The path of Gnosis is a path of revolution. This revolution has nothing to do with physical war, argumentation, debates, or overthrowing the government. The type of revolution we seek to fulfill is not against any external system: no political party, no religion, no particular philosophy. This is a profound, intimate matter of how we transform ourselves: the internal psychological causes of suffering.
As we are now, we are afflicted beings filled with tremendous suffering. We are very complicated, filled with confusion, despair. The status quo, the accepted beliefs of numerous religions, institutions, dogmas, do not produce radical change.
What matters is a transformation of our psychological states. This is the result of the practice of meditation.
The me, myself, the “I,” is the origin of suffering. This is the fundamental basis of every religion. If we wish to reach heaven, to rise to a superior level of being, it is essential to renounce and eliminate the ego. No matter how noble our aspirations, our intentions, our beliefs, our accepted codes of morality, conduct, beliefs, theories―none of these matter if we continue to indulge in thoughts and feelings of hatred, resentment, pride, morbidity, negativity, that multiplicity of selves, defects, egos that we have discussed in this course.
In truth, the Essence, the soul, must wage a holy war. This is the spiritual significance, the esoteric meaning of a very misunderstood doctrine known as jihad, from the Arabic Mujahidah. It means to strive. It is the striving against our defects, not against people of different faiths.
We strive against our ego when we self-observe. When we contemplate each defect’s thoughts, feelings, impulses, when we restrain and transform negative ways of being through serenity and comprehension, when we face terrible ordeals, circumstances, obstacles, crises, sufferings, we must transform all of it with equanimity. This is how we balance the scales of the law, as we explained previously in the lecture on Karma.
No prophet ever taught that the path to divinity is a matter of accepting a doctrine with the mind or sentiments. That is a novelty invented by people who seek evasions, those who do not want to annihilate the ego, desire.
In truth, redemption is a matter of revolution, going against the psychological current of desire in the mind, in ourselves. Look at humanity! The incredible suffering, the affliction, the misery. If people knew the path out of suffering, there would be no addiction, chaos, confusion. Despite the fact that people's minds and hearts are sick, diseased, deteriorating, filled with ego, with conditions, we all like to believe that we walk upon the path of salvation and success.
The time has arrived to analyze the facts, to examine the reality of this crisis, this global dilemma, which is the result of the degeneration of values, the loss of the spirit, the complete moral bankruptcy of both East and West.
We have to examine our minds. Remember that Immanuel Kant stated, "The interior is the reflection of the exterior," and vice versa. So, let us look at ourselves and be honest, to see whether we do not have within that which we blame in others.
Are we free of anger? Are we free of lust? Are we free of pride, selfishness, greed, vanity, laziness, pessimism? If we are not, then we are afflicted with ego.
And here is the reality that no one likes to accept: the ego cannot enter heaven. People think they can worship and believe in a religion, and yet they continue to lie, to fornicate, to adulterate, steal, and even kill―even if only in the mind. That is the ironic part. We think we can do whatever we want in the mind and that there are no consequences.
Yet Jesus stated in the Book of Matthew:
You have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. ―Matthew 5:27-28
This is because such desires thrive within the subconsciousness. They are not visible on the surface. But regardless of this fact, we have to go into the mind to eliminate, because as stated in 1 Corinthians
Be not deceived, neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. ―1 Corinthians 6:9-10
No one can enter the superior world with desire. If we wish to enter the great mysteries of our inner Being, we must no longer vibrate with degeneration: to not generate, to not create the spirit inside. We must eliminate the ego.
As Jesus stated in the Book of Matthew:
Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction; and many there be which go in thereat. Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. ―Matthew 7:13-14
As Samael Aun Weor states, "The opium of theories is worse than death." Because with physical death we have the opportunity, possibly, to acquire a new vessel according with the law of transmigration of souls. And yet, to be diluted by theories, to waste our time, is to not develop anything, so that we lose this precious opportunity, this body that we have.
And so humanity believes in divinity, yet it does not know the truth, the Being, from experience, from having personal Gnosis.
Revolution, Salvation, and Conscious Faith
It is the weakness of the modern religious and spiritual mindset to conflate belief with action. The Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, pay special attention to the role of belief in religious matters, that through adherence to a moral code, a belief system, that one is saved.
Salvation is not a matter of belief, of thinking or feeling a particular tradition is true. Salvation is the result of conscious works and voluntary sufferings.
The consciousness must be activated, not the mind. The mind, intellectualism, theories, do not originate lasting psychological change. Believing in one religion one day and rejecting it the next does not transform our situation. It does not change our level of being, how we relate to the world. It does not change the problem of suffering, of having desire, affliction. Only activating the consciousness provides real change.
As stated by James in the Bible: "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26).
We can believe what we want. We can accept any religious philosophical doctrine with our intellect. We can belong to a particular group, a religious organization, an institution, yet that does not guarantee anything. It does not redeem the problem of suffering. It does not guarantee reunion, religion, religare (in Latin) with the Being.
Examine the reality. People have believed in God for thousands of years, and yet such beliefs in ideas, dogmas, codes, do not transform the daily problem of the ego. The ego, the “me,” “myself,” the “I,” is the originator of pain. And it is the ego that creates beliefs, ideologies, concepts, arguments, theses, antitheses, metaphysical speculations, etc.
It is the mind that speculates about what it does not know. It deals with abstractions and divine principles in the memory. It does not know anything about the data stored in the mind. The intellect simply is a receptacle of information, whether from the senses or from rationality.
The intellect cannot know the Being. It is the awakened Essence, the Inner Mind, that knows through Gnosis, direct experience.
So, we can believe in God, but it does not mean we know the divine. The mind can never know anything about reality, the Being, the divine, because the ego is subjective. Even in this definition of “me,” “myself,” “I,” it does not know the universality of Being: the ontological nature of our true identity, which is universal, cosmic.
God, as an anthropomorphic representation of man's concepts, its projections, does not exist. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche, the author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, very wisely stated, “God is dead.” That God does not have any objective reality. It is a construct, and instead of knowing the truth, humanity warships concepts, intellectualism, debates.
