This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
Whether we've studied a spiritual teaching for some number of years, or if it's something new, regardless of the tradition, we always go back towards the very root, which is the direct experience of the truths contained within religion. This is why we say that Gnosis is a heart doctrine; it is a doctrine of the heart. It is not exclusively intellectual, for while we study and accumulate knowledge, a robust spiritual culture, of different scriptures and different writings, really what we look for is the practice. What we seek is the experience. And this is why we say that Gnosis is a Dharma of the heart.
When we say that it relates with the heart, it has to do with certainty, the fact that we know from experience, for its one thing to read about spirituality, about the different realms of the universe called the Sephiroth in Kabbalah, different modalities of consciousness, out of body experiences, experiences in which one may find oneself conversing with the Gods. It's one thing to read about it; it's a completely different thing to experience it. And this is why we say Gnosis relates with the heart; it is what we live palpably within ourselves.
So whether we've be studying for a long time, or if we are new to this teaching, this is what we always come back to—the fundamentals, to question what it is we truly know from experience, that which we have lived within our flesh and our bones, within the very atoms of our consciousness. And it is this type of experience which really shows us that all religions are unanimous, that there really is no distinction or conflict between them. This knowledge is about activating the very latent potential to become something superior, to become a being that is a living incarnation of God, and we do this through practical efforts, practical work.
This knowledge has been given many names, and in this lecture, in speaking about the Heart Doctrine or the secret path of the heart, we're going to delve into the many different schools, the foundations and structure of religion, how the heart develops in accordance with initiation and stages of the path, and really that it is a practical science; it is very practical.
Regardless of the profundity, the vastness, and the complexity of this type of teaching, really it is actually quite simple: it relates with how we use consciousness. As we were talking in one of our previous lectures, we were talking about Pinocchio, which means, "pine seed." In Buddhist terms we refer to this as the Buddhadhatu, which means, "the seed of the Buddha." It is the potential to become a being that is fully awakened. The root word budh means "cognizance," and the Buddha is one who has fully awakened that.
This is really our goal; this is what we want to become, and this doesn't come about by theories. It comes about by work through spiritual discipline, through practice. And this is why you see, particularly in this tradition, we have so many tools, to activate that, from different prayers, conjurations and invocations, practices of magic in which we invoke the superior forces of the Tree of Life, known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Christian terms; the First Logos, Second Logos and Third Logos in Gnostic Greek terms, and many names. These tools and exercises are meant to develop the pine seed, so that this pine seed may become a Christmas tree, completely illuminated and developed.
This all is based upon our actions. It's based upon what we work upon in our heart; how we develop the heart, because Gnosis, if we examine the term (in Greek it's a silent "g") relates to the Sanskrit word Jnana, meaning "knowledge," and Prajna, which is the wisdom of the heart, such as with the Heart Sutra or Prajna-paramita Sutra. So we find that cognate, "Jna," "Gno-sis," "Jna-na," "Pra-nja." We find this even in Hebrew names such as Eliana, which is commonly translated as "God has answered me," but can literally mean "my Goddess of Knowledge," and if you know Kabbalah, that's one of the sacred names of God, "My Goddess of Knowledge: Iod-Chavah" or אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah va Da'ath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei in Tiphereth (the world of the heart) which is equivalent to the aforementioned name. Eliana relates with that: Pranja, Jnana, Gnosis, knowledge within the human being, since when we know the divine through the conscious awareness, Tiphereth, it has to do with the certainty of the truth experienced in one's heart.
What we emphasize always is practice, not theories. If we want God to answer us, indicated through the name Eliana, we have to develop self-knowledge. We study the theory in the beginning, so that when we have the practical experience, we can orient ourselves appropriately. This is why we have so many different books; we have over seventy books from astrology to Tarot to Kabbalah, Alchemy, Tantra, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, many writings. But all of that is useless if we do not know how to work the consciousness, if we do not know how to develop the seed, so that it may sprout into a Buddha, an awakened being.
The person who initiates this type of effort, who works in a practical way, in Greek is known as μυστικός mystikos, which means "initiate." It comes from the Greek root myein, which means "to close the eyes." This is also the root word of "mystery," and in a very famous scripture known as The Voice of the Silence, transcribed by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, it says this:
"Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion."
So it means to close the eyes to the misconceptions or the theories, the beliefs of many traditions and religions, and to really seek to experience what is internal, because this knowledge is completely internal. We have to really become blind to a lot of the concepts and misconceptions made about religion and spiritual practice, because generally humanity is focused on the external and ignores the treasures that we carry within our interior, that pine seed that can really blossom into something rare and beautiful.
It's necessary to learn how to close the eyes in a figurative sense. It doesn't mean we become naive or stupid; it just means we know how to live in this world with wisdom, to take advantage of it for our spiritual work, to use that so that we can really be of benefit, not only to ourselves, but to others in a genuine way. The mistake of many traditions, or the misconceptions about traditions, is that it is solely related with the external. This is what we call the Eye Doctrine in the scripture that I've quoted from, the doctrine of the physical eye, meaning we always look towards the physical world for answers and explanations, of phenomena or, better said, noumena, which is completely mystical and is not based on physical experience. It's something internal, more profound. And unfortunately, many schools of philosophy, many religions, they interpret the scriptures in a very literal way in accordance with theories, in accordance with the eye, with what is most easily seen, but it is very rare for a person to develop that internal sight in order to see within the scripture itself from living experience.
And the Master Jesus explained this very beautifully in the book of Matthew, Chapter 13:
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (myein, "to close the eyes," to see within"), but to them it has not been given (meaning that they have not awakened the consciousness to experience these things, which is our divine nature within).
For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Therefore I speak to them in parables because seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear, nor do they understand.
And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'Hearing, you will hear, and shall not understand, and seeing, you will see, and not perceive.'
For the hearts of this people have grown dull (relating with the Heart Doctrine). Their ears are hard of hearing, and their (spiritual) eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts, and turn, so that I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear (since you have accomplished this through myein, closing your eyes to the illusions of the world), for assuredly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desire to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it. -Matthew 13:10-17
So he makes a very strong distinction between the exoteric and the esoteric, that which is readily perceived on the outside by external perception, meaning what we term in Gnosticism as the Sensual Mind, and then there one's inward perception through mystical exaltation of the consciousness. In Gnostic Psychology we refer to three types of mind:
But the Intermediate Mind is much different; it has to do with beliefs and theories. It has to do with concepts, things that, while we have not experienced them, we still think they are true; we do not know if they're true, but we may have a faith in a religion, and say, "Well, we should believe in Jesus and I feel like I'm saved because I have accepted Christ as my savior, and I'm done." And that's the Intermediate Mind, it relates with a type of mysticism which is not based in direct experience in the consciousness. It is a belief in the heart or a concept in the mind that is not backed by experiential evidence within the awakening of the psyche.
But then we have the Inner Mind, the Inner Mind which is the faculty of the consciousness. It is what can directly perceive in complete mystical experience the truths contained in religion, sometimes known as, perhaps, awakening in dreams, such as is described in the Book of Daniel, which relates with dreams; or the ladder of Jacob, in which he perceived the angels ascending and descending, from the superior to the inferior worlds.
It's the Inner Mind we seek to awaken and to develop. We say that when the Buddhata, the seed of the Buddha, is fully developed, then the Inner Mind is one hundred percent awakened. This is what we call faith. Belief is to think something is true, but we don't practically know. Real faith, a term that is so abused in this day, really means what we know. When Jesus said, "With faith the size of a mustard seed (like a pine seed), you can move mountains," he's not talking about belief. He's talking about experience, because when you know something is true, your conviction is very determined and solid. It's unshakeable, and even if many people think you're crazy for studying a type of teaching like this, a type of mysticism of wanting to experience the divine in a personal way, you know its true, and really, that won't bother you because when you "know the truth, the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).
It really has nothing to do with concepts, theories, beliefs, but we have to open the heart as Jesus says, to close the eyes to the physical world, close the eyes to the Sensual Mind, in order to perceive with the vision of the heart. Many masters are unanimous on this point. I'll quote for you probably the greatest Sufi Master that's lived. His name is Ibn 'Arabi, and this is from his book called Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom.
May God open the eyes of your heart, shedding His divine light. The angelic realm, which contains the potential of future creation, incorporeal existences, the meaning of all and everything to come, and divine power, is the element from which the visible world is created and, therefore the material world is under the influence and domination of the angelic realm. The movement, the sound, the voice, the ability to speak, to eat and to drink is not from the existences themselves in the visible, material world. They all pass through the invisible world of the angelic realm. We think that we see with our eyes. The information, the influences of perception, are due to our senses—while the real influence, the meaning of things, the power behind what sees and what is seen, can be reached neither by the senses, nor by deduction and analysis, comparison, contrasts, and associations made through intellectual theories. The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye and the mind of the heart. Indeed, the reality of this visible also can only be seen by the mind and eye of the heart.
He's really talking about a superior type of perception, in which the divine nature that we have can see with clarity the very essence and nature of this phenomenal world, and it is through mystical experience that we see, particularly in meditation, or out of the body, that we see that this physical world is really quite crude and is not accurate. It doesn't convey the actual essence of what occurs on a psychological level, on an energetic level. This is why in Hinduism this world is Maya, is illusion; in order to delve past the illusions of the world (really, it's internal), we have to develop the heart through the experience and perception of the divine. Ibn 'Arabi continues:
What we think we see is but veils which hide the reality of things; things whose truth, whose meaning may not be revealed until these veils are lifted.
(If you're familiar with Freemasonry or Egyptian mysticism, we know about the veil of Isis. It's that covering or the illusions of the senses which prevents us from perceiving Divine Mother Nature, or the divinity that we carry within).
It is only when the dark veils of imagination and preconception are raised that the divine light will penetrate the heart, enabling the inner eye to see. Then either the sunlight or the light of a candle will become a metaphor for the divine light.
Gnosis is direct experience, and the very obstacle that prevents us from accessing those superior states, not just when we physically go to sleep and enter into those dream states, but on a moment to moment basis, is a lack of conscious attention. It is only by learning to direct our attention from second to second, from instant to instant, that we can really lift the veil of Isis, to penetrate with our comprehension into the very nature of the divine, which subsists on a moment to moment basis.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote, "The truth is the unknowable from moment to moment." When we think we know, that's usually a sure indicator that we probably are very asleep, because the state of awakened perception, or Self-remembering or Self-observation, to be in the now, everything is new, and we recognize, "I don't know anything!" Like a child who is fascinated with the experience of life, and everything is fresh and new. This is really the psychological attitude that we need in every second, and we always have to go back and cultivate that. It is the foundation. It is the foundation of mystical experience. It is the means by which, through the practice of meditation, we cultivate, facilitate and activate those experiences.
Really, it comes to my mind, the story of a Tibetan Buddhist master, who was asked by a student of his, "So when do you meditate?" And he replied, "But I am always meditating!" In every second. It's by using that clarity of perception, which we call consciousness, Buddhata, Tathagarthagarba, the psyche, the soul.
The Body, Soul and Spirit of the Heart Doctrine
This is the very key that opens the door to religion, to true reunion with the divine. It is a moment to moment awareness, a moment to moment effort, and it is this key that is so lacking in many traditions today, which have really died and lost the Heart Doctrine contained within them, or we could say that their esoteric heart stopped beating. And this is why we see many scriptures interpreted so literally. And the great masters, the Rabbis of The Zohar warned about this many centuries ago, even in their own time. The Zohar is probably the most advanced scripture given by the Kabbalists of Israel. The ספר הזהר Sepher ha Zohar means "The Book of Splendors." Splendor is a reference to the Sephirah Tiphereth on the Tree of Life, for as we say in the Invocation of Solomon, "Mercy (Chesed חסד) and Justice (Geburah גבורה), be ye the equilibrium and splendor (Tiphereth תפארת) of my life!"
It is from Judaism where we derive a certain structure or dynamic in religion, which we actually find in all traditions and we're going to talk about this in relation with the Heart Doctrine. The Kabbalists say that there is a body, a soul, and a spirit to every doctrine. In Judaism, the Torah, the Books of Moses, along with the complete writings in the Tanakh, is known as the body of the doctrine. The Talmud, by the Kabbalists, is known as the soul of the doctrine. And then you have the spirit of the doctrine, which is The Zohar. You can see that these are varying levels of instruction.
Moses wrote the Torah, the body of law and instruction. Some people confuse the Talmud with the Torah. The Talmud is more of the philosophical discourse regarding Jewish mysticism and way of life. It's really more of the soul of the doctrine. Whereas the body of a doctrine is just the narrative, and you'll see from this quotation of this illustrates this fact. This is about "The Real Torah" from the Sepher ha Zohar:
Rabbi Simeon says: "Woe to the man who says that the Torah came to relate stories, simply and plainly, and simpleton tales about Esau and Laban and the like. If it was so, even at the present day we could produce a Torah from simplistic matters, and perhaps even nicer ones than those. If the Torah came to exemplify worldly matters, even the rulers of the world have among them things that are superior. If so, let us follow them and produce from them a Torah in the same manner. It must be that all items in the Torah are of a superior nature and are uppermost secrets.
