The following transcription is from an audio lecture on Principles of Meditation, a course originally delivered live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
We mentioned that meditation is a state of consciousness. It is not a technique. Although in this tradition, we study many practices, many dynamics, many exercises that lead to this state within our daily life.
Meditative states, experiences, cognizance can always be understood through the balance of two things: study and practice. This is known as method and wisdom within Buddhism and as Samael Aun Weor, the founder of our tradition stated: “Knowledge and being must be balanced within harmoniously in order to produce comprehension.”
So, we must have knowledge of the method, what different religions teach in their very heart, how to achieve the experience, the perception of the divine. This is why we, in this tradition, study many aspects of religion, because they all teach something very valuable about how to meditate.
In the spirit of this course, we are exploring the science of meditation as taught within Sufism, although we do reference and study Buddhism, Judaism, all religions. We must always study Gnosis wherever it may be found, because the principles of Gnosis are universal, and we know from our studies that Gnosis is direct knowledge. It is cognizant experience. It is the state of meditation, of understanding. And because mediation is universal, we can always drink the wine of Gnosis from a Sufi, Buddhist or Christian cup. The religious forms are different, but the complete knowledge is the same.
The Universality of Gnosis within Religious Traditions
It’s important that we learn to drink this wine, this divine teaching, within every tradition—without exception. But we also must never pollute the purity of that knowledge with extemporaneous things, with novelties, innovations. We must not adulterate the wine of Gnosis through a bad cup, through a filthy chalice.
This is the symbol of how meditation in different traditions throughout time originally taught this teaching, this profound science. But with time and the degeneration of humanity, those religious forms have been corrupted. So, in the times of Jesus, the gospels speak about the pharisees, which can really symbolize any person from any tradition who thinks they know Gnosis, the wisdom of direct experience, but they have merely corrupted the original teaching through belief. And we have mentioned many times in our lectures and courses that belief is not real knowledge, real faith.
When we believe in something, we think it is true or we feel it is true, but we do not know. Faith is Gnosis. It is what we have experienced. It is what we have verified, and this very pure fountain of wisdom which we always must drink from, which we always must validate through our own practice, through our own experiences.
And when we have that experience, we are able to look at any religion, any teaching, and find the principles of that doctrine, to recognize it, to know it, because we have seen it for ourselves. We know it for ourselves. But the pharisee, a type of psychology that thinks it knows, but does not, is prevalent in any tradition. As Jesus of Nazareth stated, the pharisees wash the outside of the cup, but not the inside, which is a symbol of the soul. It also can refer to a religion’s tradition, meditative traditions, where the principles of this doctrine have been lost, because people, thinking that they know and understand the scriptures from experience, they mix that wisdom with impurity.
Also, this is why Jesus stated, we must pour new wine in new wine-skins. It means to have a psychological attitude that is investigative, to open one’s mind to the new. And to simply experiment.
We have to look at these practices and really test them from our own experience, to really have genuine faith, to really know. This is a conundrum or a catch 22 for students who approach any tradition. They are inspired to want to know themselves, to study themselves, to experience divinity. But because we are so corrupt with ego, we often do not know where to look for that wisdom, and so in the beginning we are blind. This is why there is a great danger in the beginning for students: to simply attach themselves to any teaching without verifying or testing it, to accept and believe in it with their minds and hearts, but without awakening the consciousness.
We study all religions. We drink gnosis, direct experience, not only from the writings of Samael Aun Weor but from the Sufis, from the Buddhist masters, from the great Kabbalists of Israel. This indicates that we have to know how to read, to understand. We have to learn how to verify. We have to experiment. This is why we study all religions, unanimously. We look at their essential principles, to know what they all teach in their essence, so that we do not become confused or intoxicated by the wine of theories, of belief systems, of merely accepting or rejecting the doctrine in our mind and heart without really comprehending the value of it.
So, Gnosis again, is real faith. It is witnessing real divinity, which the Muslims call Shahada, the declaration of faith. There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Prophet. We explain the meaning of that term, Shahada, which relates to mushahada in Arabic, signifying mediation.
So, we are going to further explore the principles of meditation according to Sufism, in order to fill a very severe need in our studies. Many people are not familiar with how mediation is taught in the Sufi teaching, how Gnosis is within Sufism.
As we were talking about the allegory of the cup, we also have to be very careful when we study. Gnosis is often the mixed, the principles of meditation are often mixed with corruption.
Every tradition in time degenerates. It is a law of nature. It has happened with Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and even today in the Gnostic tradition.
It is because the root knowledge is often overlooked, untaught or forgotten. To have real wisdom is based on experiencing the truth for ourselves, and in this way, we do not get lost. We do not get confused when we see or hear things that are not in coherence, do not correlate with what we have verified, and this is the importance of studying the divine law and the way, in harmony.
The divine law is that we serve divinity through our practices. The way is that we experience the truth. And in this way, in our process of developing both knowledge and being, studying the tradition and meditation, no matter where it is found―we also test and experiment, we verify. We always look at the principles of a teaching, to see what is pure, what is true, and then we disregard that which is superfluous, corrupted, unnecessary.
The Definition of Principles
I would like to define for you what the word principle means as we are opening this discussion. In the online dictionary, a principle “is a fundamental truth, a proposition that serves as the foundation of a system of belief or behavior or for a change of reasoning.”
A principle is a fundamental law or truth. It is what we can verify, what we can experience. This becomes a foundation for a system, which in this definition refers to “belief.” Or in this definition refers to belief, which is inaccurate.
While principles always make up any religion, in our studies we do not believe in these things. Some people may and they can teach what they like, they can get many followers because they really believe that they know. But we have to go beyond the surface and really get at the heart of what a teaching, a school, a method entails.
Principles can also refer to a code of behavior, which we spoke about very abundantly in the previous lecture on the nature of the divine law, and ethics.
It also can support a chain of reasoning, of understanding, of comprehension.
So, in the beginning of our studies we read, we reflect, we comprehend the knowledge with the mind. We learn the terminology, the explanations, but more importantly we have to apply what we read. This is the balance of knowledge and being. This is the balance that leads us and conducts us towards integrity, to comprehension.
A principle also is “a general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field.” It can be a law, principles like gravity. These are tangible experiences. These are truths that are not merely just a concept. It is a factual element of life.
While the principles of meditation pertain to our mystical states, they refer to how we live our life daily. What we know, what we see, what we verify. We know that if we act with anger, we will suffer. This is a principle of law of human behavior, of ethics. Which is why ethics is always the foundation of any tradition in order to really enter meditation.
As we stated, we find Gnosis in all religions, without exception. Just because Gnosis was the heart of those traditions, not everything that was taught in those faiths has been sustained, has lived, has not been corrupted. It’s sad to say, there are many people who take the principles of meditation, the principles of Gnosis, the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, or Sufism or Judaism or Buddhism, and they adulterate them with drugs, with politics, sectarianism, fanaticism. Many even attribute these qualities to the original heart of the founders of the religions themselves. This is very sad. It creates a lot of confusion, a lot of conflict.
People project their concepts onto the knowledge, and that is how one adulterates the knowledge. Because of a lack of genuine ethics, of following the divine law, many so called spiritual people have driven people away from the actualization or study of themselves. We find this in every faith, especially Islam, which is a tradition that has been greatly abused.
Hopefully, after this course, you will find that the principles of Gnosis are very alive within the original writings, which we always have to examine in light of our own experience and through teachings by Samael Aun Weor, who gives a very cohesive and comprehensive perspective, a practical wisdom that can aid us in understanding these things for ourselves.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of Beelzebub:
“It is absurd to adulterate Gnosis with different teachings because the Christian Gospels prohibit adultery. It is absurd to conceive of Gnosis without the Maithuna, sexual magic.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of Beelzebub
We will make some references to that teaching, tantrism, sacred alchemy, with our discussion of essential principles today.
“We can drink the wine of Gnosis (divine wisdom) within a Greek, Buddhist, Sufi, Aztec, Egyptian, etc., cup, yet we must not adulterate this delicious wine with strange doctrines.” ―Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of Beelzebub:
This means that, we look at what the Sufis wrote, what the Gnostics wrote, and we verify. We look at those traditions with the eye of discrimination and selectivity. We have to look at the essential principles of these traditions and to understand them from experience. There is no other way.
The way must be validated through the divine law and the divine law must be validated through the way.
So, in this way, Bayazid Bastami, a Sufi initiate, stated “The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.”
So, we can never seek for genuine knowledge, just through mere intellectual pursuit. We have to understand these things through practice. So genuine seeking is through daily meditation, daily experience.
The Fundamentals of Meditation: Study and Practice
So how should we approach meditation? To emphasize my previous point, we have to look at the original scriptures. We have to look at the original writings, before commentators or commentary derived from those root sources. Whether we study Buddhism or Sufism or any teaching, we have to look at the founding documents, the original verb, the fundamentals of religion. To really look at it with a clear mindset, an attitude of investigation.
The following is from a Sufi book called Al-Risalah, known as Principles of Sufism, written by a master by the name of Al-Qushayri. His writings were often used by the Sufi master Rumi, amongst the Mevlevi Sufis, his disciples. It is a very rich book that you can study if you wish to understand the principles of Sufism, the principles of Gnosis. We quote from this book extensively because it is a very pure document. If I give testimony of this, it is because it is a text that I have investigated many times and have had experiences internally about, in the astral plane, in the mental plane, beyond.
We have to learn to investigate the written word and to reflect deeply on what we read to balance study and practice, method and wisdom. This is what it means when Al-Jurayri was quoted in this book:
“A clear vision of the fundamentals of religion comes about through the application of their derivative principles, and the derivatives are corrected by comparing them against the original sources. There is no way to the station of contemplation (meditation, mushahada) of states except by esteeming as great the means and principles that God has esteemed to be great.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, the fundamentals of religion refer to the Latin religare, reunion, unification with divinity. We must study and apply, more importantly, derivative principles. What are these principles? Serenity, concentration, faith, ethical behavior, codes of conduct, divine love. These are qualities of mind, of consciousness, qualities of the soul that we can develop intentionally, so as to achieve re-unification with our inner God. We have to study and apply these principles in our daily life through our ethical behavior. The derivatives refer to qualities of consciousness that originate from those laws.
So, a principle is a law, a law of nature, whether in the physical plane or in the internal planes.
What principles do we enact in our life in order to obtain religion? What do we do on a daily basis to guarantee we will experience and know the state of our inner Being, our inner God? What about our life derives from these principles?
By fulfilling ethical conduct, what is the derivative, what is the result in our factual daily life? We have to investigate this. But to know these principles, we can study. This is the beauty of Sufism. It teaches us the level of Being, what we are psychologically, what are the virtues of the soul. So, when we comprehend and eliminate certain defects, we enact ethical behavior and really comprehend our faults. We develop the virtues of the Being in us. We derive genuine contentment, happiness, liberation by following these laws of the soul.
Sufism is very beautiful for that understanding. It teaches us about the virtues of the Being. We can experience these things if we are working seriously. So, “these derivatives are corrected by comparing them against the original sources.”
Another meaning is, we can study the writings of many teachers whether from Buddhism, Sufism, Judaism, Gnosticism. But whenever we really study a tradition, we have to really look at the founder of those faiths. We have to look at the original sources to analyse them, to really understand them, intellectually at first, and then through our experience. So, what I mean by the original sources is the writings of the Buddha, the sutras, the tantras. The writings of Padmasambhava. In Islam, the Qur’an. In the Gnostic tradition, the writings of Samael Aun Weor. We have to look at the original writings of the prophets, beings who really demonstrated a high level of integrity and understanding, the writings of Jesus or the scriptures about Christ. We have to look at these original sources, compare them to everything else that came after, because the writings or teachings of the prophets have precedence. They have the most light or knowledge.
We have to study where the light is most pure and learn to compare what came afterwards with the sense of integrity and discrimination, because impurity comes later. The light initiates, but the shadow emerges afterwards.
It is good to really be studious. It doesn’t me we just become bookworms. It means we develop our understanding with a lot of patience and practice, because “there is no way to the stage of contemplation, the witnessing of divine states except by esteeming as great the means and principles that God has esteemed to be great” in the teaching of the prophets. They gave methods and means, principles of divinity, laws of the cosmos that are really divine.
We have to really understand what these laws are for ourselves because there is a system. There is a way. There is a path. It is specific. It is based on laws. It is not a belief or a concept to adopt, a behavior to imitate superficially. It is a code of conduct, a way of acting consciously. It is the fulfillment of law, the law of causality. Because the soul cannot be created, the consciousness cannot be developed, if we do not apply the principles or laws that ensure its fulfillment in us. Just as there is a law of gravity, there is a law for developing the soul.
If we wish to return to God, we have to learn to adopt and practice and understand how those laws of divinity operate based on facts. And in this way, when we see how this teaching works, how ethics works, how compassion is really the essence of religion, of harmonizing communities, of bringing real peace and love in our own life and the lives of others―we realize with awe that it is a beautiful knowledge. It is a great thing, that is so wonderful that it is incomprehensible to the mind.
When we experience those states of beatitude, of compassion, of serenity, it truly transforms us. This is how we empower our practice, when we have those experiences. But first we have to study and apply the knowledge. We have to know the principles of God, the principles of meditation, and to work very diligently to experience them. But not out of craving, the desire that wants to have some kind of Samadhi or mystical experience, but simply changing our daily life, working on behaviors that make us suffer, so that we can obtain a state of knowledge, the certainty that certain ways of behaving are wrong, create problems and certain ways of behaving also produce harmony, happiness. This is how we inspire ourselves and this is how we develop certainty, real faith that this knowledge works.
Certainty in Meditation
This is why we are going to examine some writings from the Qur’an that talk a lot about this nature of certainly, of real faith. So, everybody in this knowledge, this teaching of Samael Aun Weor, wants to develop certainty. Every practitioner who is really applying meditation wants to have that verification of the truth, wants to have a foundation, an experience―to really know that we know and that we have experienced God, that we know divinity, in whatever level, because there are degrees of knowledge, but also there are degrees of certainty.
There are some very beautiful teachings within this Muslim scripture. I will preface this discussion by saying the Qur’an is a very closed book. It is a book for initiates, people who are really walking the path of meditation, of the science of alchemy (from the Arabic Allah and the Greek khēmeia), to fuse oneself with divinity in the perfect matrimony, and also the study of Kabbalah.
We know that Kabbalah is the Jewish mysticism, and we will talk about the Tree of Life near the end of this lecture, how the Hebrew kabbel means “to receive” knowledge that we are certain of from experience, relating to our physical life and internal life. Just as there is Kabbalah within the Jewish tradition, we also have Kabbalah in the Arabic tradition, because Arabic and Hebrew, the Semitic languages, share the same roots. They are very ancient.
We always must study the science of meditation, the science of alchemy, if we are married. If we are a single person, we can practice many exercises that work with energy so as to awaken consciousness. This is the science of transmutation, of mutating the creative force of our body into understanding, into light.
The Three Forms of Certainty
There are three forms of certainty within the Qur’an which can help us to understand the whole map of meditation and our own experiences. I have included the Qur’anic verses where you find these terms mentioned and I will read for you excerpts from the Qur’an that talk about these principles. There is the knowledge of certainty ilm al-yaqin. There is the seeing of certainty, ayn al-yaqin, and there is the truth of certainty ḥaqq al-yaqin.
So, what is the knowledge of certainty? It refers to what we know with the intellect. It can study a religion, a system, a principle, a faith. We can have a certain level of certainty in our mind, intellectually that we know. We learn the theory, the concepts, the languages, the terms. We see how the system works, at least in the mind. We have concepts that are organised, a type of rationalization which is necessary in the beginning. This is why when we talked about the definition of principles, it is also “a fundamental truth for supporting a chain of reasoning.” This knowledge is very logical. It is very dynamic, concrete.
Knowledge of certainty refers to things making sense in our readings and our studies, because we have to have that knowledge in the intellect first.
However, we can’t just leave that there. We have to really see with certainty what those principles entail. This is the second level of certainty, ayn al-yaqin.
Al-yaqin means "certainty." Ilm means "knowledge" and ayn, if you studied Kabbalah, refers to sight, the eyes of perception.
To see with certainty means we have experienced what that knowledge entails. We can be reading about astral projection, dream yoga, meditation, samadhi and have that knowledge of certainty in our intellect, of what that teaching entails. This is good, but the next step is to really practice and to experience and see that truth for ourselves. So not just hearing about an astral projection or reading about it, but actually experiencing it for yourself. That is ayn al-yaqin, the seeing of certainty. It is what we have verified.
But there is an even deeper level to that knowledge. Ḥaqq al-yaqin, the truth of certainty. This is a very profound level of knowledge and we mentioned in our previous lecture that Haqiqah is the truth, the highest teaching of yoga, of religion, of meditation. It is the profound knowledge Maʿrifa of the truth Al-Ḥaqq, which is one of the names of Allah in the Qur’an.
To have the truth of certainty means not only just having an astral projection, which is very beautiful, very powerful, very profound. It means to have a tremendous samadhi in which the soul is lost within the Being, in which we become the Being. The Being manifests in us, a state of happiness and liberation that is truly undefinable, profound, beyond words.
It means to be completely free of the ego. There is no ego there. No “I.” No “me” nor “myself.” There is only Al-Ḥaqq, the Truth, which is why the Sufi master, Mansur al-Hallaj stated before the orthodox Muslims, “Ana 'l-Ḥaqq.” He said, “I Am the Truth!” which of course scandalized those people who were very fanatic and religious, institutionalized, dogmatic, because Ḥaqq is one of the names of God, and basically, he said “I am God.”
However, people did not understand that it wasn’t Mansur Al-Hallaj who said that. It was the truth within him saying that. Just as Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I Am.” Only divinity can say that, and that’s a very high level of attainment, the level of a master who is reaching perfection.
It is very profound, and don’t think that you cannot have that experience to a degree in the beginning, because your Being can give you that knowledge, that certainty, if He wants. You just have to be diligent about your work, but don’t get confused after those experiences thinking that we are God, because we are not. We know from experience what divinity is. We have the truth of certainty. We know it. But we return back to our body, from our experiences from dream yoga or whatever, and then we learn to walk our daily life, to continue working, because the experience of the truth does not mean the complete realization of that truth.
Mythomania and the Death of the Ego
In order to self-realize we need to annihilate the ego. This is the problem with certain people in our tradition who have an experience of the truth, the truth of certainty. They unite with God and then they come back saying “I am the Master So-and-so… Follow me!” This has led to many problems in the movement, because experience of the truth is temporary. Self-realization is something else. This is not to denigrate those experiences, because we need those experiences. We need to have truth of certainty in meditation.
We need to know these things for ourselves, but it doesn’t mean that we become mythomaniacs. It’s a term we use in this knowledge, to make a myth of manas, myth of mind. The mind thinking it is God. It is not [Editor’s Note: the term mania is well known as a delirious state of grandeur within psychotherapy and studies on mental illness. See the Spiritual and Mental Health Course for more information on this topic].
So, the consciousness can experience the truth, can see the truth. The mind can have knowledge of certainty knowledge of the truth and the intellect, but the actual experience is something else. The consciousness is not the mind. The consciousness can see with more or less clarity, but to know the truth of certainty we have to be free of ego, even if just for a temporary moment in our meditations.
States of the Truth
The Sufi Master Ibn 'Arabi stated that, “knowledge of certainty is like hearing about a fire.” He said that the “seeing of certainty is like seeing a fire, and the truth of certainty is being burnt by fire.” Degrees of knowledge, degrees of experience. But don’t think these types of states are inaccessible to you. Many people hear about these truths and they become overwhelmed, feeling like it is impossible for them to know this truth, to know these experiences for themselves.
This is why in the Qur’an, chapter 50, verses 15 through 16, states:
“Did We fail in the first creation? But they are in confusion over a new creation. And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” ―Al-Qaf 15-16
There is a lot of interesting teachings in this verse. “Did We fail in the first creation?” says divinity. This first creation is the birth of our body, our physical conception. When speaking about people who don’t really practice mediation, they are in confusion over a new creation. This new creation is the soul, the soul that we develop. The body is one thing. The soul is another. We have to create the consciousness, build consciousness, develop consciousness. In this way we form the true man, the true Hum-man. Hum means spirit in Sanskrit. Man or manas means mind [Hu is also a mantra amongst Sufi schools, representing the breath of God]. A mind that is fully united with divinity, the spirit, that is a true Hum-man.
Divinity in the Qur’an states, “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him.” This is a very high level to attain, to be a real man or a true human being, a woman. “And We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”
People think divinity is far away, but God is with us in every moment. This is why is Ihsan (beautiful action) is to act as if we see God even if we do not, because surely He sees us.
Divinity, the Being, has been given many names in the Qur’an. He is:
We work with meditation, we work with exercises of energy known as transmutation, and we work to serve humanity, to help humanity. We learn these states of being, through applying the principles of meditation. This is what leads us to the three forms of certainty.
We have to learn how to first study what these qualities are, but then we have to see them from experience, and if we are really serious, our Being will enter us and help us, will manifest in our deeds, will manifest and express in our daily life as these qualities: Al-Murid, "The Willing"; Al-Raḥman, "The Compassionate"; Al-Raḥim, "The Merciful"; Al-Alim, "The All-Knowing"; Al-Wadud, "The Loving"; Al-Khaliq, "The Creator"―principles, laws of the soul, laws of divinity, which are very high.
Qur’anic Verses on the Three Certainties
We can taste these in meditation and in our daily life if we are working seriously, working daily. So, it is a means to have knowledge and seeing of certainty. I will read for you some excerpts from the Qur’an where we find these verses, these terms. The knowledge and seeing of certainty are found in Surah 102, known as Al-Takathur: “Rivalry in Worldly Increase.”
This scripture refers to how people, when they approach meditation, or they approach religion, are often afflicted by desire for pursuing worldly things. To have real knowledge of certainty and seeing of certainty is to contemplate the inevitability of death, because if we don’t live our life seriously with this type of knowledge, we don’t know where we are going to go when we die. But if we awaken our perception, we develop the seeing of certainty, we can know everything, then we can generally access the truth.
“Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you
Until you visit the graveyards.
No! You are going to know.
Then no! You are going to know.
No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty...
You will surely see the Hellfire
(states of suffering, the future that awaits those that do not eliminate the ego).
Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.
Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure”
(meaning vain worldly pleasures). ―Al-Takathur
So, if we are serious about meditation, and many times and in many traditions, students are asked to meditate about the certainty of their own death, the death of the body. This is in order to develop commitment to the path. If we are serious about our spirituality, we realise that we cannot waste our time on superfluous things, because eventually we will go to the grave and enter into the internal worlds.
If we are asleep in this physical world, we won’t have certainty of that state of consciousness when we die. This is a very scary thing to think about, because when we physically go to sleep, we black out for eight hours, typically, and we do not remember anything. This indicates that we are asleep consciously in the physical world. However, if we want to have real experiences, real certainty of the afterlife, we have to awaken here and now.
The truth of certainty is given in Surah 56 Al-Waqi’ah (The Inevitable) of which we will read a few excerpts.
“Indeed, it is a noble Qur’an in a register well protected. None touch it except for the purified.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 77-79
So, the Qur’an in Arabic means recitation. It is recorded as a scripture in the internal planes according to the Sufis, guarded by the Elohim or Buddhas, the angels, the masters. It is only accessible to those who are purifying themselves, for those who have the truth of certainty.
What does it mean to be purified? It means to work on our own mind, our own egotism, our defects. If we do not comprehend our own errors and work to eliminate them, we cannot develop our spiritual sight. We cannot awaken within the internal dimensions. The reason why we may not have experiences in the beginning is because of our own psychological obscurations, our defects. If you wish to see the internal worlds, wish to see within meditation what we are, we must remove the veil of our understanding, of the mind.
So, like any scripture, we can only interpret when we are pure, when we have awakened our consciousness. We move beyond the knowledge of certainty. We see it for ourselves and by the grace of divinity we can have that truth unveiled in its totality.
“It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. Then is it to this statement that you are indifferent and make the thanks for your provision that you deny the Provider?” ―Al-Waqi’ah 80-82
Many people are indifferent, even in Gnosis. What does it mean to be indifferent to any religious or spiritual teaching? It means to be asleep. To not feel the urgency to want to change. If we do not feel that longing in our heart to want to know and to give thanks to our inner divinity, it means that we are very hypnotized by our own mind. We are indifferent. We are cold, lukewarm according to the Bible. But anyone of us who is studying this type of knowledge feels a spiritual inquietude, the impetus of the Being that is pushing us to work, to develop the genuine truth of certainty in ourselves. The way we can develop this further is to meditate on our own death. Which is why the Qur’an states:
“Then why, when the soul at death reaches the throat and you are at that time looking on, and our angels are nearer to him than you, but you do not see. Then why do you not, if you are not be recompensed, bring it back if you should be truthful? And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah, then for him is rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 83-89
So many people lead their life mechanically and then they die, not knowing where they will go or where thy came from, and this is very sad. Anyone of us who is studying meditation is pushed by our own inner God. We have the longings to want to really see the mysteries of life and death, to be inspired. It is this inspiration that pushes us to experiment, to know, because we fear and we have that anxiety that we do not know where we are going and that if we do not work on our own conduct, we may end up in states of suffering worse than our present life, because the divine law is cause and effect. We will reap what we sow.
And if we think that we will not be recompensed for our wrong action, then simply look at our life. If we are honest, “bring your proof if you are truthful!” We cannot deny the law of causality. It is in every aspect of nature and the universe. There is this law of Shariah, the divine law.
But if we are brought near to our inner Being, Allah, through meditation, through practice, “then for him or her is rest and bounty in a garden of pleasure.”
“And if he was of the companions of the right (those people who are following this path), then the angels will say, ‘Peace for you, you are from companions of the right.’ But if he was one of the deniers who went astray (the people who feed their ego, who do not work on their mind), then for him is the accommodation of scaling water and burning in hell fire.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 90-94
What is this left-hand path and right-hand path? We will not go into too much detail here, but the right-hand path refers to people who are working to incarnate the Being, who are eliminating the ego. The left-hand path is often referred to as the path of the sorcerers, of black magicians, people who fortify desire and who enter states of suffering which are very intense.
So “Indeed, this is the true certainty. So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great.” That is the end of that Surah.
This is true certainty, and many people often get very afraid when they read the Qur’an. They see the language as very strong, mentioning damnation and hell fire and states of suffering, and become very afraid and very averse to this tradition. But if we waken our consciousness in the internal planes, we find that we are recompensed for what we do. It is the law of nature. If we are good people, we develop our conduct and develop certainty, we know that we will go to better states when physically the body dies. But if we are passionate, filled with hatred, with violence, with adultery, with sarcasm, with Phariseeism, fanaticism, egotism, we will naturally follow the trajectory of our own actions. This is the truth and certainty. The law, the truth, Al-Ḥaqq. It is the way to see how to get out of that, and meditation aids us in that process.
Psychological Work and the Signs of God
Everybody in Gnosis wants to have experiences, as I have been stating. Many people start to practice meditation and do not have experiences. They become very frustrated and discouraged. This happens often and it is a normal process, because it is not easy to first work on our mind, and that’s the priority in this tradition. We do not seek to have experiences, though they are very beautiful and necessary, but the priority is working on our own defects.
This is why it says in the Qur’an Surah 2 as Al-Baqara, verse 118:
“Those who have no knowledge (ilm or marifah in Arabic) say why does not Allah speak to us or come to us a sign?” ―Al-Baqarah 118
Meaning through some kind of meditative experience.
“So said those who were before them, words similar to what they say. Alike are their hearts.” ―Al-Baqarah 118
What does it mean that their hearts are alike? If they want to have experiences, they’re attached to the concept of having Samadhi or mystical vision. For their hearts are lukewarm, their hearts have not been purified.
Remember that we stated in the Qur’an that the Qur’an is only read by those who are purified, and can only be understood in that way. Prophet Muhammad taught in the Hadith, the oral tradition of Islam, “There is an organ in the body which, when it is pure, affects the whole health of the organism. When it is impure it pollutes everything. This organ is the heart, and the polish of the heart is Dhikr, remembrance of God.”
It is like a mirror. If you polish your heart through ethical conduct, your heart can reflect the heavens. Then experience comes naturally, easily. This is why the Qur’an states:
“We have certainly made the signs clear for the people who have certainty.” ―Al-Baqarah 118
We have verified it. But of course, certainty of the truth only comes about by working on the ego, which is why Al-Qushayri in his book Principles of Sufism stated:
“Uncertainty, knowledge does not come about except by the prior fulfillment of its conditions. That is, one must examine things in a pertinent and relevant way.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, this is the beginning, as we were stating. Study the doctrine, memorize it, develop certainty of knowledge. Be pertinent and relevant. Look at those things in your daily life that you want to change the most and look at the aspects of the doctrine that are most relevant to that.
Some people study Kabbalah first, some people psychology, meditation, alchemy. We have to study all these things together in their relationship, but how our study unfolds is natural to us, our own idiosyncrasy. We have to examine things in a very relevant way. Study meditation, how to practice it and apply it to your life. This is what is most important, pertinent.
When we are studying these things and applying these things:
“The when the hints of the divine become continuous and clear demonstrative evidence has been obtained, the perceiver (the meditator), through the succession of lights and his deep reflection upon them, becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.“ ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
As we are practicing, we may experience many things. We develop evidence from our own experience. It is demonstrative. It is factual. Some people when they are meditating may see lights, images, scenes pulling out or playing out within their consciousness. Some people have visions, astral experiences, jinn experiences. When deeply reflecting on these qualities, through time, experience and practice, we become seemingly independent of the consideration of proof. Meaning we are no longer filled with the desire to want to prove these things egotistically.
The desire or the mind says, “I want to know,” but this frustration is the obstacle. We can deeply reflect on these truths, but we do not necessarily crave the understanding or experience. It will appear in our consciousness when we stop thinking about it.
When we silence our mind, relax our mind and withdraw our senses from the physical world, from our body, when the mind is serene and calm, our heart is purified. The deep reflection, the lights of divinity can reflect in us. “This is the state of certainty.” That is when we know we have experiences.
But first polish the mirror. As Rumi stated, “Your goal is not to seek after love, but to merely remove the causes and conditions that have prevented you from knowing it.” Meaning, remove the ego, and in that way we grow spiritually.
The Tree of Life: A Map of Consciousness
When we study the principles of meditation, we are going to study the Tree of Life in its synthesis. The Tree of Life on the left is the map of Kabbalah, is the levels of consciousness, levels of being, which the Sufis speak abundantly about without using the Hebrew language.
We won’t explain all the dynamics of this Tree of Life, but merely introduce it in the context of our discussion, because this map helps us to understand where we are, where we are in our meditation. We have to learn this Tree of Life very deeply, its levels of consciousness, levels of being, so that when we study any scriptures, such as the Qur’an, we can interpret with clarity, with understanding. In this way we apply these principles to our life, so that we can really deepen our meditative practice.
For example, we have the lower seven sephiroth, which means spheres [emanations] in Hebrew. It is a map of the multi-dimensionality of our universe, of the different dimensions of the cosmos, but also of our own psyche.
We have Malkuth, the physical body.
We have Yesod, the energetic, ethereal or vital forces which permeates our physicality and gives it life.
We have Hod, our emotional vehicle or body of dreams. We operate in this vehicle when we enter the dream world, which we navigate in those planes of experience when the physical body is asleep.
Likewise we have Netzach, which is our mind, our thoughts.
We have Tiphereth, our willpower or human soul. It is the beauty of the soul, which the Muslims have referred to with the name Hassan. Hassan reminds us of Ihsan, meaning: beautiful action. It is through our own will that we can act beautifully through divinity, which is our consciousness.
Geburah, meaning justice in Hebrew, is the consciousness, our sense of right and wrong.
Our intuition which tells us what to do, how to act. Sometimes our will in daily life may act egotistically, may follow our own mind or emotions, may misuse our vital energies and the physical body.
Or other times we learn to use our will, to follow our hunches, our spiritual inquietudes, our conscience, which is Geburah, the divine soul.
In this way we learn to practice ethics, so that we can experience the spirit, Al-Ḥaqq, the Truth, Chesed.
On the right we see an image of a Tree of Life within Islam, because the Muslims didn’t explicitly teach about this Tree of Life, although in their writings you can understand those principles, if we are informed, which is part of the purpose of this course, so we can look at these principles and apply them to our studies.
Meditation is experience for when we learn to work with the Tree of Life in us. Calm the body, rest our vital energies, such as through mantras, sacred sounds, alchemy, runes, pranayama, sacred rights of rejuvenation.
We calm our heart through prayer, through humility, through polishing our emotional center, our emotional qualities.
We silence and calm our mind. Withdraw our senses from the physical body, our energies, our emotions, our thoughts.
We concentrate our willpower in order to reflect within, to follow our intuition, our consciousness.
In that way we can have experiences of the spirit.
That’s a very synthetic way of talking about this dynamic. We will come back to this again and again, but I merely wanted to introduce this Tree of Life in the context of our course, because we will go very deep into these principles.
Silence and Insight
So, what are these essential principles of meditation that we have been discussing? In the Gnostic tradition, we have concentration and imagination, produces the state of meditation.
Concentration is the ability to focus on one thing, without thinking of anything else.
Imagination is our capacity to perceive images of a nonphysical type. So, if I was to ask you to imagine an apple, you can see it in your mind. It is not physical, but we perceive images that are not physical. That’s a very simple example of this quality. It is the capacity to perceive internal imagery, such as through dreams.
If we wish to have that type of perception very developed, we have to work with many exercises to develop our imagination, which we will be explaining in this course.
Concentration is when we are able to focus on one thing with our willpower, our attention, without being distracted.
We develop our concentration through ethics. If our mind is wild, we can’t concentrate or focus on one thing when we sit to practice, if we are engaging in unethical behavior all day.
We feed our anger, our mind becomes agitated. We feel lust, we pollute our mind stream with conditions of mind, desire, which are contrary to the state of imagination. We can’t see clearly if the mind is chaos.
This is the meaning of polishing the heart. The heart is developed through our ethics. When the heart is polished, we can reflect the images of God, and this is the state of meditation. So, this is the Gnostic conception of this dynamic.
Concentration, imagination equals meditation, the state of comprehension.
The Buddhists refer to this as Shamatha and Vipassana, which relates and completes Samadhi, mystical experience.
The Sufis refer to this dynamic as silence and insight, which refers to witnessing the truth.
They all teach the same thing. While you may be familiar with the Buddhist conception or the gnostic teaching of this dynamic, we are going to explore these principles according to Sufism.
So, by obtaining silence of mind, serenity of mind, we develop understanding or insight. We can see things clearly in us. And of course, there are many practices to develop serenity, concentration, and there are also practices to develop imagination.
The Key to Successful Worship
To conclude, in order to develop certainty in us, to develop real worship of divinity, we have to combine silence and insight, according to the Sufis. Serenity and visualization, concentration, imagination. Dhul-Nun al-Misri was a Sufi initiate who wrote the following:
“The key to success and worship lies in meditative reflection, fikrat. Whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold the invisible realm in the spirit.” ―Dhul-Nun al-Misri
So, this means: polish your mind, polish your heart, act ethically, develop compassion for others, especially when you are tempted to behave in negative ways. Work on anger. Look in yourself at anger. See it for what it is. Comprehend it. reflect upon it. See it. Develop serenity in you so that when you are working on your mind in mediation, you can go deep.
Reflect on yourself, be deep, be profound. In this way we awaken our consciousness to behold the invisible realm, the Tree of Life, in the spirit.
“Whosoever contemplates God through keeping watch over their thoughts which pass through his heart will be exalted by God and in all his outward deeds.” ―Dhul-Nun al-Misri
This is the meaning of “Truly We are closer to you then your jugular vein.” Whomsoever acts by working on their own mind, their own thoughts, by what they can perceive, here and now, will learn to purify themselves. It is only by purifying our mind, by acting ethically that we develop genuine serenity, silence, and eventually insight and understanding.
So, we will be examining these principles very deeply, in the coming months. I would like to invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: I have a question in regard to an indifferent approach. My question is that in a lot of Samael’s teachings, he talks about how we should also have an attitude of indifference towards the studies, not necessarily what you meant as how I understood it, which was to approach it with a state of equanimity (as of that indifference). Not like the attitude of what you said, like laziness, not having the fuel to go after those experiences. Could you please expand a little on that?
Instructor: Absolutely. Very good comment. What Samael Aun Weor mentions about practicing with indifference, has to do with, as you said, being neutral. Having a state of equanimity, not being driven by passion or craving to have experiences, but neither wanting to reject what we see, but to verify and to test.
So, there are two forms of indifference, as you mentioned, and that we were talking about. One is to be in a state of equanimity and to be scientific―test and verify. Look at what the teachings provide. Practice them, but do not expect an immediate reward. Neither fear what the outcome may be, but simply work with them and try them with an open mind.
This is the meaning of pouring new wine in new wine skins, or a new cup, a fresh cup. We learn to drink that experience and those practices by trying them, and seeing what works from experience. But the other term of indifference is (in terms of the Qur’anic language) not really caring about or having an inspiration to want to practice at all.
So, it’s a very different thing as you know. One thing is to practice with the neutral, equanimitous state of mind, but one thing is to be so lazy and intellectual to not want to try anything at all. The latter state is very common in the Gnostic movement, or any tradition really. People may like to study intellectually and are very fascinated by theory and they have the knowledge of certainty of things, but they are really lukewarm when it comes to dedication. Dedication is fulfilled when we practice this science
Question: Would it be accurate to say that serving humanity, showing compassion to others, helping in a soup kitchen for e.g. is wonderful and great thing to do, but to really serve humanity is to act ethically, to not act of negative emotions, not act out of the “I’s,” try not to dominate moments or always be right or point out how others are wrong? Is it accurate to say serving humanity is ethics?
Instructor: Absolutely, because any type of service becomes corrupt if we do it with our desires. If we are working on our anger, our pride, our fear and our negative internal states, that’s going to be the greatest form of worship. It is what Dhul-Nun al-Misri teaches too, and many other Sufis.
While we do not negate the need to want to help other people, we perfect that art when we are being patient with ourselves and other people. In terms of serving humanity, we have our jobs, we have our careers. We have certain services that we are doing to genuinely help others, but that quality of that service is contingent upon our own mental states.
So, they go both hand in hand, but more importantly if we are going to serve well, we have to work on our ego. That is really the greatest form of sacrifice and service, because we can work at job that we really hate, that is very difficult and yet it is where our Being needs us to be.
Personally, I have a job that is very difficult. I work with very difficult clients who test me all the time, who are very negative, and many times I have wanted to quit my job. I have wanted to leave because its been a very painful process. But I found that my Being has put me there, and I have verified this through experiences many times, in order to work on my patience, work on my ethics and work on my mind. When I have been able to change my own negative internal states, my own frustration and anger, I have really been able to serve humanity better at that job.
Our greatest form of prayer for divinity is when we comprehend and annihilate anger, which is why Prophet Muhammad taught “The strongest amongst you is he who controls his anger.” We can’t really help other people if we are afflicted by our own desires.
So they relate to each other: service and death of the ego. They are two aspects of the same thing, including the other factor, which is birth. Birth, death and sacrifice―the three factors of Gnosis. Of course, it’s a form of prayer in which we no longer react to life, we contemplate God in our thoughts, our deeds and our hearts. When we do not act on our ego, but act virtuously, God exalts us and helps us with certain meditative states and experiences. Hope that answers your question.
Question: Yes, definitely thank you. So, the sacrifice and the serving of humanity, that can come through voluntary suffering, whereas the suffering is when you are in an ordeal and you want to argue back and prove that you right, show that you are the victim in the situation but instead you do not act on your anger, your pride and that’s voluntary. Its hard because you want to point out that you are being wronged but instead you take the higher road, and that’s voluntary suffering, correct?
Instructor: Absolutely, and that is really the foundation of developing certainty. People want to experience God, but they do not want to work on the veil that covers them. When we are angry, we do not see God. We see anger. We want to hurt, but if you are changing your mental states, you are tearing the veil of Isis according to the Freemasons. In that way we can really serve the other person, especially when they are crucifying us, metaphorically speaking.
The following transcription is from an audio lecture on Principles of Meditation, a course originally delivered live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
Everybody who enters and practices the gnostic teachings always wants to have direct experience, mystical states, knowledge of God. When we read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, it is difficult to not feel inspired by the beauty, the depth, the power of the many personal anecdotes and experiences that he conveys. He often speaks firsthand of astral projections, awakened experiences, out of the body in the internal planes, the higher dimensions of nature, in which he has spoken with his Inner God or the masters of the White Lodge. Jinn experiences. Tremendous ecstasies of the soul.
What is particularly attractive of this kind of writing is that it goes against the theories, the conjectures, the beliefs about religion, or spirituality. These writings are powerful. They inspire us and they should enliven our heart, to push us to want to experience these things for ourselves.
It is not the intention to merely show off this kind of knowledge. That was not the intention of the writings of Samael Aun Weor and many other prophets. As Ibn ‘Arabi, a great Sufi master, stated (paraphrased), “When someone raises a lamp, it is in order to show light, not to be proud of one's elevation.” This is why such experiences are beautiful, are necessary. But if we wish to have that kind of knowledge for ourselves, to follow in the footsteps of the prophets, we must be practical.
There are many people who study meditation. Many decades. People love to read about religion, about mystical experience, about divinity, but they don't practice. Many people are merely content with reading about the Being, reading about experiences, and not working effectively to have that knowledge for oneself.
This is similar to reading about the experience of drinking water and yet one is dying of thirst. If you wish to understand the experience of water, you have to walk to the faucet, the well, and extract that water for oneself and to drink it. While this analogy is very simple, this perfectly illustrates the state of many students, not only within Gnosticism, but all religions, all esoteric schools.
We can hear about how wonderful water tastes. How it nourishes our body. And yet we will be thirsty and starving, emaciated, weak, if we do not drink for ourselves.
This is the same nature of spiritual experience. It is refreshing to the soul. It is liberating. It is the essence of life. Without meditation we cannot drink from the fountain of God, which is the well of our own knowledge, our own inner wisdom, our Inner Being. It is through meditation that we refresh our souls. That we nourish our souls. That we become inspired.
It is fundamental. We cannot know divinity without meditation. It is the method that grants the capacity for transformation.
Annihilation and Subsistence
Transformation is essentially the purpose of our practice. We wish to cease suffering, to comprehend what in us gives us pain. Why do we not know divinity? What have we done that prevents our direct access with the truth?
We always state in these studies, every religion states in its esoteric heart, that the obstacle to interior illumination is the ego. The self. The "I." It is only when we die to the ego, eradicate the self, eliminate pride, fear, hatred, lust, that we can learn to approach divinity. We have been stating that our own conditions of mind obscure our consciousness from seeing the truth. This is well explained within Sufism.
They say that in order to know Allah, to experience the truth, the self must be annihilated. The Arabic term they use is fana. It means “annihilation.” When we die to our defects, when we annihilate the self, that multiplicity of defects: anger, resentment, fear, gluttony, etc., we extract the consciousness that was trapped, conditioned. That is how we generate light—the light of our soul that can allow us to see with intensity, with clarity, the profound mystical states of the Being.
The Sufis also state, when we have annihilated the self, we learn to subsist in divinity. We learn how to be, to be one with God. The term subsistence in Arabic is baqa. It is a profound term relating to Al-Baqarah, the second Surah of the Qur'an, “The Heifer,” “The Cow,” which relates to an aspect of our divinity known in different religions as the divine feminine, the Divine Mother, which the Muslims refer to as Baqarah.
