This is the third lecture in our course on Dream Yoga and Astral Travel. We discussed that there are degrees of consciousness, states of being. We are going to elaborate on the fact that consciousness is a spectrum. You have a polarity between awakened, divine, spiritual, conscious faculties, enlightenment, illumination. On the other hand, you have states of unconsciousness, sleep, dreaming.
For most of humanity, what we understand about ourselves can really be defined as a state of profound sleep, a state of dreaming. We explained that dreams are not only when we physically go to bed a night, and eight hours pass, or what we experience when the body is at rest. But we experience dreams all the time in our daily life, in many ways.
What concerns us in this particular course is understanding our state, our quality of life, the way we perceive, to understand what in us perhaps is a source of suffering, of many problems, of many conflicts. We can say with clarity, and assurance, that the cause of many sufferings is the lack of awareness, or that we are hypnotized by our own ways of thinking, our ways of reacting to the world, our habits. In this course, we are exploring a particular type of work in which we transform our consciousness from a state that is dreaming, unaware, or afflicted with suffering, into something that is brilliant, spiritual, ethical, virtuous, divine.
Types of Spiritual Beings
There are many different types of beings, especially in our world, but also in the universe, and they fall along this spectrum of consciousness. Among the heights, the most elevated nature of spiritual being, we have entities we call angels, prophets, masters, buddhas, gods. The term buddha means “awakened one,” to be cognizant, to know oneself. All the prophets that we, as a collective consciousness value and respect, were precisely beings who learned to awaken their full potential, to master themselves, and thereby exhibit and express qualities that are truly revolutionary.
We find such beings are like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, the founders of religion that taught that by changing who we are, we can elevate ourselves and learn to communicate directly with the divine through experience, not a matter of belief. But the problem becomes individually, specifically, applying what they taught, and understanding what in us prevents our potential from being realized.
We call them conditions of mind. We talk about states like anger, pride, fear, anxiety, vengeance, many types of defects which characterize many of our daily states. It is precisely these types of emotions, thoughts, worries, and fears, which keep us in a state of hypnosis, not fully aware of why we suffer or how we affect others. By examining that quality, that dynamic, we are learning to become like these masters whose spiritual caliber has been tested by extreme circumstances, who demonstrated with their very soul and spirit the most beautiful attributes. We like to study their lives, their teachings, because they show a potential in us for truly finding and establishing real joy, real happiness.
So, all of that, egotism, selfishness, resentment, we call those conditions, because in a moment in which we have a conflict, someone criticizes us, we feel that reaction of anger emerging. We do not will it. It just happens, or with fear, many emotions, these qualities emerge in the moment in response to some type of stimulus, often without our control. That shows that we are conditioned. But by learning to work with what we call the consciousness, some religions call it soul, we can learn to transform the situation.
We have a statistic in our studies which can be daunting. We state that we have 97% of our potential, our consciousness, trapped, conditioned by all of those defects I mentioned. But we also have 3% consciousness that is not trapped yet by those faults, and that by working with that, that perception, by learning to understand what the consciousness, what the soul really is, that 3% can become gradually 4%, 5%, 10%, until radically all of the imperfections that we have within are removed, and the soul that was once trapped and encaged becomes free.
It is that soul that knows how to astral project at will, how to receive divine teachings from the masters internally, knows how to interpret dreams, knows how to investigate the realities of life and death with competency, with skill.
So, the question we can ask ourselves, what part of the spectrum of consciousness do we inhabit, if we are honest? Do we lean more towards selfishness? Or the other end: awakening, selflessness, compassion, real virtue?
So, we are going to examine today what qualities of awakening are. What is awakening? What does it mean to awaken? But also, what can one do when awakened? Also, more importantly, how do we awaken?
It is good to reflect on the reality of those beings that I mentioned, because they were once like us, and yet through this science we are able to become something truly brilliant, remarkable, and rare. We will talk about certain methods in this lecture, precisely about how to understand ourselves, and how to transform the conditions of mind into liberated perception. We are also going to examine―who are those who no longer dream? Who are awakened? What are these beings like? ― and also, why should we emulate the awakened ones?
The Lines of Life and Being
We come back to this image because it is very deep. It is called the Line of Life and the Line of Being.
We mentioned how all of humanity, all of us enter the line of life at our birth. It is horizontal because everybody belongs to it. It encompasses everyone. We progress in a temporal fashion from our birth, to childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, to maturity, old age, decrepitude, and then death. Everybody must face the inevitability of this path, of this process. A lot of people only focus on this, their life, and how they progress through the scenarios of life, often ignoring and fearing the unknown, and that one day we must die.
People preoccupy themselves at a young age with playing, friendship, communities, education, adulthood, finding a job, starting a family, retiring, and eventually being surrounded by loved ones, until finally we enter that door of death. But unfortunately, people tend to go through life very superficially, thinking that by only accumulating wealth, or money, prestige, a retirement fund, that somehow someone has lived truly well. These things in themselves are beautiful and necessary, but they are not everything.
