When we look out at the events of the world today, we probably see many scenes that frighten, confuse, or anger us. So, the goal of this lecture is to learn how we can understand the meaning of these events, and more importantly, the meaning of all the experiences that we have personally in our lives. This is part of the course Cultivating Virtue, Conquering Vice that we have been giving, to help people with practical steps when you begin seriously trying to apply the Gnostic teachings to your daily life. So, the goal of this lecture will be practical, and also build upon other introductory lectures that have been given by various instructors leading up to today’s lecture.
How can we use life experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, for our own spiritual growth and transformation? How do we come to learn from our life in a spiritual way?
We commonly interpret our life through a worldly lens, because we are really identified with our terrestrial self: “my name, my job, my education, my family, my race,” etc. But when we approach these teachings, we are really trying to come into contact with our eternal self, our soul, our spirit, our inner divinity, and for that we need to take a different approach than we commonly take when we view our lives.
There is a really great verse in the Bible, 8th chapter of Romans, verses 5 through 7. Paul of Tarsus stated:
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. ―Romans 8:5-7
What Paul is pointing out for us here that when we are so concerned with the things of flesh―providing for our physical life, for our physical comfort, taking care of our material needs, and also, adding all those things that we want that bring us pleasure materially―they are not necessarily the things that we need. We are actually in a state of death, spiritually speaking. This is not going to the extreme, saying that we do not need to worry about getting food or providing for our families, nor taking care of the deeds that are our responsibilities in our worldly life. But when we shift to a spiritual mindset, we are able to do those things in a harmonious way, with our spiritual development, and that is why Paul states so clearly that to be carnally-minded is death of our soul, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.
When our soul is awakened, when our Essence―which has been mentioned before, the seed of our soul, our consciousness―is active, we are able to experience a deep sense of peace even if we go through our lives doing all the necessary things that we have to do. Even as we see the tremendous events that are taking place on the world stage, we have the life within us. We have the serenity of God’s law in our heart. That is what gives us the ability to remain peaceful even through events that would cause most people to become extremely anxious, irritable, or angry.
We know in this teaching that we exist in four bodies of sin. These are the physical body, the vital body, which provides the energy that animates our physical body, the astral body, which is the vessel for our emotions, and the mental body, which is the body of our thoughts.
It has been talked about in previous lectures. But to recap, each of these bodies are subtle. Aside from the physical body, which is a dense body, the subtle bodies are not something that we can see directly with our physical eyes, but they are something that all of us are experiencing continually throughout the day. We are constantly thinking, in most of our cases. We are also feeling, moving around physically, and that vital energy is continually spreading throughout our body to keep us alive, to keep our heart beating.
We call these the four bodies of sin because we refer to these as lunar bodies. They are bodies that are given to us by nature, and they are subject to the laws of nature. That is why Paul of Tarsus points out that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, because this mind, the lunar mental body, is subject to the laws of nature, the basic laws of karma, physical and energetic, cause and effect. But that law of God is a law of spiritual growth, of eternal life, of development and compassion for all beings. It is a kind of eternal wisdom that our carnal mind, our common, worldly mind, is not able to access. Our carnal mind is always selfish and seeking for our own worldly benefit, even when it hurts the people around us. That is not in accordance with the higher law of divinity, which is mercy, compassion, and penetrating spiritual wisdom.
I want to also talk about the ego, which has also been mentioned in other lectures, because the ego is what inhabits these lunar bodies. The ego is what causes us to no longer be aware of God’s law and aware of what our own inner divinity wants us to do and wills to be done. Instead, the ego is aware of all the various, contradictory desires that we might have. So, we might be experiencing gluttony, greed, envy, lust, all forms of selfishness, which are related to our worldly life: “How can I get more, more, more for me, me, me?” But this is enmity against God because God is the source of all light of all beings, and when we separate into a false self, an ego, we are using all of the beautiful vessels of nature―that we have been given―to sin, to act in ways that are inharmonious, especially when we sin against the law of chastity, the preservation of the sacredness of sex. We are also showing enmity towards God because sex is the source of all life, just as God is the source of all life.
So, in this teaching we really need to change our mindset to, “How can we perform acts that are spiritually beneficial for us?” In order to do that, to break from the habit of worldly mindedness, we need to awaken that Essence, that seed of our soul, to extract that spiritual meaning from life’s various experiences.
How to Develop Attention
In order to start to awaken into this new kind of conscious vision of our life, we need to develop the capacity of attention. Gurdjieff, who is a famous esoteric teacher preceding our tradition, but which we have a lot of correlation in our tradition in our tradition as well, gave us the following example. He stated:
An aspiring pianist can never learn except little by little. If you wish to play melodies without first practicing, you can never play real melodies. It is the same with psychological ideas. To gain anything, long practice is necessary. ―Gurdjieff
So, in order to awaken this conscious and profound state of being, we need to start with the little things, with attention. We need to begin by developing the capacity for attention, because most of us now a days, sadly, have the attention of a goldfish. We receive a lot of external information from the news, television, movies, music, text messages, phones, computers, etc. So, all the time, our attention is constantly distracted and moving from one thing to the next. So, we need to develop a sort of permanence of attention that is the foundation which we can go to a more profound state of self-awareness and observation of what is happening within us, as well as what is happening outside of us in our lives.
