type of agitation, friction, conflict.
Therefore, love is a truly penetrative and motivating force. It is the reason why there are communities, groups, schools, teachings. It is the reason why human beings commune and share and break bread. It is the reason why we have these teachings for how to change, how to overcome suffering, and how to become truly divine, to really strip away all that is wrong, illusory, false, and superficial, so that we can go into the depths of our own innate, true nature. Love is the fundamental reality of divinity, and yet people do not understand what it is, and more importantly how to develop it even further, with intentionality, with conscientiousness, with dedication.
So, this quality of being―we have to make a very clear distinction―does not have an individual self. There is no “I,” no “me,” no “myself” within the Being, within the divine. This confuses people because we grasp at a sense of self, an identity, in accordance with our external customs, our name, language, culture, appearance. We say, “This is me. This is who I am. This is what I am,” and yet none of that exists within divinity. What we have are desires, cravings and attachments, impulses, نَفْس nafs according to the Sufi initiates, egos according to the Gnostic initiate Samael Aun Weor. Our desires are precisely that which keep us encaged, trapped, not seeing reality, not seeing what is there in front of us.
If you have been following the sequence of exercises in this course, you would have begun to see with direct experience that the more you observe as a consciousness your psychology, the more you begin to understand that the consciousness, the Essence, the soul, does not have a sense of “I” or self there, but it is a distinct quality. It is perception, apprehension of reality, but without labels, without any type of projection or naming what is being seen, what is being experienced with our psychological senses. It is a state of selflessness, and when there is no self, when there is only the consciousness present, the Being can act within.
It is those moments of pristine clarity, in which we are not identified with a self, whereby we are filled with the abundance, the plenitude of the Being, the presence of being here and now―not projecting our thoughts into the future or fearing the past. We are simply being here and awake, alert, as if we are watching a rain pouring upon a cobblestone street, in which we do not have to label what we are seeing, but are filled with that yearning and astonishment of the new. That state is selfless, and where there is no self, there is the plenitude of God.
The Being is love, but the Being has no desire or self. Often, people read the poetry of the Sufis and can be confused by this because the Sufis speak of God’s desire for the soul and the soul’s desire for God. In Arabic you have مراد Murad, “the desired,” which is the Being or الله Allah, while مريد Murid, “the one who desires,” is the consciousness. The soul desires God, and God desires the soul. We are a little bit more specific in our language. This desire the Sufis speak of is yearning, longing, aspiration, intimate inquietudes within the heart. So, we use the term a little bit differently, as desire is an ego, because that is typically what constitutes our psychology: an attached sense of self or identification with external factors.
Heaven is a state of being. It is a quality of consciousness in which there is no “I,” in which we are empty. There is a saying within Gnosis:
God searches the nothingness in order to fill it. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
But likewise, when our mind is filled and conditioned with multiple conflicting factors, divisions, contradictions, fragmentations, we suffer, and God cannot enter there. Divinity cannot subsist or be within us when our consciousness is shattered, and in this way we cut ourselves on the broken mirror of our soul. We do not reflect a perfect image of the peace, serenity, and beatitude of the divine.
Hell is our own mind. It is our defects, our نَفْس nafs, our psychological aggregates, and as long as we are attached to a sense of self, we are not perceiving heaven.
Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears―there’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t―that’s heaven. ―Abū Sa’īd
The ego must not be present. It must be absent to the self so that we can experience divinity, which is selflessness, which is pure love. If you do not believe me that love is selfless, look at the life of Jesus. Look at the prophets, the great masters and luminaries of humanity who taught through their example how to serve others and to not expect a reward.
We state that love is the goal of our studies. However, it cannot blossom in us naturally, spontaneously, unsolicited, when our heart is not cultivated, when it is filled with weeds. Therefore, we have to simplify our psychology. We have to become simple. It does not mean that we have to become stupid. It means that we remove the complexities and the confusions and paradoxes of our nature: our egotistical, selfish nature.
Right now, our mind is really complex. If you sit to meditate and you examine yourself, you will see that the mind is all over the place. Hopefully, it is not by now if you have been practicing these exercises, but when you meditate, you begin to perceive this in the beginning.
Meditation reduces, it strips away, it removes everything about us that is illusory, unnecessary as Rumi taught:
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. ―Rumi
So, the soul has been referred to as a mirror by many Sufi initiates, including Ibn Arabi, who is Sheikh al-Akbar, “the greatest of Sufi Masters.” He wrote in a book called Kitab al-Ahadiyyah (Treatise on the One Alone) that only divinity can know Himself and that the soul is a mirror. It can reflect a perfect image, or it can be distorted. Unfortunately for us, our mirror, our consciousness, is polluted. It is contaminated. It is rusted with afflictions. We do not see what is really inside, our true nature, which is divine. We do not perceive divinity because we have obscured, have dirtied the mirror, which can truly reflect qualities like love in a unfiltered, unobstructed, unhindered way, because when we grasp at a self, we do not see reality. We do not see the truth.
Our sense of self is dependent upon many extemporaneous influences: the impressions of life which enter our psychology, such as a cup of coffee. Therefore, our defects emerge. They seek gratification of the senses through those impressions, from any type of food or drink. We may have gluttony or the food of lust, which is to look at sexual images and feed desire, degeneration. We have the food of pride, which are the sensations or impressions of being praised. We have anger, which is frustrated desire, which is an aversion to the impressions of life which it cannot control, and therefore it protests.
The same dynamic applies to all our egos. Our sense of self craves its nourishment, its food: the impressions of life which enter the senses in our psychology and produce reactions, and because we are identified, we do not perceive this interchange or exchange of different selves. We are never the same in any given moment. We are conflicted. We are all over the place, as we mentioned many times in this course. Therefore, we have to annihilate the complications. We have to simplify ourselves, integrate the soul that is trapped―free it, liberate it.
Stop feeding defects. Stop giving it food, and in this way, you tame the beast. Annihilation of the ego is the foundation and basis of religion. However, everybody avoids it. Nobody wants to polish the mirror and look at their own face, which is why Rumi taught:
How can you become polished if you resist every rub? ―Rumi
These are different circumstances and ordeals in life. These are situations that produce a lot of friction in our life, in which we begin to perceive all the multiplicity of errors we carry within, all our faults. We need those challenges so that we can change, so that we can have real knowledge, γνῶσις gnosis or معرفة Ma’rifah of the truth in Arabic. You cannot give testimony of divine unity when you do not possess psychological unity, without integrating the soul, without performing an alchemy with the consciousness.
We have to take all of those conditioned selves and remove them: free the essence that is trapped, the soul. Take those multiplicity of desires and make them one. In the words of Rumi:
I once had a thousand desires, but in my one desire to know you all else melted away. ―Rumi
This is transmutation in a psychological sense. It is a form of alchemy. We transform the density of our conditioning into the purity and light of divine perception.
So in this lecture, we are going to talk about a really essential point, that to know divinity we need expedient methods. We also need to understand selflessness, the emptiness of phenomena, that nothing is really intrinsically existing in of itself, but that everything depends on other factors, for everything is transient, in transit. It is changing. As we begin to understand the interdependent nature between all phenomena and understand our own attachments and desires, we begin to perceive that our sense of self really does not have true basis, that divinity, the plenitude of the Being, is compassion, is love born from this understanding, this perception, this wisdom.
Conventional and Ultimate Views
We will also study the Tree of Life, the kabbalah, very deeply, because it is a map of love, of consciousness, of Being, in order to tie these principles together, so that we can subsist, to return to our innermost divinity.
The Tree of Life is a map of the self from the most dense and conditioned below to the most subtle, pure, rarified, and beautified above. The higher you ascend this glyph―which is not a map of vertical space, but of internal states―the more selfless and happy we become. The further we descend towards the shadow beneath the Tree of Life, beneath מלכות Malkuth, the physical body, the physical world, the greater one’s suffering and attachment to self. This is the Tree of Life within the book of Genesis, within the Abrahamic traditions.
Beneath the Tree of Life we find the hell realms, the inverted סְפִירוֹת sephiroth or spheres of consciousness, which are trapped in conditions, egos, selves, نَفْس nafs. The Qur’an refers to this as the tree of زقوم Zaqqum, which in Arabia is an actual tree whose leaves are really bitter to taste. Therefore it is a symbol of inferior states of consciousness that are acquired and experienced by those who fail.