This line is the line of time. The moment we are born, the moment that we die, is processed within time, and often as we go through life, we tend to be very absorbed and not in the present moment, but in our memories, our past, our future, not really looking at what is going on here and now. Perhaps we had a trauma as we were growing up, that we live with everyday thinking about, reminiscing, stewing. For other people it could be fear of security, not knowing what the future will hold, and always looking ahead. These are dreams. It is dreaming.
We dream in the body. Whenever we try to interpret the moment through the lens of the past, constantly analyzing, scrutinizing, assessing, perhaps through a psychological lens of anger or fear, or whatever it may be. Or we look to the future. We think ahead. We fear things that are not there. We are not present. We are not aware of ourselves. We are not here. We are not now.
That realization can only occur when we take a sincere look at ourselves. What is the quality of our life? What is our state of consciousness? What is our level of being, our ways of thinking, feeling, and acting? That is a realization that is only defined and realized in the―no longer dreaming of the past, no longer dreaming of the future, but paying attention, being aware, actively looking at the world and ourselves.
As we do that type of work, we begin to realize this Line of Being very well. We realize that there are different states of consciousness that are superior, and there are states of consciousness that are inferior. I have already named some. We have states of suffering, negativity, egotism, etc., feelings of density, of apprehension and fear. Or we could be weighed down perhaps by our own weaknesses and ambitions, prejudices, whatever it may be.
But there are also superior states, which religions call ethics, virtues, real compassion, selflessness, sacrifice for others, patience, perseverance, understanding. There are degrees of this, many shades, qualities, and nuances to those qualities of consciousness. In the present moment we have the potential and the decision to make, whether we are going to enact a higher level of being, or an inferior one. But the only way to recognize in the moment is if we are paying attention, observing ourselves―not from an intellectual standpoint, like a detective would labelling data, information, and phenomena. Instead, it is a different type of perception. This type of looking does not involve thought. But we can be thinking. It is just an act of consciously looking at ourselves, observing. It is in this way, by learning to perceive our circumstances and our relationship to it, that we can learn to stop dreaming, learn to enter superior states.
States of Consciousness
I will reiterate these states of consciousness that we talked about before, because it is really deep. Before I gave the Sanskrit terms from Hinduism: Sushupti, Swapna, Jagrat, and Turiya. Here in Greek, we have Eikasia, Pistis, Dianoia, and Nous. Different terms, but the same principles, because they are eternal. They do not belong to a particular culture, although different languages have been used to talk about the same thing.
Eikasia: Profound Sleep
In Eikasia we find profound sleep. It is important to remember that these are states of consciousness, not states of the body. The body could be active or inactive, but what concerns us is how we as a consciousness are behaving.
Profound sleep really has to do with a type of mentality, and mindset that is barbaric. I mentioned before that when you see a crowd or a mob, lynching, war, it is because the people involved are in a profound sleep. They are not aware of themselves or what they are doing. There have been soldiers who have been interviewed about their experiences in war, and how they said it does not take any thought to kill someone, and later dealing with the trauma of that act. The reality is that if humanity was awake, we would understand and love our neighbor, because we would feel ourselves one with humanity. But profound sleep involves no mindfulness, no presence, no understanding of our neighbor, and that is why the worst acts of genocide, murder, violence, have been performed by people profoundly asleep. Their consciousness not there.
In a more accessible example, we experience profound sleep all the time. We can reflect on moments of our day in which we lack remembrance, recollection of what we did, whom we met, whom we talked with, what we thought, what we felt, and what we did. If you sit to meditate, to kind of re-examine the moments of your day, there will be moments that will emerge within our attention that we cannot recall. There is no memory there. It is because we are not really awake.
Or perhaps watching television is a good example. In front of television, we could be receiving all of this data and information through dramas, through films or movies shows, tv shows, and be so immersed in what is going on we are not even aware of our own body. We feel and think and experience life through the characters, through their emotions, not realizing or discriminating that this is all an illusion. They are actors. They are presenting a mirage.
But also, we lose awareness of ourselves. Somebody could be talking to us from the other side of the room while we are watching whatever it may be, and not realize what is going on. That means we are really asleep. What is interesting too is that this term Eikasia (εἰκασία) in Greek comes from εικόνων eikonon. It means “images.” It is interesting. Why is it that profound sleep involves images? It is having to do with something psychological. We could be receiving information form the world, the images of life, impressions, scenery, wherever we are, walking, taking in the environment, but we are not mindful of what is going on. We are not aware of what place we are at, perhaps lost in reverie, and then we may be sparked or shocked into remembrance because we forgot our turn on our walk. Or maybe we were taking public transit; we are thinking so much, or just not aware of where we are at, that we just miss our stop. That is Eikasia. But also too, taking in information, but not really perceiving it or understanding it, not being aware of it.
Pistis: Dreaming Sleep
There is another type of sleep we call Pistis: dreaming sleep. πίστης Pistis comes from the Greek Πιστεύω Pisteuo, meaning “to have assurance,” “to have faith in,” “to believe,” “to have confidence in.” What is it that humanity has most confidence in? There are many different beliefs and philosophies, schools of thought, ideologies, theologies, religions, institutions, doctrines. There also exist many senses of identity, maybe based on our race, our language, our culture, our belief systems, our religion, our appearance, our job, our class, our gender. We have many ideas, and many concepts revolving about who we are, and we have a lot of faith in these things, like somehow, they are lasting, that they are eternal. But the reality is that they are not. They will not last when we die. What will return, or perhaps progress and develop, is the soul. We are not the body, the body with its appetites, cravings, and tastes one day will go. But what is it that will remain? It is a big question.