Gurdjieff was asked by one of his students:
Student: “How can we gain attention?”
Gurdjieff is using these kinds of unconscious movements, these fidgets, so to speak, as a way to point out that we do not have control over our body. We are not consciously aware that we are moving around all the time. So, in order to first become aware of the way that we move and gain some control over our body and be conscious of that, we have to focus our attention on one thing. He gives the example of these kinds of nervous movements. But you can also focus on your breathing. Always be conscious of your physical breath, because our physical bodies are a wonderful place to focus on, continually throughout the day, as we are moving around. By watching your breath continually, you will gradually strengthen your attention, and then after that attention is strengthened, you will begin to discover that a new kind of consciousness emerges while you act throughout the day. So, you will be focusing on your breath and also talking to a friend or maybe working at your job. Through this division of your attention between the outer world and yourself―in this case, your breath―a new kind of consciousness emerges in that middle space. That is just a case of conscious awareness that we need for really profound self-observation. This is the foundation in which we can expand attention to observe our three brains.
The Three Brains
What are the three brains? They are three centers that process different information, different stimuli, and different kinds of energy. The first is the intellectual brain, which we can consider it the thinking center. The intellectual center of course is associated with our physical brain and is where we often process all kinds of intellectual information. Some of us are really intellectual people and so we feel very comfortable with thinking things through, reasoning through life. We like to read a lot of books or theorize often and that might be the tendency that we have.
However, there are two other brains that we also use. The second is the emotional brain, the feeling center. This is associated with our heart, and often we feel this energy in the solar plexus area. If you ever felt an emotion of fear, you might feel that sinking in your gut. That is the emotional brain. So, for those of us who are imbalanced in the emotional brain, we might be constantly overwhelmed by emotions. We really like social dramas, romances, or watching television shows that really stimulate our emotions, and we might have trouble coming to a conclusion about how to take action or being reasonable in a time when we are very emotionally agitated.
The third brain is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, the motor center. This is responsible for animating our physical body, all of the unconscious processes of the body like heartbeats, or the sexual instinct, or your impulse when you are burned―you pull away from the fire. For those of us who are imbalanced in this center, we might be very active people, always on the go, loving sports, and do not take time to nourish our emotional brain or to really think things through.
All of us have these three centers and we are using them all the time, but we need to be aware of when we might be out of balance, because if we are out of balance, we are often stealing energy from some of the brains and channeling that energy to a brain in which we have a predisposition. So, if I am a very intellectually centered person, then I may be stealing all of the energy from my physical body, or even some emotional energy to keep my mind always active, always studying, always thinking through new things. As a result, I might become sick physically or I might develop some kind of mental imbalance such as schizophrenia. In the emotional brain people who are investing too much in that center can develop emotional illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders. People who abuse their motor-instinctive-sexual brain might overuse their physical body to the extent in which they can develop a lot of physical disabilities that can create problems for them later on in life.
Samael Aun Weor teaches us in the Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
The balanced and harmonious function of the three brains results in the saving of vital values and, as a logical consequence, the prolongation of life. ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
These vital values are distributed among our three brains in different proportions. So, we can say, for example, our intellectual brain has twenty vital values, and our emotional brain might have thirty vital values, and our motor-instinctual-sexual brain has fifty vital values. The more that you use one brain, the more that you use up those values. But preserving these vital values is essential to prolong our life, our physical life, and preserving these vital values is also essential to awakening our consciousness and prolonging our spiritual awareness of what is happening throughout our daily life.
So, we really need to learn how to balance these brains. If we are too intellectual, how do we engage in activities that develop our emotional center and motor center? And if we are imbalanced physically, how do we do different activities to develop our mind and heart? If we are imbalanced emotionally, how do we do activities that help to develop our mind and keep our bodies strong and healthy?
Samael Aun Weor stated that the ancients knew how to intellectually cultivate the three brains. They did this through classical art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, and opera. We think about that kind of information which stimulates the mind, heart and body in different ways all at once. We might realize that it is very different from the education that we received in school. Most of us in the West are very intellectual because we received that training throughout our school life. So, we need to take a conscious effort into redeveloping all three centers in harmony at the same time. I encourage you to find classical art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, and opera that inspires you, that you have a spiritual affinity towards.
Begin to extract the spiritual meanings from these art forms as you look at a painting or you watch a play, or you listen to classical music. Try to extract with your consciousness the spiritual significance that is embedded into those art forms. As you gain the ability to analyze art in this way, you will also be able to develop the ability to analyze your own life experiences as scenes in a spiritual drama in which you have to learn the various personal lessons that your inner God has provided for you.
Everything in our life is controlled by karma, the law of cause and effect. Our inner divinity, very intelligently, organizes the experiences of our life in such a way that they become a gymnasium to strengthen us psychologically and spiritually. When we see a scene in an opera, in which the hero of the opera is really struggling with a profound emotion, and we come to understand what that scene signifies for the development of one’s soul, then we might take a moment of turmoil in our own personal life and reflect on it in meditation to see what this means in the overall arch of our development [learn more by studying The Secret Teachings of Opera].