We do not like to use the term God so much in these studies, because there is too much baggage associated with this term. Instead, we always refer to divinity as the Being, to consciousness, to divine experience. Divinity as we have stated, is the Being, the presence, a form of consciousness, which goes very far beyond our concepts of good and evil―beyond the body, sentiments and mind. The Being constitutes states of internal reality, the plenitude, the supreme joyfulness of Being: the liberated.
Liberation is a state of mind. It is not a concept, but it has to be developed. These states of consciousness, these supra-conscious states, these levels of being, can only be developed through work―not through ideas, not through concepts, not through beliefs―no matter how reverent, how ancient, how profound the tradition. Because belief in divinity is passive. It does not require any effort on our part to believe in a religion or to accept a doctrine with a mind.
However, faith, conscious faith is profoundly different. It necessitates a tremendous conscious activity. It requires incredible intentionality. It is founded upon great ethical disciplines and psychological work upon our most intimate defects, errors.
In Gnostic terms, faith is the direct conscious apprehension of mystical truths through the awakened experiences of the soul. We call these astral travels, out of body journeys, jinn states, profound meditations. Gnosis, as the conscious mystical experience of the truth, is synonymous with real faith.
Faith is what we perceive from experience, not what we think. But to have that faith, that conscious knowledge, that Gnosis, we have to work, to strive, to fight incredible, heroic battles against the ego.
Gnostic soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, is very distinct from the beliefs and interpretations of scholars: the intellectuals who read, but do not know, whom Samael Aun Weor calls “learned ignoramuses”―people who are very intelligent with the intellect, but who have no conscious wisdom because they are asleep.
We can study Gnosticism as a purely scholastic endeavor without a profound practical basis: the actual effort to meditate. We achieve salvation, entrance to the heavenly worlds, the Tree of Life, through the death of desire, which is synonymous with ego―not by satisfying our pride, our vanity, by memorizing scriptures or religious texts. To annihilate the ego requires tremendous sacrifice, profound ethics, incredible purity. In truth, it is a psychological revolution.
Myth, Idolatry, and Modern Culture
The difficulties of reaching heaven, the Being, have been symbolized by all of the great wars in every single mythology and religion―the conflict between gods and demons, which is not exclusively external, but internal.
Ancient mythologies are not superstition. They are symbols. They are practical teachings of psychology. Each myth, each sculpture, statue, artwork, embodies spiritual and psychological principles, truths, archetypes, about the spiritual path, the psychological rebellion of the Gnostics.
Truly, it is the disgrace of modern archaeology and scholarship to assume that the ancient civilizations were stupid―worshipping literal statues, idols. Such assumptions demonstrate a profound ignorance of the path, and it reveals the arrogance of modern science, which is the new priesthood. They assume that they are wiser than the previous civilizations.
The reality is that our modern society is idolatrous. People in America and the East, everywhere, worship idols, false gods, which are, in truth, concepts, beliefs, negative psychological states, animal desire. Idolatry is present through our modern fascination with extortion, manipulation, and violence against others. We gorge on television shows based on sarcasm, based on rape, based on lust, deception, blood and crime. We venerate criminals as heroes. We respect anger. We defend intolerance. We follow religions that teach us to like some people and hate others, to kill in the name of God, to tolerate and applaud behaviors that go against conscience. We deify the ego and have the audacity to blame God for the state of humanity in the world.
Regardless of anyone's beliefs, their religion, humanity worships degeneration. The evidence is everywhere: violence, prostitution, slavery. Our culture, from the Latin “cultare,” cultivation, is pure idolatry. It truly is a satanic cult. It does not refer to venerating statues of false gods from so-called “Pagan” religions. It is to worship the petrified crystallizations of the ego, because remember, the ego is a shell. It traps the consciousness. And we need to liberate the consciousness by removing the shells, which in Hebrew is Klipoth, hell.
The ego is hell: anger, pride, self-esteem, vanity, lust, sexual gratification, these are states of suffering. These are all the things that modern culture tells us to worship, but in reality, this is completely negative.
In relation to the symbolism of religious mythology, Satan is a name or term that scandalizes, amuses, terrifies many people. This term is actually Hebrew. שטן Shaitan means adversary. The adversary of the Being is not anyone external. It is our own ego, our desires that we have to fight against.
Sadly, despite the beliefs of very devout Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., people never question how their own internal states produce conflict, suffering for themselves and for others. People fear the myth of Satan but not the reality of their own Satan, the mind. Instead of worrying about entering the afterlife, we should be more concerned with making a paradise on Earth, not a hell. We do so through our deeds.
For by their fruits, you will know them. ―Matthew 7:20
In truth, we all like to think we are advanced, that we are holy people. We may love spirituality, religion, esotericism, mysticism, divine philosophy, yet the fact is, for most people, they love fornication and adultery more. The fundamental requisite of religion is chastity, but because people love lust, they love the orgasm, they discard this aspect of their tradition, which is symbolized in every faith. And because of this, they think they can enter heaven, but they cannot.
Neither fornicators, nor adulterers shall enter. Desire, the ego, can never enter heaven. And so, this type of mentality is symbolized by Judas, who betrayed Christ. He represents for us an ego that loves scripture, loves divinity, loves Gnosis, loves spirituality, loves Christ, but betrays the Being to fulfill desire.
This is why every single religion has degenerated from the original teaching, the Gnosis of the prophets. Time and again, great luminaries or divine messengers come to humanity so as to provide the doctrine of how to conquer heaven, how to earn the right to be redeemed. This is the path of revolution. However, rather than revolting against their own ego, humanity fights to defend the ego to the death.
People have rebelled against divinity and over time, because of this, the original teachings become distorted so that it can satisfy desire. The Gnostic teachings, when given by the Prophets, resembles nothing today because people, rather than working on themselves, attempt to make religions palatable to the ego.
This is why Jesus warned of the leaven of the Pharisees who take the Christic teaching and adulterate it. They fill it with yeast, so that the original bread of wisdom, that could feed the soul, inflates. It is symbol of trying to make the teachings different, acceptable to the masses to satisfy spiritual gluttony.
It is really strange: humanity both idolizes and persecutes the masters. People follow religions and yet they crucify, kill, torture, and poison the initiates. Isn't this absurd? This paradox. It is because people love desire and they hate purity.