Come and behold: the world above and the world below are measured with one scale. The children of Yisrael below correspond to the lofty angels above (which, going back to Ibn 'Arabi's quote, he's talking about the angelic realm, the physical realm, and their connection). It is written about the lofty angels: "who makes the winds his messengers" (Psalms 104:4). When they descend downwards, they are donned with the vestments of this world. If they had not acquired the dress for this world, they would not be able to exist in this world, and the world would not be able to stand them. And if this is so for the angels, how much more so is it for the Torah that created these messengers and all the worlds, that exist due to her. Once it was brought down to this world, if it had not donned all these covering garments of this world, which are the stories and simplistic tales, the world would not have been able to tolerate it.
It's because this type of teaching is too direct, and why all the great scriptures are really symbolic. So we see that from the angelic realm, the superior regions, the messengers and prophets, from which we get from the word angeloi or angels, come down in order to express this type of teaching, which is very abstract. So to explain it in completely abstract terms, people would not understand it, since those indoctrinated by the Sensual Mind and the five senses are less capable of grasping it. The fact that it's written in stories and parables is in order to convey a message, but if we interpret literally, in accordance with the Eye Doctrine, and not the heart, we fall into many absurdities, many mistakes.
So we say that the Torah, which interestingly enough means "instruction," "law," etc., is the same meaning as Dharma. The Torah and the Dharma are really the law, the instruction, the foundation of spiritual practice. The problem is that, due to the hypnosis of the senses, people are not capable of experiencing the truths that are contained in the scriptures in a symbolic form, because if we read just the literal meaning, it's really quite useless. It might feed a person's pride to read about the history of Israel; it is very literal to them. They think that there is no symbolism, and meanwhile the whole scripture is symbolic. It is a vestment, a dress:
Therefore, this story of the Torah is the mantle of the Torah. He who thinks that this mantle is the actual essence of the Torah and that nothing else is in there, let his spirit deflate and let him have no part in the world to come. Therefore, David said, "open my (spiritual) eyes (through myein, meditation), that I may behold wondrous things out of your Torah (your law and instruction)" (Psalms 119:18); that is, look what lies under that garment of the Torah.
Come and behold: there is a dress that is visible to everyone. The simple people, when they see a person dressed beautifully, who appears to them distinguished by his clothing, do not observe any further. They make their judgments about him according to his distinguished apparel and they consider the dress as the body of man, and the body of the person like his soul.
It's like what Polonius says in Hamlet, "For the apparel oft proclaims the man" (Act III.iii. 72). This is now taken in a more spiritual sense. We can even draw an interestingly parallel to Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, wherein his fictional prophet discusses the torpidity of the common man in relation with the things of the divine, as well as those "famous wise men" who say they follow the Heart Doctrine, but are in turn hypocrites and literal interpreters of the Torah, individuals we may otherwise denominate "tarantulas," to use the author's terminology:
But even in your virtues you remain for me part of the people, the dumb-eyed people—the people, who do not know what spirit is. -On the Famous Wise Men, Book II
We continue now with The Zohar:
Similar to this is the Torah. It has a body, which is composed of the commandments of the Torah that are called the 'body of the Torah'. This body is clothed with garments, which are stories of this world. The ignorant of the world look only at that dress, which is the story in the Torah, and are not aware of anything more. They do not look at what lies beneath that dress. Those who know more do not look at the dress, but rather at the body beneath that dress. The wise, the sages, the servants of the loftiest king (which is Christ, that divine intelligence known by many different names in religion), those that stood at mount Sinai, look only at the soul of the Torah, which is the essence of everything, the real Torah. In the destiny to come, they are destined to look at the soul, the soul of the Torah.
We find this structure and dynamic in all religions, and I'm going to draw this parallel amongst all religions, or some of the major ones that we know of that express this type of dynamic: a body, a soul and a spirit of a doctrine.
In the Buddhist sense, we have the following schools:
Mahayana means "Greater Vehicle" and it relates more to how we work practically to help other people. You may be familiar with the term Bodhichitta, which we're going to talk about in relation with the soul of the doctrine. And then you have the spirit which is Tantrayana, the very essence, root or core of a doctrine, which is very advanced. Vajra means "lightning" or "diamond." So this indicates the most pure teaching we know of.
We find this even in Sufism.
Shari'ah is the written law or code of Islam, Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith. This is the code of conduct any spiritual aspirant must fulfill. Such ethical discipline is the foundation of all religious practice and spiritual achievement.
Tariqah is the soul of the teachings, the practical techniques for achieving spiritual change. These practices have never been given openly by the Muslim initiates, but were transmitted by mouth to ear. However, we now have such techniques available in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. Tariqah also represents the philosophical teachings that explain Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith, which we find in the Sufi writings of Rumi, Ibn 'Arabi, Al-Qushayri, and others.
Haqiqah is the truth, the realization of divine spiritual truths within the many explications of the great Sufi Masters. One example is the poetry of Mansur al-Hallaj, the Muslim Christ, who was tortured and killed for pronouncing أنا الحق Anā l-Ḥaqq (I am the Truth!). Truly, this master completely embodied the Heart Doctrine, since he had no psychological impurities in his mind; he had completely awakened his Inner Mind and embodied the truth.
With this explanation about the body, soul and spirit of any doctrine, we can now understand the following words from the Prophet Muhammad:
The outer law (shari'ah) is my word,
the spiritual path (tariqah) my actions,
and the inner reality (haqiqah) my inner states.—Muhammad
In relation with the Heart Doctrine, the very heart of a teaching is Tantrayana; it is the secret teachings, in relation with alchemy, Tantra, the very highest yoga practices, which were not given to any student unless they proved themselves worthy.
Right now we live in a very different age of accessibility and information, and the fact that people need this teaching, that we need the tools and techniques, such knowledge is given openly. It's given more readily so people can practice. But in the past this was conserved. If you're familiar with astrology, the age of Pisces, during the times of Jesus, things were very conservative in relation with the dissemination of the esoteric knowledge. The Kabbalists of Israel were very selective and they did not want to give the teachings openly, but you see that Jesus went forth and started publicly these sorts of things, and they reacted very violently, because they were very conservative.
Tantra and alchemy was not given so openly. It was given to those who proved their worth, first of all, by fulfilling the very foundations of spiritual practice, by demonstrating that they could enter into the Heart Doctrine through practical experience. Truly, the Shravakayana, the Dharma, the Torah, in the very foundations of practice, is given very beautifully and simplistically in the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, because a Shravakayana practitioner, someone who is working the very foundations of ethics and practice so that they can experience these types of things, has to understand the nature of Karma.
Ethics, Renunciation and Karma
Karma is simply a law of cause and effect, but it is not so simple, because we have many internal processes that occur even without us knowing about it, physical, emotional and psychological. Karma is a topic of its own, but we'll introduce this in relation with the body of the doctrine.
So the First Noble Truth states that, "In life, there is suffering." The person has to acknowledge that there is suffering in this life in order to want to change. If we're attached to our way of life we will not seek to improve it. It's the recognition that suffering exists where we inquire into their causes, the Second Noble Truth, and when we see that there are specific causes to suffering, that certain actions are being produced which inevitably bring negative results to us, we realize that there is an antidote called "cessation." Cessation refers to the end of the causes of suffering, the Third Noble Truth. By the very fact that we discover cessation, we discover that there is a path, the Fourth Noble Truth towards the cessation of suffering.
Really we are delivering this knowledge of the Heart Doctrine in the Kabbalistic and Buddhist way, particularly in relation with the mantra Om Masi Padme Hum that we performed prior to this discussion, because it tends to be more readily familiar than, say, the Sufi tradition. However, we felt it important to explain this aspect of the Heart Doctrine since many are not familiar with it. We also emphasize Buddhism by the fact that the Buddha synthesized the Heart Doctrine very beautifully. However, we find the Four Noble Truths in all religions.
There is suffering. Obviously suffering has causes which we produce. There exists the cessation of the causes of suffering, and there is a path, just as Jesus taught, "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).
As I was saying that the foundation of the body of a doctrine is understanding the nature of cause and effect, the nature of Karma, how Karma actually functions, how we actually produce results. That's an enigma in itself, since often times we will try to present something and perform a certain action, only to not produce the result that we want. Such as in interrelations. We may think that we said something funny or something good, and it produces a bad result.
But we all do this, we all have certain ways of being ignorant, of causing suffering, and it is this type of ignorance which prevents us from accessing the more deeper levels of spiritual practice, the Heart Doctrine, of going further into the experience of the divine.
We find certain foundations or descriptions within each stage. Shravakayana is in relation with ethics and renunciation. It means that the very foundation to know what is right and know what is wrong; do what is right and don't do what is wrong. We find this in the ten commandments of Judaism. We find this in the ten virtuous and non-virtuous actions of Tibetan Buddhism, which we synthesize into body, speech and mind. It's a very interesting parallel in relation with the levels of instruction of these teachings: the body, soul and spirit of a doctrine.
We categorize it in this way because there are sins of the body, sins of speech, relating with the heart, with emotions, and sins of the mind. So these are the three brains of Gnostic psychology: intellect, emotions, and movement or the motor brain.
We have a presentation of certain literal vows that we need physically; however, the real work is to fulfill them psychologically. That's really where the Heart Doctrine starts to enter in relation with the Shravakayana path, the very foundation, because it's one thing not to physically kill a person, steal from them; it's one thing not to hurt someone physically through violence, but if we observe ourselves psychologically, we can be doing all those things and worse in our mind, since we feel that no one can perceive what exactly is going on. We feel, "Well I am isolated. I can think all the negative things I want; I can feel all the negative things I want." Meanwhile that brings consequences, because thoughts and feelings relate with matter and energy. It's not physical. It relates with the subtle dimensions, such as with the Astral Plane, Hod, in Kabbalah; Netzach, the mind, on the Tree of Life.
Even if we may not express anger with words, we can kill with a bad glance, a bad look. Energy travels great distances, even if we are not perceptive of this fact. This is why we can sense if a person is upset even if they make no outward indications of such; this is known as the science of telepathy or transience: the transference of psychological and mental energies within interpersonal relations. Without unjust reason, then, Samael Aun Weor stated within The Major Mysteries:
"It is as bad to talk when one must be silent as to be silent when one must talk. There exist criminal silences as well as indignant words."
Stealing does not only include material things, but taking credit for another person's ideas, concepts, or spiritual teachings. The latter type of theft is the worst and is most common. Many fanatics of spirituality steal the teachings of the great prophets and adulterate them, claiming them for their own. We find this all throughout spiritual movements, whether of Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Hermetic philosophy, eastern yoga, and even Gnosis. Those who steal the teachings of others and claim them for their own, without paying due respect to the Guru, are those who indefinitely follow the Eye Doctrine. For as H. P. Blavatsky transcribed in the aforementioned scripture, The Voice of the Silence:
"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 have garnered, low confess, "thus have I heard.'"
Sexual misconduct is any negative action that abuses the sexual energy, principally through fornication, the loss of seminal energy through the orgasm, and adultery, which is not only physical, but psychological. There is adultery in the mind whenever someone feels lust in his mind and heart towards another person. This was indicated by Jesus in the Gospels, but also the Lord Buddha two thousand five hundred years ago.
Lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, and senseless speech are abuses of the Verb, the Word, which is Christ. Whenever a person utilizes the verb in these manners, the mind and soul suffer the consequences, which is again the adulteration of forces within the psyche. God is the Truth, and to lie is to sin against the Father. We have to remember that Christ is not a person, but a cosmic energy. Therefore, to sin is not some moral burden upon our shoulders, but a misappropriation of energies. Hurtful speech, divisive words, or senseless speech as with many who claim to "speak in tongues," abuse the Verb and disturb their minds tremendously, making them greater candidates for suffering, simply because they take the harmonious energies of Christ and use them in negative ways.
Covetousness does not only involve desire towards material objects, but even psychic powers. Many students enter esotericism wanting spiritual powers, to accomplish mind control, which is one hundred percent negative. Christ respects free will, and to dominate another person in this way is very bad. To covet powers is also useless and eventually converts one into a magician of darkness, since the only true power belongs to the Lord. The great initiates always renounce power, fame and glory and surrender everything to God. This is hidden within the Arabic word Islam, which means "submission to the will of God."
Oftentimes such sentiments are fueled by malice, wanting to gain power in order to harm. It is not my purpose in this lecture to go so much into the consequences, but to help us reflect on how we commit these types of errors within ourselves on a daily basis. This is in order to awaken the comprehension of the heart, to enter into the Heart Doctrine.
Wrong views entails ignorance of Karma, a lack of perception of reality which makes us act in wrong ways. This is the root of our suffering: our lack of comprehension of the causes of suffering within our psyche.
So our thoughts produce consequences. In the very exoteric level, we must stop; we should not do those things physically, because it's going to create bad energy, and if we try to meditate with a mind that's so disturbed, we will not be able to comprehend anything; it will be too chaotic.
What we want is to go into how it applies to our mind, how it applies to our hearts, because that is really where the work is. There's also many types of behaviors are generally so condoned in this society that we accept them, such as idle chatter; just talking, something we think is really innocent. The great master Swami Sivananda said that "Idle chatter is the diarrhea of the tongue." Truly it is, because people are something like volcanoes, just belching out words without comprehending where it's coming from or the effect they have.
This type of behavior disturbs the mind. If we try to sit and meditate after a very chaotic day, where we don't have enough restraint on our mind or actions, meditation becomes very difficult; Self-observation becomes very difficult. Trying to see the roots of our problems becomes very difficult. This is why renunciation alongside ethics is the foundation. We have to renounce these types of habits on a moment to moment basis, not just saying "Well, I'm not going to do that again," and we get into the same situation and repeat the same thing. The real effort is finding yourself running towards the cliff and finding yourself at the ledge, refraining and saying, "I'm not going to do that," and then stopping before the fall. It could be a moment of restraint. The Buddha said this is a wonderful moment; that really shows we are working to change and are changing, if we can stop ourselves from acting in habitually negative ways.
