Remembrance is a particularly significant topic, well-known, not only within Sufism, but all meditative and religious traditions.
In Gnosis we speak a lot about self-observation. As you have been following the sequence of this course, we have explained many times what self-observation, self-reflection is. We introspect. We look. We gather data about our psychology, our internal states, our external behaviors, but also our psychological behaviors, our instincts, impulses. This act of taking account of oneself has been known in Sufism by the Arabic term محاسبة muhasabah. It is known as inner accounting: to measure our qualities. It is to perceive from a radical honesty what we possess in abundance and what we lack in depth.
When you practice self-observation, you as a consciousness, an Essence, must separate and observe the three brains. We examine our intellect, our emotions, our impulses. These are the three spheres of thought, feeling, and action, but as we have explained many times, consciousness is not thought. It is the perceiver of thought. Consciousness is not emotions. It is the perceiver of emotions. Likewise, the consciousness is not impulse. It is the perceiver of impulse.
We have to learn from practical facts how the consciousness functions and malfunctions within our daily states. When our consciousness is not conditioned, when we are acting upon the free Essence, we learn to perceive without “I,” a sense of “me, myself,” “what I want,” “what I crave,” “what I hate,” “what I desire.”
Unfortunately for most of humanity, thought, feeling, and instinct is all we know. In fact, we really worship selfishness in this culture, not only in the East but in the West―everywhere. Self, as we have mentioned, is ego, the Latin word for “I.” It is desire. In Arabic, it is نَفْس nafs, nafas. While people proclaim that they are spiritual, that they have this spirit, God inside, the reality is that all of us suffer from anger, from pride, from lust, envy, greed, laziness, gluttony. All these qualities that we think are who we are, are in fact the obstacle to the remembrance of the divine, the experience, the direct knowledge.
These qualities are ego, desire, conditions of mind, nafs al-ammara, as cited within the Qur’an, “the soul that inclines to evil,” to impurity, to conditions, to suffering. Even the term passion, which is commonly interpreted to refer to one's ambitions or dreams, one's desires, one’s greatest qualities, in fact, in its original term means “suffering.”
Why do we talk so much about ego, the self, what we are, what we think, what we do? This is because divinity, the Being, cannot mix with the ego. The spirit, the Innermost, the divine, cannot mix with the devil. They are like oil and water, and if we are honest in examining ourselves through the practices of this course, we will recognize very clearly that we are a chaos. We are mixed with many impressions and cannot discriminate what we see―positive from the negative, liberated from conditioned.
This is why we meditate: to actualize serenity, as we stated in the previous lecture, whereby the disparate elements, the discord, the confusion within our psyche, can settle. With serenity, with meditation, we allow the different elements of our conditions and our Essence to stratify into distinct layers, so that we can discriminate and understand what we are seeing, what we perceive. When you are calm in body, heart, and mind, the heaviness of the ego becomes still. It sinks, and meanwhile, the superior qualities of our perception, in their elevation and lightness, rise. This is how we learn to understand our daily states, our daily experiences.
Without serenity, there is no remembrance. There is no recollection of divine states. This is why meditation is essential. You simply cannot discriminate or understand your life experiences, no matter how many philosophies we give and tell ourselves, if we are not meditating. You simply cannot be spiritual without actualizing the state of meditation itself: a state of serene perception that understands what it sees. Without meditative serenity, it is impossible to know the difference between objective and subjective states of being. If there is ambiguity, if there is guess work, speculation about where we are at in this path, then honestly we have to confront the fact that we are not spiritual. We are unconscious, asleep.
To be spiritual is a very demanding term. It means to have the spirit incarnated. It means to have your very thoughts, your feelings, and your actions to be performed solely for others. not ourselves. The spirit, God, the Being, cannot integrate with desire.
Now I'd like to point out that we should not get caught up in language and semantics. While Sufi masters and poets have often translated “desiring for God” in many ways, in reality they are longing for divinity They are aspiring, because to crave and desire, within strict esoteric language, is to be attached, to be egotistical, to be in a cage.
We always ask a very fundamental question when we examine ourselves, when we begin these studies:
What is our level of being?
Who are we?
Where are we going?
Where have we come from?
Why do we exist?
Why do we behave in specific ways in certain events?
If we are honest with ourselves, we will all perceive that we really do not know God, because our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions are selfish. People don't discriminate their own psychology. They attribute many divine qualities to conditions of mind and this is a hundred percent negative and false, because the reality is that if we have even a hair's width of a selfish desire, it means that the spirit is not there. God cannot enter your room, your consciousness, when you have no light, when you don't clearly see without a self. Even when we sometimes might perform a beneficial action, a selfless action, our pride takes relish in it. We give to somebody and then we feel: “I am such a good person.” That means our deed is corrupt, no matter how noble and honorable our thoughts.
Therefore, we don't have the spirit inside. The spirit is God. It is not ego. It is not “I.” It is not the self we believe we are. This is why Jesus stated in the Book of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 3, in relation to giving selflessly:
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. ―Matthew 6:3
For those of you who have studied Kabbalah very extensively, you understand that the left-hand path is precisely the path of those who follow desire, ego, conditions, نَفْس nafs. The right-hand path as mentioned in the Qur’an is followed by the great Sufi masters, the meditators: those who really work to eliminate everything that is false in themselves. Rather than knowing charity, compassion, selflessness, altruism, philanthropy, kindness, instead, what we know and worship and idolize in this society is hatred, adultery, violence, sarcasm, manipulation, lies, and crime. These states are readily accessible to us because that is predominantly what we are. We are conditioned by all these factors, all these diseases that, in a fever of delirium, this society worships as a god. Simply look at our television shows, our sitcoms, our comedies. We are perverse.
In Gnosis, we speak a lot about self-remembrance: to remember the divine self, the spirit. But what does self really mean? What does it even mean to remember something? This is the confusion that has led many people into the abyss. They don't know the difference between heavenly and negative states. This is why the Qur’an repeats many times how the infidels, the disbelievers, the black magicians, are a “people who don't know.” They don't discriminate. They don't understand.