When we have faith or assurance in temporal things, we call this dreaming. All the ideas that we have, perhaps that may give us some type of temporal security, in truth these are not sustainable. They are not permanent. They are not lasting.
So we talked a lot about dreams. We dream all of the time. Perhaps driving our car, we are thinking of our friend, our fiancé, our partner, and we do not see someone walking across the street and we get in to an accident. It is because we are dreaming. We are not paying attention. Or perhaps someone is talking to us, and instead of hearing what they have to say, hearing the new, the novel, the immediate, we are interpreting through the lens of the past, waiting to say our next word, not really listening to what is going on.
Dianoia: Awakened Consciousness
There are many forms of dreams, Pistis, but what concerns us in this school is to learn how to access waking consciousness.
In Greek we call it Dianoia (διάνοια). Dianoia comes from the prefix, “Dia-” meaning “thoroughly, from side to side,” which intensifies “noia,” which is mind. This is very interesting that Dianoia means “to go side to side with the mind,” to be flexible, to be adaptive, to be intuitive, not really having to think about something, but knowing how to act correctly in every circumstance.
Waking consciousness is Dianoia. It is a state in which we really perceive life with greater lucidity, with intensity, with comprehension. Qualities like patience and happiness, compassion, like I mentioned, these are all qualities that relate to the awakened soul, the awakened consciousness, which knows how to act with intelligence. It can solve problems, knows how to be flexible.
I’m sure we can think of many people in life, perhaps we have known, who are inflexible. They cannot adapt to any situation. Maybe we have that difficulty in certain aspects of our life. We do not know how to intelligently respond to a problem, whatever it may be. We have a particular weakness perhaps. But Dianoia knows how to look with penetrative wisdom at any conflict, and knows how to dissolve it. It is profound.
Dianoia, this awakened state, really makes revise our mistaken beliefs. So looking back at Pistis: dreaming sleep, we talked about, perhaps, beliefs about ourselves, our identity especially. But in a moment of awakening consciousness, not only in the physical world, but also in the dream world, where we perceive life in that dimension, that reality, we realize that we are more than our body. In fact, the soul is much more ancient, predates our body. So all of these things that we have accumulated in life, like language, name, race, gender, culture, these things are temporary. The soul is much more profound than that.
While it is important to develop a healthy personality in this world, it is not the defining factor of a human being. But unfortunately, people have created division based of appearances instead of recognizing the soul of people, the humanity of others. So, we change our beliefs about ourselves. It is a form of revolution, because we realize that we have a divine origin and we can return to that if we are willing.
Nous: Spiritual Illumination
In that way, we enter νοῦς Nous. In Greek this means “mind,” but I think that is an inaccurate translation by scholars, primarily because the type of consciousness we are referring to is not intellectual. Spiritual illumination, cognizance, omniscience, this is the level and quality of a god, beings who can have perception of things which are inaccessible to ordinary people. But the reality is that like us, they had to develop. They had to recognize that they were asleep, and that they were dreaming. By working to awaken consciousness, they achieved illumination, brilliant qualities of being.
An Example of Nous
I will give you an example of what Nous is like. My wife and I recently came back from a trip visiting one of the other Gnostic institutions that we study with. A group of us were talking about different things, different matters, whether political, spiritual, etc., certain situations that were going on with us. The next day, the missionary who runs this center gave a talk, and even though he was not physically present when we met the day before, he was talking about things that we discussed in minute detail, from beginning to end, in sequence, giving us insight and helping us realize how foolish we were. We were debating and arguing about things. So this individual was possessing a quality known as Nous. He knew what we were talking about even though he was not physically there. That is one example.
There are many examples because these states of consciousness exist in a spectrum. There is not one layer above the other in a form of rigid, static hierarchy. Instead, it is graded. There are many depths of the consciousness in sleep. There are also many qualities in dreams, and likewise in the superior aspects of consciousness. When it is awake there are many degrees, from less perfect to more perfect, until finally amongst Nous, where there are even greater types of realizations.
The reason why we talk about dreams is because we want to awaken. We want to cease dreaming, first physically, and then when we go to bed at night, we astral project willingly into that state and earn knowledge we yearn for, guidance from divinity.
Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of this school, and this tradition that we study, stated in a book called The Revolution of the Dialectic:
One needs to cease dreaming within the internal worlds. When we stop dreaming in the physical world, we awaken here and now, and that awakening appears in the internal worlds. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Awakening through Intuitive Action
So how do we awaken? What is the path? What are the methods? We are explaining different practices sequentially in this course so that we can learn to awaken within the dream state, and also, we can awaken physically while active in our body of flesh and bone. There is one statement I will relate soon that Samael Aun Weor gave, which is really compelling in relation to this topic.