Many of the experiences in our life help us to see our own ego. So, we have to experience difficult situations in order to see the imbalances that come out in our intellect, our heart, that will cause us to act in an egoic way, in a worldly mindset, against God’s will. These are things that cause us to hurt other people or even cause harm to ourselves, because we are not thinking in accordance with the harmony of God’s wisdom.
Gurdjieff talked about this when he said that there was a sort of lamp of consciousness, and this lamp requires energy in order to continue burning. As we try to observe or pay attention to ourselves, our physical body, our emotional or intellectual center throughout the day, we often run out of energy. Those vital values are exhausted. Part of this is because when we act in an egoic way, we are expending too much energy. So, to act in a lustful way or a greedy or envious way, wastes a lot of our vital energy and causes us to become intellectually, emotionally, and physically depleted. Then we just do not have any energy left to be consciously aware of our breathing or our emotional, intellectual, motor-instinctive-sexual brains, right?
Balance in the Three Brains
How do we act in a way that is peaceful, harmonious, and balanced in the three brains, in order to prolong that attention? Gurdjieff gave us an example of a lamp as well as the example of a small accumulator, which today we can compare to an electric battery. We know that when a battery is depleted, the lamp runs out, right? Gurdjieff explains that the intellectual mind is like a very small battery with little energy, which is not sufficient to maintain our conscious attention. So, when we are very identified with our intellectual mind during the process of self-observation, we are often not able to pay attention to our body, or our heart, and we are usually not able to self-sustain our self-attention for very long. We are focusing on our mind in a very intellectual way: “What am I thinking? What am I doing now? What is the other person saying? How do I feel in my heart?” We are too identified with the mind. We have to remember that we are not just a mind. We are not just brains with legs to carry our brains around, right? We have a heart. We have a body. We have a soul. Throughout the day, we have to observe the heart and we need to balance ourselves, because the heart and the body, the emotional and the motor centers, often have much more vital energy than the mental body.
In order to stay self-aware for longer periods of time, we need to really incorporate the energy of all three brains simultaneously. This is difficult. In the beginning, remember that we are focused in just one aspect of our physical life throughout the day, continually, to develop our attention. Then we begin to expand that awareness to the emotional and intellectual center. We do not do this in an intellectual way. We do this in a conscious way. Just observing, not intellectually analyzing: “What is my body doing? I am moving my hands,” but rather we are observing the movement of our hands. We are feeling it with all of our conscious being. We are feeling the emotions of our heart. We are observing our mind without meaning, to interpret those thoughts, just observing those thoughts on the screen of the mind. It takes time to develop this skill, just like any aspiring pianist needs to begin with very simple skills in order to be able to play beautiful melodies. We begin with the basic skill of attention and we gradually expand it towards the three brains in order to really reach this profound state of self-observation.
Self-observation is a very essential skill for our spiritual development, because when we observe ourselves, we are not so identified with our life experiences. If somebody says something critical towards me, usually I am so focused on what they say that I mechanically react to them in a very instinctual, carnal-minded, way―acting from an ego, a sense of pride, maybe, and I am not at all aware of my intellectual, emotional, or motor brain. I am acting in a total, unconscious way, just as someone who unconsciously fidgets when they are nervous without even noticing it.
When we have self-observation, we can observe the outer world. In this example of someone criticizing us, we can see simultaneously what emerges in our mind, in our heart, and in our body to react to that person, and then we have the conscious awareness to be able to, hopefully, choose in that moment if we want to respond in the instinctive way or if we want to respond from a more conscious place in accordance with God’s will.
It is not easy to develop this skill, but it is essential, and it will benefit you in so many ways. Developing the ability to live harmoniously and not waste our vital values through these egoic states, we are able to prolong our physical life. But more importantly, we are able to develop our spiritual life and to perceive new aspects of consciousness, new sides of life that we never saw before.
In his book Fundamentals of Gnostic Education, Samael Aun Weor offers us this beautiful example of what one might experience during self-observation. He states:
The revolutionary psychology of the new age teaches that three distinct psychological aspects exist within each person. Thus, we crave a thing through one part of our psychic essence, yet we desire a decidedly different thing with another part, and we do a totally opposing thing through the third part. I.e., in a moment of supreme pain, perhaps the loss of a beloved relative or any other intimate tragedy, our emotional personality can reach even to desperation, while our intellectual personality asks itself the “why” of such a tragedy, whilst the personality of movement only wants to run away from the scene. ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
We can all relate to having an experience like this, right? That is the key to the beginning, to digest our life experiences. When we experience a situation like this, we use the steps that we just talked about. We awaken our consciousness through the attention. We balance the three brains to see in a harmonious way, and then we observe ourselves: “What is happening in my body right now? What is happening in my heart right now? What is happening in my mind right now?” That allows us to perceive life from the spiritual mind instead of from the carnal mind. That allows us to really understand ourselves and see what is inside of us, to observe a new ego of pride, or fear, lust, or jealousy that comes out in such a moment. That is why all the experiences in life are more useful to us than any chapter in a book, because if you were able to be conscious and observe one experience in your life and later meditate on it to extract spiritual insight and wisdom in that moment of your life, it can teach you how to evolve spiritually. It can show you who you are in this moment, psychologically speaking. It can unveil to you how God can transform you. God does transform you in a moment like this when you are awake.
