The following transcription is from an audio lecture on Sufi Principles of Meditation, a course originally delivered live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
Anyone who approaches meditation or genuine religion feels deep unrest―inquietudes in the heart. This often emerges in the form of tremendous longings, even intense anxiety, profound remorse, dread, or a pervasive dissatisfaction with the daily state of life.
Many of us, when seeking Gnosis, have experienced incredible psychological suffering, moral pain, perhaps from a trauma, a grievous mistake, wrong behaviors from a wayward, earlier life. After we have suffered the maximum, we look for answers beyond the superficial conventionalities of modern science, politics, religion, education, etc., which, if we are honest, do absolutely nothing but offer blind panaceas to very specific psychological afflictions.
To confront the source of our deepest sufferings―the conditioning of our minds that we have engendered through mistakes, through wrong action―usually this produces a cataclysm, a moral crisis. If we are honest, we realize that we are the progenitors of our own affliction. We are merely following the trajectory of our wrong behaviors. We ourselves, in our deepest root, have created the situations we are in now, without exception, even if we are not aware fully how. To recognize this fact, that our afflicted and conditioned mind, our states of suffering― whether it be through pride, anger, lust, greed, vengeance, vanity, arrogance, morbidity, pessimism, despair―these are self-created, and these are the source of profound spiritual pain, which is the remorse of our conscience, our consciousness in recognition of its own responsibility, its culpability.
When we perceive that our hatred, our desires, the deceptions we weave for ourselves and for others, the way we manipulate situations, our defect, our vices, our ego, are completely antithetical to divine law, we suffer incredibly.
When we see the path to heaven, we realize it is extremely difficult. It has nothing to do with what fanatic or dogmatic persons believe. Beliefs really have nothing to do with change. We can think and adhere to any theology, any scripture, any doctrine with our intellect, with our emotions, but if they are not fulfilled in action, if there is no practical basis by which to change, then really it is fruitless.
In our studies, we have to renounce all types of superfluous activities, ideologies. Those who really perceive in themselves their own aggregates, their own nafs, their own defects, realize they have a tremendous work to do. We understand from experience how very few succeed in religion, in yoga, since it is “the straight and narrow gate that leads to life,” but which “few find” (Matthew 7:14). When the reality of our situation is examined carefully, when we really look, when we sincerely introspect into our own psyche and try not to blame our situation, our government, our teachers, our school systems, we witness a collapse in the foundations of a false identity within ourselves.
Such an act is like a demolition. It is the destruction of a very much well-cherished building, one in which we spent our entire beloved childhood in existence. In this metaphor, we have worshiped our surroundings with fidelity, our beliefs about spirituality, about religion, about politics, about identity, about the world. When we see that our most venerated beliefs have nothing to do with reality, we naturally undergo a very necessary crisis.
Samael Aun Weor stated that if the water does not boil at a hundred degrees celsius, then we cannot disintegrate what must be disintegrated. If we do not remove poor foundations, if we do not seek to comprehend ourselves through observable, repeatable, scientific facts, then in reality, we will live in a house of filth, a cage of perdition, smothered by a secret ugliness that we do not even want to recognize in ourselves, even when our exterior is ornamented with deceptive beauty.
Our interior life is what matters, not our appearances. We can appear as gentlemen or ladies of distinction in society, yet if our mind is afflicted with wrath, with pessimism, filled with doubt, contorted with extortion, warped by lies, egotistical states, then we will be what we are. As Samael Aun Weor stated, so long as the ego exists in ourselves, we will be an abomination that should not exist, because in our depths, beneath the respectable persona, the flattering gestures, the words of light within our lumisials, our Gnostic schools, deep down we carry all the abominations of the wars, the tragedies of every conflict, in conflagration, every Holocaust.
We have to remove false foundations, beliefs without evidence, and many of the self-deceptions that we teach and propagate amongst our families and amongst ourselves are within, in relation to who we are. This is a form of a cataclysm, a revelation. That book in the New Testament, Revelations, is about apocalyptic crises, which are not only external, but internal, as we work to really take responsibility for our own faults and not to run away.
It is only through this type of internal work that we can really build a foundation that is true, our real spiritual identity, which is symbolized by the Phoenix being consumed within its own flame, so that it rises with glory from its ashes.
This is why, according to the Sufis, repentance is the first state and station of the path.
The present moment, breathing exercises, sexual transmutation, mantras, sacred rites of rejuvenation, contraction and expansion, presence and continuity of attention, awareness―all of this lead us towards the actualization of repentance.
People look at this term repentance with a lot of disdain, as if it is a moral code, a subjective, imposing law that has nothing to do with the cultivation of one's happiness, because in our society we like to gratify our desires, to get what we want, to glorify the ego, failing to realize that it is this desire that is the origin of all pain.
Repentance is not a belief. It is a psychological attitude of the consciousness. When we really recognize that we are at fault, that we have committed a wrong, we feel the pangs of conscience and we deeply yearn to turn to the Being, to receive help, because really, we are helpless if we do not have that connection with our inner God.
Repentance is something very profound and beautiful. It is the acknowledgement of one's own culpability and responsibility. It is not a means of punishment. It is the means by which we really enter the Mysteries. Can somebody who is arrogant, proud, boastful, manipulative, haughty, deceptive, enter heaven? For as Jesus taught in the Gospels that:
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” ―Matthew 19:24
It is a symbol. Humility is a virtue, to not take a self-aggrandizing position at anything, always promoting our own self above others, even if it means humiliating others, shaming others, so that we can feel exalted. This type of mentality is wrong. It produces a lot of problems. We need to recognize when we are at fault, and this is the basis of, really, every meditative tradition: to be sincere, to look at the facts, to take responsibility and to change our situation, to not repeat our own ideas about what the situation is like and that “Everybody else is guilty and that I am a saint,” we say.
People do not see us the way we see ourselves, and really we need to learn to see the viewpoints of others, because we are very subjective. If you have been studying the sequence of this course, the different dynamics of consciousness, you will realize through the practices, we have taught, that we are very asleep. We don't really see reality, and because we project our mind onto existence, we misinterpret situations and create problems.
We live in lies. That identity we boast of as a kind, charitable, noble person, we really have to analyze this mental construct that we always present to others, even if secretly, and to be honest, to have truth in our interrelations in every aspect of life.
What could be more horrible than to have cancer, and for the doctor to tell you that you are fine, to not tell you the truth? The reality is that we are afflicted with spiritual disease, and only divinity can heal us. This is reference in every single allegory or story within the Old Testament, the New Testament, and many of the Sufi stories, within the diverse religious traditions. The soul is sick with pain, with affliction, with conditions of mind.