The faculty of recollection means to bring something to our mind, to have a memory of a person, place, object, or idea. It could also be an image of an experience we recall within the screen of our imagination, our perception. Imagination, as we have explained before, is the capacity to perceive. It is visualization: to perceive non-physical imagery. As we mentioned, if somebody tells you to imagine an apple or what you ate for breakfast, you see a picture in your mind. It just arises naturally. Or somebody asks you to remember how you got here wherever you're at. How did you get home? You can see it.
That sense is atrophied in most people, but when it's developed through meditative science, that process and depth, the lucidity, the clarity, the color, the vibrancy of our imagination, expands. It becomes deeper. It allows us to really access worlds beyond the physical plane.
Imagination does have to do with how we perceive impressions through the five senses, although physicality is merely just a sliver on the conscious spectrum of possible experiences. In reality, as we are observing ourselves, we are developing this faculty itself, the ability to perceive without conditions, without subjectivity, without faults.
In truth, we can only remember what we've experienced. So the question becomes, as a sort of catch-22, how could we remember God, when for most of us, we don't recollect or know Him? When you read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, you hear about astral travels, out-of-body experiences, jinn states, and naturally, people become inspired. You are filled with longing, aspiration, and inquietudes, but also, we might feel some craving and aversion or even jealousy―attachment in wanting to know these truths for ourselves.
Now while we really are in the dark, in a lot of suffering, it's also true that we all knew divinity to some degree, but because of our wrong actions, we have obscured that presence. In order to return to the divine, to repent, ٱلتوبة al-Tawbah in Arabic, we have to purify the consciousness, to reflect and experience the Being within ourselves. As the Prophet Muhammad relates in the Hadith, the oral tradition of Islam, the heart is a marvelous organ. When it is perfected, it illuminates everything of our psychology. The initiate Rumi, the great Sufi poet also stated:
Do you not know why your mirror does not glitter?
Like Prophet Muhammad stated, "the polish of the heart is ذِكرْ dhikr (remembrance of God)." Metaphorically, we are not virgin. We are not pure because we created the ego, نَفْس nafs, desire. All of us were virgin at some point, physically and psychologically, having a purity of mind, heart, and body that could reflect divinity perfectly. The spiritual work is about cleansing the heart so that we can receive, within a polished, purified, and perceptive consciousness, the superior worlds, the divine images of the heavens. This is imagination.
When you're sitting to practice, you calm your mind, your heart, your body. You recollect the presence of your Being. You concentrate fully upon your innermost spirit, praying for guidance, and when your mind is absolutely still, when there is no ripple in the mind, suddenly new images arrive. They flash. They appear and then disappear, and sometimes they even prolong themselves into profound experiences within the astral plane.
When the consciousness is active and the mind is receptive, we perceive the heavenly dimensions. Therefore, if you want to experience those states, you have to cleanse your heart―purify it―sharpen it with specific techniques, as we will explain.
There are many people who are very morbid, who write to us and are despondent that they don't know God, and they become filled with terrible pessimism, fear, doubt, despair. The reality is that while we may be ignorant of divinity―maybe we never had those experiences that I mentioned―the truth is that divinity is here and now. We just don't recognize it, and therefore, to continue in ignorance is a choice. God is with us. All the initiates state this fact. As stated in the Qur’an, Surah 50, verse 16:
And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein. ―Qur’an 50:16
God is with us, but because we have attachments, we have cravings, aversions, hatred, etc., we don't perceive Him. What is the solution? What is the method? What is the path? It is to comprehend your defects, because the door to remembrance is found in recognizing the superior states of the soul when we separate from desire.
There are many proverbs and teachings within Sufism that illuminate this point. As commonly stated amongst Sufi initiates:
He who knows himself knows his Lord. ―Sufi Proverb
One of my favorite sayings of Dhū’l-Nūn Miṣrī:
The key to success in worship lies in meditative reflection (fikrat)…whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold the invisible realm in the spirit. Whoever contemplates God through keeping watch over the thoughts which pass through his heart will be exalted by God in all of his outward deeds. ―Dhū’l-Nūn Miṣrī in ‘Aṭṭār: Tadhkirat, 154-155
Rumi also said, "Do not seek for love." We have to remove the barriers of its expression. As we remember the qualities of divinity, which are love, compassion, altruism, faith, we really walk the path. This is why Rumi stated:
Remembrance makes people desire the journey; it makes them into travelers. What is sweeter than the remembrance of the Friend? Hey, do not sit idle like this! Invoke! ―Rumi
When we do experience superior qualities, states of Being, the divine, we recognize a conscious flavor, a sweetness that permeates all of our experiences and inspires us towards virtuous action. It is genuine freedom.
The Definition of Remembrance
So what is remembrance? The Arabic term is ذِكرْ dhikr. It is not only a state of being, but it is a practice for the realization of God.
While it can be difficult to access and sustain, remembrance is a fundamental aspect of the path. Without it, you simply cannot understand any practice within the Gnostic tradition, within the Sufi tradition, within all religions. Once we have access and recognize what it means to be conscious, to be vibrant, to be aware, to have an alert cognitive attention, a virtuous attention, the work becomes to maintain that state continually.
It is a state of vigilance of superior states, superior qualities that only you can taste. Certain actions produce harmony. Certain behaviors produce suffering. You have to observe this in yourself. When you consciously choose not to follow the ego, you are remembering God. Without that constant struggle, that striving, that holy war, we cannot remember the divine. We cannot return to Him. As stated by Al-Qushayri from the Principles of Sufism:
Dhikr, the practice of remembering God, is a strong pillar in the way of the Truth. Indeed, it is the mainstay of this Way. No one attains to God except through continuous remembrance. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
These are superlative conscious states of the Being, superior levels of being. We mentioned many times, such as in the writings of Samael Aun Weor, how a superior level of being always awaits us in this moment, at the intersection of the horizontal beam of life, the line of existence, with the vertical path of the Being.
Whether we experience higher states depends on what we do, how we act, how we behave, not only physically, but internally through the different ordeals and circumstances of our life. When we are tested with a violent situation, somebody approaches us with anger, how do we respond? What do we do? What do we choose? Do we remember compassion or do we forget?