All genuine spiritual teachings are hated by humanity because it is a revolution against every person's cherished beliefs and corrupted sense of self. People hate the Gnostic doctrine because it is a war against idolatry.
We have to break the idols of the mind, those statues, those petrified conditions of egotism―that which keeps us in pain. But of course, with this, it is a lot of sacrifice. It takes tremendous self-reflection, sincerity, to not justify, to not evade the facts, to not repress what we see, but have the courage of Perseus to face the Medusa, to go to war against the Gorgon, the beast in our mind that we have created.
And remember, we have to not identify with the animal, because in the myth, those heroes who looked into the eyes of Medusa, became stone. They became trapped. By feeding desire, we become conditioned further. The way to escape or to conquer that beast is with the shield and looking at the reflection within, so that by seeing the image of the Medusa, one can confront it.
This is self-reflection. This is imagination. This is the awakened insight of the consciousness, and with the sword of comprehension, we decapitate the beast. This is how we overcome idols, the monster we have fed and nourished for many years.
By eliminating the ego, we vibrate in harmony with the superior levels of being. Yet, how many people are willing to do this? “To grab the bull by the horns,” says Samael Aun Weor. Instead, as you see in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelations, people worship the beast: the Antichrist, which is not a person. It is the ego, and the Antichrist is everywhere.
This is why John Milton, the great Gnostic poet, wrote in Paradise Lost:
The mind is its own place, and in it self
The facts of our situation present themselves, yet we ignore them because the magnitude of suffering on this planet is staggering. No one likes the means to acquire heaven. We like the concept, but we do not like the work. This is the reality for most people. But if we are sincere about change, we will do so, not only for our own benefit, but for others.
The Heavens of the Tree of Life
And so modern society has divorced itself from the divine, the superior laws, the Tree of Life.
This is a map of superior states of being. We have been discussing Klipoth, the hell realms, the inverted tree: the shadow of the Tree of Life, the world of the ego beneath this main diagram in blue.
The goal of our Gnostic studies is to free the Essence, which is trapped in ego, the lower states of consciousness through tremendous inner revolution.
As a result of involution, which is the complication, the unfoldment of spirit within matter, we descended from the unknowable divine, the Absolute―which in Hebrew is אין Ain, אין סוף Ain Soph, אין סוף אוֹר Ain Soph Aur―down these different modalities of being. This was with the expressed purpose of gaining wisdom and experience.
The Essence or the soul, the Buddhata, the seed of our Buddha nature, must self-realize, develop these 10 spheres and ascend up, back from the world of matter, to the spirit. We do this by working with these סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, which in Hebrew means “emanations, unfoldments.”
Why is this called the Tree of Life? Because it is how we have genuine reality, spiritual life. These spheres represent qualities of being, states of consciousness, as well as different levels of matter, energy, and perception―from the most rarefied at the top, to the most dense and crude below.
We are in Malkuth, the Kingdom, the physical body, the physical world.
Descent into matter was a mechanical process. It did not take any effort on our part. But now we have a very serious choice to make. Do we ascend this diagram through successive works of meditation, eliminating defects, developing divine knowledge? Or do we descend into greater states of conditioning, egotism, suffering?
The forces of mechanical nature want to swallow us. Nature gives us life and takes it away. It is a machine, a mechanism. Through evolving processes, we have our conception, our gestation, our birth, life and development. But through devolution, we get old, we get sick, we decay, and we finally die―perhaps to repeat the process again, but without any cognizance.
This is known, as I had mentioned, as The Transmigration of Souls, which is a lecture you can study in our course on Anthropology and Cosmology.
This dynamic is very easy to grasp in our concepts, but from experience, people fail to understand what heaven and hell is.
When we feel happiness, altruism, compassion, conscious love―do we not feel lighter? More free? More spacious? Expansive?
When we feel wrath, hatred, fear, distrust, agony, envy, lust―do we not feel heavy and burdened? Weighed down in terrible pain?
The Tree of Life is the heavens, elevated qualities of being, like conscious love, like empathy, intelligence, wisdom, mercy. These are very high levels of being, which the soul can reach only when it learns to tune in at that vibration. But for that, we have to overcome the density of the mind.
It is a habit to feed anger, pride, resentment, gluttony. We have to go against this. To go against the mechanical. To confront mechanicity. To cease being a machine that constantly reacts to life, but without any intelligent effort. We escape these cycles of existence with profound intentionality and intelligent action.
So, all meditative traditions teach us that freedom is experienced when the ego is gone. And so, the annihilation of the ego is the origin of happiness. It is known as Nirvana, cessation of suffering. It is liberation. It is Moksha, self-realization, salvation, whatever name we want to give to that union with the Being.
As stated by a Sufi Master, Abu Sai’d:
Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears―there’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t―that’s heaven. --Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar
The Essence, the soul, belongs to the Being. You want to experience heaven, those blissful states, remove the ego, because the ego is the obstacle. The Essence, the soul, does not belong in hell. However, the reality is that we are there, not because of God, not because of religion, but because of us. Our will. What we chose.
In Paradise Lost, the greatest epic poem in English, Milton depicted the fall from heaven, how we fell, how we were expelled from paradise, a state of mind―not because of the Being, but because we chose to. We went against the laws of nature. And the law is the law, according to Karma. And because we broke the law, the divine levels of being, we brought ourselves into pain.
We suffer all the time because we rebelled against the Being. We do it all the time. We enjoy it. And our modern culture will teach us how to worship and feed that mentality.
But, you can look at the results. Look at the society we are in. This is the facts. What we need now is a revolution in our psyche.
We have a lot of energy directed in wrong behavior. It pushes us along a trajectory that is truly terrifying. If you awaken in the astral plane, and personally I have had the experience of asking my divinity to show me where I am going, especially since discovering the techniques in this tradition, I have been able to see what my fate will be if I do not eliminate anger, pride, etc. It is very disastrous. There are consequences to our actions.
