This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
As gnostics, we become enraptured, inflamed, delighted, by the works of the great classical composers such as Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, Wagner. It also is remarkable that these paragons of music have taught in their art, the secret teachings of all ages, the secret path of initiation.
Just as we become enthralled by the pyramids of Egypt, Yucatan, the temples of the Maya, the Aztecs, the great churches and synagogues, the great mosques, all the architecture that the best of humanity has produced; these things inspire us. While these forms of art have always been profound, moving, inspiring, it is also a tremendous inspiration to understand how these great works of art have taught in their secret symbols, their allegory, the spiritual path that leads the disciple from ignorance into the light of comprehension. The path of yoga, reunion, religion.
Art has always been used to reflect divine principles, divine truths, with many meanings and symbols that hide tremendous cosmological truths and experiences of the consciousness. Even though in our studies of anthropology, or better said, gnostic anthropology, we have looked at the great architecture of the ancients, the philosophies of the Greeks, the ancient sciences of psychology, mysticism, kabbalah—it can be argued that opera is one of the most refined, and if not, the most synthetic teaching given to humanity.
This art form is truly a form of alchemy. It is alchemical, because it is a mixture of music, drama, theater, art: visual representations, costumes that are appropriate to the given context of a specific opera can help to convey profound truths about the nature of religion, of psychology.
Opera has always been utilized by the great initiates. It is very well known amongst writers that Puccini, Mozart, Beethoven and many others like Tchaikovsky, were Freemasons. Mozart's Magic Flute, which portrays the initiations of the Masonic Lodge, eventually got him into trouble, precisely because he was expressing truths in that opera that were not allowed to be conveyed to the public. But, given his inspiration, he provided a beautiful teaching about the nature of initiation, the spiritual path, of which we will be studying in this course on the Secret Teachings of Opera.
But today I want to just discuss for us some of the principles, the foundations in order to interpret opera, especially the kabbalah and alchemical knowledge that is the synthesis of this great art.
As I stated, the great architecture of humanity, the ancient religions and traditions, while profound and beautiful, are not as refined as this art form, because opera is the synthesis of many aeons of development—many centuries of expressing the teaching in a way that was only communicable and understood by other initiates.
And as I stated, this path is about קבלה kabbalah and alchemy. How is opera kabbalistic, alchemical? The word קבל kabbel in Hebrew means “to receive.” It is knowledge that we receive not only from books or scriptures, but from experience of the consciousness.
Classical music elevates the soul, because this music was composed by prophets.
Many people think that Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt were simply musicians, and that they had a type of genius and creativity that could not be explained. But the profound reality is that they developed their music, their art form, as a result of awakening their full conscious potential.
In their music, they portray many truths relating to mathematics, to numbers. We know that music is very mathematical, kabbalistic, because kabbalah is the science of numbers. In these studies, we know that kabbalah is intuitive. Numbers are intuitive. They represent forces in nature: principles, archetypes, blueprints for the creation of the soul, in which we find represented in the many different characters of the operas like Rodolfo in La Bohème, a reference to the twenty-first arcanum of the tarot: the Fool, the ignorant, the Bohemian.
Likewise, we find the tremendous archaic teachings of the thirteenth arcanum in Puccini's Turandot; the mysteries of death and the Divine Mother. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin teaches about the loss of the soul. Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, which has terrified many audiences, is a teaching about the path of failure.
So these great masters conveyed in their music, psychological truths about the dangers of the spiritual path of initiation. When we watch opera, we learn to receive the knowledge which is kabbalah, kabbel. We receive the music which inspires the heart, and through the drama of its characters, the narrative, the lyrics, or the libretto, we gain insight into the nature of what is known as the Tree of Life and its different sephiroth. For each character in an opera represents parts of the soul that must be developed, which must be integrated.
So divine art is precisely opera. It is the amalgamation or alchemy of the verb. Of music. Of drama. In opera there is sculpture, there are sets, there is music, there is poetry or literary narrative. In many cases there is dance. So, the initiates, throughout the centuries, for millennia, had provided their teachings within sculpture, within paintings, within music. As a synthesis of this great art, of these great teachings, we find that opera is the peak, the height, the most refined, precisely because it synthesizes all the art forms from the previous eras, of which we'll be talking about in this lecture.
Sadly as much as people love opera and classical music, they don't really comprehend the meaning of the great art forms. They don't understand that the dramas represented in these forms of art, in these presentations, show us something symbolic. They show us something about ourselves, if we are truly walking this path of initiation that we have been explaining in our course on the Tarot, especially.
Opera is a divine art, but in order to benefit from it, we have to awaken consciousness, because for many centuries people have listened to opera. They have watched it. They have been amused by it and have commented on it. They have debated about its purpose and the meanings of certain composers’ work. But sadly, humanity ignores the science of the Tree of Knowledge and the science of the Tree of Life, which are the synthesis of the secret teachings and which can unlock the door to understanding the great works of art, such as with Wagner's Parsifal, of which the Master Samael Aun Weor wrote a book specifically explaining its symbolism, its mysteries. Another opera of which we will be talking about later in this course.
Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis
So in order to discuss the nature of art and the place of opera within the scale of our humanity, it is necessary to speak about some very ancient forms of history which are not documented by our anthropologists, our scientists, who only study physical matter. We have to speak about cosmogenesis and the nature of what is called root races and subraces within our humanity and previous humanities, in order to discuss the teachings of opera. But why?
As we stated, through our many aeons, this teaching has been taught, it has been known, it has been practiced, and many operas teach an ancient form of history that is not known by humanity. It is enough to watch Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, in order to understand and first-hand witness the history of ancient humanities on our planet.
So in order to talk about the place of art that has developed throughout history and reached its peak with opera, we are going to talk about this ancient history in synthesis. We won't have the time in this lecture to really expound upon all the details of these ancient humanities that populated our planet, but we want to point and indicate their place in general in order to help us provide a context for this lecture.
So what is a cosmic era? A cosmic era is known as round, and as we see in this graphic, we have a beautiful depiction of ancient periods in our universal history. We have first what is known as the Mahamanvantara, which is known as the “great cosmic day.” Every universe is born, gives life, and then dies. When it is born, it has existence, when the universe manifests from the unknowable divinity known as the Ain Soph Aur, the Ain Soph, and the Ain in kabbalah, the Absolute.
It emerges and manifests into different levels of matter, energy, and perception, which are mapped by the kabbalah. So, life descends from more subtle forms of matter and energy into the more material.
Life first existed in the mental plane in what is known as the Saturnian Round. When life fully developed in its full capacity in that dimension, after many aeons, trillions of years, and after that round gave birth to seven races in its respective cycle.
It then materialized and entered into what is known as the Solar Round. Life then gestated within the astral plane. Likewise, in that era, seven races were born. When life fully developed at that level, matter, and energy descended into the ethereal plane, the fourth dimension and what is known as the Lunar Round of which Samael Aun Weor spoke about abundantly in his books.
Life in the lunar round existed in what is currently known as the moon, the physical moon which was a planet in previous eras, in the Lunar Round.
A planet always has life, it always has its humanities, its races, that are born and gestated in those eras. But when life fully develops at that level, the planet dies after many aeons, many ages. In that round, life then is extracted from that planet in order for that planet to become a moon, a cadaver.
A moon is a dead planet that once had life in previous rounds. The lunar round took place precisely in our moon, the physical moon and which is why certain writers like Madame Blavatsky taught that the moon is the mother of the Earth. This is contrary to people's belief that the moon was a part of the earth that broke off into space. But the moon was its own planet. It had its own life, its rivers, its forests, its civilizations, its races.
When that planet fully developed its races, its humanities, when the knowledge was given to those ancient epochs, those peoples, the planet eventually has to die, because life is born, is gestated, it sustains, and then it passes. So life once existed on the moon, but the soul of that planet entered into our Earth in the next round, the Terrestrial Round, of which we are currently in—the terrestrial period.
It is important to note that these rounds exist because life is descending. First through the force of involution into different states of matter and perception, so that the souls that are entering into the universe can gain experience, cognizance, understanding.
And what is a root race? There are seven races for each round, as Samael Aun Weor teaches in his books. A root race is precisely a humanity, an age in which certain people are given the opportunity to enter into the mysteries of the secret teachings. To experience and live the path of initiation.
And of course, this terrestrial period indicates with exactitude that life has reached its maximum. Its full materiality. Now we are currently in the process of entering into the higher dimensions once again, from which life first descended.
In the future rounds, life will continue to exist in the ethereal plane. Reconquering the ether. Ascending towards higher worlds and higher states of being. Likewise, the astral plane and the mental plane. Until finally, that universe or the life of the planet and the different worlds will enter back into the Absolute, what is known as the cosmic night: the Mahapralaya, the cosmic period of rest.
Each period has seven root races, of which we are currently in the fifth. We once experienced and had life on this planet through the Polar Race, followed by the Hyperborean Race, the Lemurian Race, the Atlantean Race, the Aryan Race.
Each race or root race has his life and its death. There are always periods of great cataclysms in which such humanities are exterminated once the fruits of those races have been produced. When a humanity has given forth solar men, solar initiates, solar beings through the spiritual path we have been teaching in our courses, then those humanities reach their peak of civilization, and then they decay. When they decay, they are finished through great cataclysms of which the Aztecs and the Maya have depicted in their sun calendars of Tonatiuh, in which these different humanities experience different forms of their demise, which we won't go into depth today.
But we mentioned in brief because in order to talk about opera and art, the great forms of the sacred mysteries, we have to speak about our ancient humanities.
The Seven Aryan Subraces
We are now in the fifth race, the Aryan Race, which should not be confused with the Germans, because the German people are merely one aspect of the Aryan Race.
Each race has seven subraces, of which we have an image of our Aryan Race in the top right. Why is the fifth root race the Aryan Race? Because we are governed by Ares, by Mars, by Samael, the angel of strength. The previous periods were governed by other angels, but now we are under the jurisdiction of Ares, of Samael.
It was a mistake of certain people amongst the Nordics, the Germanic peoples, to think that they were the only Aryans on the planet. That was a mistake. The Aryan Race has flourished upon the whole planet and every continent.
Each root race is divided into seven subraces as we stated.
Humanity amongst the Aryans first developed in Tibet, then moved into India and China.
The third subrace existed in the Middle East, the fourth in Greece and Rome, the fifth amongst the Nordics as well as the Anglo-Saxons, Teutons, and European people.
In Latin America, we have the sixth subrace. Right now, in the United States, we have the seventh subrace that is developing presently here and now. We have stated and it has been stated that the subraces, or better said, the subrace of the United States, is a mixture, is a crucible, a melting pot in which all the races of the our planet are mixing, precisely with the purpose of generating the seed for the next root race, which is the sixth in our terrestrial period.
The sixth root race will be known as Koradi, which is the new people, the new age, the new era of Aquarius cited by Samael Aun Weor, in the Book of Revelation. After our Aryan civilization is destroyed with great cataclysms, like the previous races before, certain people and certain seeds of our race, the seventh subrace, will be extracted and taken in order to develop the new humanity.
So the best seed is always used to cultivate new plants, new life. The same with the subrace of the United States in which the Gnostic movement is marching firmly forward, having originated from Latin America, but also has spread throughout every continent of the planet, to all of humanity, our Aryan race.
We have talked and have spoken a lot about the great cataclysm that is going to afflict our humanity in this present epoch. Nuclear wars, forms of destruction, the end of an era of perversity which has really reached the maximum. Because this Aryan race is so degenerated, divinity has no other option but to eliminate it and to save those seeds, those few people who want to change, psychologically. And through preparing ourselves to the initiative work, we provide ourselves the opportunity to exist in the future root race, if we are pure—if we fully eliminate the ego.
But why talk about opera in this context? It might seem like a digression, but it is important to note that this ancient history, which is not known by our scientists, has been taught in opera especially, Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold.
We will talk about how these great works of art have always spoken about and alluded to these ancient forms of humanity, in a symbolic way, but which people who are very literal, don't know how to interpret… those who are very fanatical or who may like the classical composers, but don't understand the symbols of their work.
This history is only understood through the consciousness. We cannot necessarily find physical remnants of these ancient humanities. There are a few, but the real evidence lies in the internal planes in what is known as the Akashic Records. But to give some indications towards the past remnants of our ancient humanities, we know that there are statues and sculptures on Easter Island, which Samael Aun Weor stated are the remnants of Lemuria who were giants [like Fafner and Fasolt in Wagner’s Das Rheingold]. Gigantic figures, gigantic people, who existed in this third dimension, but also in the fourth before they finally descended into materiality.
What is also interesting is that there have been found by certain archaeologists and scientists, certain glass layers in the Earth found in the Sahara Desert, Libya, Mojave, and other places which could only be formed by the aftermath of tremendous atomic explosions. It is said that in order to create such layers of glass that have reached the diameter found, I believe in the Sahara or Maccabi, it would take nuclear explosions 10,000 times more powerful than those used in New Mexico. The Mahabharata also has certain illusions towards nuclear war amongst the Atlanteans who destroyed themselves through that type of technology in which Plato, I believe in his Timaeus, hints at that these ancient civilizations existed [Wagner even depicts the giants Fafner and Fasolt killing one another in Das Rheingold, reminiscent of how the giant civilization of Atlantis reached its tragic conclusion].
This type of history is not really easy to validate except through awakening consciousness in the internal planes, to really experience and understand from experience where these root races came from. How they lived. What they did. We have Easter Island and a few other remnants found across the planet that point towards the remnants of these civilizations.
It is interesting that we have these facts which scientists can't explain. They want to ignore that there were civilizations before us that were more powerful. The Atlantean science was by far, much more developed than our Aryan Race.
So why talk about opera? Opera developed amongst the fifth Aryan subrace, especially amongst the Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, and European people. We find that beautiful forms of art that teach the secret knowledge that have been given in Tibet amongst the Indians and Chinese. Especially in the Middle East amongst the Muslims and Sufis. Likewise, amongst Grecians and Romans, and also in Europe amongst the Germans, the English, and other Europeans
While we state that opera is the synthesis of all other art forms, we also state that just because this form of art is synthetic and highly refined, doesn't indicate that the fifth Aryan subrace was superior, because we know from history that the first and second world wars were initiated by this subrace amongst the Aryans, amongst the German people as well as the Europeans, which is very degenerated.
But it was the purpose of the White Lodge to provide teachings within this subrace to give some type of knowledge and understanding for future peoples amongst the Latin Americans, among the Europeans, and especially within the United States, in which we are explaining this knowledge in a very open fashion.
In the age of Pisces, we had many forms of art that had inspired people, but people don't understand the real meaning, their significance.
In the age of Aquarius, the era of the water bearer, we are explaining this knowledge for the first time, the significance of these great works of art. The White Lodge gave many operas, many forms of music, of drama, that teach how to unite with Christ, with the truth but, because people were not necessarily benefiting from that knowledge, the White Lodge determined there was a time in which that knowledge had to be finished, concluded, which was around World War I, when the opera Parsifal debuted. We also have Turandot that came out in 1926, which is fairly late.
Since where we are now in the age of Aquarius, and because this Aryan Root Race is going to end through many great cataclysms, we are now explaining for the first time the meaning of these operas—to give to humanity the secret knowledge that has been hidden, but also has been visible to them for many centuries. But for the fact that people have not known kabbalah and alchemy, they could not interpret it. So now we give this knowledge explicitly for the benefit of those who suffer and who want to understand the path that leads out of suffering.
Art and the Sabbath
Art has always been considered sacred and the ancient epochs, but not in these present times. The Sabbath, the day of Saturn-day, Saturday, relating to the Holy Spirit, was the day of learning among the ancient cultures, in which people would recreate to listen to either opera or great works of art. To see dramas, presentations of the secret path on their day of rest, in which art is highly significant and relates not only to Venus, but to Saturn. Saturn-day—because the teachings of Saturn, the teachings of the Holy Spirit, as well as the teachings of the Third Logos, are precisely the wisdom or the intelligence of the divine, because Binah in Hebrew means “intelligence.” It is the knowledge of the higher mysteries, the secret path.
Ancient art was always used to convey profound cosmic truths, principles, realities. People would attend these performances because they understood from experience that they were divine, profound, and personal. Because when one has personal experience from initiation, from meditation, one sees one's own experience reflected in art.
Therefore, art becomes something very prophetic, divine.
“The Sabbath, the day of the theatre, the day of the mysteries, was very popular in the ancient temples. Marvelous cosmic dramas were then presented. Drama served to transmit valuable teachings to the Initiates. Different ways to experience the Being and the manifestations of the Being were transmitted to the initiates by means of drama. Among the dramas, the most ancient one is that of the Cosmic Christ. The Initiates knew very well that each of us must become the Christ of such a drama if we indeed aspire to the Kingdom of the Superman. The cosmic dramas are based on the Law of Seven. Certain intelligent deviations of such a law were always utilized in order to transmit transcendental teachings to the neophyte.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So what does it mean to become the Christ such a drama? Many operas teach the Christic path, in which the great heroes, such as Sigmund and Siegfried in the Wagnerian Cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen [The Ring of the Nibelungen]—they must overcome great traumas and tragedies and conflicts. Likewise, Prince Calaf from Turandot must conquer the heavenly divine kingdom of China, and marry the divine princess Turandot by overcoming the temptations of Christ.
So these works of art depict psychologically what one must do in those situations, here and now. That art reflects that path itself. It can provide inspiration for those who are working.
The Kabbalah and Alchemy of Music
As I stated, classical music is a medium for prophets. Music is the sacred language of kabbalah, of alchemy, of numbers, of intuitive principles. Music can teach us many profound things through the emotional center, through the heart. That language can only be understood when we know the Tree of Life and the mysteries of working within a matrimony, the Holy Spirit, the divine feminine, and the divine masculine.
So, art is based on these profound principles, on the world of numbers, on the worlds of numbers relating to the Tree of Life and its symbolic language.
When we have been discussing the nature of numbers in relation to the tarot, we have been talking about how those numbers reflect principles, aspects of our psychology, of our spirituality, which we must learn to work with in its progression, in its development. Music depicts through the heart, through its emotional impact in the soul—in relation to specific dramas—what one must do in the spiritual path when facing those types of temptations and ordeals.
It is also important to remember that music is divine, or can be divine. It can elevate the soul, or if it's degenerated, it can push the ego to act, the mind to indulge in negative thoughts, negative sentiment, negative feelings.
But, classical music is the language of the higher worlds. It is literally the messages of the superior angels, the prophets, who are teaching about higher levels of being, higher ways of being.
“We must comprehend the significance of music, happiness, and optimism. One remains in ecstasy when listening to The Magic Flute of Mozart, which reminds us of an Egyptian Initiation.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
And if you remember the opening of The Magic Flute with its three notes, it refers to the Pyramids of Giza. So again, you see how numbers and notes take on conceptual dimensions. They represent things which are very practical for those who are meditating and waking consciousness in the internal worlds, so that when one has those experiences, one can listen to music and interpret the meaning of those messages.
Obviously when listening to The Magic Flute, we hear an initiation relating to Egypt, and personally I have been to Egypt in the astral plane. I have been to the temple of Giza in that dimension. When listening to Mozart's Magic Flute I hear and I see in my mind, my experience of being accepted into the temple. But in order to understand those messages, we have to awaken consciousness, otherwise, those messages and music will not be interpreted. They will not be understood.