Divinity has always been terribly honest about the reality of our situation and humanity, but because people do not like to look at the truth of themselves, they adulterate their traditions. It is the invention of modern people to think that we will all go to heaven, so long as we attend a specific group and pay our fees. The reality is that people are not interested in real religion, only with wealth and power. If the teachings do not help the institution to get more followers, more money, more resources, then basically those teachings become inflated with theories: “the bread and leaven of the Pharisees” mentioned by Jesus (Matthew 16:6), who take the spiritual doctrine and change it because it is not palatable to the public.
Real religion requires the renunciation and repentance of everything that is wrong. It means to recognize our own faults, to have the willingness to change them, and to enact the practical actions that remove those mistakes. If religion is missing any one of these dynamics, then it is incipient. It is not complete. Many religions dogmatically assert the need for repentance and the need for change, and this is very beautiful and necessary, but unfortunately many schools have lost the methods by which to do so.
People don't know how to change. They are told you need to repent, be a good person, belong to this group, help humanity, perform services, and yet we continue to suffer.
So we are going to explain some techniques in this lecture about how to really change, what repentance is, what does it practically look like, and how do we know that we are sincere. In reality, to learn this method, we have to be very willing to break, to shatter, to take all of those conceptions, those beloved cherished ideals about who we think we are, and put it aside. Anyone who enters the highest mysteries of religion, whether through meditative experiences, astral projections, jinn experiences, samadhis, ecstasies, entering the highest aspects of the Tree of Life, they do so because they have a radical honesty, and have really abandoned any belief about what they think they are, but simply to have the courage to look, to examine, to see what we have in abundance and to perceive what we lack.
Rumi taught at best about what we need if we want to enter this meditative tradition:
“My heart had been torn to pieces looking for help. When I understood that helplessness is the only help, I repented helplessly.” ―Rumi
Only divinity can heal us. But this is not through belief, through adopting an external behavior, a code of thinking, and of behaving in a social circumstance or environment. It has to do instead with our own psychological relationship to ourselves, to others, and to divinity.
The Door of Repentance
All traditions are unanimous on one point. To perfect the soul, to enter genuine experiences within all mystical traditions, we must have remorse for our errors.
Again, this is the term that people don't like. It is very difficult for the modern mind, our contemporary culture, to accept or understand, because we are a civilization that is based on the gratification of desires.
We really live in an unprecedented time in which we have available to us the knowledge, the wisdom that can liberate consciousness. There are access to scriptures and teachings that have been closed for millennia. Humanity has a beautiful gift. We are in the age of information, but sadly we are also in an era of misinformation. Because people are so filled with desire, they merely want to get what they want because they want it and they will fight tooth and nail to gratify themselves, and this is why you have many teachings and books and lectures and scriptures or ideologies that interpret these scriptures in accordance with specific idiosyncrasies.
But sadly the majority, the vast majority, is tainted with desire. People think that because we live only once, we should get as much of what we desire before we die, no matter if we walk upon and hurt, destroy others, because we think there is no point to existence. We live in an existential crisis, the absurdity of life, and because there is no moral compass, we think and feel and do what we want without caring for the harmony of our communities, of our relationships.
We are in a world based on ignorance. Our governments, our laws, our entertainment industries, advertisements, education, and politics have absolutely no comprehension about how desire is the root of suffering. People simply want things, and because we want what we want, we fight, we lie, we cheat, we steal, and we kill. There is no integrity left. The fragrance or perfume of sincerity within modern man has been snuffed out.
Simply look at humanity to verify what I am saying. We are not in a golden age. A golden age cannot emerge from people who do not have any humility or understanding, of our TV shows and our doctrines are based on violence, extortion, rape, murder, lies. This is all desire. This is ego, نَفْس nafs, nafas in Arabic. We have built entire societies on desire. Look at the Greeks, the Romans, many thriving empires which must eventually collapse because of the ego, because its people no longer enact or follow the laws of divinity, the laws of divine nature.
If society is corrupt, it's because the individual is corrupt. The individual is an extension of society and vice versa. True change occurs when we confront, eliminate conditioning from our psyche. However, to do this the individual must want to change.
If people don't feel desperate, remorseful, or long to really experience life in a new way, then they will never make the effort to look inside of themselves for the answers, to see themselves for who they truly are.
So why explain repentance within this course? Meditation and transformation begin with sincerity. It is sustained by honesty and is perfected with integrity: how we relate to ourselves and to humanity, to honestly confront ourselves and to observe the causes of suffering from within.
When we work with self-observation, we gather data. We observe the different selfs, the egos, the desires, the nafs within our interior. We perceive that our consciousness, the majority of it, is trapped within ego, within conditions of mind. We perceive from experience that we are a multiplicity. We lack integrity. We are not a unity. We have to understand that we are a multiplicity of selves, which in many different traditions have different names: aggregates, kleshas, veils, observations, egos, nafs, fragments of our psychology, our I's, our defects. If we long to achieve integrity, we need to free the consciousness from conditions. We need to integrate the soul that is split in so many different identities and conflicting and competing desires.
This is the real work of religion. It has nothing to do with attending a mosque, a church, a synagogue. It is about freeing our soul from the psychological states of affliction. To reunite with the Being, the consciousness must be liberated. It has to be free, and this is what every scripture and religion and mystical tradition and story and allegory teach. Those scriptures don't teach about a literal history, such as with the Qur’an. There are historical facts that correlate to the events in the life of the Prophet Muhammad, but the battles that he underwent to defend his life from the black magicians of Arabia are a representation of the war we go inside of ourselves to wage for the redemption of psyche, for the liberation of Israel: those parts of our soul that belong to God that are trapped here in Egypt, in suffering, in מצרים Mitzraim.
So how do we liberate consciousness? We have to see each ego in action. We have to comprehend them, and then we must annihilate them through prayer. But this is a long process, a very difficult one, a very painful one. When we perceive that we created our defects, the monsters of envy, bloodshed, murder, lust, sadomasochism, desire, we feel profound spiritual pain. This type of pain is not the pain of the ego, and we wish to make a very clear distinction about this. The ego suffers because it doesn't get what it wants. It is a type of suffering in desire, but there is a type of conscience and remorse, a different type of pain in the heart that is experienced by the soul.