We can refer to these spheres as dimensions, as aspects of consciousness. These are also places in nature to which we gravitate based upon our quality of being. If you remember the lecture on Stations of this course, we talked a lot about these spheres, these סְפִירוֹת sephiroth. In Hebrew, the term סְפִירוֹת sephiroth means “emanations.” These are states and qualities of being that emanate from the divine, from the Absolute, الله Allah, which in Arabic is the Nothing, the No. It means “the God” literally, but if you look at the syllable لا la in Arabic, it means “No,” negation. This is a term used for the abstract absolute space, which is the womb of cosmic potentiality, of being that is not yet realized. It is selflessness. It is pure, divine, supra-divine happiness without conditions, without self, and yet it is the true, legitimate, fundamental nature of reality, when you go to the very heart and core of any phenomena.
The Absolute is known in Hebrew as אין Ain, אין סוף Ain Soph, אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur, the Nothing, the Limitless, and the Limitless Light. From that nothingness, that cosmic space, emerges a profound, beautiful light, which is the sephirah כֶּתֶר Kether in Hebrew. That sephirah means crown. It is the supreme light of divinity that emerges from an eternal seity, the space. That light is pure consciousness within the material universe.
Now, while I am using some Hebrew terms, the Sufis and the Muslim initiates referred to different qualities of being, these different סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, by Arabic names, because kabbalah as a map and science of being is within all religions. It is mapped out within Judaism, Jewish mysticism, Jewish spirituality, in a very deep way, and we can use this tool and glyph to help us understand what all religions are talking about in their fundamental synthesis.
Now the light of the divine is known as الْحَقُّ Al-Haqq: The Truth: כֶּתֶר Kether, the crown, the supremacy of divinity, a profound, abstract, rarefied, pure being that is known in manifestation. That light, because it wants to create, expresses in multiple ways, and therefore that light emanates out and becomes חָכְמָה Chokmah, which is Hebrew for “wisdom.” In the Qur’an there are many references to ٱلْرَّحْمَـٰنُ Ar-Rahman: the Compassionate. Every Surah of the Qur’an except for Surah 9 begins:
Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim
חָכְמָה Chokmah is the wisdom, the penetrative insight of divine consciousness. It is very elevated. It is a perception in which one or one’s experience is within all beings and there is not an individual self, but all beings are one within this state.
That light also wants to create something and therefore it expresses as الخالق Al-Khaliq: the Creator, which in Hebrew is בִּינָה Binah: Intelligence, that force of intelligent expression that knows how to manifest the universes, to create them with understanding.
These three principles כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah, the crown, the wisdom, and the intelligence of God, constitute one light that expresses in three ways. In terms of relating to previous religions such as Christianity, this glyph or principle of forces can be known as Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In Islam, they reject the Trinity as stated in the Qur’an. That is because the Christians had degenerated their tradition and have confused the Trinity as three people, anthropomorphizing God, and that is impossible and wrong. Instead, these are one force that expresses as three so that all the worlds and universes can be sustained, created, harmonized, equilibrated, manifested.
الخالق Al-Khaliq: the Creator, is the force of בִּינָה Binah, and there are many names of God in Arabic, but these names that we are using in this glyph are some of the most obvious that can apply to the Tree of Life, because each sephirah has a sacred name of divinity within Judaism, within mystical kabbalah, but we can also apply the Arabic kabbalah as well. The Arabic, divine names represent the same principles, the same truths.
These three principles are very divine, and most people know nothing of them from experience. Instead, we are down below in מלכות Malkuth, the physical body, and as we have learned the practices of meditation, we have discovered what the lower four סְפִירוֹת sephiroth are, especially the fifth from the bottom up. In meditation, we learn to take our physical body מלכות Malkuth―which is the “kingdom” that contains all the forces from above―willingly to relax that body. Adopt a posture, relax, and introspect.
We learn to work with energy, יְסוֹד Yesod, the foundation of our spiritual discipline. That is through exercises like mantra, pranayama, prayer, runes, sacred rights of rejuvenation, sexual alchemy.
We are learning to transform the subtle currents of our body so that we can gain control of our heart, which is הוד Hod, Hebrew for “splendor,” the splendor of the compassionate heart.
We likewise put our mind in a state of suspension, relaxation and calm, נצח Netzach, and by doing so we obtain victory.
The way that we do this is by willpower, תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth: the human consciousness, human willpower, because our human will, the beauty of the soul, has to learn to control thoughts, feelings, sensations, and energy.
By doing so we begin to learn to activate the consciousness with intuition, with wisdom, which is גְּבוּרָה Geburah: Justice in Hebrew, the religion and conscience of the soul, so that in dedication and practice we can begin to experience our own inner spirit חֶסֶד Chesed: Mercy in kabbalah. In Arabic the name of God for חֶסֶד Chesed in kabbalah is ٱلْرَّحِيْمُ Ar-Rahim: the Merciful, our innermost spirit, روح Ruh in Arabic, or רוּחַ Ruach in Hebrew.
Notice that the further you ascend up this graphic in terms of conscious experience, we begin to become less selfish. Obviously, below we are identified with our own mind, emotions, instincts, and our physicality, and with willpower―which is much more subtle, refined, directed with will under the conscience, our divine soul―we can begin to access the spiritual realm, our spirituality, and perhaps even much higher than that. These are degradations and levels of nature. The forces of divinity express themselves within the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth.
We have included some of some of the Arabic names as well. The physical body is the most manifest aspect of who we are. ٱلْظَّاهِرُ Az-Zahir: the Manifest, is a sacred name of الله Allah, divinity. In Hebrew it is אדוני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz, Lord of the Earth, because our physical body must become sacred.
We do so by learning to contain the sexual creative potency of יְסוֹד Yesod. We do that through ٱلْوَدُودُ Al-Wadud: the Lover (the Loving). It is really interesting that in Arabic, the name ٱلْوَدُودُ Al-Wadud, is spelled و Waw د Dal و Waw د Dal, which its equivalence in Hebrew is ו Vav, ד Daleth, ו Vav, ד Daleth―two spinal columns from two dervishes, man and woman, male and female, Adam and Eve.
Together they work by taming the creative energies within a marriage in order to establish their religion, to glorify divinity, ٱلْمَجِيدُ Al-Majid: the All Glorious, within the heart, to conquer the mind through ٱلْقَهَّـٰرُ Al-Qahhar: the Conqueror, in order to become an initiate, ٱلْمَـالِكُ Al-Malik: the King, in תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the fifth initiation of Major Mysteries as we have explained in the lecture on Stations.
We have to, of course, follow our conscience, ٱلْحَكَمُ Al-Hakam: the Judge, גְּבוּרָה Geburah. Another term for גְּבוּרָה Geburah is دين Din, which means “judgment” and “religion.” Our real religion and spirituality is based on how we judge our own defects, our own errors, in balance with the mercy and blessings of divinity, ٱلْرَّحِيْمُ Ar-Rahim.
There are many names of God in Arabic. They apply in many ways in the Tree of Life. This is just one way of approaching it. It is really inexhaustible how profound these principles are, but this is the map. This is who we are in our full constitution, in our multidimensionality and being.
If you have noticed from the Absolute, אין Ain, אין סוף Ain Soph, אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur, emerges the Tree of Life, the universe, which is manifested reality and which emerges from unmanifested potentiality, الله Allah, the Nothing. It is interesting that in Islam, it is against the tradition to anthropomorphize divinity. There are no statues promulgated in that tradition, of divinity, because you can not anthropomorphize space. You can not characterize it through a statue. In reality, الله Allah, the Nothing, the Nothingness, the true Being, is only represented within Arabic calligraphy, which is a very beautiful and rich tradition that developed in the Muslim faith as a result of this distinction.
From that nothingness emerges light and that light condenses in levels of matter, perception, and consciousness. We are in מלכות Malkuth, and we are learning to enter into states of meditation so that we can access reality, which is more accessible and real the further up this diagram you ascend―again, not in vertical space, but in states and levels of being. There are more elevated states of being and there are more inferior states of being based upon our actions.
The Sufis refer to the experience of the divine, which is basically גְּבוּרָה Geburah, חֶסֶד Chesed, בִּינָה Binah, חָכְמָה Chokmah, כֶּתֶר Kether, and beyond, as witnessing, to witness the truth, to experience it, to know it. They call this contemplation, مشاهدة mushahada. When we really are in the outskirts of entering into this knowledge, we are in מלכות Malkuth listening to this lecture, hopefully with a calm body, a receptive heart, and an open mind, and with willpower, and full attention, so that we can comprehend with judgment, real understanding, the reality of what is being taught, and therefore to extract its spiritual nature.