If we experience a moment of losing a beloved relative or losing something precious to us in an unconscious way, all we do is suffer and we react mechanically, often causing more suffering. If we experience the same situation in a conscious way, we feel that grief, but we are able to understand it as a spiritual lesson about life, about the impermanence of life, or the value of our human relationships, and we are also able to provide comfort to the people around us instead of becoming lost and self-absorbed in pain. That is the value of this process: attention, balancing the three brains, and self-observation.
Meditating on the Three Brains
Meditation is really the final key to gain the most insight of our lives. When we meditate on a situation that we experienced today, we can see the reactions in our three brains and observe them in a state of serenity, and then we can penetrate into a deeper insight about those situations. I give the following as a suggestion for your meditation practice, to do each night as you are working throughout the day, to observe yourself and the three brains.
First become physically comfortable. You need to find a physical, comfortable position for you in which you can sit without falling asleep, and maintaining attentiveness throughout your meditation.
Then become aware of your three brains: “Am I experiencing any disequilibrium in my physical body or in my vital body right now? What am I feeling emotionally right now? What kind of thoughts are passing through my intellect?”
That awareness will help us to calm down, to settle the three brains. We especially need these three brains to be balanced and in harmony when we are meditating. Take the first part of your meditation just to relax. Breathe deeply. Become aware of your three brains.
Then when you feel like you are in balance, when you feel like you are relaxed, but attentive and consciously awake, then you can reflect on a difficult life experience, whether one from that day or the past. Watch it on the screen of your mind. In the beginning, it is really challenging not to get identified with that experience. We need to be able to maintain serenity and observe what comes up in our three brains when we reflect on this experience, without then fueling more energy into those responses. So, if I reflect on an experience where I was rejected by someone that I loved, then I feel pain and anger coming up in my heart. I am thinking critical thoughts about that person, and even my body is even clenching and clenching my fists. Then that is not what we need. We need to be able to then breathe, relax the body, relax the emotions, relax the mind and stay in balance as we observe, see and feel what is happening in our three brains: “Ok, I am observing this feeling, this feeling of hatred in my heart. I am observing these critical thoughts. I am not continuing to fuel that hatred or continuing to think more critical thoughts. I am just observing them and praying to my inner divinity to show me myself as I really am.” That is what it means to observe these reactions with equilibrium, conscious awareness.
Remember, that situation cannot hurt you in that moment during meditation because it is not happening. It is not the present moment. So, do not get re-identified with it and bring it back to life. Just observe it. Study it, and see yourself, because that situation is a mirror which will help you to observe yourself and what you truly are. We might think we are a great person and always trying to do our best for others, but a moment like that can show us that we really do have a part of ourselves, an ego, that is very ugly, that is filled with hatred that wants to criticize and hurt other people. That is the valuable information that life can give us, that we cannot learn by reading a book about somebody else’s life, right?
If we are able to, we can go to a deeper state of relaxation and observe new insights. This takes time, but to those who are skillful with meditation and have been meditating for a long time, they can then enter into this deeper state of relaxation in which the mind is blank, but open to new perceptions. Some images may come into screen of perception and that image can encode a message from your inner divinity, which relates to the situation that you were just observing. You can write down those images or any observations that you had about your three brains in a spiritual diary, whether in that meditation or subsequent meditation. You can reflect on those new insights that you gained, then try to go deeper into them.
If you are particularly meditating on a traumatic experience or maybe a set of traumatic experiences that are related, this is not something you are going to fully comprehend in one meditation sitting. So, you need to continue to record these observations in a diary. At least that is my recommendation. Then each time, meditate deeper and deeper. Keep going. Our first meditation will be very superficial. We might see a superficial, egotistical quality in one of the three brains, but then if we meditate on that quality and go deeper into it, we see that behind that there is a deeper suffering, a deeper pain. Each layer takes us deeper into the inner states of our psychology. With this meditation, we are going to really extract meaning from our lives that will really transform the whole way that we experience life.
Before applying Gnostic teachings to my daily life, I was so confused and suffering all of the time. Most of the time I did not think that there was any meaning to my suffering. I had a very nihilistic approach to life, that suffering is just meaningless, and life does not have any purpose. But little by little, by applying these teachings, I began to understand a really profound and magical significance to the things that happened to me, to the experiences I had, to my relationships with other people. I saw that within each one of those experiences, my inner God is giving me a profound lesson: the need to change, to improve myself, to grow as a spiritual being, and also destroy my ego, eliminating it through the power of my inner divinity, to be purified, to become a spiritually minded person who is in equilibrium with my inner divinity. Therefore, God can act through me in a harmonious way that helps others, instead of my ego acting through those four bodies of sin and causing pain for myself and other people around me.
There is a final verse from the Bible that I would like to share with all of you because it gives me a lot of strength through moments of tribulation, and I use this verse quite often for meditating, to set the right mindset when I reflect on something painful that has happened to me.
Paul of Tarsus wrote:
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ―2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This process of self-observation and meditation helps us transform our mind from that carnal mind, we talked about in the first slide, to the spiritual mind. We can begin to see new aspects of life that we can never have witnessed before because our consciousness, as a faculty, as a sense, opens up new inner worlds to us. Our dreams at night become much more vivid and much more meaningful. The experiences that we have in dreams can also be analyzed in meditation just in the way that our physical experiences can be analyzed.