That Surah is very profound. It is the longest in the the Qur’an. It refers to the verb, the power of speech, recitation, mantralization, which expresses the perfect unity of God.
Sufism in its heart, in its true expression, is a very profound and practical teaching through which we learn different levels of being, states of consciousness, elevated aspects of the soul and of divinity. We learned to subsist in our work, to continue in our path only through annihilation, fana. There is no way that we could obtain inspiration to continue in this work if we do not comprehend ourselves.
So we need help. We need inspiration. We need to feel joy in this path. It is very easy to sit in meditation, to observe in our day our own negative qualities of mind. If we only focus on the negative, our own morbidity, our pessimism, our despair, such feelings destroy the consciousness, enmesh oneself in suffering until eventually people abandon meditation because they don't see results.
States and Stations: Levels of Being
And this is the beauty of Sufism, is that we learn about the virtues of the soul, the higher levels of Being, the states of God. Which if we practice diligently, we learn to experience little by little, through gifts of divinity. Mystical states inspire us. They guide us in the work and help us to be consistent, to push ourselves, to be disciplined.
There are many different levels of being, as we stated in our previous lecture. Mystical states are dynamic. They are infinite. A mystical state does not necessarily have to focus on just some internal samadhi, ecstasy from the East, an experience out of the body, but can occur physically, when we understand something profoundly, when we feel joy, happiness, inspiration.
It is important to cultivate the virtues of the soul as we work on the ego. This is what creates balance. If we focus only on our hatred, on how dense the mind is, without comprehending the light, we will become very pessimistic, and such people eventually leave gnosis. They abandon meditation. They abandon what is best. So this is why in Sufism we study. In Gnosticism we study the stations and states of the path.
We explain that stations are levels of being which we acquire through work, initiation, degrees. The states of the soul are given to us from divinity in the moment as flashes of inspiration to help us continue in the path. States are gifts. Divinity provides us with light, but stations or initiations are earned. We need both. Without states of contentment, of magnanimity, of joy, of the power of the Being, we will not be motivated to work further.
Divinity seeks us. This is important to remember. The Being longs for realization of its own nature. We are part of the being and as Samael Aun Weor in The Revolution of the Dialectic stated, "The Being is the Being and the reason for the Being to be is to be the Being itself."
Our divinity wants to know itself and we are part of divinity. The soul is a mirror. It can reflect the images of hell, the infra-consciousness, or if it is polished, to give remembrance. We learn to reflect the heavens, which is something that Ibn ‘Arabi, a great Sufi master, taught in his Kitab al-Ahadiyyah, Treatise on the One Alone. Or as Bayazid Bastami stated, "For thirty years I sought God, but when I looked carefully, I found that in reality God was the seeker and I am the sought."
Inquietudes, yearnings of the soul—these are psychological pressures given to us in the heart from our inner Being to push us to return to Him, to Her. Without that we cannot rise up from our state of suffering.
In this way, we study the levels of being. There are infinite levels of being, but for the sake of clarity and organization, for the purposes of study, the Sufis referred to these mystical states in many ways. As we stated, they sometimes refer to seven states or stations. Forty. A hundred levels. A thousand levels. Really its infinite, but we refer to different systems of different Sufi schools to understand more about ourselves, the dynamism of the soul, the great breadth and profundity of the heart.
So these are degrees or initiations. The stations of the path., initiations that we earn. So the Sufi manuals of great Persian masters, especially, are very wonderful for knowing, contemplating the levels of being, the mystical ecstasies of the heart and the soul, which is why Samael Aun Weor in The Aquarian Message stated:
“The seven degrees of ecstasy through which the mystic reaches the perfect state of the soul are described in the school of Sufism. The school of Sufism teaches about ecstasy. The state in secret of our level [of Being] is revealed in Sufism because this is the interior state of life in God." —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Ecstasy and Being
What is ecstasy? From the Latin exstatuo, “to stand outside oneself.” This means that we go beyond the mind, our current, everyday, mundane perception. We learn to stand on our own feet spiritually. We remove the conditions in mind so that the genie from Aladdin's lamp may be liberated, even if but temporarily.
The word ecstasy in Arabic is wajd, and ecstasy simply means spiritual experience free of the ego. In the East, they refer to these states as Samadhis. The same definition. Meditations and experiences free of limited physical conditions. They are internal perceptions. The Sufis sometimes refer to these as lights, as inspirations that shine within the heart.
So all these states come to us when we meditate. And as we are proving our consistency, our diligence, our commitment to the Being, we receive help. We receive guidance, because there are certain experiences and qualities that we cannot obtain on our own without help. And we'll talk more about what this involves within the schools of Sufism, especially.
In Gnosis, we refer to this as borrowed light. Sometimes masters of the White Lodge may provide us with experiences to help us, to push us. The Sufis call this barakah, blessings from a master that temporarily awaken the student in a very intense or heightened, clarified state of internal perception, such as in dream yoga, astral experiences, jinn states.
But in order to even receive that help, we have to be working. We have to develop ethical discipline as we explain about Sharia in our first lecture.
“Ecstasy (wajd), befalls the heart suddenly and unexpectedly, coming upon it without design or artificial prompting. Of this the shaykhs have said, ‘Ecstasies are sudden events, but they are the fruits of assigned devotions.’ God increases His kindnesses toward all who increase their spiritual practice.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
The ultimate spiritual practice is meditation, which is fueled by our work with energy. Such as through mantras, pranayama, transmutation. It is important to combine our exercises of Gnosis with meditation because as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Spiritual Power of Sound:
“We can experience the Being, the Innermost, only through profound meditation. The experience of the Being, the Innermost, transforms us radically…
“It is completely impossible to experience the Being—the Innermost, the Reality—without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation. It is completely impossible to experience the Being—the Innermost, the Reality—without having reached a true mastery of the quietude and silence of the mind.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
So the Sufis and our teacher Samael Aun Weor state the same thing. We must work with our assigned devotions, meaning our meditations, our prayers, because divinity provides us with light for all those who increase their discipline, which is why the following quote continues.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that inner events arise out of systematic private devotions. He who has no assigned litany, in his outer being, has no spiritual influx in his inner being. An ecstasy that owes anything to the one who experiences it is not true ecstasy.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So what does it mean to have no assigned litany? It means to have no prayers or practice. Our tradition is replete with innumerable exercises: mantras, prayers, runes, pranayama, alchemy, sacred rites of rejuvenation, meditation. These exercises help to develop quietude of mind, serenity of thought, so that in the stillness of our consciousness, we can experience the truth.
These exercises are fundamental. However, we practice whatever we need in accordance with our level of being and our disposition. Obviously, some people will not be married and cannot practice alchemy until they do so. However, we work with energy: pranayama, runes, and most especially, meditation. Whether we are single or married, we must work with where we are at, so that through accumulating energy, saving our emotional energy, our mental energy, our sexual energy, we have the fuel necessary by which to discipline the mind. Because without energy, we cannot act.
This is why ethics, Shari’ah, is the beginning of religion. Save your energy. Do not waste it through the ego through explosions of anger, of resentment, of pride. It is inevitable that if we are fulfilling the necessary laws and requisites of the path, Shari’ah and Tariqah, we learn to experience the truth, Haqiqah. Through working with the influx of energy available to us when we meditate, we learn through rituals, exercises, practices, to focus our attention.
All of those exercises that work with energy help us with concentration and silence of mind. Without that we cannot have any experiences.
So it's important to establish that foundation First. That is the groundwork by which we enter samadhi, ecstasy, wajd.
“An ecstasy that owes anything to the one who experiences it is not true ecstasy,” said the Sufis, Abu Ali al-Daqqaq, the teacher of Qushayri in his Principles of Sufism.
This is a very subtle meaning. It means that certain experiences that are super normal, very elevated, are given to us as gifts, not because we have earned it, not because we have mastered it, or entered initiation, but because we are sincere and need help. We are yearning to know divinity and because we are practicing, the White Lodge looks upon us and says, “Let us help this disciple and provide an experience, an ecstasy so that it can validate the teaching for him or her.”
So it is very common in the beginning of Gnosis that as we save energy, we start to have experiences. Some people have very intense samadhis or astral projections that they cannot explain. They receive blessings and help which is known as “borrowed light” in our tradition. It is not light that we generate on our own, but we receive from God, from the prophets, because they want to show us something valuable. They want to show us that this teaching is real.
The Sufis call it barakah, blessings, and it is very common within the Muslim tradition to think of the saints, to worship the saints, to venerate them and to ask for their barakah, their blessings from holy shrines, temples, sacred spaces that have been the physical conduit where those masters lived and provided their divine force.
In a more profound level we can receive borrowed light, barakah, internally, when we are out of the physical body. When we stand outside of ourselves, literally, that is an astral projection, an ecstasy in which we are conscious of that dimension.
But all this is founded on our practice.
“Just as, in outward life, it is the ordinary daily transactions in which the servant engages that produce for him the sweetness of acts of worship, so, in inward life, the guidelines the servant confronts are what bring on his ecstasies. The sweetnesses of worship are the fruits of outer dealings, ecstasies are the results of inner efforts.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, what is that sweetness of worship? When you are profoundly meditating, deeply enmeshed in your conversation with your Being, and you feel the elevation of your heart, the sweetness of the soul.
Outward worship at a temple is beautiful. It can be necessary for many people. Attending groups, Gnostic schools, can aid the disciple to feel that sweetness of worship through group practice. We also feel worship in the sweetness of the soul at our daily job, if we are conscious. We deal with people outwardly. We work to follow our own compassionate nature of the soul, raising our level of being in our work physically, and internally. And as we are working on our own negative states of mind, we are performing inner effort.
The internal is a reflection of the external. When your outward life reflects the beauty of your inward life, when you let virtue be your guide, your conscience, your motivation, we naturally develop the sweetness of the work. The joy of the work. We feel ecstasy when we comprehend anger and understand that a discovered defect is a dead defect.
We learn to stand outside of ourselves physically, at our jobs, at our work, in the bedroom. That means that you are observing yourself. The soul is observing the observed, which is the ego. We are standing outside of ourselves so that we can gather data, to comprehend the “I.” As we comprehend what the ego is, we feel joy.
This is what Samael Aun Weor stated, "The greatest joy of a gnostic is the discovery of one of his or her defects,” because when we separate from the mind, we see it for what it is and in that that way we can change. That gives us true ecstasy, joy.
I know people like to think that ecstasy is some samadhi in the clouds. While that is true, we get to that point when we stand outside of our ego as we work in self-observation, or as the Sufis refer to as inner-accounting, muhassabah. We have to take an account of our virtues and our defects. This is the result of inner effort, which develops the sweetness of the soul, and in that way we learn to access supra-conscious states.
There are states of being which everybody reads about and everybody craves. These are states of soul or Being that are at the top of the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, which we studied previously in our lecture on stations. These are qualities of the Being that are very high, which we can only experience after annihilating the ego.
The Light, Unity, and Knowledge of the Being
Being in Arabic is known as wujud, and on the right of this slide we see Arabic calligraphy of the words Al-Nur, meaning “the light,” which is a very famous Surah in the Qur’an, of which we will relate some excerpts.
Al-Nur is the Being, the lights and purity of our own inner divine nature, which the Sufis and Muslims referred to as Allah. This is supraconsciousness, states of understanding that are omniscient, beyond the physical universe. They know how to see and travel throughout all the dimensions of the Tree of Life. So to reach that point, we have to meditate. The Sufis state:
“As for being or finding,” meaning to find God, “it follows on advancement out of wajd. There is no finding the Truth save after the extinction of the ordinary human condition, because when the power of reality manifests, the perception of material things cannot endure.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So these are samadhis or ecstasies, which happen outside the physical body, in which people commonly denominate as experiences. As a consciousness, we are in different dimensions of the Tree of Life as our physical body sleeps. To reach those very high experiences, we have to learn meditation. Suspend the physical senses. Relax the body. Calm the heart. Circulate the vital forces. Relax the mind and concentrate on the Being.
In the quietude the divinity within our very core nature manifests. This is how we learn to find our true nature, the Being, wujud, which is etymologically related to wajd, because the Being is ecstasy. It is a state of happiness that is so vast and limitless that it defies reasoning and bewilders the mind.
To reach that point, we have to lose our common everyday perception of what we think or who we think we are. This is the meaning of the saying by Abu-l Husayn al-Nuri, “For twenty years I have been finding and losing. When I found my Lord, I have lost my heart. And when I found my heart, I have lost my Lord."
There are many Sufis who write and talk about this principle, that to know God you have to lose yourself, but that tradition has not really explained any practical experiences or examples. You find those types of experiences very well explicated in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. For the purposes of this lecture, I will relate to you a samadhi that I experience as a consciousness many years ago.
I was practicing meditation, deeply concentrated, and I let my physical body fall asleep. I was undergoing an ordeal in the astral plane, which I conquered. And I was instructed and taught to project my soul through my crown chakra, the Church of Laodicea, which is the chakra relating to omniscience, polyvoyance, intuitive perception, intuitive clairvoyance. It is our link to the very heavens. And I remember pushing out through that chakra and I entered as a soul, divested of any bodies or vehicles, and returned to my own Ain Soph, which Samael Aun Weor relates to in his writings of Kabbalah.
It is our supra-atomic star, the synthesis of who we are, the real Being, which is a light that shines with glory and happiness in the absolute abstract space. And I as a soul had lost my identity as an individual, to what I thought I was, but was united with That. Pure ecstasy. Being. Wujud. However, I identified again with my mind. I lost the ecstasy and I fell back within the astral plane.
That was a beautiful moment of such joy that I don't forget or cease to think about every day of my life, because that is the real Being. The true identity. Our supra-individuality.
And I remember the saying of this Sufi initiate Abu-l Husayn al-Nuri, "When I found my Lord, I lost my heart, and when I found my heart, I lost my Lord." So in that moment, I was in samadhi, but then I thought about my mind back below and my consciousness got sucked back into existence. I identified with my own sense of self and became forgetful of that light.
It is interesting that even the name of Abu-l Husayn Al-Nuri, his name literally means "beautiful light" in Arabic. So many of the Sufi masters took on names, very symbolic and Kabbalistic, profound. Hassan, Hussein, relates to Ihsan, beautiful action—the beauty or light of the soul, or in Kabbalah, Tiphereth, the human consciousness.
Al-Nuri is the light. The light of Ain Soph, as we see in this calligraphy. It is the beauty of the light. It is supra-consciousness. Happiness without limitations. The limitless. It is the unity of perfect expression of the divine.
This is why the Sufis also state:
“It is also the meaning of the saying of Junayd, ‘The knowledge of Unity is contrary to its existence, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So I'm relating to you this experience with my intellect, with words, but intellectual knowledge of that unity, Ain Soph, is contrary to its existence, because words fail to describe or to attribute anything relating to the Being. Its existence is contrary to Its knowledge or our knowledge of It.
The Shahadah: Declaring the Unity of God
So what is the unity in Islam? They pronounce the Shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith:
“There is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
lā ʾilāha ʾillā Llāh, Muḥammadun rasūlu Llāh (in Arabic).
There are many Muslims who pronounce this prayer, but knowing this phrase in the intellect is one thing, knowing it from experience is something else. Shahadah means “witnessing, to bear witness,” to experience the truth.
And what does it mean to submit to God in Arabic? Islam. Many people follow the tradition, physically thinking that through certain adaptation or adoption of prayers, rituals, behaviors, that one somehow is now following God. But it is important to remember that Shahadah, to witness the divine, comes from mushahadah, contemplation, meditation.
The Ain Soph is Allah in Arabic. The limitless. It is a point in space that is our own true light that wants to have cognizance of Its own happiness, Its own true nature. Allah in Arabic comes from أل Al and the syllable لا La, which literally means “The No,” “The Nothing,” “The emptiness,” which is the Buddhist Shunyata, the abstract light of perfect Seity, devoid of common individuality, that is a form of light, our true nature, Al-Nur. That beautiful light is our own star that guides our interior, which calls us back with longing, which seeks us so that we can return with knowledge to It.
There's a Surah in the Qur’an that relates this principle. From Surah Al-Nur (24:35):
“Allah is the light of the heavens (the nine sephiroth) and the Earth (Malkuth, the kingdom or bottom of the Tree of Life). The example whose light is like a [niche] within a lamp (a niche is a supra-atomic point, the synthesis, the Being). The lamp is within a glass, (which reminds us of hermetic science, the science of alchemy), the glass as if it were a pearly white star lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree…” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
That pearly white star is the light of our true nature in the heavens, Allah, Ain Soph, which we learn to experience by working with the oil of the blessed olive tree, known in Middle Eastern science as alchemy, Allah Khemia: the work with energy. That light, that oil, is:
“…neither from the east or the west.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
That tree is neither of the east or the west. On the Tree of Life relating to the sphere of Tiphereth, the East, and Malkuth, the West. The sunrise rises in Tiphereth, the East, which is the goal of our path. To rise up the Tree of Life with light. But if we fall down from Malkuth into the West when the sun sets, we die spiritually. We lose inspiration, allegorically speaking, Kabbalistically speaking.
“Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
We speak abundantly in our studies of the work with the oil, which is a symbol of our sexual matter and energy, which we learn to transform with chastity and purity so that that energy, elevated, is used by the soul, untouched by fire or lust.
“Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills and Allah presents parables (symbols, experiences) for the people and Allah is knowing of all things.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
So we know in Kabbalah that Ain Soph, the Being, is beyond the Tree of Life. It is the negation of all that is existent. It is our true existence, which is non-existence. It is the negation of the self, the complete annihilation of individuality as we conceive it, of grasping at "me, myself, I."
It is only when we fully die, even if only for a moment, that we can enter samadhi, ecstasy. Ibn ‘Arabi speaks abundantly about the unity of God. He says that only divinity can comprehend Himself. So it is a very beautiful teaching, very subtle. While I am telling you that, conventionally-speaking, that my soul united with my own Ain Soph with that experience, it wasn't me knowing myself, but the Being through my soul.
It is a very thorny issue in theology. Very confusing for people who don't meditate. We can think of divinity as light, even as a person who can only know himself by looking in a mirror. That mirror is our soul, is our heart. If we purify the heart, we can reflect the light and therefore divinity gains consciousness of Its own true nature. He witnesses himself through the mirror of the soul.
“With this sense they recite: I find my true existence in vanishing from existence. And from all apparent evidence I see.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So true existence is the Being. It means vanishing from everything that is not that source. We know from our studies of initiation and the Tree of Life that we work in successive degrees, ascending to higher states of consciousness until finally at the very end of the path, we abandon everything that is manifested in this universe to return to that light. The yogis of India refer to this perfect bliss, knowledge, and Being absolute. In Sanskrit terms: Sat Chit Ananda.
Sivananda writes about this very beautifully in his books. We can think of it as object, subject, union. These terms or principles describe the perfect state of ecstasy, in which the Being is the object. The soul is the subject and the union is completed. So in that experience the soul that is my true nature was united with That. The light was the light and one could see oneself as both the Being and the soul in union.
This is the meaning of religion, from the Latin religare. Reunion. In Sufism, they refer to this type of experience as Madkhur, the Invoked, which is the Being; Dhakr, the Invoker, who is the dervish or the soul; Dhikr, the Invocation: the call upon the divine, the consciousness of the divine.
In other terms, we say it is the Remembered, the Rememberer, and the Remembrance. It is in that state that the Being has cognizance of Its own happiness. This is the purpose of our spiritual work. To return to that abstract joy. That perfect Being. It is for our own Ain Soph, our own true star, light, and ecstasy of divinity, to have cognizance of That known as Paranishpanna in the writings of Samael Aun Weor.
This is known in Sufism and Islam as the Day of Alast: the covenant made between the soul and Allah, that the soul will return to divinity through the path. This is scripturally validated in the following verses from the Qur’an, Surah 7, verse 172 (Surah Al-Ar’af):
"And mention when your Lord took you from the children of Adam, from their loins—their descendants, and made them testify of themselves saying to them, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said ‘Yes, we have testified.’ This less you should say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Indeed we were of this unaware.’” ―Ar’af 172
So there is a very famous verse within Islam. Many people think it refers to the literal people of Adam and his descendants making a covenant with God. That they will return to their upright ways of living. Some people say this took place physically at Nu’man a valley near Arafat. There are other interpretations of the Qur’an known as tafsir, exegeses, or commentaries on that scripture, that this occurred when Adam descended to the Earth metaphysically. Some say before that or even after. Other Sufis and other initiates comment that it happened in heaven.
This is actually a metaphysical experience. Meaning, we all originated from our own Ain Soph, who is our true nature, our light, which sends its light down the Tree of Life into different matters, energy, into consciousness, forms of expression, so that it can return inward and upward, back to the source with knowledge. “Happiness is not true happiness without cognizance of That.” It is a very Kabbalistic statement by Samael Aun Weor, which you can read about in Tarot and Kabbalah, especially.
So the Being says, “Am I not your Lord? Am I not your true identity?” And that is our covenant. To return to the source, the synthesis of who we are. This is the voice of the silence. It is the source of our own longings and inquietudes. Our deep yearnings for studying this type of doctrine is to know That. To know the unity.
Mythomania and Mystical Experiences
So while many people think that these kinds of mystical states or experiences are indicators of progress, what happens with many people is that while having those types of experiences, many students and even instructors, followers of different traditions or teachings, become confused. They have those experiences and then they return to their body saying “I am a master. I am a great Being. I am liberated!”
What they don't understand is that those kind of experiences are merely states given to us by divinity as a gift. They do not signify that we have entered and subsisted in that state through initiation. We can have those experiences, states of liberation temporarily, but to really be permanently united in That, is a very lofty goal. Very difficult.
As Samael Aun Weor stated:
"Some hermits who isolated themselves within caves, based on rigorous disciplines, attained the ecstasy of the saints and were taken up to heaven. There they saw and heard things that are not easily comprehended by human beings. Nevertheless, their “I’s” continued to exist within their interior.