If we find ourselves beginning to act a certain way that is contrary to the teachings, or thinking negative thoughts, but stopping ourselves through comprehension, renouncing them and letting ourselves relax, not identifying, that is a strong indication that we are developing our ethics.
Ethics is really the foundation of concentration. It is impossible to concentrate in meditation if our mind is disturbed, if we do not have enough restraint. This is what the Buddha said in the Dhammapada, the very first lines: "Mind precedes phenomena. We become what we think." So if our thoughts are garbage, if our thoughts are very negative, then that is what our life is going to be externally. It's how we are going to react and relate to others, or how we're going to affect other people.
Sivananda gave some beautiful quotes in relation with this: "Students fail in meditation because they lack ethics" and "Concentration without purity is useless." Pretty strong coming from a man who is generally considered to be laid back and happy, but he had a very strong Martian side to him, very disciplined nature, and we really have to be like that. We need to be focused; to be disciplined, but not militant; to be strong and firm, but flexible; because it's one thing to adopt this type of conduct, "I can't do harmful things; I can't think harmful thoughts," but to do it in a repressive way is wrong; it will get us nowhere. And I have seen that happen with many people, who have been so effected trying to adopt a spiritual practice when doing so in a very cloistered way, helping them become very negative and morbid people. They perceived how much negativity they have within and they don't know how to deal with it.
The thing is just to relax. If we catch ourselves doing negative things, thinking negative thoughts, then just relax. Be firm. Observe, be concentrated, but don't be paranoid, because the truth is we carry a lot of degeneration, a lot of negative habits, negative qualities, but it's by renouncing those habits, in a calm way, that we grow spiritually. You know that in an argument you can be forceful without being offensive. "You know, I agree with you, but this is my space." You can assert yourself without being overbearing. The same with spiritual discipline, except the one we are up against is our own mind.
This is the type of gentle and affirming attitude that we need in relation with ethics, how to control the mind, without storming and thundering like Zeus, "This is not how I want things to be!" But really, true strength and force is relaxed, firm but gentle.
Bodhichitta and the Heart Doctrine
This is just the foundation of the Heart Doctrine The Heart Doctrine is founded upon these principles of ethics and spirituality, but we find through investigation and practice that this is just the groundwork for the path itself, the Heart Doctrine itself:
The Dharma of the "Eye" is the embodiment of the external, and the non-existing. The Dharma of the "Heart" is the embodiment of Bodhi, the Permanent and Everlasting. -H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
Bodhi means wisdom. As I mentioned to you before, the term Bodhichitta, which is essential to Mahayana Buddhism and is essential in Gnosis, since these traditions are unanimous. Bodhichitta literally means "wisdom-mind," "wisdom-heart," or "wisdom-consciousness," and we know from Kabbalah that wisdom in Hebrew is חכמה Chokmah, which is Christ, so really we can say that this is "Christ-mind."
As I said, Christ is not anthropomorphic. Christ is an intelligence, is a force, which we find in all of nature and can become personalized in any individuals that have developed themselves to incarnate that, and Jesus is probably the most beautiful example of this fact, because he is a very elevated master. For example, we look at light bulbs, which are just the vehicles for the expression of light, and the light itself is that energy, Christ. Any terrestrial person is just the vehicle through which the light of the Lord can express Himself.
This brings us to another important term, if you're familiar with the Mahayana term in Buddhism: Bodhisattva. As I said, bodhi is light or wisdom, sattva means incarnation. So an incarnation of wisdom is somebody that has developed him or herself to the point where they actually have that intelligence within themselves, that they are working in a very superior way; symbolized by the birth of Jesus in the stable, and how he grows up into a complete and full human being, fulfilling the life, passion, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.
We use the term Bodhisattva in relation with individuals who have achieved what we call mastery. This is a very high level of development, but it is, we can say, the beginning of a much greater spiritual evolution, or better said: revolution. Upon achieving mastery, these initiates may incarnate that intelligence if, on the sole condition, they worked to help others. So it's one thing to reach that type of height in spiritual development, it's another thing to incarnate Christ, because in Mahayana Buddhism we understand that alongside the Bodhisattvas are what we call the Pratyeka Buddhas or Shravakas.
Bodhisattvas and Pratyeka Buddhas are initiates, meaning that they worked in teachings of alchemy, teachings of spiritual development, working with the force we call Kundalini, the fire of the Holy Spirit, raising that fire from the coccyx to the pineal gland and into the heart within successive dimensions, which relate with the lower five spheres of the Tree of Life. And when reaching the sphere of Tiphereth, one attains mastery, as a beginner. It is highly significant that when you imagine a person transposed upon this Hebraic glyph, Tiphereth aligns and relates with the heart. It's the human soul, the human consciousness developed into a master. Yet remember that even upon reaching those heights known as Nirvana, very blissful states, not all of them become Bodhisattvas. There are really two paths that open up when you reach those heights of what's called mastery.
The Pratyeka Buddhas follow the spiral path. But the Bodhisattvas follow something very different and very radical, called the direct path. Both paths eventually lead to the original source of the divine, what we call the Absolute. Some know It as Parabrahma, Allah; we use the term Christ as a type of impersonal force and intelligence within creation. But really is that uncreated source, which both the spiral and direct paths lead to, but in very different ways, with very different results.
This is really the very Heart Doctrine, because Tiphereth, the human soul, relates with the heart, and if we are fortunate enough to reach those stages of development some day, it's a very major decision: to choose between the spiral path of the Pratyeka Buddhas and the direct path of the Bodhisattvas who incarnate Christ, is something very significant. You can read about it in The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor. But really, the spiral path is a very long trajectory which takes many cosmic days, known as Mahamanvantaras, periods of activity in which entire universes are born, and pass away with cosmic nights or Mahapralayas.
It takes many cosmic days on the spiral path, very slow, because those individuals choose not to renounce the happiness of Nirvana, and if you experience Nirvana, you can see why, because it is blissful.
Some people wonder if a person took the spiral path, if they would return. It depends upon their karma, because we know that Nirvana is governed by laws. The Tree of Life, whether in the very heights or the bottom of this physical world, is governed by karmic laws. Nirvana is governed by periods of activity and repose. When Nirvana enters into activity, the Nirvanis or initiates of that realm will have to physically incarnate because of cause and effect, because of past karma that they owe. We know, given through the writings of Samael Aun Weor, that Nirvana is in a period of activity, and many Pratyeka Buddhas have physical bodies.
The problem in general is that it's very easy to fall again. You reach those heights, and then you come back to the physical world and are tempted to make mistakes again. So they lose the doctrine of the heart in their level, right? But a Bodhisattva is someone who renounces everything, is a being that is very revolutionary, which is considered very scandalous.
It comes into my mind the Prophet Muhammad. Very radical. Jesus. Very radical. Buddha. Very radical. They created many enemies cause they go against everything that is wrong and unfortunately, pretty much everything about this planet is wrong.
With the direct path, it's very straight; it's short, but its very difficult, because the initiate pays his karma entirely in one life. That is really the essence of the Heart Doctrine. For one thing we have ethics and renunciation; this is the foundation in the beginning. But with Bodhichitta, with Christ-mind, with altruism and inspiration to help others, we take on everything: all the suffering of this planet on our shoulders, the cross of Jesus, in order to help humanity, to transform it.
That is really the beauty of the great initiates. When I think that I have problems and difficulties, I look at the life of Jesus, and see how much he was despised and hated by everybody, but he just returned that type of negativity with love, sincere gratitude for those people. Bodhichitta is really that. Bodhichitta is composed to two principles:
Emptiness, Prajna, in Buddhism, is the very primordial root of nature and existence. It's a type of emptiness or space, which if you recall from the Book of Genesis, "And the world was formless and void, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep." It's what we call the Abstract Absolute Space. It is the Nothingness or space, which does not indicate nihilism like many people think when they study Buddhism and react with horror.
It is emptiness, but the genuine type of existence beyond our concepts. That is the Heart Doctrine, the realization of That, even if it's just in a minor Samadhi, which in truth is not that minor. If you find yourself entering the Illuminating Void, that is really where we can say that Bodhichitta is strengthened. Let us remember that Bodhichitta is comprehension of Karma, cause and effect, inter-causal relations, in relation with ethics. It is the understanding of the impermanence of phenomena, coupled with conscious love. Many schools of Buddhism, and I've even heard many Gnostic instructors saying "Well, it's either one or the other." But it's not—it's both.
If you really have love for a person, conscious love, it's because you understand that they are suffering from Karma, that they are afflicted by causes and conditions. When you see that this is impermanent, that nothing is really stable in life, that everything is inherently empty of intrinsic existence and depends upon specific causes—we do not fall into nihilism, which is due to the fact that we understand we have existence and comprehend the nature of cause and effect.
When we see how impermanent psychological states are, we can truly forgive a person very easily, such as if he or she is angry at us for one moment, and nice to us in the next. There's really nothing to get angry about. Usually, we think, "Oh, he's angry at me!" Or "She's angry at me!" Or "Oh, he's being nice to me!" "She's being nice to me!" However, none of that is permanent. None of that is. It's really on this basis of the impermanence of nature that we can develop real understanding and compassion, the Heart Doctrine, to develop Tiphereth and Bodhichitta.
In the beginning of our spiritual practice we always try to develop ethics and change ourselves in certain ways through renunciation. But what we want also is to develop Bodhichitta, that altruistic love for other beings through comprehension of emptiness, Karma and impermanence, which is the essence of the heart, the Heart Doctrine; it's real wisdom. Understanding that there is karma, that things are interdependent, that nothing is separated or isolated, and that we affect others, we develop genuine concern for others to the point that we don't even exist in an egotistical sense, but are always giving out as much as we can to the best of our ability. That is really what Bodhichitta is.
Tantrayana / Vajrayana: The Diamond Vehicle
However, this is really not the end. There is the Vajrayana or Tantrayana path, which is the most revolutionary and difficult to understand. As I said, vajra can mean "diamond" or "lightning," and a vajra is a symbol of power utilized within ceremonies of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, the meaning of which will be clarified shortly. The real essence or the spirit of a doctrine, the heights of spirituality, is the understanding of Prajna or emptiness, and it is precisely through the vajra that we can come to know the truth. First we need to develop ourselves in our practice through ethics, renunciation and comprehension of Karma, followed with the generation and strengthening of Bodhichitta, wherein we work to make changes within ourselves and ascend higher.
Despite the beauty of this level of teaching, the real heights of the Vajrayana path is really the experience of the Absolute in meditation, where we fall asleep, and our soul goes to the Void, the space, which is so amazingly symbolized in the beginning of one of Wagner's operas, Das Rheingold from Der Ring Des Nibelungen or The Ring of the Nibelungen, which is literally about one hundred and thirty eight bars of music in the same key, which is symbolizing that ocean, the space that keeps on going, and going, and going. It is very overwhelming; that is really the nature of the emptiness, the Void.
Understand that this is not something we will immediately come to understand, since first we learn through the intellect through concepts. To experience it as a Heart Doctrine is another thing. But that's why we study first, so that when we find ourselves in a samadhi having that experience, we will have more courage because we will understand what's going on. So it won't be as terrifying, although to the ego it is very terrifying, because every sense of self, security that we have in the egotistical self, really becomes annihilated before That, to become one and merge with that universal soul, universal compassion, without shackles or limitations, truly beyond this universe of relativity and Karma, cause and effect.
The wisdom of Prajna or emptiness has been known by different names, and so while I am teaching this in the Buddhist flavor, you can see how this applies to all religions irregardless. In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, this philosophy of emptiness is known as Dzogchen, founded by Padmasambhava, who was an Indian Master of the eighth century, considered the second Buddha in comparison to Gautama Sakyamuni due to his knowledge and level of attainment. We also have Mahamudra, which is practiced by the other three schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Gelug, Sakya and Kagyu. Really these two philosophies are synonymous, they really have the same meaning.
Dzogchen translates into "Great Perfection" and Mahamudra means "Truth Seal." This is going to be very significant in relation with other traditions besides Buddhism. I will read for you what Samael Aun Weor wrote in Zodiacal Course:
"The Doctrine of the Heart is called the seal of the truth, or the Truth Seal."
In Islam, we know that the Prophet Muhammad is known as "the Seal of the Prophets." And what does a prophet teach? He teaches the truth. He is the seal of the truth. That is Mahamudra, even given as the identity of a great initiate. For example, if you're familiar with Al-Miraj, which is the ascent of the Prophet into the superior worlds or seven heavens, he rides on a mystical animal called Al-Buraq. The word "b-r-q" means "lightning." Lightning is a vajra. Vajra relates with Dzogchen, Mahamudra, the Truth Seal, the Seal of the Prophets.
So we see that Muhammad is a master of tantra, or Vajrayana. That's how he ascended to the superior worlds. Padmasambhava said this about Dzogchen:
"It is the secret, unexcelled cycle of the supreme vehicle of Tantra, the true essence of the definitive meaning; the short path for attaining Buddhahood in one life."
This is the straight path, the direct path of the Bodhisattva, and as it says in the very opening of Al-Qur'an, Al-Fatihah:
In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds,
The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path,
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked Your anger or of those who are astray.