We see a woman, Alice in Wonderland, ascending a stairway towards light, towards those prophetic heights: Dianoia, Nous. She does so because she recognizes how she dreams. It is a symbol of the soul.
The first step is recognizing that we are dreaming in daily life through the examples that I mentioned. The mind can be thinking about one thing, our emotions could be acting in another way, and our will is divided. In a sense, this shows that we lack a type of integrity, or cohesion. So perhaps we have our daily sufferings in life. It maybe in our job, maybe a marriage, maybe with our friends. Whatever our idiosyncrasy is, we can learn to overcome that confusion by learning to follow our heart.
The heart knows without having to think. In our Western culture, we believe that the intellect is everything, and this is wrong. The Eastern cultures have it much more accurately. The heart can tell us many things. It is the heart that judges, that understands, that knows.
The term intuition is a spiritual buzzword. It has a lot of meaning which a lot of people do not understand. Intuition in its real sense is knowing without having to think, without having to deliberate with the intellect. We have a problem, a situation. The mind debates, driven by fear, mechanicity, the past, fantasizing about a solution, feeling insufficient and inadequate, feeling empty and full of despair. Intuition is the solution.
The reality is, to solve our problem, do not think about it. It does not mean that we are not going to act on something. It means that the process of thought churning, confusion, trying to solve it with the intellect, is not the surest way. Intuition is when you examine your heart, when you examine your soul. It is not a thinking process. The heart knows how to act in a situation. If you put the mind aside, understanding can emerge. Sometimes this can come as a form of an idea, and with training―because right now we are very afflicted with a lot of problems―we do not know how to solve them. We dream about a solution, and we ignore that grasping at that type of solidity or solution is precisely how we stir up the mud, and we do not see within the depth of ourselves. This is why serenity, calmness of mind, and opening of the heart is the answer.
Intuitive action occurs when you know in the heart what to do, even when the mind screams, kicks, yells, does not want to do it. It takes a lot of willpower and a lot of skill, and this is why we train in meditation, different exercises in this course, which leads to this type of facility and faculty.
Samael Aun Weor stated that:
Intuitive action leads us by the hand towards the awakening of the consciousness. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
One example I can give of this: I think of my present job, just day to day interacting with people, my co-workers. I will have different emotions emerge as I am observing myself, being mindful throughout the day, being aware of my thoughts, my impulses, and just knowing in situations, without having to deliberate, how should I behave around this person, because this has been a new job for me along my career path. Obviously, there is always that hesitance and discomfort when meeting knew people, especially when you do not know who they are, how they are viewing you, how they evaluate you perhaps. So what I have learned in those moments is put my mind aside, open my heart, be attentive, and if you are really connecting in your heart, being present, being aware of your own inner divinity, your Being, you suddenly know what to do. It just comes out seemingly from nowhere, and the results speak for themselves. As you examine the quality of your relationships, your actions, this leads to success, builds communities, solves problems. The intellect does not solve problems. It is the heart.
There are many examples such as businessmen having long meetings, trying to solve or fix something, and then they say, “Let’s take a 15-minute break.” They will leave, do not think about the problem, and suddenly five members have an idea. It just comes. It is a simple example, but it is the same dynamic.
Thinking is usually an obstacle in us. We might have jobs that require the use of the intellect where we need to think about things, store information, relay information, compare, analyze, contrast. Personally, my job is very intellectual, but that is not the primary gear that runs my relationships with people at my job. Instead, it is learning to use the intellect with understanding, with the soul, with the consciousness.
The consciousness is not the intellect. The consciousness does not have to think. In the same way where you have to drive a car, the consciousness drives the mind. It is behind it. Thinking is secondary. I will give you an example. Put your hand on a hot stove. You burn it. You retract your hand in pain. You perceive it immediately. The instinct was to get out of danger. The emotion was anger, or stress, and then a thought emerges, “That hurt!” Thought is very slow. This is not the main ingredient of a person, as much as our Western academia would have us believe, and because we tend to put so much investment into our thinking, we have depleted ourselves of other faculties, which is the heart.
Serenity of Mind
People wonder why they cannot astral project at will. It is because usually, in the West, we are too intellectual. If you develop the intellect too much, the heart gets weak. This is not to say that people from other cultures that may be less illiterate than us have an advantage. There has to be a balance between the mind and the heart. But our mind tends to storm, like in this image of this man looking out of the window towards his internal psychological atmosphere. Our thoughts are like wind, clouds, and if we are full of rage―like storms.
We want to calm the mind in these studies. By calming the mind, by entering a state of serenity, by learning equanimity with unwavering focus, with relaxation, we open the door to the internal worlds. Right now, our consciousness is not trained yet. Typically, in the beginning, we are usually very distracted, thinking of other things, or very much caught up in the cycles of life, our daily schedule, getting up for work, taking care of our family, responsibilities, pets even. We tend to go through our cycles in life with our attention very much dispersed, even fragmented, multitasking, right? That is a very big thing in our American culture. But that type of distraction keeps us from perceiving what is going on here and now.