So, if you think about it, if we spent most of our life feeding desire, it is going to take a lot more effort to counteract that, to go against the flow, so that we can change our trajectory, in the same manner that we are driving towards the edge of a cliff very fast. You need to hit the brakes hard so that you stop. You might skid for a little while, but depending on how well your brakes are operating, the situation could be tragic.
And so, we need effort to change. We want to do this because we wish to ascend back to Pleroma, the heavens of the Gnostics, to redeem Sophia before the Archons, the hierarchies of the divine law, to balance our karma. But of course, every revolution is dangerous. It is terrifying. It is tremendous. We have to remember that, revolution of this type has tremendous consequences, because the physical body will go to the grave, but the soul, where it will go in nature depends on our cultivation of mind.
And so if we wish to return to our divine origins, to our source of happiness, our own consciousness, we have to examine ourselves, to confront ourselves.
This is why the Bible also explains:
The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. ―Matthew 11:12
This does not mean to approach the heavenly beings, the superior states of consciousness with agitation, with exertion. This type of super effort that we perform in ourselves is a work of equanimity, of serenity of mind, of concentration, of clarified imagination, self-observation, self-remembrance.
Obviously, murderers do not go to Heaven. But the warrior who renounces his or her defects and who conquers him or herself and eliminates anger, obviously radiates with peace, with sweetness. Only the humble can enter those regions.
So in your work of self-observation, how difficult is it to see and not act on anger, resentment, pride, fear, and most especially lust? How many of us in our studies have been successful in comprehending and eliminating self-esteem? Eliminating laziness? Gluttony?
The truth is that this work is very difficult. It is not easy to want to see contradiction in ourselves, to remove impurities through meditation. And it takes a lot of effort and a lot of suffering, voluntary suffering, to take responsibility for our mistakes. But people never like to question their “I.” They like to identify, to fortify, to feed the ego. It is easy. And because people like this, they want to be comforted by spirituality. They want to be told that if you simply believe in Jesus you are going to go to heaven. And yet the reality is that this is a war against ourselves.
But this does not mean we are morbid, pessimistic, self-flagellating people, that we harm ourselves, that we become depressed, angry, with ourselves. The reality is that we work on those defects with the purity of the consciousness, with the serenity and insight of a stable, serene Essence.
They say in martial arts, such as an Aikido, that if you want to subdue an enemy who comes at you aggressively, you have to be very serene. And the beauty of that art, philosophically speaking, comes from Zen Buddhism, and it relates to how if someone attacks you with a lot of aggression, you don't return it with violence, but you learn to redirect that energy back at them. And so, the only person that is hurting themselves is the aggressor. It is often considered a self-defensive art.
And so, the same philosophy applies to this principle. Perfect Zen, dhyana, meditative states, is a state of peace. You cannot conquer the mind if you are identified and filled with fear. Instead we have to be very diligent in being awake, remembering our Being. It is a state of peace. So that when those egos of fear, and violence, and hatred, and anger emerge, you can control it. But it takes effort. It takes tremendous calm: non-identification. But because this is very difficult, people don't like these studies.
Genuine spirituality is not comfortable. It is very frightening. It is not accepted by the multitudes because it is challenging. It means we have to renounce our beliefs, our identity, our religion, our mystical speculations. It is a result of great tribulation and sacrifice, the death of the ego and the painful labors and birth pangs of genuine virtue.
Christ, the cosmic intelligence speaking through Jesus of Nazareth stated:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. ―Matthew 10:34
The Three Factors for Spiritual Revolution
All religions teach three factors for spiritual evolution, the awakening of the consciousness.
This is synthesized by a statement of the Buddha:
Commit not a single unwholesome action, cultivate a wealth of virtue, tame this mind of ours; this is the teaching of all the buddhas. ―Buddha
So these three factors are within every religion in different forms. In the Gnostic teachings, we elaborate on these methods for acquiring birth, death, and sacrifice.
For those who have been reading the writings of Samael Aun Weor, we see that they are vast. They always encompass these three factors in a variety of ways.
Many mantras such as O, OM awaken consciousness. You can read the many books provided on gnosticteachings.org, which have hundreds of mantras, sacred sounds [Such as The Divine Science]. We have works of pranayama [Kundalini Yoga and The Yellow Book], Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation, The Magic of the Runes, alchemy [The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of the Golden Flower], transmutation: all of these work with energy.
Birth is about harnessing energy with purity, with a liberated free will, so that it gives birth and empowers the consciousness, the soul.
We also learn to direct energy towards the disintegration of the animal ego. We do so especially through Retrospection Meditation. We prepare for this type of meditation by developing serenity and insight. Or, concentration, imagination, which we have been explaining in this course.
And then we sacrifice for humanity, in accordance with our skills, our character, our dispositions, our abilities. And also, more importantly our level of being. This requires that we take all that energy we accumulate through birth, through chastity: virtues, purity of mind, and from the death of desire, and we direct that energy of compassion to others. We seek to elevate the level of being of others.
Each factor cannot be separated. They complement the others. You cannot have birth without death. Neither death without sacrifice. When virtue is born such as chastity, it is because lust is dead. And we can only achieve the death of lust if we sacrifice our habits, our mental states.
We will talk about these three factors in synthesis.
Baptism: The Birth of the Soul
The birth of the soul is symbolized by the Baptism of Christ, especially in the River Jordan. ירדן Jordan in the Hebrew means “descender.” It is literally the descent of spiritual energy from the top of the Tree of Life down into our body. Our body is a Tree of Life, or better said, our spinal medulla is the Tree of Life. It allows us to have existence. So this force of divinity, the pure waters of life, descend from the top of the Tree of Life, from our brain, down into our sexual organs. The energy and spiritual force of creation is condensed and materialized in our semen, whether we are male or female.
We have either sperm or ovum. This is the matter that contains the creative Genesis of every planet, of every divine being, of every cosmos. So, that River Jordan, that pure waters of life, descends from the heavenly realms and becomes our seminal matter. And because that force is now materialized, the Gnostic learns to conserve those waters and transform them. This is known as the power of sublimation.
We call that transmutation, to mutate, to change the form of the sexual matter into energy. Sublimation is the act of changing semen into subtle energy. We make it sublime, heavenly, divine. We accomplish this through many exercises in our tradition: mantras, pranayama, and especially alchemy.