So we really find the essence of alchemy in the Vajrayana path, the very heights in all religions. It's very interesting that Dzogchen is the "Great Perfection" or that Mahamudra is the "Truth Seal." Muhammad was the seal of the truth, seal of the prophets, and if you know Kabbalah, the sphere of תפארת Tiphereth, relating with the heart, begins and ends with the Hebrew letter ת Tav. The letter ת Tav is literally the "seal." It means "covenant," and really this is the seal of covenant of the heart, about developing Bodhichitta.
Now Bodhichitta in Tantra has more connotations. It is synonymous with sexual energy, which is the very power of the Holy Spirit in the body, the psyche. Bodhichitta can be represented by the masons as the Cubic Stone, the stone has to be chiseled. This relates with the stone that the builders rejected and is really the foundation stone of the temple. In relation with Muhammad, he was meditating in the Mosque of Mecca (Al-Masjid-al-Haram), near the cubic stone, and its from that stone of Bodhichitta, the vajra, the lightning bolt, the fire of Kundalini, which rises from the spinal column to the heavens, took him all the way to the very heights.
And it's described in Al-Hadith, which is the Muslim oral tradition, that he was before Allah and it's impossible to give attributes to that. Really the scriptures are saying Allah is emptiness, the space, the primordial root nature of our consciousness, which is pure happiness and divine nature, without form.
Although we have not mentioned this earlier, there is a powerful scripture by the name of the Heart Sutra, or Prajna-paramita Sutra, which elaborates on the nature of the emptiness and ultimate wisdom of the awakened consciousness. To discuss the implications of this work would take many lectures, but here we are referencing it for further study.
Really, the emptiness or void is the spirit of a doctrine. That is really the Heart Doctrine. This is why we say in the Shravakayana level we don't fully grasp this, because it really takes a lot of heart in order to renounce our egotism, to develop spiritually, to really develop ethics. The problem is that many exoteric traditions do not have the Heart Doctrine. There really is no Heart Doctrine there, it's just theories; many discussions and polemics, arguments over terms. All of that has to do with the loss of the heart in many people, where there isn't even that genuine longing to change. That genuinely longing for that seed, Pinocchio, to develop into a true human being.
The Master Jesus explains it in this way in Matthew 13:19-23:
Therefore hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.
Yet he who has no root in himself, but endures only for awhile, for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he stumbles.
Now he who receives seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.
But he who receives seed on the good ground, is he who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The Christian Gospels relates with a much more ancient scripture, The Voice of the Silence as we have been discussing.
The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap experience the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul.
Diamond soul refers to vajra, or Vajrasattva, or Vajrayana. So really the seed can become that if we develop it progressively through the different stages of practice.
"Great Sifter" is the name of the "Heart Doctrine," O disciple.
The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the Karmic heart.
True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou would'st eat the bread of Wisdom (Prajna, emptiness), thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita's clear waters (relating with alchemy, the science of transmutation). But if thou kneadest husks with Maya's dew, thou canst create but food for the black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay and sorrow.
While this is just an explanation of the structures of religious practice, these are the degrees and stages by which the heart develops. These are levels of development, levels of practice. Generally when we work in meditation, the foundation is concentration. We learn to control the mind, so we can concentrate in order to really meditate. In relation with practice, we see that these three schools are synthesized again. Samael Aun Weor categorized this very simply and beautifully in one of his books of astrology, specifically the chapter on Leo:
This is a much more simplified didactic of some of the more Hindu or Raja Yoga models.
So we learn to concentrate. When we learn how to concentrate our mind on one thing, really the heart will open up to the experience of the divine. Meditation is really a state in which you receive new information, where as a lake on a mountain top, you reflect the starry heavens of the Being. And when you have enough stillness and concentration of mind, where you mind is focused, your heart opens up spontaneously. Then Prajna, the spirit, wisdom, will enter into you in a moment of comprehension. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to find yourself flying out of your body. That can happen, and if you practice diligently, it will happen. Those types of experiences will unfold, cause naturally if you're setting forth the causes and conditions for Dharma, fruit will naturally grow as a result of that.
So the Heart Doctrine is hidden within the body, the soul and the spirit, but more so in the spirit. We say that the body is exoteric, the soul is mesoteric, and the spirit is esoteric, coming from the Greek esoterikos, mesoterikos and esoterikos. And really, an intiate, a mystikos, who closes the eyes to the exterior senses, awakens the heart and experiences those things for him or herself.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You touched more in the beginning on the nature of belief and how we should have preference toward experience rather than theories. If I remember right, from what I've read, I guess belief, such as when the Bible tells you to believe, it's not just telling you to accept theory. It's, when traced back to the Latin root, it has a context that people are not even aware of in the present day, and it's been ruined and gutted out by the Catholic Church.
Instructor: The word belief comes from "be" and lieve, or "love," which is where we get the word libido. As I mentioned in Tantric practice, Bodhichitta is synonymous with sexual energy, how we use that force. The first commandment of Moses, as was given by Jesus of Nazareth, explains this. Someone asked him, "What is the highest commandment that exists?"
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. --Matthew 22:37
This relates with the three brains of Gnostic esoteric psychology, the heart, the mind, and the soul, or waters of sex. This is what it means to be a "believer," one who knows how to "be" through the power of love, the science of alchemy. Alchemy, as we have studied in a previous lecture, is Allah Khemia, "to fuse with God," to reunite with that. A real believer is someone who knows this type of alchemical science and you find this in the Qur'an too. This really was the original intention in the word "belief." Many people, however, would think that the way we're expressing it is in the literal sense, to just think that a concept is true with one's mind. But it's much more deeper than that.
Audience: That would only be using one of the three brains? But then the real meaning of belief is to have action, or performing religion within all three brains.
Instructor: Yes. It is not just an intellectual concept. It's not just a feeling in the heart. Or sensations. It has to do with our actions.
Like when someone says they believe in the cross. What does that really mean? Well the cross is alchemical, because the vertical beam is the phallus and the horizontal beam is the uterus. Together they form the symbol of the Holy Spirit, which is Father, masculine, יה Jah, and Mother, feminine, Eve, חוה Chavah.
Even the symbol of Islam is alchemical too, because you have the crescent moon and the star of Venus. The moon relates with Yesod, the sexual energy or Bodhichitta. The star of Venus is the Divine Mother. So this indicates how you work with that energy through the power or love, to be a believer. That is what a believer is in the true sense of the word. But when I'm talking about what people term belief, it's in the completely exoteric sense.
Audience: You made a very interesting point about the symbol of Islam with the star and the moon. I tended to think that that's a lot like the cross too because you said that there are masculine and feminine components. Isn't that what you're seeing with the moon? The star and the moon would be like the sun, masculine and the moon would be feminine?
Instructor: The Divine Mother, the Virgin Mary dressed in a blue mantle in the Assumption, standing over the moon, has to convert it into a sun, a star. And that is really what the symbol of Islam signifies.
It gets even more alchemical in relation with yoga, because generally you find crosses on the tops of churches, and the symbol of the crescent moon and the star on the top of a mosque. Really the body is a temple, and the very top is the chakra Sahasrara, which is the very highest chakra in relation with omniscience, Samadhi, Mahasamadhi, experiences with the most elevated aspects of the Tree of Life.
So we see that the cross has to be carried from the bottom of the spinal column and raise it to the very heights. When we see the cross at the very height, it's referring to alchemy, how we raise that energy to the very top of the pineal gland. In the mosque too we find the same thing. The moon is related with the angel Gabriel, and Gabriel, or Jibril in the Qur'an, is often referred to by Muslims as the Holy Spirit. So it's the same thing. The Holy Spirit is really found by raising the moon in our sexual glands to the brain, transforming it into a sun, from a feminine lunar force to a solar masculine force, to the very heights of realization. This is what a church or a mosque indicates in their architecture.
Audience: The church is the body itself?
Instructor: It also relates with the Tree of Life, because the cross has four points, related with Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the very root of existence, God, Ain Soph, otherwise known as the Star of Bethlehem, the root of our Being. The Holy Spirit, in relation with Gabriel, is the same thing, the very heights of realization that we find in the pineal gland, and the cross relates with the four elements: earth (the physical body), water (sexuality), fire (heart), and air (mind). And this also relates with the Hebrew letters:
א Aleph - Air
ש Shin - Fire
מ Mem - Water
These constitute the three mother letters of Kabbalah. With ה Hei, the Earth, we can spell השם Hashem, literally translating as "The Name," and is used as a term of respect in the place of יהוה Iod-Chavah, the sacred name of God. Such as in the saying, אדני ברוך השם Baruch Hashem Adonai, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
We see that just as our inner Being is a Tetragrammaton: Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Ain Soph, even our physical body is a Tetragram, in relation with alchemy and the cross. In synthesis, a believer uses the cross of their body in order to practice transmutation or alchemy, to fuse oneself with God.
Audience: Am I remembering this right? The I, the A, and the O represent the superior elements?
Instructor: This is the Latin version of the same thing. IAO among the Gnostics is considered one of the most powerful mantras of the Lord.
I - Ignis, Fire, ש
A - Aqua, Water מ
O - Origo, Air א
We demonstrate that we are true believers by how we use our sexual force for God, our Bodhichitta, which is the root of all creation as symbolized in the Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden, because we have a physical body, the earth, and the three other elements, which relate with God. So really we are a miniature cosmos, a human being that needs to be standing upright before God. That is what a believer is, to use all three letters, the fire (heart), the air (mind) and the water (sex). Usually most people are just using their air, thinking "Well, I think God is real," when they don't really know. They do not follow the Heart Doctrine at all, because they really have no experience.
Spiritual creation is a combination of the three; the four elements.
Audience: You're talking in relation with the cross those three, if I remember correctly in relation with those three top points of the cross itself, and then the one element that is not talked about, which is the bottom point. So that there is earth, air, fire and water.
Instructor: Yes, the earth can relate with the bottom point, since that is where one is grounded. That is if the cross is stable. However, we also talk about the cross in motion, the swastika, which is a very sacred symbol amongst many religions, but was unfortunately abused and misappropriated by a mistaken group of people who exclusively considered themselves "Aryan." We have to remember that the zodiacal sign of Aries relates with fire and that all of humanity is governed by that force, sign the God of Aries, Samael, is working intensely through our current zodiac, Aquarius.
When we see the swastika in motion, like in Tibetan Buddhism or Hinduism, it's really all the elements in motion; they're mixing. All the forces of the swastika mingle together, such as with the chakras. When all of the chakras are activated, it's not like one activates over the other: they work harmoniously, in unison. So if you have experiences of clairvoyance or clairaudience, usually it's in combination with many things. These psychic phenomena don't tend to remain so isolated. Just like any normal experience: you have thought, feeling and sensation. They usually happen all mixed together. This makes it hard to isolate specific phenomena, whether in the external or our internal worlds, our psychology. This is what makes access to the Heart Doctrine so difficult, because we tend to be very confused in our three brains and how they function.
Audience: I've read some articles on the swastika where they say it's not even supposed to be pointed in a particular direction, since one represents the wheel of life and the other the wheel of death.
Instructor: There is that connotation. One of the directions represents the actualization of the Mahamanvantara, which means the creation of the Tree of Life, the expansion of existence out of the Absolute, that primordial root nature of consciousness, into manifestation, into this creation that we have.
Then we have the other direction, the Mahapralaya, the cosmic night, where the universe gets absorbed back into the Absolute, symbolized by the days and nights of Brahma. When Brahma exhales, we have creation. When he inhales, all of that returns to the source. So we always have periods of activity and repose, intimately related with the breath of God, and it is the wind, the spirit, א Aleph, that rotates the swastika in motion.
As I mentioned, Nirvana has periods of activity and repose. What we're talking about now is a much grander cosmic scale, represented in the swastika or Gnostic Cross.
Originally, the counter-clockwise swastika used to represented how manifested creation, the Tree of Life, unfolded from the Absolute, the emptiness, the Prajna. However, since we have entered into Malkuth, the physical world, that swastika needs to return back to the divine origin, the emptiness. This is symbolized by the clockwise swastika which we find depicted in Buddhist art. The swastika should rotate now to the right, clockwise, towards the Absolute, for the left, counter-clockwise, indicates a fall into even more dense states of matter and energy. We are in Malkuth, as I said, and we do not need to descend further into the infernal worlds, which is signified by the counter-clockwise Nazi Swastika, a symbol of degeneration and black magic.
The essence of a true believer, a follower of the Heart Doctrine, Bodhichitta, is the work with the cross: they use everything they have, but most importantly the heart, following the superior emotional center. The path of the heart, as Samael Aun Weor indicated, is Mahamudra, the realization of emptiness, Tantrayana, Vajrayana. "To love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength." Everything. Those are really the four elements relating with the psyche, the Hebrew letters, relating with the Cross or Vajrayana, the Heart Doctrine.
Audience: Is there a succession of the chakras, such as a list to work on?
Instructor: It is particular to you. This is why Samael Aun Weor gave so many different practices, because our needs are different. I might need to work more with my heart. Maybe you need to develop more clairvoyance. It depends on you. You need to meditate and really analyze, "What do I want to know and what do I really need to know?" And sometimes, just meditating and not even intending it, you can have certain experiences in which the heart opens up, whereby clairaudience, psychic sounds appear in your psyche; you hear sounds in the astral plane; or clairvoyance emerges where you start seeing images. So while you're physically meditating you gain access to the internal worlds.