It is a superior sentiment. It is a conscious expression of superior emotion. It is the repentance of the soul when it acknowledges its errors for the mistake of having created egos, I's, selves. When we perceive that we are the origin of anger, that we created this defect that makes our spouse suffer, our family suffer, our co-workers suffer, we feel pain. We don't want to continue making others suffer, if we are really seeking to change and to help humanity. So that type of conflict is necessary.
Even Nietzsche's said it in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “For truly, how can one create something from within themselves if there was no chaos? Only those who have chaos in themselves shall give birth to a dancing star”―the divine.
That chaos is when we are really sifting for the mind to examine the root origin of every defect that creates problems for us, and practically, daily, working on them. Without this radical zero basis, without seeing the ego in action and feeling remorse for having created it, we cannot enter the mysteries.
For as Samael Aun Weor states in Igneous Rose:
“All the doors are closed to the unworthy, except the door of repentance.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
…which, is paralleled in Al-Baqarah Surah 2 verse 45:
“Seek help in patience and prayer, and this is indeed difficult except for the humble.” ―Al-Baqarah 45
Qur’anic Verses on Repentance
I especially love the Qur’an, because it is a profound teaching. It expresses principles of meditation, but it takes an educated and experiential eye to really interpret what this doctrine unveils.This book is misunderstood, because like any religious scripture, people read literally, without knowing esoteric symbolism such as alchemy, Kabbalah, and psychology.
Oftentimes the Qur’an is feared as a severe judgment of a tyrannical God, a foreign God that displeases people. Humanity does not want to recognize, however, that there exist immutable, divine laws. When we follow them, we experience joy, limitless happiness, contentment. When break them, when we break these laws, we transgress against the law of our own conscience, and therefore we suffer. This is the basis of the Qur’an.
The beauty of Sufism and Islam is that no matter how degenerated we are and have become, divinity offers mercy and redemption: the transformation of our states and the elimination of the ego, when we have worked towards it and earned it.
There really is no victory without divinity. Our spiritual work is achieved through the help of divinity inside, through experiences, through cognizance of His presence, through contraction and expansion, through continuity of attention, through awareness, through vigilance in daily life.
Here are some verses that are related by a Sufi initiate, a female master by the name of Aishah al-Ba'uniyyah, from her book The Principles of Sufism, not to be confused with Al-Qushayri's text with the same title.
“God the Exalted has said, ‘Turn to God, together, O believers, that you might be successful.’” ―Aishah al-Ba’uniyyah, The Principles of Sufism
So when the Qur’an speaks of the believers, it is important to remember the term being used.
A believer is المؤمن al-Mu’min. Believers (plural) is المؤمنين al-Mu'minun. Mu’min in Arabic reminds us of “water” or مائي mayiy, “aqueous.” ماء Ma’an or מים Mayim, even in Hebrew you find the same etymology and meaning. We know in our studies of Gnosis that we work with the sexual creative waters, the energies of our body, in order to create the Spirit inside, to create a dynamic, Genesiatic, encompassing and empowering force that gives strength to virtue. That energy, which can create a physical child, is the same energy that can create the soul.
Therefore, a real believer knows how “to be” through the power and science of “love,” (be-lieve and this love is sexual, without exception, the sexual energy―to take these waters of life, to conserve, and to elevate them through spiritual discipline. This is how we turn to God. And if you have studied the Qur’an or many other scriptures, they always state that chastity is the foundation of real growth. We'll explain what chastity is for those who are not familiar. But here, I like to relate and continue with these verses.
“The Exalted has said, ‘Seek forgiveness from your Lord, then turn to Him in repentance,’ and the Exalted has said, ‘O you who believe, turn to God with sincere repentance!’ The Exalted has said, ‘And those who do not turn in repentance, they are the transgressors!’ and the Exalted has said, ‘Truly God loves those who turn in repentance, and He loves those who purify themselves.’ There are similar sayings in the noble verses of the Qur’an.” ―Aishah al-Ba’uniyyah, The Principles of Sufism
So repentance, توبة tawbah, has very profound meanings in Arabic. Al-Qushayri and Aishah al-Ba'uniyyah relate some very beautiful teachings about this, about what this term means, practically speaking. Aishah states the following,
“According to the lexicons, tawbah means ‘to return.’ Taba, aba, and Annaba all have one meaning, which is ‘return.’ Thaba is similar: people say, ‘The milk has returned (thaba) to the udder.’” ―Aishah al-Ba’uniyyah, The Principles of Sufism
In Gnosis, we teach that the foundation of real repentance is sexual. You'll find that if you have studied the writings of Samael Aun Weor extensively, he elaborates the teachings of alchemy: of transforming the sexual act into a sacrament; of elevating creative energy, whether we are single or married, single or in a relationship, so that that conserved and sublimated force, that transmuted energy, creates something inside. He teaches that chastity is the foundation of real development, and that without it, there is no change. The Qur’an, as you'll see and many other Sufis, elaborate the same points. So this is not just one teaching from one man. It is a universal doctrine expressed within the secret code and the languages of the different traditions of the world. Here, we are explaining it in accordance with Sufism and Islam.
What does it mean that “the milk has returned to the udder?” If you look at the substance of milk, it is white and it is similar to semen. It is the sexual matter. Milk is from, obviously, a cow, and if you studied Islam, you find that they place special emphasis on the longest surah of the Qur’an known as البقرة al-Baqarah. It is “The Heifer,” “The Cow,” which is attributed to a specific verse in which the limb of a cow can be used to resurrect a person from the dead. Now, this is not a literal statement, which some people or actually many people believe, but instead refers to the power of the divine feminine.
The sacred cow is known amongst many religions as a symbol of the divine eternal feminine power known as Devi Kundalini. The Sufis refer it as al-Baqarah, but also الْبُرَاق al-Buraq, a mystical creature that helped Muhammad ascend the seven heavens, who has the face of a woman, the body of a mule or horse, the wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock. Buraq means “lightning.” It is the creative energetic potential of our sexuality that can rise within our spinal column and open many abilities inside of ourselves.
It is the light, the vajra of the great Buddhist initiates, the teachings of Vajrayana, Tantrayana in Tibetan Buddhism, or Alchemy in the West, or better said the Middle East, but also the Western Esoteric Traditions as well. There are many interrelations here that are very beautiful to study, but here I like to synthesize just in relation to some verses from the Sufis.
Milk is a substance that nourishes children, and we are children of our divine feminine. Now, in Islam, they, in the public exoteric doctrine, reject any femininity within divinity and this is something incongruent with the interpretations of that tradition, which we abandon in Gnosis. Instead, we look at the symbols that the ascension of the Prophet teach. Muhammed returned to God on riding Al-Buraq, a symbol of the divine feminine power known as amongst the Kabbalists as Shekhinah.