"Unquestionably, the Essence [consciousness or soul], through rigorous discipline, can escape from within the “I”; thus, it enjoys ecstasy. However, after such bliss, the Essence returns into the interior of the “myself.”
"Those who have become accustomed to ecstasy without having dissolved the ego believe that they have already reached liberation. They fool themselves by believing themselves to be Masters. They even enter into the submerged devolution [descent and destruction within the hell realms of nature, the inferior planes of Klipoth].
"Nonetheless, we are not pronouncing ourselves against mystical ecstasy, against the ecstasy and happiness of the soul while in the absence of the ego. We only want to place emphasis on the necessity of dissolving “I’s” [achieving fana: annihilation] in order to achieve the final liberation.
"The Essence of any disciplined hermit, accustomed to escaping from within the “I,” repeats such a feat after the death of his physical body. Then, his Essence enjoys the ecstasy for some time. Yet, after such time, his Essence returns as the Genie of Aladdin’s lamp, back into the interior of the lamp, the ego, the myself.
"Thereupon, he has no other choice but to return into a new physical body with the purpose of repeating his life on the stage of existence.
"Many mystics who lived and died in the caverns of the Himalayas in central Asia reincarnated again and are now vulgar, common and current people in this world, in spite of the fact that their followers still adore and venerate them.
"Therefore, any attempt at liberation, no matter how great it might be, if it does not take into consideration the necessity of dissolving the ego, it is condemned to failure." ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
This is why in our tradition we speak abundantly about mythomania. There are people who have genuine experiences of God in different levels and because they don't study the doctrine, they get confused. They think they are gods. Mythomania comes from myth of manas, the Sanskrit term for mind. It means “to make a myth of the mind.” The mind thinks it is great, that it is God, but the mind is just the devil. As I explained that experience I had, I left behind my mind, my devil. However, when I identified with my mind again, I lost the experience, falling down into the astral plane, losing the ecstasy.
While that was a beautiful experience, I would never dare make the mistake to think that that is my permanent level. It was a gift. People get confused because they have those experiences but don't really evaluate the quality of their mind. They are not stations: permanent, established, levels of Being. They are states that come and go as blessings from God.
The Definition of States
So let us define what a state is according to the Sufi manuals of the great masters, especially Al-Qushayri from his Principles of Sufism.
“According to the Sufis, a state is a spiritual influence that arrives in the heart without their intending, contriving or earning it, such as joy or sorrow or expansion and contraction or desire or agitation, or awe, or need.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So these are experiences that we receive without intending it, without earning it. And that samadhi that I related to you, that was given to me without my intention and definitely without my earning it. However, I had been disciplined in my practices and was given the gift in order to relate it to this type of knowledge, to clarify things.
So other states such as experiences of that nature can sometimes be even more or less intense, but still very beautiful and profound, like joy or expanding our consciousness. Sometimes there are states that are contracted. We become focused on one thing. Expansion is a type of diffusion into space with a clarified awareness. Contraction is more concentrated, as if we are focusing only on one thing. A very disciplined contracted will. Very strong attention, which also can be as state, a gift, or a desire, or longing, to be agitated in a spiritual sense, to be filled with awe, yearning, or longing for God.
“While stations are earned, the states (ahwal) are gifts. The stations are attained through the expenditure of effort, but the states appear from the fount of generosity. The possessor of a station is confirmed in it…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…or has reached that level of being, has achieved The Major Mysteries according to Samael Aun Weor.
“The possessor of a state is transported beyond it.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So I claim that that experience I had was a gift. I am still in the process of working on myself. Hopefully that I will return to That, to be transported to That. But in order for that to happen, we have to work from the ground up.
“Dhul-Nun al-Misri was asked about the gnostic and said, ‘He was here, and he left.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So what is the true gnostic? A true Sufi, one who is perfected marif’ah, knowledge of God. Knowledge of the truth, and therefore, his or her states and stations are beyond our comprehension. So while that person can be physically present with us, consciously-speaking, they are aware of all the dimensions of nature. Here and now. “He was here and then he left.”
Such beings are very difficult to comprehend at our level because they can access all dimensions of the Tree of Life with will, with intentionality. They are not limited to one sphere. But for us, we find that states are temporary. They come and go. We can be meditating, introspecting, contemplating a verse from a scripture, concentrating on an image of divinity, whether a holy figure, or something as simple as a mandala, a stone, a picture. We can be reflecting on the virtues of our own consciousness, of our Being. And, states suddenly emerge in the screen of our awareness. You suddenly see a landscape, a place, a group of people, a conversation, a symbol, a form of life, images, sounds. These appear directly before us and we are both witnesses and participants. These are flashes of understanding or inspiration. Imagination. If we understand the import of those experiences, we develop intuition, understanding of what those states are communicating.
The Momentariness of States
“Some of the shaykhs have said, ‘The states are like lightning flashes.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, these experiences come upon the heart suddenly, without expectation. When we cease thinking.
“If one seems to continue, it is self-deception." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Many times in our practices, especially in the beginning, we are meditating and we have an experience. We see an image, a sound, a symbol with the type of clarity that is very expensive or clear, and suddenly when we realize what is happening, we return to our body, back to our asana (posture). Those experiences are very temporary. They come in flashes, and then we are stuck in the mind again, seeing all sorts of contents, memories, anxieties, fears, worries that continue on and on. This is the meaning of how if these states seem to continue, it is self-deception.
We have states of the soul that are very clear, very profound, and have a particular taste that is distinct. Therefore we have to learn to sift through the mind and understand that genuine states of the soul appear like lightning. They appear, then they vanish. So we should question our mind. Be very diligent to understand that not everything we see in ourselves is going to be objective. If it seems to continue onward, like all the chain of associative thinking we know of, that is self-deception. That is the ego.
“And they have said, “The states are as their name,” [the verb hala means ‘to change’ or ‘to pass’], meaning that immediately as they come upon the heart, they vanish. They recite: Did it not change, it would not be called a state And everything that changes vanishes. Look at the shadow whenever it draws to an end. It begins its diminution when it has grown long.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Validating Internal Experiences
So it is important that we understand something very essential. Having experiences is not enough. Having mystical states is not sufficient. We have to learn to verify what we see.
Scriptures allow us and show us understanding of what these types of ecstasies are. We have to both have experiences, but also read, study, reflect. When we see that our own experiences are reflected within the writings of the great prophets, we develop faith. We don't get confused. We understand precisely what God was telling us, and therefore we have no doubt as to what we know.
Personally, I have had many experiences that I witnessed firsthand, internally, and only later found evidence physically of what that meant. In the case of that experience I related to you, there are other symbols relating to that vision, that ecstasy, that I confirmed in many writings in order to evaluate its objectivity. And in that way I have faith. I know what that experience was communicating and so there is no confusion or doubt.
So many times we can read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, the Qur’an, the scriptures, any of the experiences that, before we read about them, we have.
I believe I related in our previous lectures knowing about the Tree of Life before reading about it. The ten spheres. the ten sephiroth. It is actually very beautiful to have that experience and then later confirm it. It shows us that we are progressing and that we are on strong ground.
We have to learn that we must not only be practical meditators, but studious disciples. We have to read and know the knowledge in depth. This is known as intellectual spiritual culture. Our knowledge, our studies, help us to clarify and decipher our internal experiences.
So we can have those types of experiences, but if we don't know the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, the nature of the path, we will be very lost. We will be receiving messages from divinity, but not having the knowledge to interpret.
Samael Aun Weor mentions that Kabbalah is the language of the internal worlds. We need to have intellectual spiritual culture. This means: have a very good knowledge of every tradition, especially the Gnostic tradition, so that we learn to be balanced, because many people can have experiences and think that they are objective. But if those experiences go against our ethics, the writings of the prophets, then we are deluded, we are confused. So experiences have to coincide with the writings. Otherwise, we will be in error. We will make false judgments and can make mistakes.
Which is why Abu Sulayman stated in Principles of Sufism (by Al-Qushayri):
“Sometimes one of the subtle sayings of the Sufis stays in my heart for days, but I will not accept it save on [the testimony of] two just witnesses: the Qur’an and the Sunnah.” ―Abu Sulayman al-Darani in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So we have to rely on the teachings of the prophets, those who walked the path before. That is because these initiates have very high levels of attainment. They have a lot of awakened consciousness and can explain things for us that are very difficult. We have to learn to study from masters of Major Mysteries, the prophets, people who really established themselves in accordance with hierarchy, meaning their level being is very high, such as Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses, Khidr in the Qur’an, Samael Aun Weor.
We have to study from masters whom we have validated, whom we know are objective. This is important because many people in our studies have committed crimes and even lost their sanity because they lacked culture. They had experiences that told them that such and such person is a black magician, a sorcerer, a demon. Or, experiences that are contrary to our fundamental ethics of how to behave in life, and therefore they literally committed crimes. You can read about this type of dynamic in Samael Aun Weor's book Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology, where he communicates the link between spiritual perception and the criminal code.
Internal States and Spiritual Facts
The foundational of reason why people make mistakes is because they have internal states that do not coincide with facts. They don't know how to interpret what they see. This is why study and practice is essential. Study the true sources of meditative knowledge, because:
“Being and knowing must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowing is greater than being, it causes all kinds of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing, it can produce cases as serious as that of a stupid saint.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Study is knowledge and practice is being.Together we produce comprehension. People who study a lot but don't experience become pessimistic, morbid, defeatist, confused. It is because they read about experiences that they don't have and wish that they can have that kind of knowledge for themselves, and feel covetous of those who do. They become dark, pessimistic, morbid, angry, envious.
It is important to really balance the two, because there are those who even have a lot of experiences, but don't have knowledge. They become stupid saints. They can receive knowledge from God, but because they can't interpret, they are stupid in a very blunt sense. They don't know how to relate their experiences to physical life. They don't know how to make their inner experiences practical for themselves, what those messages mean, because initiation is our own life lived intensely with rectitude and love.
So balance the two. Read the doctrine, study the books, but meditate. Meditate on what you read. We have to learn to digest all the beautiful symbols and concepts and understandings we get from our teachers, the prophets, the scriptures. And if you have experiences, learn to find books and teachings that explain what those are.
In my case, I remember having that one experience long ago before I even knew certain aspects of Kabbalah. I united with Ain Soph, but I was bewildered because I didn't understand the real depth of that experience. I knew it was my Being, but I didn't know how that related to the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah. Now, studying that aspect of this teaching, it has become very clear. Therefore I am no longer confused about what it meant.
Over the years of even studying more and more, I’m seeing that arch an experience is not particular to me, but it is mentioned in many cosmogonies and writings of great authors. Great yogis, great prophets. So I don't claim that this is something only special to a few people, because we all have that inside. We all can experience that. But it takes a type of work and blessings from divinity.
But learning to decipher what we see, what states we experiences, we have to learn to combine knowledge and being, as I said. That statement by Samael Aun Weor is corroborated by the Sufis:
“The best of states is that which goes together with knowledge.” ―Nahrajuri in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
“Any mystical state that is not the fruit of formal religious knowledge brings more trouble than benefit to the one who experiences it.” ―Abu Amr bin Nujayd in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
This is all based on ethics. We can have an experience internally that we are told we are a great God and that we should do such and such a thing, even when that action contradicts divine law, the ethics of the soul, upright behavior, upright thinking, upright feeling. There are many people in Gnosis who have committed crimes, made terrible mistakes because they did not study the doctrine. They were confused by a negative, subjective, egotistical state, thinking that they were in samadhi, that they were in ecstasy, when the truth is that they were just confused, by the ego, by Shaitan, the adversary, our ego, al-nafs, nafas, the soul or the lower soul.
So any mystical state must be corroborated by the doctrine, otherwise it brings trouble. So if you have those experiences that are confusing or dark, that don't coincide with the knowledge, then you have to discriminate, meditate, interpret, look for the source. And if that type of state is contrary to the law, then disregard it.
We have to be very exact with our concepts. Logical thought and exact concept are necessary in order to develop spiritual perception, says Samael Aun Weor, I believe in the book on Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology.
This is why we study the lives of the prophets. The Sunnah, the scriptures. This is so we know how to live ethically. Ethics empowers our actions and our actions influence our spiritual states. Our spiritual devotions physically is what determines what states we will experience.
There is a famous Hadith in the Muslim oral tradition which emphasizes this point: how our actions permeate everything we are mentally, physically, emotionally, instinctually, sexually. Prophet Muhammad was known to have stated:
“The outer law (shari'ah) is my word, the spiritual path (tariqah) my actions, and the inner reality (haqiqah) my inner states.” ―Prophet Muhammad
So these three levels of instruction: Shari’ah, Tariqah, and Haqiqah, are essential when we study mystical states.
Everything is based upon our ethics or code of conduct, which is the path of the heart. Without that foundation we cannot have true inner states or knowledge, Haqiqah: the experience of the Being, which is embodied in the life of any prophet.
So of course we emphasize again, develop your ethics. Question what you see in your mind stream. Without that we cannot discriminate with objectivity.
When we work effectively in the path, we progress into higher states of consciousness. This is always occurs in accordance with the death of the ego. There are masters prophets who, due to hierarchy, they enter incredibly vast, beautiful states that for average persons is inaccessible, incomprehensible. There is a particular beauty to studying what is known as progressive states (ahwal) because there are prophets who were so elevated in their level of being, that it is very difficult to understand. But, they can inspire us to change, to reach those heights. We have to learn to remove the covers of our perceptions. Remove the veil, the egos, through vigilance.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq speak about the saying of the Prophet, “Something covers my heart so that I ask forgiveness of God Most High seventy times a day.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So this has to do with our work of self-observation. We see things many times, in our mind, that are very negative. And so we learn to ask forgiveness for our faults. We don't have to have any prayer formula, but remorse. This is what this quote from the Prophet means. We are taking account of our own internal states, our egotistical states, so that we can enter superior spiritual states, experiences.
“He said that the states of the Prophet were always in progressive development. When he moved from one condition to a higher one, it would sometimes happen that his attention returned to what he had advanced beyond. He used to count this ‘a covering’ compared to what he was attaining in the immediate condition, for his states were always in increase.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So while this may not apply to us, this is something important to acknowledge. Advanced initiates enter states progressively higher and higher, in accordance with the death of desire, by descending into the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, the infra-consciousness.
So a prophet that has moved very far beyond the ego, still needs to go even higher and higher, because they are refining their consciousness very much. So a profound mystical state which to us can be very high, could be a barrier for a prophet. Because they are developing so much that they are always entering higher states of infinitude, which of course is very difficult to comprehend where we are at, but with practice and meditation we understand more.
These are the levels of being which as Abdul Karim al-Jili stated "The path to God is short. The path in God is infinite. " So even upon attaining union with divinity, there are levels of knowledge of God which go higher. States that go even deeper into that source.
"The Truth’s capacities for depth and subtlety are without end. And since honor is due to the Truth. It is impossible to fully attain this; the servant is always involved in the refinement of his states. No spiritual significance is conveyed to anyone unless there is in his destiny something beyond it, to which it may transport him. This is the point of the saying, “What is good in the righteous is bad in those brought closer to God.” Junayd was asked about this, and recited: Explosions of light glitter when they appear Making a secret visible and giving news of unification.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
These explosions of light are samadhis, experiences, states. And they are a brief allusion to what true unification is, true religion, unity, the Being.
We will conclude with a quote from Samael Aun Weor. The basis of our meditation is silence and perception. Concentration and imagination produce comprehension. Concentration and imagination produce ecstasy, illumination, understanding. When our mind is calm like a lake, it can reflect the heavens. We can reflect superior states.
“Illumination and ecstasy come when the mind is silent, when the mind is quiet. Drowsiness in combination with meditation produces ecstasy. God searches the nothingness in order to fill it.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
So if we wish to have those types of experiences, we must become empty. Empty of ego. Annihilate the ego. Abandon the ego, because in that nothingness, we can experience the true plenitude in beauty of God, who is a state of consciousness beyond all evidence and materiality. So it's good that we learn to study these states and even comprehend that there are levels and levels to that type of experience. And that is possible for us. Without that, (context) it is difficult to motivate ourselves, to know that there is a goal and that we can obtain it with patience and tenacity.
Questions and Answers
Question: I like to ask whether or not you know, besides just the telling us to okay meditate and quietude and things like that: did the Sufis have any specific practices that are, you know, that is known, that we can learn about?
Instructor: Yes, they speak abundantly about invocation and very commonly within the Sufi schools, they practice what's known as Dhikr, which means “remembrance” in Arabic. It can also mean invocation. In simple terms, this means mantra. Many Sufis will spend decades in their schools, in their masjid, under the jurisdiction or guidance of a Sheikh, a guru, a teacher, utilizing certain mantras.
So a very common one is Allah Hu Allah. They say these mantras out loud, repeatedly and in groups together, in unison, and many times they even encompass these mantras with dance, which is a very sacred form of religion. There has been a lot of controversy especially within the Muslim orthodoxy towards the Sufi schools, especially the Mevlevis, those who practice with the school of Rumi, the whirling dervishes in which those types of dances have been criticized.
But the purpose of any of those exercises like dance, sacred songs, and mantra, is in order to invoke energy. So they want to make sure that they unify song, mantra, movement in order to invoke divinity, and in that way, they bring in good energy. That energy helps to silence the mind, to concentrate the mind, to obtain serenity. Primarily because serenity is developed by working with sacred sounds.
The Sufis place emphasis on this. The mantra Allah Hu Allah relates to divinity on the Tree of Life, which is Ain Soph, Kether, Chokmah, Binah. As well as “Hu,” which means Spirit, Chesed: the Compassionate, the Merciful, which is why in the Qur’an it teaches Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim: “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.”
The Sufis would recite this mantra Allah Hu Allah. Those mantras help the Sufis to obtain union with God. So in that experience I related, I was experiencing my own inner Allah or experiencing the Absolute. Through 'Hu,’ which relates to the breath, the Spirit. So the breath is deeply related, the mantras are deeply related with energy, with the divine.
They also perform exercises of dream yoga, but especially by working with mantra. A lot of the exercises that the Sufis practice in the most esoteric sense are very well hidden, which is why you won't find many aspects of that doctrine publicized. However, from the writings of Samael Aun Weor, it is easy to see that there are exercises that they do in secret, especially alchemy. Transmutation. Meditation. I remember even being on YouTube and looking at a video clip of Sufi group. They were performing Ham-Sah. They were spinning performing the dervishes and breathing Ham Sah in unison, with music, in harmony. So the Sufis know this doctrine, but they don't publicize many hidden roots that we study openly. But there is that relationship there.
Question: Thank you for the explanation and I'm guessing that you know, the Sufis practice, even though not very publicized or published, that the the practices from Master Samael, like you said Ham-Sah, they are probably pretty much include a lot of what Sufis do, right?
Instructor: Yes. Remember that Sufism is still a very Piscean tradition. They are very well known for their conservative nature, keeping their most esoteric practices hidden. That tradition is especially very occluded, meaning: they don't give their practices openly, but the truth is that they do practice the whirling dervishes, such as the sacred rites [of rejuvenation], which we have many similarities to. But their knowledge is not given openly.
The Aquarian knowledge is very different. With the Aquarian doctrine these practices are available to everybody. We don't need to attend a [physical] teacher, a Sheikh, a Guru, a master, to receive these practices. They are available to anybody [Editor’s Note: However, the true master is not to be found in the physical world, but within our own consciousness]. The Age of Pisces was known for its system of instruction in which a Sheikh or master would have to individually pick a student and teach them directly from mouth to ear. Without that, they would not provide their knowledge openly and so they still maintain that system very diligently.
So it would be very difficult to find any of those schools explaining some of the things we are doing here, because with the Aquarian knowledge, in the Age of Aquarius, the exercises for transformation are given openly. The only one who had authority to really do so with the accordance with the White Lodge was Samael Aun Weor, specifically.
Question: I have a question regarding something you said in the beginning about discipline of practice. In the book study ,that one of the first chapters in the book [Fundamentals of Gnostic Education] talks about discipline and the need to not have discipline. Now. I am guessing that you mean something else than what Samael Aun Weor is talking about by discipline and I'm wondering what it is that you mean when you say talk about discipline and practice.
Instructor: Sure, so the statement that the Master Samael Aun Weor makes in Fundamentals of Gnostic Education is a reference to the kind of rigid systems that people adopt intellectually in the mind, especially in relation to certain studies, such as at schools or academies. That type of discipline of intellectual study and eclectic approaches to any kind of field of knowledge, without a practical dimension, is useless.
It is useless to study any discipline of any field, whether in astronomy, science, anything—if it's not grounded in some type of practical work. So in the context of that book, he is referring a lot to the tendency in people to want to merely leave everything in the intellect through rigorous intellectual discipline, like getting a doctorate or PhD or being very obtuse in one's knowledge, specific to one thing that really doesn't address the heart, or the soul.
Real spiritual discipline is when we work on the mind. Samael Aun Weor speaks abundantly in other books, like Igneous Rose, that we must submit ourselves to profound esoteric discipline, which means meditate. Restrain the mind. Conquer the mind. But the danger is, especially with analysis or any religion, that we just study things intellectually and leave it there. The problem with that is that we may have a lot of knowledge intellectually, a lot of discipline intellectually, taking a lot of time in our schedule to read a lot, but not having any practice. It makes people unbalanced.
The essence of real spiritual discipline is combining our meditation with some type of study. One without the other is useless. But combining the two, we produce comprehension. Hope that answers your question.
Question: I think so. It reminds me of, I read about like lunar celibacy versus solar celibacy, and it seems like it's the difference between, I guess intellectually, deciding I'm going to do something or maintaining a rigid form of how something's going to go versus a preparation for which means an open-mindedness. So you're still involved. It's still very involved but it's how you're involved. Is that the way you participate differentiates discipline versus discipline?
Instructor: Real esoteric discipline involves both knowledge and being. We have to combine our studies with meditation. If we don't meditate on what we study, our understanding will be very shallow. But when you combine the two, spiritual experiences, with study of the doctrine, then it's very easy to remove any errors. We don't get confused.