Impressions emerge in life. In different situations, it is necessary to know how to respond. What I am emphasizing is that we need to know how to act, and that is different. Reactivity is basically, as I said, we are criticized; we feel anger; we retaliate. Very mechanical, but if you are learning to observe yourself, and learning that reaction in you, you can understand the source of that pain, and understand perhaps the other person is afflicted too, is suffering, and is asleep. They are not aware of what they are doing or their effect on you. Therefore, you have compassion. You respond with love, with patience, with sweetness.
That type of understanding is based on mindfulness, being aware of each moment, like on that diagram of the Line of Life and Line of Being. Moment by moment, we learn to act in a superior way of ethics, of understanding, of patience. This requires that we have a mind that is receptive.
Right now, the intellect is active. Someone could be talking to us and yet our thoughts are churning or going place to place. The mind is not calm, and if the mind is active, then the consciousness is asleep. So having a receptive mind indicates a state in which we are aware of our surroundings at all times and we are also observing our psychology, examining the relationship of events with our inner states. That does not require that we have to use the intellect so much. Obviously with a job, we use our intellect when we need to, but it is important not to necessarily do things in life while thinking every process out. It is an exertion of the mind that creates tension, but also depletes us of energy that we need if what we want is to awaken the soul.
Samael Aun Weor mentioned in The Revolution of the Dialectic an interesting quote about the need to be mindful, in the sense of being aware of oneself without having to deliberate step by step, thinking: “This is what I am going to do. I am going to do this,” etc. But instead, it is to have an alert novelty in the same way as if you are walking down the street, in perhaps some European city, a cobbled-stoned path after a rainfall and a sunset, appreciating the beauty and novelty of the color and vibrancy of one's scenery with a feeling of awe. The mind is not there. The intellect is not there labelling, “This is beautiful.” Obviously if we think that, then we lose the power of that moment. We are not seeing it for what it is.
If you are eating, eat; if you are getting dressed, get dressed, and if you are walking on the street, walk, walk, walk, but do not think about anything else. Do only what you are doing. Do not run away from the facts. Do not fill them with so many meanings, symbols, sermons and warnings. Live them without allegories. Live them with a receptive mind from moment to moment. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
As we are observing ourselves and becoming aware moment by moment, developing a continuity of perception, we start to gather new information about ourselves and about the world that we never knew. This type of information is psychological. It has to do with the Line of Being. It has to do with our internal qualities. We may know we are a certain type of person with certain likes, dislikes, habits, preferences, tastes, prejudices. But are we actively observing that? We may know that we are seated in these chairs, but are we observing them? It is one thing to know. It is another thing to observe. It is a different quality.
Another example is we take a certain route to work, but we are not really observing what is going on outside of us. We know the path, so we go on autopilot. We put on our playlist from YouTube, listen to music, prepare for the day, but we do not really pay attention to what is going on outside of us. That is a profound state of sleep.
This awakening has to do with looking at the repeatable, verifiable facts of oneself. By facts I am not referring to what we can read in a book, or from the news. It has to do with what do we see in ourselves. Those are the type of facts we are examining in these studies. Putting aside politics, religion, beliefs, ideology, differences, what are the observable facts of who we are? How do we relate to the world, how we dream, how we live?
We may think we are one way, have certain beliefs, concepts about who we are, but perhaps someone at work has a conflict with us and says, “You have wronged me.” The instinct might be to react and say, “I did nothing wrong” even after hearing the facts. But the truth is that people see us more clearly than we see ourselves. But everybody is dreaming as I said. We are dreaming about ourselves, who we are. But what are the observable, concrete details of our daily life?
So, in that circumstance, where we have a conflict at work, are we observing that? We may know a situation is one thing, but are we looking at it? Are we examining it? Are we looking at our own mental states, emotional states, physical states? ― to look and examine as child would smelling a flower. Jesus said we must become as little as children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. It does not mean that physically we have to become small, naïve, stupid, or gullible. It means to appreciate what is happening around us and within us. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated:
Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
That observable understanding is γνῶσις gnosis. It is a Greek term. People commonly translate it as knowledge. But in reality, it is not of the intellect. It is of the heart, what we see in ourselves, what we understand. It withers away in abstractions, in that this type of spiritual life is not based on beliefs, or what we prefer, or what we like, or what we dislike. It is based on what are the consequences of our own actions, of within ourselves, and within our communities. What are the cause-and-effect relationships? Even if we are noble in our aspirations―and anyone who approaches spirituality is―that is not enough. What is important are the facts. What are the consequences of our actions? When we examine that, we awaken, when we live it, when we do it.
The Three Degrees of Cognizance
In this process we examine three degrees of cognizance. This is from Fundamentals of Gnostic Education. It is a tool that can help us examine the quality of our internal states, so that by looking at our life physically, our dream life changes. We start to awaken more and more within that dimension. It starts physically.
Some questions we can start to ask ourselves, maybe at the beginning of the day before we engage in life, or perhaps at the end before we go asleep:
1st – Time. How long did we remain cognizant?