He was meditating at the stone of Mecca, meditating profoundly and falling asleep, and that stone is a symbol, of again, Yesod, the vital energies as you see in this glyph of the Tree of Life on the left. Yesod is known as the stone of the Masons. It is the foundation of our spiritual temple. יסוד Yesod in Hebrew literally means “foundation.” It is the sexual energy. It is the basis upon which we experience all the heavens of the Tree of Life, as Muhammad did in his famous al-Miraj, the Ascension, where he was able to experience many beautiful things and receive teachings from the great masters of divinity: the angels, the prophets, the buddhas, whatever names you wish to give to those intelligences that know the Being, Allah.
So, notice that this Tree of Life has ten spheres. If you count from the top to the bottom, Yesod is the ninth―the ninth sephirah or sphere or emanation, from that gradual descent of forces from heaven, down to materiality, from the more subtle levels of nature, to the most dense. We are in מלכות Malkuth, which is the physical body, which is the storehouse of all the vital forces and spiritual forces that emanate from above, from the heavens, الجنة al-janna.
It is interesting that there is a surah in the Qur’an called al-Tawbah, “The Return” or “Repentance.” It is the ninth surah of the Qur’an. It is a direct reference to how we work with sexual energy. It is a very controversial surah because, primarily, it is a disassociation from the unbelievers.
And who are those unbelievers? It does not refer to people who do not follow Islam exoterically, publicly. The word for disbeliever or unbeliever, infidel, the unfaithful ones, is الكافرون Al-Kafirun. It is interesting that there is a surah in the Qur’an known as الكهف Al-Kahf, which is “The Cave.” What is a كافر kafir, an unbeliever? It is an ego, a defect, a desire, because our egos and desires do not want to follow God, to not want to change. They want to continue behaving in the ways that we have always fulfilled, without any type of remorse or sincerity. That holy war mentioned in the Qur’an is about fighting the ego, and there are many Hadith and different references within the tradition that explain that.
Butin synthesis, our defects relate, our egos relate to what are known as the inferior dimensions on this Tree of Life, which are beneath Malkuth. Notice that there is a shadow, again, nine spheres below beneath this physical world, Malkuth in Hebrew, the “Kingdom.” Those dimensions relate to the interior of the Earth and our egos belong there, to the hell realms, to the infra-consciousness of nature, to the inferior worlds.
Now what are الكافرون Al-Kafirun? Literally, you have here كهف Kahf, cave―our egos and defects dwell on the caves of our mind, but also within those different dimensions that are not separate from us, but are here and now, because we have thoughts, we have feelings, and we have impulses. They are not physical. They are psychological, but they have a type of dimensionality and experience in reality that is not physical, but it is a form of matter and energy, nonetheless. We can experience those states more clearly through dream yoga, astral projection, awakening in dreams, which is very well documented within the Qur’an and many traditions.
So it is interesting, even in myths like The Thousand and One Nights, the teachings of Aladdin, الله دين Allah-Din. دين Din in Arabic is “religion, judgement.” It has to do with our conscious discrimination and judgment of ourselves. It is the judgment of God, which is a psychological and spiritual state. It is repentance. And remember that in the myth of Ali Baba, we find that the great hero must stop the thieves from stealing the gold. Those are the parts of our soul that are trapped in suffering, in error, in conditions. We return to God by going against our ego, by turning away from our negative actions and mental states, and turning to God. This is tawbah.
But also, we really return to divinity when we transmute our sexual energy, when we conserve the creative force and not waste it at all. “The milk never leaves the udder,” so to speak, because that energy is the source of real creative potential. It is Yesod. It is the foundation. It is the ninth sephirah and also the basis of the ninth surah of the Qur’an.
So in the Qur’an is a great conflict that occurs between Muhammad and the unbelievers, a symbol of our psychological work: how we confront ourselves, how we repent.
That surah does not begin with:
بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
“In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful.”
That opening begins with every surah of the Qur’an except the ninth, because it is not guaranteed that we will be successful relating to the ninth sephirah, the work with sexuality, because it is very difficult. Anyone who has worked in this science, has studied Gnosis for some time, understands that it is very difficult to change, especially sexual behavior. But that is the basis of repentance. It is the foundation of change.
Our sexual actions determine everything, because our behaviors of a sexual type have the most lasting impact, and if you don't believe me, simply ask or talk to a person who suffered childhood trauma. Speak to a person who has been raped, abused, violated. Or, on the other side, talk with people who are happily married, meaning: in a cooperative, fulfilling, deep compassionate relationship, a conscious relationship. A wide spectrum―but we are being synthetic here just to reference how that energy is the source of repentance. It is the source of return. It is the first state and station of the path, and we have many teachings that explain how to work with creative energy. We will give you references if you ask.
But in synthesis, according to Al-Qushayri, in his Principles of Sufism:
“Tawbah, repentance, is the first station for spiritual travelers and the first stage of development in seekers. The root meaning of tawbah in the Arabic language is ‘return’―its associated verb, taba, is used to mean ‘to come back.’ So repentance is the return from what is blameworthy in the divine law to what is praiseworthy in it.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The most blameworthy quality is lust, without exception. It is the origin of many problems, of divorce rates, of marital conflict, and we know from Freud that sexuality is the basis, the machinery by which society operates. It is the most powerful energy in existence.
Even in the Qur’an, it gives two names to this force as representations of divinity, names of God: الخليق Al-Khaliq, “the Creator,” and الودود Al-Wadud, “the Loving.” Where else do we find the power to create through love than in sex?
The Qur’an speaks many times about how “We created you from a sperm-drop.” Physically, yes, there is that relationship there, but psychologically and spiritually, the true human being is made from that very same force, but with different procedures.
All traditions teach that desire is the origin of all pain, and that chastity, sexual purity, is the origin of all happiness. Chasity does not mean abstention from sex. It means purity in sex. The Qur’an always speaks about the need to be purified as an act of remembrance of God. That means that we learn to take that energy and redirect it from its casual, usual implementation, what people commonly believed in think sex is.
As the Qur’an teaches in surah 4 verse 27,
“Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation.” ―Qur’an 4:27
So, many people approach religion and want to repent, to receive God, to know divinity. And yet, they follow their passions, their desires, and this is the opposite of religion. And what is the ultimate desire but sexuality, gratification of sexual sensations and pleasure? It is irrefutable. It is undeniable. We can say that lust is the greatest deviation. It is the culmination of the orgasm. All religions teach, the Qur’an teaches that, one must be chaste. And if you have studied Samael Aun Weor's writings, you know this is very obvious. Without chastity, there is no religion. This is how we return to divinity, and we are going to elaborate and explain how.