In relation to lunar and solar celibacy, that is a little bit of a different practice. But yes, people who are commonly practicing what's called celibacy, they may read a lot of Christian writings or any other religion or teaching, but they don't really understand the practice of transmutation, working with the body and the energies, and so that's an incomplete discipline, which can relate to this dynamic. People can study that aspect of yoga and religion, but because they lack a practical dimension of what those traditions teach, they are confused and they suffer a lot. But real discipline is when we combine esoterically meditation, transmutation, service for others. Knowledge and being have to be united. Without that we don't comprehend anything.
Question: My question is about the stages of meditation and Master Samael Aun Weor talks about in Igneous Rose that appearing in the vision of the meditator, in a daily basis of the meditator. Like not particularly in the meditation session. I don't know if you are familiar with that quote.
Instructor: So you are saying that to have that experience is some kind of vision even when not in meditation?
Question: Yes. I think he called it color yellow, color red and I believe the third one is blue, and it's sort of like a stage. I believe he explains them as a stages of concentration you are maintaining throughout the day. How should we, if we receive that, how should you look? Is that like a phenomena? An experience? Is it something earned? It seems like it's coming and going and coming again. How should you look upon those things?
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor mentions in Igneous Rose that as we develop our meditative practice we learn to start seeing visions and images, even when being physically active. He refers to this as clairvoyance, spiritual perception, which can form as a type of psychic imagery in the mind, the consciousness, the third eye between our eyebrows. He explains how if we're really diligent about meditation, we will start to understand more things relating to our daily life.
You can be physically active involved in other activities, at work, being with people, and he explains how suddenly we may start to perceive psychic imagery—understanding of the thoughts, emotions, and motives of other people. He refers to this as clairvoyance. It is a profound form of concentration, our attention, of where we are focused, on what we are doing. In that way we start to become inspired by what we see in other people and ourselves.
He also explains in other books that inspirational knowledge pertains to our understanding of interrelations, interdependence, how our thoughts and the thoughts and emotions of others, interrelate—to see that in a conscious way. It can occur with imagery, understanding other people based on that kind of perception, which doesn't have to just occur when we are sitting in our posture, in a silent room in the dark with eyes closed.
It is good to see more and more things, more internal states in relation to external events in the process of meditating. The Sufis speak a lot about this too. We have to learn to match our internal state with the external event, and that comes about by understanding what we perceive. So questioning our internal states, which can be positive or negative, we can learn how to judge, to comprehend, and images can occur as we are interacting with people. It happens quite often and it will happen more with greater clarity as we are refining our meditative practice too.
Question: In the same line, I would say, how can we understand that at the same moment without letting the mind doing the judgment? You know, if you feel something from someone, let's say the mind labels it as a negative, but you know that it isn't actually negative. Everything is a lesson and every everybody has their own Being. So how can we have all the situation's going into the positive or constructive way, even though they appear at the surface as a gossip or it's something that we don't want, you know, to happen?
Instructor: Comprehension occurs as a result of following our inner judgment. That voice of conscience that says this is right and this is wrong. In most cases we tend to follow our mind, which can be clouded, if confused and burdened with a lot of negative emotion. In order to understand what we experience and what is objective, we have to follow our heart. Your heart will tell you that this situation is negative or positive, or this internal state is wrong or good. The only issue is that as you've mentioned, or you’ve implied, we have a lot of ego. It is difficult to discern what is positive and what is negative, what is objective.
So the solution is, because our senses are very deceiving, our mind is very deceiving, even our emotions can be very deceiving, we have to learn how to clarify our attention. This is really the value of meditative practice, is that after a day of self-observation, in which you have seen or witnessed certain things, we have acted our best in the different circumstances of our jobs or family life, we go home, we sit, we relax, we suspend our senses. We work with energy. Circulate the vital force, through pranayama, mantras, or even sexual alchemy if one is married.
When meditating and looking deep within, visualizing that event that we have questions about, put that scene in the screen of our imagination and try to picture everything that happened. But without adding to or taking away.
Be honest. So learning to be honest is a combination of two things. Sincerity is developed in the moment when we see a state or action in us that is negative. Or we sense a negative thing. We may not act perfectly in the moment. In many cases, we tend to follow what our ego wants and we feel the consequences, the suffering resulting from that. So that internal state influenced the external events of our job or our daily activities. And if we feel that pain and suffering and remorse, and even if we acted rightly in the situation, meaning, we felt that we followed our heart and produced a situation beneficial for everybody, still we go home, we meditate, we close our eyes, visualize the scene, and imagine everything that happened relating to that moment.
What was the event? Who is involved? Where did it take place? What time of the day? And going even deeper, what was our mood? What were the thoughts associated with that moment? What were the feelings, the actions that we took, whether for good or for ill? And to ask our Divine Being our Divine Mother, al-Baqarah in Islam, the sacred cow, the divine feminine, to show us what in us needs to be understood.
In many cases, we have too many Impressions entering our mind stream in a moment, which can be very intense and difficult to control and to decipher. So if we get overloaded by that event and may have acted wrongly, we should learn to say, “Well, I made a mistake or I think I did well in this situation, but let me go home later and meditate and examine that situation deeply,” because there may be certain behavior subconsciously that we are not aware of yet.
And this is really the importance of meditation. Real profound change, elimination of our internal states in our daily life, can only occur when we meditate. It is a combination of our daily work, being physically active in the day, learning the sweetness of worship by fulfilling our obligations, as the Sufis state.
So remember that quote that states that we learn to feel sweetness of worship in our outward deeds. This is the first step. We gather data about our ego. Moment by moment, instant by instant. Following our heart to the best of our ability. There are occasions where we may feel that joy, that sweetness in the heart that says, “I know I did the right thing,” or perhaps remorse, “I felt that I did a bad thing.”
Ecstasy occurs, understanding occurs, comprehension evolves, unfolds when we make inner effort. Meaning: go home, retrospect your day, visualize the scene as it happened and ask divinity to help you understand what was going on there and how you could have acted if the situation was wrong, or if one behave badly. That is the only way to really gain clarity, because it's difficult to trust what we see.
We tend to be very clouded people, but it is inevitable that if we are saving our energies meditating daily, reviewing our day, imagining those scenes and asking for understanding and comprehension of the ego, that naturally as we go back to work the next day or repeat the same situation, we will start to see things more and more. If we are changing more profoundly, psychologically, it means that we will act in better and better ways and that conscience in our heart gets stronger.
Question: I wanted to ask you at the beginning, when I first started studying, I only focused on you know, just the intellectual part, like just reading and reading and reading until I can build my practices little by little, but I'm still not... like sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough. Obviously. I am not doing enough, but I wanted to know what is the significance of the difference between, I guess, the [Church of] Laodicea and the Church of Philadelphia! because I was meditating and I went to a place and it was very beautiful, and I asked them what that place was and there was an older man. He said this was Philadelphia, so I'm not sure. Then later I see, well, you know, there's the two glands but maybe I'm not doing enough or I don't know. I don't know what that meant.
Instructor: Those two chakras, our churches, between the eyebrows, Philadelphia, and the Church of Laodicea at the crown, those chakras are known as the Chakra Ajna and the Chakra Sahasrara according to Eastern mysticism. According to the Book of Revelation they are known as churches, and the Sufis refer to these centers as Lataif, the seven world centers [seven organs of perception] in which the powers of the initiate are developed through the help of a master according to Sufi tradition.
Philadelphia literally means “brotherly love.” Philos, delphia: love of humanity, and that has to do with perceptions relating to astral projection, clairvoyance, understanding thought, understanding our own selves, self-observation, awareness. A lot of people like to think that this term clairvoyance only applies to a few people who have a special gift. It is a French term that means “clear vision.” It was invented by a group of people to confuse humanity to make them think that only a few people could have that knowledge, which is a mistake. It was an effort to deflect people from studying their knowledge.
But the reality is that clairvoyance or perception means “imagination.” It's the ability to perceive spiritual images. That clarity of vision occurs in the astral plane, especially, when we awaken in the dream state, or when we are meditating and we start to see images. They can be experiences or landscapes, as I said. Lights, illumination, internal states of the soul. Those visions greatly vary and apply to what we experience in meditation in terms of imagery, psychic experiences, visuals, sounds, even.
Sounds can also relate to the chakra of the throat which is the Church of Sardis in the Book of Revelation, relating to sound, mystical sounds. Those centers are active when we calm the body, calm the heart, calm the mind.
It gets deeper more and more as we are practicing self-observation, as well as imagination exercises. Meaning, we take an image and visualize it and try to picture it with clarity between our eyebrows. We have to develop that type of perception when we are in our work of self-observation.
It is a profound form of clairvoyance to see the ego objectively. To separate as an observer to the observed. The soul, the consciousness, is observing then the nafas, the ego, the animal "I’s,” the lower soul, desires, according to the Sufis. And learning to separate from that we develop greater clarity of perception.
A lot of factors pertain to that element, but the primary one is, in accordance to the name of Philadelphia, philos-delphia, love of humanity, brotherly love, we develop that chakra profoundly when we eliminate anger, because the opposite of brotherly love is hatred. If you want to develop that type of perception with greater clarity, illumination of the soul, we have to learn to eliminate negative internal states, the ego.
This is why in that excerpt from The Aquarian Message we read, "God searches the nothingness in order to fill it." If we are filled with anger, we cannot reflect God. Anger ripples the mind, the lake of the mind. It makes it agitated, and therefore the images of the superior world cannot reflect in our meditation and likewise in our daily states. If we are not working on that negative emotion in our daily life, we won't see with clarity. It will be difficult to understand right from wrong, to observe our own egos in action. But if we develop serenity, love of humanity, the mind calms, we transform our situation, we see our perception, our situation with clarity.
But even beyond that is the crown chakra, which is much higher. It has to do with very elevated experiences like the one I related to you all tonight, in which you leave behind the universe and enter the states of Being which are beyond thought, feeling, and will. Those are states that we can only understand through experience, but it's good that when you are meditating and studying and practicing, that you learn about these experiences so that when it happens you don't get confused.
We are going back to your comments and your question is, that if you want a greater clarity in your perceptions, if you want to understand what that aspect of your soul is, Philadelphia, the Church of the third eye, that Chakra Ajna, we have to learn how to develop serenity, patience, and love. Without that we don't have any clarity in what we see. Sometimes our perception, that third eye, can be negative if it's charged with pessimism, resentment, negativity. Therefore, everything we see will be clouded from that element, which is why when people are filled with anger, they don't see clearly. They can't rationalize. But it seems that the experience you just related has to do with the beauty of the soul that learns how to see with objectivity.
The Church of Philadelphia internally is very beautiful. All the churches of the Gnostic movement are very beautiful and profound. So there are places that you can visit internally, but also relates to certain qualities, perception. So if it's a beautiful experience that you had, it would seem to be that it's indicating to you the beauty of your own clairvoyance when it is pure. If it's clouded by negative internal states, then it becomes a problem. Hope that answers your question.
Question: Yeah, it does because I think this was like a gift like you were saying so that it would motivate me to work towards that.
Instructor: Yes. That is usually how those experiences unfold.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
"Before the Soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion." —H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
In this lecture we are going to be discussing the nature of the three minds. In this type of knowledge, it's important to reflect and understand that this teaching or practical science has methods and practices that can change us and transform us radically. In studying the nature of the mind, and studying the nature of what we call consciousness or soul, we make an emphasis that we possess three types of mind.
Specifically we like to relate psychology, which we've been covering in the past few weeks, with the ancient scriptures, founded within the most upheld, venerated, respected and practiced traditions. This is very different from the psychology of today that has divorced itself from religion, and which is no longer very practical for developing one's spirituality. And while we find that Gnosis has a practical application, we do refer to a scholastic component, including the study of the Torah, or the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur'an, the New Testament. Therefore in discussing these types of psychological teachings, we emphasize the explication and utilization of many languages. We like to refer to things in the original language of the scriptures, since they hold much more meaning than the adulterated and translated English, or "plain English" that really does not get to the point of what we spiritually seek.
So as we discuss these types of principles, we will refer to many traditions and many different languages, but with the purpose of clarifying practical aspects of how to change oneself into something better, to unite with our divine source, that intelligence which religions have given many names: the inner Buddha, the inner Christ, Allah, Vishnu, or amongst the Nordics, Baldur, the Christ within that warrior culture, which at one time was not a culture of violence but the warrior ethics of the spirit, being strong within one's spirituality in order to conquer the internal factors that cause pain and ignorance.
With these principles, we seek to study ourselves. This is about the science or knowledge of understanding our inner nature, our inner divinity. When we approach this we study specifically what we call the three minds, which we are going to elaborate upon in depth.
It's important to recognize that the term “mind,” especially as it has been translated from eastern doctrine, has been misappropriated, and extremely abused, in relation with the term's practical application towards ones spiritual development. In this type of teaching we refer to the soul as consciousness, and we refer to the mind, which is something completely different, as the intellect, a tool in itself, which is not our authentic identity.
It's important for us, in order to have a strong foundation in this teaching, and when approaching the science of the mind, to reflect by studying the various world scriptures, and to comprehend that there are really two types of science, relating to the original Latin word scientia, which means "knowledge" or gnosis.
There are two types of science. The first is nothing more than a compost heap of subjective theories that abound out there; the second is the pure science of the great illuminati: the objective science of the Being. —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This demarcation between "official" and esoteric science is fundamental to the study of mind. For while there have been many great marvels in materialistic science, we know that science without genuine spiritual principles has produced atomic bombs, wars, chemical weapons, and more complex ways to harm each other. I believe Albert Einstein said that science without religion is lame, or better said, dangerous, and that religion without science is blind. Without these types of principles to guide one's ethics, one's spirituality, science in turn becomes something detrimental.
It is very obvious if we examine the times we live in. We find that despite technologies such as the iPhone, communication, attempts to traverse space, we have in turn become more cruel. Humanity has become more violent, more abusive in relation with drugs and alcohol. There are more acts of genocide than there has ever been. To quote the founder of this tradition, Samael Aun Weor, our humanity is morally bankrupt. This is very painful to behold, especially when we are honest, because we recognize that we are a part of this humanity, and in turn contribute to the global problem, which, to use Buddhist ideology or principles, is the suffering of all sentient beings.
If we really want to change the world, we need to change ourselves first, to rectify our own mistakes and to have the courage not to blame others. This in turn is perhaps one of the most difficult conflicts to overcome: the tendency to blame others for our suffering. "He offended me!" "She said this!" "Can you believe what my family member did?" "He betrayed me!" "He hurt me!" We undergo a constant slew of negative emotions and violent thoughts, an insurgence of profound suffering: anger, pride, vanity, etc., which in turn creates conflict and chaos within our internal and external worlds.
So if we really want to seek to know the divine, the Lord within, we need to know how to change our own internal world through a very particular mystical science, an esoteric or hidden teaching about the nature of mind. There is a saying in the Gnostic teachings that "God searches the nothingness in order to fill it." It's important to have a mind that is silent and serene, so that like a lake it can reflect the starry heavens of Urania, the Cosmic Christ, the Solar Logos, to use Greek terms for divinity.
To unite with divine reality and change our way of thinking, to improve the world for the better, we study the nature of two principles in Gnostic science. For this purpose, we use terms employed in Immanuel Kant's philosophy, the famous philosopher from Königsberg. He stated that there are really two types of experience, which we emphasize in relation with the study of mind:
We make this distinction, that phenomena relates with occurrence, circumstance, or facts that are perceptible by the senses. We know from original scriptures that the senses in themselves are merely a vehicle through which we experience life, but do not take us to the reality of things. Unfortunately it is due to the sleep of the consciousness, the sleep of the soul, the sleep of psyche to use Greek myth, that we fail to perceive the true and inherent reality of life, the truth of things-in-themselves, or noumena, as they are without contradiction, without illusion.
Some people say this world is maya, and that it is from this world of illusion that we must escape, so as to harmonize oneself and unite with God. This is partially true. In these types of studies, we seek to bring down and to experience our own pneuma, the spirit, or Khrestos, Christ, here and now. We consciously invoke that divine intelligence within ourselves, so that we know how to live fuller lives, without the mind wandering lost in distractions, hypnotized with the phenomena or "appearances" of the world.
This is the essence of the esoteric study of the mind, which was never given to the public until recently. Materialistic science looks towards phenomena to explain the universe, and even has the audacity to reject, through blind atheistic beliefs, that there are no guiding spiritual principles that direct the course of life. Phenomena is appearance, what we think something is like, but in truth we do not really perceive the inherent thing-in-itself. Such a principle was the basic tenet of Immanuel Kant's philosophy, for which he was greatly criticized, because for thousands of years humanity has tried to approach divinity through the intellect, which, according to Kant, cannot know the truth. A very radical postulation to admit and realize within oneself!
Most of humanity still does not have access to the divine spiritual truths contained within religion or real philosophy, which is philos, love, and sophia, wisdom. Wisdom in Hebrew is חכמה Chokmah, Christ in the Kabbalah. So genuine philosophy is one's love and connection with that divine source.
The Three Minds
In relation with the study of the mind, we talk about three types. If humanity were aware that we possess three distinct types of mentality, or ways or processing information, many things would be different on this planet. There would be no war, violence, ignorance, hatred and bigotry. Instead, there would be brotherhood, fraternity, and a unified world effort to alleviate the suffering of all beings. The reasons will become clear as we discuss the particularities of each type of cognition:
The Sensual Mind processes knowledge gained from physical senses or phenomena. The Intermediate or Mystical Mind is the storehouse of theories, beliefs, mysticism, and religions as commonly taught in the exoteric or public traditions of today. The Inner Mind relates with information garnered from direct mystical experience of the truth, and has constituted the esoteric heart of every authentic tradition in the world. This hidden knowledge was only given by mouth to ear, the science which we are explaining here.
The Limitations and Dualism of the Sensual Mind
The divine inner nature we call Christ, or Christ-mind, is a spiritual type of mentality and forms the basis of esoteric philosophy and genuine spiritual science. This is completely opposed to the intellect or type of Sensual Mind we commonly experience. In order to address Christ-mind, or a consciousness in harmony with the divine, the pneuma, it's necessary to address what we commonly term as the Sensual Mind.
The intellect is part of the inferior two types of mind. Here we are referring to the Sensual Mind, in which the intellect processes itself. We also find that intellect relates to the Intermediate Mind, which we are also going to explain in depth.
The Sensual Mind is what we typically think of as mind. "I think, therefore I am." Or, "I experience thought, therefore I exist." Or "I have a physical body, therefore I am." In these types of studies, we must politely contradict these statements. If we study the spiritual scriptures, the mind in itself is not the spirit, the pneuma, and if you're familiar with the Christian gospel, when Christ said, "I Am," or the Hebrew word אהיה Eheieh, this does not refer to the kind of thought we commonly experience. The latter state refers to the awakened and heightened perception of God, which brings peace, joy and harmony.
The Sensual Mind only knows how to categorize and formulate concepts and information in relation with physical senses. It is a type of mind or experience that only knows physicality. It only knows how to look at physical senses, and to establish or formulate information about it. We can see, then, that this is really the greatest source of our suffering, since the majority of our life is spent occupied with physical matters. The intellect, the psychological process or mechanism of the Sensual Mind, fills our life with worry, anxiety over bills, fear and uncertainty about living conditions today, fear about our health, how long we will live, our evaluations of our failures in this life and what we need to accomplish physically.
These types of sensual thoughts about physical life constitute the churning of the mind, which is the intellect, not connected with divinity. Someone who has a mind that is in harmony with the divine within has no fear, has no anxiety or worry. The problem lies in the Sensual Mind as we know it, our intellectual processes, which, when subservient to God, constitute a useful vehicle of the spirit.
But as I mentioned to you, if it is divorced from spiritual principles, it becomes the greatest enemy that any person can have. This is the essential tenet or teaching of Islam. Islam in Arabic means "submission." So Muslims who truly submit themselves to Allah, bowing to the east towards Mecca, in which they place their head completely to the earth, signify that the intellect or Sensual Mind must be a servant to God, and it must not be a tool for our own internal misery, anger, negative elements, which create friction in our life.
In discussing the nature of mind, we must address the misconceptions about it, and how the Sensual Mind is only a machine. It can present a thesis; it can present an antithesis, but only in relation with physical experience. It can present a theory; it can present a criticism of that theory based upon physical analysis. It has one concept, followed by another that can be in complete contradiction to it. This is how we find the common movement of philosophy, at least in the West specifically, such as with empiricism, but also in Eastern traditions as well, between good and bad; thesis, antithesis; a constant conflict of principles and disagreements amongst thinkers, because the intellect or Sensual Mind only knows how to sway between positive and negative, good and bad, in relation with physical information, physical phenomena. It is caught between what we call the duality of the mind.
People always justify themselves with "reason." They champion reason, but then again, there's two sides to it. Everyone has their point of view, and any argument can be defended to the death through rigorous analysis, evidence, and explanations. Reason always feeds itself through opposites.
This is a very famous principle in eastern traditions, the duality of forces within nature, the body, the soul. When we discuss the nature of reasoning in itself, there is duality, just as there is a duality within scientific investigation: one which can be cultured by the spirit, or another at the service of anger, pride, or negative internal psychological elements.
The Sensual Mind in itself is caught within dualistic tendencies: thesis, antithesis; good, bad; without capacity to perceive the nature of the synthesis, unable to see different perspectives at once. The Sensual Mind is rigid; it never accepts anything outside its own materialistic parameters. It cannot comprehend how two arguments may both be true, even when conflicting.
Never can the formulating power of logical concepts imply the authentic experience of what is real. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This statement really gets to the heart of what this entire lecture is about, because many people think that because they experienced a thought or concept about the nature of a physical phenomenon, they feel that they have understood the real intrinsic nature of this type of phenomenon. But the experience is something else. The thought or concept is a projection of the Sensual Mind. Typically when science observes any phenomena in this physical universe, they project their theories onto the screen of nature, and believe that their theories are the truth, even when they cannot verify the noumena of such an experience. They are trying to explain noumena through phenomena, the truth within appearances, ascertained through the senses and processed through the Sensual Mind.