This is why Samael Aun Weor stated for someone who is awakening consciousness:
“One feels amazed when listening to the nine symphonies of Beethoven, or the ineffable melodies of Chopin and Liszt. The ineffable music of the great classics comes from the exquisite regions of Nirvana where only happiness that is beyond love reigns. All the great Children of the Fire (the angels, the Elohim, the Malachim, the masters) distill the perfume of happiness and the exquisite fragrance of music and joy.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In the temples of the higher dimensions are beings that relate to the world of music. We know from Kabbalah that Tiphereth, of which we will be explaining in depth today, is the world of music.
Beethoven, the great master of major mysteries, is a guardian of the temple of music, which Samael Aun Weor confirmed when meeting him in that initiation or related to that state that he experienced.
The great masters of humanity, the angels, the Elohim, bear within their eyes, their consciousness, the beauty of divinity, the beauty of divine music. Personally, when I have been with certain Elohim, after experiencing certain ordeals and overcoming them, I remember in one occasion, I was tested in the astral plane, given certain symbolic experiences which I had to overcome in relation to the four elements.
This reminds us of The Magic Flute in how Tamino and Pamina must, in a matrimony, face the four deals of the elements. Personally, I have had that experience whereby I was tested through the elements, in a symbolic way, and after conquering those ordeals, I was face-to-face with the angels in a living room. When looking at them, one can only see the purity in their eyes, divinity, and the exquisite serenity that they exude is truly indescribable, but one can only describe it in forms of music.
The great classical compositions show us the beauty of the soul.
We could remember the sixth symphony of Tchaikovsky, in which, before the great battle in the first movement against the dragon, of which we've spoken about in Arcanum Six [Indecision from the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah]. One hears the melodies and harmonies of the soul united with its consciousness or Tiphereth united with Geburah. The human soul with the divine soul.
Music, again, is a profound medium for prophetic art. It teaches that through its dramas and symbols, its emotional impact, how the path of initiation is not taught in the dead letter of certain religions, and that when people look at religion and have made it something dead, there is a means to revive it. To give it life, specifically done through the great classical composers, which is why we heard Wagner state that:
"When religion becomes artificial, art has a duty to rescue it. Art can show that the symbols which religions would have us believe literally true are actually figurative. Art can idealize those symbols, and so reveal the profound truths they contain…I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; —I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; —I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men…” ―Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
…those who have awakened consciousness in the internal worlds.
“—I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art…” through having experiences in meditation and having lived it personally in the higher dimensions, “is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her…” --Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
…when you verify, and the examples such as The Magic Flute of Mozart, certain experiences in the astral plane, you watch those operas and you become inflamed. When we witness the same experiences depicted in symbols through music, through art, and therefore, one feels amazed and “one is consecrate to” art “forever.”
Because through “Art all men are saved." --Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
Divine art, opera, is a means of saving humanity or saving those who want to enter into initiation.
Personally when we went to go see Turandot at the Lyric Opera House, for those of you who are listening online, we took some of our students to go see Puccini's masterpiece in the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, and I remember that morning having certain astral experiences about what was going to happen when watching this work of art. And personally, having experienced some of the mysteries of that piece of music, truly watching that art form, really puts one into ecstasy.
It elevates the soul and when you have experience of what these masters have taught, you are consequent to her forever. Even if your ego or doubt wanted to deny the truth, you would know it and you would not be able to deny her.
Richard Wagner is a great master who depicted the entire path of initiation in his Ring Cycle of which will be giving future courses most likely.
Classical Music and the Human Machine
Talking about some of the practical dimensions of listening to music, in our Gnostic studies we emphasize that classical music elevates the five centers of the human machine, and that negative forms of music are destructive for the emotional center, especially, but also the mind and even our sexual, instinctual, and motor centers, which certain vulgar music can inspire through the ego to dance or to act in negative ways.
But the way to discern the difference between conscious music and vulgar music is through meditation—by having familiarity with superior states of being, because many of our students ask us online, but also in person, about how one can discern between conscious art and diabolic art.
In many cases, such art forms may be very similar and very hard to discern, one from the other, but the way to resolve that question is to examine your emotional center when you are listening to certain forms of art.
Does it provoke anger, resentment, pride, laziness, gluttony, avarice, greed? Negative states? Which if we are observant, we will see that those forms of art provoke those elements and therefore we can know that they are negative.
But to learn how to perceive conscious art is through meditation, and by awakening within the higher dimensions, because when you listen to works like the nine symphonies of Beethoven, and observe the reaction of the heart in a profound state of concentration and awareness, we can sense and discriminate and interpret the impact in the emotional center of that art.
This is why the ancient schools of mysteries taught that the whole science and art of the secret path had to integrate all three brains of gnostic psychology. They knew very well that people don't just learn from the intellect through lecture, through books, but through movement and through emotion. Three brains: the intellectual brain, emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of the Dialectic that:
“In music it is well known that certain notes can produce happiness in the thinking (intellectual) center, other notes can produce sadness in the sensitive (emotional) center and other notes can produce religiosity in the motor center.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
If we are listening to Puccini's Turandot and we are very attentive, concentrated in our three brains, meditating, waiting, listening—we observe our heart—we can hear how some notes can inspire us to have profound understanding in the intellectual brain.
I believe you mentioned asking about the difference between the intellect that is superior and the intellect that is inferior. The inferior intellect churns with thought. It projects its ideas. But understanding is the capacity of the superior intellectual center in which one understands something without having to think about it, and that applies to music. You can listen to a composition and immediately know. You can understand through the notes and its emotional impact that it conceptually represents something that you experienced and therefore that produces a profound state of religiosity in the motor center. It can inspire.
The Sufis taught to dance, to perform the whirling dervishes, and we'll talk about that in our next slide about how religiosity can inspire the motor center. How certain notes produce ecstasy, not only in the mind and heart, but in the body.
This is why certain forms of dance are very sacred.
“Indeed, the old Hierophants never ignored that integral knowledge can only be acquired through the three cerebrums. A single cerebrum cannot give complete information.
“The sacred dance and the cosmic drama, wisely combined with music, served to transmit tremendous archaic teachings of a cosmogenetic, psychobiological, psychochemical, metaphysical type, etc., to the neophytes.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Inspirations and Meditations on Classical Music
This music was formed to teach conscious principles, like we find with the Sufis—many indigenous cultures, as well as ancient civilizations like amongst the Middle East. Among the esoteric circles, they would use music in conjunction with dance to portray or embody conscious principles. To inspire the devotee to want to practice the path.
So that is really the purpose of opera. Of any classical music. It is to inspire us to work, because that music is something heavenly and divine, and when we understand and feel that intuitive impact of an opera or a piece of music, and we understand its message and shows us that this path is possible, that it could be done, one then feels inspired to meditate, to work.
Music is also an expression of consciousness and the Sufis teach that one should listen to music and gather around certain dances and works in order to inspire us to enter the path, and also to help us keep walking it.
As we stated, when listening to conscious music, one should observe one's three brains. Music becomes a very profound form of concentration or concentration exercise, in which our object of meditation, we sit, or better said, our object of concentration, we relax in a chair, on a couch, or in bed. I actually don't recommend lying down because one may fall asleep, especially when the music is very calm and soothing. Instead we sit in a chair and we give our full attention, with eyes closed, to the music, to the composition.
The principle applies even to opera, but it's a little different because with opera, you need to have your eyes open. Which is why watching opera is much more demanding in terms of meditation, because with classical music you can sit, close your eyes in a chair, listen to the composition, be aware of its influence in the three brains—how the notes produce inspiration in the heart, concepts in the mind, or intuitive understandings in the mind, and religiosity in the motor center, humbleness, humility.
That is easier to do than watching an opera because when you watch an opera, you need to know who is saying what, what the characters are doing. Therefore, that type of meditation is much more difficult, which is why opera really was not intended for the masses—although people like Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, and others composed to earn money. In a superficial sense they had to live. But their real purpose in giving that art was to reach the few.
So people who were very trained in meditation would watch their operas, who were initiates. They would understand the meaning just by listening to the music and observing, because they had trained themselves in concentration for so long where they can listen to the music and not forget what they are doing.
Sufi Teachings on Spiritual Concerts
The Sufis teach these principles very beautifully which apply not only just to Middle Eastern dance and music, but also to opera. The Sufis taught that when one listens to such works of art, one should act like one is in a temple. That one is in the presence of the divine, because one truly is listening to Christ, to God, when one hears the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven.
As we stated in our lecture on our Arcanum Nine, literally we hear the verb, the voice of the divine Elohim, singing in unison. It is a representation of Christ. So, when we listen to music like that or watch operas, we have to be very attentive, in a state of humility, in prayer, because those works of art were not given haphazardly, but intentionally to teach specific truths.
So “Know that listening to poetry with beautiful melodies and delightful intonation—when the one who listens does not believe it to be forbidden, does not hear anything that is blamable according to the divine Command, is not driven by the reins of his lust, and does not gather with others for the sake of lusts—is wholly permissible.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis emphasized that when one listens to music one should do so in accordance with the Divine Law, which they call Sharia, not to be mistaken with the punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to the spiritual discipline of the initiates in the Middle East. Ethical work.
So, music should not inspire us to identify with pride or lust or anger or fear or degeneration. That is something we can only determine by listening and being awake and following our intuition. That music is permissible when it does not inspire the ego. It does not inspire our desires. That is only something we can discern through constant work and tasting the psychological flavor of higher states in comparison with lower states. It is like comparing water and wine. It is a distinct taste, but we have to learn to meditate to discriminate the difference.
“There is no denying that poetry was recited before the Messenger of God, and that he listened to it and did not censure those who recited it.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis have often argued with the orthodoxy that poetry and music are divine expressions, such as with the Qur’an, which can be read in a very melodic and beautiful way and that Prophet Muhammad did not find those forms of recitation to be illicit, negative. This is something that has pertained to the Sufi schools and their fight for survival against the Muslim orthodoxy, because many Muslims think that poetry and music are not positive. But the truth is that according to the Sufis, music is something divine.
“So if hearing it without beautiful melody is licit, how should the rule be altered by hearing it with melody? This is the obvious side of the matter. What comes next is that the one who listens should find his wish to perform acts of devotion increased.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So while this pertains to listening to the Qur’an, one should feel inspired to listen to that scripture, but likewise with classical music, an opera. When we listen to such art, we should really feel motivated and inspired, which is not very difficult to do when we are approaching certain operas or music for the first time as some of us experienced with the opera Turandot at the Lyric Opera House.
“He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him. This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this principle applies to meditating on classical music.
“He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him, meaning when we have respect and reverence for Divinity, we listen to the music and we hear the power of the Divine.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Such as with Mozart's compositions, his Requiem. Especially Verdi's Requiem, in which we hear the severity of the law falling upon and punishing the souls of the damned. When we hear that music, we feel fear and reverence in recognition that we do not want to enter that fate. Likewise, when we listen to music and see operas:
“This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Like with Parsifal, in which we find the hero is confronted in the garden of temptation by Kundry, Kundabuffer, the inverted serpent. Listening to the sublime music of Wagner's composition, we remember in our own experiences certain temptations in the astral plane, in which witches and sorcerers try to tempt one to fall from the path. One is tempted to engage in lust in that state when one renounces that like Parsifal does. One should fear and feel inspired to reject sins as required by religion, as preferred in the divine law, which is chastity.
The great Arcanum is the divine law, which the Muslims call Sharia, or the Sufis called Sharia, because the public orthodox Muslim doctrine does not know the spiritual dimension of these things. But instead, the divine law has to do with the great Arcanum, the stipulations of chastity.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, ‘The spiritual concert is forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos.’” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So look at all the opera house today. Millions of individuals go see the opera, but it's vulgar for them because they are egotistical. They don't understand how to meditate. They don't know how to discern the conscious qualities of that, of that work of art. Therefore it is really forbidden because amongst the Sufis, they were very strict. They felt that their dances should not be given to people who are fornicators.
But because we live in a different era now, this knowledge is more open and therefore the spiritual concert is open to all. It is why Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, Beethoven, the latter who only composed one opera, Fidelio, they gave that opera and those art forms because they wanted to give the teachings for a future people. For people who have understanding.
But “spiritual concerts are forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos. It is permissible for renunciants, people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego, because of their pursuit of inner struggle.
“It is permissible for renunciates (people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego” because of their pursuit of inner struggle.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
And how is this acceptable for renunciants? It is enough to look at an opera like Puccini's Turandot to see the path of renunciation there, especially in the first act in which Prince Calaf is going to ring the gong that is going to put him on trial for the three riddles—to answer before Devi Kundalini, the Divine Mother. Everyone goes against him. They strive to put him away from the path, but he fights very adamantly and very courageously, because he is renouncing evil, the infernal worlds. We will be talking about the dynamics of that opera in our next lecture.
“Lastly, classical music or spiritual concert “is recommended for our companions,” for the initiates, for the masters, “for the sake of the life of their hearts.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So going back to what we Richard Wagner taught, he stated that when one understands divine art, one is consecrate to her forever and cannot deny her.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life and Classical Music
So where does music originate from, kabbalistically?
We talked about how the universe is emerged from the Absolute: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur, descending down the different levels of materiality, energy, perception, and experience.
Music is Christ, the Word, the Logos.
“In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” —John 1:1
Christ is an energy. It is vibration. It is sound. It is harmony. It is the force that creates, that originates, that gives life.
Therefore, classical music as composed by the great masters of Tiphereth, those who reach the Fifth Initiation of Fire, are those who learn how to incarnate the Christ, the Word, through their heart, since Tiphereth relates to the heart.
They express the divine teachings down through Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotional vehicle, Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality.
I like to read for you some quotations from a book called Christ's Will by Samael Aun Weor, who explains the nature of kabbalah, of music, of sound, of Christ, very synthetically and beautifully.
He emphasizes that the will of Christ is music, is art, because Christ is harmony, is beauty, is purity, which, can either reflect in music or in the heart of those initiates who know how to experience the truth.
16. Christ's will is ineffable music.
17. The world of willpower is the world of music...
18. Music grants to willpower the ineffable harmony of the Gods.
19. Music and willpower form a marriage of love, impossible to describe with human words.
20. Music grants willpower the quality of conjunct beauty... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
And why is that? Music is Christ. The Divine Logos. The Verb. As we find in the Beethoven's Ninth Dymphony, relating to the nine heavens of the Tree of Life and also Kether, the Crown of Glory, which anoints or crowns any initiate who has fully reached the end of the path. Willpower is Tiphereth, the human soul, which must learn to conquer the disharmony of the mind, Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotions, Yesod, our sexuality and instincts and Malkuth, our physical body.
So music, Chokmah, Christ, the world of sound, gives beauty to Tiphereth, because we find that the trinity finds its equilibrium within the heart, within Tiphereth.
21. Music grants willpower the harmony of the great cosmic diapason. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Or the great marching symphony of the cosmos, because as we heard in the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, the Ode to Joy:
“Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.”
The music is a march, is a symphony, in which all the Angels march towards the ineffable light of Christ, of the Absolute, the Ain Soph Aur, the “limitless light.” So those lyrics literally mean:
“Joy, beautiful spark of the Gods,
Daughter of Elysium (Empyrion: the ninth heaven, Kether).
We enter brought by fire (from Yesod, our foundation).
Himmlische dein Heiligtum! (Heavenly Thy sanctuary…)
…which is heilig, holy, Tum. We have done the mantra Tum previously, in which we invoke the crown, Kether, Chokmah, the Son, and Binah, the Holy Spirit, into our three brains. The mantra Tum is a profound mantra of ineffable power in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enter inside of us.
“Heiligtum” means sanctuary. So, to return to that holy sanctuary is to return to the top trinity of the Tree of Life.
“Your magic reunites those whom stern custom has parted (Deine Zauber binden wieder. Was die Mode streng geteilt).”
Your magic reunites those whom the custom of the ego has separated, has pulled apart, because the ego is disharmony, is dissonance, is conflict.
“All men should become brothers under your gentle wing,” within the Absolute.
So that is the great cosmic march. diapason. The great symphony of the initiates in which one returns the light of divine truth.
So willpower relates to that principle, because it is through our will that we will decide to enter the harmonies above or the dissonance of the infernal worlds below, beneath the Tree of Life, which is Klipoth, the hell realms.
22. The volitive acts of music are as harmonious and solemn as the movement of the stars in the space... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
...which again is something that Beethoven depicted.
23. As long as the fifth degree of the power of the fire has not entered the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, volitive acts will not be in accord with the vibrant harmonies of the solemn cosmic symphonies. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So only by raising the fire of Kundalini up the lower bodies, the first initiation of fire, relating to Malkuth. The second initiation of fire related with Yesod. The third initiation fire relating to Hod. The fourth initiation of fire with Netzach and with Tiphereth, one must raise the serpent power of Kundalini in order to create the causal vehicle. To raise it up the spine, to the mind, then into the heart.
So only when that power has reached the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, will our willpower, our actions, will be in accord with the vibrant symphonies of the divine.
24. When willpower is distant from music, it is coarse and rude, like the caress of a feline beast... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
What does it mean that willpower is distant from music? Because when we act from anger, from resentment, from pride, we create music, but in hell. Through disharmony, through hatred, through fear, through our interactions with humanity.
25. However, once the Sacred Fire has entered the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, volitive actions are true living symphonies... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Our actions become divine, and this explains why certain composers like Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, they depicted so much in their art. People don't comprehend how they had the capacity to express so much. That is because people in Malkuth, do not know anything about spiritual development, but when someone raises the fire of Kundalini, one can awaken capacities of genius, of intelligence, Binah in kabbalah.
So conscious acts are represented by the works of the great initiates, the prophets. Beethoven is a prophet. I don't really consider him to be a musician because he really taught in his art how to unite with Christ. The same with Wagner, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Bach, and many others.
26. Christ's will has the majesty of the tempest and the love of the dawning star...
27. Music grants unto willpower that eurythmy of Apollo and that beauty of Venus de Milo...
28. The willpower of music is the phallus of the Gods...
29. The Masters of music are columns of the temple of the living God...
30. Music generates actions as perfect as the harmonies of the cosmic diapason.
31. The entire universe is the temple of music...
32. Arthur Shopenhauer, in his book entitled, "The World as Will and Representation," conceived Nature as a representation of willpower.
33. Nonetheless, he forgot that willpower is music... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
And why is willpower music? Tiphereth is the causal world. We have Malkuth, the physical plane, the physical world. Yesod, the etheric world. Hod, the astral, emotional world. Netzach, the mental world. And Tiphereth, the causal plane.
I remember having an experience in Tiphereth after overcoming an ordeal in the astral plane in which Samael Aun Weor took me and let me experience a little vacation in Tiphereth, in which in that experience one sees the trees, the waves of the water, the wind as cause-and-effect, rippling in beautiful harmony, in perfection. I saw there many masters in their tunics of initiation who were welcoming me at that level saying, “This is what is possible for you if you work.”
So that world is a world of causality, cause and effect, in which you see how the rippling of the tides, the wind, the air, of people's speech, people's communication, of one's interactions, is of divine love, of purity.
So, the world of will is a world of music.
There is a temple of music in the world of Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the fifth sephirah of the Tree of Life [from the bottom up].
34. Every living flower, the sigh of every bird, and the love hidden within the bosom of the earth, are living incarnations of music...
35. Everything in nature has a key note, and the set of all those notes constitutes that magnificent tone of the Great Mother, which resounds in the ardent space with the Chinese Kung...