Three Constituents of Repentance
Of course, when people hear of repentance, we have to understand that there are levels. As Aishah al-Ba'uniyyah states:
“Outward repentance is the return from blameworthy actions to praiseworthy ones and from foul words to righteous ones.” ―Aishah al-Ba'uniyyah: The Principles of Sufism
At a basic level, some people really struggle with foul language―swearing, vulgarities, inappropriate behavior. Repentance in the beginning can relate to controlling our tongue from not saying those wrong things that create problems.
Likewise, we perform outward repentance when we practice chastity. It means to not engage in lust or sexual misconduct. If you have read the writings of the Sufis, especially Al-Hujwiri's Revelation of the Mystery and Al-Qushayri's writings from The Principles of Sufism, they explain very clearly that lust is the opposite of the Sufis’ intentions to return to divinity. It is repeatedly stated. Desire comes from nafs, egos, שטן Shaitan in Hebrew, or which is where we get the word Satan, the devil, desire, egos.
So our repentance in the beginning of Gnosis and entering the spiritual teachings is that we learn the value of sexual energy, and how sexual misconduct is the origin of many problems, such a sleeping around, committing adultery, and very commonly, watching pornography, ingesting intoxicants, engaging in masturbation, and other behaviors that are stipulated against in pretty much every meditative tradition, because these behaviors condition consciousness. If we feed desire, we make it stronger.
Desire in strict language is ego, without exception, although the Sufis do have a bit of range and interpretation of desire for God, longing for God. It is better if we say that, because what people think of desire really is conditions of mind, aggregates, faults. This is the basis of Sufism and Islam, Gnosis, every tradition. It is ethics. We know from traditions that there are behaviors to avoid and behaviors to enact. This is the foundation for entering meditation. So in the beginning, we learn to curtail these faults. But why?
We avoid intoxicants and drugs because we don't want to condition the consciousness. Feeding desire through those elements stimulates desire and strengthens it. The natural state of meditation is a quality of free, liberated consciousness, and therefore, we do not need to engage in substances to experience the natural state of awakening. They are completely contrary, which is why we are very strict purists in this tradition regarding that.
Likewise, with any act of masturbation, or lust or desire. The more you feed lust, the more it grows. The stronger it becomes. And this is a primary fault that we work against, because expelling the creative energies depletes one of the capacity for awakening our spiritual potential, our divine intelligence. There are forces in that matter itself, as we said, that are very creative. It can empower our genius, and if it is wasted, it can deplete our psyche of vital forces that are very necessary. So this is the foundation.
Outward repentance involves that: avoiding wrong behaviors, adopting praiseworthy behaviors, but more importantly, there is a deeper issue here, which Aishah al-Ba’uniyyah explains:
"Inner repentance with which the Sufi folk are concerned, is to turn away from all things and towards God, mighty and glorious." ―Aishah al-Ba'uniyyah: The Principles of Sufism
So there has been a lot of controversy regarding the Sufis, whether or not they obey the exoteric divine law within the Muslim tradition. The reality is that a sincere practitioner of any meditative tradition obeys both external codes and the inner reality, the inner work of those traditions.
So physically, we can turn away from pornography and lust, from drugs, from alcohol, from mistaken behaviors, but now the real work begins: perceiving and removing the desires for those behaviors, for those actions. Many people struggle. They abandon lust and temptations externally, but in their dreams, in their mind, in their daily life, they can see how lust permeates everything. The “I” touches the senses, everything. So the internal work is a long process, but it begins by first renouncing external problems, external behaviors that condition us.
This master also relates how:
“Repentance is not valid without three things: remorse for sin, abstention from it, and the resolution not to return to it. When one of these conditions is not met, repentance is not valid. This is the rule for repentance for sin between the servant and his Lord.” ―Aishah al-Ba'uniyyah: The Principles of Sufism
So reality we must feel remorse, but what is it? It is different from morbidity and shame, from feeling pessimistic and doubtful―flagellating ourselves that we are bad people. That is not remorse.
Shame is an ego, a defect, that we have to comprehend and eliminate. Shame is inverted pride: a sense of self that feels that it is not worthy and that is a sense of identity that is inferior, that must be seen, comprehended in its nuances, and eliminated.
Remorse is different. It is the power of the soul that really ennobles our deepest sentiment for change. It is comprehension. It is the longing for acquiring wisdom in life. So many people and humanity really don't have that. They have no remorse. Simply look at the news. People are rarely feeling sorry for wrong behaviors anymore. People who do not feel sorry for their mistakes are very far from the law.
Therefore, they must work, according to Samael Aun Weor, with the Rune Rita. And if you study the Nordic yoga, the Nordic runes, the practices of energy and mantra from the book The Magic of the Runes, one can work with the Rune Rita to empower judgment, internal conscience, so that one has a deeper connection with divine law. One can work more effectively.
Abstention means to no longer enact those behaviors rooted in desire, and this is often where people get stuck. We feel remorse, but do not act ethically in situations and temptations when desires emerge. For example, many people we have spoken with suffer with masturbation. People are really inspired by these teachings, by the concept of chastity, by the beauty of how these ideas add up, how sexual purity is the origin of the greatest virtues in humanity, in the human being, how meditation unfolds the strength of the soul, how self-realization is mapped in its very intricate explanations and diagrams of Kabbalah. All this is very beautiful and inspiring. However, when it comes to the facts of daily life, many people go back and forth, vacillating between lust and spirituality, and this is because they cannot renounce their desires.
Some of you may be familiar with the myth of Sisyphus, about a man who carries a stone up a hill, a difficult precipice, and when he reaches the top, lets the stone drop against the bottom, only to repeat the same struggle again with more difficulty. Some people have interpreted that as a metaphor for the modern man, such as with Albert Camus and his existentialist philosophy.
In a psychological and sexual sense, this has to do with working with the stone of sexual energy, caring Yesod up the mountain, the spinal column, but then when reaching the top after practicing chastity for a time, renouncing chastity and engaging in those sexual behaviors that result in the loss of that force. And so the stone drops in the mud again.
There are many people who vacillate like that. They go back and forth. They practice sexual transmutation for a time. They renege. They go backwards, and then they try again and they fail. They try again and they fail. And of course, this type of behavior produces very sour people, a morbid atmosphere.