For example, scientists have observed the process of rain and classify it as the accumulation of moisture through heat and evaporation from the earth. Little do they know that there are conscious intelligent principles behind physical phenomena—which the ancient traditions, such as folklore or fairy tales that we grew up with, talk about—sylphs and sylphids, nereids and mermaids, elementals of the air and of the water which help nature to function and flow.
Deep down, in these simple processes of life and nature, we find divine intelligent principles functioning throughout nature, which is a fact we can verify through direct conscious experience. We do not need to believe anything. We can learn to awaken our soul or clairvoyant vision, to awaken within dreams, to converse with those forces or intelligences, which work under the auspices of the divine architect, the Elohim in Hebrew, the angels of life and death. Then, such statements are no longer outrageous, because we are no longer skeptical. We simply know.
To present this type of postulation to materialistic scientists is to incur their ridicule and criticism, because due to the conditioning of their mind, they only see physical phenomena. They do not perceive the pneuma within things; they do not see the conscious and divine principles that animate nature, the noumena of life, because their consciousness is asleep. They rely completely on the physical senses.
Therefore many of them are extremely atheist. Atheism falls into the category of the Sensual Mind, because most people do not have the capacity to experience God, and therefore feel that there is no God, ignoring that their degenerated state of mind inhibits them from knowing the truth. Due to their spiritual emptiness, they concoct absurd and ignorant materialistic theories to explain how the universe operates, since they lack the ability to investigate life with the consciousness.
The Intermediate or Mystical Mind
So we find that the intellect as we know it only knows how to categorize and to theorize. While this pertains to the Sensual Mind and its processes of physical information, we also find it in relation with spiritual traditions, philosophy and mystical belief. As we mentioned, the Intermediate or Mystical Mind is the storehouse for beliefs of all types, whether in religion or metaphysical phenomena, but without being grounded in actual experience of divine truths: noumena.
Continuing with Kant's philosophy, who is a very interesting and eminent figure in Western thought, a significant point was made that has been completely ignored by many other philosophers, scientists, theologians, and other persons of knowledge and education. They ignore what he called the antinomy of reason.
Basically an antinomy is a paradox whereby two completely contradictory arguments about the same principle can both be valid. For example, Kant gave what are called his four antinomies:
We find different conflicting arguments, specifically and most importantly in relation with God. One antinomy: "There is a God." The mind debates, provides evidence, apparent facts to support that there is a divine intelligence. This is the reasoning of the Intermediate or Mystical Mind: it rationalizes based upon truths it has not experienced. And then there is the side of atheism, that says, "There is no God, and here are the facts." This is the counterclaim or reasoning of the Sensual Mind, establishing its thesis on inferences based upon physical evidence. Both arguments, founded upon their respective evidence, can both be right according to intellectual analysis, if we do not know how to activate what we call the pneuma within.
The Sensual Mind only knows how to create theories, concepts and store information from the physical senses. The Intermediate Mind, on the other hand, knows how to create theories and concepts, as well as store information, about metaphysical phenomena that one has not experienced. We know at least from education or the educational psychologists of modern school systems, that memory is the least reliable form of learning, which tends to be the main emphasis of secondary, middle school and elementary education, even in the primary grades.
Memory, or the ability to recite or quote information, to compare ideas, to present concepts or counterarguments, is the domain of the intellect. It can only theorize and memorize, but it cannot know the truth. The Mystical Mind, as well as the Sensual Mind, cannot perceive divine reality. This is why Kant was so ridiculed and opposed, because he said that in our present condition, the mind cannot know God—it cannot know noumena―it cannot know the truth. Meanwhile for thousands of years, people have been trying to prove the existence of God through the intellectual processes of the Intermediate Mind, the domain of beliefs. Kant’s statement bothered many philosophers, theologians and metaphysicians, incurring their criticism, especially while his teaching is a very valuable contribution to both exoteric and esoteric thought.
Samael Aun Weor wrote something very interesting about this in Igneous Rose:
"The Age of Reason was initiated by Aristotle. It reached its culmination with Emmanuel Kant and ends now with the birth of the new Era of Aquarius." ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Interesting statement when taking into consideration that Kant's major contribution to philosophy is the realization that the mind cannot know the truth. Definitely a good end to the age of intellectualism or subjective reasoning!
We're not saying by this that Kant was an initiate and that he developed his own pneuma within, but he came to some potent realizations that the intellect, the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, cannot know God. It cannot know the divine within.
The Inner Mind and Direct Experience
It's important that we have an open, receptive mind, so as to impartially investigate this type of science or teaching. For as the Buddha taught, do not accept anything at face value. One must test his words like gold: burn it, scratch it, to see if it really is gold and of value. If not, disregard it. But through investigation and scientific inquiry, by developing the legitimate science of the Being within, we can verify for ourselves these truths, intrinsically within ourselves and within nature.
This is the purpose of the Inner Mind. The Inner Mind is a type of comprehension that only processes data derived from direct mystical experience within the consciousness of the Being. The consciousness which has freed itself from the dualism of the mind experiences the reality, which is far beyond the body, the affections and the mind. It is a type of experience that goes very far beyond the theories and debates that have plagued this planet for so long, in which people have argued over reality but have not experienced it for themselves.
"Any psychological process that is correctly structured using precise logic is opposed by a different one, strongly developed with similar or superior logic. Then what?” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The mind can present an intricate philosophical system, which is in conflict with another, and both of them may appear to be right, even though they disagree. The ability to form concepts in that way does not equate with genuine spiritual experience. This type of knowledge or spiritual experience in the consciousness has to do with transcending the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, so that we can verify in a didactic, clear, unbiased and vigorous way the essential teachings given in all the religions and scriptures.
Only the awakening of the Inner Mind grants us access to comprehending the world's scriptures. The Inner Mind stores all the information and spiritual experiences of the awakened consciousness. It is the only type of mind that can know God and properly comprehend Him, since it is a mind that has gained direct access to the nature of divinity, pneuma or noumena, the truth.
It's important to have this as our basis, to be sincere and to earnestly seek for that experience ourselves, in order to unite ourselves with the divine through awakening our Inner Mind.
The Inner Mind, Force, and Spiritual Realities
As we awaken the Inner Mind, we in turn come to know hidden realities. Rudolf Steiner said that once you develop yourself, your pneuma, you will experience the reality of etheric forces, the force field behind the physical. He mentioned how flowers, even animals, have a different force field. When you experience that, you feel astonished.
To quote Shakespeare in Hamlet, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Act. I, scene v. ll. 166-7). There is even technology now that is able to capture this type of phenomena. It's called the Kirlian camera, developed by Russian scientists, in which they captured images of the auric energy or etheric depth of stones, plants, leaves, and water. This is the vital life behind physical matter, known as Yesod in Hebraic Kabbalistic terms, the mysticism of Judaism.
The camera in itself has the capacity to show us what is beyond the physical, but through this type of mystical science, we are able to experience that type of perception without the use of other technology. We can say that the greatest technology we possess is our own consciousness, for it has the capacity to perceive the very roots of nature, of all things, if we know how to awaken our Inner Mind in order to be in harmony with Christ.
In order to recognize the states of the Inner Mind, we have to introspect and be honest. We must evaluate our mind, and take an inventory of our experience: what is it that we project and what are moments where we truly comprehend the nature of life in its flow? This takes tremendous practice and esoteric discipline.
So when we talk about the intellect and the antinomies of reason, it's important to remember, especially if we're new to this type of knowledge, or even if we have a lot of experience in this or other traditions, to approach this science with the spirit, or pneuma, of investigation, of inquiry, and not to take things at face value. We should practice and employ the techniques of this tradition to awaken our Inner Mind. Through experimentation and experience, we transcend the theories, beliefs and limitations of the Sensual and Intermediate Minds.
People caught within materialism and intellectual dogmas become over-complicated. They lack the ability to discern reality from the mind. The Inner Mind is simple, but profound. It knows how to ascertain mystical truths without resorting to the depressing process of 'options,' of theories, speculating about everything but not knowing anything.
To reiterate, the Sensual Mind processes data from physical experience, the Intermediate Mind in relation with beliefs, theories from religion or mysticism, and the Inner Mind through knowledge of one's experience of God.
The Sensual Mind bases its theories on the physical senses, which are not reliable, since they are born in time and die in time. They have no direct correlation with the spirit and cannot get to the root of the pneuma or noumena of life. Within the Intermediate Mind are all the beliefs within traditions we find today, but which are not grounded in actual experience. There's a quote that comes to my mind which I find is very potent; it comes from Deepak Chopra:
"Religion is belief in someone else's experience. Spirituality is having your own experience."
This is the heart of this type of teaching. It is the essence of Gnosis, the essence of the Inner Mind, or Christ-mind, a mind which stores its information and direct experiences with God. If what we want is to know divinity, the etheric world, energies and consciousness, we must overcome our own predisposition towards the Sensual and/or Intermediate Minds.
The Three Minds in Scripture
In relation with the scriptures, there is a very famous story in the teachings of Jesus about the nature of the three minds. Particularly, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, who condemned Christ to death in the gospels.
The Sadducees, the materialists, are persons who belong to the Sensual Mind, who debate, argue and theorize about things of the physical senses. If we go back to Greek philosophy, we find the school of Epicureanism and Empiricism, or the nihilistic belief about acquiring as much sensation and pleasure in life as possible before dying. They say one should indulge in senses or "enjoy one's life fully." This, however, ignores the fundamental law that we call Karma, cause and effect, in that the soul, with all of its attachments, craving and ignorance, continues after the death of the body. This is a fact we can verify by awakening our Inner Mind.
The Intermediate Mind is represented by the Pharisees. The Pharisees are all of those who are very religious, have a lot of knowledge of scripture, and have studied religion very deeply, but who have no experience of what the scriptures and religions teach. This is the essential reason why they were always in conflict with Christ, or Jesus, who was the living representation of the Christ-principle in the times of the Middle East, two thousand years ago.
Christ was always in conflict with the Sadducees and the Pharisees, because he sought to teach them what he knew of the pneuma of God. Because they were incapable of experiencing God, all throughout the New Testament, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; they constantly sought to test the Lord, and confront the Lord, using the intellect in the attempt to trick and sabotage Christ, into identifying with their negativity.
They asked questions such as, "Can you show us God?" This is beautifully represented by Pilate asking Jesus, "What is Truth?" Yet Christ remained silent. This is a beautiful answer, because the truth is the unknown, and to seek to explain it in words misses the point, although through lectures we seek to help students develop their spiritual practice so you can experience the truth on your own.
This raises a very important point, that Pilate represents the mind. The Sensual Mind cannot know the truth, and that is why Jesus in the gospels, who represents our own Intimate Christ, is always in conflict with these inferior types of mind, whether within ourselves or in other people.
This has been the great battle of all the prophets who have awakened their Inner Mind and experienced God. The masters always affirm knowledge from the scriptures and explain this science, coming to teach those of the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, but are always being rejected. Since humanity loves to defend egotism, desire, the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, it always rejects the Lord, in every time, place, and culture throughout history and today. The teachings of Christ are very radical and require the complete renunciation of one's egotistical sense of self, or one's inner negativity, symbolized as the seven deadly sins: anger, pride, lust, vanity, greed, gluttony, laziness.
This was symbolized in the story of Lazarus, or the man who was possessed by many demons. Christ asked him, "Who are you?" And the man said, "We are legion, for we are many." (Mark 5:9). This typifies a type of psychology that we commonly have and commonly find on this planet, a mind that is fractured, fragmented into a multiplicity of discursive psychological elements. This is what we call ego in Gnostic Psychology.
It is this inner negativity we seek to eliminate in order to awaken what we call the Inner Mind. What we call soul or consciousness is trapped within all those elements, the pluralized ego, or negative self. Do not confuse this with the Higher Self or Innermost, the Being, our Inner God. Our consciousness or soul can be referred to as נֶ֫פֶשׁ Nephesh, animal soul, which is trapped in the ego like the genie in Aladdin's lamp. This is a middle eastern symbol of this teaching. The lamp represents the ego which is the foundation of the Sensual and Intermediate Minds.
So when one knows how to awaken or to extract the genie from the lamp, one can perform miracles, and this is specifically in relation with the awakening of the Inner Mind.
The Inner Mind is the mind which stores and comprehends the information experienced with the spirit. It is a type of knowledge that relates with the soul. It is "inner" because it pertains to the very root of our being. All the mystical experiences that the disciple has, such as through samadhis or ecstasies, whether out of the physical body or in meditation, those are experiences of the Inner Mind. To go to the Latin root of ecstasy, we find ex-statuo: "to stand outside oneself." It is when the consciousness or the genie is pulled from the lamp, from the conditioning filters of the ego, in order to unite with the divine reality.
So when one has that type of knowledge, this indicates the synthesis of the Inner Mind, a mind which knows God; a Christ-mind that experiences the divine source. Therefore, we find a stark differentiation between this type of mind with the previous two: the Sensual Mind, which is only occupied with the five senses, which is transitory and phenomenal (not in the sense that it is "stellar," but that it relates with the world of phenomena or appearances). We have the Intermediate Mind that only has beliefs and no experience, which is commonly what we find in many religions and spiritual groups. But the awakening of the Inner Mind is very different and relates with the practical experience of God, the scientific experience or perception of the divine within.
Understanding this differentiation is important because Christ warned his disciples and warned us:
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [It is] because we have taken no bread. [Which] when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?...
...How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. ―Matthew 16:6-8, 11-12
When we talk about "leaven," we are speaking about yeast, which is placed in bread in order to inflate it. Now this has no other practical purpose but to make the bread more appealing and enjoyable to the senses. It does not add to the bread itself. Jesus often said that "I am the living bread" (John 6:51) which is לחם Lechem in Hebrew. We also find ceremonial Jewish bread named חלה Chalah, which has the same letters, but in different sequence. This refers to the bread of knowledge or wisdom, symbolizing the science of the Inner Mind. ח Chet reminds us of חיה Chaiah, "life." ל Lamed is the letter of the hanged Apostle who sacrifices himself for humanity in the twelfth arcanum of the Tarot. And ה Hei is the "womb" through which the initiate is born. Together, the bread of Christ is the life force through which any apostle is born. Interesting that Christ was supposedly born in Bethlehem, which means "House of God" or "House of Bread," which hides this meaning here.
Now it's important to remember in the scriptures that the unleavened bread is the pure science of the divine, which is why in the Old Testament the Jews ate unleavened bread or מַצָּה Matzah, without the yeast of theories and beliefs, the yeast of the Sadducees and Pharisees, the theories which seemingly inflate and make the doctrine better than it is, which is an adulteration. מַצָּה Matzah is the pure manna from God, which means genuine faith or direct experience, and was eaten as a symbol of divine remembrance within one's psyche upon achieving states of liberation from suffering:
You are not to eat any hametz with it; for seven days you are to eat with it matzah, the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste. Thus you will remember the day you left the land of Egypt as long as you live. ―Deuteronomy 16:3
Matzah also has etymological similarity to מִצְוָה Mitzvah, which means "commandment." So this tradition is not about literally eating bread as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice, like the ignoramuses suppose, but of fulfilling the ten commandments within ourselves, which we receive through the strength of the bread, the holy Gnostic Unction as dictated by our Lord Melchizedek to Abraham in Genesis 14.
When we truly examine the religions of today, we find they are all adulterated and watered down. We find this degradation within all the great traditions of the world. It has happened to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism—all religions have experienced this problem, where the great prophets would teach the science of the Inner Mind, the direct experience of God, and the followers who studied but didn't practice would only theorize, believe and condemn their teacher. This has happened with Jesus and many great masters, constituting a great problem.
Christ said, "I have come not to break the law, but to fulfill." Therefore we find his teachings are completely founded on the Old Testament, since he was a Rabbi of Kabbalah. Christ referred to himself as "the bread of wisdom." He was born in Bethlehem, "House of Bread," the pure science of direct experience: a very Kabbalistic statement. However, most Christians know nothing of Kabbalah, let alone the Gnostic Kabbalah, and thereby, even when they believe in the Eucharist, present a dead corpse without a heart.
Also, such imbeciles eat "inflated" bread; they take the Matzah, or better said, the מִצְוָה Mitzvah, the commandments and instructions given in the Old and New Testaments, or even the Qur'an, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Buddhist scriptures, etc., and give it a personal, whimsical interpretation without basis in the direct knowledge of God or the authentic scriptures. Pharisees not only exist in Judaism and Christianity, but all over the world, in every religion.
Christ taught to beware of the yeast or leaven of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Meaning: people very strongly rooted in the Sensual or Mystical Minds take the teachings of Christ and adulterated it. They project all their materialistic theories and metaphysical beliefs into that teaching, like yeast in bread, in order to inflate it, seemingly to make it "better" or more appealing. Meanwhile it only adulterates the original teaching, and this was Christ's warning: that his teachings would degenerate after his death and resurrection, because if we look in these times with Christianity, we understand that it died many centuries ago, precisely since it divorced itself from its Kabbalistic roots. It produced many initiates in the past, but every religion is born, has life, and dies in time. So Christ warned about this by saying there would be a time in which the Pharisees and Sadducees would take his teaching and adulterate it. You find in public Christianity people who raise their hand and say, "I believe in Christ and I am saved!" Meanwhile they ignore the Apostle James that "Faith without [internal] works is dead." (James 2:26).
Christ, or the Inner Mind, is always crucified amongst criminals, because the Sensual and Intermediate Minds have no direct knowledge of God. Therefore, humanity does not recognize Him and thereby rejects Him. It's interesting to note, however, that the word Pharisee in Arabic or Farsi can indicate, esoterically: "Worshipper of fire," someone who worships the flame, Christ. But, how do they worship Christ? That's the question. The Pharisees who condemn and crucify Christ supposedly worship the Lord. This is the great treason, irony and damnation of these individuals, since they crucify the Lord by even using His own words against Him.
So the teachings of the Master are given, and the disciples, who only remain within the Mystical Mind, take that knowledge in order to condemn their teacher. This problem happened with Christ and many other initiates.
Jesus warned very heavily against this fact.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within are full of extortion and excess. [Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. ―Matthew 23:25-28
A Pharisee or Farsi studies this type of knowledge, studies this type of science, but only remains within beliefs. To quote Samael Aun Weor, the damnation of the Pharisees is that they use the very same words of the Christ in order to condemn Christ. They therefore have a grave karma to pay in relation with that, because they take the words of the Lord and reject the Lord, with the same teaching, but adulterated.
What many Pharisees don't understand is that Christ did not come to teach the angels; he came to teach the sinners.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. ―Mark 2:16-17
What great humility! That is the nature of the Inner Mind. Jesus, who incarnated the Christ, is the greatest initiate our humanity has ever known. For him to come and serve us is mind-boggling, because the greatest in heaven are those who serve best. These initiates were once in our position, therefore they feel tremendous compassion. The Pharisees, however, feel they are better than the sinners, and thereby are filled with sanctimoniousness and false piety, ignoring that the "goats" (individuals ignorant of the science of transmutation) may often be closer to the truth than the "sheep" (who know about alchemy, tantra, sexual transmutation, but who do not seriously practice). Their Mystical Mind is very inflated like the adulterated bread of knowledge.
Pharisees and Spiritual Communities
It comes into my mind an experience I had in the internal planes many years ago, before I physically met any other students or teachers of Gnosis. An initiate came to my house in the astral plane and was instructing me in relation with spiritual groups. She warned me to beware of the Gnostics, the spiritualists and other groups, individuals who say they practice, but don't practice. She warned that many of these people came from the times of Jesus, the return and recurrence of the individuals who condemned Christ and who are now studying this type of knowledge, but repeating their ancient fanaticism and mistakes.
It was a very interesting experience. Just because a person studies this type of knowledge, doesn’t mean he or she practices it. Living the truth implies a lot of work and a lot of practice. It is very difficult. Many students, whether in Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Tarot, Kabbalah, Anthroposophy, Gnosis, etc., study the books, but they don't practice. They are Pharisees, Farsis; worshiping the fire in their beliefs, but crucifying the Lord in their actions, such as when authentic initiates come to teach them. The prophets are always rejected by students, even with the very same words that Christ taught. It's a very grave problem.
The problem is ignorance. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" Spiritual students are ignorant that they cause harm, and if they knew that what they're doing is harmful, they would not do it. Such as with the case of Paul of Tarsus, the great Gnostic Master, whose inner divine name is Hilarion IX. He was said to have been killing Christians before he had an illuminating experience that shattered his beliefs, completely converting him. He was a Pharisee, Farsi, studying the tradition of Kabbalah, and was traditionally depicted slaying Christians.
This type of behavior shouldn't surprise us. There were many initiates in the past who, before entering into initiation, physically killed, but afterward repented, understanding that their actions were wrong. We find this in the Buddhist story of Milarepa, who became the greatest saint of Tibet. He used to be a murderer. He practiced black magic and many other negative arts. But he had an experience, like Paul of Tarsus, and realized that what he was doing was wrong: that he was a Pharisee with many beliefs, and through humility he awoke his Inner Mind, transforming himself completely. He's a great master, a great initiate.
Usually, the greatest sinners become the greatest saints, because the lower one falls, the higher one can ascend. We find this such as with alcoholics, to use a mundane example. We find that since they have suffered so much, they repent and say, "I will never do that again." That is gnosis, real comprehension that those actions create suffering. When they fully comprehend that alcohol is destructive, they cease to indulge in those habits, no matter the temptations that arise.
However, the problem is that many spiritual devotees do not comprehend they are merely intellectual and fanatic, and therefore do not repent like Paul of Tarsus or Milarepa. Regarding spiritual groups, since we have participated in many, we can attest that this is a great problem. Members are often very indoctrinated with the intellect, but have no spiritual experience, simply because they do not practice what they preach. Spiritual schools can become grounds of contention, conflict and argument, without a genuine basis in love, fraternity, understanding, and compassion. Anyone who has been with Theosophists, Rosicrucians or other spiritual groups for a long enough time is able to witness the collective ego of such groups. The greatest crimes are usually committed within such communities.