36. When Joshua blew the trumpet, the walls of Jericho collapsed, because he sounded the key note of those unconquered walls...
37. A soft word calms wrath, and discordant words break the harmony of the cosmic diapason, and generate disorder... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So this asks us to beg the question: what is our psychological state? Do our actions produce harmony, happiness, or suffering?
The comprehension, the beauty, and the harmony of the soul is represented in opera. Especially composed by the great masters. Not modern opera, but those composed by initiates.
Samael Aun Weor continues:
38. The ineffable orchestras of the zodiacal belt resound in the world of willpower, lifting us toward the most sublime summits of samadhi.
39. The great rhythms of fire produce the dances of the stars within the incommensurable spaces.
40. The will of music sustains the flux and reflux of life, and moves the pendulum of the infinite existences throughout the Mahamanvantara. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So harkening back to the beginning of our lecture, we spoke extensively about the cosmic days and the root races and the subraces. That is because when the universe forms from the absolute, it is because of music. It is because:
41. The Word is incarnated within the heart of every lotus, and in the throb of every life.
42. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So remember what Wagner said about his belief in the illumined men, the initiates, those who have incarnated Christ and who teach the path of Christ and their art as bodhisattvas, as prophets.
42. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
So look at the operas that our humanity has. The light shines in the darkness, but people don't understand the messages they contain.
42. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (That John is broken down acrostically is Johannes. I E O U A M S: the seven vowels, which we pronounce with our sacred runes, the runic exercises, the verb).
So in order to understand Christ, we have to work with those mantras, the seven notes of the musical scale.
42. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”
Or better said, follow him from having understood from experience what those teachings entail.
42. “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him…”
Referring to those cosmic rounds we spoke about—the Saturnian, the Solar, the Lunar, and the Terrestrial periods.
42. “…and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him (through kabel, kabbalah, through listening to the great operas of music, and listening to what those symphonies entail, that art) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name [Hashem, the Verb]: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh (through initiation), and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." – John 1:1-14
So Samael Aun Weor continues:
43. Music is will of God...
44. Music is Christ's will.
45. Classical music generates universes, and sustains suns during the great cosmic day...
46. One becomes enraptured when listening to compositions like the nine symphonies of Beethoven...
47. One becomes ecstatically overwhelmed amidst the notes of Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt...
48. Every upright action is music of light...
49. Every wrong action is fatal music.
50. Negative music like mambo, guaracha, porro, cumbia, etc., is infernal music from the abyss that only originates fornications, adulteries, hatreds, gormandize, drunkennesses, crimes, etc. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Now other forms of music like rock and roll, rap, many that we can list that are degenerate. They provoke the ego to act, which is why the Sufis taught that we should only listen to music that is accordance with the divine law, with Christ.
51. We prove with this that willpower is music, and that every action is a daughter of music.
52. War marches inflame the will of men and take them to violence.
53. Funeral marches fill the eyes with tears and produce confusion of faces and bitterness.
54. Human words are articulated music, sometimes sweet and calm like inneffable melodies, sometimes satanic and discordant like infernal notes...
55. The articulated word is a terrible weapon, as much for good as for evil.
56. When humanity had not yet left Eden, it only uttered the word of the light, which as a golden river sweetly slid through the thick, sunny jungle.
57. Within the ineffable profundity of music, all of nature utters that ineffable tongue of the Gods.
58. The tongue of the Gods is sacred music.
59. This divine tongue has its sacred alphabet, and to that sacred alphabet belong the divine runes (read Igneous Rose and Magic of the Runes).
60. The creative larynx is the sexual organ of Christ's will.
61. The word of the Gods places the worlds into existence.
62. The word of the Gods is Christ's will. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Therefore we can say that opera, as the manifestation of the spoken verb, drama, and music, is the perfect amalgamation and alchemy of Christ. Opera is divine. It is the synthesis of all the previous eras of art and music. It is the most refined. The most synthetic.
Now we cannot say that modern classical music portrays the higher principles of the divine, even though such compositions can be very mathematical, but they tend to be very cold, dissonant, and discordant.
Classical music in a modern times tends to be from the ego, and as we stated, the Age of Pisces ended quite a while ago, but at the same time, the White Lodge had determined that humanity does not need any more works of art, of that nature. There may be some people in these times who are Gnostic and who are working on music, which is wonderful. I know a few people who are trying to do some Aquarian music. But in terms of the great prophetic works of art like opera, the time has ended, because the Aryan Race is going to be concluded soon.
73. The golden tongue resounds in all creation.
74. The golden tongue is Christ's will.
75. Now, rejoice, oh Buddha, because you have entered into the temple of music... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
…as he states in his book Christ's will. He is talking to the initiates who have achieved the Fourth Initiation of Fire, who were entering into Tiphereth. By raising the sacred fire of Kundalini up that spine of the essence in the world of beauty, of Tiphereth.
A person who reaches the fourth initiation of fire becomes a buddha, a master that level, but is a neophyte when entering into this dimension.
76. With patience, study the divine art of music.
77. From this moment, the professor of this sacred college (within the world of Tiphereth, Nirvana) will teach music-will to you. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So if you really want to learn music and its significance, we should awaken consciousness in Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the world of Tiphereth, because when you are in that dimension, you see literally cause and effect of all phenomena: thoughts, actions, movements, people, things. Everything is in a great flux and reflux of life, cosmic movement.
And so those colleges of initiation in that level will teach you how to work with music, which is how Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, learned.
They physically received training in this world to become composers, but their real training consisted in meditation and learning in the higher dimensions, which explains why someone like Beethoven, who went completely deaf, I believe before composing his Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis, he was able to compose his art, even though he physically couldn't hear anything.
So people don't have explanations other than he was a genius, and yes, he was, but we know that he was a prophet, because he was awakened in those dimensions.
78. Music-will is Christ's will.
79. Christ's will is the Word...
80. Christ's will is music.
81. Christ was the incarnation of the Word.
82. And the Word was made flesh (made manifest within the great works of art, the initiates), and dwelt among us (in our opera houses we can say).
83. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Meaning: those prophets teach through Turandot, through Tosca, through the Ring Cycle, through The Damnation of Faust, through Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito, and many works of art of initiation, and yet people do not understand the art.
84. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Wil
So we are discussing Christ-will, in the Verb. You see these Elohim are greeting the Sun, Chokmah, within the arms of the Divine Mother, and they are playing celestial music, which emphasizes again how when we work with sacred art, and we listen to sacred art especially, that that music can inspire us to form Christ within our hearts, within our souls, within our minds, in order to become like Elohim.
Conclusion of The Perfect Matrimony
We will conclude with an excerpt from the Perfect Matrimony, which provides a very beautiful experience by Samael Aun Weor, about an opera he saw in the fourth dimension.
He concluded The Perfect Matrimony by relating experience he had by going into a Rosicrucian temple in the Jinn state, the fourth dimension, where he watched an opera composed by an angel or performed by one of the Elohim, one of the Gods.
So as we stated, opera is the royal art of consciousness. It is a means of effectively communicating initiation and the path of the present development of our humanity, but also the past epics our humanity developed in.
Samael Aun Weor was in this temple, which was only populated by very few people. He said he could count on the fingers of one hand how many people deserved and had come present to this performance. So, this is in the fourth dimension, where he listened to an opera sung by an angel, a God.
So “…the master commanded the Angel to go up to the choir of musicians and singers in order to sing. The Angel obeyed, and after having ascended to the choir, he sang the history of the centuries in opera.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So this experience tells us that opera truly is a divine art and also that opera teaches us the ancient histories of humanity.
“The Angel, from the doctrinal point of view, placed himself mentally in the time of the future Fifth Round of planetary evolution.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So right now we are in the fourth round, the terrestrial epoch, and here in the opera that he was seeing in the higher dimensions, he was depicting the future fifth round that is going to take place in the etheric world.
“In that future age, the physical-chemical Earth will already be nothing more than a cadaver, a new moon. Then all the evolving life will develop within the ethereal plane or ethereal region of our Earth. The seven Root Races of flesh and bone will no longer exist. These races will have become extinct.
“The Angel sang with a voice so ineffable and sweet that it resembled The Magic Flute of Mozart. My whole being went into ecstasy. To hear an Angel sing is something that you can never forget in your life.
“The Angel, situated mentally in the future Earth of the Fifth Round, narrated in opera the history of terrestrial evolution. He mentioned all the prophets that have been sent to the Earth. With a melodious voice he narrated the history of the seven Root Races of the world, the apocalypse of the present Fifth Root Race, the continents that existed in the past and their general destruction, the great cataclysms of the Earth, the great wars, the superhuman efforts that had been made by the great Avatars to save humanity, the crucifixion of the Martyr of Golgotha, etc. Subsequently, he lamented with pain the few that had been saved. Only a few had managed to be born as Angels. The rest, the great majority of human beings, were swallowed up by the Abyss. Thus, from the billions of Souls that entered evolution and devolution on the planet Earth, only a handful of creatures were fit for the angelic state. ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’
“When the Angel reached this part of his ineffable opera, I felt profoundly moved and amazed. Frankly, I had believed that the case of only a few being saved and the great majority being lost only applied to Earth, and in the past Mahamanvantara to the Earth-Moon… (which is the Lunar Period).” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
Because, in the Lunar Period, the Selenites, the inhabitants of Selene where Samael Aun Weor was teaching, even at that time, had degenerated and entered the path of black magic. Billions of souls in that planet became demons and the demons that we have now in our planet Earth, who are the heads of the black lodge, came from that epoch. Samael Aun Weor was even crucified in that world before, when he was giving his doctrine.
So he thought that the Earth-Moon, which reincarnated into the planet Earth, the life of that planet, carrying the karma of that ancient histories with it, somehow was something distinct, and that the other planets of other humanities did not experience or witness this great tragedy, of billions of souls being lost in the abyss.
“I believed that in the rest of the worlds things were different. The Angel pointed out this error when he said, ‘And this that has happened on Earth will always be repeated on all the worlds of the infinite space.’ When the Angel finished his ineffable song I understood why so many people had attended my meetings, and why, from the many who began, only a few remained with me. Now I am willing to continue with the few. I am no longer interested in having a room full of people. Indeed, many are they who begin, but few are those who arrive.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So that experience with an opera explains for us the fact that humanity has reached its peak, or the Aryan Race has reached its end. Because no more art is being given, on a grand scale, as we found within Europe. Because humanity has received the knowledge within music, within art, but doesn't want it. It doesn't understand it, and it is now our duty in these lectures and courses to explain some of the operas, which we will be seeing not only at Lyric Opera house, but also viewing together.
It is important to remember that with opera, we are concluding this humanity by teaching the secret knowledge in a very explicit way. So, we are going to explain many operas and works of art from the kabbalistic and alchemical traditions, so that those few who want to learn the path itself and to practice it can do so.
Questions and Answers
Question: What about modern composers who compose Beethoven or Mozart? Is that considered a medium...?
Instructor: Yes, because someone could be a medium of Christ without knowing it [Editor’s Note: a “vehicle,” not a spiritualist or a practitioner of mediumship / channeling], and you know you have people like Pavarotti and many singers who are very talented and they are not initiates, but their skill is so profound and so dharmic.
Question: What about, Pink Floyd, if there are certain songs that you feel moved? Is it all or any song that is not classical or opera is considered negative?
Instructor: I know a lot about Pink Floyd. I mean I've listened, I grew up on Pink Floyd, too. That kind of music, you know, there are certain things which can be very negative. But then there's some that it's kind of in limbo, necessarily. Not so deep down, but still it may be beautiful. But it still belongs to Klipoth, not necessarily at the deepest degree, like you find with like death metal and black metal and all sorts of other evil things, that are gangster rap, or things that are very destructive.
Question: What about Gnostic art?
Instructor: I know this is a good question because I know some of our listeners and some of our students have asked us and wanted to pursue the creation of Gnostic art and rap, which personally, I'm actually a musician myself. I played piano for about ten years and I have certain compositions that I have been inspired to do, but personally, I don't have the time or the means, because I'm teaching these lectures. So, I found that my most effective means of helping humanity is explaining art that's already been done.
But people who want to pursue art, it's their business. Personally, I am a composer and, in a very amateurish degree, minor degree, I have music in my mind that I hear that I have heard in my meditations that are divine, but for me to articulate that, it would have to be an entirely different work that would take me away from teaching these lectures.
Question: Does one need to listen to the opera in full or only specific songs?
Instructor: The best effect is when you have watched it. When you have seen a performance. You have read the lyrics, you know what they are singing. Personally, I have listened to Turandot so much and I've seen the opera so many times that when I listen to the lyrics, I know certain words and lyrics, like with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony too, which is why I could relate to you the lyrics from that Ninth Symphony, because I have listened to it so much and I know the lyrics. So, I can just cut to the chase if I wanted to listen to certain parts, because I already know the meaning of it.
Question: Would you consider church music the same or close to classical music?
Instructor: It can inspire a lot of religiosity for sure. I mean, I have been to churches where, even though not Gnostic, you hear certain songs which have very ancient roots, which are beautiful. They can inspire you, which is why many people go to those churches because they hear the music and it inspires them. There are certain roots of divinity that try to teach them that way, you know, even using people who don't know any better.
But you know, the result is a little muddled, because as I said, people have listened to the operas of the masters. "The light shineth in the darkness." But people don't comprehend the light, because we need instructors and people to teach explicitly what the kabbalistic and alchemical teachings of all that work of art symbolize.
Question: The last things I have heard is that because they changed the hertz, the frequency....
Instructor: I have heard that too, and I know that Samael Aun Weor stated explicitly that, as I mentioned in this lecture, that certain music, the vibration affects the human machine very negatively—especially mechanical music, synthesizers, electronica. If you observe your five centers and you listen to that music, after having acculturated your body and mind to listening to opera and classical music, you find that there's a disconnect. It is very discordant.
The Master Samael explains that initiates feel great love for the classical composers and feel great repulsion or revulsion towards the music of vulgar people, because that kind of music you taste and you know exactly what the egotistical messages behind it. It doesn't inspire anything decent, because if you meditate for a long time, and some people who listen to classical music in our studies for the first time, don't like it. It is because they are not accustomed to it. So, people who are not accustomed to that kind of music, you mean obviously, we gravitate towards what our level of being is. If your level of being is high, you feel only attraction towards music like Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, his ballets, or other very beautiful music. But if we're very inferior in our states, we might listen to rock and roll or death metal or whatever.
Sadly, I know a lot of people in our movement, instructors who teach this knowledge, but they still like a lot of forms of degenerate music like metal. I remember one instructor was teaching in a certain place and he mentioned that he liked old metal music, which is stuff that I grew up on that now when I hear it, I cringe. I can't stand it, because the music is so degenerate, and you listen to it and you feel that it is bringing your level of being down.
Question: What about more like Crosby, Stills and Nash?
Instructor: My father enjoys that music and he showed me a lot. That stuff is not that degenerate. Some music is very superficial like if you look at the nine inverted spheres of Klipoth, some music is very beautiful. But it is still egotistical, we could say. It is in the first sphere of hell, which is known as limbo.
Some music is really down there, which certain bands, like black metal and not just black metal, but you know extreme forms of death metal, like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse and things like that. I have known these bands and I know what their music preaches, where they talk about things that are very black. They are speaking in Aramaic and all these languages or Babylonian or whatever, and they are trying to invoke Klipoth. It is intentional. That is why these bands have inverted pentagrams, which of course for our listeners, represents the inverted man, the fallen man.
Question: On a side note, there are also all these microbreweries that are using satanic, or esoteric symbolism. I grew up on rock and rebelling against the system, so we listened to rock like Pink Floyd.
Instructor: Yeah, and sadly a lot of people in our movement don't understand that difference because they feel that, "Well this music is rebelling against the government and you know, all these political affiliations," but we emphasize in our teachings that music should elevate the soul. You should feel that your level of religiosity, your inspiration, your meditation should be lifted when you listen to music. So that's why, you know, personally I tend to be very strict. If I hear something on the radio I don't like, I avoid it.
Those listeners who are from Chicago, we listen to WFMT 98.7, which is a classical music station, and even the many things they play are very bad, because it is very modernized and very degenerate. But you can pick a good things out from them, and personally I use an iPad or iPod.
Question: I listen to Sirius Radio and I have listened to the modern songs and I just don't resonate with them.
Instructor: So the thing is our level of being attracts our life, and if we listen to music, and basically music is a type of food, and this is why the Muslim state, like in the quote amongst the Sufis that "we should only consume what is licit."
They often speak in their tradition about Halal, eating only what has been blessed or what is holy, which is similar to the Hebrew Kosher. People not only eat with food, but eat impressions, because Samael Aun Weor emphasized that one needs water for the body, air for the body, we have our food for our physical vehicle, but our mind also is nourished. Our consciousness is also nourished with impressions, which is why he also stated that if you want to have experiences in the higher dimensions, acculturate yourself to listen to classical music, because that will literally raise your level of being.
I know one missionary told me he was listening to Beethoven's symphonies and fell asleep. He had a tremendous samadhi where he left his physical body and entered the higher dimensions because he was so concentrated on the music when he fell asleep, that he awakened his consciousness. So, art can help us in that endeavor, because it gives us impressions that nourish our consciousness.
Question: Isn't it easier to surround yourself with good things rather than trying so hard to do this or do that?
Instructor: Which is why our home should be like a temple. Personally, my car is like my home because I drive so much, and I always play positive music. I listen to operas, I listen to classical compositions. Things I am really familiar with, readily, because when I listen to lyrics, I am able to hear certain things. When I really listen to a certain pieces, again and again, there are certain understandings that can kind of deepen, especially when you are studying a certain work of art.
[Editor's Endnote: If you are interesting in learning more about the principles of gnostic art, study Fundamentals of Gnostic Art].
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
There are many forms of intelligence. It is an inherent aspect of any living thing, down from the smallest microbe, to the atom, to any living thing: animals, plants, human beings.
Unfortunately in this humanity, people like to assume and believe that the human being as we are now is the height of intelligence, the height of wisdom. While certainly we have many advancements in technology, many marvels, the reality is that we continue to suffer and to be afflicted by many problems that our greatest scientists, philosophers, teachers, cannot provide for.
All religions have taught in their heart that there is the possibility for something more and that that development is internal. We have the potential to become something beyond comprehension at this level, of what a human being can be. Our humanity has received many messengers, many prophets, whether we call them angels, buddhas, masters, Gods: people who were once like us, and yet learned to change themselves, to comprehend their own inner conditioning, so that by transforming their negativity, they became what we emulate: Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, the great prophets—those who exemplified the highest ideals possible in a human being, compassion that is selfless, unrelenting, divine.
When Jesus was crucified, he only said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." He didn't have any malice in him, because all those defects were destroyed in him through a long process of meditation, of purification, of practice.
So contrary to popular belief, a figure like Jesus or Buddha was once like us, afflicted. And yet, they learned by developing their intelligence, their understanding, how to become great beings, great messengers. We can become like them. It is possible to overcome suffering on a grand scale within ourselves.
And all those teachers emphasize that this path is meditation, because it is an introspection, a method of looking, of gaining information, of developing our own understanding of who we are and not assuming that we know.