The symbols of our dreams can also enlighten us to learn how to experience the symbolic significance of things that happen to us in our life. That is why art, drama, and scripture are so valuable for us to learn spiritually. When we learn to interpret something spiritually, an opera, or a play, or a beautiful work of classical music, on a spiritual level, then that gives us the ability to apply that same method of spiritual, conscious analysis to our own daily life.
If you have any questions, I would be happy to take them now. You can type them in the chat if you need to, or we might be able to take those questions by unmuting you if you raise your hand.
Questions and Answers
Question: Do you think dreams could be precognitive, or represent our insecurities and fears?
Instructor: That is a really wonderful question, because just as we experience life in an unconscious and mechanical way, we often experience dreams in that same way. So, yes, we do have a lot of egotistical dreams which are just showing us that we have some sort of emotional turmoil that we are experiencing, or that we are afraid of some situation. Maybe we have a dream in which we really see our envy, towards another person, in a symbolic way. That is why we need to interpret and dissect the meaning of these dreams through meditation, because if we just look at them in a superficial way, we are not going to see what egotistical qualities of ourselves that they are trying to reveal to us.
We also have dreams or visions that are very awakened, in which they have a much more spiritual and conscious significance to us and teach us profound wisdom from our inner divinity. It is also good to distinguish if this is an egotistical dream, which is just “my ego acting out.” It is valuable because it shows us an ego of ourselves that we need to see and analyze, recognizing its in there, in activity. But there are also valuable dreams that are much more profound. You can also become lucid in your dreams at night and ask your inner divinity to teach you and give you insight about something that you are struggling with. You will often be answered in a symbolic way, which is why we need meditation and the ability to extract the spiritual significance of those symbols.
Question: How do you cope with challenges remembering your dreams?
Instructor: Another great question. Yes, especially in the beginning, because we are very unbalanced and we are depleting a lot of energy from our three brains through out the day, then we do not have any vital energy left to be conscious in our dreams at night.
So, if you have trouble remembering your dreams, I have a few suggestions. Of course, the first is that you really have to try and re-balance your three brains and not waste a lot of energy and vital energy throughout your day. Do not get overwhelmed emotionally or do activities that deplete you of energy, like unnecessarily theorizing and reading a lot of intellectual books. If you have a job and you have to do that, do what is necessary, but do not over deplete yourself. Do not watch a lot of television shows in which you waste a lot of emotional energy. Do physical activities that keep you healthy, but not too much physical exertion which will deplete the energy. That is all related to the first strategy: to save and preserve your vital force.
Secondly, there is a special kind of diet that you can have in which each morning. You take nuts―I like to use almonds, honey, and citrus fruit, like orange juice or oranges. A few things that are helpful before sleeping is a prayer to the maiden of our memories. This is found in the Gnostic Prayer Book by Glorian Publishing. The prayer to the maiden of our memories is from Samael Aun Weor’s teaching, and it is a prayer that will ask our inner divinity to take the maiden of our memories out of our physical body in order to remember everything that happens when we are asleep. Then in the morning when you wake up, you can use the mantra Raom Gaom...
…over and over to remember your dreams. You can also recite this mantra mentally if you have a partner you might wake up by doing it physically. You do not want to move around a lot. You want to recite the mantra and allow the dreams to come back to you. That is Raom Gaom.
Finally, performing a retrospection meditation before you go to bed, where you review the events of your day, starting from that moment going back to the very moment that you woke up that day, or start from the moment you woke up to the present moment. In my experience, I find that has been so helpful. It activates my conscious memory. It awakens my consciousness, and it allows me to reflect in all of the events of my day, but it also strengthens my ability to remember my dreams that I have through out the night when I wake up to do the Raom Gaom mantra the next morning. So, those are some recommendations and strategies for remembering dreams.
Question: What realms do we experience nightmares in?
Instructor: Nightmares are in what we call the inferior astral plane. So, if you ever seen the image of the tree of life, there are many higher planes of existence above us that we experience consciously when we are having a real, conscious, divine, awakened vision, but most of the time, in those dreams we are in very egotistical states, like running away from a monster. Things like that are in the inverted astral plane and in this inferior astral plane is where all of our egoic qualities live. The things that we see in those realms are real, but they are subjective. They are things that are only real because of our ego. They are egoic states. Like I said, experiencing those lower dimensions of reality, the hell realms, the infernal realms, is valuable because it shows where we really are, where certain aspects of our consciousness are trapped in ego.
Question: I just had a question referring to the four bodies of sin. When in those bodies, when consciousness is taken from those bodies, and perceiving not with sin of those bodies, is that something? Is it a different body that is moving, extracting consciousness from those bodies, or is it something within the bodies themselves that it is not of sin? Or is it both? Are those perceptions outside the bodies of sin or within them?
Instructor: That is a great question. Thank you so much. So, in this case, it is actually another body, not a body of sin, but another body called the causal body which is the body of willpower. It is really our soul. So, that body is often acting through the four bodies of sin: physical, vital, astral, and mental. That body of willpower, when it becomes trapped in self-will, in ego, is perceiving everything in a self-centered way, but that self is a false self. It is an illusion. That is why we call them the bodies of sin because they are bodies in which we are able to sin against the will of God and to perform actions that are inharmonious. Sin, we can think of it not in the stigmatizing way, but as an action that is inharmonious with God’s will.