Moments of great trial and crisis are the best moments for developing remembrance. It is precisely the least disturbing moments of life, the most tranquil, that are the least favorable for our work, and because we have to face very difficult ordeals, we have many exercises in this tradition. Remembrance is developed not only through self-observation and acting ethically, but we have many exercises that amplify our consciousness, deepen our remembrance, such as mantras, prayers, alchemy, runes, and sacred rites for rejuvenation. There are many practices in Gnosis. By combining the appropriate psychological state with our spiritual discipline, we empower our consciousness. We give it energy. If your consciousness is weak, you cannot act ethically. You will not have control. You will not remember what to do. This is why energy, breath, transmutation, concentration, imagination, are essential. These allow us to access superior states so that we can eliminate the impurities. We can remember what to do when we are tested.
As the Sufis state:
There are two kinds of remembrance: that of the tongue and that of the heart. By means of the tongue’s remembrance, the servant reaches constant remembrance of the heart. Its object and result is the remembrance of the heart. If the servant becomes one who remembers both with his tongue and with his heart, the state of his spiritual search is described as perfect. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So mantras help to invoke divine energy. They're like a smartphone. You notice in this society that we basically have a whole world of information in our hand with a smartphone? We can access data and knowledge that was once impossible for people to get without great struggle. Our ways of communicating with divinity is like this. You might have a dream even in the astral plane of talking on your phone to your parent or your parents. That is a symbol of remembrance, where you are speaking with God and receiving the answer that you need. If your phone is off, if it's broken, it means you've been cut off from remembrance. These are symbols, allegories, and parables of the consciousness.
Invocation is ذِكرْ dhikr, remembrance, to invoke, to mantralize, to pray. This is a form of communication and empowerment for our Essence. Some people like to argue about what is better: silent or vocal recitation, whether to pronounce a mantra in the mind or out loud. The truth is that both are necessary. As Samael Aun Weor stated in Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic:
One can articulate with the creative larynx, one can vocalize with his thought, and one can vocalize with the superlative consciousness of the Being. ―Samael Aun Weor, Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic
It's good for beginners and even advanced practitioners to vocalize mantras out loud. That is because it strengthens our remembrance, our concentration. It's much easier to concentrate upon a mantra that you are vocalizing with your speech. There's also something energetic that happens when you pronounce sacred words, whether from the Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, etc. You charge your body with force, with energy. You give more battery life to your cell phone, so to speak.
However, there's also silent mantra recitation, to do it in one's mind. This is especially effective for when you are in your day; you are not at home and you are at work or wherever you may be, that you can't necessarily have the solitude and silence of your own home, of a particular time to practice. If you are around other people and engage with life, silent mantra is very effective. You can pronounce it internally so that you stay focused in where you are at and what you are doing, and also what you need to do.
This takes a lot more skill. Obviously, somebody who is just beginning is going to struggle with this, but with familiarity and practice, when you adopt a mantra and recite it mentally, internally, it opens doorways of understanding that are very deep, of how to act and behave in life for the benefit of others. When you are really conscious, vocalizing all day internally and also when you sit to practice at home, when you mantralize, when you pray aloud, you complement your development.
These exercises work from the inside out and the outside in: internally and vocally. Some mantras can be whispered, especially as you are practicing dream yoga. You're falling asleep at night and you are vocalizing out loud a mantra to help you astral project, and as you are falling asleep, you whisper those sounds until reciting them mentally. With enough concentration and practice, you can fall asleep physically and enter the superior worlds with lucidity. So there are different purposes for their invocation. We advise that you work with both.
In Islam, Muslims pray five times a day. This is known as صَلاة salat. These are the canonical prayers established by Prophet Muhammad after his miraculous Ascension, المعراج al-Miraj, the Night Journey as cited within the Qur’an and the Hadith. He spoke with his Inner Being and received the commandment of how to teach remembrance to his disciples within the Muslim community.
As Gnostics, we practice remembrance in every moment. I believe one Zen master was asked, “How long do you meditate?” and he answered, “When do I never meditate?” or “When do I not?”
Why is it that remembrance is an obligation for all moments of life, whether physically awake or in the dream state? This is because it is the only way to act properly, selflessly, consciously, whether in the material world or the superior worlds. We need to be in an awakened state to be present, to be alert. This is why Al-Qushayri states in Principles of Sufism:
One of the special features of the practice of remembrance is that it has no assigned time. Indeed, there is no moment in which the servant is not commanded to the remembrance of God, whether it be an obligatory duty or a recommended one. The ritual prayer, though it is the noblest of all devotions, is not possible at some times, while the heart’s remembrance is continuous in all circumstances. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We have to be conscious wherever we are at, whether in the body or out of the body, because there are dangers. There are many ways, if we are not paying attention, that we can harm ourselves, harm others. Remembrance is a form of holy war. It is the monasticism of the Muslims, says Prophet Muhammad. As Al-Wasiti stated:
The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. ―Al-Wasiti
This is because esoteric practices are only fruitful when we perform them with attention, when we are aware, when we remember what we are doing. If we are reciting a mantra but thinking of something else, it means that we are not paying attention. We are not remembering God. We are lost. We are distracted. Practices only have strength when we are building our conscious momentum.
So when you are paying attention all day, and also when you sit to practice, you are going to have more strength, more depth, more clarity, more profundity, more facility with your discipline, your practices, your meditations. When you are constantly remembering your Being, you have more energy. When you are restraining negative thought, negative feeling, and negative action, you have the force available, the reservoir of energy available by which to amplify the consciousness, whether through meditation, runes, mantras, alchemy, etc.
Vocal remembrance, but also internal remembrance, complement. You need both. If you're lacking consistency in either one of those disciplines, it is something to re-evaluate and to consider. If you want to advance further and more quickly with more depth, with more understanding, you have to remember yourself. Don't forget where you are at. Don't daydream, and don't daydream when you practice.
The Sword of Remembrance
Now, people often look to life to acquire weapons, guns or martial arts training as a means of self-defense, as a form of protection against danger. Now, the best protection in reality is to remember God: to recollect the presence and state of your inner God, your Being, your virtuous qualities, your compassion, so that divinity can guide our will through the appropriate response to an impression.