This type of mentality is represented by Judas Iscariot. Judas is an apostle who betrays Christ, a spiritual fornicator. While loving Christ, he loves desire more, and this is the reality for many people. And we don't say this out of judgment for people who are struggling. In fact, we are relating these principles because we want to help. People who masturbate or engage in wrong behaviors, should really contemplate the beauty of the soul. Lustful people should contemplate the beauty of chastity.
Take a flower, a rose, an orchid, and examine its pedals. Meditate on that plant. Look at the beauty of its aura, its fragrance, its symmetry, its texture, its expansiveness, its purity. That is a representation of chastity―but at the level of a plant. It is very primordial, basic.
In a human being, chastity is much more. It is the virtues and qualities of beings like Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, the prophets, Samael Aun Weor. Those are powerful virtues, powerful beautiful elements that we have inside, and if we struggle with lust and temptations and desires, reflect on that beautiful nature that is in you. Contemplate:
What is the beauty of chastity?
What is the strength of it?
What are its qualities?
What are its principles?
Examine how purity, sexually speaking, is the origin of everything else: the empowerment of the soul, the sword and shield of righteous action. Meditate on those qualities. Examine them. Look at the reality of it in yourself, how better you feel when following this law.
It is a law of nature. There is animal nature and there is human nature, as we have been explaining. Animals follow mechanical law, and if we follow mechanicity, we suffer. The divine law, شريعة Shariah, is precisely sexual purity. It is how worlds, how galaxies, how stars are organized. It is the force of love that originates gravity, chemistry, heat. Everything in the universe is the result of that creative potential at the level of divinity.
We have that potential inside, but it is a spark that needs to be developed. And so, we have to realize that it is not necessary to suffer anymore. The reality is that if people engage in lustful behaviors, it is because they choose to do so. They don't really comprehend in the moment how it will bring them pain. Suffering is really a choice, in many cases. Liberation is a choice. So we have to really evaluate what it is that we want.
If we really comprehend how lust is harmful, then we will develop the resolution not to go back to it. And this is not a matter of following other people's rules, that it is something that is stated in Gnosis or in Islam or Sufism, in Buddhism and Jainism, in Judaism. We don't do this because other people say it's good, but because it has a practical result upon our psyche. It is a lifestyle. It is a conscious way of living with more health or happiness, more integrity, more compassion. We do it because it makes us happy, not because it is repressive or stale or boring.
We have to really evaluate what we want. There is a scientific basis to chastity, and really there have been some studies, scientifically speaking, that are just now promoting and explaining the power of this energy: of how purity is the origin of genius. But we have to really evaluate, again, what we want most of all for ourselves, because everything is a choice.
Just as we examine the virtues of the soul in relation to chastity, in relation to lust, you follow the same procedure for every vice. If there is a problem with anger, we have to contemplate serenity. A problem with greed, visualize and imagine the power of altruism and philanthropy. If we suffer with laziness, examine what diligence is. Look at the opposite. Don't just contemplate the negative, because if you do so at the exclusion of anything positive or real in yourself, you will become very sour, as I said. Learn to contemplate virtues and their practical application to your life. That is how we really build confidence, and this is the essence of sincerity.
Sincerity of the Heart
As we stated, there were laws of within meditation. To experience the state of meditation, it is necessary to have remorse for mistakes and to recognize our conditioned states.
Evaluation comes first. We have to see it in action and have the intention to want to change, to even want to look. The psychological work cannot begin if we don't learn to observe ourselves, if we don't recognize wrong psychological states, and if we don't work to eliminate them. Al-Qushayri states:
“From an analytical perspective, repentance has causes, degrees, and parts. First comes the heart’s awakening from the sleep of heedlessness and the servant’s recognizing his negative condition. He will attain to this if he manages to pay attention to the reprimands of God, the Truth within him, by listening to his heart. This is found in the hadith, ‘God’s counselor is in the heart of every Muslim,’ and in the hadith, ‘There is a piece of flesh in the body: if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. It is the heart.’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
People often complain that they don't know God, that they don't have experiences, that they don't know the Being, the will of divinity, and this is somewhat mistaken. The reality is: what does our heart tell us in relation to a problem, a relationship, a conflict? What does intuition say? That knowledge in the heart that does not have any intellectual basis, except knowing that one knows. And if we follow our heart, our inner judgment about a situation, the more we feed that discriminative analysis, our conscience, we deepen our connection.
Divinity speaks through the heart, not the head. There are some powers and siddhis mentioned by the yogis that one can develop in the mind as a result of this science, but really, everything is gravitating around the heart. The heart is the solar system of one's very being. If we want to know the health of our heart, our level of being, we begin with sincerity―really examining a mathematical point in our interior. It is not found in the past, reminiscing, not found in day dreaming about the future, but being here and now.
Self-reflection and Resolution
Recognition of our errors is the beginning of meditation, comprehending ourselves. Meditation has very distinct phases and there are three which we study in books like Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology by Samael Aun Weor:
Self-observation we have explained abundantly. We gather data by looking at ourselves, looking at the facts. What are the different thoughts, the different feelings, the different impulses in our daily states, moment by moment?
This is vigilance. This is awareness. This is mindfulness, presence. We learn not to be absent. We have to look at ourselves as if we have never seen ourselves before. We may know that we are angry, but the fact is: are we observing that anger?
Where did it come from?
What are its thoughts?
How does it feed?
What does it relate to?
What are the different selves or egos that accompany it? Because no deep defect or ego emerges on its own.
We can have a difficult situation at work: someone criticizes us, and then if we are observing ourselves, we can see distinct feelings of hurt self-esteem, followed by pride, and the anger of retaliation. In a moment, we can catch, through alert novelty, the different interchanges and exchanges of those defects, how they connect, the thread of comprehension that helps us understand the relationship between them.
We have to learn and see this in ourselves. Analyze the three brains: the intellect, the emotions, and our actions―our movements, our instincts, our sexual drives. Self-observation in Sufism is muhasabah, inner accounting. Gather information. If you want to go to war against a spy or an enemy, you have to observe the spy in action. Look at it. See it. Get data, so that when you go home to meditate, you can judge it effectively.
So, based on your data that you have received in your observation throughout the day, you learn to close your eyes. Withdraw the senses. Go within yourself. Ignore the body. You can work with breath or energy work, mantras, to help calm the mind and the heart, as well as your physicality.
Concentrate and imagine the scenes of your day. Review them. Remember them. Pick an event in which you saw different egos emerge. Look at the facts. See it for what it is, and in the silence of your contemplation, study each ego. Study what you observed. Look at it clearly, and if you feel remorse and repentance while you are observing it, that is a good sign, because you are deepening your prayer and your supplication for help.