So, when we experience something consciously, as you mentioned in those higher levels of nature, we are able to go in our consciousness, not necessarily bringing our body of sin with us, but yes, sometimes we are experiencing, through our lunar astral body, something conscious. That body itself does not have to be a vehicle through which we are always experiencing things egotistically, but is a vehicle through which we might be able to go internally to a higher dimension, a higher astral plane, if our inner divinity wills it, to see something consciously.
Question: So, is it like the spirit is extracting, or purifying it?
Instructor: What we are talking about here is we experience everything through the consciousness. The consciousness for most of us is 97% ego. So when we experience something consciously through our body, a physical, astral, or a body of sin, 97% of the time we are often seeing though the filter of the ego. But there might be 3% of the time when we are able to experience that through a body of sin, like the astral body through the internal planes, or in the physical body in the physical life, 3% of the time our consciousness can be pure. It can see that exactly as it is.
The lunar bodies will eventually be dissolved by nature, and if we perform the entire Gnostic work, the three mountains, we create solar bodies to replace the lunar bodies. The lunar bodies are just temporary vehicles and are subject to the laws of nature. So, they cannot become internal vehicles. Yeah, in a sense, we purify those bodies of sin as we eliminate ego, but we are not so concerned with purifying the lunar astral body as we are concerned with purifying the consciousness itself, because the consciousness can then perceive through any body, astral, mental, causal, physical body, without ego.
Question: With meditation, do you seek guidance, like a prayer, or wait for the spirit to speak to you? Or both?
Instructor: Yeah, I always pray before I meditate. Sometimes you are just observing things as they are and then, as I stated, when you go into a deeper state of meditation, that is when you try to allow the mind to become blank and see if some new images or new insights appear to you. So, in that case, you can sit down, and you can pray: “Inner divinity, help me understand this situation.” Then observe. In the deepest state of relaxation, in the deepest state of meditation, you will receive that guidance, or hear. Most of the time I receive it through a visual image, a symbol that helps me to understand what my inner divinity wants me to know about that situation.
Question: Any advice for the instinctual center? There is not much information about it, but It helps to observe it.
Instructor: So, if we have an over imbalance where we are spending too much instinctual, physical, sexual energy, then we need to preform activities with the other brains, something emotional like listening to classical music, or something a little more intellectual like studying a scripture, bible study. That can help us to balance it.
Question: My over arching emotion right now, as I anticipate my dad’s death, is anger and judgment towards those who have not taken the COVID precautions we have been asked to. Are you saying meditate on that, and it will take me deeper and deeper into the lesson?
Instructor: Right. So, there is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now, and a lot of us feel upset about that right? Everything happening in the world right now can be meditated on. So, you can meditate on the COVID-19 pandemic. What I find more valuable is that you can meditate directly on your anger and judgment of those people. Most of the time we see pride. We see a sense of entitlement. Now, this is also related to a lot of pain and suffering that you feel about your dad’s passing. In this case, you might need to wait a little bit after the situation and until you have really developed this skill of equilibrium and meditation in order to go deeply into finding those answers.
Meditate on it a little bit every day and observe those emotions as they come up, like when you turn on the news and you feel that kind of anger. Observe that demand that other people be up to the standards that we want other people to live by. That can be something that helps us to go deeper into that understanding of our own ego.
Question: When observing emotions, when you are in a situation when you cannot meditate immediately, how do we meditate on it later? I find that my emotions and thoughts are different when I wait to meditate.
Instructor: Sometimes that is a good thing. If you are in a situation where so much is happening, where someone is yelling at you for example, that you cannot maintain your conscious equilibrium in that moment, you might be good to wait until your emotions calm down a little bit and then to observe it. Even when your thoughts and emotions are different when you meditate, just see what is there and try to really visualize very clearly that event, and it should bring out some of the emotions that you felt in that moment.
This is also about observing through our three brains simultaneously in meditation, as I talked about, because if we are meditating in a very intellectual way, then we are just thinking, “Oh, I remember I felt angry. I felt really annoyed with that person. I felt impatient…” That is really superficial. That is intellectual type of meditation. We really want to bring that feeling into our heart by replaying the scene on the screen of the memory and see that feeling in our heart.
Like I said, it is a delicate balance. It is very hard to maintain equilibrium, because that emotion, you will feel it come up again in your heart, and you do not want to fuel more energy into it. You just want to observe it. Let it pass, and then reflect on what you just observed on coming out again in your heart or in your instinct or in your mind. It is very difficult to maintain that balance, so do not be frustrated if you do not get it right away. It might take some time.
Comment: Some dreams are just projections of our fears...
Instructor: But they are also real, in a sense, because your ego has a form of matter. It is just not objectively real. It is not something created by divinity. You have used your energy to create a false identity, which is the ego. At night when you see a dream that you are filled with fear, that dream is showing you something real in your in subconscious mind, in your own ego. It is real. It has matter. But it is not permanent. It is not eternal, because the ego will be destroyed eventually, whether by nature or by us consciously, in collaboration with our inner divinity.
Question: Is there a method to identify if we are following our intuition versus ego?