According to Samael Aun Weor, he stated in Revolutionary Psychology:
The best weapon that a human being can use in life is a correct psychological state. One can disarm beasts and unmask traitors by means of appropriate internal states. Wrong internal states convert us into defenseless victims of human perversity. You must learn to face the most unpleasant events of practical life with an appropriate internal uprightness... You must not become identified with any event. Remember that everything passes away. You must learn to look at life like a movie; thus, you shall receive the benefits... You must not forget that if you do not eliminate mistaken internal states from your psyche, then events of no value could bring you disgrace. ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
What is an example of this? You're at work and you have difficult clients. They are provoking your anger and if you respond with hostility, with retaliation, you harm yourself, your clients, and your job. Mistaken psychological states, the ego, can exacerbate a problem and make it a million times worse. Instead, learning to respond with kindness, with compassion, with insight, we can disarm a situation. It is the ultimate form of warfare.
The Sufis collaborate this point. They refer to remembrance as a sword with a sharp blade, wounding the transgressor and defending the virtuous. As Al-Qushayri states:
Remembering God with the heart is called the sword of the seekers. With it the seeker slays his enemies and drives off troubles that are headed for him. Even if difficulty should overshadow the servant, his fleeing to God Most High in his heart immediately turns away from him the thing he hates. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
But who is our enemy? It is our ego: our pride, our hatred, that does not want to be humble; our lust that craves to get what it wants at all costs, including at one's expense and the expense of one's neighbor; jealousy, which corrupts businesses, families, religions, is an enemy. We have to be relentlessly compassionate to other people but mercilessly cruel to ourselves. It is necessary to dissect our own defects with the terrible scalpel of self-criticism, says Samael Aun Weor. This is holy war.
When you remember to do the right thing and you actually do it, even though you are tempted to behave in ways that are really problematic, you sense it in the moment. You perceive it, if you are observing yourself and remembering your Being. You are perceiving this ordeal when someone is criticizing you and yet you have a choice: to follow a superior way of being by transforming the situation, or by reacting negatively, by not transforming the impression of the aggressor.
When you transform your psychological state of anger, the situation evaporates. When you act compassionately or kindly in a sincere way to somebody who is very aggressive, we can disarm the problem. Really, self-remembrance is the best weapon. It is the best defense. It is the most proven to develop a very spiritual life because through that type of action and work, by fleeing to God in our heart when we are really tempted to do something wrong, we receive empowerment. You sense the right way to behave. You intuit what to do. That is remembrance, and when you actually do it, you deepen your remembrance. This is the necessary thing to reflect upon. This produces the sweetness of devotion.
The Sweetness of Devotion
When you are recognizing states of your Being, superior qualities, when you are recognizing how heavenly states of consciousness produce happiness and negative states of consciousness produce sorrow, you develop real devotion, real prayer. But how do we recognize this state of self-remembrance?
These are distinct psychological qualities, like tasting water from wine. You know them from experience, from repeated, recurring facts. Virtuous action, selflessness, is a form of a lightness. There is no density there. When you act compassionately or with conscious love for somebody, you feel a type of freedom when it is genuine. You simply do it out of love. It is simple. It is not complicated.
Now, egotistical states are different. They are selfish. We are more afflicted. We have a greater attachment to a sense of self. We intensify our suffering. We become complicated. Problems augment. They get worse. We don't see a solution. In reality, remembrance has a sweet quality. It is serene. It is beautiful. When you taste it, you will know it. It is so profound, so moving and so persuasive that when you access it, you seek to experience it again and again. We do that by removing conditions.
Hasan al-Basri said, “Seek sweetness in three things: in prayer, in the remembrance of God, and in the recitation of the Qur’an. If you find it, good. If not, know that the door is shut.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The door of remembrance is found through honesty with oneself, not with other people, necessarily, but with your own states, with what you can measure, what you can test, what you can plumb within your own depths, your own psyche.
Are your practices dull? Is your meditation superficial? Is it vague? Are things unclear? Are you uncertain about how a certain action in the day perhaps was the wrong one, but don't understand why?
The reality is that when you're practicing remembrance, you are acting upon and recognizing the right way of being. When you see the virtues of your own soul, you feel sweetness, devotion. We show love of God because we love our neighbor as our inner self, our inner spirit. We have to be like a child kneeling with humility, as you see in this image. But we cannot be humble if we are not honest that we are arrogant, that we are proud. When you recognize and remember those states of how your virtuous qualities are very far and different from desire, you practice devotedly with great zeal, with a sense of industry and diligence.
Divine Remembrance in the Servant’s Heart
When you remember these virtuous qualities, divinity, as we said, augments and deepens our state. We get help. We become inspired. We receive an influx of force that is very dynamic. We receive energy, aspiration, inspiration, profound knowledge about what to do, even in circumstances that are very confusing or morally ambiguous and ambivalent. When we approach God in remembrance, when we seek divinity earnestly, divinity approaches us. Divinity meets us and guides our efforts. This is an infallible law. As stated amongst the Sufis within Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism about this fact:
Another special feature of remembrance is that it produces remembrance in response. God Most High has said, “Remember Me―I will remember you!” (2:147). According to a hadith, Gabriel said to the Messenger of God, “God Most High says, ‘I have given to your community what I have not given to any other community.’” “What is that, O Gabriel?” the Prophet asked. “It is the saying of the Most High, ‘Remember Me―I will remember you.’ He has not said that to anyone outside this community.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What does it mean that God will remember us? We spent a lot of time discussing the dynamics and expressions of consciousness, such as contraction and expansion, absence and presence, attention and awareness. If we work seriously to know divinity, our Being gives us light, gives us experiences. This is not a belief. This is a fact. When you are really dedicated and are working earnestly, sincerely, your Being works much harder to help you, to help us. This is corroborated in the Hadith, I believe from Bukhari:
“Allah says, 'I am just as My slave thinks I am, and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than them; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running. If he comes to me with sins that will fill the world without associating partners with Me, I will welcome him with pardoning as big as that.’" [Bukhari, Tawhid 16, 35; Muslim, Dhikr 2, (2675), Tawba 1, (2675)]
We have spoken a lot about borrowed light, receiving help from the White Lodge and our own divinity. Sometimes we can access states of being that are not approachable or accessible for the beginner. We simply cannot do it on our own, but we often will get help through internal illumination and experiences, insights in our meditation to push us, and this precisely represents the principle I mentioned.