Oftentimes we say that we know a person. We mention their manners, their words, their language, their behaviors. How often in our lives have we known someone who we assume to be a certain image and yet in the next moment we learn of a great tragedy, a terrible action? We can look at the news to see people like this. Individuals who seem like great saints and then the next moment it's unveiled that they were into very degenerated behaviors, which is contrary to that popular image that people had.
While this is very common in our society, on a more psychological level we do this with ourselves: our own self-image, who we assume to be, what we like to project to the world, to present to others, to show. We like to think that we know who we are: our language, our name, our culture, the food we eat, the people we associate with, the music we listen to, the friends we have.
But, those things are temporary. They are not eternal. They are not our true divine nature. Divinity is not a person, an anthropomorphic figure in the clouds that sits on a throne of tyranny, dispensing lightning bolts to a poor humanity, like an ant hill. That anthropomorphic figure does not exist, which is why even Friedrich Nietzsche, the author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra said "God is dead," because that image does not exist.
Instead, what exists is a type of intelligence which is beyond good and evil, which is terribly divine and sacred. And of course, it is beyond our conceptions of what is good or bad, but is our true nature, our divine being, which is a state of consciousness, a state perception, a state of intelligence.
But in order to understand what that is, we have to learn to strip away that which is superfluous, which we think is us: our sentiments, our sense of pride, our fears, our anger, our laziness, gluttony, greed, lust, passion—these things that we like to assume is us, who we are, but which at the heart of every religion teaches that it is negative, because those elements produce suffering.
When we say something negative to someone with anger, we produce pain. That is not our divine nature and it is not our true nature, because a certain condition brought up that sense of self, in which we said something negative, and it created a lot of problems. But unfortunately, we like to hold onto a sense of image of ourselves. What we think we are. What we want other people to believe that we are. Many times we fight and even kill, or people even kill in the name of this sense of self that is so hurt. When one has betrayed. When one is slandered. When one is gossiped about. When one is lied to.
It is sad, because even people who are filled with great defects have the potential to become something great, but in order to do so, they must use their genuine intelligence, their understanding of what divinity is. To learn to discriminate within the mind that which is positive from that which is negative. That which produces happiness for oneself and others, or pain.
Everyone wants happiness, but not all people are willing to work on their own methods of how to acquire it, because everyone wants to enjoy life, not to suffer, to not be in pain. Yet, our behaviors in many cases are the very means by which we suffer, though we don't see it.
In a spiritual sense, we are not very awake, aware of our full potential, because if we knew divinity in us, moment by moment, without thinking of other things, without being distracted by life, naturally, in any moments of great crisis, when presented with great traumas, sufferings, which affect us, we then learn to engage in life with intelligence, understanding—knowing how to negotiate our spiritual nature with this chaotic world, which does not know any order, which is falling apart.
So real intelligence is divinity. It is spiritual, and in this lecture we will talk about how to develop that potential in us, how to change and how to make others happy, but not in the Hallmark sense. If we sacrifice our own needs, there is a type of negotiation there. How do we help other people without compromising our spiritual nature? Not ego nature, not pride, laziness, fear, defects, those things need to be eliminated so that our true potential can emerge spontaneously in a beautiful way. In a profound way.
Our True Nature and the Four Noble Truths
So our consciousness is in a potential state. It is not very active. Although in this level, we have a certain amount of intelligence and understanding, but that is not the full gamut of what we can become. We can become like a Jesus, a Buddha.
The word Buddha simply means “awakened one,” to be aware, to be attentive. From the prefix budh, which means “cognition,” which can mean intelligence. That is the type of intelligence that knows how to respond to any circumstance without identifying, without provoking the anger of others, or achieving this retaliation of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. It is a compassionate state that can cut through illusion, through ignorance, and in that way help others, but also help oneself.
On a basic level we say that we are awake. We understand, we learn, we speak, we communicate, we interact with the world; but most people do not ever question the manner and method by which one does so, or even think that it is possible to change one's psychological states in relation to problems, ordeals, the sufferings of existence.
Fortunately, there have been teachers who have taught a method and means by which to understand the process, the path. That path is beautifully taught by many messengers, such as the Buddha, who explained that through understanding Four Noble Truths, one can reach the cessation of suffering and the complete development of the human being.
Other teachers knew the Four Noble Truths, whether from other religions, but the Buddha emphasized these four truths in a very didactic way, in a very profound way.
He said that in life there is suffering, which is from the word dukkha. That word can mean many things—displeasure, dissatisfaction, sorrow, pain. It could also mean disgust, and this is a very interesting term because for someone to really understand meditation, and to really access the divine, one needs to be very tired of suffering—to not want to suffer anymore, to reach that rock bottom when one realizes that if one does not change, then one will enter even greater states of suffering.
But it is a type of realization, a type of displeasure with the facts of life—to want to question, "Is there more? Is there something else in this life that will produce happiness rather than a job, marriage, money, bank accounts?” Things that in the end will leave us. But, where will our consciousness go?
Unfortunately for most people, they don't know or we don't know because we haven't awakened our perception. Most people have not. If you are familiar with teachings of astral projection, lucid dreams, out of body experiences, there have been people who by accident, have awakened consciousness in a state in which they were out of the body, physically.
When the physical body goes to sleep, the soul goes out and usually projects its dreams within the screen of that dimension, which we'll talk about in relation to the Kabbalah, the Jewish mysticism, the Tree of Life. For most of us, we go into that state every night when we go to sleep, but not aware. We may have some dreams, we project things, and then we wake up in the morning, possibly remembering some kind of event that one experienced and was very unclear. Usually very vague.
But, when we learn meditation, we can learn to be awake in that dream state and no longer be dreaming, but become aware of that world, which is a whole other way of being. We have many methods you can use to experience that, and in that way we realize that there is something more to life than just going through our grind.
But, when we learn to remove the causes of suffering in us, we awaken consciousness. Most people are not aware of what those causes are, which we explained in our courses of gnostic psychology. The word gnosis in Greek means “knowledge, experiential knowledge.” That which we know for fact. What we perceive from experience, like a lucid dream or astral projection. These things are very real for those who awaken their perception, who learn to meditate. Those kinds of experiences can help to inspire us, to want to know more, to want to change; and in this tradition we study practices to develop that potential, that intelligence, that wisdom.
Samudaya: The Internal Causes of Suffering
So suffering has causes: samudaya. This is where many people become hung up. The causes of suffering are internal. It is the hypnosis of the soul that we commonly experience, where we usually like to blame external life, the external world for our suffering. Material needs, food, clothing, shelter, struggles at jobs, marriage difficulties. We usually just like to project our dreams onto the external world, not realizing that we are not very conscious, we are not very awake, because somebody who is awake will not respond with anger to one's loved ones, in a spiritual sense.
The causes of suffering are psychological, are conditions of mind, negative states that we created. But of course, it takes tremendous courage to want to recognize that in ourselves. That we are responsible for the pains we go through. That our psychological state attracts our life. This is what happens to us in many cases, not all.
But those causes of suffering we call ego. The word ego in Latin means "I." The sense of “me, myself, who I am; my job, my race, my language, my habits, my friends.” The way that we feel about ourselves, which is usually very egotistical, selfish, negative.
Unfortunately, most people never question that self. They like to feed it. They like to indulge in desire, which is a craving for something that once it is given, once it is satiated, wants more.
Contrary to popular psychology, when we feed anger, we don't remove it. It isn't annihilated. It doesn't cease to exist. In fact, it gets stronger and bigger, and more monstrous. So, these are things in ourselves that we can see.
Nirvana: The Cessation of the Ego
Fortunately, those egotistical qualities can cease to be, and that is the third truth: nirvana. In Sanskrit the word nirvana means “cessation. To cease suffering.” If we study Jewish mysticism and astral projection, those types of things, we know that nirvana is also a state of consciousness in different dimensions, which we can access when the physical body is asleep. When we go out in the dream world and learn to be awake in that state in order to ascend those heavens, mentioned so many times by Dante in his Divine Comedy, the Greek mythology, Islam, Sufism, Judaism, the Bible. They are all talking about the same thing.
But if we want to access those states, we have to remove all the luggage from our subconsciousness, that which we are not aware of, because this is a type of baggage that we carry with us wherever we go. Anger is a profound lead of the soul. It is heavy. It brings us down and brings other people down. Unfortunately, we become victim to it many times, if we are honest, but by learning to meditate and to observe ourselves, we become aware of those qualities in us that need to change. We can change, so that the lead of the ego, according to the alchemists of medieval science, can be transformed and transmuted into the gold of the spirit—because part of our soul is trapped in anger, fear, pride, and all that conglomeration of defects we carry.
Like the genie from Aladdin's lamp, we can extract the genie, the intelligence, our divine nature, and then break the lamp. That is a beautiful Arabian myth about how our soul has so much potential. It can grant any wish, but we have to remove the causes of suffering, which are psychological.
We do that through meditation, specifically, and in that way, we learn to vibrate at higher levels of being, ways of consciousness, so that naturally we learn to that astral project every night, have experiences of a spiritual type, learn to meditate, speak face to face in that world, that dimension with Jesus or Buddha or Muhammed or Christ or whatever prophets we have an affinity for.
They are very awake, but we can talk to them like we are talking here or seeing each other here. It is a very real thing, but one has to work for it.
It is not easy to renounce anger, when we are criticized and suddenly, we feel that desire to say something very negative. And then we do. That of course provokes the other person and causes conflict. But, if we learn to be patient, no matter how wrong that person is or whatever crimes they have committed, we can create distance, or a sense of non-identification with them. Not judging them, because we tend to carry many elements in us that we blame in others. But seeing that is difficult.
Marga: The Gnostic Path of Meditation
There is a path that teaches us this process which is marga: the path of cessation. It means “path, a way, a method,” and that method is very specific. It has been in all religions, all traditions before. Of course, those teachings degenerate with time, because when exposed to humanity, obviously people's own psychological corruption adulterates, impedes, breaks apart that message.
That knowledge is known as gnosis in Greek, which is something we study in this school. It is a Greek word meaning “experiential knowledge”—what we verify through facts, and not what we assume to be.
So, as I said, we tend to assume many things about ourselves—if we are honest—but this doesn't mean this type of questioning of oneself should produce pessimism or negativity, but more of a type of inquiry, a type of investigation.
Buddha Nature: Consciousness and the Tree of Life
A lot of people that hear “my anger, my pride, my negativity, my ego… that myself must die,” and people become terrified. “What will I be when that is gone? My language, my name, my personality, my customs, my race?” But, at the same time we have something that is genuine in us, which is pure. The Buddhists call it buddhadatu, buddha nature: the possibility to be awake, to be intelligent, to be spiritual, because we all have that capacity. It is just not developed. It can easily be developed, and it takes a certain method and discipline with oneself. That path is in all religions, especially the Jewish Kabbalah.
You can see here an image of ten spheres, which are known in Hebrew as a sephiroth. This is a map of consciousness. A map of the soul, from the very heights of the divine, to the most basic, most material, most physical. This is a map of our intelligence, our whole spiritual nature.
At the top if you notice you'll see a trinity. There are three trinities here. An upright triangle, two lower triangles and a bottom sphere.
Kabbalah is known as the science of numbers. It is a means by which we can interpret any tradition on the planet. Any scripture, any book, as well as our own experiences in meditation. It is a map of the multi-dimensionality of the soul, from the external to the internal. We have the most divine principles in us, which some traditions have called Christ, which in Hebrew are known as Kether, Chokmah, Binah: Father, Son, Holy Spirit amongst the Christians. Or amongst the Egyptians it is Osiris, Horus, Isis. Or for the Nordics it is Wotan, Baldur, Thor. Different names, one reality.
This is an expression of what we really are in our most fundamental depth. In Hebrew those terms Kether, Chokmah, Binah mean “Crown, Wisdom, and Intelligence.” These are three forces in nature, within us, in the cosmos. This top trinity—these three forces are one but three. They express as three. They create every living thing in this universe. They spread as three points and then become one. Then they concentrate.
On a very basic level we can see that there is a father: a masculine principle, a woman: a feminine principle, and then the third which is the child: the synthesis of the man and woman on a sexual level. So, these three forces relate to creation and especially to what we call the creative energies in us, which, through meditative discipline, we can harness and use for spirituality.
But below that there is more. This divine force in the cosmos descends into more concrete levels of experience, of dimensionality, which again we can experience when we meditate, or when we have a astral projection, or in a waking experience.
We have Chesed in Hebrew and which means “Mercy.” That is our inner spirit. Our own particular Buddha nature, our inner God, which emanates from the top trinity, from the cosmos. That spirit is unique to us, individual in us, but also is a conduit by which we can be one with all things, all beings. The quality of that sephiroth or sphere is love, compassion
On the left, we have a sphere called Geburah, which in Hebrew means “Justice.” That is a type of conscious state that is very pure. It is the spiritual soul, spiritual consciousness, which never mixes with any type of impurity, any defect. It is Justice because our consciousness knows how to judge between right and wrong.
We usually call this voice conscience, like in the story of Pinocchio. He has a cricket on his shoulder name Jiminy who always tells him “this is good, this is bad.” It is a symbol of this: Pinocchio was a wooden boy, a puppet influenced by the strings of life, his own defects, but he wants to become a real human being, a divine being. Even the word Pinocchio in Tuscan is “pine seed.” The seed that could become a pine tree.
This is known as the Tree of Life in the Book of Genesis, in the Bible. It is a map, not a literal plant in the Middle East many ages ago. It is not a literal story, only a symbolical one.
So Jiminy Cricket is always warning Pinocchio, “You needed to do this and this,” but of course Jiminy cricket gets killed at one point, at least in the in the book by Carlos Collodi. In the film, it does a good job of depicting the same truths by Disney, but some things they left out. But of course, Jiminy Cricket comes back because the consciousness is eternal. It always comes back to warn us in our heart, that sense of judgment that knows that a certain action is wrong, but usually the mind interferes. It says, “I have many excuses. I should do this because it's the right thing,” and we rationalize later on, but in the heart we feel the consequences. That is judgment.
Beneath that we have a sphere called Tiphereth, which in Hebrew means “Beauty,” splendor. It is the beauty of the soul. Out true, we could say, Buddha nature. So again, there are unfoldments and levels and levels of divinity in us. But this is really what we call human soul, our will.
When we will something, we do it. It could be either conscious, or for most people, it tends to be unconscious. Even in popular psychology taught by Freud, he often spoke about competing wills, competing desires, subliminal impulses in the mind. So Tiphereth can either reflect the beauty of God or the negative beauty of our own defects, our own hell realms we could say, our own states of suffering.
Beneath that we have Netzach which means “Victory.” That is our mind, our thoughts, our concepts. We can see then that this is becoming more concrete. You can notice here that as we are descending down this Tree of Life, we can start to grasp certain things in ourselves. The mind is more concrete. We are more aware of that because we tend to be influenced or dominated by Netzach.
To the left of that is Hod, which in Hebrew means “Glory.” That is our emotions. What some people call the astral body. When we go to dream at night, we enter the world of Hod, which is known as the fifth dimension. That is a world in which we dream typically, but usually without awareness. It is an emotional plane, emotional dimension, because many people, they have dreams, they start to sense and feel strong emotional reactions and many times we tend to dream about things that happen at work or in our day; the reason being is the life we live here physically is repeated in the dream state. We just don't have any cognition of it. We are usually not aware of it.
So we repeat things, but without knowing where we are about recognizing where we are. But, we have techniques in this tradition that teach us how, when in that state, we can awaken. We will teach that in our courses of astral projection and dream yoga: the science of dreams.
Beneath that is Yesod, which means “Foundation.” This is our creative energy. As I said, the creative energy is divine. We can learn to use our energies and our body and our glands, especially the sexual glands, to learn to take those forces and use them for divinity. That can serve as a foundation by which we can access with consciousness, these higher spheres, these higher sephiroth. We see that Yesod is the foundation. Our energy is the foundation, because without vital energy we would not have life, even physically.
So Malkuth, if you look below, means “Kingdom.” It is our physical body. Our physicality. That is what we typically only know. But Malkuth, the physical body would not exist if we didn't have vitality, enough energy to get through our day, or to live. Some people feel depleted, they say "I need to sleep," because the vital body needs to recharge. That vital energy needs to work in us.
So I am mentioning different bodies, different vehicles by which we express ourselves in different dimensions. It is unfortunate that we tend to only believe that this physical plane is all there is, but when we learn to awaken in dreams, we find that even our vital energies form a vehicle, a kind of body that penetrates this physical body. It gives it life. It gives it the ability to act and move.
There's also an emotional body known as Hod: a vehicle we usually work with in dreams, but unconsciously. There is also a mind or mental body, a mental vehicle. Above that we have more subtle aspects of divinity, which are difficult to comprehend at this level, but we can access those in us through practice. We will see more and more how this glyph represents who we are and our potential.
The Etymology of Intelligence and Understanding
So I mentioned the Tree of Life and a lecture about intelligence. The word intelligence comes from Latin, meaning: “realizing, understanding, perceiving, discerning. It refers to “intelligō”: inter, meaning: “between” and “legō,” meaning “collect,” or “recite,” from the verb.
Real intelligence is knowing the relationship of ourselves to other things, and even within us. It is a profound state of intelligence to know the relationship between mind and heart, mind and body, will and spirit, spirit and the highest divinity.
Intelligence is represented in the Kabbalah, this third sephiroth or sphere Binah. Remember that this top trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. Binah is known as “intelligence, understanding.” It is a part of us, an energy that makes it possible to experience the whole Tree of Life and to learn how to work in this physical world with wisdom, so that we may be crowned by divinity through our actions. Rewarded for performing good things, good deeds.
What is interesting is that the word קבלה Kabbalah in Hebrew comes from לקבל la’kabbel, which means “to receive.” It is what we receive from divinity. It is a word that refers to the Greek gnosis. Knowledge we experience. Things that we see for ourselves, that we witness directly.
And in that way, in meditation we calm the body, relax our energies, relax our heart, relax our mind. In that way we can start to learn to direct our will power, our concentration, which if you are familiar with meditation, we often speak about concentration exercises. These are means by which we learn to focus on one thing without thinking.
In that simple synopsis we find the lower five sephiroth of the Tree of Life represented. Our physical body Malkuth needs to relax. We need to understand our relationship to our body, so that we could be healthy and be strong. That is one form of intelligence. Also, we need to learn to work with our vital forces, our vital energies, which we can do so through breathing exercises or mantras, that help to circulate energy by vocalizing throughout our vital depth, our vital body. That helps to stabilize everything, because if you notice that Yesod is the center of the Tree of Life at the very bottom, it's the foundation of all practice.
We have to learn how to conserve energy. Most of the time in our day, we expel energy: physically, emotionally, mentally. That is why many people who begin meditation usually leave, because they are not seeing results. The problem is that they are not working with the foundation. It is important to work with energies, so that it can empower our consciousness, our soul, so that it can be awake, spontaneously, natural, happy.
Likewise in meditation, we calm heart, the emotional center, Hod. We need to understand our relationship with our emotions and not be a victim of them. I believe it was the founder of the Muslim tradition said something very interesting. The Prophet Muhammad said, "The strongest among you is he who controls his anger." Very interesting, because when we learn to control the heart and conserve our emotional energies, we learn to awaken in that dimension. We naturally experience that state for ourselves. We learn to understand and discern with intelligence, to perceive that which is objective from that which is subjective. Real from false. Awake from dreaming. So, we want to stop dreaming in that state. You want to be awake, to be intelligent, to know our relationship with those things directly.