Judgment occurs once you have looked at the facts. Do not think about what you saw. Simply observe. Comprehension unfolds as you direct your concentration and your visualization upon the scene.
Look at it. Look at the data. This is not an intellectual process. It is a discrimination of the heart. This is something that you learn only through experience, through practice. When you have truly judged an ego, when you really understood how it emerged, what it fed upon, what it relates to, how it wasted your energy, how it creates problems, where it came from, etc., you can proceed to judge that ego.
It is like judging a spy in court. You go to court. You present the facts, and the law or the judge sentences that spy to death for its crimes. This is execution, the final stage.
Execution has to do with when you pray to your divinity, “Please remove this ego from me! Annihilate it, for I have understood it. I do not want to act upon it again!”
Comprehension unfolds in successive meditations. It is not like in one meditation, we are going to eliminate many egos. In fact, it takes time to process. It is gradual. Nature does not take leaps. The birth of the soul does not occur spontaneously. Repentance has to be deepened, and is successive and progressive.
Some days you may go deeper into an ego. There are levels amongst defects, certain depths that are more profound and others more superficial. Work on what you see and what you can change. This is how we reflect upon ourselves.
And this is how we are resolved not to go back to what we were. When you have really worked upon egos and have prayed for their elimination to the divine feminine, the Divine Mother, al-Baqarah, al-Buraq, the lightning―then, you develop the resolution not to return to mistakes, and you really are dedicated because you are seeing changes. You don't behave the same way you did in certain situations. The actors that perform those tragedies, dramas, and comedies are no longer there. We don't react at all. Only the Essence is pure, there, present.
This is why Al-Qushayri states the following:
“When the servant has reflected in his heart on the evil of what he is doing and has seen the ugliness of his actions, the wish for repentance and for leaving his negative behavior will form in his heart. God will help him by confirming his resolution, his starting to return to good deeds, and his readiness for the steps of repentance.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, this is the meditation: retrospection meditation. We see how ugly the mind is. We are evaluating the data, and we wish to annihilate them [our egos], to repent. If we are really annihilating egos, we are developing more light, extracting the soul that is trapped in those nafs, those faults. This is how we gradually return to good deeds.
The ego of hatred is replaced by serenity. The ego of lust is replaced by chastity. Selfishness, with altruism and faith. Doubt with knowledge. Our Being can even give us experiences internally about our work. This helps to deepen our resolve. They deepen our readiness for these steps of repentance.
How to Strengthen Repentance
Oftentimes, our depth of repentance depends on our environment. It can be difficult to change certain behaviors when we choose to associate with people and environments that are contrary to our spirituality. Many friends or people can influence us towards certain actions. People are attracted to friendships, relationships, and environments based on their level of being.
Therefore, our level of being attracts our life, and many times when we want to raise our level of being, we face the difficulty of our relationships―loved ones or close associates who do not want us to change. Oftentimes, it can be good to disassociate from certain people when we know they will suffocate or snuff out the flame of our efforts for spiritual change. This is could be a good thing. There is some credence to this, so that we can develop an internal space, a psychological, spiritual atmosphere by which we can develop our deepest longings.
If such people are really our friends, they will respect our choice not to go to the bar. They will affirm our free will. If they don't want to be friends with us because we don't party, smoke, drink, have sex, or do drugs anymore, then they probably weren't our friends in the first place.
The reality is that our environment affects us a lot. If we invest our energy in relationships and behaviors that condition our consciousness, then it is going to be very difficult to transform that. You can spend one hour in meditation, but if for 12 to 23 hours, you are engaging in behaviors that are contrary to your spirituality, then your spirituality is probably not sincere. It's not going to have much depth or force.
It's a law of nature. Is it easier for a rock to go up into the sky or down towards the Earth? Our level of being rises the more we change negative behaviors and adopt positive behaviors. Just as we follow the trajectory of negative actions, likewise, we follow the trajectory of superior actions.
This is how naturally, in accordance with the law of affinities, we can learn to associate with more spiritual people, elevated people, more like-minded individuals. If we are really sincere in our efforts, we will awaken in the internal worlds, in the superior regions of the Tree of Life where we will meet beings who are superior to us, who vibrate at that level of nature. In synthesis, the reality of the ego is that it weakens the more we stop feeding it, but it's always going to fight us in our best intentions.
So, repentance is valid when we not only feel remorse, but abstain from ego, abstain from desire, and we continually apply effort towards our endeavor. We have to do it 24 hours a day. There is no exception. It has to be a lifestyle. Meditation is a lifestyle. It is not a belief system. Of course, in the process of change, we make mistakes. We go back and forth. We are struggling. We are beginners. We extend beyond our own reach. We fall down. We fall off the bike, so to speak, but if we are continually and sincerely evaluating our work, investing more and more energy into virtue than into desire, then we will radically shift our direction.
This is symbolized by the Qibla, which is a niche within a temple, a mosque towards the east, towards the stone of Mecca. It is a symbol of praying towards that sacred stone and, symbolically speaking, Qibla has to do with our intentionality.
Where do we pray?
What do we direct our attention and energy into?
The Qibla represents this. I like the saying from the Sufi Master Bayazid al-Bastami. He states the following:
“When you are separate from the Kaaba [Yesod], it is all right to turn toward it, but those who are in it can turn toward any direction they wish.” ―Bayazid Bastami
So, work with sexual energy. Wherever you direct your attention, you spend creative energy. If you directed it towards virtue, you empower your consciousness. If you direct it towards desire, you disempower your consciousness and suffer the consequences.
Therefore, what is our direction? What is our Qibla? For that determines what we receive related to the Hebrew קבל kabbel, Kabbalah. It is the same etymology there, قِبْلَة Qibla. To receive, spiritually speaking, we have to direct our concentration towards our spiritual efforts.
I will relate at length a quote from Al-Qushayri that explains all this:
“These steps begin with his leaving bad company―that is, people who would entice him to turn back from his purpose and confuse him about the rightness of his decision. Perfection at this level only comes with the diligent practice of witnessing that increases the servant’s longing for repentance and with the dedication of his efforts to accomplish his resolve through the strengthening of his fear and hope of God.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, witnessing has to do with perceiving directly the results of our work, practically, through facts.