All of these phenomena are manifested. They are what can be experienced in the universe, but the heights of divine experience are not within this universe, really, at the heights of this tree, this trinity, of this Logoic Triangle: כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah, the light of divine continuity and consciousness.
As we meditate, we begin to gain glimpses of these realms. We can have access to them when we go to sleep. The body is at rest and the soul travels within the internal worlds, which are these different סְפִירוֹת sephiroth. If we are working seriously, we can access much higher states than we can normally perceive had we not practiced. These are the stations of the Sufi path, the degrees of development and initiation.
There are a couple verses from the Sufis. Ibn Karbalā’ī stated something interesting relating this dynamic: manifested reality and ultimate reality. If you studied Buddhism, you will be familiar with how there is conventional and ultimate views. In the conventional sense, we know that we have a physical body. We have energy. We have emotions. We have mind and in a more subtle degree, we have will, to act. To experience the real nature of our inner spirit, our divine consciousness requires abandonment of self, attachments, our terrestrial identity, this conventional sense of “who I am,” “what I think,” “what I feel, my likes, dislikes, attachments, my cravings, my aversions, my ignorance,” etc.
Ultimate view is when there is no “self” obstructing it, in which you perceive directly, from an unobstructed height in a spiritual sense, which is why the Sufis stated the following:
When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation (mushāhida), which is witnessing God’s Essence comprehending and encompassing all phenomena (which is really all of the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth that emanate from that divine source, and as we experience the selfless nature of emptiness, the Being, Allah, we perceive that divinity has knowledge of all things, perceives all things, experiences all)―“Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things” (41:53)―he continually witnesses lights from the mundus invisibilis. From such a mystic’s perspective, this world and the hereafter are one and the same. This can only be realized by a vision that is all heart and spirit, not a view bound by mere mud and mire. ―Ibn Karbalā’ī, Rawdāt al-janān, II 164
These סְפִירוֹת sephiroth can emerge within our consciousness and can visit these different dimensions through perceptions, through experiences in meditation: the invisible world, the mundus invisibilis. It is from that direct witnessing of higher states in which, as a mystic, we perceive that this world and the hereafter are one in the same. In truth מלכות Malkuth, the physical body, the kingdom, the physical world, is merely the expression of internal principles and actions. Our physical body obeys its energies, יְסוֹד Yesod, how we react with our emotions, and how we think. However, we are clouded by these lower סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, these lower spheres of being, and in truth, we have to clarify our perception, so that we perceive with the spirit ٱلْرَّحْمَـٰنُ Ar-Rahman, the omniscient, objective, and real, the heart, which in this sense, we can say, it is ٱلْحَكَمُ Al-Hakam: the Judge, our divine soul, and not by mud and mire: egotism, selfishness, attachments. Reality is experienced when the mind is receptive, and the consciousness is active―not the other way around.
The Requirements of Gnosis
What does it mean to worship divinity? What does this worship involve? From an esoteric Gnostic, Sufi perspective, there is a saying in the Qur’an:
Worship God, and ascribe not partners unto Him. ―Al-Nisa 36
Unfortunately, in our times we have a lot of theories, a lot of terminology, a lot of labels for spiritual states in accordance with different theological structures and theories, ideas, and assumptions. We have many beliefs about religion. We have many ideas about spirit, and the truth is that if you ask many people what spirit is, what God is, they all have different definitions. Therefore, that indicates that they are wrong, because they are not agreeing on reality. They all have different opinions of what reality is. That is because they do not see it. They do not experience it. They do not know it. Instead, what we have are lineages based upon ascription, ascribing ideas unto divinity. We can think what we want. We can believe what we want. We can theorize, assume, and worship in accordance with our concepts, ideas, and convictions. We can ascribe to divinity many of our own ideas, and, again, assumptions, but in truth it must be experienced. This is the demarcation between Gnosticism and many exoteric traditions.
The Sufis and the Muslims have a very interesting term between this dynamic of projecting concepts onto divinity, ascribing partners unto divinity, holding equal certain things with divinity and that has to do with projecting our ideas. They call it شرك shirk. They call it idolatry. They call it polytheism, worshipping many gods, but how is this so?
When we value our concepts over reality, we are idolaters. We are mistaking our desires and assumptions for what is actually there. We are not experiencing what is there. We can say that any concept and belief that we ascribe to with our conviction at heart, which is not based in direct perception of the truth, constitutes شرك shirk, polytheism.
So, what is genuine worship? It means to practice without a self, without an identity, without labeling, but allowing the mind and heart to be in a tranquil state so that we can perceive clearly the Tree of Life, divinity. Tranquility allows us to have inner exploration of our psychological and spiritual unity.
It might seem odd that we are relating conceptual beliefs and ideas with شرك shirk, with polytheism, idolatry. It is because we have many ideas that are all over the place, conflicting, paradoxical, unsubstantiated. We have many multiple ideas and assumptions, but are they really rooted in facts? If it is a fact of life and experience, we do not need have any beliefs about it, because we know.
So, we need to integrate the consciousness. We do so through a state of tranquility, serenity, repose. There is a couple of statements from Al-Qushayri from the Principles of Sufism, which relate what is necessary in order to really worship divinity, to have knowledge (γνῶσις gnosis in Greek, معرفة Ma’rifah in Arabic) of one’s inner Lord, one’s inner divinity, which requires we abandon our ideas, our most cherished convictions, and theories.
In general, it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one’s Lord… I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, “One of the tokens of the gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases.” And I heard him say, “Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We have to be alienated from the ego to really treat our defects, our pride, our vanity, our hatred as our worst enemy, to let it go, to not invest so much energy into this self, because once you abandon the self, you really perceive the majesty of the Being and have reverence, deep awe, and respect for your inner God, because you know divinity is always present with you. It is stated many times in the Qur’an:
And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to you than your jugular vein. ―Qur’an 50:16
The more we realize divinity, the more respect, awe, joy, inspiration, and happiness we experience. It increases, but this is based upon meditative practice requiring stillness of heart, in the same manner that learning requires outward quiet, and the more realization one acquires, the more peace and certainty one has.
The Definition of Love and Will
This is based upon an understanding of love and will. In synthesis, the Sufis taught about alchemy, الله Allah-χυμεία kimia from the Arabic and the Greek, which means “to fuse or cast a metal,” χυμεία kimia, with الله Allah: to fuse oneself with divinity. We do so by making a profound distinction between love and desire.
In synthesis, we can say selfish actions produce sorrow, whereas selfless actions produce happiness, because they emerge from love, which is not concerned with oneself, but the other. Conscious will is the soul’s capacity to focus attention upon an object and to perform deeds of love, compassion for others, even for one’s enemy. Samael Aun Weor referred to this as Christ’s Will, (he even wrote a book with that title), which is the perfect, heavenly expression of superior action, to really sacrifice oneself for others, to respond selflessly to any situation―not for our own benefit, but for the blessings of others, the benediction, the sacrifice for others.
Desire is selfish will. It is the opposite of the consciousness, because the former is a mechanical reaction to life while the latter is a deliberate, intelligent response. The Sufis corroborate this point that our common, ordinary, selfish will has to be overcome. Al-Qushayri states the following:
In scholarly usage, love, mahabbah, means will, iradah, but the Sufis do not mean will when they speak of love. For human will does not connect to the Eternal―unless one understands it as the will to draw close to Him and glorify Him. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Genuine love is pure, and of course in Gnostic studies we have emphasized many times that pure love is chastity. Chastity is not the mere restraint of sexual energy, but refers to restraint and purity of the mind and heart as well, in which we do not act out of lust, ambition, adultery, pride, selfishness, vanity, extortion, etc. Selfish will is desire. We have to transmute our desires, our defects into love, from selfishness to selflessness.
Some say that hubb, love, is a name for purity of affection, because the Bedouins when speaking of the pure whiteness and regularity of someone’s teeth use the expression habab al-asnan. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
There are many sexual alchemical symbols in this paragraph. The mouth is always a symbol of secret knowledge, because דעת Daath in Hebrew, معرفة Ma’rifah in Arabic, γνῶσις gnosis in Greek, was once only given by mouth to ear. It was never written down explicitly because the science of alchemy or the perfect matrimony is extremely powerful and transformative. If you want to understand that principle, you can study the lecture given recently called the Gnostic Mysteries of Chastity.