Likewise, we have to relax the mind, and this is very difficult for many people. It is common that when we sit to practice, we find that the mind is thinking. We are always thinking of other things, being distracted, filled with memories or daydreams, concepts, comparisons, contrasts, disagreements, agreements. The mind is always churning. It's a big ocean. It is always in a storm or flux, and when people see this in themselves, usually they get frightened. They see that the mind is so chaotic in the beginning, they get scared and they say, “This practice is harming me, because this is what I see in myself.”
The reality is that one is coming to see for oneself what is already there. It is subconscious. Our mind, as Freud taught, is very subconscious. Likewise, with our emotions and our impulses, our drives.
But, if one is persistent, by working with concentration exercises, by using one's willpower, one's focus to take an object of practice and not let the mind wander, just focus on one thing like a stone or a statue or a painting, then the mind calms. It settles. If you fight the mind, it will churn. It will be in chaos. But if you just observe the mind and relax, everything settles.
So meditation is, or preparation for meditation involves that: relax your body, your energies, your heart, your mind, and then direct your will on one thing.
It could be many things you want to meditate on. Maybe a problem. Asking a question to divinity where you want to receive an answer. Maybe a personal challenge or difficulty. Looking for guidance for something in your daily life that you can't resolve.
It's funny that people think that the mind is going to answer that question. It is a common assumption even in business meetings. There are people who spend hours and hours debating, using their intellect to argue the solution for a problem. Then when they take a break for fifteen minutes, they walk away and they stop thinking of the problem, suddenly the answer comes: the intuition, the insight. And in that way they come back to the meeting recharged, understanding what they need to do.
That is a basic example, but when we learn meditation, the first preliminary concentration exercise is relaxing the mind, the heart, the energies in the body. Then everything settles, so that we can learn to perceive these higher five sephiroth, up these higher spheres with our consciousness, which is Geburah, the sphere on the left.
It is also in that way that we can even have astral experiences, in which we speak face-to-face with our own inner spirit, our own inner God, our Buddha—even higher spheres above that which are very difficult to conceptualize at our level, but they exist in us nonetheless.
So this is a map of intelligence, our relationship to different things in us, and in the multi-dimensionality of nature. It is a process of discernment. Questioning in us what is real. What is factual? Then discarding what is useless so that we can learn to have that communication, that understanding of what divinity is.
Even the word understandan, from old English, to understand, we know is very basic. That is, to grasp the idea, to comprehend. To perceive the significance, meaning, explanation, or cause of something.
Meditation is about comprehension, understanding, so that when our mind and heart and body are settled, we can concentrate and even reflect on our day where we are observing ourselves, becoming aware of what situations in life provokes certain defects, certain problems that we want to change, and then we can concentrate on those moments. Reflect and imagine them, visualize them, see them with our consciousness so that we can get knowledge, understanding. What is the appropriate way to behave in this situation? For example at work I have been reflecting on conflict with some clients of mine who are very aggressive and very disrespectful. I have noticed they have been provoking with their behavior certain qualities in me that are negative or egotistical. Frustration. I want them to be a certain way, to behave in a certain way, because it's the right thing. Or that is the logic that is associated with that thought.
You can see that you have the mind there, but also the negative emotion, Hod, which feels that “I am being wronged.” Also the will to act, but negatively. To say the wrong things, to do the wrong things that make the situation worse.
So, I have been meditating on certain circumstances of my job, and by learning to relax, to concentrate and to ask for help from my inner divinity, my inner spirit, a beginning experience is about what I need to do at my job. Understanding the right way to act, the right way to think, to feel and to do. According to the Buddha: upright thought, upright feeling, upright action.
In that way, I have been able to transform many problems. Now, my clients who in the beginning were very rough, they can still be pretty antagonistic, but they respect me. There isn't that type of distrust anymore from the beginning.
Concentration and Imagination
So things can change, but gradually. Then when we work with our concentration, again, we are working with our consciousness too. The ability to imagine or perceive. This word imagination is often denigrated today as something fake or fantastical, but if I ask you to imagine an apple, you can see it. Not with physical senses, but psychological ones. That is a quality of our consciousness.
When you combine your will, your concentration, your focus on one thing, and imagining your scene in a day where you want to understand something, suddenly the comprehension emerges, relating to the spirit, Chesed. That helps us to become spiritual beings, because a spiritual being has intelligence, understands how to resolve problems, but without thinking. Not rationalizing, but knowing intuitively and acting immediately in the moment, so that it's very profound, divine.
Understanding can also refer to “interpreting or view something in a particular way.” To view ourselves in a new way. To understand something about ourselves that we never thought we had.
It can be negative, but it can also can be very positive, because we have qualities in us that are divine that we have no idea that exist. But, when you meditate you find that true divine heroic nature in you, which knows how to conquer affliction and all suffering.
So, understanding also refers to “perceiving the significance, explanation, or cause of something.” In this Buddhist sense, or in a religious or spiritual sense, it can refer to understanding the causes of our own suffering, our own egotistical drives, which manifests in our thoughts, our feeling, our body and energies, but also our will, depending on how we use it.
If you remember the prayer of Jesus of Nazareth in the garden of Gethsemane, he says, "Father, if it be possible, take this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will, but thine be done." That refers to Tiphereth, the heart. That is a symbol and his Passion is that he lived physically—it was a means of teaching something psychological, because every person needs to face their own types of ordeals and struggles in life, their own crucifixion, in a manner of speaking.
If we learn to meditate and remove the causes of suffering, we can, according to the myth of Jesus, resurrect. The soul is absorbed in the divinity, and then one is self-realized, realizing all the spheres of the Tree of Life. They are integrated. They are one, because right now our thoughts, our feelings, and our wills, tend to be very disparate.
In a moment, we may be washing our dishes and thinking of one thing, feeling another. We have the desire to go out and work out, followed by the desire for eating. “Now I want to read something else.” “Now I want to do something else.” We are always changing, in flux. We are constantly thinking and doing other things, never aware of where we are at or what we are doing.
We call that ego, and the ego is not singular as we like to think, or popular culture likes to think. Ego is egos. Anger, pride, fear, lust, laziness, gluttony—all those faults we carry inside—are multiple. They have their own agendas, ways of thinking, feeling, and doing. But, it's because we are not attentive, we don't really discriminate or distinguish between the differences, between those states. Meditation will teach one how to discern with intelligence, what is going on psychologically. Of course, it is unpleasant in the beginning to realize that this anger, or this fear, this sense of self is not singular. It is a big chaos. Multiple. But, as taught by many myths and as taught by the Tree of Life and through meditation, we can unify the soul. Achieve the realization of divinity in us.
So “to interpret something in a particular way, to be thoroughly familiar with, apprehend clearly the character, nature, or subtleties of something.”
Again, to interpret or view something in a particular way, how do we view ourselves? It's good to ask this question, not from a skeptical, pessimistic, standpoint. Nor a morbid sense of self-flagellation and shame. "Oh, I am a bad person." But just to ask the question and look what is going on in me. “Who am I?” To question and to examine oneself with a psychological sense.
We call it self-observation. To be aware of oneself. To not want to judge or praise or condemn what we see. Just to be aware, awake. And in that way, we gather data about our own faults, so that we can change.
Therefore, our understanding of ourselves will be on a true foundation, because the word understand literally implies that we are standing on something. We all tend to stand on some sense of identity. Our assumptions of ourselves, which other people may criticize and point out are wrong, but usually we feel very hurt. We don't want to be criticized or questioned.
It is good to ask the question when that experience unfolds, “Well, maybe they are right to ask that question. What if they are right that they see something in me that I don't see?” Other people tend to see things in ourselves that we don't see ourselves. Not to be afraid, but just examine. To be aware. This is the foundational method of meditation so that we can stand on strong ground, because when you stand on fact, we are not hurt.
I believe there is a saying in the book Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva where he explains how, if somebody says something to us and it is hurtful, if it is a lie, why get mad? If it is true, why get mad?
If one confronts oneself and is working, it doesn't hurt. It doesn't matter. And in this way, by asking that type of question, we learn to transform our situation.
The Impressions of Life and Internal Reactions
In these studies, we talk about the transformation of impressions. We say that life exists as it does in the form of impressions. We see through our senses, we hear, we feel, we taste, we touch, we smell. We can say that all of life exists in the form of energies or impressions. Whether we are looking outside, we see the rain, people walking. We can say that those people are outside of us, but at the same time, the impressions of those experiences always enter into the psyche, moment by moment.
There is never a moment in which we don't perceive perceptions, or perceive something, even at death, or in sleep, usually. Because, the consciousness is eternal. It always will exist, but in different modalities or formations, depending on how we use it. How we use our mind, our energies, our heart, our will, our consciousness.
So, everything always exists in the form of impressions. You are here listening to me, receiving the impressions of my words. It may enter your psyche, emotionally, maybe feeling or ascertaining something, or thinking of something related to it.
The mind is always reacting to impressions. It is a dynamic thing, and if we learn to be aware as meditators, we realize that the sense that, there is an external world, is illusory. Everything is within us, if we are attentive.
I am sure all of us have experienced, especially in youth, moments in which we are very clear and awake, just seeing life and movement without thinking, without rationalizing. Especially in childhood, we might have had many of those experiences in which we just see the impressions of life without judging, without labeling, without conceptualizing, “This is good. This is bad.”
That tends to be the psychological dynamic of our experience. We are caught in duality. Back and forth. Good, bad. Yes, no. Pleasure, pain. Happiness, sadness. Excitement, fear. Duality. That is a pendulum of the consciousness that puts us to sleep.
We are always running away from unpleasant impressions in life and running towards pleasant ones. But the thing is: why get attached to either a coffee cake or one's family? And want to run away from one's boss when he's angry? The reality is that all that is temporary. Nothing is permanent. Everything is in flux. Impressions emerge and enter our consciousness, our psyche.
But the problem is that we tend to receive life in a very mechanical way. We don't really question what we are seeing, or better said, how we are perceiving those experiences. So physically we may know that we are seated here, but the question is, are we actively observing where we are? Are we aware of the ceiling, the murals, or the decorations, the plants, the equipment around ourselves, the art, the street? Are we really looking at those impressions with a fresh look? Are we seeing it with new eyes, moment by moment? Or, do we just look at things and get lost in our thoughts?
Sometimes we may be walking on the street, such as in Chicago or any city, and then we are thinking and thinking and thinking of a problem. We don't see where we are at or where we are going. It means that we are not awake. We are dreaming. It is that type of psychology that goes with us wherever we go. So, if we are not training ourselves, our moment by moment, or day by day, then when we physically go to sleep or when we die, we are going to repeat the same mechanical habits and go through that delicate transition point without attention, without understanding.
So, I know I mentioned a lot about death in dreams. It is interesting that in the Greek mythology, Thanatos and Hypnos, death and sleep, are brothers. If we are awake in our dreams, we will be awake when we die.
Meditation is a means of preparing for that and the way that we prepare for that is learning to look at life with awareness. To see impressions of life, but attentive, and not reacting all the time, mentally.
The mind tends to chatter. We are always commenting on what we see, what we hear, what we feel, what we do. Someone says something negative, we have the reaction of anger or pride. Impressions enter us and we are reacting.
The way that you enter into comprehension or meditation is learning to receive those impressions of life, whether good or bad, but with neutrality. Neither favoring nor rejecting, but it doesn't mean that one is going to be bland.
Neutrality, we think means neither hot or cold, or just lukewarm, dispassionate, unconcerned. There is a connotation in the english language, but it's better that we say that this type of sentiment or neutrality is very clear, very pristine, very divine. In which one enjoys the flow of life, free in its movement, here and now. It doesn't get caught up with the repetitions of life, the duality, “I must be successful in my job. I must run away from painful circumstances,” but confront every situation with consciousness.
So when we have a problem at work, with our mind training, we are not affected by what happens. We can respond with understanding, intelligence: negotiating our sense of self with the exterior world, and in that way we transform our situations.
We tend to react to life with ego, defects, but in those critical moments at work or in a certain challenging circumstances of life, someone says something negative, but with our mind training, we question the insulters words. They say something bad about us.
I remember at my work I had one client [sarcastically] say to me, "Yeah, he thinks he's really good." About me. I looked at him and I was starting to sense in myself a reaction of negativity, like I was being insulted or hurt, but then I realized that the words of this person didn’t really matter so much as my investment in those words. I thought about what he said. In that moment I comprehended that, well, he has his understanding of what I am and he could be right, or he could be wrong. Then I had a sense of peace in order to respond to him more appropriately. I said, "No, you are wrong. I am not good, I am great!" And being funny about it and joking around dissipated the tension.
So comprehension can work like that. We learn to negotiate ourselves with other people. We don't respond with negativity. But even when people are very bad around us, we don't have to go along with it. But, that sense of self, which is neutral, that attention, our conscious state in which we are no longer thinking, we learn to act with love, with serenity, with insight.
The Nature of Impressions and Inner Transformation
Some people think or get worried that if “I annihilate the ego, my defects, what will I be?” Well, you'll be charismatic or compassionate or happy or patient or loving or funny or humorous and divine—knowing how to respond to any circumstance appropriately.
So, this is what we call a transformation of impressions.
It is interesting if we look at some of the etymology of this word. Impressio: “to impress,” meaning “pressed in,” from the verb, impremere: “to imprint; an effect produced upon someone; a mark impressed on a surface by something.”
It is interesting that we find the word “imprint.” You know when people say things that are bad, if we just identify and invest all of our energy into that comment, those words imprint something in our psyche, that conditions us. We feed our anger and feel resentful, proud, hurt. It is a type of imprinting on the soul, on the mind, and that creates more problems, more defects, because we are investing our energy in a sense of self, which is in the spiritual sense, not real, not objective.
Real intelligence is knowing that the relationship between self and other is illusory, and Buddhism talks about this a lot. That everything exists upon other things. There is nothing intrinsically existing in and of itself. Impressions emerge, we react, and there is always a dynamic interchange of relationships, of problems. But if we learn to see that those words no longer have any meaning, someone criticizes us, we don't invest ourselves in those words. We don't feel hurt.
Maybe psychologically there is something deep down that we need to see, so we go home, we meditate on what we saw, so that we could remove all those latent subtle frustrations or desires which are lingering. Then more and more, we learn to transform our psyche day by day.
On another level, the transformation Impressions exist when we develop our intelligence. Again, intelligence is: “How do we discriminate between phenomena of what we see, of what we sense?”
Another example of this is a person may walk down the street and sees images of a lustful type, of a degenerate type, which is making certain desires emerge in the psyche and which are negative. If one comprehends that this person, which one is attracted to so much, this woman or this figure, if we imagine that well in twenty, thirty, fifty, sixty, seventy years, this person may be dust and bones.
So what is the nature of this lustful intention that I feel in myself? What is it? What is this desire? What does it want? How does it exist? Because our defects, our desires, our egotism, our egos, always feed upon the impressions of life. Always want certain stimuli.
Anger wants to hurt the other person because it is hurt. Pride wants to belittle because it wants praise. Greed wants to accumulate material things or even spiritual things, ideas, fame, attention, energy. Fear wants security. It wants things to be what it wants.
So those defects are always wanting certain impressions of life and the reason why we suffer so much is because we are attached to that sense of self, which wants something that doesn't exist. It is not there. We are always fighting against the reality of our situation. We want things to be a different way.
But if we learn to accept our situation with gladness, things will change, as we are changing our negative states. Transforming the impressions of our psyche that we didn't transform in the past.
This is where traumas emerge. Something happened, an impression emerged and came into our psyche and we weren't aware and it affected us. We can think of something like 9/11. People on the site who witnessed those buildings come crashing down and people dying, were traumatized. They weren't aware of what was going on and obviously that kind of violence is very destructive, even psychologically. Some people are still grappling with the pains of that incident, even from across the world who just watched it on television.
But imagine someone who actually was in that situation, where they receive those impressions, and because they were not aware, they didn't know how to transform it. So that type of experience replays in the mind again and again and again. Those impressions are in the psyche. They form new defects, new desires, new traumas, new problems. The way to resolve that is to develop attention, awareness, and in that way we learn to see suffering and go to the root of our problems. [Editor: Listen to the lecture Trauma and Spiritual Healing for advice].
Meditation in the Gnostic Tarot
In this last slide we are looking at, it is the summation of meditative discipline, according to what we call the Egyptian Tarot. So if you have listened on chicagognosis.org, we have a course that is presently ongoing about these cards. These are images that reflect spiritual principles, spiritual truths. We have the first three arcana, or laws of the divine. These cards represent qualities of consciousness, qualities of being. It also can teach us about meditation, more importantly.
In the first image we have the Magician, a representation of what we call the Divine Father, our spirit, our true Buddha nature, our Being, our inner God. I won't explain all the symbolism of these images in depth. If you are interested in learning more about this, you can study our course, The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah online.
But you notice that he is a standing figure. He is masculine. He has a staff in his hand representing his willpower, his assertiveness, his masculinity.
Likewise, we have his opposite, the second arcanum, the second law, which is the High Priestess. She is sitting. She is the Divine Feminine, the Divine Mother of any religion, whether it be Mary amongst the Christians, Maya, Miriam, Adonia amongst the Kabbalists, Shekinah, Diana, Hera, or the wife of Jupiter.
So all those religions can be explained through these principles, but more importantly, what is interesting is that she is sitting. She represents a feminine aspect of our consciousness, a feminine quality, which is more perceptive, more intuitive, more emotional.
The first aspect of ourselves is will, assertiveness, which we call willpower.
In the last image we find a woman seated with a beautiful ibis bird. She is the Empress of the Tarot. She has stars above her head, meaning that she is illuminated. She has comprehension. She has understanding.
So these three cards are interesting because they summarize the path of meditation and death. In order to really meditate on a problem or issue, or to gain understanding, or intelligence of something, we concentrate, we use our willpower. We focus on one thing at the exclusion of everything.
If we sit to practice, if we want to understand a scripture, a book, we read a verse and we concentrate on it. We can also visualize in our consciousness and imagine what the words are representing. We concentrate, we relax.
Some people think concentration is something over-exertive, like if one is lifting weights. Concentration is a profound state of relaxation. It knows how to act but without exerting the mind, without agitation, without disturbance. It is calm, serene.
Notice that even although he is standing very firmly, he is also very calm. On his right, The High Priestess, the Divine Feminine, is seated and reading a book. It is a symbol of how we learn to read the book of our life, the chapters of our existence. Our mornings, our afternoons, our days, our evenings, and then really reflect with our imagination and see how those circumstances need to be studied.
Through the combination of will and imagination, we gain understanding, intelligence. We learn to discern right from wrong, good from bad, positive from negative. That state of understanding is what gives us real peace. We are no longer afflicted, even if we have problems that can't get resolved. Sufferings we can't change. At least we are not identified with those circumstances, then we are at peace and very strong, because we know that eventually, this body will go and the soul will move on. If we are awake, we will take advantage of those circumstances. If we are not, that is another issue.
The Path of Comprehension
Willpower and imagination make comprehension. So, in the example I gave you, you can concentrate and develop your concentration by focusing on one thing. Some people begin with a stone or a pebble or something basic that doesn't take much effort to focus on.