For every effort you make towards your Being, it becomes amplified. States of presence, of being, can come and go. Our consciousness can expand and contract according to our efforts, to our level, but the more familiar you become with what these principles of meditation entail and you apply them, as you get more competent with these exercises, you gain greater depth, greater vibrancy, more understanding. You simply perceive more than you could have on your own, and this gives us faith.
As we develop our conscious capacities, divinity aids us. Therefore, if we have a very morbid attitude, very pessimistic, that we are not advancing in this path, we have to really evaluate our foundations: to recognize what in us is keeping us locked in hell. You do it by evaluating your heart. Remembrance is not a cerebral exercise. It is the doctrine of the heart.
As Al-Qushayri states:
In one of the holy books it is written that Prophet Moses said, “O Lord, where do You dwell?” God Most High revealed to him, “In the heart of My believing servant.” The meaning of this is the indwelling of remembrance in the heart, for the Truth, may He be glorified and exalted, transcends every kind of inhabiting and incarnation. It is only the affirmation and attainment of remembrance that is intended here. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So who is الله Allah? It is the Absolute Abstract Space, as we have mentioned many times. The cosmic space does not incarnate. Instead, when we remove all the conditions and baggage from our consciousness, we remain within God's spacious luminosity, profundity, a limitless presence.
The Forms of Remembrance
But let us examine what the forms of remembrance are, how they express, how they develop, and how we can approach them. Remembrance emerges when we reflect upon ourselves in meditation. This is fikrat, serene perception:
From the field of Reflection the field of Remembering God is born. God, the Most High, says, ‘only those who remember turn to God in penitence’ (40:13). ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This is from Abdullah Ansari of Herat from the Stations of the Sufi Path.
When you remember to fulfill your esoteric exercises, you turn in repentance. You turn in contrition, humility towards divinity. We practice because we want to look for answers to our problems, to our sufferings. Without reflecting or taking account of our defects, without analyzing them, without understanding them, we won't gain access to superior states of being, because we will be identified. Our identity will be trapped in a sense of self, in a cage, within pride, lust, vanity, greed, laziness, gluttony, etc. Let us continue with this quote:
Remembrance is to bring to mind what one has received and accepted. The difference between reflection and remembrance is that reflection is seeking but remembrance is finding. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So when we enter meditation, we concentrate within an intensified, clarified state, within a serene depth of stillness. We can learn to reflect the wisdom of divinity within our imagination. This is the state of meditation.
When you stop thinking, rationalizing, churning with emotion, we suspend our senses. We withdraw our consciousness from our sight, from our hearing, taste, touch, smell. We even withdraw from thought, from instinct, from desire. This is a profound conscious activity. It is a form of striving. When we gently withdraw our attention from the distractions of our intellect, of our ego, and when your mind is still, when it's calm, you can begin to imagine, to receive images that do not originate from this physical world, but from the superior dimensions.
When you receive knowledge, images, experiences within the screen of your consciousness, when your body is at rest and completely forgotten, you are accessing a state of remembrance. When you consciously apprehend the truth of your Being, whether through a samadhi, an ecstasy, an astral projection, you learn to subsist through a state of remembrance because you have accessed your true identity. You are not distracted. You are not lost within a chain of associative thinking. You are firm in remembering your perception. There is no “I” there. There is no self. It is clear seeing without a condition at all.
Recognizing this state requires a lot of practice because we have a lot of heaviness and dullness to our mind, but if you're diligent, you will remember what this state is repeatedly as you work.
Let us look at what Abdullah Ansari of Herat states:
Remembrance comprises three things: harkening with fear to the divine warning, gazing with hope upon the herald who proclaims the Friend’s promise, and acknowledging with supplicant tongue one’s indebtedness to God’s beneficence. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So as I said, remembrance occurs in many levels. We learn to remember ourselves here and now in the physical body, in the beginning; to not forget what we're doing; to recall and remember to act virtuously, and this later translates itself within the internal planes. When the physical body goes to sleep, if you're being very effective in your daily discipline, you start to awaken consciousness in the higher worlds, in dreams, out of the body, and in that way, we could be reprimanded through experiences from divinity.
I know a lot of times, we like to think that samadhi or ecstasy, superior states of being, are going to be blissful, and there is a state of bliss found when the ego is absent, but often times, we can be given experiences not as a compliment, but as a warning to help us be very firm; to have awe; to have reverence. When they talk about fear of the divine, they're really referring to reverence, respect, to love God so much and remember the ethics of divinity, that one is afraid to act with ego. This is a conscious quality. This is not egotistical fear. This is awe, reverence, and respect, the diligence to act uprightly.
Remembrance of the truth, the verity, the veracity of the prophets, their honesty, is also another form of remembrance. When we really verify what they are teaching, whether from the writings of the Sufis or Samael Aun Weor or whomever, we recognize and understand the authenticity of what they teach, the principles from experience. This is also a form of remembrance: to recall the teaching, in all aspects, in times of our life, and also remembrance has to do with our verb, especially when we show other people how to change: to show them the way and to be grateful to divinity through prayer for the help we receive. These qualities strengthen us. They give us fortitude. They give us encouragement. They give us inspiration.
Remembrance through Fear, Hope, and Need
Let us examine a few more quotes from the Stations of the Sufi Path in terms of what this dynamic looks like in a more focused detail.
Remembrance through fear is in respect to three things: fear of what is hidden within the practical application of ethics and the Prophet’s habitual practice, being fearful for the unseen outcome, and remorse for the time and moment spent in distraction. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So we must remember to act ethically. We do so by studying the teachings, by learning the practical instructions, the scriptures, the writings, the prophetic traditions, whether from the life of Prophet Muhammad, or the life of any initiate who is really a master of Major Mysteries, someone with a lot of development, a prophet. As we said, to fear is really to have awe. In Hebrew it is פָחַד pechad, to have reverence and respect for the commandments of the Being, and then if we act incorrectly, we will suffer unforeseen consequences. We will suffer.