This science or the transformation of the soul is how we purify and utilize our energies in order to expand our consciousness. We also find a lot of symbols relating to water here, which is a representation of the sexual energy that cleanses the mind and flows abundantly within those who know how to circulate it with intelligence, with understanding. The quote continues:
Others say that since hubab is a word for the excess water that results from a heavy rain, mahabbah came to mean the heart’s boiling and stirring with the thirst and excitement of meeting the Beloved. Still others say the word is derived from habab al-ma, the greater part of a body of water, because love is the object of most of the heart’s concerns. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
As we explained in the lecture on renunciation, water is creative, symbolic, literal. Those creative waters are the seminal forces with which we become baptized and initiated. That body of water, the over-pouring of the soul, emerges from the Absolute, which is a great ocean. If you awaken your consciousness in meditation and approach the Absolute, you perceive the emptiness like a great, dark ocean, but there is a profound, dark light hidden there, a rippling, an abstract movement and repose, which is the full negation of all manifested things, but is the real state of Being. It is the ocean within which we must drown ourselves in love, to be fully immersed, encompassed, and inoculated by that.
Another derivation draws the word from necessity and fixity, for one says ahabba al-baghir of a camel that kneels and refuses to stand. In just this way the lover’s heart refuses to leave the remembrance of his Beloved. Hubb is also said to come from hibb, an earring. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, another symbol here. We are referring to a type of willpower in order to know divinity, to seek without faltering, without giving up, to advance out of necessity and fixity.
The poet says:
As I said, the mouth is a symbol of alchemical knowledge because we pronounce sacred sounds within a matrimony, in sexual union, to promote elevation of our creative force, but also the ear relates to this mystery of alchemy, معرفة Ma’rifah, divine knowledge, so that we can receive that teaching from mouth to ear, listening in to secrets which were never written down until as recently as 1950 with The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor.
That serpent is a dual symbol. We have given many courses and explanations about this allegory, which represents basically this: How our sexual purity can grant us knowledge of our true nature, or our sexual impurity can eject us from Eden, from happiness, from bliss, from love. What matters is how to use this energy well, or we condemn ourselves because that force has to act. It can act in a polluted, selfish way, or it can be harnessed with intelligence, with wisdom, with patience, with understanding.
The Three Gates of Gnosis
To access the heights of these mysteries, we work with that energy, with the science of alchemy, especially, الله Allah-Kimia: to fuse one’s self with the Being. We find that this direct knowledge is symbolized even in Islamic architecture. You see this image, which is the Mecca gate number thirty-seven from Al-Masjid an-Nabawī, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. This mosque is also known as Al-Haram, or Al-Haram al-Madani, and Al-Masjid an-Nabawī. It was built by the Prophet, and it constitutes one of the largest mosques in the world. It is the second holiest site in Islam after Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca.
The Arabic inscription shows the name of Prophet Muhammed followed by his title: Apostle of God. This door signifies the entrance to genuine wisdom, which we experience by living through the alchemical mysteries of the prophets. This is דעת Daath in Hebrew or معرفة Ma’rifah in Arabic, the doorway to the highest mysteries. It is because that force has the potential to transform us radically, to open the doorway into those higher states of being. If you are not working with the creative energies, you will not access selfless states. Instead, you will access the opposite, which is harmful.
Let us examine what these three gates of this mosque represent. They represent the three gates of gnosis according to the Sufi master Abdullah Ansari of Heart, and it is very beautiful that this mosque contains this tradition and this teaching. We can learn a lot from its symbolism in terms of the kind of work that we need to perform if we really want to obtain the highest degrees of mystical experience.
There is the Gate of Mercy: باب الرحمة Bab ar-Rahmah to the south, the Gate of Gabriel: باب جبريل Bab Jibril, to the west, and the Gate of Women: باب ٱلنساء Bab an-Nisa to the east.
Let us read these quotes for a deeper understanding of this mosque, but also how it applies to our spiritual work.
From the field of Wisdom the field of Gnosis is generated. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Remember the word wisdom in Hebrew is חָכְמָה Chokmah, which is the kabbalistic symbol for Christ, Christic perception, selflessness, the power of Vis-dom: the power of divine vision. From this vision, the field of gnosis is generated.
God, the Most High, says, ‘[And when they listen to the revelation received by the Apostle] You will see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth’ (5:83)
We have to study the Tree of Life in order to understand the three gates, in relation to four directions mapped out by the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life has many angles in which we can approach it. A lot of different mysticisms and teachings relate to four directions, north, south, east, and west, within scripture. Often times, those references are indicating certain aspects of this diagram in order to teach something very intuitive. So, while it might seem very complicated and difficult, when you have meditated on what these directions symbolize in relation to the Tree of Life, after study and practice, it will become much more clear to you.
Now specifically, the north relates the right pillar of the Tree of Life, which is the pillar of mercy, with qualities like חָכְמָה Chokmah: Wisdom, חֶסֶד Chesed: Mercy, and נצח Netzach: Victory.
We have the south relating to the left pillar of the Tree of Life, which is בִּינָה Binah: Intelligence, גְּבוּרָה Geburah: the divine soul, Justice, and הוד Hod: the emotions, Glory.
The middle pillar, towards מלכות Malkuth, is going towards the west, while the top of the Tree of Life towards כֶּתֶר Kether, the higher sphere or point to this glyph, is the east.
What is significant about these directions is that they relate to qualities of being, tendencies, and manners of conscious expression, whether in conditioned states or unconditioned states.
The east is where the sun rises especially. We can say that כֶּתֶר Kether is the Far East because that is the highest, at the top of the Tree of Life. We can say תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth is the middle of this diagram and is governed astrologically by the sun and Venus, the star of love. We can call that the Middle East.
It is interesting because many scriptures take place in the Middle East. It is midway between the top and the bottom of this diagram, but is also pointed towards the east because astrologically, the sun relates to תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the beauty of the soul, the solar, divine, creative volition. The west is related to where the sun sets, to those principles of divinity that go down into the infernal worlds, that descend into darkness, because the further away we are from the light, symbolically, the less understanding and intuition we have.
The north relates to spiritual forces, because the right pillar, Mercy, is divine, related to חָכְמָה Chokmah: Wisdom, חֶסֶד Chesed: Mercy, and נצח Netzach: Victory.
The south, the left pillar, its forces descend down towards מלכות Malkuth, and down towards the infernal worlds, the negative states of consciousness.
What is interesting is that as the right pillar, those forces descend into יְסוֹד Yesod in order to be harnessed by our spiritual practice. When we abuse of the creative forces of judgment, גְּבוּרָה Geburah: divine consciousness, it descends into the hell realms. If you have studied yoga, and pranayama especially, you know about the two energetic currents on the spine. The Tree of Life relates to your spinal column as well. The right pillar is precisely mercy, the solar creative force, Pingala in Sanskrit, and the left pillar of severity relates to Ida, the feminine creative polarity within our spine. We have a masculine polarity, which is Pingala, the solar force, but also a feminine, lunar, receptive force known as Ida, and that energetic current―Ida, in most people―is fallen. It does not rise up to the brain from the coccyx, but instead descends to the hell realms.
So, this relates to why, according to some mythologies, demons have tails, because that serpentine fire of Ida is descending. It has “gone south,” so to speak. If you have heard the term, when things go really bad, you are going south. It originates from this. There is some credence to that saying in a kabbalistic sense.
If we want to understand the Tree of Life in relation to our spiritual work, we study these four directions. You can also learn more about the four directions in the kabbalah, especially by studying operas such as Turandot. We have a course The Secret Teachings of Opera where we talk about that specific composition by Puccini, which talks about the four directions in more detail. We can study the three gates, specifically, of the mosque we were talking about, Al-Masjid an-Nabawī: The Prophet’s Mosque in relation to this teaching by Abdullah Ansari of Herat.