I like to use a candle when I first started. I would take a candle, light the flame and look at it. Observe the fire. You'll find that the mind will start to drift and start thinking of other things, but the purpose of the practice is: don't think, just look. That is the state of consciousness of attention. When we are no longer thinking of other things, that concentration becomes very profound, so that you can learn to direct it at more elevated things like a scripture, or book, the meaning thereof.
Comprehending a certain defect that emerged in the day, you focus and concentrate on remembering those events. Then imagine, visualize those scenes.
Also, visualization can be developed through that candle practice. Sometimes in the beginning, it is difficult to see things mentally. We don't see much clarity or color or depth, but if you learn to take that candle and observe it for a few moments, then close your eyes and try to imagine that candle in your mind, without vacillating, or letting the mind change it. If you find the mind starts doing that, then just relax, look again at the candle and gently reinitiate the practice. In that way we learn to develop more clarity and depth in our visualization practices.
The combination of concentration and imagination allows us to access any knowledge we want. We can fall asleep while concentrating and imagining a certain thing. Then when we go to sleep physically, the soul awakens in the internal dimensions and we see those states of being with clarity.
In the beginning people will see very vague things and amorphous things. With practice such as with these two exercises, we gain more clarity and understanding. In that way we learn to develop more understanding in our own life: how to navigate this world we live in with patience and serenity, because if we have understanding, we are no longer so troubled or conflicted. We learn to negotiate ourselves with intelligence with this world, with clarity.
If you are interested, I invite you to study the writings we have available. You can view them online and they are full publications of gnostic teachings.org. If there is a particular topic that you listened or hear today in relation to our synopsis or synthesis, you can go online and look at the books we have available. We do have some available in print here, but you can always go online and read them if you are interested and purchase them from online. There is a lot we covered but the synthesis is this: Be aware. Be attentive. These practices can help to elevate our level of being, our way of being so that we learn to find more happiness in our life, find joy, even when circumstances are very painful. Because one who has divinity inside active, doesn't despair. Doesn't fear. Doesn't worry.
Questions and Answers
Question: What is your favorite book?
Instructor: Oh, my favorite book! I do like a lot of classical mythology, especially because those myths teach us Kabbalah. I remember taking a course on classical mythology, classical literature, specifically, which of course the professor didn't know the real esoteric depth of these stories. Some of my favorites are like The Odyssey, which relates to the principles we talked about today.
In the poem by Homer, Odysseus is stranded from place to place after he is victorious in the Trojan War. He was the mastermind that created the Trojan Horse and invaded the city in order to sack it. Then he goes home having angered Poseidon, and Poseidon is a representation in the Kabbalah of Binah, the Holy Spirit amongst the Christians. He angered Poseidon because he took credit for the works that divinity did for him.
That symbolism of war and all that is not literal. It is about the war of the soul against desire, but he has to journey from island to island, again and again, facing death, starvation, assault, and all sorts of terrible things which are symbolic of the spiritual path one has to face. Of course, he gets to the end and his whole crew has been annihilated, basically. They all died, and he was the only one who survived, swam to shore, to Ithaca, his home.
He gets there and Athena warns him, "your wife is under assault here. There are many suitors trying to marry your wife Penelope because it's been twenty years since you've been here. They think you are dead." It is very interesting. All these men are trying to marry his wife, and Penelope is a beautiful symbol of the soul. She is the soul that is being afflicted by many suitors, many lustful elements, egos, defects, and Athena the Divine Feminine, which we can call the Divine Mother, Kundalini amongst the Hindus, She disguises him as a beggar and then he has to gain “intel” about all the suitors who are trying to marry his wife. He can't show who he is. If he gets mad and shows himself that he is Odysseus, they are going to kill him.
But it is interesting that if you look at the word intelligence, even the word “intel” is government slang, finding data about your enemies. So, he is finding all this intelligence, information about how these suitors are working. Who are they aligned to? Who are they? What are they doing? What is their methods? It is a symbol of how one in meditation is working against certain defects, gaining understanding of them.
Of course, they humiliate him, they beat him, they call him a beggar, they mock him for many chapters towards the end of the book, in the poem. But, the crowning moment is when he is in the throne room facing a challenge that Penelope places. She will only marry the suitor or man who can fire an arrow through, I don't remember the number of rings of an ax, lodged in the floor there, but can fire an arrow through all of them.
All the suitors are trying to take Odysseus's bow and pull the string, but it is so heavy and strong that they can't. Here is this beggar Odysseus, or disguised as the beggar and who comes up and says, "I'll take the challenge." Of course, all the suitors become enraged because they have been mocking him the whole time. They don't know who he is.
He pulls the bow, puts the string on easily, and then he takes the arrow and fires it through the rings. All of them are shocked that he accomplished it. Then he takes an arrow and fires it at one of the suitors and kills him. They become terrified in rage and say, "What are you doing old man?" Athena unveils who he is. He says, "I am Odysseus whom you thought was dead. Now I will kill every single one of you for having tried to take my home and squander my property."
It is a symbol of how the soul, our consciousness, goes to war against our defects, and it is very strong at that level, especially. Even the bow is a symbol of negotiating the external with the internal. You pull the bow, you are focusing on what's outside of you, your target, with your concentration. With your willpower, you take the arrow, your perception, see the target, and fire. Concentration and imagination. Then in that way, when we comprehend our defects, we kill them. Then you can extract the soul that has been trapped in there and develop virtue.
It is a symbol of what some people call Buddhist annihilation, which is a term that frightens people, but you know when the ego is annihilated, the soul is born. It is pure.
I love that poem a lot. You know, it's a very beautiful symbol, but people read it and they are very entertained. Yeah, Odysseus gets revenge, they think it is a literal story. Yeah, I mean you can read it that way, but there are a lot of esoteric truths in these fables or stories which are very beautiful.
So, with the bow and arrow, your concentration, your perception, your imagination, you focus on each defect you want to work on. When the moment comes, when the comprehension is full, you can kill that element and be free of it.
I remember The Odyssey is a very beautiful story about that, but there are many more stories that are very profound. But, a lot of the stories that we have been able to study and explain in our courses come from the writings of Samael Aun Weor, specifically. He is a writer on many esoteric topics, whose works are just becoming more familiar in the West, in North America, especially. He was from Latin America.
Some of my favorite books of his when I first started was Treaties of Revolutionary Psychology. He explains many of the principles we talked about: Self-observation, remembering the presence of divinity, learning to gather data about one's faults. It is a very good book to begin with. I know I began many years ago with that book especially. It is one of my favorites. Something you revisit again and because you are always learning. A very deep text and very direct. It has a lot of knowledge there and very rich too.
When you understand that type of teaching, you can look at any scripture, any book, any mythology and you can interpret what is going on. You can use your intelligence to understand the relationship between characters and ideas. It ceases to be some kind of academic, literary thing, but you are seeing things in the book that people don't really understand or know about. They are very profound.
Question: I stopped seeing violent stuff like the media. How do you look at? Is sports demonic? Can one do the work and watch football?
Instructor: It's your business. I know some sports are much more vulgar, like UFC fighting championship, boxing, those that are very violent. Those things are obviously very negative. I mean, I know many people, even instructors in our tradition, who may still watch sports and games. I don't know many who watch UFC, where guys are pounding each other into hamburger. But you know the kind of thing is very negative especially.
I believe Samael Aun Weor was writing in some of his books how certain sports were the degeneration of ancient traditions from long ago. From history that many people don't even know about. Like for example, the bullfighting rings. He talks about how bullfighting was an art that was practiced by a different humanity on this planet before our race emerged, very long ago, which not many people are familiar with, but he stated that those people would not kill the bull in a vulgar way like we see today. It is a symbol of how the toreador would use a lasso, a rope, and a sword symbolically to subdue the bull. It is a symbol of conquering the mind, controlling the mind. But they wouldn't kill the bull because the bull has a beautiful soul. An elemental soul which is pure.
Today you find in Spain, you know the running of the bull, or people killing those animals in the ring. It is very vulgar and degenerated. That tradition came from a long ago. It was a symbolic thing, but over time people corrupted it. So, sports, if you are interested, if you like football, it is your business. It is a violent sport, but when I have seen football games in the past, I don't find that they left any super lasting mark on me in a negative way. [But you know, if you enjoy it, then enjoy it. It is better, though, to take in good impressions that uplift the soul, not just to entertain the mind.]
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
In this course of meditation, we have been exploring what it means to communicate with divinity, with the divine, which as we have been emphasizing is not some anthropomorphic figure of an old man or a dignified lady in the clouds. Those are symbols, and religions teach us something psychological. Something conscious. And we in the science of meditation seek to communicate directly with the presence; the intelligence that has been represented within those traditions, within statues, or forms.
So we began this practice by invoking the energy of what is known as the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, who is the feminine aspect of our inner divinity, our Inner Being. So when we say that God is Being, we don't wish to point towards anthropomorphism, but instead to principles, energies, forces we find in nature and within our own body, which we seek to actualize, to activate, to stimulate.
In our process of giving these lectures we have been talking a lot about working with the divine feminine, being able to communicate directly with that intelligence in a very concrete and specific manner. When the different traditions of Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam speak about communicating face to face with the buddhas, with the angels, with the gods, those are symbols of how we can speak face to face in our meditations with that divine presence—but also in the science of dream yoga, in which our physical body goes to sleep and we as a consciousness enter the superior dimensions of nature, the dreamworld.
By working in meditation, we awaken from dreams, so that as a consciousness we can communicate with the divine and those dimensions, which people typically theorize and believe is just a projection of the brain, but really, when someone awakens consciousness profoundly and ceases to dream in that state, one really gets to understand that there is a whole other world available to us, which meditation teaches us how to access. Because we as a consciousness, as a soul, must learn to receive that guidance, that wisdom from our inner divinity.
Most people who approach religion, meditation, yoga, and when I say yoga, I mean real yoga, not just physical postures, but yug which in Sanskrit means “to unite” as a consciousness with the truth; when people approach religion, they typically want to have some type of experience, to know divinity directly for oneself—not based on any belief or theory, but on practice.
We all have issues and problems that we suffer with, that we struggle with, and we look for some type of guidance in our politicians, our media, our religious figures, our temple, our church, our synagogue, our mosque, and yet we find that people cannot really show us or give us answers to the real profound root of our sufferings in a fundamental way, because we may believe in one doctrine or not, and yet what we think doesn't matter, because how we behave, how we act consciously, determines our mind stream, our life.
So neither by believing in some religion is how one is going to find the solutions to one's deepest sufferings, but though meditation.
So to pray, according to the founder of the Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, is to speak with divinity. To have that connection. To interact as we are interacting here and now. Prayer for most people tends to be a very blind thing, where we repeat a certain prayer in a mechanical way; some Hail Mary, or Our Father, thinking that by repeating mechanically, repetitiously, that somehow we are going to receive some insight. But the truth is that that type of prayer doesn't work. It is superficial.
If we want to really talk with divinity, we have to be very specific in our methods, in how we concentrate our mind as we've been discussing in this course. To focus on one thing: a mantra, a secret sound, an image, a sculpture; visualizing it's details in our mind. Focusing on that one specific thing without letting the mind wander and get distracted, because if we sit to practice, we typically find that the mind wanders constantly. It thinks about other things.
We daydream about what we are going to do later, where we have been, who we talked with. And yet we may return into our practice thirty minutes later realizing, "I am supposed to be meditating. I'am supposed to be present." So that state of distraction shows us what we are psychologically moment by moment. Not when we just sit to close our eyes for half an hour or so, but in our daily life, we are constantly thinking and being distracted by what we are going to do, where we have been, and where we are going.
That distraction of the consciousness indicates that we are, as a psyche, asleep. We are not present. We are not mindful. We are not aware of what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are thinking, because if we are driving our car and thinking of our friends, our fiancé, our spouse; if we are at a lecture and if we are thinking of other things, we are not really listening to what's going on. We are not really seeing where we are at. It means that we as a consciousness are asleep. The mind wanders.
As we said in our previous lecture on the path of Conscious Judgment, the mind is a labyrinth, a maze, which the great hero Theseus goes into, in order to find the beast known as the minotaur, a symbol of our own egotism, which by learning to concentrate ourselves in meditation, we go into the mind. We cease being distracted and we learn to get to the core root of our suffering, which is psychological. It is a conditioning, as we have been explaining.
So the process of meditation is about, again, going into the mind, focusing the mind, being specific with our practice, being aware of what we are doing at all times, and when we learn to discipline our intellect, concentrate ourselves to be focused, moment by moment, day by day in every circumstance of life, we find that the practice of meditation opens up spontaneously. So if you find that you are distracted, you may have a certain longing to know God, the Being, the divine, and we go through certain prayers or rituals or practices. But if we are not mindful of what we are doing, it means that we are not going to have the results we want.
Because, to receive that insight from the divine means the mind has to be calm. We have to be concentrated on what we are doing. So the very beginning of meditative practice, the path of prayer, of communicating with the divine, occurs when the mind is in silence. When it is focused. When we command our attention to do one thing at the exclusion of everything else. That we don't let our mind wander. We don't waver. We don't begin a prayer in our practice and then forget what we are doing, and then realize "I should have been reciting this prayer with this practice," and then we remember.
So that is the beginning of any person who starts in meditation, because we see that the mind needs to be controlled, it needs to be harnessed. But, when we find that when the mind is calm and serene, we can start to receive knowledge, insight and this usually comes in the form of some type of spiritual experience.
As I said, you can awaken in dreams by learning to meditate in which you, as a consciousness, with a mind that is calm, can say and invoke your Inner God, your Inner Goddess, and say "My God, help me, teach me!" Because prayer, when it is focused with intention, and then we wait, that is when we receive insight. That is when the communication happens, because most people think that by reciting a hundred Hail Mary's, or Hari Krishna’s, or whatever a thousand times, that you are going to get some kind of result. The truth is that you can't if your mind is mechanical, if we just repeat things; we think things, we feel things, without any real knowledge or observance. No attention.
And so this lecture we called “Conscious Prayer” because in order to have that communication with your Being, you have to be conscious of what you are doing. And as I said earlier the path of meditation begins when we learn to concentrate.
So in this exercise, we were invoking the energy of the Divine Mother with a mantra Ram-IO. We learn to focus on that mantra to pronounce it. To immerse ourselves in the vibrations of that sound so that this energy saturates the consciousness, awakens it, develops our hidden potential. In that way, when you have energy, as we have been talking in this course and the Light of Consciousness lecture, when you have energy applied to action, then you can get results.
When the mind is not calm, if the lake of the intellect is churning with negativity, with anguish, with preoccupations about our job, not really focusing on what we need to focus on in our practice, it means that the images of the heavens cannot reflect in that lake. Your mind is a lake, but we typically tend to throw things into it. Stones, garbage, or whatever metaphor we want to use. Negativity. And that mind that is agitated, churning, can't help us to focus. We sit to practice, we look into the mind and we see that we are filled with a lot of memories, and anguish, and suffering.
When people realize this at the beginning of meditation, they typically tend to run away because they realize how monstrous the mind is. It's so chaotic and you realize, or think, “this practice is harming me.” The truth is we are just becoming aware of what is going on moment by moment and day by day. We are just not conscious of it.
And to help us with this process of learning to become conscious of our daily life, we learn to pray. It means to be focused and to be sincere. To be concentrated. If we, again, pronounce Hari Krishna multiple times, but we are not really invested with our heart, our longing to know the divine, and our concentration, there won't be any results. We can speak all we want but the answer won't come directly. So calm the mind is the beginning. The mind needs to be stable. We need to be concentrated and in that way the truth emerges spontaneously within our consciousness.
Durga, the Divine Mother, and Astral Forms
So we pictured here the Hindu representation of the Divine Mother known as Durga. There are many other forms of the divine feminine, such as Kali and, as we mentioned earlier, this divine feminine has been represented by Athena, amongst the Greeks, Miriam and Mary amongst the Hebrews and the Christians. It is interesting that you look at the word מִרְיָם Miriam in Hebrew, which means “to raise, to elevate” because the Divine Mother, your Inner Goddess is the one who can elevate you from psychological conditions and sufferings into the heights of the divine, the spiritual. And personally, if I am teaching you this, it is because this is something I have been working with for many years, where I have had experiences in the dream world, where I have been receiving insight from my Inner Goddess, who has been helping me so that I can be of help to others.
In dreams, this divine feminine can take form. So I said that the divine is formless, but is an energy, is a principle, is a force. That energy can materialize in the dream world in any symbol, any form, in order to teach you something psychologically about yourself. And then that way, when you are presented with this symbol, when you are asking your Inner Goddess, "My God or my Being, help me, teach me what I need to know"—you are meditating, you are focusing on that one question, you fall asleep. You wait. And then spontaneously, your consciousness can awaken in that state in which you ask that question again, “My God, help me, show me what I need to know about myself. About this problem that I am going through. What I need to do. What I need to change!”
And then the answer will come in a symbol. It will come in a some type of living drama, because the world of dreams, the astral plane, is a symbolic language. A symbolic world. Your Divine Mother will come to you in any form that is going to be concrete and conducive for teaching you something.
I remember one instance, I invoked my Divine Mother in the world of dreams and I asked her the question, "Please help me to understand what I need to work on. What I need to do!” She appeared. I was outside my house in the dream world, because in the astral plane, in that dimension, we see everything that we see physically, but with differences. It is a different dimension. A different type of materiality that is not physical. She came to me in a figure of a bear and in spiritual studies, we know that the bear is a symbol of egotism, of animalism, of desire, of defects, and of the secret psychological enemies we carry within that are fighting against this type of work—as we have been talking about with the many other myths in this course.
So she came to me with a radar in her hands that was showing a laser beam, or that beam that goes in a circle, so that you can find some kind of blip or dot of some type of aircraft that is present, and it was blank. And she said to me, “I can't find you!” And I woke up.
I was really filled with a lot of remorse because she was showing me, "I am trying to awaken your consciousness and you keep forgetting me. You keep forgetting my presence." Because your Divine Mother is with you, here and now. You don't need to have some type of samadhi or mystical experience out of the body, to really actualize the presence of your Inner Goddess within you. So she came to me, fortunately in a dream to show me: "I'm looking on my radar at I don't see you." Meaning, you are not paying attention. You are not awake. You are not concentrated in me in your daily life.
So in my daily life, I had been getting too distracted. Forgetting my own consciousness. Getting caught up in daydreaming, and worries, and thoughts, and not being focused about where I am at. So that is an example of conscious prayer, where by silencing the mind, you meditate, you go out of the body in the dream state, and then you ask the question, "Show me what I need to know." And often times through discipline, your Divine Mother will come to you in a way that is unexpected, where you may not even be able to get the question out of your mouth and suddenly the answer will show up and come to you. That is why Dante in his Divine Comedy stated that the Divine Mother or Virgin Mary, often provides the answer before we even ask it, because she is the power of love, of compassion within the depths of our psyche.
The Four Yogas
And so we in these studies learn to actualize that presence in different ways, specifically through what we call four types of yoga. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” So when you learn to communicate with your inner God, your inner Goddess, face-to-face, you are performing union, because you receiving the direct Insight you longed for.
But, let us remember that the term yoga as is used today really has no meaning. People think that yoga is contorting the body, twisting it, or making it thin, so that one can attract the lust of other people. Instead real yoga is fourfold.
We have Karma Yoga relating to action, to service. We have Bhakti Yoga, related to devotion, the heart. We have Raja Yoga relating to powers, abilities, psychic capacities. We have Jnana Yoga, relating to knowledge.