Alchemy is the medieval science of metals, metallurgy. It means “to fuse oneself with God,” the Being. In synthesis, we transform the base metal or lead of the ego, the conditions of mind, into the gold of genuine spirituality, the awakened consciousness, the virtues of the soul.
So to work with the sexual waters is symbolized by baptism. We save and conserve and direct that energy from sex to the brain. This gives birth to the soul. So, Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, the Hebrew term for “descender.” So now that these forces have descended into us in the form of creative potential, we now have to raise it up within us. These waters must flow inward and upward, so that we are baptized by the sexual energy. We fill the mind with light, with power, with creative genius, spiritual force.
Remember that Joshua in the Bible, the Hebrew יהשוה Yeshua, is the same name as Jesus, made the waters of the Jordan to change course. He caused it to flow in the opposite direction with the help of God, the Being.
Yet, the tendency in most people is to expel the sexual energy, to give birth to a child. But through this spiritual path, we conserve the sexual energy and make it change its regular course, so that it flows within us as a regenerative fountain of eternal youth. This is how Jesus received the Word, the Christ principle, the Cosmic Being, through baptism. It is a profound symbol of birth, mystical birth, mystical consciousness.
So, the creative energy purifies the psyche in the same way that you take a shower to be cleansed. We use the creative sexual energy by transmuting it. We purify the mind, the consciousness. It gives birth to virtues. No flower could blossom without the waters of life. The same thing with chakras, the virtues of the soul, which are represented in the internal planes by beautiful flowers, immaculate roses. So, we have to learn to take this energy to empower our spirituality so that we can work on the ego.
This is why chastity is the ultimate revolution. Without this foundation, we have no power. We cannot work. We become stagnant. And once we are saving sexual energy, strengthening our essence, we have to direct ourselves towards purification, which is symbolized by the crucifixion of Christ.
The Passion and Crucifixion: Death of the Ego
Christ lived. He is a historical person, but more importantly for us, he lived his life according to principles. He represented an archetype known as Christ, so as to provide a very beautiful teaching for us. While his Baptism represents the factor of birth, his Passion and Crucifixion represents the death of the ego.
He demonstrated with his life and his Passion, the principal, the ultimate paradigm for eliminating the ego. It is very simple, but it is the most difficult thing to do. When he was persecuted, tortured, mocked, spat upon, betrayed, assassinated, he only showed compassion for his enemies. He said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
No anger. No frustration that he did not get his morning tea or whatever silly things we fight about in our small existence. We cannot even handle a sly comment, a sarcastic joke, yet, Christ was murdered, and in that process, he demonstrated only the most profound love, the most profound respect for his enemies.
It is this selflessness that is fundamental. Without it, we cannot eliminate the ego. The ego always wants to preserve itself. The mind always protests, cannot handle anything. But the ego can be controlled, can be eliminated, if the Essence works, through the help of the Being by submitting to superior laws.
So, Christ the Being, is serene before insult. Are we able to do this? Someone criticizes you? Are you able to respect that person even in your mind? The reality is that the ego always retaliates, whether with words or in chatter, in the mind. Therefore, if we wish to eliminate the ego, we have to deny our desires.
Sacrifice: Christ’s Ministry and Selfless Service
This is a profound form of sacrifice. This is the final factor which signifies fulfillment of our duties when we benefit humanity, when we serve humanity.
This term, sacrifice, relates to “sacred office,” our divine obligations. People think that sacrifice has something to do with slaughtering animals or people. In different religious cults, sacrifice of animals was symbolic: the act of removing the animal nature from ourselves. But this teaching degenerated when it became literal.
Real sacrifice signifies that, in accordance with the qualities of our Being, our character, our skills, we fulfill our duties to humanity and genuinely help others. We work to elevate the level of being of humanity. This can come in the form of teaching Gnosis. This is what many Gnostics assume: that to really sacrifice for humanity, you need to teach, but that is not the case.
All of us have skills that no one else has, that nobody can imitate. And we have to discover what that vocation is. It is a very secret thing, which you have to explore in a meditation, and to receive insight from astral experiences. We have to learn what type of work we are good at and what genuinely helps other people.
It could be providing, working, earning money for a spiritual school. Tithes and donations are very common, very basic structure and dynamic at every religious institution, but it is not the only way to sacrifice. Perhaps our sacrifice is to provide some type of service: a job, a marriage, cleaning a temple, providing books. Only we could determine that role from our Being, from our particular situation.
Real sacrifice, generosity, represented by the ministry of Christ, is the light that provides life and meaning. It gives us purpose. When you find your vocation, the way that you can sacrifice for humanity, it is the life and blood of your Being. Without it, you cannot exist.
For example, Beethoven. He loved his mission so much, being a master of Major Mysteries, a master musician, that even when he became deaf, he still composed. He received experiences and ecstasies in the astral plane and fought to compose and articulate that knowledge for humanity. He composed the Ninth Symphony when he was completely deaf. He could not hear his music, at least physically. Internally, he could hear his music. But obviously, he suffered a lot. That is profound form of love and sacrifice where he gave up his pain and his self-pity to give humanity a gift that is truly incomprehensible.
If you want to know more about the symbolism of such art, you can study our tarot course: The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, especially Arcanum 9, relating to the Ninth Symphony, but also The Secret Teachings of Opera.
So whatever vocation we find, that we experience, that we practice, we do it with selflessness, with love, with humility, with tolerance of others. And of course, it always involves some type of pain, suffering. This is voluntary suffering. This is part of the conscious work we need to fulfill. So often times, we might fear to help other people. We may be selfish. We may want to sustain ourselves to protect ourselves, protect our pride.
But the law of Christ is reciprocity. It is giving. By giving we receive. By helping we are helped. That is the law. Oftentimes, the best gifts come when we really do not want to do them. We feel tremendous resistance in the mind: pride, the humiliation that we do not want to lower ourselves to another person, to serve them, and yet by doing so we become the most honored. Humility is the gateway to heaven, not pride. Pride led to the fall for many of those angels like in Paradise Lost, but humility is the door, the gateway.