This can spark your interest, such as "Since I experienced that I need to develop that more." So there's no determined checklist, such as starting first with the Muladhara chakra and moving up to Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, etc., although that can be effective.
Audience: I've heard in particular with Glorian Publishing that they tend to emphasize the heart, because that is probably the most default and the most needed.
Instructor: That also relates with the emotional brain and the Heart Doctrine, to really develop Bodhicitta, real love for other human beings, genuine compassion originating from comprehension of emptiness of phenomena. We see that human beings are predominantly intellectual, especially in the West. Really, our heads are libraries. You go to university and see many different instructors and that their hearts are dead. If you look more intimately through clairvoyance you see they are just intellectual. Really, they just regurgitate information. I like what one German philosopher said, Friedrich Nietzsche, that university professors are like clocks; just make sure you wind them correctly so that they'll tell you the time. They'll repeat facts like this and that, being that they are just intellectual.
People tend to be way too intellectual. That is why we teach the Heart Doctrine, to experience, because it entails a superior emotional quality. While we refer to the three brains: intellect, emotions and motor-instinct-sexual impulses, we also relate to superior centers relating with the psyche, which are our direct connection with the divine. We have a superior intellectual center, which receives concepts and abstract principles from God. This is the divine Nous of Plato in The Republic, the objective spiritual reasoning of the philosopher kings, real human beings in the true sense of the word.
Then you have the superior emotional center, which becomes activated by listening to the great classical compositions of the masters of music, such as Beethoven. Profound and Kabbalistic works given through music and art. That's really food for the heart, since in works such as the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, we experience the Heart Doctrine, the emptiness of Prajna, the Logos or Word of Christ within the magnanimous choral movement, along with the Vajrayana path that leads out of suffering. It's very explicit, but to understand it you need to experience it internally in order to recognize the message physically, since Beethoven was an initiate who wrote for other initiates of the Heart Doctrine. The Chorus teaches about Bodhichitta, the mysteries of the heart, and represent the Elohim, the Gods singing in unison. Many voices, but one universal harmony, Prajna, ever flowing, the swastika in motion, the power of God in movement, the emptiness, the real wisdom or happiness of the Lord. Beethoven's greatness is unveiled to the spiritual sight when we see that he wrote from having experienced many Mahasamadhis. It's really unbelievable how anyone could convey such experiences through music, which is a living scripture.
In relation with the heart, yes, listening to music like that develops our emotional center through conscious superior sentiment, not to be confused with sentimentality, like Hallmark cards.
Therefore, we always emphasize the heart, since it is the heart that is always going to lead us to liberation, represented by Jiminy Cricket, giving us, represented by Pinocchio, inquietudes: pushing us to study, pushing us to practice, pushing us to want to change. He's really in the heart, the consciousness or Buddhata, the cricket who is like a little Verb, a little IAO we can say. IAO is Christ, for in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is a small voice, a little representation of that principle that guides us in our actions and tells us what to do. We must always follow him within the heart.
If we struggle with that, there are many practices we can use. Many prayers, such as the Pater Noster, which is very powerful and beautiful. The Bodhisattva, Francis of Assisi, gave another tremendous prayer to develop the heart, the Heart Doctrine within:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
This is the Bodhisattva path. Even Mother Teresa had some beautiful teachings too. I do not know of her development, but she really embodied in a profound way the principle of sacrifice without self-consideration.
The heart comes first. It is really the instrument that will take you to the very heights. As Muhammad said in Al-Hadith:
There is an organ in the body that, if it is righteous, ensures that the whole system will be righteous; and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart.
"There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is remembrance (of Allah)."
This is Self-remembrance, remembrance of our Inner God. When the heart is polished like a mirror, it can reflect God within, in every action. Then we will become a better instrument for the Lord to act in our life, guiding us.
Audience: You were talking about purity with concentration, where your concentration practice can be put askew if we are not keeping purity of mind and heart. This was profound for me because I've been studying for a long time, but have never heard this or overlooked it, or had it said like that. You can be sitting there meditating, concentrating, and can be less distracted if you actually kept more purity in your thoughts, speech, and all that. So really, ethics is the catalyst for your concentration, whereby concentration is the root catalyst for what becomes meditation, where you can actually concentrate very well? Then meditation is a potential catalyst for Samadhi, and things of that sort?
Instructor: The foundation is concentration, ethics, renunciation. Without concentration we can't meditate. And this is the failure of many practitioners and schools: they try to meditate for twenty years but have no experiences, because they do not maintain purity in their mind, heart and actions; the sins of body, speech and mind.
Audience: They're meditating but haven't established concentration practice, whereby they could focus completely?
Instructor: Basically what we want in meditation is to sit for however long and to not forget that we're meditating. This is described in the diagram of the Nine Stages of Meditative Concentration in Tibetan Buddhism, or Calm Abiding: the Stages of Serenity. We find this diagram throughout the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. It has been used and taught by all the great Tibetan Buddhist masters. Therefore this really emphasizes its importance.
Here we see a monk chasing after a wild elephant. The elephant is the mind. In the beginning it is chaotic, running all over the place, without control, but eventually through his tools, a rope and a hook, representing mindfulness, restraint, concentration, he is able to calm it down, until reaching the stage where the elephant is becoming more white instead of gray, indicating he is becoming more pure and docile. The monk finally reaches the point where the mind is subdued, and then Samadhi or mystical experience occurs, he is flying.
These stages are not like plateaus, or a checklist to fulfill one by one. These are principles, and one can fluctuate greatly within the diagram. It depends on our effort. But generally when we meditate, we at least want to develop the degree of concentration where we don't forget that we're meditating, which are the middle stages of concentration, the fourth or fifth stages. This is a very profound diagram for comprehending and developing concentration. It is a guide or map for our practice in developing the Heart Doctrine within.
(Manjushri cutting through illusion with
the sword of Prajna: wisdom or insight)
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
So when we meditate, what we always seek is information. This type of information always carries with itself a psychological flavor of the new. So every time we sit to practice, we should really have the sensation, or the experience, that we are seeing things in a new way. If when we sit to practice and observe the contents of our mind, we perceive everything in a dull way, then we are not awakening the consciousness, the Buddhata, or the Essence. This clear observation of oneself is what Samael Aun Weor referred to as Mo Chao. Mo signifies "serenity," Chao indicates "reflection."
We find Mo Chao expressed in the writings of Samael Aun Weor multiple times when he refers to it as concentration and imagination. Concentration in itself is a serene state. It is a state of awareness or equanimity in which the mind is in silence. This can only be achieved by learning to pay attention, to direct attention. We do this through a moment to moment effort—to be aware of ourselves in whatever circumstance. We have to examine whatever impressions of life enter our mind and psyche in order to stimulate reactions within ourselves.
We can say, in synthesis, that the master work of esotericism, of meditation and these types of esoteric studies, is learning how to control and understand the mind and its relationships with impressions. It is a moment to moment effort. It is a moment to moment work. When we truly understand the nature of the mind itself and its hypnotism, the many ways in which thoughts, desires, and impulses really control us, we begin to take life as type of work. Concentration is really the key to understanding the vast breadth and depth of the science of meditation.
So while we study kabbalah, alchemy, tantra, astrology, tarot, the tree of life, the tree of knowledge, chakras, and many others subjects, when we don't know how to meditate, all of this esoteric knowledge is really quite useless. If we don't know how to pay attention from moment to moment, they are useless. If we have a psychology that's complacent with sloth, inaction, and lack of attention, if our consciousness is asleep by indiscriminately taking in impressions, when the mind constantly reacts without our comprehension, knowing kabbalah and alchemy will not help us. In fact, what we will have is a lot of indigestion. To really benefit from the science of the tree of life, in general, we need meditation.
It is learning how to discipline the mind itself that will allow us to make it an instrument in which our Inner Divinity can act through us. It's by learning how to concentrate, to achieve a serene mind, like a lake which can reflect the Being itself, that opens to door to self-knowledge. This spark of intuition and comprehension doesn't have to be just when we sit to meditate, when we close our eyes to the world and enter into our own internal worlds. In every moment we can and must learn to let the Being act within our three brains, here and now.
So when we talk about concentration and learning to pay attention, we're talking about the psyche, the soul itself. This is very distinct and different from what we term personality and what we term ego. If we're honest with ourselves and observe our actions and habits and thoughts, really we can see that the mind is in control of us, and not the other way around. The personality, which takes in the impressions of life, misinterprets everything—it receives impressions and sends them to the wrong centers. Therefore, the personality does not comprehend the nature of those impressions. When we talk about impressions we're talking about the very experience of life itself. As I was saying, the work is learning how to transform impressions.
This is the basis of Gnosis. Gnosis is about transformation. We refer to this work as a revolution. It is really a spiritual war, but not against anyone outside of us. As much as we like to point and blame other people for our problems, this is a war against ourselves. This is what the Prophet Muhammad called jihad—or better said jihad al-akbar, meaning, the Greater Striving or Holy War. When he was asked by his disciples, as documented in the Hadith or Muslim oral tradition, the Companions of the Prophet asked him what is greater: war against the infidels outside of us, or against ourselves. Prophet Muhammad said that war against yourself is by far most important. The Greater Holy War or Striving really takes precedence and priority.
In relation to concentration, the transformation of impressions is about learning how to transform what we perceive. The senses and the mind are like a great battlefield because we are constantly receiving the many impressions of life, whether tactile, sensory, auditory, visual, olfactory, etc., yet we do not comprehend the nature of what it is we perceive. It is enough to try to sit in meditation for an hour and remember everything you did in the day. If you do not remember certain events, if there are tremendous gaps in your memory, it's because you were asleep as a psyche, as a consciousness or soul.
This is especially true if we live in the cities where we are constantly bombarded by information. This is especially difficult. We rarely comprehend the intrinsic nature of what we perceive, since what we know how to do is react towards life, without comprehending and responding with cognizance, peace, and love. We don't really see the depth of the phenomenon that reach us. In synthesis, it's a misinterpretation of impressions that creates problems for ourselves, such as in our interrelationships with people.
Generally, what we disagree with in another person is our impressions of that person, not their soul. We can't really say that in this state of mind that we have, we perceive the inherent nature of a person. In the level in which we currently exist on the tree of life (Malkuth, the physical plane), what we exclusively perceive are images and phenomena, impressions or semblances of things. This is well documented in Plato's Allegory of the Cave in The Republic. Now, it's completely different thing to see the noumena of a person (noumena relates with Nous, Spirit, the very essence of a human being, the divinity within a person). Generally, what we see is body, hair, personality, habits, customs, attitudes, etc., and we characterize that as a person that we know.
However, we make a very clear distinction: it's a very different thing to know a person and to observe a person. We think we know people, but we don't, because we have never made the attempt to observe another human being with clairvoyance.
To say that I know a person is to say something along these lines: "Oh, I can see every atom that so-and-so has in his body." Such a Noetic type of perception is related with very elevated aspects of consciousness, related with the tree of life—superior states of consciousness where you can perceive the atoms and molecules of a person. It's conventionalism, but funny when we say "I know a person," because the truth is we really don't comprehend others in the objective sense, let alone our own selves! It's another thing to observe the fact that our friend or neighbor has a lot of anger, that such an ego is strong in him or her, to really see this person for who or what they are, and not by our mistranslation of their impressions. This is really where we get into a lot of conflict—every person sees life in a completely different way from everybody else. In the true sense of the word, every person is a world in himself, with his own concepts, beliefs, theories, prejudices, enemies, hatreds, defects, and what not. The mind is always projecting these self-delusions, this self-hypnosis onto the screen of our experience.
In general, we have not developed concentration in order to have a mind that receives the impressions of life without becoming disturbed, projecting reactions outwards. This is where a lot of conflicts arise. Our interrelations with other people falls in the sphere of what Prophet Muhammad called jihad al-asgar, the lesser holy war. This refers to how you try to help others by teaching the truth, by being a good example, by transforming your mind in order to be of benefit to humanity. We do not wage war through violence, but with compassion. We do not conquer injustice with evil, but by performing good. However, these ideas are meaningless if we don't understand ourselves in practice.
It's enough to sit in meditation and to really observe the contents of our mind to see that we really don't have any control. This is a truly necessary step to realize in ourselves, that we don't have control. This lack of organization, coherence, and order in our psyche is what Gurdjieff referred to as the Tower of Babel, relating with three lower types of individuals in psychological hierarchy, persons who gravitate more or less towards one of the three brains. In gnosis when referring to a brain, we are not referring to physical matter alone, but a psychological aspect of ourselves, a machine that processes psychological, spiritual, and bodily energies. A brain transforms energies, interprets information, and allows us to function in life. So when speaking about the three brains of Gnostic esoteric psychology, we have people who are very instinctive, relating with the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Then we have an emotional type of individual who is always reacting, who is always sentimental, responding with emotions and gravitating to the heart. Then we have the intellectual type individual who interprets the impressions of life in a very intellectual way and always rationalizes.
We say that the consciousness is not prohibited or limited to any of these three aspects of ourselves. We can consider the three brains as three floors of a factory. The intellect is where we have thesis and antithesis, the heart is where we have like and dislike, and the motor brain is related with action: to do or not to do. This is really the basic machinery of our psyche and physiology. We find that by learning concentration through meditative practice, we see that our impulses, whether predominately intellectual, emotional or instinctual, are constantly arising in ourselves moment by moment. We don't have much control over that. This is really the source of our problems, for as Socrates taught us, "Ignorance is the greatest sin."