So this lecture we will talk specifically about bhakti, devotion and what it really means. But you can't explain Bhakti Yoga without talking about the other constituents of spiritual practice.
Karma yoga relates to how you use your body, in a more superficial sense. How do we act with our physical body in daily life? Do we do so working at our job to benefit others, or do we use our body in ways that is selfish, where we are concerned more about our own welfare? How do we act? How do we behave? How do we think? How do we feel? And how do we express what is internal?
As we've been talking about in these lectures, we talked that psychologically, we carry many egotistical elements we call ego, "I,” me, myself, anger, pride, fear, vanity, lust—a whole conglomeration of defects, which are shells, conditions, which trap our full potential, which trap the consciousness and which in religions, they have been represented as demons—because these senses of self, these desires, are really demonic. They don't want to help others.
Anger does not want to help others. It wants to destroy. Likewise with fear. It debilitates. Many elements that drag us down into states of suffering. Those have been represented by monsters and figures in different religions, different traditions, different myths.
And so we have to examine our mind, our mind stream. What do we carry within? What is going on psychologically that makes us act in daily life? How do we behave towards others in life? Are we thinking about ourselves or do we really think about the benefit of others?
Now it is important that one learns to understand one's psychological state, because our psychological states shape our life. Where we are psychologically determines how we act, what we say; what we think determines how we behave and energetically when we learn to awaken our consciousness, we see that even our thoughts influence others, because it is a form of energy. It is a form of matter and it influences people. There is an interaction that is psychological, that is psychic, that relates to Raja Yoga. But Raja Yoga is actually much more profound than just psychic powers. It involves many things that we are going to talk about.
So karma, how do we act? In these studies if we really want to learn how to meditate, we have to learn what shapes and conditions us. What makes us suffer? But more importantly, how do we make others suffer with our egotism, our sense of self? When you learn to understand how anger is a destructive element, is an animal that needs to stop being fed, then you begin to experience what all the Greek myths have taught about the great heroes fighting against the monster, the medusa, the minotaur, the Kraken. Symbols of our own defects.
But when you learn to restrain the mind in a moment of anger, we learn to comprehend in ourselves and we look inside and we see that a certain element is a rising in us that wants to act negatively, but we don't feed that element. We restrain ourselves, because we know that this element will harm the other person if we speak what that element wants to speak, that ego, that sense of self.
When you restrain the mind, you empower your consciousness, and in those moments of great anger, you can invoke your Divine Mother. You simply pray, "My Goddess, help me to understand this anger that is boiling in me." And sometimes it could require us stepping away from the person. Other times, we may have transformation, where we realize and comprehend that we are not that anger, and then we can learn to respond with love. Instead of responding with anger, we serve the other person. We serve divinity in the other person, because all people have God within. Therefore we shouldn't disrespect anyone psychologically, mentally, physically.
When you learn to restrain the mind and act in positive ways, you are performing a form of bhakti, of religion. Because religion come from the Latin religare, which means “to reunite,” to bring people together and also to unite the soul with God, the Being. When you speak words of compassion towards your aggressor, towards someone who dislikes you, who treats you with disrespect, instead of reacting with anger, we see that element arise and we don't act on it. We choose conscious action. We serve the other person, and Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, states that one must learn to kiss the whip of the executioner, to kindly receive the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men and women.
We understand that those people who are angry are suffering. We should not treat them with disrespect or anger, but with patience. In that way we are performing Karma Yoga. We are also showing devotion, because we are showing that we don't want to harm the other person, even in our thoughts. We show bhakti. We are showing that we want to perform religion, reunite people, not separate. Bhakti Yoga is how we devote ourselves in every action of our life with consciousness, with awareness.
Jnana Yoga relates to knowledge of the intellect. To study. To studying and having a certain knowledge of scripture, religion, teachings, psychology, whatever lectures we receive, in order to help Inspire us and also to train the mind to know the path and the steps, the principles of how to change, of how to practice meditation.
Bhakti relates to devotion, to the heart, your emotional qualities, your psychological states.
Notice we have in the lower three frames of yoga: Karma Yoga relating to your body, Bhakti Yoga relating to your heart, Jnana Yoga relating to your intellect.
In gnostic psychology, we call this the three brains. You have a center for intellect, the thought, the mind where thoughts emerge. Where thoughts originated and which is not a physical brain, but a psychological center, which the physical brain channels thought, because the soul is inhabiting the body like a car, like someone is driving it. The mind is a form of a vehicle, a brain, a machine; it processes certain energies which exists physically but also psychologically.
We have an emotional brain relating to sentiment, hate, love, passion, desire, which relates to the physical heart and it's nervous systems, but also to the energies of emotion, which is different from the intellect. That is something we learn to distinguish through meditation.
The body, represented by the entire spine, is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, where we process movement, instincts, and our sexual impulses.
Karma Yoga relates to the body. Bhakti Yoga relate to the heart. Jnana Yoga relates to the mind.
Raja yoga is the balancing of all three. Raja means “royal yoga.” It is regal yoga, meaning, by learning to silence the mind, calm the heart, control the body, calm the body, we activate certain powers of the consciousness that make one into a king or a queen of oneself.
So Karma Yoga, we typically see is associated with performing good action, to benefit others so that in some way we benefit ourselves. As the Dalai Lama stated "if one can't really be selfless, at least be wisely selfish," meaning, at least don't harm the other person, but at the same time, you are doing that so that the person doesn't yell back at you, because that perpetuates suffering. It makes us suffer. In a more profound level, we learn to be selfless in our actions when we learn to comprehend our defects and to make conscious choices. To not act upon fear or resentment, or pride. In that way, we radiate naturally spontaneous joy peace, and that benefits humanity.
That is a form of service, sacrifice. We sacrifice our desires so that we can benefit others. This is the symbol of Jesus on the cross, where he was crucifying his own animal ego, his mind, and of course that is a very painful process, because we are very attached to our body, our emotions, our intellect. But he showed a profound will and love in those moments of being nailed to the cross. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," because he was speaking from the consciousness.
So Raja Yoga is when you learn to silence the mind, calm the heart, calm the body, so that when you sit to meditate, the heart opens naturally and then we can begin to concentrate on a specific question we have, a practice we want to fulfill so that we can get insight.
The Elements of Bhakti Yoga
This is Swami Sivananda. A great yogi. A great master. He wrote some easy steps to yoga, some explanations about what devotion really is. It's importance. People who typically read these type of writings, they become inspired, but some people also look at it very superficially and don't really understand that bhakti, devotion, doesn't just occur when we go to Puja, perform japa, mantra recitation, perform certain rituals; but we show bhakti devotion with every interaction of life.
As the Dalai Lama stated or was asked the question, "What inspires you most?" He said, "Every person I come into contact with." Because, other people show him or show us ourselves. Sivananda explains that:
“Bhakti is the basis of religious life. Bhakti destroys Vasanas and egoism.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Vasanas are latent animalistic tendencies in the mind.
So how does bhakti destroy vasanas? As I said, you are at your job, your boss criticizes you, or you have a conflict with a difficult client and they are provoking your anger, and then in that moment, you realize how destructive that element is. Those thoughts of revenge, of resentment, of pain, that its actions will cause harm and perpetuate suffering for us and for others. We restrain from the mind and we learn to speak with love. Not forced. Not veiled. But spontaneously.
That is something that comes to us with training and intuitively when the mind is silent, when you are relaxed, when you are paying attention to where you are at. You learn to say the right thing, do the right thing, think the right thing, at the right time. That is inner judgment, as we have been talking about previously.
So that is how you destroy egoism. You stop feeding the ego. You perform bhakti, devotion. Worshipping the God of that other person who is criticizing you. Saying, mentally, "I respect the divine within all beings, even within an ant or criminal." All beings have God within. The reason why the criminal acts as he or she does is because they are ignorant. Therefore “they don't deserve my anger; they deserve my compassion.”
You don't have to formulate this in your mind when you are having a conflict, instead the insight emerges and you realize the person is suffering. So why feel anger? And then you transform your own mind, and by acting with kindness, we transform the situation.
“A life without Bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is faith? In our gnostic studies, we state that faith is conscious knowledge, not belief. To believe that something is true or false is irrelevant. To think that something is true or not doesn't mean anything. Instead faith is when you know something from experience, personally. Like having a conversation with your inner Divine Mother in the astral plane. So real bhakti is faith. Your heart becomes inflamed when you are communicating with your inner God and “to not have that is to be a dreary waste.” People who never discover that is a tragedy.
“Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses joy, Divine ecstasy, Bliss, Peace and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is ecstasy? Coming from the Latin exstatuo: “to stand outside oneself.” People often think that ecstasy is a spiritual experience, which means to be in some type of out-of-body experience. But you experience moments of standing outside of yourself when you learn to comprehend that you are not fear, that you are not those negative elements that make us suffer. But instead, you are something divine, consciously speaking. You step outside of yourself and you have a moment of perspective in which you see your subjective self and your objective self. And how you choose between the two determines your religious life, your spiritual life.
“All cares, worries, anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
In Buddhism and Hinduism, samsara means cyclical existence, which people typically interpret to the multi-dimensionality of nature and its different levels and forms, which we discussed in relation to Kabbalah. But samsara literally means “cycling, repeating, habits.” So we learn to identify our negative habits and change them. We perform cessation of those causes of repetitive behaviors that produce suffering. Cessation in Sanskrit is Nirvana. So it isn't just a place, but a psychological way of being, in which you cease repeating behaviors that are detrimental for oneself.
And through bhakti, “He attains the Immortal Abode of everlasting Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
That everlasting abode, that immortal abode is not some other world in which some utopian existence is experienced. It's not by going to the astral plane or the mental plane or Nirvana or the different dimensions that we talked about in the Tree of Life, that one is going to find absolute peace, because all those dimensions are here and now with us. Our center of gravity tends to be in this physical body, but psychologically we have mind, emotion, energy, which are different levels of matter and experience.
Watchfulness is Prayer
All those aspects of the consciousness integrate within us in the here and now. That abode is not something foreign to you, but it's within your Being who is with you.
So how do we experience and know that immortal abode? It is through remembrance of the divine. It Is by being watchful. By learning to pay attention. We have an image of a Sufi in meditation and prayer who has in his right hand what some would call a rosary in the Christian tradition, which traditionally, such as in Hinduism, you would perform japa with the beads. You count the beads while reciting a mantra for each bead in order to train the mind.
So as we mentioned in the practice at the beginning of this lecture, we repeat a mantra in order to protect the mind, to train it, to cease being negative. Mantra means “mind protection.” Japa is when you are reciting a prayer in your mind, but not mechanically, instead consciously, with force, with devotion. And we have many mantras in our tradition, but also in many other religions. Amongst the Sufis it is Allah Hu Allah. Amongst the Hindus we have Hari Krishna and many other prayers, which are really effective, but if you repeat them mechanically, they are useless.
You have to be conscious of what you are doing. And sometimes in ancient traditions, they would train themselves reciting those prayers by counting beads. Repeating again and again a mantra to remember the presence of divinity within. To invoke energy in the mind, the heart, the body.
But the best act of worship, of prayer, is watchfulness. Watchfulness of the moment. It isn't by going to some spiritual place going to Tibet, going to a church or a mosque in which one is going to find communion with the divine. You find divinity by being watchful. The physical place doesn't matter so much. The best act of worship is when you are paying attention, self-observing.
We discussed in our previous lectures about the path of self-observation in which you as a consciousness are observing your three brains: your thoughts, your feelings, your body. Observing the impulses of the mind, the instincts, our sexual drives, our thoughts, our emotions. We become mindful. We observe ourselves like we are watching an actor in a film as if we are the director.
So this watchfulness, when you are paying attention, is precisely that greatest prayer we can enact, because if you are not aware as a consciousness, you cannot know divinity. You cannot perceive divinity here and now. Like I said in that experience, my Divine Mother said, "You are lost. Where are you?" And I felt panic, because She was showing me that “you are not worshipping Me. You are not remembering Me.” How do you remember divinity? When you are provoked with anger or negative elements, and then you realize what to do. How to act. How to behave. Not only just physically, but mentally you make choices. You have insight. Instead of responding with resentment or revenge, you transform the situation with love. This is the meaning of the following statement:
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything other than his Lord, and not associate with anything other than his present moment.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what does it mean that the servant not look beyond his limit? So when we prefer perform Bhakti Yoga, we are serving divinity. We are also performing Karma Yoga, positive action. When we don't look beyond our limit, it means don't think about other things. Don't worry about other things. Be fully concentrated in what we are doing, because to be distracted in a moment of crisis can produce a tragedy. As Samael Aun Weor stated in Revolutionary Psychology, people who don't know how to transform negative internal psychological states, become victims of circumstances, and even a simple mistake or moment can bring one disgrace."
So don't look behind your limit. Don't think about other things. Don't associate with anything other than the present moment. Don't think about anything other than your Being. Be aware of your Inner God. That is a quality that you learn to become a familiar with practice.
So in the beginning we feel we are blind. We lack insight. We want to know divinity. We want to have some type of experience. We feel some longing, some inspiration. People say, “I can't meditate; I can't have an out-of-body experience; I haven't seen these things for myself…” and many people get filled with despair. They write to us. And one thing I always mention to them, is that “Well, what are your longings? What do you feel?” And they say, "I feel in my heart that this knowledge is very true and I have experienced certain things." “Okay, that is the next next step. Follow your longing, that intuition, that judgment, that inner hunch in your heart. The more you feed that, that spark will grow into a flame as you train yourself in meditation.” That is mindfulness.
I remember, personally, many years ago, before I found this knowledge, I was looking and looking and looking and not being satisfied with what I was finding. Then I realized what I was looking for was already within me. So mindfulness is the key. That is the greatest form of worship, because your body is a temple of God. The mind, the heart, can become a temple of the Being if we purify it. So in those moments of great crisis, moral and emotional suffering, when we learn not to look beyond our limit, meaning: don't wish for the situation to change, but actually change it.
Or if you can't change it, at least be conscious, because some situations we can't change. People are going to be what they are going to be. Sometimes you can't make those changes in them, so instead what you have to do is not harm them, and that of course becomes very difficult.
Like Odysseus, in the symbol of The Odyssey, he was tied to a ship mast when he was sailing next to the sirens. It is a symbol that relates to this teaching. Where the sirens were calling him and he was driven mad with passion, with frenzy, or even anger, wanting to jump overboard or sail the ship into the reefs and become shipwrecked. It is a symbol of how in those great moments of suffering and crisis, we have to tie ourselves to our mast. Control our mind. Use our will. Even though we are tempted by those different defects, or egos, or wills, as we have been discussing in this course, we learn to be firm, to be mindful.
That is a form of worship. Be mindful of what you are doing. Be awake. Don't daydream. When you learn to be in the present moment, you become conscious of the path itself.
The Lines of Life and Being
We use this glyph to talk about the intersection of the line of life with the line of being.
The line of life is simply our existence from our birth in the past, to our childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, old age, sickness, death, towards the future. The line of life is mechanical. Everybody experiences this. People go through life typically identified with their name, their language, their culture, their customs, their beliefs, their religion, their concepts, their philosophy, their politics; and yet, when those people go to the grave, those things don't go with them.
So that type of mentality that only believes that materialism is the only tangible, experiential thing are really mistaken, because we do have something intersecting with that line of life, which has to do with the line of being. Our level of consciousness.
Above we have superior levels of consciousness, which is represented by Jacob's Ladder in the Bible, in which the angels were ascending and descending in this vision that Jacob had in the Book of Genesis.
As above there are heavenly states of consciousness inhabited by beings like angels and prophets, you also have inferior states of consciousness, relating to negative ways of being, known as the hell realms, which again are symbols of something psychological. They are places too, but, what's important is to realize our psychological state, because what we are psychologically determines where in nature we gravitate.
If we are filled with envy, and lust, and pride, we naturally gravitate towards inferior states of being the hell realms, which is experienced in nightmares and dreams. But there are also heavenly states of being, heavenly states of consciousness.
People typically go through life totally not paying attention of where they are at, where they are going, what they are thinking. Most people only relate to external things, which is the mechanical line of life. But someone who learns to awaken consciousness in meditation ascends the vertical path moment by moment, instant by instant. That is the path of remembrance of divinity. When instead of responding with conditions of mind, we react or better said respond with cognizance, with light.
Knowledge belongs to the line of life, because intellectual knowledge, knowing how to have a job, a career, a business, is necessary, but it's not everything. Comprehension is something much more profound and is what concerns any person who studies meditation.
“Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So what is comprehension? We know in a very basic level when you put your hand on a hot stove, you get burned and then you realize not to repeat that action. It is a very superficial form of comprehension, but real comprehension is when you understand the conditioning of the psyche and then you don't act on those elements. You comprehend how lust, how fear, how hatred, is negative and when you really comprehend how those elements are destructive, you resolve not to go back to them and not to perpetuate your suffering and making other people suffer too.
So comprehension is real prayer, because when you comprehend your situation, whatever circumstances of life present itself and how the mind is the source of suffering, we then dedicate ourselves to changing fundamentally. It is a profound form of prayer.
Question: Does the intersection of the line of life and line of being relate to the Christian cross and the cross of the four elements?
Instructor: It does relate to the cross, which is the crossing of the four elements, but also the cross of the present moment, because when Christ was crucified, He came to physically represent or symbolize something psychological too. The death of the animal mind, of egotism, is in the present moment, here and now, and also the rebirth, or resurrection, or experience of the divine happens on the cross in the present moment. But also there is more deeper significance as you know.
The Eightfold Steps of Yoga in the Song of the Lord
We'll talk about a few excerpts from the Bhagavad-Gita [“The Song of the Lord”], which teaches something profound about the nature of Bhakti Yoga, of conscious prayer.
So in the myth or in the scripture the Lord Krishna comes to Arjuna, who is a representation of the Christic energy. Christ is not a person, but a force, symbolized by the Greek Khrestos, meaning fire. That fire manifests within many prophets or masters who come to teach humanity something profound. Krishna was the embodiment of that light and represents that divine energy.
Arjuna is, in our fundamental depth, willpower, human soul, human consciousness, and if you remember in the Mahabharata from which the Bhagavad-Gita is taken, Arjuna is in despair, because he is told by Krishna that he has to go to war against his family, his family members, his relatives. This is the same symbol that we talked about in the Book of Judges previously, in the lecture Conscious Judgment, where the people of Israel, symbolizing the forces of the soul, have to go against the ego, the armies of Sisera.
So there's a great battle that emerges in the soul when we begin this path, because our animalistic egotistical elements don't want to die, and so they fight for their life.
When Arjuna sees the vast armies of his former companions, his relatives who are against them, he feels despair. Who are those relatives? Fear, laziness, lust, pride, everything we are familiar with that we typically associate with ourselves. Then when we go against that, we realize there is a big battle about to happen and, of course, Arjuna feels despair. He's despondent. But that is when Krishna comes and teaches him what he needs to do in order to overcome his own mind.
He explains the path of Bhakti Yoga very beautifully in this chapter on the Yoga of Devotion, where he teaches him how to consciously pray, to receive help.
1. Arjuna said: “Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship Thee and those also who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifested which of them are better versed in Yoga?” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Again, meaning union of the soul with the divine.