Instructor: I am so glad that you brought this question, because I forgot to say something in my lecture which is exactly about this. So, another instructor stated that when we are in harmony in the three brains, when we feel that peace and we are observing something in our life, but we feel that the three brains are acting in harmony with one another, then we know that we are conscious. That is the consciousness. That is our intuition. That is our real conscious Being, our soul, that can be active in that moment.
When we feel that the three brains are in complete disarray and acting in different ways―we want to run away, but also feeling a lot of fear and agitation, our mind is trying to reason, “What should I do next?” ― that kind of agitation in our three brains helps us to identify that we are in an ego. It is best in those moments, if we are able to, to calm down. Calm the three brains. Breathe deeply. Meditate if you can, and through that state of equilibrium, you will be able to observe that same situation without seeing it through the filter of ego.
Question: When we meditate on an ego that we observe during the day, is it good to feel conscious remorse and even be crying while praying to our Divine Mother for help in comprehension of the ego that we want to eliminate?
Instructor: Great question! I do not think it is necessarily good, but I think it is fine. It is ok to feel that conscious remorse and to cry deeply from our soul. That happens to me often when I meditate on painful situations, especially in ones which I did something evil towards another person. So, yes, it is a good quality of the soul to feel conscious remorse and to cry during meditation. That is fine.
Of course, pray to the Divine Mother for help and to comprehend that ego, because we deeply, really want to change. We do not want to continue hurting people and hurting ourselves through these kinds of egoistical actions. So, our Divine Mother, and that prayer to our Divine Mother to come and help us, is our strength. When I say inner divinity, I mean, Divine Mother, Divine Father. Pray to get them to help you. That is essential in meditation.
I am glad you all are asking these questions because I do want to emphasize prayer during meditation.
Question: Do these three brains correspond to the neocortex, mammalian, and reptilian brains?
Instructor: They have more of a relationship with the three nervous systems. Another instructor talks about how they relate to the central nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system, etc.
Or If another instructor knows those three, feel free to chime in.
Another Instructor: We have the cerebral spinal system relating to the intellectual brain. We have the grand sympathetic system relating to the heart, and we have the parasympathetic system relating to our sexuality and our instincts.
We have to remember that these nervous systems are form of intelligence. As they process energies and forces, they help to create our experience, but they are also the channels by which the vital values can flow and whether our consciousness or ego can act. We need to remember, as the lecturer was explaining, to use these nervous systems well, we should be conscious of their processes.
So, our nervous systems have that correlation, and while some other people may refer to reptilian, mammalian brains… We use these three brains and nervous systems distinctively in this way. Most importantly, we need to remember that the brains themselves, the intellect, the emotions, and our motor-instinctive-sexuality, is merely a machine. It is a means of operating and existing. You can look at those resources online. We will give you some links.
Question: Can a person defeat all of their egos or can it take many lives to do so? What is the worst ego of them all?
Instructor: Great question! So, for most of us it is going to take more than one lifetime to do this work, but it is possible if someone has tremendous willpower and is very dedicated to performing this work every day. A very serious person could eliminate all the egos in one lifetime. For this question I really recommend reading The Three Mountains, by Samael Aun Weor, which is available on Glorian.org, because that talks about eliminating all the egos in one lifetime.
What is the worst ego of them all? My initial answer to this is lust, because through lust we lose a lot of vital forces that are very sacred and are very necessary for us to continue eliminating more egos, to continue to develop the soul, and to develop solar bodies, also, to really connect with our inner divinity. Lust is very serious. It is a very difficult ego to tackle, but every day we should be working on lust. We should be eliminating that ego little by little, weakening it, so we can gain more conscious strength, because our vital sexual energy is directly related to our willpower. The more we lose that energy, the more willpower we need to keep up in this work. We lose a lot of energy through that.
Question: Can you speak a bit on actively participating in life or the human experience as a opposed to observing life, or the human experience as a watcher? ― meaning, some spiritual speakers speak of the spiritual realm that one becomes far removed from the human experience as a spiritual being.
Instructor: Yes, it makes sense. Great question. As I mentioned, most of the time we are fused with our physical life, that we do not have any kind of inner spiritual life that we are conscious of. That is the first step: to separate from the physical life enough that we have energy, and we become aware of our own psychology and what is happening inside of us instead of what is just happening outside of us through out the day. But you are right. Sometimes people try to use spirituality to escape from life. We are trying to use spirituality as a way to live our life more consciously, to perform God’s will in our lives.
So, I gave an example, grieving a loss of a family member, a loved one, and how, if in that moment we are unconscious of our inner state, we can very easily become overwhelmed by our selfish suffering, our anger, and our pain. That is very common, right? But if we become conscious of that pain inside of us and we observe whatever egos are reacting to the situation, then we are able to kind of eliminate that ego and maintain that balance. Then we can more meaningfully engage with the other people who are suffering in our life.
So, you see how we are using that conscious awareness of ourselves to be more invested in a spiritual way with other people. But this kind of spiritual mindedness versus carnal mindedness is that a spiritual minded person realizes that what happens in life is temporary, transient, and always changing. In that sense everything that happens to us is an illusion. That is not an excuse to do whatever you want because everything in life is an illusion and nothing lasts. But it is showing us that we need to act from a deeper, eternal place, a place of spiritual, conscious wisdom, in order to use this lifetime to perform actions that really develop our own soul and other people, and actions that will provide a lasting meaning, instead of actions that gather a bunch of wealth for us in one lifetime that we lose when we die.