I would like to read you some verses from Kahlil Gibran's poem The Prophet, which illustrate these points:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
So the last example, learning to give without attachment, without expectation of reward, out of the fountain of generosity, that is the law of Christ, superior action, superior Being. This opens the door to redemption. Therefore, to receive inner experiences, to be compensated for our work, we have to sacrifice, but with selflessness. Not with expectation. Not with, “What am I going to get in return?” but because we wish to genuinely help others. This is the path of wisdom. This is comprehension of the divine law.
We will conclude with a verse from the Book of Matthew, which synthesizes these principles.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. ―Matthew 16:24
These are the three factors in synthesis. We have to deny ourselves: Holy negation, renounce the ego.
We must also take up the cross of reconciliation. This is the path of alchemy, which we explained in books like The Perfect Matrimony, The Mystery of the Golden Flower, and many books of tantric Buddhism, esoteric Christianity. The cross is a sexual symbol: the vertical phallus and the horizontal uterus. When those energies are harnessed in a matrimony, we conquer heaven. We redeem ourselves. We crucify our ego, and we explained in many lectures and courses how we can work upon the ego with the sexual energy in the act itself, performed with purity and love.
Lastly, we have to follow Christ. It is to affirm the law. It is sacrifice for others. In that way, we radically transform our situation.
I invite you to reflect on these principles and to practice them, because it is only through experience, through exercising our Essence, by working with the Gnostic discipline, that we can experience these things for ourselves.
At this point we're going to open up the floor to questions
Questions and Answers
Question: What is the difference between desire and the ego? Is there a difference?
Instructor: In strict esoteric language, there is no difference. This sense of self that wants, that craves, that fights for its desires, is ego.
It is the ego which says, “I want, I crave, I need.” “I want this, I want that,” is desire. Now, there are many poets within the Sufi tradition, especially, even Christian mysticism, that speak of desire for God, desire for the truth. And that is a little different. Semantically speaking, one thing is longing for divinity, and desire, to be very specific, is the ego, because 97 percent of our consciousness is trapped in the mind, in the ego. But to desire God, obviously in a poetic sense, we can say it is a longing for the truth. And that is a characteristic and quality of the Essence, of the consciousness, which is very different.
Question: Thank you for the lecture first. So three things: First was I was wondering if you could speak on... I have a little confusion with... you are mentioning how mechanical nature who wants to swallow us. And I have also heard in another lecture that nature does not care about our spirituality. Then there is this Divine Mother Nature and an aspect, as I understand, an aspect of God. So, I wrote things like, does this have to do with reaping what you sow? Or nature will allow us to use her according to... it is like the freedom of choice. I have some confusion over like Divine Mother Nature who loves us and then there is this mechanical nature that does not care. I get confused about that. I wonder if you could speak on that.
Instructor: Great question. There are two forms of nature. We have mechanical nature, which is the governance of all of the evolving and devolving processes in Malkuth, the physical world, the kingdom. All of the forces of mechanical nature operate in accordance with compensation: kill or be killed; eat or be eaten. This is very obvious within the animal kingdom, where you find that type of behavior, but also you find it in the humanoid kingdom, the intellectual animal, mistakenly called human being.
Our society and culture is based on animal desire. While we have the intellect, the reality is that human beings, or better said humanoids, continue to behave as animals, with the exception that we rationalize. We justify what we do, you know. We have the logic of hatred, of racism, of violence, and many excuses we tell ourselves as a country or society that condone certain behaviors, which belong to generation, animality.
Our ego belongs to mechanical nature. We received those instinctual elements when we enter the animal kingdom, through the process of transmigration. And for those of you who are not familiar with this concept, you can study in more depth the lecture called Transmigration of Souls in the Anthropology and Cosmology course. But in synthesis, mechanical nature governs society. It governs evolution and devolution, birth and death, life and corruption, etc.
But there is a different type of nature which is divine, which belongs to divinity. We call that Divine Mother Nature. That is the natural qualities, the expressions of the Being, relating to the Divine Mother, which will be the topic of our next lecture. Divine Mother Nature belongs to the Essence, the soul, the consciousness, which operates with very different laws beyond the concepts of good and bad, evolution, devolution.
The struggle that we face in this path is precisely in the work of the Essence going against mechanicity. We have two conflicting natures in ourselves, and I believe Paul of Tarsus explained that conflict very beautifully in his doctrine, in the New Testament, where he says, "that which I would not do, I do. And that which I do and what I would not want to do, I do anyways." “There is a constant war in my members,” he says, a battle between the ego and what it considers natural, and then the Essence, which tries to follow a superior law. And this is precisely the war mentioned in all the mythologies and cosmogonies of every religion. So these two natures are distinct, and to know the difference we have to be meditating, if that touches upon your question.
Question: Yes, so then the second question I have… thank you. The second question I have is when you were saying Christ went with his cross in serenity, like was able to forgive as he was being tortured and I was just wondering: does that have to do with his experience in the Garden and sweating blood, like preparing for that which was to come? Was there a science to... he saw it, went through it in a way in advance so, therefore, was able to have that serenity, because the two seem very linked?
Instructor: Yes, a master at that level is very elevated. He had foreknowledge of what would happen to him. And in fact, he organized the drama so that he would be captured. It's a very subtle teaching in which he knew that he would be assassinated, but out of sacrifice for humanity, and by the commands of his Being, he knew that he had a live that drama physically to represent a cosmic, spiritual, psychological drama, something that every initiate must enter through on their own in their different ways.
It does not mean that when we enter Gnosis that we are going to be crucified like Jesus. We all face our own difficulties and struggles in life, which are particular to each one of us. This is discussed in our courses on initiation. But Jesus was very awakened, even at the time before his Passion, he had no ego. He was already dead. So, he was preparing for the culmination of the spiritual work, which is resurrection. So, he knew exactly what he needed to do. And of course, even at that level, he suffered a lot, because as he said in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Abba, Father, if it be possible, take this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will, but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42).