What are these unforeseen consequences, these outcomes? Eventually in our practice we learn to awaken in the internal worlds. We can receive prophecy, premonitions, visions about what will happen in the future, warnings about how to act in our daily life in preparation for great trials, great crises. In terms of this type of remembrance, this type of longing, this profound inspiration in recognizing the truth of our dreams, I can relate a brief experience that I had this morning.
I woke up in the astral plane and my inner Being showed me Arcanum 35 from the sacred Tarot. These arcana, these laws, these cards, demonstrate principles of nature about our particular path, where we are at and what we need to do, but, also the dangers and the inevitability, the prophecy of what's to come, what must happen. These are laws of nature, laws of Being, laws of divinity.
Arcanum 35 is Grief. I had that experience, and later this day, I found out from my father, physical father, that I had a relative who just died in a very terrible way, and so obviously, I was very struck, very wounded. I still am. But also I was very shocked. I was really sparked into remembrance by that experience, that my Being was warning me, was showing me what was going to happen, but I didn't know until, obviously, the facts presented themselves.
What is interesting is that each of these sacred arcana, whether major or minor, they have forecasting elements and a transcendental axiom that teaches a profound truth about a given circumstance of life. The transcendental axiom of Grief states:
That which is now comes from that which has been, and what has been is what shall be now. ―Transcendental Axiom of Arcanum 35: Grief
When we recognize how your visions come true, it really sparks you into remembrance. You feel that tremendous amazement about how one can know or intuit these things before they happen. It gives us faith, but in relation to this axiom or this 35th Arcanum―”that which is now comes from that which has been and what has been is what shall be now”―this experience really reminded me of death. Eventually we all have to die. We will pass, so we should really remember ourselves, to remember our purpose for why we work, why we study Gnosis, why we apply it, why we yearn for God. Death is inevitable, and so we should learn to respect divinity who can guide us when things are really hard. So we should really spend more time in remembrance than in distraction. We should not waste time doing frivolous, superfluous, stupid things―wasting time. We should really be practicing more.
But what is remembrance through hope, according to Abdullah Ansari of Herat?
Remembrance through hope is in respect to three things: sincere repentance, caring intercession, and luminous mercy. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Repentance is a form of remembrance because we find solutions to our sufferings. Therefore, we learn to act appropriately. We also remember divinity whenever we are visited by our Being, whenever the initiates of the White Lodge of the astral plane, the prophets, the divine beings, intercede for us. They help us. They give us wisdom and knowledge.
What is luminous mercy? When we recognize how divinity has blessed us through a heightened and intuitive perception, we feel brightness. We feel hope. We feel inspired. We long to change and we are encouraged to keep moving, to advance. We know the benedictions of divinity through an intensified clarity, a quickening of our perception, our conscious abilities.
Abdulla Ansari of Herat continues:
Remembrance in supplicant neediness is in respect to three things: continuous invocation, familiarity with that Pre-eternal grace that heralds joy, and an open heart gazing upon its Lord. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Remembrance, ذِكرْ dhikr, invocation, prayer, mantras, should be practiced in all moments of our life, internally and verbally. Samael Aun Weor mentions that an occult medic and esoteric Gnostic healer, an initiate, should vocalize an hour a day. That gives one substantial force and energy by which to really cut through illusion, but also internally we should mantralize throughout all moments of our daily existence.
Familiarity with pre-eternal grace, divine blessings, occurs in mystical experiences through samadhis, to prophesy, so when the body is asleep and you are speaking face-to-face and receiving knowledge from your Being, that is familiarity with pre-eternal grace, that divine compassion that is really timeless.
Our heart also opens when we see divinity in the superior worlds, when we gaze upon him through the symbolic language of dreams, through direct perception.
Inner self-remembrance has to do with our human machine, as we have come back to many times. We have the five centers, as we have illustrated in different lectures. We have our intellect, emotions, movements, instincts, and sexual drives―or the intellectual brain, the emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
These are the centers through which our ego acts. This is where our defects manifest and express. If we are watching the processes of our thinking, our feeling, and our behaviors, we learn to control the mechanicity of our life. We stop being machines. We stop being unconscious automatons, and instead, we learn to act with intelligence, with creativity, with genius.
Inner self-remembrance has to do with superior qualities: the superior intellectual center and the superior emotional center. These are spaces in which we receive knowledge from divinity, whether through intuition, whether through superior ideas or imagination, comprehension. The ego cannot act within the superior intellectual center nor the superior emotional center. These are distinct qualitative states that you have to verify in yourself. In daily life, they have the same quality as dreams―conscious visions, better said―no dreaming, no ego, no desire, no projections of the mind, but they are a profound activity that is a receptivity.
When you activate these superior centers, you learn to receive wisdom and intuitions and knowledge that have nothing to do with our common, everyday associative thinking, our churning emotions, nor our passionate drives, our impulses. These two centers are very important for meditation and they function in us when the consciousness is developed. Only the data, the wisdom, the intelligence from the Being is processed here. When we are really connecting with divinity, we are learning to access these centers to receive insights, understandings.
Samael Aun Weor states the following in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology that emphasized everything we have stated so far, and how our own ego is the obstacle to enlightenment, and also, if we are going to achieve illumination, we have to remember our Being.
It can come to pass that we are incorrectly related with ourselves. Accordingly, we suffer deeply due to the lack of inner enlightenment.
When you remember God, you don't suffer as much. Even with enough training, you do not suffer at all. You endure, patiently, the trials and tribulations of life because you have light inside, cognizance, humility, joy.
Conclusion and Practices
In terms of this course, we have been giving some practices, some general recommendations for you to fulfill. For this lecture and practice, we want to continue developing our self-observation or inner accounting, which is محاسبة muhasabah in Arabic. We do so from moment to moment, to facilitate mindfulness, which means to maintain continuity of attention, remembrance.
We mentally recite a mantra throughout the day, instant by instant. So there are many mantras in this tradition, many traditions, but you'll find an abundance within the writings of Samael Aun Weor. I recommend you study The Perfect Matrimony, especially, for many exercises and mantras that can help you, but if you pick up pretty much any book from our teacher, the Master Samael, you'll find exercises and mantras that aid in this process.