Gnosis of the first gate is the foundation of Islam; gnosis of the second gate is the foundation of faith, while gnosis of the third gate is the foundation of sincerity. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
We have explained previously that the first gate, which is the knowledge of being, of unity, of unique peerlessness, is the foundation of Islam: submission to divinity. This is related to the Gate of Mercy: باب الرحمة Bab ar-Rahmah, to the south. If we wish to access the unifications of our soul, the unique peerlessness of the Being, we have to control the left pillar in us. It is necessary to receive divine mercy and to enact that blessing in us by working to control that fallen current within us, Ida: the lunar, creative, serpentine fire in our spine. It is the Gate of Mercy related to the left pillar because with our fallen and mistaken actions, we create suffering. We create problems for ourselves, and therefore we have to submit to divinity by controlling the creative energies. There is no escape from this. It is fundamental in a kabbalistic, alchemical, initiatic, and Sufi sense.
We submit to divinity because our Being is merciful and wants us to change, and therefore directs his attention towards the south, which is the Gate of Mercy, because the left pillar of the Tree of Life, by learning to work and stabilize our consciousness with those forces, we attain equilibrium.
The second gate, which relates to God’s power, His omniscience, His beneficence, is the foundation of faith. This is the Gate of Gabriel: باب جبريل Bab Jibril, to the west, relating to מלכות Malkuth, the physical body. So, the former left pillar really is governed by גְּבוּרָה Geburah, severity. Divinity can be very severe with us because of our wrong actions from the past, but we do receive many blessings and intercessions as a result of our sincerity, of submitting ourselves to divine law, and not selfish law. מלכות Malkuth relates to the west, the foundation of faith, the Gate of Jibril.
We can say that God’s power, His omniscience, His blessings, come from جبريل Jibril, which in Hebrew is spelled גבריאל Gabriel, related to the Nordic runes, Gibur, and the Egyptian Ra and the Hebrew אל El. It is the power of sexuality, because the crossing of man and woman within the physical world is what forms the strength, Gibur, of God. In Hebrew we say אַתָּה גִּבּוֹר לְעוֹלָם אֲדֹנָי Attah Gibor Le’olam Adonai (AGLA אגלא): “You are Almighty Forever Oh Lord” as a mantra or sacred prayer within kabbalah. When you combine man and woman as a cross of forces and energies in מלכות Malkuth, they spin. They rotate like our chakras. They vibrate. They move. They flow. They form a swastika, which unfortunately was a symbol that was misappropriated by the Germans in World War II, even though that knowledge was applicable to all ancient traditions. The movement of the cross is the force of sexual power, which people like Hitler and his cronies abused, but the original meaning has to do with גְּבוּרָה Geburah, the forces of the strength of God, Gibur-Ra-El, גַבְרִיאֵל Gabriel, גְּבוּרָה Geburah in Hebrew. That sexual strength descends from the left pillar down into מלכות Malkuth to give us force, in order to perform alchemy.
It is the Gate of Gabriel because in the physical world is where we need to practice if we are married, if we are in a matrimony. By mastering the cross, we rise out of the west into the east, towards heaven, towards the Middle East, and beyond if we are serious. That force of the Gate of Gabriel is precisely in the west. Nobody can enter heaven without working through Gabriel. If you have remembered all the stories of the prophets in the Bible, they are all announced by Gabriel. Likewise, the Prophet Muhammed was announced a prophet because of جبريل Jibril. He received the first recitation of the Qur’an upon جبل النور Jabal Nur, the “mountain of light,” and that mountain is in תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth. It is in the Middle East where the sun rises, where he would go meditate and receive divine teachings from جبريل Jibril, which are symbols, representations of alchemical knowledge, his sexual creative work within the perfect matrimony.
The third gate, which relates to knowledge of charitable works, loving in close intimacy, is the foundation of sincerity. This is the Gate of Women: باب ٱلنساء Bab an-Nisa, the east. Personally, I find this the most compelling because as Samael Aun Weor mentioned in Practical Astrology, The Manual of Practical Magic:
Humans came out of Paradise through the doors of Eden, and Eden is sex itself
She is the gate to Eden and man is gate to Eden for woman.
So, this sexual power of Eden, of bliss, is loving in close intimacy with divinity. We really show love for الله Allah when we really learn to be chaste in the sexual act, when we are transmuting diligently. Specifically, because if you look at the Arabic calligraphy in the name of الله Allah, you have four letters: أ Alif, ل Lam, ل Lam, ه Ha. The letter أ Alif is a straight line. It is phallic. It is the masculine, creative, projective, positive symbol of man. ل Lam is like a tongue upon which the Word is gestated, the Verb, the creative expression, in which, by mantras in the sexual act, we transform and transmute that fire. We have the ل Lam or ל Lamed in Hebrew, of a man or the ل Lam or ל Lamed of a woman. Then you have ه Ha, which is like a womb, the feminine, creative, negative, receptive, sexual organs.
That is the power of الله Allah: when husband and wife work together in remembrance of divinity. That is the door to paradise to the east. We face the east, the rising sun, when we pray to Mecca, towards the Kaaba, the sacred stone of יְסוֹד Yesod towards the east, which is rising above מלכות Malkuth, the west. When we raise that sexual force of יְסוֹד Yesod up to our mind and to our heart, we are really sanctifying the Gate of Women: باب ٱلنساء Bab an-Nisa, to the east. We face the rising sun, which reminds us of the Germanic Easter, Eostre, as we mentioned in the previous lecture.
Why is this the gate of sincerity? Because if we are not really honest with our sexual behavior, we are not going to be honest with ourselves or divinity. We cannot access profound knowledge without that humble basis: acknowledging where we are at, what are behaviors are, and what we must change.
The Three Pillars of Gnosis
The three ways of gnosis also relate to the top of the Tree of Life. As we mentioned extensively, these are principles, energies, lights, forces―one intelligence, one divine unity that expresses and manifests as three. This is توحيد Tawhid: the unity of God. These three expressions of one light can be understood by the Sufis’ demarcation of three degrees or levels of school, of esoteric, Gnostic, Sufi instruction.
We have شَرِيعَة Shari’a, طريقة Tariqa, حقيقه Haqiqah. معرفة Ma’rifah is דעת Da’ath, the creative knowledge, which, when this image is placed upon a human being, relates to the throat―again, the mouth, the Verb, the Word, the secret knowledge that was only given through oral transmission to candidates that proved their discipleship, their worth.
These three pillars, we can say, relate to what Al-Hujwiri said in Revelation of the Mystery, that the Essence of divinity is known as כֶּתֶר Kether in Hebrew, the crown. חָכְמָה Chokmah: Wisdom, are the Attributes of divinity, the divine qualities of the Being. Divinity’s Acts are בִּינָה Binah: intelligence. Here is what this Persian Sufi master had to say about this topic:
The Knowledge of the Truth (Ḥaqíqat) has three pillars―
Who are those capable of knowing the Unity, the Essence of divinity, כֶּתֶר Kether? It is those who have reached puberty, whereby the sexual potential is developed and mature. This indicates how individuals whose sexual energy is activated can begin working with transmutation, so that such energy provides a basis for comprehension.
Divinity is not localized within one particular space, but is space itself, the absolute abstract space wherein any universe is gestated. In this way, the Sufis agree how divinity does not have wife nor child, which is a response to the degeneration of the Christian Trinity. The Father, Divine Mother Mary, and Christ child were taken to represent literal, anthropomorphized figures, which is missing the point regarding the symbology of scriptures. Biblical characters, while having literally lived in the past, more importantly represent principles that apply to our own inner work.
As for our imagination and intellect, only those who possess the seed, the sexual essence or synthesis, can awaken genuine intelligence and perception. This is because, as we explained previously, the Qur'an refers to initiates as "possessors of seeds" or "kernels," ulu'l-al-bab, which is often translated as "possessors of intellect." In Sanskrit, intellect is बुद्धि Buddhi, or in Hebrew, גְּבוּרָה Geburah, the Arabic دين Din. Initiates possess the secret of sexual knowledge, the sexual seed, the kernel of life, and are therefore known as intuitive kabbalists, whereas the intellectuals, the intellectual kabbalists, only possess the shells, the appearance of diverse doctrines.
Knowledge of Divine Attributes requires you to know that God has attributes existing in Himself, which are not He nor a part of Him, but exist in Him and subsist by Him, e.g. Knowledge, Power, Life, Will, Hearing, Sight, Speech, etc. ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Samael Aun Weor explained that the best atoms belong to חָכְמָה Chokmah as the attributes of a universal consciousness. We can access such infinite states in deep meditation and learn to subsist within them through familiarity and training. While they "are not He nor a part of Him," such divine qualities or states of Being exist within His fundamental nature, which can be realized in us when we are properly prepared.