Perhaps we were walking on the street going to work. We began our day with a spiritual practice. We are observing ourselves, aware. We are very lucid. We are looking at the environment surrounding us. We see the colors and the fashion that the people wear, the streets, the location, the city. We see it with a vivid intensiveness, a sharp perception. There is more color and vibrancy. We are alert and we are maintaining that from moment to moment. We are walking, not thinking of other things, just observing, and then we pass a store perhaps. We see something in the shop window that sparks our attention, and we suddenly feel that attachment and that longing to possess that thing.
So we immediately go towards the window. It takes our attention. We start thinking of how we can owe it, what would we have to earn, the steps we would need to take to possess that object, and then we as we walk away, we are continuing to think about possessing whatever it is that we want, whatever we desire. Maybe an hour passes. We are at work, and suddenly we remember, “I was supposed to be observing myself! I started thinking of something else. I got hypnotized,” and then we can recall, reflect: “How long were we cognizant walking down the street?” That is something concrete that we can examine and ask.
2nd – Frequency. How many times have we awakened our consciousness?
But also too, we want to examine: “How often do we awaken? How often do we have that state and experience it?”
We could be walking down the street, going to work, realizing that perhaps we maintained that type of continuity of perception and awareness in certain moments of the day. Perhaps we awaken in the morning before certain situations occur. That shows us a pattern of our mental process, our way of being. We are looking at how frequently are we able to sustain that state. That is frequency. Another important factor is the last one.
3rd – Amplitude and penetration. What was one cognizant of?
This has to do with the quality of our perception. How much are we seeing? What are we seeing? How deeply are we experiencing life? How intensely with the soul? What are we understanding?
As we reflect on these three principles and as we apply them, assessing our daily life, we start to develop that type of consciousness within the dream state, where suddenly after we go to bed, we suddenly find ourselves swimming in our street, right? These types of things happen in the dream world. We may become aware for a moment. It may be very brief in the beginning, especially, and suddenly we wake up. We realize, “I was just dreaming!”
But with practice that type of experience becomes more frequent. If you are more frequently awakening consciousness in your physical life, when you go to bed at night you start to awaken more and more. In the beginning, we dream. We start to remember our dreams, to recall our dreams. We have more depth and color and vibrancy.
These things intensify with time, gradually, until again we suddenly find ourselves swimming in the street, and because of training, we recognize this happened before, you cannot do this in the physical world. You are aware. You realize, “I am in the internal planes, the astral dimension!” Also, the amplitude, the magnitude, the penetration, the depth of our perception becomes more and more and more, greater and greater as we are evaluating ourselves.
Until with patient work, we can start to experience what the religions call the highest states of consciousness, such as Nous. The word तुरीय Turiya is Sanskrit, and we talked about it briefly in a former lecture. It is the state of Nous. Turiya is Sanskrit. It is spiritually illuminated, awakened perception. It is the quality of a prophet, of a master, of a god.
In the beginning, obviously, as we are progressing, we start to become more cognizant of dreams. But with training, we can start to taste experiences that are really sacred, really rare. They come as a spark, as a flash, usually very quickly, a type of perception that is not limited to even the fifth dimension: the dream world. Instead, one can ascend to higher planes of consciousness, which we are going to talk about in the next lecture: “Where Do We Dream?”
There are spiritual planes beyond the astral. The astral plane is not the only internal dimension. There are degrees and hierarchies amongst higher levels of experience, from the material physical world, towards the more rarefied and abstract, subtle. Those spiritual dimensions are very enlightening, and in those states, there is no possibility of misperception, because the astral world, even though it is in a more subtle state, is not necessarily the most objective.
We can all relate to the fact that we all had dreams that reflect some situation in life, or a fear, or a conflict, whatever it may be. In the astral world, one still has the potential of seeing only the conditions of our mind, our own dreams. They are not objective. They are not real, in a pure sense, in a pervasive sense. When you go up those different dimensions that we talked about in the Tree of Life, previously, you enter states of consciousness that are less afflicted by any type of self, selfishness, egotism.
Within higher dimensions like the realm of the spirit, the Being, the divine, one can become conscious that they are perceiving this table, and they can see all the atoms that it possesses. In that level or dimension of conscious, divine expression, one sees things in a very penetrative way. It relates to the world of mathematics, which, if you are interested in learning more about how numbers are sacred―numbers relate to intuitive principles―you can study our course we gave called The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, where we talked about numerology. Numbers are spiritual. They represent forces of nature, and so in this spiritual state you can see things that are not accessible even in the astral plane, which still has an element of illusion to it.
Instead, we are concerned about Nous, perfect awakened consciousness:
Nous is perfect awakened consciousness. Nous is the state of Turiya, profound interior illumination. Nous is legitimate objective clairvoyance. Nous is intuition. Nous is the world of divine archetypes. Noetic thought is clear, objective, illuminated. Whosoever reaches the height of noetic thought totally awakens consciousness and becomes a Turiya. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So, I mentioned that we should rely on intuition. That relates to Nous. You know a thing immediately. There is no need to conceptualize or deliberate. Nous is also perfect clairvoyance, and this is a term that has unfortunately mislead a lot of people. It simply in French means “clear vision.” It is the faculty of imagination, to imagine, to perceive non-physical imagery.