That is a form of sacrifice. And of course, the greatest sacrifices always involve a lot of struggle. But we can see the result of Christ's teaching, especially in its original form. I am not necessarily promoting the beliefs of standard Christianity that is accepted today, because those teachings have been lost, have been diluted or sterilized, but in the esoteric heart of his life, he performed a drama that is incredible―really, is amazing. But, he knew what he had to do. He was very aware of what his path was and we can gain insights like that at our level if we are really meditating deeply and having those experiences, where we know exactly what will happen to us in the path, so that we are prepared. And of course, Jesus was prepared, otherwise, he could not have handled the ordeal.
Audience: Yeah, as you were saying, he was going beyond good and evil, yet it does not mean that suffering is all over, that the sacrifice is done, because, as you were saying, he was already dead to egos He was already there in a way but he still had to suffer and sacrifice.
Instructor: Yes, and many masters who achieve the path, who finished and resurrect, even they must perform sacrifices: continue working with the three factors as they are entering very high stages of development in the Absolute. I hope that answers your question.
Question: Yeah. I was wondering if you had a suggestion because over the last few days. I have been experiencing a form of noticing identity in senses, especially like sight and what this sometimes results in is an experience of feeling as I sit. As if I am like falling, like kind of falling, like things are falling away, like there is a sense of like non-identity. I guess you could call it profound, but it's rather terrifying, as if things are everything I sense.
It's just like an illusion and I have noticed that first there is kind of a terror that comes like, “Nope, don't want to go there,” and then there is also another thing that comes up like, “No, I want to go there,” but it is like a desire and so I have been trying to find a way where I am not going to get away from it, but I don't want to like indulge into either.
I have been thinking about Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Swaha: the aspect of five [the Gnostic Pentagram] because it is five senses. I was wondering if you had a suggestion or a certain mantra or something that may encourage to not indulge in it, but not to deny it and to allow it, as it seems to be something that has been popping up.
Instructor: Good question. That type of psychological state is conflicted. There is the sense of self that says, “I want to experience this,” and then there is the ego that says, “I don't.” Having a dichotomy in the mind is precisely the battle of the antitheses, the struggle of the intellect.
My suggestion is that when you experience inner conflict, breathe deeply, inhale through your nostrils, profoundly hold your breath naturaly, in a relaxed way, and exhale, focus on your breath, and also examine the mind.
Do not try to judge it. Do not try to label it, but look at it. See it for what it is. You know, there are all these thoughts and conflicted wills and memories and states of agitation, which you have to separate from. You have to look at it like you are a director in a film observing an actor. When we identify with either states, we become the state: we become obscured. And therefore, we are thinking that we are thinking and feeling that we are feeling, but in the subjectivity of the ego.
I recommend, especially when you are practicing meditation or preparing for it, take a lot of time to relax, and especially work with energy, as we explained in the former lectures. Take time to work with pranayama, mantra, sexual transmutation, because that energy is going to empower your perception, so that you have the strength necessary to look at what is going on. And rather than try to expect what you are going to see, just keep an open attitude.
The way that we do so is when we are relaxed. We are not expecting anything, looking forward to anything, or trying necessarily to analyze what we are seeing, the conflict in ourselves. When you simply look, the answers will start to unfold themselves and lead you to new understandings. This is a faculty of intuition: to comprehend without having to think, and that skill only develops more and more when you are consistent. So, I recommend try some mantras, try some transmutation, circulate energy in yourself so that you can relax and so that you have the serenity and stability to really discriminate what you see. I hope that answers your question.
Audience: Yeah. What you are saying is that if even if there is a dissolution of the senses, even if you are moving away, there is a sensation that comes with that can be identified with. That there is a sensation in letting go of senses that that is a further need to be not identified with, so thank you. That is very helpful, the director of the film idea. Thank you.
Question: It seems like I have enough impediments and vices and afflictions and desires even with no distraction that, you know, just deciding, “Okay, I don't want to be gluttonous about watching TV this weekend or that kind of stuff.” That is going to take a long time, all the various ways that I overindulged my senses, maybe not to some people's standard, but really I see it in myself. So, I would say that it is there, prevalent, a basic thing that needs to be worked on, and you know struggle with, and it is not easy. Because I can say the same thing every day, “I am going to do this” and then inevitably I fail at something that I am trying to not do, let us say even having the desire to think something negative.
I am so slow now that I can see everything pretty well, like I can watch myself a lot, but the changing of myself is the part that is hard. I guess I am just wondering, does that fall under the of a form of sacrifice when one is able to really conquer those things, moment by moment, all the time, even though the easiest thing is to just think that negative thing or to watch those five shows in a row, or whatever it is, you know? There are so many different things that we do to be asleep.
Instructor: Absolutely. There are levels of sacrifice. Sometimes sacrifice can involve changing our habits and our behaviors when relating to people, primarily because it is a sacrifice and a compassionate act to be a good person, to not give our mind or self-esteem what it wants. For example, if we are in a conflict at work, it is a sacrifice to the other people in our community to act with serenity and compassion. It is a matter of sacrificing our own will so that we can benefit others.
But of course, there are degrees to this, levels to this, primarily because to have the greatest effect, we need to be generating the most energy and eliminating the most impurity as we can, so that we become a conduit, a vessel that can express divinity with greater perfection.
All three factors go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the others. So, in order for our sacrifices to be really beneficial, we have to die to something. Something has to die in us.
But also, we have to give birth to virtue. Something has to be created from that action. But something has to be put away. And understanding this dynamic is very subtle and very intricate, very beautiful and profound. You learn it by performing it, especially through moment to moment self-observation, self-remembrance, work upon yourself. You know, we learn how to sacrifice ourselves when we are in remembrance of the presence of God, but also, we are restraining our negative habits, our negative qualities of being.
So, even in terms of sacrificing other habits, you know, it is always good to dedicate more time to meditation. That can be a type of sacrifice for ourselves and eventually becomes a sacrifice for others if we are really developing our understanding. If that makes sense.
Question: Yeah, it makes sense. It does make sense. I have one other little thing and that is, I am really enjoying this cup of tea. It is almost like, should I be enjoying it? It is this weird thing like we are looking forward to it. Is that where I am not having equanimity?
Maybe it is just the same. It is really just desire, you know?