Spiritual acts, virtuous actions, gather a kind of spiritual wealth for us that we never lose. We actively participate in life through good deeds that are part of our conscious states. So, when we are more conscious, when we are more awake, when we observe within us as well as what is happening outside of us, then we participate in life in a meaningful way that is in alignment with the will of our inner divinity. That is how we should actively participate in life, in ways that serve other people, and for the purpose that our inner God has for us in this lifetime, which we can only know as we go deeper and deeper into meditation and conscious awareness.
Question: How can one relate to what is called bi-polar and the three brains in relationship with someone who is diagnosed as bi-polar?
Instructor: Bi-polar is an emotional illness. We are born with psychological illnesses, or at the least pre-dispositioned to develop an illness at one point in our lives, because of actions that occurred in previous lifetimes. It could be that in this lifetime, someone might have overused their emotional brain and then they develop bi-polar, this really strong imbalance where the emotions are extremely manic and overwhelmingly happy. But in a way, it is not really reasonable when we relate it to their actual life, being overwhelmingly depressed and overcome with morbidity. That could be the result of abuse, overuse of the emotional brain, whether in this lifetime or in a previous lifetime. If we have bi-polar for example, and we are trying to regain balance, we need stability, in some cases that might require, depending on the severity of the condition of that person, some medication just to get to a point of stability. Then you can work one of the egos that produce those imbalances.
If we have a less severe case, we might be able to meditate on those egos directly and see what it is causing us to become overwhelmingly emotional. This could be related with egos of pride in a lot of cases.
Question/Clarification: We know what is good for the emotional brain, intellectual, sexual brain, but for the instinctual body, reactions with fear, etc., it is not very clear how to transform it.
Instructor: So, there may be some kinds of martial arts like Aikido, in which you can develop instinct, in the body, in a way that is really a spiritual practice. A lot of ancient martial arts, or ancient dance as well, could be really good for developing the instinctual center, especially with martial arts, because the instinct is very active in the moment when you are reacting to somebody’s attacks.
Question: What exactly is the Guardian of the Threshold? Is this a demon or our egos?
Instructor: It is the full embodiment of our egos. There is a whole lecture on The Guardian of the Threshold that I gave recently. The Guardian of the Threshold is the embodiment of all of our egos, every deed that we have done, every emotion we have felt, and every ego that we have developed, embodied into one gigantic beast that we may see in an astral experience, when we begin this work very seriously, and that we need to conquer. Even though we cannot eliminate our ego in one fell swoop, we can subdue our ego enough that we develop some conscious equilibrium in which to work. That conscious equilibrium is really necessary to start eliminating the egos one by one. That is a process, but as I talked about, this all begins with attention.
If you feel that you are not getting that equilibrium, look at how you are losing energy throughout the day. What are you doing each day that is using up instinctual energy, motor energy, sexual energy, emotional and mental energy? What are you doing through out the day that could be wasting all of those energies? What can you change in your daily behaviors to save some energy? Also, work on developing attention with the practice that I mentioned earlier.
Question: How do we comprehend and stay conscious when someone has extremes swings of emotions?
Instructor: Just in the same way we have to comprehend and stay conscious in any, very overwhelming situation. So, if you can imagine being at a place where there is a fire, and you are stuck in the building near the fire, in that moment, your instincts are going to take over your whole body and you are probably not going to maintain conscious awareness. I hope you will. At least maintain your consciousness physically. In that moment, you just will not have the bandwidth. You will not have the capacity of conscious stability or conscious energy to maintain that. It is the same way when we are dealing with a person who really has extreme swings of emotion. We may just not have the capacity of conscious stability cultivated yet or developed yet in order to really stay conscious with them in that moment. That is why it is a gradual process.
Start with the little things first. Start with a small situation, and if you need to, you can walk away from this person, if possible, when they are getting too overwhelming for you, and go meditate on exactly what you are experiencing in that moment, with that person, right away if possible. Over time, you are going to be able to stay more conscious in more overwhelming, or stimulating situations, right?
So, we should continue to just keep developing more and more over time, and not expect that right away we are going to be to do this. It is a long process, and it involves what I just talked about today. Keep meditating on it day after day, on what egos are coming out during that situation with that person, because those egos are what are putting you to sleep, consciously speaking, so that you are not able to maintain your equilibrium when you are interacting with them.
Question: Is there a good example of what it looks like what one should be feeling, thinking, and acting like to be in balance with the three brains?
Instructor: The most powerful example we think about the crucifixion of Jesus. He was, of course, suffering tremendously there. But he was conscious. In the Catholic tradition, there are these Stations of the Cross where you see these different acts that Jesus did while he was carrying the cross and heading to his crucifixion, and in each one of those acts, you see a tremendous amount of conscious wisdom and compassion for the people around him. So, if we are acting in a way really filled with love for the people around us, feel very awake, and we are able to really do actions that sacrifice for other people, then that is an example that we would know when we are acting consciously and not through ego.
Study the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ if you want the best example for what it looks like when one is conscious and acting in balance with the three brains.
It looks like that was the last question. Thank you everybody for attending and we look forward to seeing you at the next lecture!
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.