Knowledge of the Divine Actions is your knowledge that God is the Creator of mankind and of all their actions, that He brought the non-existent universe into being, that He predestines good and evil and creates all that is beneficial and injurious. ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Again, בִּינָה Binah is the creator, the empowerment of all actions, especially our sexual behaviors. If we do not awaken consciousness through the positive use of the sexual force, it becomes channeled through ego, animal desire. However, בִּינָה Binah, divine action, allows for the emergence of uncreated things, the materialization and manifestation of the abstract within the concrete. He provides both good and evil because בִּינָה Binah is beyond good and evil, דעת Daath or معرفة Ma’rifah: the Tree of Knowledge beneath the Logoic Triangle on the Tree of Life.
Here we are using kabbalistic explanations for Sufi doctrine in order to clarify. شَرِيعَة Shari’a: the law, divine instruction, relates to how we act, how we receive the teaching, how we apply it with intelligence, with understanding, so that divinity can be cultivated within a space in our hearts, in our consciousness, so that we can walk the path of wisdom طريقة Tariqa, or חָכְמָה Chokmah, which is wisdom. In this way, we begin to experience and understand, from direct experience, what the attributes of divinity are: compassion, altruism, philanthropy, chastity, patience, humility, faith, wisdom, diligence, perseverance. Then we have حقيقه Haqiqah, the truth, relating to the Essence of divinity: the supreme qualities of the Being. الْحَقُّ Al-Haqq: The Truth.
So, we accomplish that by working with معرفة Ma’rifah or דעת Da’ath in Hebrew, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which allows us to become pure, as the Qur’an teaches and emphasizes many times.
The Three Ways of Gnosis
Let us relate some more quotes from Abdullah Ansari of Heart, which break down this structure for interpreting conscious experiences, mystical instruction, but also our direct experiences.
The way that leads one through the first gate is envisioning the Creator’s providence (בִּינָה Binah, the sexual force) in the opening and closing of (human) handiwork. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So, what is the creator? As I said, الخالق Al-Khaliq relates to בִּינָה Binah, the intelligence of how divinity creates through sexual union with our partner, within alchemy. It is the opening and closing of human handiwork. This relates to knowledge of Being, of unity, of peerlessness.
There are a lot of references in the Qur’an, which refer to the handiwork of humanity that are symbols of divine expression. For example, the Qur’an mentions how God made the ships of the sea, iron, weaponry, vineyards, date palms, which are nourished by rain as signs and symbols for those with understanding, intelligence. These are all representations and symbols of how divinity creates in us, creates the soul through the iron of weaponry, which is willpower, and the ships of the sea. The sea, as I said, is a sexual symbol. We cross the sea of temptation through the great ark, so that we are not drowned in the flood of destructive passions.
We perceive divinity's influence in our lives through our handiwork, our sexual path, our discipline, which has to be handled with intelligence, with בִּינָה Binah. We can experience בִּינָה Binah in a sense, in our level, as we are working through transmutation exercises. That is the power and energy that grants us understanding for interpreting what the diverse religious scriptures have to say in their synthesis, in their fundamental root. It also is the way and the gate that leads us towards experiencing who the creator is in us.
Let us continue reading:
The way that leads through the second gate is the contemplator’s own interior recognition of the wisdom (חָכְמָה Chokmah) of divine Providence within himself. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So, these are inner states, inner qualities of the being. Divine providence is the manifestation of compassion, which is חָכְמָה Chokmah, wisdom, which we recognize in ourselves as we learn contemplation, selflessness. If you meditate deeply and penetrate within this sephirah, as Samael Aun Weor and others have mentioned, we can experience being multiple people, multiple individuals, experiencing a state of omniscience in which you are witnessing yourself. For example, there was one Gnostic instructor who mentioned that he perceived, in this sephirah, Krishnamurti teaching a group of students, and he saw himself, with a lot of love, providing beneficial knowledge for humanity. He returned to his body, and he was very alarmed, wondering if he was Krishnamurti, but the truth is that he penetrated in to the sephirah חָכְמָה Chokmah, which is wisdom, omniscience, divine consciousness. Let us continue:
The way that leads through the third gate is the perception of God’s Mercy (כֶּתֶר Kether, the Mercy of Mercies) that recognizes [the worth of] praiseworthy works and overlooks sins. This final and last gate is the field of the gnostics, the alchemy of lovers, and the way of the Elect; it is the way that beautifies the heart, increases one’s joy and expands the feeling of love. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This also relates to knowledge of charitable works, loving in close intimacy, which is increased as we are intimate with our partner with divine love, with chaste love, with pure love. It beautifies the heart. It is the alchemy of lovers. It is the field of the Gnostics. In this state, we can really receive divine aid.
Subsistence in God
What is subsistence in divinity? We talked briefly about how some of these states can be experienced in meditation, can be mapped by this diagram, can relate to scripture, teachings, and systems of thought, but it would be good to understand what it means to subsist in divinity, which is baqā in Arabic.
As we mentioned, we can have fleeting experiences related to the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth of the Tree of Life, but knowing how to sustain them requires training, knowing how to subsist and to be in those states.
What is subsistence specifically? To define it for you, it is:
The state or fact of subsisting; the state or fact of existing; the providing of subsistence for support; the means for supporting life, such as a living or livelihood. It is the source from which food and other items needed to exist are obtained. ―Dictionary.com
For the meditator, divinity is our livelihood. It is our nourishment. It is our subsistence, our substance. In philosophy, subsistence relates to existence, specially of an independent entity. It is the quality of having timeless, abstract existence, which again relates to the trinity of the Tree of Life. It is abstract for us. It is very difficult for us to ascertain as concepts, but can be intuitive and known through experience. It is “a mode of existence by which a substance is individualized" (Dictionary.com). It is the meaning of subsistence.
We want to make our consciousness an individuality, as I said. Right now, we are a multiplicity. By integrating our consciousness from its multiple defects and eliminating those faults, we individualize ourselves. We integrate the soul so it can reflect the perfect unity within.
There is no other way to return to divinity but to eliminate all that is false. It is the radical axis upon which Gnostic and Sufi teachings are based in their esoteric origin. This is why we talk a lot about the annihilation of the ego, which, of course, is a difficult topic for people, because we are all attached to ourselves. It is a fundamental quality of our experience, that we do not like to perceive our faults, to eliminate and change them, but this is the basis of religion. The Sufis referred to annihilation as fana. Without it, we cannot be within God.
From the field of Annihilation the field of Subsistence in God comes. God, the Most High, says, ‘God is the Best, the most long-lasting and Subsisting’ (20:73).
These are reasons why we should really work seriously in ourselves to understand our own faults. Death will arrive. Our means of subsisting in life will vanish. The limits will be broken as we enter into the internal worlds after death and are forced to confront our past. Understandings will be eliminated. What we thought was factual, but was illusory, will have to be addressed.
As it is mentioned in the Qur’an, the unbelievers will be given their account within a book. It is a symbol of retrospecting one’s life after having deceased. History will fade away. Knowledge of the world will be useless. Allusions are transient. The information in our head will be wiped out because we do not remember how we came into this world, where we are going, and where we are now. So, all these things are transient, but God eternally exists, and he exists in His ultimate unity. Unification is the goal. Purification of the consciousness is our objective.
The Day of Alast
I would like to relate a brief excerpt from the Qur’an, which teaches something very beautiful and profound about our relationship with divinity.
Before the soul had emanated from the Absolute into the manifested universe, in order to begin a specific spiritual work, the Sufis referred to this conversation between the soul and divinity as a type of profound revelatory moment that had to be reinitiated again by the soul that is learning to return to divinity. We emanated from the Absolute into the universe and now we must return to the Tree of Life with knowledge, with wisdom. The moment of communication with divinity, we can say, the moment we left the Absolute, is known by the Sufis as the Day of Alast. It is the covenant of divinity with the soul.