Likewise, every day, vocalize a mantra for 30 minutes to an hour. Adopt a meditation posture, relax completely, and then focus a hundred percent attention on your vocalization.
When you are mantralizing, you should sing. Let the sacred sounds vibrate in your consciousness, in your body, in your glands. Let your attention swim within the energies of the mantra, within the ocean of that force. Saturate all aspects of your Being with the vibrations, and if you are working on a particular mantra―that obviously will work with the different chakras in the body―focus on those centers. You can even visualize and imagine energy accumulating in the spaces where your mantras are affecting, whether it is the chakra of the throat, the chakras of the crown and third eye, etc.
At this point in time, I'd like to invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: Hi, good evening. Thank you so much for this really great lecture! It was really timely for me because I have been spending most of my time, the holy war, and also trying to observe myself. It's kind of where I am at, and so it was helpful to hear you speak about it.
One of the things that really was helpful to me is understanding or just hearing you say, to go to your heart when you're struggling with... well for me, it's like anger. I sometimes try to think about them. I don't go to my heart, and I imagine doing that and I could feel myself relaxing and could feel a nodding, like I was reviewing, while you're talking some things that happened today. So that was super helpful, but I know one thing that I am still struggling to understand in myself, how it plays out, is some of the way that my emotions are activated and utilize a lot of energy.
Last Friday, I ran into a deer for the first time in my life, and it had a baby that was left alone and the mother died―not instantly either―but I was just undone for the whole day. I do not know where to put that because if I put it in my heart, it seems like that part's already working in the wrong way. I am not looking at it the right way, and I know that it sapped my whole energy for at least a day, and who knows what in my dreams, and... I don't know. But I am just wondering if there is some way... like I can understand how when I am intellectualizing about my anger, trying to think about it mentally, that that doesn't help to unravel it. But how do I unravel my emotions? Where do I move that to look at it more clearly?
Instructor: That's a great comment and a great question. When we are filled with emotional suffering, a lot of intense pain, very strong emotions, in many cases, it can be good to sit and to pray: to ask our Being to help us understand this emotion and this sorrow that we feel. Obviously, when taking another's life, whether intentionally or unintentionally, even if that of an animal, we feel great sorrow, great pain. There are many remedies to help in the process of healing the heart. I know sometimes that if your emotional state is strong, it can be very difficult to handle without breaking down, and sometimes, even allowing ourselves the space to cry is important.
It is not good to repress or to bottle up emotions, especially if you are filled with a lot of emotional tension and anxiety, a lot of suffering. You neither want to repress it, nor do you want to indulge in it, but at the same time, if you need to let it out and cry, it is good to do that.
I recommend working with the magic of the roses, especially, and praying―praying for understanding of the situation, but also recognizing that it was an accident. As terrible as it is, as much suffering it might have inflicted, we have to seek forgiveness of ourselves and also comfort from our Being. Your Being can give you the solace and peace that you need. The way that you do it is by closing your eyes, relaxing, and of course, when our emotions are churned up, it's very difficult to handle, because the emotional center is much quicker than the intellect, and even movement. When emotions are volatile, we can struggle to control them. In a sense, the kind of control we are talking about has nothing to do with pushing it away or hiding it, but also not feeding it. It is important simply to be.
When you remember God, you are being in the moment. It does not mean that you're not going to experience sorrow, that you're not going to experience pain. Remembrance has to do with when you are consciously examining yourself, and if the reality of your state and emotion is that you were in a lot of sorrow, you have to look at it, but without having to try to gag it. It simply does not go away. So do not hide it. Look at it. Sit with it, and sometimes if it's too difficult to overcome it, if you are really struggling with your emotions, it could be good to take a break, you know. Practice in short sessions, but when you remember your Being, when you access His compassion for the state of affairs for yourself, you can learn to find peace.
You have to learn to forgive yourself. Sometimes, I know in these studies we like to say that we have to be cruel to the ego, cruel to desire, to examine ourselves with a scalpel of self-criticism, but this does not mean that we become morbid and pessimistic, filled with egotistical shame. Remorse is something else: a conscious quality in which we are no longer identified with the situation. We have to learn to forgive ourselves, to have compassion for ourselves too. This is not identification. It has nothing to do with nor relates to necessarily feeling good about ourselves, but instead, it gives us a space to recognize that we are not perfect. Only the Being is perfect, and therefore we have to find forgiveness for ourselves, for our mistakes, for our errors, and to accept the consequences.
Obviously, there are ways to work with the souls of nature, and I recommend that if this is something that you really wish to work with, you can pray deeply to your inner Being to give you insight and understanding about how to approach the situation, and by relaxing and withdrawing your consciousness from your thoughts, your feelings, and your body. You can begin to intuit and perceive the answer. Obviously, again if you are filled with a lot of negative emotions, it can be difficult to meditate. That is why sometimes it's good to take a break, relax, and approach the situation when you have more clarity. Reminiscing and ruminating and being morbid does not help. Instead, learning to relax, to find calm, to forgive oneself for an error, this opens the doorway to peace. I hope that answers your question.
Comment: I think it was helpful. Yes. I do not think I ruminated at all, but I think I had a little bit of intellectual glitch in terms of understanding―not wasting my emotional energy―because I don't repress my emotions at all. So I thought expending them in that way was wasting them and not utilizing them in the way that they were intended, you know, to feed my consciousness, in the same way that anger was too.
Another thing about it was that I was on my way to work, so in some ways I had to kind of repress myself, even though I still am kind of alone a lot of the time. It works. So I got to cry too, but it was just, I was thinking just by having that intense feeling, it was wasting the energy. And I did do a lot of the things that you said. I mean, I had no choice, because it was so painful and I could only just pray for the deer that it wouldn't suffer and the baby could find its way and to be taken care of. It's all I could do.