Instructor: Certainly. Now, as students of this tradition, when we say that we must eliminate desire, the ego, it does not mean that we do not enjoy life. It does not mean that we do not enjoy a cup of tea or appreciate a sunrise. In fact, it means that we are more vigilant and awake, more sensitive, more in tune with reality, Therefore we enjoy life with a greater equanimity, understanding, and appreciation. The ego is attached to the object of its desires, whereas with the consciousness, we can enjoy things, but it doesn't mean that we are attached. It is a very subtle difference.
Question: When we are transmuting as a couple, should we be moving our energy up our spine or does it do it automatically?
Instructor: When practicing alchemy, everything is intentional. We must be intentional with everything. So when we are sexually connected, we have the energy present, the vital forces of Yesod in hyperactivity, and if we wish to redirect those energies, we have to use your willpower. So, there is a type of will involved, consciously speaking, in which we have to first conserve the energy. Do not release it, and learn to redirect it up the spine with concentration, with imagination, with love.
That is the most important thing, is that we show love for our partner and respect for that force, respect for the divine in our spouse. We cannot unintentionally transmute, mechanically. The energies want to go out according to animal, mechanical nature, but the type of Divine Mother Nature that we are developing is in relation to redirecting that force with willpower. So, we have to develop Christ's will in ourselves and to intentionally bring that energy upward, inward. It does not happen automatically. If it did happen automatically, then you would have in this humanity a self-realized race, but the truth is that transmutation is an intentional revolution. It requires specific conscious efforts.
Question: What if external circumstances are affecting my meditation practices? In the lecture you say change within, but it is difficult without good meditation.
Instructor: It is a good point to make that we may not be having a conducive environment in which to meditate. One of the stipulations and basis for meditation, according to Tsong Khapa, the author of the Lam Rim, or The Great Treatise on the Stages to the Path of Enlightenment, is that we have a good home. It does not mean that it has to be perfect. It only means that we have enough stability in our home life that we have a space by which we can practice.
Obviously, people who are in a war zone have a very difficult time meditating, but speaking from general experience, working with North American students and living in North America, we tend to have a lot of luxuries that we take for granted. This is just a common experience. Now, a lot of times, the obstacles that people face in their beginning stages of meditation have to do with a lack of concentration and relaxation. So, obviously if our home life is a disaster, meaning we have a very difficult home environment: perhaps living with other people who are shouting or fighting all the time, maybe in a bad neighborhood, there is violence occurring on the street, whatever it may be, we have to work with where we are at.
They say that the greatest meditators know how to transform adversity, difficult situations, no matter what. So regardless of whether there is noise across the street or there are gunshots sounding throughout the neighborhood, we can learn to take those distractions, to ignore them, and to develop our concentration. So, meditation becomes profound if we exert a lot of discipline in ourselves. And if we learn to take advantage of adversities and learn to develop our meditative practice, despite our environment, our concentration will be much stronger than those who never have that type of obstacle to face.
I believe even Dion Fortune wrote that one is not really an initiate if they cannot meditate on a train, in a public place, with perfect equipoise. Primarily because even when there are a lot of noises, people sitting around and talking, if one can maintain one's vigilance and inner introspection, one is going to have a very profound will, and will be able to obtain results consistently.
Question: During the transmigration of the soul, does the Essence always return to the humanoid kingdom once it has been obtained, or does the Essence return to the lower animal kingdom or the lower animals in the animal kingdom to suffer before the next rebirth?
Instructor: Devolution within animal bodies occurs when the humanoid, the intellectual soul, has lost all opportunities. That person who has utilized their 108 existences but has not desired or worked towards the self-realization of the Being, must descend into animal bodies. They will not be able to go back up, at least at that type of condition, because when someone is devolving, they no longer have control. They are being redirected and pulled by the forces of the Earth down towards the interior in accordance with the processes of devolution. So, in short, such a person who is entering animal bodies is not going to be given a humanoid body again, because they already lost their chance and their opportunity. If you would like to learn more, again, I recommend those lectures we referenced.
Question: How do we accept when a family member is doing something wrong, such as following a bad habit? I had an astral event where I said angry words and disappointment to her; is that my desire for them to be different? It is painful to see that. Can I take this pain as a sacrifice and accept it?
Instructor: This is a very good question. It raises a very deep concern for us, primarily because the virtue of the Gnostic Church is tolerance. We have to have compassion and acceptance of others, their free will. It does not mean that we keep silent and it does not mean that we do not communicate our concerns. But whether we do it with resentment, with anger, or with generosity, is different. So it's good to communicate our feelings to others, especially when we really love our family members and we see themselves harming themselves.
You know, obviously, if there are physical violence involved, it is important to get the professionals involved. But one thing is being zealous and angry at that person, preaching hellfire, damnation, and not really communicating to them a sense of love―that is different. So in one sense, it could be a desire for the other person to be different, where we want them to be a certain way. And obviously that is an egotistical sentiment. It is coercion. Compassion and conscious love respects others, regardless, and accepts them for who they are. But, it does not mean we do not say anything, that we do not communicate our genuine concerns.
So it obviously can be a sacrifice to endure that pain and to show them love as a result, and not resentment. Or, it can also be a sacrifice to teach them how to change and have the patience to do so. That could be a sacrifice as well.
Question: Just to confirm, the three factors happen independently or simultaneously, and is it a continuous process throughout life?
Instructor: The three factors happen together. They are a synthesis. They complement and contribute to each other. So, when we act virtuously, we are restraining the ego. We are sacrificing our ego to show compassion to our neighbor, or a person perhaps who insulted us. In that example, someone could be criticizing us, and we feel resentment and pain, but instead of retaliating with hatred, we sacrifice our feeling and act virtuously towards that person. And therefore, we give birth or creation of new circumstances.
In that way, we can transform an enemy into a friend. We sacrifice our pride, humble ourselves, and in turn, create a new situation. And in that way, we also die to the old, in order to give birth to the new.
So, in that principle, all three factors have to work together. You cannot have one without the other. This is why in certain groups within the Gnostic tradition, there are people who focus sometimes exclusively on death, or serving others and sacrifice, and maybe people forget to work with birth. In most cases, a lot of people tend to forget death: how to die to the ego. Death of desire is really important, but the other factors are essential too. We need all three to work together.
Thank you all for coming.
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