Every problem that we face in life is a result of our own minds. It is not the result of what other people say, do, think, feel, or act. Really, the reason we suffer is because of ourselves. We can't blame anyone for the diverse unpleasant circumstances of life, but generally our tendency is to absolve our own culpability and mark others as responsible for our sufferings. The more we learn to meditate to develop serenity of mind, the more we begin to perceive all of this. If we're really honest with ourselves, we will see that this is not pleasant. To see that we are responsible for all the problems that we face takes tremendous courage. We really can't judge other people. This is why Jesus said, "Judge not that you be not judged," because when you take in the impressions of a person and you interpret and make judgments about those impressions, you create suffering for yourself and your neighbor. We are always filled with justifications, "Well I know this person," and therefore we criticize and cause problems. Our critics and enemies are going to do the same to us as we do to them. It's the Law of the Talion, reciprocal violence. This doesn't mean physical violence—it could be of an emotional nature. It could be a battle and argument of ideas, polemics, philosophies, etc., in the mind. We are always misusing our three brains, here and now.
Generally, when there's a conflict of this type between people it's because they’re not aware of their own psychology. Like Prophet Muhammad said, people want to fight other people without wanting to take responsibility for their own crimes. Few people ever fight against themselves and their own defects. This is what a Master or a Buddha is: someone who has conquered their very inferior nature—a warrior like Arjuna in the Mahabharata who fought against the multitude of his family members, a conglomerate representing his own egos, defects, vices and errors. As the Prophet Muhammad said, "Happy is he who finds fault with himself rather than faults with others." Really we shouldn't be looking at the mote in the other person's eye. We have to develop awareness of ourselves. This awareness is the beginning and the ending. It is our goal and our purpose. Everything else comes second.
The practice of meditation is what facilitates this understanding. It is learning how to pay attention, and as I said, this doesn't just come about when we sit to practice. It is a moment to moment effort to be vigilant. Many traditions have used different terms like vigilance, mindfulness, awareness, self-observation and self-remembering, or dhikr (remembrance), muhasabah (self-accounting) and muhadarah (awareness) within Sufism. Many traditions refer to this. The important thing is that we do it. And this always comes about through struggle. I'm not referring to the exertion of the mind, when the mind struggles with itself and when we seek to repress our defects, because that does not produce harmony. It is the Buddha-nature, the divine principle that we have within, that has to discipline the mind. So the efforts that were talking about are conscious efforts, not forced exertion of the intellect upon the different centers of our human machine.
In relations with the field of impressions and understanding the very experience of life itself, we refer to the observation of mind itself. Generally if we've been in these studies for a while, we will be very familiar with these terms: repression, justification and comprehension. So in the field of observation and the field of concentration, when we face the impressions of life and try to understand them in a very integral way, we will come across a common problem (which is really an inevitable problem). It relates with repression and justification, and both of these constitute an identification with phenomenon.
It's one thing when we receive a pleasant impression and we like to justify our craving for something. It might be of a lustful nature. We see someone of the opposite sex and that lustful defect emerges within our perception and tries to justify taking in that impression of the opposite sex in order to feed itself, so that it grows stronger. While this is a big difficulty for the disciple of genuine religion, we have another problem—the complete opposite, called repression. This is where we begin to see the many defects of our psychology that arise within us from moment to moment and we, as the mind, don't like to see that. Therefore we push it away from our mind and understanding without comprehending the defect in question. This is called repression. Neither of these constitute what is called real discrimination, comprehension, real awareness.
What we seek is third force, a third factor. In other terms we can refer to the three forces as affirmation, negation, and reconciliation. Gurdjieff, who was the founder of the Fourth Way school, taught that humanity is third force blind. Generally in relation to the three brains of our anatomy, our psychology, we are always acting "either/or," and generally, we don't learn to see from a comprehensive, synthetic perspective. For instance, you see this in a lot of political debate, in which things are very two sided: "either you are with our part or you are against us." There generally isn't a middle ground—there isn’t comprehension of another path between the two. There is no synthesis in which there would exist a type of unanimity between two contrasting parties.
In philosophy, one movement emerges from another one in order to negate the former, and then another branch of thought comes to negate what was negated in the previous one. This, really, is important in relation to our psychology, because we are doing this on a moment to moment basis with the very contents of our mind. We might have a thought and we might justify it in a given instant. We're affirming something very adamantly about a certain issue, concern, or problem. We feel that "this is an essential part of myself," like "my pride." If someone congratulates me, we say to ourselves, "I like to justify that because it makes me feel good." And then there may be another moment, maybe within five minutes, when someone says something really critical or negative. Shame emerges and we say, "Oh, I'm such a terrible person." Therefore, we constantly swing between justification and repression.
We are constantly filled with these types of contradictions, and yet the illusion, the hypnotism, of the mind is so terrible that we really feel we are individuals, that we possess an individual will. We believe we are uniform and we are not. When we talk about self-hood or ego, which in Latin means "I," we're talking about a multiplicity. We're talking about the multifarious nature of the mind that is always contradicting itself. There really is no consistency. In one moment, anger emerges. Someone says something to hurt us and then another element comes up, "Oh, I forgive that person," and then another element cries, "Oh, I'm very happy!" or "Oh I want to go ride my bike." We are the riddle of the sphinx, composed of multiple elements, yet without understanding of who we are. We are merely a conglomerate of conflicting animal impulses and desires.
In mental dynamics and the comprehension of the mind itself, these first two principles are known as affirmation and negation. In relation with the field of practical life, we either find agreeable or disagreeable impressions. We tend to either affirm or we reject impressions. Our mind will react in either two ways: favorable or unfavorable. Very rarely do we see that sometimes both answers to a problem in life are correct at the same time. This relates with comprehension, with synthesis, with intuitive understanding of the impressions we receive. The very work of gnosis, self-knowledge, is learning how to comprehend these factors in every moment. It is really not enough to do it once in a while, because that will not produce lasting results. It takes a lot of effort, willpower, and discipline. This self-discipline, the understanding of these factors, occurs by walking the path of the Middle Way, the path of the Buddha. This topic is so important that Master Nagarjuna wrote a book within Tibetan Buddhism called Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way.
Neither by affirming nor rejecting the impressions we receive will we know ourselves. Concentration and meditation, serene reflection, is the path of the middle—we learn to receive good or bad impressions. We accept them without bias. We see life for what it is. We don't psychologically seek a way to affirm or negate things at all when we develop in the middle way, because those prior types of attitudes reveal that we are asleep as a consciousness. We rarely see or understand that life is constantly changing. It is a constant flux. Impressions arrive, they sustain themselves, then pass away, and yet the mind, the stubborn donkey that it is, always attaches itself to such impressions as if saying, "In this moment, this is real and my sense of self is real. This 'I,' this 'me' is real." However, we really do not comprehend that it is false!
If we do a simple analysis, we can see that nothing is permanent but the Being. Someone tells you a joke and you find it funny—if that were eternally existing, you would always be laughing. There would never be change whatsoever: things would always be permanent. We know from the Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism, particularly from Tibet, that the impressions of life are empty of intrinsic existence. That phenomena are empty of inherent or independent existence means they are dependent upon other factors beyond themselves, and therefore are not eternal. Therefore, we should not grasp at what is ephemeral, like cloud, smoke, and vapors.
This is what we call Dependent Origination. It means there is no independently existing thing in this whole universe. There is no eternally existing thing that is not reliant on other factors. This goes from the most grand cosmological scale of Kabbalah, the tree of life, to this very existence. It's what we call karma—cause and effect. And the very nature of existence and the very nature of the impressions of what we perceive is dependent on this. Suffering exists because we don't understand karma. We don't understand the nature of impression themselves: what appears, sustains itself, and passes away. So if no phenomena in life is stable or reliable, why do we hold on to them with our mentality? Why do we always crave certain things and run away from other, when, truly, all phenomena are of equal value? Why do we crave something so badly when it will not bring us eternal happiness? Why do we affirm that our life is real and lasting, taking in a sense of enjoyment and identity in that experience when it will only disappear, bringing us pain? Even in repression, the negation of things, we have a sense of self that is dependent on external factors that are completely empty of themselves.
Nothing is going to last except the Being, so why do we always have this attitude that things should always be in one way and permanent when we do not remember the Being? And when we are contradicted by friends, family, society, and our own mind, our whole world falls apart. We like the path of least resistance, whether in social, academic, employment, or personal endeavors, etc. We have the prevailing attitude that we just want things to go well. And when they don't go well, we get very upset. This type of disillusionment is very particular to each us. We have our own idiosyncrasy in relation to the three brains. Some of us will be more intellectual, some more emotional, and some more active—we always want to do things according to our predisposition to one of our three brains, but this is generally in a very dysfunctional way.
It comes into my mind Alice in Wonderland, which explains this type of psychological teaching. You have the Mad Hatter, the intellect that is always taking in impressions and coming up with gibberish. The Queen of Hearts is always angry with people, crying, "Off with her head!" This is our emotional state or center if we observe ourselves. And there's the instinctive type of character, the White Rabbit, who's always late and always worrying about activities and time. This is an instinctive type of person. These three characters represent the three inferior types of humanoids: the Tower of Babel.
So generally, we will have one predisposition over another. The fact is that in our relations to the impressions of life, our dysfunction generally gravitates to one of these three brains. We use all three brains, of course, but some of us have strong habits that are intellectual, like using the computer, or more emotional, listening to sentimental music. Some of us are more instinctive, always playing sports, practicing martial arts, or training in boxing.
The very basis of our psychological dysfunction is because we don't understand the nature of impressions. We don't understand karma. I'm explaining this because these principles are essential to meditation. It's essential to really understand what concentration is, because if we think concentration is identification with life, with certain elements within our three brains, or with the repression of certain elements, there will be no genuine insight. Going with the flow of life is not the nature of insight, the latter which is sharp, clear, and pristine, a shock or bolt of lightning that illuminates, if but for a moment, the dark cloud of our mind. The state of concentration is what leads us to the advent of comprehension. It, in itself, is the path of the middle—neither justifying nor pushing away impression from our psychological sight, but just seeing phenomena as they are. Whether the impressions are intellectual, emotional, or instinctive in relation to our psychology, we simply observe and comprehend where all our different wills come from. It is in this way that we can integrate our consciousness and develop the will of a Master, a God, a Buddha.
This is the basis of psychology or mental dynamics, Jnana Yoga. Jnana means "knowledge," relating with how we understand and control the mind. When we talk about impressions and the nature of psychology, I was mentioning some principles given in the Vajrayana school, which is the doctrine of emptiness in relation to karma and impressions—how life is always changing, always fluctuating. If we are astute in our efforts to self-observe, we cannot pinpoint something that is eternal within our psyche except the Being. So we talk about not understanding the nature of emptiness, in relation with affirmation and negation, as the foundation of Gnostic psychology. There are two misconceptions that arise with not understanding the nature of emptiness. This teaching was given by Nagarjuna in Four Hundred Verses of the Middle Way. He discussed two fundamentally mistaken views: eternalism and nihilism. Eternalism is the belief that there is an independently existing self that is never changing. This was first adopted by some of the Hindu schools of philosophy in relation to Atman the Inner Self. The Buddhists came to clarify those teachings when Hinduism degenerated. According to the Hindus, Atman was mistaken for the ego, the personality, our negative self-hood. The Buddhist masters who came after knew that Atman referred to one's internal divinity, but in order to clarify the misconceptions about Atman, Buddha taught the doctrine of Anatman, "No self." When Buddhists schools say that there is no self, they're talking about the ego, the "I," our defects—the three traitors of Christianity: Judas, Pilate, and Caiaphas. Pilate relates with the intellect, who always washes his hands clean, justifying and excusing himself for committing crimes. Caiaphas relates with the heart, because he hates Christ, and Judas represents instincts or desires because he sells the lord for thirty pieces of silver, representing fornication and lunar values.
In relation to affirmation and negation, misconceptions regarding their nature arise by not understanding the nature of impressions, by not understanding the very laws and dynamics of practical experiences and their relationship to the mind. Eternalism says there is an absolutely, dependently existing self. Nihilism says nothing matters, since there is no true existence. Both of these views are false. Emptiness is neither of these mistaken views. Really, such misunderstandings emerge from the inability to comprehend karma in action.
Karma comes from the Sanskrit, karman. It means "to act." What is cause and effect? To act. In life, we constantly find many types of actions involving the three brains. Karma teaches that every cause has an effect. Every effect has a cause. Nothing is separate. Nothing is independent, existing outside of ourselves. Everything is interdependent and related. Our current psychological state, the sleep of our consciousness, hypnotizes us into thinking that, "I exist in my own sphere and everything else is existing outside," as if there is no direct relationship between our mind and phenomena. For instance, you see a married person leering lustfully towards the opposite sex walking by, and says, "Well, I'm not really committing adultery, because I am just looking." They think that there is no relationship between mind and phenomena. However, Master Jesus said,
"Verily you have heard of old, you shall not commit adultery. But I tell you whosoever has looked at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." ―Matthew 5:28
We also find the following textually stated by the Buddha in his Dhammapada:
Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox’s foot. Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows, as an ever-present shadow.