When we talk about the Absolute, we pay close attention towards the אין סוף Ain Soph, which Samael Aun Weor clarified in his book Tarot and Kabbalah is our own particular synthesis, an atomic, super-divine force of Being which is like a point of light within the abstract absolute space from which we emanated. It does not have knowledge yet of its full, divine happiness and potential. Therefore, it sends down its knowledge towards the Tree of Life in order to enter מלכות Malkuth and hopefully to return upward and back towards the source. This is the meaning of the verse from Hadith Qudsi:
Allah says, “I was a hidden treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created a creation (mankind and the Tree of Life), then made Myself known to them, and they recognized Me.” ―Hadith Qudsi
So, divinity is that beautiful treasure we seek to uncover within our meditations, to know divinity, to recognize divine intelligence, and divine expression within our dreams, within our meditations. The following verses from the Qur’an relate and apply, basically, how the power to witness divinity is born from our seed, our creative sexual matter. We will relate and explain this to you:
And when thy Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their progeny and made them bear witness concerning themselves, “Am I not your Lord?” they said, “Yea, we bear witness―lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, “Truly of this we were heedless,” or lest you should say, “[It is] only that our fathers ascribed partners unto God beforehand, and we were their progeny after them. Wilt Thou destroy us for that which the falsifiers have done?” Thus do We expound the signs, that haply they may return. ―The Heights, Al-A’rāf 172-174
Samael Aun Weor mentions that we return to the Absolute by working with alchemy, within a marriage in מלכות Malkuth, and then rising up the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth to the heavens, back towards our אין סוף Ain Soph. It is interesting that this verse is found within Al-A’raf: The Heights within the Qur’an, because we have to return to the heights of this diagram, the superior states.
We bear witness through the sexual seed. This is the fundamental teaching that Samael Aun Weor gave in his books. It is the sexual seed that grants the energy, the capacity, the knowledge, the wisdom by which to access this reality within its multidimensional grandeur and splendor. It is interesting that in the Qur’an, the word progeny translates from ذرية dhurriyyāt, which derives from a root that literally denotes “small particles, atoms, seeds,” which are scattered, and this is very interesting. This word also means “progeny” or “offspring” in many other verses from the Qur’an.
These atoms belong to יְסוֹד Yesod specifically, but all the different סְפִירוֹת sephiroth contain particles that are sexual energy in seed. Those forces and potentialities can grant us the capacity to return to divinity. In the path and process by which we return to the Absolute, we create the soul. We create vehicles that relate to each of these lower סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, so that we can have it and experience, know, and understand the forces of those levels of nature, becoming more rarefied and beatified as we ascend.
In the end of the work, what is really interesting is that after having perfected ourselves within the ten סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, we can enter and emerge to return into the אין סוף Ain Soph, but at this point, as Samael Aun Weor mentions in Tarot and Kabbalah, we enter the אין סוף Ain Soph as our unity: that super-atomic point or star, that synthesis of our real Being, the real Being within, and we abandon all vehicles below. They dissolve. What is extracted as a type of synthesis or essence of those lower ten סְפִירוֹת sephiroth is a seed, a germ. Those ten סְפִירוֹת sephiroth are reduced to a single point, a single atom within each individual sephirah. You have ten, and they enter the Absolute, so that when the soul is united with the perfect plenitude of divinity, whenever the master that is self-realized wants to enter the universe, he can put those seeds, that progeny into activity, in order to manifest anywhere at will.
Such a monad or unity, such an אין סוף Ain Soph, has knowledge of its own perfection. Therefore, those seeds have to be gathered. They are scattered in us. This is the meaning of “to bear witness from their loins,” or better said, the Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins, their progeny, their seeds, those atomic spiritual essences that relate to the Tree of Life, and made them bear witness concerning themselves. You bear witness of reality through divinity, through working with those forces and mastering them, so that in the end, we dissolve, in a form of annihilation, in order to subsist within God, within the אין סוף Ain Soph Paranishpanna, an atomic, super-divine star of our Being that shines with great glory and splendor in the absolute abstract space. This is الله Allah, the root of all Being.
In relation to the Tree of Life, if you have studied the books of Samael Aun Weor, he mentions creating solar bodies. We create vehicles through the sexual seed, which are solar, material vehicles or means of expressing the perfect light of divinity within the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth themselves. These solar bodies are known as the Wedding Garment of the soul in Christianity. You also have in Arabic, لباس التقوى libas al-taqwa, the garments of reverence within the Qur’an, the vehicles of the soul, the pure, energetic, divine, spiritual vehicles that we can have within the world of dreams, within the internal dimensions, so that we can navigate in those spheres consciously, with intentionality, with lucidity, with consistency, with continuity. These are vehicles that are created within a marriage. You can study The Perfect Matrimony for more elaboration on those points. Here we are only synthesizing how when you work with the sexual seed, you are using the energy that can grant you witnessing of the truth, as stated in the Qur’an, so that we can return to our divine origin.
What is interesting about the solar bodies or these vehicles of the soul and spirit within Islam are mentioned again here:
O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you raiment to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But (the clothing of chastity) the raiment of reverence (libas al-taqwa)―that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember. ―Al-A'raf 26
The Arabic words لباس التقوى libas al-taqwa can be translated as “armor” due to the fact that reverence, which is the Arabic تقوى taqwa, comes from the word attaqa, which means “to shield oneself,” and it is a reference to, as mentioned many times in the Qur’an, how one has to defend oneself against the punishment of hell fire, against our animal passions. Likewise, this raiment of chastity guards one’s private parts, which we utilize the creative potential for divine will. Study The Perfect Matrimony for better understanding of alchemy, The Mystery of the Golden Flower, and also Tarot and Kabbalah by Samael Aun Weor. These dynamics are explained very deeply. Here we are relating this synthesis to the Qur’an.
Dissolution within Love
In the end, after you have extracted all the seed essences of all the different סְפִירוֹת sephiroth within you, you dissolve within the Absolute and achieve true, genuine liberation and subsistence.
We end this slide with Abdullah Ansari of Herat’s statements. We talked about the ten סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, the ten spheres, which can also be ten stations, which can also be signified as 100 stations or levels and degrees of initiation relating to the Tree of Life. Each of the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth is a station in itself.
All these one hundred stations are dissolved in the field of love (mahabbat); the field of friendship is the field of love. God, the Most High, describes how He will produce a ‘people whom He loves and who love Him’ (5:54), and ‘Say: if you love God, follow me’ (3:31). But friendship has three stations: it begins with truthfulness, its middle is drunkenness, and it ends in non-existence. Praise be to God, the Beginning (al-awwal) and the End (al-ākhar). ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
The אין סוף Ain Soph, our true divine Being, is real love, limitless being, divine expression and freedom.
We have some poetry from Rumi, I would like to relate to you in terms of these concepts. Now, while we have given explanations of a kabbalistic and abstract type, which can be very challenging and difficult, these principles become understood through deep meditation and a lot of experience. Rumi, the great Sufi poet, mentioned some of the principles relating to love, and really knowing this from factual experience is a matter of conscious awakening and not just mere study of the intellect. I invite you not to receive this knowledge in the intellect but to really grapple with it in your heart. We need to take a lot of time to meditate on its contexts, because this is a result of many years of study, experience, and work in relation to this topic. Rumi says it best:
No matter what I say to explain and elucidate Love, shame overcomes me when I come to Love itself.
That Water of Life is our sexual creative force. Therefore, it is the seed, the kernel of love, that opens the mysteries that cannot be divulged by mere speech, because its expositions are beyond the written and spoken word. Often times those meanings become obscured from too much intellectualization.
One other thing that we want to remember or bear in mind is that our actions are really the best predicator of spiritual life. Our words, our concepts, can be very hypnotizing, such as “I hope,” “I promise,” “I will do this,” “I believe in this,” “I wish,” “I have faith in these teachings or concepts,” but without action they are really quite useless. We can live our whole life ascribing partners unto God, unto divinity, hoping that one day we will be spiritual, but the reality is that we fulfill these in us when we enact selfless, compassionate action. It is in this way that we really fulfill شَرِيعَة Shari’a in Arabic, divine law, the divine commandments, and that way we walk the path طريقة Tariqa, which is meditation, entering deeper states of tranquility, insight, and learning to focus and concentrate upon one goal. In this lecture, for this meditation specifically, we learn to enter inside the Being, to penetrate the world of the Being.
We can have many words for these concepts, but what is important is the reality, the experience. This is only accomplished through actions, through daily consistent discipline, and by working with the three factors of the revolution of consciousness as we have explained before.
For this final lecture in this course, there is a simple practice you can use in order experience what these principles are about.
Adopt a meditation posture and completely relax.
Withdraw from the senses and enter a state of equanimity and internal silence.
Pray to your Being to grant you illumination, wisdom, and inner experience.
While falling asleep, maintain vigilance, مراقبة muraqaba, and attentiveness, concentrating upon the presence of your Innermost to grant you the comprehension you seek.