This is what we do every time we dream. We are seeing with clairvoyance. But for most of us, it tends to be very filtered, obscured, fragmented, dispersed. But with training, your perceptive quality, the capacity to receive images of an internal, psychological type, becomes much more robust. When it is perfected, you achieve what is called Turiya. It is clear, objective, illuminated. It is the world of archetypes, and the word archetype, if you are familiar with Jungian psychology, has to do with principles in the universe that are basically the building blocks of the soul. Study the course on Tarot that we gave if you are interested in learning more about that.
On the other hand, as Samael Aun Weor continues:
The lowest part of man is irrational and subjective and is related with the five ordinary senses. The highest part of man is the world of intuition and objective spiritual consciousness. In the world of intuition, the archetypes of all things in nature develop. Only those who have penetrated the world of objective intuition, only those who have reached the solemn heights of noetic thought are truly awakened and illuminated. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
It is important too, to remember that in our process of meditation, we can experience glimpses of that state. Having a temporary vision or experience does not mean that we are fully and permanently established in that. So, it has been a mistake amongst certain people in groups who have had that type of experience to think they are mahatmas, or gods, or saints, and they can create a lot of problems, right? One thing is to temporary experience that state, and another thing is to permanently be at that level. That is something very different.
The Qualities of the Awakened
So, what does it mean to be like the Turiya, the prophets, the enlightened ones, the awakened ones?
We see an image here of Jesus serving the poor. Real masters are humble. Those who awaken consciousness in its full sense and degree are very simple. They do not boast of titles. They do not demand allegiance. Their sole concern is for us, for suffering humanity, as we see in the example of Jesus who literally died for others―or Buddha, Moses, or Krishna―whoever we can name.
They are defined and distinctly characterized by their tremendous love, like a sun that shines for both sinners and saints, regardless.
Their ethics do not weaver. They are kind even when crucified. They are patient even when those for whom they suffer for do not appreciate what they have to give.
These types of beings are not understood, primarily because their caliber of divine personality is contrary to what humanity loves, which is pride, vengeance, hatred, violence.
These beings really work, and serve, and endure for the sake of our planet, and often times they work in secrecy because they know the current state of humanity. They understand that to announce themselves is, first, to be proud of what does not belong to them, but to divinity. On the second hand, they do not want followers. They do not demand attendance. They do not command for our respect. They are loving. They are forgiving, and most of all, they are understanding.
They perceive a person within all the dimensions of their being. They understand the circumstances of people, and how to solve problems. But they do not give advice because they want to be put on a pedestal. In fact, they are really humble.
We mentioned these examples of these masters and prophets because this is our goal. This is why we want to stop dreaming in daily life, to cease being a machine, mechanically repeating behaviors and habits, conditions and sufferings, without knowing why. Instead, by bearing this goal in mind, we know what we can become.
These masters do not dream. They do not dream in the sense that, physically, they go to bed and they see nothing. Instead, they do not have any illusion about themselves, who they are, who others are. Because they have radically altered their own psychology, have removed their own causes of suffering, they are able to help others with expediency, with intuition, with wisdom.
Jesus was once like us, despite what many centuries of theology state. Buddha was the same. All the masters were once ordinary. But because they had an aspiration, an inquietude of the heart, a longing to know something more of reality, they decided to end their dreams, to look, to work. Therefore, they do not dream. They are awakened in the physical world, but also the internal worlds. They can see even physically that they have a body―multiple dimensions at once―no confusion there. But for us, we have a very difficult time even conceptualizing even what the astral world is, unless we have had that experience.
This is why we have emphasized in this school: “Do not take these words at face value, but test them.” You can experiment with the practices we give lecture by lecture to verify this for yourself.
Samael Aun Weor stated in The Perfect Matrimony:
A true Turiya cannot dream. The Turiya who has reached the heights of Noetic thought never goes about saying so, never presumes to be wise; he is truly simple and humble, pure and perfect. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
In the West, we often denigrate these terms: simplicity, humility, because we believe in our North American culture that to be simple, to be humble, is to be taken advantage of. In reality, the truth cannot be more distinct.
Jesus was a very learned man. He studied all religions, and he synthesised them in a way that was very accessible to people. Now, whatever people teach or interpret what he taught is another thing, but actually looking at the knowledge he disseminated is something different.
To be humble means to have dignity, but not to self-aggrandize oneself, to assume one is something that one is not.
These are the qualities of those who do not dream, who are perfect, who are illuminated. Their sole concern is for humanity.
Therefore let us not sleep as others do; but let us watch and be sober. ―Thessalonians 5:6.
Let us not be intoxicated but our own defects, our own errors. Let us take responsibility for our own conditions of mind so that we are not asleep, unaware, not knowing where we came from, and not knowing where we are at.
Samael Aun Weor stated in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
First seek enlightenment, and all else will be added unto you. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Putting aside dreams, ambitions, that “First I must do this, this, and that, and then I will be spiritual,” or the concept of "One day I will be a master, illuminated”―those two are dreams, spiritual dreams―noble thoughts, but abstractions that wither from the facts. Instead, by learning who we are moment by moment and we traverse the road of our own inner work, we get insight and guidance.