Karma, cause and effect, occurs in every level of existence, even when there is no physical action. Even if we physically do not commit adultery, we commit adultery with our mind by indulging in lust. We have all of these impulses that arise within us without our control and which keep us hypnotized, identifying with the states of existence. Karma applies not just instinctively to the physicality of the person, but to emotions and to intellect. It applies to every aspect of ourselves, in every level of the universe. Perhaps until you self realize and go into the Absolute, you will always be a slave of Karma. Until then, we are subject of the laws of karma, cause and effect, in this universe. The path of self-knowledge is about understanding the law within ourselves. When we do not know how karma functions, we fall into mistaken views of eternalism or nihilism, either that our ego is objective or that nothing matters, so we can do whatever we want without consequences. This is very dangerous.
I like to enjoy certain things in life. For me, I enjoy a hot cup of coffee. I can see how certain egos of gluttony like to enjoy those things, believing that such impressions are permanent. However, simple analysis shows that this isn't the case. The impressions of the coffee arise, sustain, and pass away. The problem is not the coffee, but my consciousness for not making a correct transformation of that impression, for not seeing the drink for what it is. The mistake is letting the impression enter the psyche and the mind becoming attached to the sensation of enjoying the coffee. This attachment, this crystallization of desire in the mind, is what we call ego. It is by not understanding karma that we create egos. The impression of the coffee is going to enter my psyche, sustain itself, and pass away, but if I am unaware of this fact, something hardens in my mind, like a mold, crystallizing and trapping the consciousness. This is identification, a wrong transformation of impressions, which crystallizes desire by trapping our consciousness. It is the misdirection of consciousness towards sensation—it is misguided attention, fortification of one's psychological attachment to impermanent sensations, for as Samael Aun Weor wrote, "Wherever we direct attention, we expend creative energy." The ego itself is really a prison, a cage, for the divine nature within, that we ourselves created by misdirecting our will and perception.
The root of all of this is ignorance. This is an essential teaching that the Buddha gave in relation to these three factors. The mind is always caught between craving and aversion. We produce our suffering through a lack of cognizance of the third factor—which is synthesis, comprehension, intuition, understanding, the Innermost Being. It is by not understanding the nature of what we perceive that produces suffering, because if we don't understand the very nature of mental dynamics, we continue with wrong perspectives, resulting in the creation of different psychic aggregates or egos.
Aggregate is word for compound, heap, or pile, and we can say that the human being is a conglomerate of multiple aggregates or egos. Really all of that is a result of ignorance, a lack of cognizance or relationship with God. The Buddha taught that there are three doorways into hell, into suffering, and they are: craving, aversion, and ignorance. Anger relates with aversion, because when we feel anger it is frustrated desire, wanting situations or people to be different than what they are. When someone is not giving us what we want, we become angry at that person. Craving, lust, or desire is another door into hell. Feeling compulsively attracted to something, always impelled to seek our those sensations that will satisfy us, is a tremendous form of suffering, since such impressions, like the orgasm, are fleeting and momentary. Meanwhile they have disastrous consequences for the mind, since the mind will only crave a greater orgasm, or more powerful experience, which it will never have. Therefore, lust is the original sin, because by wasting the energies of God, we fall into suffering, into craving, into the insatiable appetite of satyrs. Momentary pleasures emerge and pass away. The mind's habit is to be attached to those impressions, as if such impressions are permanent.
While craving and aversion are bad, ignorance is truly the greatest sin. What is sin? I'm not sure if your familiar with that term. It comes from archery. It means when you draw your bow and you fire at the target, you go off to the side, to the left. That term was taken into Judea-Christianity to denote these types of principles. When your concentrated in archery and you draw your bow, you can't fire to the right or the left, neither indulging in craving or aversion, but focusing on the center. This is an analogy for the middle path of comprehension within meditation.
This is why The Odyssey by Homer, who was an initiate, depicts this great Greek hero defeating his enemies, his egos, with a bow and arrow. The story narrates how he battled the Trojans and afterward sought his way home, sailing to many islands, losing his companions, and finally arriving to his own kingdom, Ithaca. He finds out that his wife has maintained her marriage vows to him by not marrying and seeking another husband. However, despite her fidelity to him, there are many suitors who think that he's dead and try to convince her to marry them. These suitors are degenerated, trying to take his wife from him. They represent the egos that we have who are trying to steal our moral purity, our own divinity that we have still free, represented by Penelope, Odysseus' wife; so they're always tempting her. Odysseus is disguised a hermit and goes into his kingdom, drawing them all into a throne room. Meanwhile he is guided by his Divine Mother, Athena, who provides him the bow and arrow so as to mercilessly slay his enemies who are attempting to steal his kingdom, his spirituality. It is a very chilling scene if you read it. The egos are so terrified! They're green with fear and they realize that they're going to die. Truly it is a bloody battle.
Odysseus' power comes from the bow and arrow, knowing how to balance the external world with the internal. This is really the relationship with self-observation. We have to look at what's outside of us in relation to what's inside and that’s what concentration and discrimination are. This is how you go to battle like Odysseus. This is how you fight the illusions of the mind, and this is really the anecdote to how to comprehend states of suffering, because the mind will generally ignore what's inside and always pay attention to what's outside. The spiritual warrior, the samurai with his bow and arrow, observes both the external and internal and understands the relationship between them. So you see these three factors here: affirmation, which is outside. Then you have the mind that is always negating things. That's really the force of negation, always reacting to the impressions of life. And then you have comprehension, which is the consciousness that reconciles the two.
So we can say that the impressions life are always affirming themselves by entering into our psychology, and we have the mind that is always reacting or negating, either intellectually, emotionally, or instinctively with greater predominance in one of the three brains. That's really the force of negation, when our mind reacts to impressions. In order to reconcile both impressions and our reactions, we need discrimination, seeing that the external is dependent upon the internal and the internal dependent on the external. This is known as states and events in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, and that to live uprightly, one must know how to combine the appropriate internal state with its corresponding external event. Due to this relationship, how the internal really relates with the external, we realize that many of the perspectives that we carry within our self are unfounded, illusory, and ignorant, without real gnosis or cognizance of the truth. Therefore, real awareness, fully-concentrated consciousness, is like a shock. It only takes a moment to take an impression of life and to immediately, intuitively comprehend the relationship of that impression to our mind. This occurs only with awakening the consciousness, so as to cancel out negative reactions.
For example, someone insults you, or says something very hurtful, and then your pride is starting to react. Fire is bubbling out of you. If you pay attention in that moment and genuinely perceive that this person is suffering too, instantaneous comprehension helps to renounce such a negative emotion and guides you in the work meditation and elimination. It also develops compassion. In that instant, we understand that this person is subjected to karma, cause and effect, and that there are many factors that are provoking a state of suffering for that person. Achieving this understanding, peace, and harmony between ourselves and our neighbors is not easy, precisely due to the fact that we have rarely disciplined our mind in a conscious way. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "The narrowest cleft is the hardest to bridge." This is in relation to our interactions with our fellow man. To cross the abyss between ourselves and others, we need to establish the bridge of compassion, by comprehending our neighbor and transforming negative impressions, so that love can blossom from our hearts.
This is not an intellectual exercise—it is cognizant, practical mysticism, genuine occult science, and true religion. In the beginning we study this teaching intellectually. The work is to perform religion in every second—cultivating a state of comprehension in every instant.
The impression arrives and the mind wants to react. Comprehension helps you look at the two and ask: what is the nature of that impression? What is the nature of my interpretation of those impressions? Cognizance produces a type of canceling. When someone insults us and we comprehend that the insult bears no value, that the individual providing the insult is imprisoned in suffering and needs compassion, and that we ourselves are like dust on the side of the road when compared to the beauty of divinity and the cosmos, we immediately cancel the impression and do not invest any value into those words, which are as intransient as vapor. Samael Aun Weor explained that when we transform the impressions of aggression directed towards us by developing comprehension of such impressions, it is like trying to draw funds with a check from an empty bank account. The check will bounce, and the aggressor will have nothing to retaliate with further. We therefore can irradiate genuine love and peace, which will help our enemies to change and become better persons.
Comprehension is like a lightening bolt; it’s a superior type of information. This is what is going to fuel meditation. Meditation is about discovering new information. We do that through our moment to moment effort to observe ourselves. As I was mentioning in another lecture, Swami Sivanada wrote, “The reason why students fail in meditation is that they lack ethics.” They don't know how to discipline their mind from moment to moment. It’s really a lack of discipline that produces inconsistency and failure within meditative practice. That is the explanation for why, although many practice meditation and adopt the austerities of monastic life, they languish within a dull state of existence, of not BEING, when really self-observation, meditation, and serene reflection should be like a crystal, very sharp and pure.
Meditation is not spacing out or falling asleep. Eventually as you progress, you let yourself fall asleep so you can go out of your body in order to travel throughout the tree of life. But generally when we fall asleep in meditation, maybe a couple of hours pass and we don't realize what happened. That's why in the beginning we emphasize not falling asleep. Maintain your drowsiness, maintain your clarity of mind while keeping your body in very relaxed state, and with consistency you will learn to astral project during your meditations. As we were stating, Mo Chao, serene reflection, is precisely this clarity of reflection, accompanied serenity.
Samael Aun Weor made a point in The Revolution of the Dialectic to explain these terms. How most people define "serenity" and "reflection" are incorrect. Serenity is not a dull state of mind, very lax or lazy, where impressions just emerge in the mind and there is no understanding. This is generally the state that we experience when we go to bed. If we pay attention even for a little bit before we go to sleep, the mind becomes very dull and a lot of images and impressions chaotically emerge. This in itself is not a true state of serenity, because serenity should be very firm, very strong. It’s also very supple, but it isn't just a dull state where we just accept things as they are. Dullness is a lack of conscious observation. Genuine spiritual reflection or insight, in itself, is known as the faculty of imagination.
In many different writings Samael Aun Weor made a point to explain Mo Chao. I've been referring to it in the Chinese way. But you find this also in Kabbalah, the teachings of the Hebrews, and many other forms of mysticism. Mo Chao, serene reflection, serenity of mind, is a result of concentration. Reflection is visualization or imagination. If you are familiar with the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, you find this in the very first two cards of the twenty-two arcana or sacred laws. The first is the Magician. He's very active. In one of his hands he's holding a staff and he's pointing in one direction. But he's very active in the card, strong, affirming himself. This represents the Father, or as we say in the Hebraic Kabbalah, Kether, the First Logos amongst the Gnostics. He's really the warrior magician who gave power to Moses. Moses received power from his Inner Divinity, from Kether, for the mantra related with Kether is אהיה אשר אהיה Eheieh Asher Eheieh, which translates as “I Am that I Am” and when Moses was before the burning bush, he asked “Who shall I say sent me?” And Christ said “אהיה אשר אהיה Eheieh Asher Eheieh: I Am the One Who I Am.”
That's the Magician. He needs to fight for His Self-realization. This is the source of willpower, concentration. Then we have the second card of the tarot, the Priestess, who is sitting in a temple, with two columns: Jachin and Boaz, which we find in the temples of Freemasonry and Solomon. She is receptive, for She is the Divine Mother. She's really that force that gives us the faculty to perceive; it relates with clairvoyance. When we talk about imagination and clairvoyance, really, these are synonymous terms. Generally people think that clairvoyance is a faculty that only a few have, which is for people who are very elite, but really this term in itself was instituted by French initiates a couple of centuries ago in order for people to not disturb the study of their science, meaning: they intentionally sought to confuse people in order to protect their teaching, making people think that this is a gift for the few.
Clairvoyance and imagination are the same thing—clear perception and imagination is to receive images. But in gnosis we make the distinction that there are different types of clairvoyance. There's the objective perception of the Truth or the subjective perception of the mind, a falsity of ego. It’s a type of imagination that we perceive through wrong perception. This is exemplified when we have really disturbing dreams, or dreams consisting of nonsense, gibberish. That's a type of clairvoyance, but it’s subjective. The type of imagination we seek to cultivate in our practice, through concentrated reflection, Mo Chao, is lucid and objective. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to explain this science in this way because to understand what objective clairvoyance is, true states of comprehension, you have to really experiment with yourself. You have to become like a taste tester to really evaluate what comprehension, concentration and imagination really mean. We must become connoisseurs of spiritual experience, like you’re drinking different kinds of wine to evaluate their quality and purity. What in me is subjective? What is objective in me? That only comes about through practice, through effort. We need to really sit in meditation, remembering our Innermost Self, concentrated on God. Through persistence and consistency with our discipline, perhaps in your practice a new image arises—something very foreign, clear, lucid and powerful. Maybe you see people from far away, from a different part of the globe, or cities, activities, etc. It could be many things. Flashes of imagery, scenes, sounds, tastes, and smells are good signs that imagination starting to awaken—it’s sparkling as a result of our work with sexual transmutation.
A new way of life emerges when we dedicate ourselves to meditation, sexual transmutation, and charity, but of course our efforts are always fueled by the science of the Divine Mother: Alchemy for couples, but pranayama for individuals. When we perform exercises of pranayama, we are utilizing the energies of our bodies in relation with the sexual glands and raising it with our breath in the etheric level, in our subtle energetic physiology, and using that energy to fuel the brain. For example, one exercise is Ham-Sah. You perform a prolonged and relaxed inhalation, mentally pronouncing the mantra Ham, bringing that energy to the brain and subsequently to the heart. Then you exhale softly and quickly, Sah and that energy goes to the heart.