Let us provide concrete examples. The esoteric tradition of the west, the Order of the Golden Dawn, was founded around the turn of the century, and was constituted by very intelligent persons. However, no matter how prestigious or exalted such esotericists considered themselves to be, many of them chose to enter into bickering, politics, and even sorcery. Many of them degenerated into black magic and competition for power. While presenting themselves as spiritual people, emphasizing divine ritual, Kabbalah and everything else, many of these practitioners entered into vicious types of psychic attacks. Dion Fortune wrote about it extensively, having been a member of the Golden Dawn. While the original order was very spiritual, beneficial, and altruistic, it degenerated to the point to where its members practiced psychic and occult violence in the internal planes.
This is why it is important to remember what Christ taught, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3). Those with a big intellect cannot even fit throughout a doorway, which is דעת Da'ath, Gnosis, since the mind is so stuck in books, intellectual theories and knowledge. Such people typically filled with bookish culture are extremely arrogant and proud, feeling they are better than other persons because they have read. Meanwhile, they have no experience. They simply don't know anything.
I will quote for you Samael Aun Weor in relation with this subject in his book The Major Mysteries, specifically in the section entitled “Preparation for Initiation”:
All spiritual schools, orders, and lodges are delectable gardens within which are nests of dangerous vipers and poisonous flowers filled with perfume. Ineffable enchantments that lead us to the abyss as well as sublime theories that can lead us to the precipice, and sweet smiles that carry us to disgrace exist within those schools where the devotees are filled with hypocrisy and fanaticism. Indeed, the opium of theories is more dangerous than death. Spiritualist devotees hug with one hand and with the other they stab the back with the sharp dagger of treason.
It's important to be aware of this fact, that people who say they are very spiritual commit the worst crimes. For example: Hitler. At one point, he knew this science, but he deviated. He let himself be hypnotized by a Tibetan known as "the man in the green gloves," who entered his occult order and convinced him to practice very negative arts, or black magic. So, he horribly destroyed himself, but also many millions of people. He had very good intentions. He was an initiate at one point, but who let his mind be pulled by a Pharisee. He was very convinced that what he was doing was right, feeling very holy.
People even commit adultery in the name of spirituality. There are innumerable examples of devotees who had sexual intercourse with their guru and not with their spouse because they were told that in order to advance spirituality, they must practice tantra with their teacher. Such individuals appear very holy, with big beards and very elaborate names, manipulating the naive and stupid. This is why Jesus taught, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15). They come to devour souls and steal power. This is the nature of the Pharisee.
Fear is a great motivator amongst spiritual groups: fear of hell, fear of death. People who only know the Sensual and Intermediate Minds have no experience of God, and therefore become associated and rely on groups out of fear of punishment.
Now, a spiritual group is important, simply for the benefit of transmitting the esoteric doctrine, the sciences, the methods by which we can change individually. It's important to learn what one can, but really it is an individual effort. Groups can provide energy, enthusiasm, strength, and instruction, but the real instruction comes from within, when we awaken our Inner Mind. This is how we know how to unite with our internal divinity.
Samael Aun Weor and many initiates warned about fanaticism in groups, where people feel that, because of their attendance, they are somehow saved. You find this in every tradition of spirituality, where fear is the motivating factor for maintaining spiritual communities.
In order not to be hypnotized by these distractions, one must be like Odysseus in the scene with the sirens, as depicted in the Greek myth by Homer. Odysseus was returning home to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Here you see an image of Odysseus tied to a mast of his ship, and the sirens are attempting to pull Odysseus and his crew to shipwreck. This is the essence of the Greek myth, where sirens would tempt sailors to crash into the reefs. This represents how negative elements of the mind, such as fear, lust and fanaticism, seek to pull the disciple out of the path. Notice how the mast is by Odysseus' spine, which means he is rooted in willpower through tantra, working with the forces of the Divine Mother Kundalini, which is the source of real faith, up the spinal column to the brain.
We also find that this image corresponds to what Nietzsche denominated the "tarantulas" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He employed this term for people who try to teach spiritual doctrines, but who are truly, extremely vengeful and spiteful, such as with the Christian priests who teach hellfire and damnation. However, this applies more to people in esotericism who know about gnosis, but are horrible hypocrites and do not have development, wisdom, or compassion. As it says in the aforementioned text:
Alas, then the tarantula, my old enemy, bit me. With godlike assurance and beauty it bit my finger. "Punishment there must be and justice," it thinks; "and here he shall not sing songs in honor of enmity in vain."
Indeed, it has avenged itself. And alas, now it will make my soul, too, whirl with revenge. But to keep me from whirling, my friends, tie me tight to this column. Rather would I be a stylite even, than a whirl of revenge.
Verily, Zarathustra is no cyclone or whirlwind; and if he is a dancer, he will never dance the tarantella.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
When fanatics preach in this way, they bite the soul and seek to fulfill their mistaken sense of power and justice, trying to incite their victims to react. One must be like Odysseus amongst such people in order not to return evil with evil, to tie one’s mind to the mast of willpower, to be humble in spirit and not respond with anger or hatred.
One must control ones senses in order not to be pulled away from the teaching, just as the crew of Odysseus had wax in their ears in order to ignore the sirens, while Odysseus was tied to the mast in order to not abandon the ship and drown himself in the sea of theories.
While we address the nature of spiritual groups, what's most important is not to point our finger at others. We must address our own inner Pharisee, which believes and thinks it knows, but has no cognizance of the truth. Therefore, it's important to have genuine faith, but this term is poorly understood.
Belief and Faith / Phenomena and Noumena
Carl Jung said that "Faith is no substitute for experience." He also said that faith that comes by miraculously could disappear equally miraculously!
We are going to talk about the specific difference between belief and faith. In relation with Carl Jung's quote, he's speaking about belief. But in the Gnostic teachings we make a differentiation between authentic faith and the belief of the mind. That is precisely the problem we find in people, that they lack genuine faith, which is the direct experience of God, the pneuma or noumena behind all things.
Faith is one's cognitive experience, one's cognitive knowledge based upon the direct perception of God. Belief is the domain of the mind. The Intermediate and Sensual Minds only believe or theorize about the nature of God, but does not know. This is why Christ was crucified, and who pronounced with great pain, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34). The Pharisees or the great spiritualists of the time could not accept him as the prophet of that era. But this also represents something in our history. It more importantly represents something in our psychology, because the scriptures in themselves have an allegorical application to our life. Adhering to mere history is to be dead in the present moment.
Many Pharisees or persons of the Mystical Mind will say, "No, it is impossible. You cannot know God." That's what such individuals declare, through writings or pamphlets, that God is unknown. They say humanity cannot know God.
This is sad, because Christ said, "Know the Truth, and Truth shall make you free," referring to the original Greek root word, gnosis: the experience of God. The Intermediate or Mystical Mind only takes information and theorizes about what it doesn't know. It judges based on appearances, phenomena, without perception of the Noetic principles, the latter relating with Christ-mind, Nous or noumena. These are spiritual archetypes that vivify matter. It's sad but, when people say they are agnostic, or that one cannot experience or know God, that is admitting that one is a fool, incapable of living life with real understanding or wisdom. The truth is that the prophets were once like us, so if they could experience divinity, so can we. If this were not true, we would have never received so many scriptures from different religions, which all taught the science to experience God and to unite with the divine.
I would like to quote for you a passage from the Qur'an which beautifully explains the differentiation between the three minds and the true meaning of solar conscious faith.
And they say, "None but Jews or Christians (who follow the dogmas of the Intermediate Mind) shall enter Paradise.' This is their wish. SAY: Give your proofs (from the consciousness) if ye speak the truth.
But they who set their face with resignation Godward (meaning, to perform Islam, to submit one's Sensual and Intermediate Minds towards the east, towards one's pneuma), and do what is right (by awakening the Inner Mind),— their reward is with their Lord; no fear shall come on them, neither shall they be grieved.
Moreover, the Jews say, "The Christians lean on nought:" "On nought lean the Jews," say the Christians: Yet both are readers of the Book. So with like words say they who have no knowledge (Gnosis: direct experience). But on the resurrection day, Allah shall judge between them as to that in which they differ. ―Qur'an 2:5-7
So we find in the Qur'an that only men of knowledge, men of understanding, can interpret the scriptures through awakening the Inner Mind. The fanatics always kill and debate in the name of religion; if not physically, then with words, by seeking to indoctrinate members of other groups against their will, or by forcing their ways of thinking upon others. This is a form of black magic: to impose one's will upon another person in order to get what one wants. This is the problem with mistaken beliefs in degenerated religions.
As I said, the greatest sinners can become the greatest saints, and in the Bible we have the story of the Prodigal Son. He left his home, his father and his brothers, in order to enter the world of prostitution, drugs, sensualism, forgetting his pneuma, his inner Father or אבא Abba in Hebrew. Yet because he renounced, repented and came back, his Father had great celebrations in his honor, honoring him more because since he left, he returned. For "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15:7).
In order to truly repent, it's important that we are honest and seriously evaluate where we are spiritually, to really examine what it is we know and what it is we don't know. It's this honesty or humility that opens the gateway to genuine experience. So in these studies we often refer to the Heart Doctrine, the experience of God, and the Eye Doctrine, teachings that are merely theoretical, beliefs, speculation.
When we know how to awaken our Inner Mind, through our heart, when we actually experience God, here and now, the heart becomes inflamed, and we live life more intensely, with greater joy, humility, because we have experienced God and know that He is always with us. It is this direct knowledge that we call faith.
Faith is a force. It's not a belief. It is not a concept in the mind. It is knowledge from experience. Faith is the direct experience of the divine. This might sound redundant, but this is necessary to emphasize. Faith has nothing to do with speculations, scholasticism, or religious debates. When we know something from experience, our conviction is unbreakable. No outer force, no matter how strong, could break that faith.
This type of knowledge is within the heart, when we know with absolute certainty and conviction, that we have an Inner Being, that He guides and illuminates our actions in life and seeks to direct us to be in harmony and union with Him and Her. It is an unbreakable conviction that blossoms in the temple of the heart, which is why we refer to the awakening of the Inner Mind as the Doctrine of the Heart. It is a genuine type of joy and beauty when we come to know God for ourselves, to verify what the great authors have written about. We also understand that they taught a basic introduction to a limitless science, the science of one's personal knowledge of the divine, of Christ.
This experience gives us hope, for oftentimes we are overwhelmed by anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, depression, longing, or negative emotions. Faith transforms us radically and has the potential to completely illuminate our soul.
It's important to remember that this knowledge is always born within the heart and relates to this psychological center in the human machine. There's many experiences we can have in relation with superior emotion. We discussed in previous weeks how our psychology is composed of intellect, emotions, sexuality, instinct and movement, which are physical components to our body, but more importantly relate with psychological processes.
We have superior centers that don't belong to negativity or ego: superior intellect and superior emotions. It is in the superior emotional center where we experience genuine faith: that blossoming, joy and peace which is produced when we practice effectively and don't crave results, but simply let them come on their own.
The Heart Doctrine is one's knowledge of Christ. Therefore we teach that gnosis is a heart doctrine. It has nothing to do with theory, even though we study books and seek to possess a strong intellectual-spiritual culture so as to guide our heart. Book culture and knowledge by itself without the pneuma is dangerous and creates a lot of suffering, since individuals may read a lot, but have no experience of God. When we know how to experience God through practical science, discipline and methodology, then the literature becomes accessible and vivified, meaning that the knowledge in print becomes living and impregnates our heart. Even if all the demons of the ten directions, to quote Buddhist cosmology, want to pull that from you, they can't. They faith is so ingrained, is so potent, that it has the capacity to remove all obstacles.
In relation to solar conscious faith within the Heart Doctrine, we have the following passage from The Voice of the Silence, an ancient scripture transcribed by Blavatsky:
Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the “Eye” from the “Heart” doctrine…
False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the winds by the Good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The “Doctrine of the Eye” is for the crowd, the “Doctrine of the Heart,” for the elect. The first repeat in pride: “Behold, I know,” the last, they who in humbleness garnered, low confess, “thus have I heard.”
“Great Sifter” is the name of the “Heart Doctrine,” O disciple. ―The Voice of the Silence
The Heart Doctrine is called the "Great Sifter," just like a person would go to a river during the Gold Rush in the Yukon, sifting for gold through the riverbed soil, sifting through the coarse sand to find the purities. This is a perfect analogy for this knowledge, evidenced by the fact that only a few people are interested in these studies. We have don't have a huge auditorium with thousands of people who genuinely want to sift through the mind in order to procure the gold of the spirit, the pneuma or noumena of life, because most people are fascinated with the theories of this world. They don't have willpower to really check within themselves and comprehend their inner illusions or phenomena, to see past the teachings of the Pharisees. They lack the courage to truly investigate the science of the living bread, the מַצָּה Maztah born from interior affliction, to recognize the horrendous state we are in. Many do not want to follow the Lord's commandments, the מצוות Mizvot of God. We accomplish this through practice.
It's a sifter because, as all the initiates have taught, not many individuals want to change. Not many want to get at the heart of life, the noumena, the heart of God. Instead, people are lost in the labyrinth of phenomena. This truth was beautifully illustrated in the Greek myth of the Minotaur, whereby a maze was constructed to house this mythological beast, half man and half bull, representing our dual nature composed of both spirit, the man or pneuma, and our animalistic psychology, the lunar ego. Many would go into the maze and get lost, slain by their own internal beast. However, the great solar hero Theseus conquered entered the maze and killed the Minotaur, the animal ego.
That maze is the mind. Many go into it, few return. As Christ taught, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." ―Matthew 7:13-14.
We need courage. It is the reason why we are here in this class, because we want to know for ourselves. It takes tremendous willpower and courage to be able to come to the realization that one is ignorant, lost within the mind, and wants to know the truth.
Belief is the Eye Doctrine. Faith is the Heart Doctrine. Faith is what we know. When we know something is true, we can't deny it, even if we would lose our life, and Joan of Arc lost her life for that very reason:
“I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God's will." ―Joan of Arc
Knowledge or noumena of God is permanent; it cannot be forgotten. Martyrs of the past who were killed for their faith had loved God so much, their compassion for humanity was so great, that they gave their life willingly (see "The Passion of Al-Hallaj" in The Narrow Way by Samael Aun Weor, previously published as The Doomed Aryan Race). This might be inconceivable for us, swamped by our own negativity and problems, but we all have this potential for divine love within, Noetic thought or noumenal consciousness. As a foundation of this tradition, we seek to develop such compassion for self and others, borne from comprehension of the causes of suffering and the transformation of mistaken perceptions, or phenomena within.
The compassion of the Inner Mind or Christ Mind is so powerful within the initiate that he can give his life for others, such as with the crucifixion of the Master Jesus. This Master physically gave of himself completely in order to demonstrate, with his birth, life, passion, death and resurrection, this science, because his faith and love was so profound. The real initiates are always the embodiment of pure love, born from the direct knowledge and experience of the divine.
To quote Samael Aun Weor from, perhaps, the most important writings within Universal Gnosticism ever produced, an exegesis from a scripture called The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled:
Faith is pure knowledge, direct experiential wisdom. Faith has always been confused with vain beliefs; Gnostics must never make such a serious mistake. Faith is direct experience of the real, the magnificent vivification of the Inner Human Being, authentic divine cognition... Faith is the direct perception of what is real, it is fundamental wisdom; it is the experience of that which is beyond the body, the affections and the mind.
Inner spiritual experiences unfold within our perception, through the application of forces. It is the perception of the pneuma within all things. Instead of seeing phenomena, such as leaves, plants, or people, we see auras, we see thoughts, we see feelings; we experience things in a more integral way. People who want to see miracles, such as the animation of statues, which is a well-documented phenomena, or individuals walking on water, can experience a much greater miracle: the transformation of one's negative states. That is really genuine change and spiritual experience.
This should not be confused with extreme forms of asceticism, such as walking on coals, which is a 'spiritual' form of circus performances. Some people think that entering a hypnotic trance, swallowing swords, or cutting one's flesh and surviving, makes certain practitioners 'spiritual' or 'holy.'
Such acts are not genuine mystical experience, but constitute Fakirism. Fakirs develop enough willpower to withstand pain. However, Fakirism does not develop the will of the spirit. It is merely the conquering of physical sensation for that purpose alone. Willpower, increased to an infinite degree, still cannot awaken the consciousness or develop the spirit within. That is because willpower must be guided by conscious efforts, not the mechanicity of the mind.
The type of faith we speak about is about spiritual perception, whereby we see the vital elements of life, our own internal worlds, our thoughts, feelings, in a new way—typically, a good sign of deepening spiritual perception is when we see a familiar thing in a completely new way, in a way we never saw before. This is how our state should be from moment to moment. That is the direct perception of what is real: seeing things in a new way—constantly, and not to be stuck within one's mental processes, the intellect: thesis, antithesis, etc., the duality of the mind.
We find this image of Doubting Thomas serves as a representation of what the Inner Mind is. When Christ was crucified, slain, and resurrected on the third day, he returned to teach his disciples. Many of them approached Thomas and said, "The Lord is arisen!" He replied, "I don't believe you! I need to see and experience for myself." Even when before the presence of the Master, he doubted. This demonstrates the level of investigation, inquiry and criticism he had enact to really verify what is true. After placing his finger in the Lord's side wound, he said, "Yes. This is the Christ!" This is the type of conviction we speak of. This demonstrates to us that even if Christ is before us, we must always seek to clarify our understanding, intimately, profoundly, so that we genuinely know, and so no one can divert or mislead us, because there exist many wolves in sheep's clothing, as we mentioned.
People often criticize Doubting Thomas, that he was skeptical. He represents the science of experimentation and verification, the Buddhist philosophy of experiential wisdom, to only stand upon experiences we have tested and proven true. Skepticism belongs to the Sensual Mind, not the experiential knowledge of the Inner Mind, the Apostle Thomas.
Knowing the truth for ourselves is intuition. We've spoken previously about imagination, inspiration, intuition, the three obligatory steps to initiation. Imagination is the perception of images or phenomena. Inspiration is the realization that there is a symbol involved, whether we see one in meditation or we perceive life in a new way—we feel inspired with cognizance, we feel that there is some meaning in this event or situation, in one's internal states or conscious sentiment, known as superior emotion. Intuition is comprehension, when we know something in our heart completely, and nothing can divert us.
This is the type of faith that Thomas had in relation with Christ. He only accepted what came from God, and we should do the same, meaning that as much as we have books, or as much as we have lectures and classes, what's important is to really receive that knowledge from God, to understand it in meditation. Our Inner Buddha, our Inner Christ—He is the teacher, the prophet, the messenger. We each have our own, therefore we must seek to investigate this so that we can verify these teachings for ourselves in more depth.
I'd like to quote for you the great Master Morya from The Dayspring of Youth, who talks about faith very beautifully. He describes faith as a manifestation of force, as the utilization of force. As we mentioned earlier, when we awaken our perception, we perceive forces in a new way—we perceive the energy behind phenomena. This perception is fueled precisely by that force, relating to Eros, the sexual energy. Eros awakens psyche.
Throughout The Dayspring of Youth, Master Morya describes how it is by this Determinative Energy that the yogi receives his or her strength and capacity for meditation or spiritual practice. It is this energy that fuels one's faith, one's internal experience, for as we find in the first commandment of Moshe, "You shall love thy God with all thy heart (emotional brain), with all thy mind (intellectual brain), with all thy soul (conscious will), and with all thy strength (bodily energies, especially the forces we carry within sex)." This energy, known as Kundalini in the east, has the power to transform us radically and elevate us to real faith.
Here we think a note upon faith should be of interest. Initiates say that its meaning has been misunderstood. Faith, as the world uses it, possesses no spiritual nature; though in the secondary system it means power and energy applied to action. All success in Yoga comes from this application; for the true quality of faith is a Solar force that illumines the mind and attracts to it atoms of power and energy. More human wrecks have resulted from the misconception of this quality than man realises. ―M. The Dayspring of Youth
So it's a force, the solar energy we have in our breath, in our body, within our sexual energy, within our psyche. Eros has the capacity to awaken us completely, which is discussed in literature such as The Perfect Matrimony, how a married couple can fully awaken that sexual force in order to awaken the Kundalini completely, the solar force, which can rise within the spinal column to illuminate the mind and then the heart. This is the path of initiation.
Single individuals can also practice with the solar force, but with less power, developing what can be called genuine faith. As Morya indicates, faith is not belief. It is intention and will, with force, applied to action. This is why James the Apostle stated:
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. ―James 2:20-26
You can believe in something, but if you don't practice, if you don't have the energy or force to fulfill practices of concentration, meditation, and samadhi, then one's faith is meaningless. It is then not genuine faith, the solar force applied to action. The solar force grants us the entire capacity to develop real faith and change within. To believe without working in transmutation is to be dead. The corpse of exoteric Christian religion is a testament to this fact.
If we possess even a grain of faith, it has the potential and capacity to remove any obstacle. When we have true conviction and knowledge, when we really experience God and apply his teachings to our life, we can overcome any difficulty. This is why Christ said:
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. ―Matthew 17:20
Even if we have one small experience, a moment of comprehension, which is something we all have, since we are interested in these studies, we are propelled to want to work on ourselves, to change, to be inspired, to want to practice, to want to learn real religion. It is this grain or seed that can blossom into a Tree of Life. It is the solar sexual force, the Determinative Energy of God, that grants us the ability to transform us radically.
Relating to this, we say that the Egyptian Tarot is the Hebraic Torah, meaning "law." These are different laws that govern our universe and psychological experience, mapped out by the Initiatic Kabbalah. We study in Gnostic Kabbalah the twenty-two major arcana of The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, as well as the minor arcana. The first card is the Magician, who initiates every genuine spiritual work. The Hebrew letter associated with this card is א Aleph, the wind or breath associated with the sacred name of God, "Eheieh Asher Eheieh"—"I Am that I Am," which is what God, or better said, Kether on the Tree of Life, the Burning Bush, said to Moses in Exodus 3:14.