You can utilize one of the following two powerful mantras:
There is the mantra from Prajnaparamita sutra: Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Swaha!
The mantra known in Arabic as هو Hu, which is pronounced with an elongated breath.
What is interesting is that Samael Aun Weor related the same mantra, but in the Chinese, Chan Buddhist way, in many of his books, specifically Magic of the Runes. It is the mantra Wu, pronounced like breath, the same sound prolonged like a hurricane:
It is the same mantra, the same teaching. The Sufis pronounce: الله هو Allah-Hu, repeatedly prolonging its vowel sounds, its syllables, and even going inside mentally, pronouncing it internally until falling asleep, entering through astral projections into higher dimensions to experience these for oneself.
At this point in time, I would like to open the floor to questions
Questions and Answers
Question: Are the mantras pronounced mentally? Do you do the microcosmic star as well?
Instructor: You can pronounce them physically, and it is good to perform the microcosmic star before you physically sit to practice and to get yourself in the right state of mind, to enter into a state of serenity. You can pronounce the mantras verbally. Focus on the sounds. Let yourself recite these sounds first out loud, then dropping your volume and then enter doing it silently in the mind until you fall asleep, consciously letting that mantra totally engage you.
The important thing is that we immerse ourselves within the mantra, in its vibration, internally. This is most powerful and most effective. In that way, like any other mantra from astral projection, you learn to separate from your physical body so that you can access those internal worlds, specifically in a deep, profound, and penetrative way.
Question: How do Christian saints attain sainthood since they are mostly celibate?
Instructor: So, as with any saint within the various religious traditions, they attained sainthood through a marriage, and of course, that knowledge was not given publicly. It had to be kept secret because it is controversial even now today, with the internet and openly teaching about these things. It is even difficult for people now to appreciate, understand, and to even want to practice and experiment with this science.
Now, those saints from different traditions, whether they be from the Christian faith or from the Muslim and Sufi traditions, they all achieved initiation by working with the seed. Some masters had already worked with transmutation and alchemy in previous lives like the present Dalai Lama. He worked with alchemy, tantrism in his past existences. He reached sainthood, which we can say is the fifth initiation of Major Mysteries, the fifth initiation of fire or the peak of sainthood.
Now, perfection, prophecy, and mastery are a very deep topic, which one acquires by entering the Venustic initiations as explained in the courses of kabbalah, Tarot and Kabbalah and The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor. We also gave an article called “Who is a Master” where we talked about specifically the different degrees within Sufi mysticism, sainthood, mastery, and prophethood.
Saints, we can say, have acquired the fifth initiation of fire, but they do so through alchemy. In the case of the Dalai Lama, he already reached the fifth initiation of fire and was working as a single person in this existence. In order reach mastery, one has to be married, but it does not mean that those saints had done it in that current lifetime in which they became recognized for their sainthood.
Question: What is the best way to die in your desire? I do not know if I have comprehended or not. It is my yearning for my Divine Mother to decapitate it. Do I have to break it down to my different desires?
Instructor: The best way to die in desire is to comprehend. Our comprehension unfolds in layers, in levels. What we understand today, we will go deeper in tomorrow. This is a moment-to-moment work in which we examine our present state. If you really want to eliminate egos, we have to go deep inside and comprehend the root. If you eliminate the branches, the branches can grow back if you are not careful, but if you go for the roots, you can extract the tree of زقوم Zaqqum, the inverted tree of קְלִיפּוֹת Klipoth, the hell realms.
If you are not sure if you have comprehended it, or not, it means that you have not comprehended it. If you comprehend it deeply, you understand where the ego originated, how it sustains, how it feeds, how it works, what its food is, what its triggers are, what other egos does it relate to, etc.
If you comprehend it a little bit, it is good to ask for elimination, especially, to pray for our Divine Mother to give us strength to resist it, comprehend it, and to not feed and give it what it wants. If you really want lasting, deep change, you have to go into the profundities and that often means we face the very thing that we do not want to face. This could be very difficult and very challenging. It can also help you to break down certain events in your life: visualizing it in retrospection meditation, to perceive what moment you reacted or mistakenly behaved, whether physically, verbally, or just mentally. Whatever you comprehend, you can pray for annihilation, but to understand that to be radically free from those tendencies, our comprehension has to be very robust.
Your Divine Mother will give you the challenges and experiences for that ego to come up. If you do not comprehend it, those ordeals are going to keep repeating. It is important to repeat them because if we do not learn our lesson, then we got to go through it again. The important thing is not to exacerbate the karma that is repeating itself in that situation, but to take advantage of it. Learn to suffer consciously. Be patient. Allow ourselves some space and time to grow, not to be shaking the fruit from the Tree of Life out of ambition, but to let it blossom and let the fruit ripe on its own so that it falls on your hand when the moment comes. That is what comprehension is like. When you are meditating and you are not expecting any answer, when you just silence yourself and do not think―not as a blank, foggy, amorphous state, but as a pristine, sharp, lucid clarity―suddenly understanding emerges. It can appear in a form of experience, an intuition, a vision, and that understanding is enough when it is really profound, when you finally have intuited it, discerned what is going on in that situation. You can cut out the root.
Remember that the term Samsara in Sanskrit means “cycling.” It is repetition and repeated, egotistical, psychological patterns that we go through again and again. When you really understand the root of it, you cut through it. That is nirvana. It is cessation. It is peace. So, study yourself and be patient. Do not rush. Take the time to understand one ego at a time. Analyze it profoundly, and when you least expect it, the understandings will emerge on their own.
Question: How can we gauge our current progress in Gnosis?
Instructor: Some people think it is mystical experiences, but that is not a guarantee of real development and change. Instead, you know you are changing and progressing when you no longer repeat the same mistakes. For example, perhaps at work you may have colleagues that are very negative. They gossip a lot. Perhaps they may even speak badly about you, and you might overhear this. Suddenly, you feel rage, anger, despair, fear… different egos that might emerge in the moment. You find that you are progressing when those situations repeat as a form of testing you and you do not psychologically react at all. You do not repeat the same reactions to the situation. You are not selfish there. There is no “self” present in those moments. You can be criticized and condemned by the same people, for as before you felt great eversion and suffering, you do not feel that anymore. You understood those faults in you and what kept producing that pain.
Yes, you can have internal experiences in the superior worlds, the astral dimension where divinity will show you the level of your work. To see yourself in a coffin going into the fire in the astral plane is a symbol of eliminating certain egos, being dead psychologically. Those experiences can emerge and give us some gage and guidance, which is really beautiful, but also you find that you are not repeating the same mechanical behaviors. You are more conscious, and you are not reacting with the same egos. In fact, you are responding with patience and love like the example that I provided. It is how we respond to life, not react. That is a strong measurement of what we are doing.
Question: What is the purpose of the circle movement that we see in the Sufi dances? Or what is its significance in relation to meditation?
Instructor: We have a very similar practice within gnosis. We call it the Sacred Rites for Rejuvenation, in which we spin from left to right in order to activate certain latent psychological, energetic centers known as chakras.
The Sufis do not refer to them in the Hindu sense, but they refer to it as اللطائف الستة Lata’if-e-Sitta, which are relating to certain organs of perception within Sufi psychology. They are energetic centers that allow for deeply experiencing our internal worlds. Part of the spinning process is to activate those centers, those forces in a significant and dynamic way. We can perform those dances, which are very sacred and beautiful. They represent and replicate the movement of the planets and spheres around the sun as a form of divine love, divine conscious realization.
When we perform the sacred rites of rejuvenation, we also spin left to right, the same direction as we are turning a steering wheel in front of us, in order to perform certain spiritual works. There are different ways we can approach this practice, such as comprehending egos, activating chakras, healing sick organs, praying for divine assistance, and the Sufi dances parallel this as well. They are deeply integrated.
Thank you all for coming. Thank you for attending this course. I hope you enjoy and study it deeply and apply it to your life. We wish you many blessings. Inverential Peace! Or as we say in Sufism: ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ As-salamu Alaykum!
1/23/2022 11:43:35 am
Thank you. I had just started studying the tree of life and aimed to eventually correspond it to Arabic concepts. Seems like you have already done a wonderful job at this.
1/23/2022 01:09:53 pm
You are welcome! See also the following lecture in this course, where we first explained how Kabbalah relates with the Sufi Principles of Meditation:
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