Since the divine Mother, מרים Miriam, relates with מ Mem, the waters, it relates with the sexual energy, like in the story Pinocchio. He becomes a real man through his Divine Mother, cited as the Blue Fairy in the story. By using that energy through yogic exercises, pranayama, and moreover, through alchemy, Pinocchio becomes a boy of flesh and blood, an Adam Kadmon, a fully enlightened spiritual being. So while we're talking more about the principles of this practice, it’s generally fueled by how you use your energies through the science of breath. That energy is going to fuel your imagination incredibly, because that energy relating with מ Mem, with the waters of the sexual organs, rises up to the מ Mem of the brain, because we know from occidental science that the physical brain is surrounded by a fluid—it’s really a type of water, the cerebral spinal fluid, known as the מ Mem of the brain within Kabbalah. The Kabbalists knew this very well. So when they refer to the Divine Mother they call her Miriam: מ Mem, ר Resh, י Iod and ם Final Mem. מ Mem is water. ר Rosh literally means head. י Iod can also mean head and ם Final Mem again is water.
So the Divine Mother relates with energies from our sexual waters in our brain and sexuality, and it is this power that's going to fuel our imagination, our visualization practice. There's many types of pranayama exercises: Egyptian Christic Pranayama as given in The Yellow Book, Ham-Sah as given in The Perfect Matrimony and other lectures. Swami Sivananda gave an extensive variety. There are many different types of pranayama. Basically we use this energy to fuel our imagination practice. However, it's not all to develop perception—it is not enough. Imagination by itself is not enough—it has to be balanced with concentration.
This brings us to the third Arcanum of the Tarot. After the Magician and the Priestess, you have the Empress. It’s also a feminine card, relating to the third Sephirah, the third sphere of the Kabbalistic tree of life, Binah, which is the Holy Spirit. Binah in Hebrew literally translates as “Understanding,” so as we see in the unfoldment of the arcana (arcana means laws, principles), we see from concentration, the Magician, the Father and imagination, the Priestess, emerges the third force: synthesis, comprehension, or reconciliation.
It’s by learning how to balance our concentration with our perception that we attain insight, meaning: we don't forget we’re meditating, focused on our practice while allowing ourselves to become drowsy enough to perceive new images from the dream world. It’s really the combination of the two that will allow us to perceive something new in our experience, to access the genuine state of meditation. This not only applies when we sit to meditate, but in every moment, every instant. When we transform impressions, we have to be concentrated. We have to pay attention, such as in this moment. You must be aware of the fact that you are sitting and receiving words and information, to not let your mind wander or daydream during the lecture. You need imagination, the ability to perceive those impressions from the instructor. It’s the balance of those two, being attentive and perceiving images, that comprehension starts to emerge. This is essentially important with interrelations with people. Sometimes we may be very concentrated, but we are not clearly perceiving or understanding the nature of impressions. In that sense we need to pay attention to the clarity, quality, and nature of our perception.
This a Kabbalistic and alchemical teaching given in the manner and tradition of the Hebrews, but we find this synthesis even in Chan Buddhism: Mo Chao, serene reflection. This is how understanding will emerge in our practice. Understanding the nature of impressions and karma is a direct result of our serenity of mind and how we perceive, because the word reflection reminds us of the reflection of a lake. When you truly reflect on something, what you want is to see the image of something, but in order to reflect an image in your mind, you need to have the waters calm. If the lake is chaotic and the impressions of life are entering the waters like stones, it’s going to create a lot of friction—the waves will expand and the image which should be reflecting God within gets muddled. Establishing and maintaining serene reflection is is a moment to moment effort. This is the work in relation to transformation, understanding the nature of mind itself, and the impressions that we receive.
If our meditation practice is muddled, if there isn't much clarity, we need to work on our imagination, our visualization. If we forget that we are meditating when we sit to meditate, that's when we need more concentration. You will find at different times you need more of one than the other, but generally it’s finding balance which will result in new experiences in meditation and comprehension. We have to understand this on a moment to moment basis, because without serene reflection, meditation itself becomes very dry—we won't have the fuel and the energy needed in order to perform meditation properly. Our meditation will become stagnant. All of that fluctuation of impressions, how they sustain and how they pass away on the screen of our mind, will remain confusing and disordered. Achieving clarity only comes about by awakening the consciousness here and now, in every instant of our lives. There are stories of people who have tried meditating for twenty of thirty years, but they don't understand that in order to meditate you have to meditate in every second.
Every state of awareness that you have, in whatever activity you are doing, is essential for developing true esoteric discipline. Some activities might be more conducive for that. For instance, I take martial arts. That's a very profound form of meditation if you know how to take advantage of it. On the one hand you may think it’s merely a physical calisthenics, exclusively dealing with the physicality of the person. The real purpose of martial arts, the real struggle, is with your own mind. You have an attacker and your mind wants to react—you have reconcile that. You have to work around that. I take Aikido, which is very geared towards this type of philosophy, Chan and Zen Buddhism. If you have the opportunity to take martial arts like that... it could be very helpful to your practice—understanding the nature of impressions through the motor-instinctive brain. It’s a great way to train the mind. Psychological discipline and spiritual training is the origin of all martial arts.
Bodhidharma founded Kung Fu and people just think it was only instituted so that the monks could defend themselves from attackers, but really it was so they can defend themselves against their own minds. This is what the work of transforming impressions is—comprehending life from moment to moment. Really, you have to be like a martial artist—calm, relaxed, and serene, in this moment—meanwhile you could have twelve guys chasing after you with axes. Despite great dangers, you must be composed and in control. It doesn't mean you’re not worried about the situation. Something would be wrong if you weren’t. But what’s important is to be observant, relaxed—then you deal with a given problem, whether it is being attacked or paying your bills in practical life. That's the essence of Zen—that’s the effortless effort. Serenity deals with much more elevated states of concentration, as it's illustrated by the graphic called the Nine Stages of Meditative Concentration, or Calm Abiding: the Stages of Serenity, which we should study and work with. We've definitely talked a little bit about this topic.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You mentioned that the magician, the priestess, and empress in succession reflect the three primary foundations of meditation (dynamics). My question regarding the rest of the tarot is: Do they continue to reflect the different aspects of the dynamics of meditation?
Instructor: In relation to the mind itself, you have the three principles of affirmation, negation, synthesis. This is what Samael wrote in this book in relation to the transformation of impressions. In understanding the mind itself, those are the most important factors. As to whether the rest of the tree of life correlates, it does, but not in a strict or rigid way. With affirmation, you have a thought that appears, you have negation when you want to react to that, then the synthesis is the actual moment of comprehending and understanding the relationship—if you are paying attention and remembering your Being. That's really the most important thing in relation to meditation practice... because the trinity is the force that creates.
Relating the tree of life to meditation and the holy trinity, you have three triangles in the tree of life. You have three trinities, the logoic triangle (Kether, Chokmah, Binah), the triangle of ethics (Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth), and the triangle of priesthood (Netzach, Hod, Yesod)—and seven levels for the first seven sephiroth. But in relation to the three trinities, you have Kether, the Father, in the head, Chokmah, the Son, in the heart, and the Holy Spirit in sex. You can also say that you have Chesed in the mind, a superior type of reasoning, the spiritual Nous. This is what Plato talked about in The Republic, that the philosopher king should have Nous—the illumination of Chesed, the Inner Being within. So you can say that Chesed relates with the head, Geburah with the heart, and Tiphereth in relation to instincts and sexuality. The sixth commandment, “Thou shall not fornicate,” relates with Tiphereth. The sixth arcana of the tarot is related with the choice between chastity, inner purity, and fornication. So Tiphereth is in relation to sexuality according to the sixth card of the Tarot, Indecision. And then you also have the other trinity at the very bottom.
The first triangle is the logoic triangle, the second is the ethical triangle, and the third is the magical triangle. The magical triangle consists of Netzach, which is the mind, Hod which is the heart, and then you have Yesod which is the etheric body related with sexuality. My emphasis is much more on the first three principles because everything comes from Christ—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that trinity is reflected in all of the Sephiroth. Generally we say that the mind is affirmation, because it is always affirming thoughts, a constant churning of concepts, memories, and ideas. The heart is negation, going back to Alice in Wonderland—always reacting with negative emotions, such as the Queen of Hearts, “Off with his head!” And you have synthesis related with sexuality, because as you see in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, it’s really a synthesis of three principles. It encompasses movements, instincts and sexuality, so it’s a synthesis.
Now to go even deeper, this relates with the three mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet―א Aleph, the Magician relates with the head, ש Shin, fire, Christ, relates to the heart, and מ Mem, Maya, Miriam, the Holy Spirit relates to the waters. They all derive their source from the Trinity. So in relation with the dynamics of meditation, it’s always in threes, really, because everything comes from the divine source. The law of three was mentioned by Master Gurdjieff as the Holy Triamatzikamno. All originate with the Divine Source—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, you have those correlations definitely.
Audience: I notice for myself, and I make, in as much as I remember, an effort to be awake and aware of myself. I will notice certain points in time that I’ll be doing a job that requires almost more of my attention just on that… almost more than my own intention just on that and I have to be aware of myself too, but it’s very difficult.
Instructor: That's good that you recognize this fact. It’s very difficult. It’s difficult to spark that comprehension in the first place. It’s difficult to maintain it―that's really what jihad is about. It’s difficult to even realize in the first place, and it’s even more difficult to maintain awareness throughout the entire day. As indicated by the term "mindfulness" in Buddhism, we make a distinction that it doesn't just relate to self-observation. Self-observation is the first step, to be watchful of this moment, and mindfulness is maintaining self-observation through the entire day. So first you observe and then you maintain that vigilance throughout the entire day. If you recognize that its hard, that's a good sign. It is hard. That's really the battle and struggle of the mind. The mind can't do it. So when your mind says, “I can't do it,” comprehension will show you, “This is the only thing right the mind has stated. However, for making this postulation, the mind is wrong. Mind, you are only a vehicle, a machine! You are not my true identity!" The mind really can’t resolve anything—only the consciousness can. Life is really the psychological gymnasium.
It’s a work in progress. Even if you self-realize you have work to do. Generally there can be two types of comprehension: hindsight and foresight. Hindsight hurts a lot because your mind stabs you in the back with shame for having made a mistake. Generally, you want to develop a type of comprehension that is instantaneous and helps you to act appropriately in the moment. You know it’s wrong in the instant a defect appears in your three brains and you say “Ah-ha! I'm not going to do that!” And there's real control there, real discipline. That's the type of insight that we need. You can only get that if you’re mind is serene and your consciousness is paying attention. You must let your mind reflect and perceive those images for what they are in a given moment. You’re only going to develop that by working very hard. Remember that if you’re practicing these types of teachings, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. That's in the case of every Buddha—every initiate has to face that.
There's one German initiate, by the name of Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra a speech that conveys a very inspiring, comforting, and revelatory message. In the text, we have Nietzsche's fictional Zarathustra preaching to his disciples within the solitude of a mountain cave, saying:
The higher its type, the more rarely a thing succeeds. You higher men (initiates) here, have you not all failed?
Be of good cheer, what does it matter? How much is still possible! Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh!
Is it any wonder that you have failed and only half succeeded, being half-broken (meaning, being weak with ego)? Is not something thronging and pushing in you—man’s future (the promise and birth of the Intimate Christ within, the Superman)? Man’s greatest distance and depth and what in him is lofty to the stars, his tremendous strength (of the Inner Being)—are not all these frothing against each other in your pot (your mind)? Is it any wonder that many a pot breaks? Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh! You higher men, how much is still possible!
And verily, how much has already succeeded (meaning: through psycho-analytical meditation and comprehension of mental dynamics)! How rich is the earth in little good perfect things, in what has turned out well!
Place little good perfect things around you, O higher men! Their golden ripeness heals the heart. What is perfect teaches hope. —The Higher Men, Book IV, Section 15.
Therefore, he was saying, “You higher men (initiates), don't you realize that you’re failures, but is there anything to be upset about that you make mistakes like that? There's still so much, and many rich and beautiful things to accomplish if you fail and realized that you failed. That's good that you recognized your mistakes—now work on them. That's when you realize you'll be making victories.”
When you make a mistake and you say, “Really I made a big mistake,” and you accept it and you work on it diligently, then the gods, Buddhas and masters look at you and say “He's progressing.” When you have the maturity to realize that “Yeah, I'm really at fault and I'm going to change it,” to have the perseverance to keep working, that's when they really honor you in the internal planes. Ordeals must be experienced again and again until we conquer them. You may read about this subject in The Perfect Matrimony. The disciple will be submitted to ordeals in the astral plane, right? And generally when they do that, they push you to the very edge so that you react in a bad way. If you control yourself through the science of mental dynamics, they will appear to you as children, golden Cherubim, the children of the immortal dawn, very innocent. They were once like us, but now they're innocent like little children and they honor you because even though you made mistakes and you fail ordeals, you continue onward through jihad al-akbar. They keep testing you, internally. They'll do that when you develop enough Mo Chao, serene reflection, physically, and then internally. They're happy if you succeed after having failed many times.
So it’s a work in progress, but don’t think you're some exception, because everyone has their difficulties. The key to unlocking it all is Mo Chao, Self-remembering and serene reflection, in every moment. Then you’ll learn to transform those ordeals into something positive for you. So even after you've broken your pot, you may remember all the good and wonderful things you have received from God as a result of mental dynamics. Then afterward, you may say with peace, like Nietzsche did in the quotation, “Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh! What is perfect teaches hope.”
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