א Aleph is the wind, the breath of pranayama or alchemy that transmutes the sexual matter into solar force of Christ. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet—it is what initiates within us. The breath is in itself the solar force that we harness through pranayama and alchemy. It is the energy that grants us the capacity to change.
The blood in our body is the medium or means of transmission of that force. Blood in Hebrew is דם "Dam." When we breathe, we assimilate oxygen into our body, which mixes with our blood. א Aleph enters our blood, or דם Dam. א Aleph with ד Daleth, ם Mem is אדם Adam, the man made into the image of God. Therefore it is through the science of the breath where we accumulate solar force, and as the Master Morya explained, it is the solar force applied to action that constitutes real faith. Therefore if we do not transmute, we have no real faith.
I'm now going to describe a practice for you that can be performed in the morning hours. This is known as the runic exercises. What I want you to focus on is the Rune Man (see the figure on the right within the image). We have a man standing with his arms raised to heaven, this is the position of the rune. Simply put, this is the man made into the image of God, the symbol of Christ crucified with his hands and feet nailed to the cross, supplicating to God to be redeemed of his suffering.
Now when we say this represents the man, we are not excluding women, because the word "man" comes from the Sanskrit Manas, which means mind. Or better said, intuitive mind—Inner Mind. And when we say "human being," we are referring Hum, the Spirit, the Pneuma or Noumena within a person, that works as breath upon the mind. Therefore a real man or human being is the Spirit-Man, the Spirit-Mind, the Inner Mind. So as a posture, the Rune Man helps us awaken our Manas, or Inner Mind, through transmutation—the breath It is a yogic position than can be practiced in the early hours of the morning or at night. Those are good times to practice due to the energies present.
Again, with the assimilation of the breath, the Prana, the Christic force of the morning hours, which vibrates very intensely, this energy has the capacity to stimulate and awaken our consciousness, to develop what we call genuine faith. In this runic position, we pronounce a prayer, known as the prayer to the Solar Logos, as explained in Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic by Samael Aun Weor, in which we say:
Oh Thou, Solar Logos, Igneous Emanation, substance and consciousness of Christ, powerful life whereby everything advances, come unto me and penetrate me, enlighten me, bathe me, go through me and awaken within my Being all of those ineffable substances that are as much a part of Thee as a part of me.
Universal and cosmic force, mysterious energy, I conjure Thee, come unto me, remedy my affliction, cure me from this illness and take apart from me this suffering so I can have harmony, peace and health.
I ask Thee in thy sacred name, which the Mysteries and the Gnostic Church have taught me, so Thou can make all of the mysteries of this plane and superior planes vibrate within me, and that all of those forces together may achieve the miracle of my healing. So be it.
Remember that the Magician, from the first arcanum of the eternal tarot, assimilates the א Aleph, the Prana, the Christ force, which as Morya stated is the potency of real faith. Next, in this position, we repeatedly pronounce a sacred mantra:
OM TAT SAT
This mantra was mentioned in The Voice of the Silence, a holy scripture transcribed by the Master Blavatsky. OM generates and transmutes sexual power to the heart, awakens our superior emotional center. OM is prolonged. TAT, SAT, pronounced TAHT, SAHT, is short. These latter two mantras open the spiritual and psychic atmosphere around us, so as to bring down the forces of the Ain Soph Aur, the Limitless Light of Christ, and כתר Kether, since TAT reminds us of the Hebrew letter ת Tav, which is the central letter in the word Kether, signifying "seal," "covenant," "perfection," "completion." SAT is the Seity beyond Kether, the Solar Absolute. These mantras are exceptionally powerful, helping us to vibrate with the solar Christ forces of faith through the transmutation of our sexual energies.
Pneuma, or spirit, relates with the word pneumonia, which is a problem with breathing, indicating that the spirit is associated with the breath. When we talk about the science of energy, breath is highly important. Pneuma relates with pranayama, the science of breathing, in that the spirit has the capacity to generate and open a type of mind which is in harmony with Christ, the divine source, the divine intelligence. Let us recall that the runic exercises are a combination of meditation, prayer, and pranayama, which works with the erotic force. The psyche, as described in the Greek myth, is very asleep, and only Eros, the divine power of God harnessed through the science of breath and divine sexual energy, has the potential to awaken us spiritually. This is known in the traditions of alchemy and Tantra in the east.
We can do this mantra, OM TAT SAT, as long as we like within the position of the Rune Man. In the beginning we can practice for fifteen minutes, resting our arms down when we need to, then continuing with the prayer with the position of this rune, since it can be hard in the beginning to hold up our arms for a long period of time. We need to accustom the body through practice, as with any Yogic discipline. When we pray, or rest our arms, we should place our hands over our heart, with the right hand over the left, as in the style of the Egyptian initiates, since the right hand is solar and the left, lunar. The solar forces must conquer the lunar forces of our Sensual and Intermediate Minds, represented by how we place our hands on our heart (Tiphereth, our will).
This exercise, as part of the Nordic Runes, comes from the Nordic alphabet, which have an intimate relationship with the Hebrew alphabet. This is well discussed in the Runes Course on the gnosticteachings website.
Morya taught the Nordic runes to his disciples, and these exercises are alluded to in his book The Dayspring of Youth, specifically in how we invoke Christic, Transformation and Aspiration Atoms in order to develop solar faith. Through this invocation to Christ, with our eyes closed in prayer, focusing on our breath, we also imagine the solar light is entering our palms and breath in order to strengthen our soul. These practices charge our body, soul, and Spirit with Christ, and in turn constitute the martial arts or Judo of the Spirit.
Particularly in relation with faith, the Rune Man helps us in the generation of spiritual force, which grants us the capacity to awaken our consciousness and the Inner Mind. This grants us more peace and the ability to concentrate, helping us as a precursor to meditation.
So this relates with faith because it is energy applied to action. To clarify this further, Morya elaborates in The Dayspring of Youth:
When Jesus used this word in the sentence, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed,” He meant that one could work miracles if one possessed the atomic energy contained within a mustard seed. But in this world of illusion this is reversed, and the weak man sits still and believes that all will be applied to him if he has faith. It is not a force that should only be applied to religious belief. It is the power of the Innermost working through the densities of our bodies, and the more we respond to it the greater will be our powers.
The physical body is very dense, polluted with negative elements from the psyche. The runic exercises bring in the solar force, elevates our vibration, literally Christifying the body, little by little. Faith, therefore, is the power of the solar logos in the body applied through conscious action. With this, the real Man, the real Human Being, is developed, particularly through the rites of Sexual Magic within the Perfect Matrimony.
We always need to feel inspired in our hearts when we practice. That sincerity is what gives us strength and the capacity to effectively apply these techniques.
The Inner Mind and Mystical Death
It's difficult in the beginning to learn how to activate and generate that force. Later it is a matter of controlling it. With time, we learn how to apply that force in our daily life and in meditation, and this is where the teachings of mystical death come into play.
Once we activate the solar force, we become sensitive, and our psychological elements of anger, pride, and lust will attempt to use that energy in the wrong way. This is why self-restraint is essential within all teachings of genuine yoga, and how this energy is the foundation for helping us dominate the mind.
Whether or not we were practicing such things like Milarepa in the past, we all have some level of iniquity within, with pride, anger, vanity, etc., which we need to know how to renounce and to eliminate through practical meditation. If we do not remove those elements, then we will not grow spiritually and will not change. But when someone has comprehension that anger, pride, and vanity cause suffering for oneself and for others, we say, "I will not act on anger." This restraint is the beginning of mystical death, the restraint on the mind in order to stop feeding the ego. The less we feed the ego, the more we kill it. It starts to wither and die, but as a consequence, it fights to keep its life. The more we know how to restrain our mind and to kill the ego, the more we awaken the Inner Mind.
This is why the initiates of the past gave different commandments for their disciples to follow, so as to assist in the mystical death of the ego, such as, “Do not lie. Do not kill.” While this has physical applications, this really refers to not speak words of anger, to not indulge in pride, to not indulge in lust, psychologically speaking. It has to do with how we control our mind.
We need this force, so when this force is activated we can initiate a new way of seeing, a new way of living. It’s necessary to learn how to control the mind.
The runes are a form of pranayama as we have mentioned. Prana is Christ. Yama in Buddhism is death. It means “to yoke” or “to control,” but it also means “death.” Prana also means life. Therefore we have life and death within this practice, since it is the power of life and death, Shiva-Shakti, creator and destroyer. We find Prana in the air we breathe, but also in our semen, which is condensed and materialized Prana. We therefore seek to awaken the forces of life, but also death, in order to control the mind and eliminate its defects in meditation.
Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Great Rebellion:
The Angel of Death has the key to nature’s laboratory in his right hand. We can learn very little from the phenomenon of birth, but from death we can learn everything. The unprofaned temple of pure science is found in the depths of the dark sepulcher. If the seed does not die, the plant is not born. Only with death comes forth what is new. When the ego dies, the consciousness awakens to see the reality of all of Nature’s phenomena in and of themselves. ―Samael Aun Weor
So again, noumena, real faith. The transmutation of our energies is birth. But then we also have to learn how to control the mind, so this can produce mystical death. Therefore this is self-observation, self-restraint of our desires. Control the mind. Do not act or speak in harmful ways. Do not indulge in intoxicants or drugs. These are basic tenets of religion that have a foundation in this practice, because with the accumulation of solar force, we have greater potential not only to do good, but to do harm. This is why individuals such as Hitler were so dangerous, because he had so much force, but channeled it through his anger, thus destroying millions of people. That's how powerful this energy is, that if we know how to control, we can become like Jesus, leading millions of people. This relates to the science of good and evil, the tree of knowledge.
Another simple practice when we sit to meditate after working with the Rune Man is to observe the mind. Don’t think or occupy yourself with a certain image. Simply observe the mind as it is, be aware of the energies present. See what emerges. You will find that with this energy you will see a lot more. This is a simple exercise, but also very difficult, because the mind always wants to think about something. This is how the mind distracts us, wanting to abuse this energy in order to think, to think, to think. Or the emotional brain or center wants to indulge in anger, pride, or resentment. So after this practice, just sit and observe, so we can become more familiar with our internal worlds. It will give us more solidarity in our practice.
That is the beginning of mystical death, having restraint of the mind. Then when we learn to perceive in the moment, we develop genuine faith, because we see what in us in negative and what in us is positive. It is the awakening of the Inner Mind that provides us with the perception of the ego, so we can separate ourselves from it, comprehend it, and eradicate those defects.
It is through death that the Inner Mind awakens. The more ego we eliminate, the more consciousness and aspects of the Inner Mind develop. So it begins with saving our energies and transmuting, to not justify or repress defects in self-observation, but to comprehend them. We must not constantly swing between these extremes, which is known by the law of the pendulum, but to be equilibrated.
To conclude, we say that humility is the gateway to genuine faith. When we humble ourselves, such as through the Rune Man, we invite the solar logos into our home, meaning our body, in order to elevate our level of being. When we make this our foundation, we initiate a new way of being as exemplified by the Magician of the Tarot.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. ―Isaiah 40:4
Be humble, if thou would’st attain to Wisdom. Be humbler still, when Wisdom thou hast mastered. ―The Voice of the Silence, H. P. Blavatsky
Questions and Answers
Audience: You brought up a good point there about humility and about temptation. Pride can be insidious, but by developing humility that can off-set that. It’s easy, the temptation to almost be an elitist. It’s latent, I think, and its dangerous, and you brought that out when saying humility is important. As you discover these things, you might feel, “I’m one of the elect.” Or it could sneak in like a serpent, but to be aware of it is good.
Instructor: I will tell you a story that happened to me many years ago when I first started this type of teaching. I awoke in the astral plane and I asked my Being to take me to Egypt. So I found myself, through His power, going through the earth, and, whish, came out flying over the city of Cairo. It was very dark and obscure, nearly impossible to see anything. I flew over to the pyramids of Giza, where exists a great temple of the White Lodge, a very ancient place that has a lot of power, since the angels and Masters of Egypt are working there very intensely to help humanity. Mozart, the great composer, received an initiation in that temple.
So I wanted to gain access to the grounds there. When I approached the gate, the entrance, a guardian stopped me. I couldn’t see him, but I felt that he had a dagger pointed at my throat, and I was stunned when he said, with great severity, “Many are called… FEW are chosen!” I then returned to my body (snaps fingers) like that.
This experience haunts me still today, because the dagger symbolizes treason, and the fact that it was pointed at the throat is highly significant. If we transpose the Tree of Life upon the human body, the throat represents דעת Da’ath, which in Hebrew means “knowledge” or gnosis. It refers to the sexual teaching, the knowledge of using the creative energies in the right way. This was a humbling experience, because even if one has a lot of experiences, or is a missionary and instructor, practicing for many years, there is no guarantee that one is saved. One is only saved after the complete annihilation of the ego.
This Egyptian initiate did me a great service by humbling me, because I felt proud to be able to travel out of my body and visit temples of the White Lodge. He really put me in my place, for “Be humble to attain enlightenment, but after attaining it,” through having numerous Samadhis and mystical exaltations, “be humbler still.” This initiate told me this fact, that “Many are called… few are chosen.” Just because I am called here to teach this science, does not guarantee I will succeed. What matters is mystical death.
The Egyptian guardian sent me back to my body because I was not worthy to enter this temple. The experience he gave me indicates that by remaining faithful to the science of sexual energy and meditation, we do not betray the Lord. When we use our energies through vocalizations, we produce transmutation. Therefore, we must never cease in transmutation, and to never fornicate. Otherwise we will not be one of the few.
To have a dagger at one’s throat, as in my experience, tells us, “Be careful with how you use this energy!” If we use it in the wrong way, it will slay us. But if we know how to use it well, it becomes our sword for battle. If we know how to restrain our minds, we can enter the temples. But if we are like donkeys, kicking, flailing, and not obeying the Good Law, when we do not know how to submit to God, we will not be admitted.
Even if this might be a disturbing story, it was tremendously helpful, an honor to be instructed in such a way. It continues to push me to practice very hard.
So work with the Rune Man. It is very powerful. More questions or comments?
Audience: When you say conjure, what does that mean? Does it mean to evoke, to call on some entity?
Instructor: We have available the Gnostic Prayer Book, which contains prayers from most of the major traditions. It says here, "To conjure, comes from the Latin cum-jurare," meaning "to swear together." It means to invoke a superior force in order to be in communion with it. This indicates that we are asking a being to resonate with the Christ-force. So in the prayer to the solar logos, we say, "I conjure Thee!" we invoke the Lord so we are in harmony with Him. When we conjure, we bring down, we invoke the Christ.
Audience: And when you're trying to distance yourself from a negative force, you can use conjurations for that purpose?
Instructor: Yes, the conjurations have that purpose. When we conjure a being, we are commanding, "Swear with me that you are with Christ!" If they are not with Christ, they will show us through their actions that they do not swear on it. Then you will know you are with a demon. This relates with internal experiences, to awaken within dream yoga. Prayers to invoke Christ have the power to protect us.
When we assimilate Christ-force, we have the struggle with the mind, but also with outside negative forces that seek to deter us. However, this is nothing to be afraid of. It is very common for the one who matures and has experience, so they learn how to deal with those types of forces. The way that we learn to manage the negative energies of other beings is by controlling our own mind.
Audience: We're having access to this knowledge now. It certainly gives us pause for thought, really. Not only to reflect on, but to get into certain practices. You pass cemeteries, and there's millions of people there. Some of them went along with conventional religion. We students are a minority here, I believe. We're trying to open our minds up. Where do these souls end up if they didn't even know about this path? They were incarnated on this planet, and all you see are their headstones. This is the reality. They were human beings once, and all there is left are their decaying, organic remains in the ground. Where is this reservoir of souls? What's their destiny? They didn't even have access to thinking like this! They maybe went once a week to church on Sundays, and the most edifying thing they were thinking about was, "What are we going to have for supper tonight?" You know what I am saying? These are very profound subjects!
Instructor: The truth is, many decades ago, or better said, many centuries ago, people did not have access to this knowledge, yet they have returned in order to be given the chance to change. Right now, this knowledge is being given openly.
Those who are given the chance, but don't take it, they descend, they go towards what is called the Second Death.
Audience: Do those souls who never knew about this knowledge get punished? It would seem the vast majority of mankind was never exposed to this science!
Instructor: The truth is now this knowledge is being given openly. Anybody can get it. But people have to want it. They have to search. Those who have no longings, who don't search, are what we call "empty houses." They're dead already, which is why Christ said, "Let the dead bury their dead."
Audience: But there were a lot of people who would have. They just had no knowledge; they didn't have negative intent. They were incarnated...
Instructor: Those people who are sincere and want to change, and who have the capacity to change, they are given the opportunity. But they have to work to get it. It's learning to swim against the tide, and those who show that they want to change, even if they have no books or no knowledge, they WILL find the teachings. They will find them. All of us have been like that.
Christ said, "Out of a thousand who seek me, one finds me. Out of a thousand who find me, one follows me. Out of a thousand who follow me, one is mine. And out of a thousand who are mine, one knows me perfectly." Those who search, many times they get lost, because they're not strong enough. Those who are strong, who reject the orthodox teachings, they find the secret path, eventually, because God is pushing SO hard, even if the person breaks. Personally that is what I experienced, the breaking point, where real humility and acceptance is born, so as to find this knowledge.
Many run away from death, ignoring that death is the path to life. Those who are really searching for the knowledge really want to die in their defects, and when a person really wants to change fundamentally in that way, the angels look down and say, "Look! Help him or her!" They give you everything you need, and in accordance with Karma, sometimes those people have to suffer a lot in order to receive this wisdom. Since after that suffering and by finding this teaching, one experiences great joy and can finally appreciate the value of it. There are many who come and find this teaching, out of curiosity, and thereafter leave, developing nothing spiritually. Those who suffer the most comprehend this knowledge in depth, and thereafter they develop more faith. "For in much knowledge is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." (Ecclesiastes 1:18).
It's not that people were never given the chance. Everyone is given the opportunity, but there's work involved. In the past it was way more difficult to find this knowledge, because the great colleges of initiation were kept private. But times have changed. What was very difficult to find decades ago is now openly available. People are searching and able to find this science easily. The search was hard in the past for disciples like Gurdjieff, who eventually entered into an initiatic order and attained Mastery. This shows that those who really wanted the knowledge, found it. But they had to weep tears of blood to really get to it.
The truth is that now this knowledge is given openly, most people don't take it. Those who want Gnosis will find it. God ensures that the sincere devotee will find it. Whether the soul takes it is up to individual will. But those who genuinely want it, have suffered a lot, and develop very strong faith like Milarepa, since he realized how much harm he caused and feels true repentance. This is generally what it takes to really enter the path.
In the past, there was the excuse that one couldn't find the knowledge. It was extremely hard to find schools of initiation. In these times, there's no excuse. Everything is given openly and for almost for free. The books are not for profit, and the proceeds go towards future publications, and to maintain our website. There's no monetary gain here. It's solely for the dissemination of the teachings of Samael Aun Weor.
Whoever does not want gnosis, it's their choice. But there is no excuse now. This is why it was stated in Jeremiah 21:8, "Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death." How we use our sexual energy determines whether we walk the way of life or the way of death, again relating to Prana (life) and yama (death).
Those who found the knowledge, now it's just a matter of study and practice, applying and experimenting with the different exercises. It is hard to learn how to practice effectively, but we learn little by little, generating true faith, joy, and happiness, inspiring us to continue working. Since with "Faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains." We can take this a step further through Nietzsche's postulation:
"And the lover of knowledge (gnosis) shall learn to build with mountains. It means little that the spirit moves mountains. Did you know that?” ―Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: On the Famous Wise Men
This means to build with spirit through initiation.
Audience: Master Samael mentioned that each soul revolves through the Wheel of Samsara three thousand times in one of his books. This is in relation to your comment about individual souls that are searching but simply, because of their own will, do not find the path. They're drawn away by their own egotism or outside influences. As souls suffer tremendously through this Wheel of Samsara, do they build Dharma even if they do not enter the Direct Path?
Instructor: There's knowledge gained, but it is minor in comparison to the Direct Path. There are different paths in the development of the soul. Many simply incarnate, suffer in life and die, going to the abyss to be disintegrated, and returning once again to through progressive incarnations through mineral, plant, and animal consciousness, until becoming humanoid once again. That is one rotation of the Wheel of Samsara. Those souls that definitively do not want realization proceed on such a path, until finally, after the 3000th turn, are reabsorbed back into the Absolute. There is knowledge gained, but nothing in comparison to an initiate of the Straight Path, who consciously works towards realization. You can read more about this in The Mystery of the Golden Flower by Samael Aun Weor.
Audience: What is the role of Purgatory in esotericism?
Instructor: Purgatory is a place of suffering like hell, but for the conscious purification of sins. It refers to processes of initiation [Editor's Note: see our course on The Secret Path of Initiation], and is not simply a place of condemnation as misrepresented in many religions. It refers to a process of paying penance, purifying the mind while ascending to God. In hell, it's the opposite. One distances from God and suffers terribly, without gaining spiritual development. Purgatory is an ascension towards God, where the initiate works to unite with God by paying the Karma of their past actions through mystical death. This is the Second Mountain mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in The Three Mountains, entitled the Mountain of Resurrection (or mystical death).
To conclude, what we need most is practice, to develop real faith. Without practice, all of this is just conjecture. What's the point? It applies once we know how to awaken our pneuma, our noumena within through spiritual experience. These are interesting things to know, but don't let it just sit in your intellect. For with faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move, or climb, mountains. This has to do with how we use our seminal seed in order to change psychologically.
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.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, when we have respect and reverence for divinity, we listen to the music and we hear the power of the divine. 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 and 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.
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