So the exercise for this lecture: everyday develop your self-observation from moment to moment. Also extend your mindfulness: the length of time you were aware of yourself.
At the end of each day reflect on how you did.
Everyday develop your meditation. Adopt a meditation posture. Relax completely, then focus 100% of your attention on a chosen object.
We talked about observing a candle and watching the flame, a simple practice in which, as you are observing the candle flame, you are also observing how you observe. You are examining your mind. If you start thinking of something else, daydreaming, recollecting, gently bring yourself back to your attention.
Look at the candle. The mind tends to be attached and distracted, jumping from one thing to the next. This exercise teaches one to focus on one thing so that we can understand ourselves. That is one practice you can do for meditative concentration. That concentration will help us to astral project consciously.
You can take any other object―pretty much anything. You can take a stone even. Observe a stone, a rock. Just look at it, and if your mind starts to wander, just bring your attention back. You can do that for 10 to 15 minutes, maybe 2 sessions or 3 a day―up to you.
And then lastly, write the facts of your day in a spiritual diary. This is a beautiful practice that was taught by Swami Sivananda especially, a great yogi and master of Hinduism. Look at this link on the PDF. You will find a resource on Glorian Publishing’s website, an article about how to perform a spiritual diary.
Basically, with this practice, at the end of each day or whenever you feel inspired, sit down and write. Write about what you have experienced, about what you have observed in yourself, how you practice, where it is taking you, perhaps your fears, your troubles. This diary is only for you. Nobody else can read it, not even your spouse. Instead, it is a way for us basically to be very concrete about what we are doing, about where we are at, but also what do we observe. What do we see in ourselves?
There are questions in this article basically describing what your states in the morning were, what were you like in the daytime, what were you like in the evening, and you can be as detailed as you want, or as simple as you want. It is up to you. But if you write in your journal every day and you reflect what you have learned, overtime you start to recognize patterns. You have a very deep, factual document that is showing you yourself. There are no ambiguities there. It is not running away from the facts. We are seeing what is there. This exercise can help us go a very long way. I highly recommend it.
At this point in time, I would like to open the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: How do you set up the space for the candle practice. I mean I never done it, so how do I do it?
Instructor: You can have an altar, if possible, but it is not necessary. Any table, it is nice to have an altar obviously to have a place where you can dedicate your meditation and your devotion. Have a cloth on top. Any candle will do. Light it and observe the flame.
Question: Lights off probably or...?
Instructor: Yes, the more ambiance the better. It gets us in the mood to really focus.
Question: Thank you.
Instructor: You are welcome.
Instructor: At the end of each lecture, we do a practice. So I explained the exercise for this lecture. We can stay after, and we are going to do a retrospection meditation. 10 minutes, very brief, just so you can get the flavor of what this exercise is.
In it you relax your body. You pick a posture. Get comfortable. Close your eyes and introspect. Focus on your breath, breathing in deeply―inhaling, retaining the air, exhaling. Let yourself settle in the same way a stone sinks to the bottom of a lake.
Relaxation is the beginning. If we cannot relax, we are not going to enter a state of meditation. Meditation is not a technique. It is a state of being in which we are perceiving the phenomena and impressions of life with an alert, cognitive state. Relaxation is the beginning.
If you need to breathe deeply, you can. If you find that you are sufficiently relaxed in your body, you can begin to relax your mind. Relax your heart. We often carry a lot of negative emotions with us―tensions, anxieties, worries. The key is to look at that, observe it. As you observe it, like an actor in a film and you are the director, you start to see different qualities in yourself that are churning, like the image of a cloudy sky in the PowerPoint. The more you look without investing yourself into thought, or feeling, or discomfort in the body, you start to see that the waters of the mind begin to settle. They become still, serene.
As we enter relaxation and suspension of our senses, no longer looking at the external world, but closing off to all distractions internally as well, we can start to concentrate on our experience. We can take a moment of our day that we recall, that we remember. You also can visualize any scenes that you went through.
Perhaps you take a moment in your morning. Simply recall the event. Play it on the screen of your imagination. Look at it. You will find in the beginning, especially, the mind will try to alter certain things. The key is to just be honest―are we concretely observing the scene?―and look at it. If I tell you to imagine an apple, you can. It just emerges. It is the same faculty: imagination. Some people call it clairvoyance. It is a fancy term for something very universal and human.
Now imagine the scene as it happened. Try to remember the day, maybe from the very beginning to the end, or you can retrospect backwards from the end of the day to the beginning. Follow your heart and look within your recollections for moments in the day where you do not have any remembrance. You just cannot see the details. You do not know what you thought, felt, acted, did, and if you do not remember, that is fine in the beginning. Just try to recollect as much information as you can.
There are other depths to this practice which we are going to get in to later on in this course. But the beginning is just gaining the ability to just remember and try to visualize it in as much detail as you saw it.
So do not force your mind. Do not exert your mind. In the same way you can remember what you ate for breakfast, just remember it. It is gentle. It does not require force. Some people will be sitting in their meditations scrunching their eyes, trying to exert their mind to do something. It does not work that way. Serenity is key.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.