2. The Blessed Lord said: “Those who, fixing their minds on Me, worship Me, ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, these are the best in Yoga in My opinion.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to fix one's mind on the divine? It means to concentrate. To not think about other things. That is how you worship the divine. You receive insight. To be steadfast means to be consistent, meaning to adopt meditation and to practice it daily for it to have real effect.
3. “Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifested, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the eternal and the immovable, 4. Having restrained all the senses, even minded everywhere, intent on the welfare of all beings, verily they also come unto Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
We mentioned previously in our lectures in this course about the Eightfold Path of Yoga taught by Patanjali, known as Ashtanga, meaning eight-limbed form of yoga. We have discussed these steps in depth. The first is Yama, meaning “restraint of mind,” and as we have been discussing in this lecture, one learns to restrain negative habits, egotism, desires, that is the first step of yoga. People who give in to their egotism, their desires, their anger, can never meditate, because the mind becomes a chaos and when you invest your energy into the ego, you feed the ego and make it fat. So the first step of yoga is restraint. Restrain the mind.
By restraining the mind we learn to follow Niyama, meaning “precepts.” Precepts have to do with codes of conduct, virtues, whichever religion stipulates in their own way. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't fornicate, don't commit adultery. These are not rules to repress people, but the teach us psychologically how to save energy, how to awaken consciousness.
The next step is Asana, your posture. As we said in our opening practice, your asana, your posture should be firm but relaxed. The body can't relax if the mind and the heart are in chaos, or agitated. If one wants to learn how to calm the body, the mind has to be calm, meaning: don't feed desire. You feed desire, you feed the ego, which is synonymous. The mind can't settle, because in a moment of anger, we lose energy. Or a moment of lust, we lose energy and that energy, which can be used for conscious development, is lost.
When the body is calm, you can begin practices of Pranayama, or work with mantra, energy. Pranayama means to “yoke the prana,” the energies of the body, and the mind, and the heart, and our sexuality. When you control your breathing with mantras or with certain interchangeable nostril breathing exercises, you learn to circulate energy so that the mind settles. So the practice we did at the beginning of this lecture, the mantra RAM-IO, helps to channel energy and focus it in the mind and the heart. Then when those energies are present, we learn to restrain our senses.
The senses become calm. This is known as Pratyahara. Pratyahara is when you restrain the senses and where you are focused fully within yourself. You begin to settle, you become calm. Pratyahara is like a lever that can produce the other steps of meditation, that are fundamental.
So these are things that we can't skip. They are not rules like something dogmatic to follow, but they are principles to apply consciously. With restraining the senses you don't get distracted by what is going on outside in the neighbor's house, the sounds that one hears. The mind becomes calm. That is when one becomes even-minded, concentrated. As stated in the fourth verse of the scripture, "To be even minded is to be concentrated." To be serene, meaning: whatever you are doing, do it with full attention. Don't think about other things. Don't get distracted.
With concentration we learn to focus on one object of focus for our practice in order to experience Dhyana, meaning meditation. Dharana is concentration. Dhyana is actual meditation. We state that meditation is not a practice. It is a state of being in which you receive knowledge.
So that experience I mentioned to you where I was talking to my Divine Mother, that was a form of meditation, but in the astral plane where I was receiving knowledge from my Inner Goddess, in that moment I understood, comprehended something profound about my dilemma. That is Samadhi, the next step. The eighth and final step which is comprehension, understanding. Samadhi is when you comprehend something profoundly without the influence of the mind, of the intellect, of the ego.
So notice that the Bhagavad-Gita teaches these steps of yoga in its verses.
If you wish to know and worship the Divine through prayer, one must be steadfast and with discipline, fix one's mind on that presence, which is not a physical entity, but force, a state of consciousness, a way of being. And, by learning to meditate or being concentrated all day, when you sit to practice, your mind is easily focused on one thing. You don't get distracted. You don't think about other things. You don't get lost in daydreams or worries. Because people who sit to practice for ten minutes and who are distracted all day, they don't get anywhere. But if you are concentrated on what you are doing at all moments of life, your life becomes your religion, your discipline, your practice.
So notice that we have the two armies presented before Krishna and Arjuna. It is obviously a very difficult thing to know in oneself to confront; that we have many egos and defects that need to be comprehended and eliminated. So in the path of conscious judgment, we talked extensively about comprehension. How to comprehend the mind, how to comprehend the ego.
Prayer and Self-Remembrance
The next step is learning to pray. To receive help from a superior force, from our Inner Goddess to aid us in those moments of great crisis and battle, when moment by moment, we are learning to face certain challenges and ordeals—certain situations that provoke elements that we never even suspected that we had, and by learning to be observant, we catch them.
We catch those defects in action. That is discovery, and when we learn to meditate on out faults, we learn to judge them. By comprehending them, we pray to our Divine Mother to eliminate.
We will be talking about this process towards the end of this lecture, but of course this produces a great struggle in oneself. Trying to comprehend the mind produces great suffering, because we recognize morally that we are responsible for all of our sufferings and faults, which are very overwhelming to face in the beginning especially. Which is why the Bhagavad-Gita states,
5. “Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifested; for the goal—the Unmanifested (the divine)—is very difficult for the embodied to reach. 6. But to those who worship Me (who are mindful, who are awake moment by moment), renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on me with single-minded yoga (concentration), 7. To those whose minds are set on Me O Arjuna, verily I become ere long the savior out of the ocean of the mortal Samsara!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to renounce all actions “in Me,” in the divine? This is known as self-remembrance in our tradition—to remember the presence of your Inner God in those moments, particularly in which one is being challenged, confronted, criticized, lied about, gossiped, even attacked. You renounce all actions in the divine when you don't act egotistically, but remember the light of your presence, your Inner God, who comes to you like a light, an insight, an understanding in your mind and your heart. You learn to act on that impulse when it arrives spontaneously, intuitively.
"Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The word intellect in Sanskrit is Buddhi, which is a representation of the consciousness. When we think of intellect, we typically think of thought, so this is a bad translation. The original is Buddhi, which we are going to talk about in the next slide. Buddhi is the Divine Consciousness, Geburah (Deborah), judgment.
8. “Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me, (then) thou shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter. 9. If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice do thou seek to reach Me, O Arjuna!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Meaning: if your mind is still wandering and you are not able to concentrate, train yourself daily with simple practices. Take a candle or take an object to focus, like on a lit flame, and observe it. And as you are observing, observe your mind. Observe what you are observing, but also be aware of how you are seeing or perceiving. If your mind starts thinking about other things, just gently bring your attention back to the candle, and that will train you how to cease being distracted moment by moment. That can help empower your consciousness. That is part of some preliminary exercises one engages with when one prepares for meditation itself.
So by the yoga of constant practice, one can reach the divine, because consistency is key.
The Stages of Meditation and Prayer in the Tree of Life
We were talking about the Kabbalistic tree of life in our previous lectures. This image known in the Book of Genesis as the Tree of Life, is a symbol, a map of consciousness. These are different levels of perception, of matter and energy, and we have been talking extensively about these different degrees or sephiroth, modalities of being, in order to understand how to meditate.
In our practice we talked about the body known as Malkuth in Hebrew, represented as the “kingdom.” This is where we are. But, of course, above that are higher levels or modalities of energy and perception, which are not vertically situated in space, but instead, represent levels of being, ways of consciousness, ways of perceiving.
We have Yesod, relating to our vital energies, our creative energies, our sexual energy itself, which can give life to spiritual life, or even to a physical child, depending on how we use that energy, which is very well known in Buddhism as Tantra, and Hinduism as well.
We have the emotional sphere relating to Hod, meaning “splendor.” This is the emotions or astral body, the world of dreams. Yesod means “Foundation”—the foundation of our spiritual temple, because how we use our creative energy determines our spiritual life—energy that we activate through exercises like pranayama and mantra, which helps to settle the heart as well, Hod, the emotions.
To the right we have Netzach, meaning “victory,” the mind. When you conquer the mind, you become a Buddha, a victorious one, a master.
Above that though we have a more rarefied form of energy and perception known as Tiphereth, which means “beauty.” This is willpower. Willpower is simply the ability to act, but for most of us this will is conditioned to thought (Netzach), to emotions (Hod), to energy or sensations in the body, related with Yesod and Malkuth. Our will, which is at the very center of this glyph, is the very focal point of all action in our very being, so this is an image of who we are psychologically.
And the very center we have willpower, because it is through will is how we can access the higher levels of being or we can condition ourselves further. So when you learn to concentrate, you are using your will. To control thought, feeling, impulse, and the body. Notice that when we practice meditation or when we prepare ourselves, we relax the body. We also relax out energies. We have to relax our heart, relax our mind, and then we concentrate on one thing. So we have the five lower sephiroth represented in our discipline.
If we want to access the higher levels of being, we have to use our willpower, and willpower is concentration. Are you able to focus on one thing without thinking, or feeling, or being distracted by the body? Because when your mind is still, your emotions are calm, your energies are balanced—willpower becomes empowered. It allows you to experience the higher sephiroth known as Geburah, “Justice,” of which we spoke extensively in our previous lecture. This is Buddhi in Sanskrit, the divine consciousness.
To the right we have Chesed, meaning “Mercy,” our Inner God, our spirit, which in Hebrew is אל El, the Being.
Above that we have the trinity of Christianity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah (Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence), which is the highest form of energy in the cosmos, represented by the trinity among the Christians, as Osiris, Isis, and Horus among the Egyptians. Wotan, Baldor, Thor among the Nordics. You have Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya in Buddhism.
Our Divine Mother is the feminine aspect of Binah, intelligence. She is Shakti, the wife of Shiva, the Holy Spirit, which is a force, not a person.
That energy is within our body. We have the energies of the Father in the brain, Kether. We have the energies of Christ, the son, Horus, in the heart. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in sex, the sexual organs. So that power which can give life to a child, if it's used well and harnessed, can give birth to the soul.
Those are very rarefied levels of consciousness, which we can access in meditation if we are concentrated, because if our will is not empowered, is not guided by the spirit and by our consciousness, if we are distracted by our thoughts, and our feelings, and our sensations, we can pray all we want, but we are not going to get the answers we want, because the mind has to be calm, the body has to be calm. The lower sephiroth have to be in control, to be still.
We have a quote from Hamlet, in which Claudius is confessing his crime to himself for having murdered his brother, which is a symbol of masonry and many other traditions of the death of the divine potential within us. Claudius is a representation of the ego, and he said something very profound in relation to this lecture that's relevant to state.
"My word fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go." ―Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
So Shakespeare was an esotericist, a meditator. Your words can fly up to heaven. You can be asking and asking for insight, but if your concentration is down in your body, if you are moving your body, being irritated, if you are identified with thought or feeling, it means that those words will never reach the divine. Words without thoughts, without concentration, never reach the destination. Or better said, we never get the insights we want, because the mind is in chaos.
This is why Prophet Muhammad stated that “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” Meaning, an hour of meditation, of experiencing your Inner God is better than going to mosque for a year and praying salat five times a day mechanically.
So people can do that if they like, but if it's mechanical, it doesn't serve any purpose, which brings into mind a saying by a Sufi master by the name of Bayazid Bastami, who talked about the real esoteric meaning of prayer. Muslims, when they pray, they pray towards the east, towards the Kaaba, which in alchemical or Kabbalistic teachings relate to the stone of the Freemasons. That stone, the Kaaba, is a symbol of the energies of Yesod, the foundations of our spiritual temple.
Notice that this sphere is at the very base of the whole Tree of Life and is at the very bottom. It is the foundation. How we use this energy, the creative energies of our body, determines our spiritual life.
People in the Muslim tradition have lost the meaning of this significance. They pray towards the stone in the Middle East but ignore that they have the stone in their own body. They don't use their energies consciously. You can pray all you want to the the East, towards Mecca, but the Sufi Master by Bayazid Bastami pointed out something very beautiful. He said:
“When you are separate from the Kaaba (Yesod), it is all right to turn toward it. But those who are in it can turn towards any direction that they wish." —Bayazid Bastami
Meaning, if you are actively using your energies wisely, you can access the whole Tree of Life. You go to any direction, because notice that there are ten spheres, ten sephiroth. These are the ten directions of Buddhism mentioned by the tantric scriptures. Ten modalities of energy. So if you learn to use that energy in yourself, you don't need to pray towards a stone. You can if it brings you reverence, but if you pray, be conscious of what you do, because those who don't learn to work with that energy can access the higher aspects of the Tree of Life, the consciousness.
The Path of Balance
So one must be even balanced in order to perform Raja Yoga, as well as Bhakti Yoga. As we have been stating, one must learn to calm the mind and to learn to be compassionate in all circumstances.
13. He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, 14. Ever content, steady in meditation, possessed of firm conviction (from having internal experiences), self controlled, with mind and intellect (Buddhi) dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me. 15. He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, envy, (or better said, egotistical joy, evil pleasures), fear and anxiety—He is dear to me. —Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So to not be agitated by the world, neither to agitate the world. Like the Christian saying, “Be in the world, but not of it.” Interact with others like as the Buddhist teach: a butterfly going from flower to flower, extracting the pollen, the knowledge, the insight one needs, transforming those situations, and leaving without harming the flower itself, the petals.
16. “He who is free from wants (who is not constantly occupied with one's bills or trying to sustain oneself in this life), pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled (meaning: an expert in meditation unconcerned as is stated in the Gospels)…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
See the lilies of the field and the birds of the sky, how they toil not nor spin. Why worry about what raiment you shall have for yourself? What money, what sustenance, because your inner dvinity knows you need these things, so therefore have faith in your Inner God to give you what you need so long as we do our part.
16. “He who is free from wants, pure, expert (in meditation), unconcerned, and untroubled, renouncing all undertakings or commencements (meaning: to not act egotistically in any circumstance), he who is (thus) devoted to Me, is dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
And this has to do with the path of balance, not being identified, even with those qualities we think are good, psychologically speaking. We have many bad egos as we have been talking about. There are also many good egos, senses of self that know how to do good, like to give money, or to the be a member of some Church or Mosque or Masjid, or whatnot. But even the ego, the sense of self that thinks it does good, is subjective. Consciousness is something much more transcendental or profound.
17. “He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil (as philosophical concepts, but learning to act in the present moment consciously), and who is full of devotion, is dear to me. 18. He who is the same to foe and friend, and in honor and dishonor, who is the same as in cold and heat, and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment (identification, desire), 19. He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent (in the mind), content with anything, (even) homeless (meaning: not identified with having a house or a home but being not attached to the world even if one has a house or not), of a steady mind and full of devotion, that man is dear to Me (that meditator is dear to Me). 20. They verily who follow this immortal Dharma, (this doctrine or law), as described above, endowed with faith (conscious experience), regarding Me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The Three Factors for Spiritual Revolution
Let us talk about the teachings of the Divine Mother we have been discussing. We have what is called three factors in order to achieve success in meditation and the spiritual path itself.
We have the path of birth. The path of death. The path of sacrifice.
Birth relates to chastity, which does not mean sexual abstention, but by learning to harness the energies of sexuality, the body, Yesod, the vital forces, one learns to take that energy and to empower one's meditation, because that energy which can create a child, if we conserve that force and transform it, it can awaken the soul in its full capacity.
We also have what is called the death of desire, sanctity, which is what we have been discussing in the path of judgment. To comprehend the sources of the ego, our defects, and to eliminate them, to annihilate them—so that by breaking those shells, we free consciousness like the genie from Aladdin's lamp—so that the soul can perform miracles, experiences, knowledge, powers in ourselves.
Sacrifice, to have charity. It doesn’t mean to just give money to the poor or what not—it can involve that. But you also sacrifice for others when you learn to perform your job with consciousness, with love, so that we don't harm others. These three factors we will be talking more in depth in future courses, but these three we find are synonymous, different aspects of one thing. If you want to awaken consciousness, we have to learn to use energy, to give birth to the soul. We have to learn to comprehend the sources of the ego, to die in those defects, and learn to serve others.
The Stages of Comprehension
So the stages of comprehension, which are fed by those three factors, involve the following. We discussed in our previous lecture the light of consciousness, the path of discovery, and in the path of conscious judgment, we talked about the second step, judgment. In this lecture. we are talking about execution, prayer.
So we have in this image the Divine Mother slaying a demon. She is the power of the Kundalini that can eliminate our conditions of mind, our defects, our egos, which she does through the creative energies of sexuality, harnessed within a matrimony or between man and woman, who can learn to use those energies as a couple to transform the mind.
So we find many interesting symbols in her hands, and the fact that she has multiple hands represented by Durga riding a lion, represents her ability, her omniscience, to act in all circumstances of life without conditions. To act in multiple ways.
With discovery, we find our defects—we observe ourselves moment by moment. We save energy. We serve others. We comprehend our faults in meditation through judgment and after we have comprehended our defects, we learn to execute them, or better said, the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, executes them through prayer.
We have been discussing how prayer is to speak with divinity, with the divine, face to face. The Divine Mother is the root energy at the base of our spine, but also in our heart. She is the energy that can liberate the soul. So we work with her daily in our gnostic studies in order to remove the obscurations of the mind, to comprehend ourselves, but also to invoke that divine power—to destroy the shells of the ego.
So again, we see Her riding a lion, which is very symbolic. That lion is a symbol of the lion of Judah among the Christians. Judea or י Yod, ה Hei, ו Vav, ד Daleth, ה Hei, which has the four sacred letters of the name of God: י Yod ה Hei ו Vav ה Hei, יהוה Jehovah. As we talked about in our previous lectures, יה Ya or י Yod ה Hei is the Father. ה Hei or הוה Havah is Eve, the divine feminine. Male-female. Man-woman. Because we have a Divine Father above and a Divine Mother above within our consciousness.
So יהוה Yod-Havah, Jehovah, is the power of male-female. And הוה Havah, or Adam-Eve we can say, and יהוה Ya-Havah is precisely the power of the divine feminine. הוה Havah, hidden within Durga, who is the power that can slay any ego, any defect, where we learn to pray to Her consciously.
Samael Aun Weor stated in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology:
“Prayer in the psychological work is fundamental for the dissolution of the “I” (the ego, the myself). We need a power superior to the mind if indeed we want to disintegrate this or that “I” (whether it be pride, an ego of vanity, of fear, of lust).
“The mind by itself can never disintegrate any “I”; this is indisputable and irrefutable.
“To pray is to talk with God. We must appeal to God the Mother in the depths of our heart if we truly want to disintegrate “I’s” (egos, selves, conditions of mind). The one who does not love his or her Mother, the ungrateful child, will fail in the work upon himself.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: those who forget after they have begun working on their mind, to continue working with Her.
So again, that experience comes to my mind where She told me, "Where are you? I can't find you on this radar." So, one must not forget one's Divine Mother when you begin this work. She is the power that can liberate the consciousness from the ego, the self.
She is the Virgin Mary, Miriam. As I said, the word מרים Miriam means “to raise,” and what else is the power that can raise us to the heights of the heavens except the Kundalini in the spine? She is the power of מרים Miriam, or מים Mayim, which in Hebrew means water. You have מ ם Mem repeated twice. The letter מ ם M in Hebrew and the letter ר R. Miriam. You have the word מים Mayim, which means “water” and the letter ראש Rosh means “head.” So those waters of the creative energy are in the base of your spine, in your sexual organs, which if you raise through certain practices up the spine to the mind, you can illuminate the intellect, produce the halo of the saints. She is the power that can raise us from suffering up the line of being.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free public lectures, meditation classes, courses, articles, and lecture transcriptions.