Instructor: The solution is to examine your states. Remembrance is a very expansive and profound quality, and even when we remember the presence of our Being, it doesn't mean that we're not going to feel some type of affliction or sorrow. But whether or not we are identified with our own shame, our own morbidity or negativity, or sense of self that, you know, is egotistical, is one thing, but having compassion is something else, which obviously in your case, as you are explaining, you know, one feels great love for sentient beings. We have to learn to forgive ourselves and to really send our love and compassion to all of humanity and all of life. “May all beings be happy, joyful, and in peace!” You can pray this in yourself, in your heart, and mantralize the vowel “O,” so that that energy saturates your heart and gives you strength by which to obtain serenity and to gain insight about the situation. So you have to realize that this situation was not intentional. You know, you have to forgive yourself.
Comment: Thank you.
Instructor: You're welcome.
Question: Should we work with the practice of the key of SOL with prayer and transmutation from moment to moment? Master Samael says we must live in a state of alert wakefulness and relaxation to awaken. This is a practice we must witness within our experience to see its value. The longer we are able to maintain it, the greater it's benefit will become for us. Gnosis is a journey upstream. We need to fight against mechanical habits inside ourselves, which want to fantasize about past and future, like and dislike, accepting and rejecting and bring us out of reality. We need to fight against our mechanical reactions. We need to remain within reality.
Instructor: So yes, the key of SOL is very important for remembrance of ourselves. It's a acrostic that stands for subject-object-location. Subject, as we have been explaining, is where we are observing our three brains: our thoughts, feelings, and impulses. We are also aware of the objects around us, and likewise, our relationship to them, and lastly, location has to do with our awareness, our expansiveness of where we are at: what street we are on, where we are going, where we came from, why we are moving. This has to do with our location.
Subject-object-location literally stands for SOL, which is related to the consciousness, but also the sun, as in the solar force. As we are expanding our consciousness and remembering who we are and where we are at, our unconscious states, our defects, observing them, we are also remembering to be present and to perceive our surroundings and location. This is a state of prayer.
Remembrance is the best prayer, when we really work not to be distracted by anything outside of us or within us, just to be attentive and aware at all times. Transmutation, as we have explained many times, the work with breath, pranayama, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, energy, helps to empower our consciousness from moment to moment. So this helps us to be alert and wakeful, because if you don't have conscious energy to empower your practice, you are not going to be attentive. You will forget things. So this is a qualitative state you have to witness again and again to really understand its value, its purpose. When you see the benefits of it, then you really push to maintain it. If not, it's just a theory.
Question: Can you give us examples of how you self remember during the day? In the beginning, did you use external reminders like your phone or watch? I find myself so quickly in an asleep state, yet the will and love for God is so strong.
Instructor: Yes, some practical examples of remembering our self can involve some external factors. I know some people have liked to use a stopwatch or a reminder on their phone every hour or 30 minutes or 10 minutes, whatever the frequency is desired, to remember oneself as an alert shock and recognition that one needs to be practicing. Self-remembrance is practiced and developed throughout the day in accordance with our exercises.
So for some of us we might like to get up early in the morning to do runes. For me, I like to meditate at four in the morning. Sometimes I get up at that hour naturally. So when I am awake at that hour and I have energy I go to my chair, my meditation space in my home, I do a mantra or I do pranayama. I meditate. I introspect, especially since the energies of the morning hours are very conducive for practice. Oftentimes, to really self-remember throughout the day, we have to remember to practice. Have a set schedule that we know we can fulfill, a practical schedule, something that we determine based on our own needs and our experience. Whatever exercises are most conducive for us that we need the most, we learn to practice them consistently.
I believe Prophet Muhammad made the statement that divinity does not look so much towards what you say you can do but cannot do, but rather what you say you can do, as little as it may be, and actually doing it. So, if you like runes, for example―this is something I like to practice―you may have a set schedule in the morning where you do it for an hour, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever is most conducive for your own development. You have to measure that based on trial and experimentation. Other people may be more dedicated with working with the sacred rites for rejuvenation, the Viparita Karani Mudra, certain mantras that they dedicate an hour a day or a certain time throughout their schedule in order to, every single day, remember to do those practices.
Those exercises are an anchor. Those are meant to really situate ourselves and our perspective and our practices so that we are more focused, so that we can approach the daily problems of life with greater efficacy. I know in my last job I liked to spend my breaks―I'd have an hour and a half of time free at work in my own office―I would do runes. I did an hour and a half of runes, especially before I would meet with clients and do my work, and I would have a lot more energy by which to remember myself.
So those exercises are very potent, but we have to remember to do them. If not, then we are not going to remember ourselves, especially. But if you like having an alarm on your phone or watch, that could be useful too. I know some people do that. That is how we really remain consistent.
Question: Please give an easy explanation of consciousness and the difference between that and the subconsciousness. Please give examples if possible.
Instructor: Yes. When you are conscious, you are aware of the moment. You are not thinking of anything else. You are not distracted by a memory, a daydream, a projection of thought, associative thinking, memories, reminiscences. You can be washing your dishes, but if you are thinking of your fiancée or friend, your neighbor, the paper you have to write for school, the job you need to do, or what your friend said yesterday, it means that we are not conscious. It means we are subconscious. Sub-consciousness has to do with memory, especially, and when you are remembering other things than what you are doing and not really focused on where you are at or what you are perceiving, it means that we are subconscious, or just beneath the surface of real perception.
Another example is when you're on the train or you're taking the L, for example, if you're in Chicago, public transit, you are riding the train, but you're remembering an argument you had with a friend or a co-worker, and you're feeling very upset, to the point that you're just ruminating in the mud and that you don't hear your stop, or where you are supposed to get off, it means that you are subconscious. You are not awake. You are not attentive. That is the main differentiation there. So the more that we learn to overcome that distracted sense of self, we learn to be more present, aware of where we're at, what we're doing, where we are, and more attentive to our internal states. That is when we can really begin to work on the causes of our suffering.
Any other questions?
So no more questions. We will conclude. I thank you all for coming to this lecture. The best form of remembrance is watchfulness of the moments, as we've explained. It's also good to remember divinity by being grateful, having gratitude for our blessings in life. As difficult as any situation might be, even if we get in terrible accidents, we can feel gratitude and love and respect and happiness for the many blessings that we have received, and also to give our love and our kindness and compassion, our understanding towards others, even of animals―all living beings. I advise you to reflect on these principles and to remember your Being, who is the source of life, to have gratitude for all that we have received. I thank you all for coming.
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