“Then the knot of his persistence in negative actions will be loosened from his heart. He will stop running after dangerous things. He will rein in his ego from pursuing passions or desires of the flesh. Then he will immediately abandon his sin and confirm his resolution never to return to the like of it in the future. If he proceeds according to his intention and acts in conformity with his will, he has been granted true sincerity in his repentance. But even if his repentance has weakened once or many times and only his force of will induces him to renew it―and the sort of thing occurs very frequently―he must not give up hope of repentance on account of such incidents because, ’Surely to each period is a decree established’ (13:38).” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Blessings of Repentance
So repentance is a profound state and station that initiates the path, as Abdullah Ansari of Herat states in his Stations of the Sufi Path:
“Repentance is turning to God. God Most High says, ‘Turn to God with sincere repentance’ (66:8).
“Know that knowledge is life, wisdom is a mirror, contentment a protective wall, hope a mediator and intercessor, remembrance [of God] a remedy, and repentance a cure.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
When we have direct knowledge from experience, we have spiritual life, reality, happiness. Wisdom is from the word vis-dom: “the power to see” through vision. This is the Sufi witnessing of the divine, where we experience the states of our Being, which is happiness and altruism, compassion, sacrifice, inner strength.
This happens in our interrelations. This is the power of perceiving our relationships to humanity and the wisdom of knowing how to relate effectively for the betterment of society.
Wisdom, in synthesis, is knowing how to relate to the Being, to ourselves, and the world. It is self-reflection.
Contentment protects us from many things like a wall. Contentment is a shield. It is comfort from poverty, from starvation, from affliction, from sickness, from wars.
If we are really working effectively in this teaching, we are given protection. This is something I have validated many times. So despite facing certain hardships and struggles, divinity provides blessings for those who are really sincere in their work. People often suffer because they always desire more, even if they have more than enough. Meditation can unfold for us when we stop grasping or craving for different experiences or circumstances, but acknowledging that we have everything we need to change. If we have a mind and a heart, the consciousness, and a body, more or less healthy or fit, we can do this work. If we have the sexual energy, we can work.
So, hope mediates many things for us. Hope is the joy we feel because we know divinity is helping us. This is real faith. We know from our life and our daily experiences and our meditations that we are getting insight and direction. This is gradual. It is built. If we suffer from a state of despair and hopelessness, obviously, that is a very deep depression to emerge from, but there are ways to escape it: to comprehend virtue, the happiness of the soul, hope in divine things.
Remembrance helps us in times of danger, to remember right action in moments of crisis, and repentance cures us because we eliminate the causes of affliction and never go back, when we are sincere.
Abudallah Ansari of Herat continues:
“Repentance is the signpost on the path, the leader of the kingdom, the key to the treasure, the intermediary that assists you to become united with God, the condition for being accepted to the divine presence, and the secret of all happiness.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This key is alchemy: the work with the creative energies. It is the secret knowledge that opens the door of the mysteries.
“The pillars of repentance are threefold: remorse within the heart, apology upon the tongue, and severing one’s attachments with evil and wicked people.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So there are degrees of repentance and we will explain them.
“There are three types of repentance: the repentance of the obedient devotee, the repentance of the sinner (‘asi), and the repentance of the gnostic (‘arif). The repentance of the obedient devotee comes from reliance in his own obedience and considering his acts of devotion to be of great import. The repentance of the sinner comes from seeing his sins and acts of transgression as insignificant. The repentance of the gnostic is from ingratitude vis-à-vis God’s conferral of favors upon him.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
There are levels of being and stages of the path. Sinners see that they have made mistakes, but don't comprehend the depth of their transgressions. We can know that we committed a wrong, but we don't really comprehend the depth of it. We don't feel sorry for it. We have knowledge, but we don't have understanding. We can know that we really hurt a person or a friend, but not feel or comprehend the remorse related to that, because we can justify ourselves etc.
Obedient devotees who practice meditation can perform many practices but still feel mystical pride and vanity for their achievements, so to speak.
And lastly, gnostics have deep ecstasies or samadhis, but don't appreciate the value of them because they continue to persist in very subtle conditions of mind that obscure our full embracement in relationship with the truth.
Let's elaborate finally in this last slide about the signs of the devotee in the center and the Gnostic, the degrees of the initiates and practitioners in meditation.
“Setting great stock and reliance in one’s own obedience has three signs. The first is seeing one’s own obedient devotion as constituting one’s savior and protector. The second is regarding with contempt those who neglect their devotions. The third is not investigating the defects in one’s own actions.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So many people, they may practice meditation and they apply too much worth to their own exercises. They feel very proud that they can meditate for certain hours in the day, that they do certain exercises. These are known as Pharisees within the Gnostic tradition, and then the Christian tradition as well―to feel proud and that we are better because of our spirituality.
We have to be humble. We have to practice, but without attachment to the fruits of those exercises, because the reality is that only divinity can provide progress. We can feel mystical pride for people who don't practice Gnosis. This is very common, a very subtle ego that everybody develops in this teaching. And also, this type of pride is not recognizing how we are at fault when we are. So this is something that happens among the devotees, especially beginners, which is all of us.
Now the signs of the sinner is different. Worse, we could say. These are the signs of what one must do to repent of those errors:
“Beholding one’s own sins and acts of transgression as insignificant also has three signs. The first is considering oneself as deserving of forgiveness by God, the second in remaining at peace while still persisting [in sin], and the third is having intimate friendship with wicked people.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
In reality, this is most of us. We commit crimes against divinity and believe that we will be forgiven. This is a very common trope within Christianity that you can just go through life as the prodigal son, and then on your deathbed you can beg for forgiveness and God will absolve you. This is wrong. Real forgiveness occurs when we are no longer capable of committing those crimes, because the egos responsible for them are dead.
Many people even feel satisfaction in their defects and don't even suspect that they are guilty of mistakes. This is your common lay people who may think that they are very ethical or upright, but still engage in behaviors that are problematic.
Also, being friends with people who inspire us towards lust, towards alcohol, drugs, sex, addiction, can often be more harmful than helpful, regardless of how we feel about our attachments
Lastly we have the following:
“Likewise, there are three signs indicative of ingratitude for God’s conferral of favors upon one.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This is the level of the Gnostic, how the Gnostic must repent. So again, if you are looking at these three degrees, we are looking at the levels of beginners, intermediaries, and advanced practitioners: شريعة Shariah, طريفة Tariqah, حقيقة Haqiqah / معرفة Marifah.
“The first is ceasing to regard oneself as contemptible, the second is considering one’s spiritual condition as of great value, and the third is stepping back from the joy of intimacy with God.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So repentance has levels, degrees. The repentance of a sinner is different from that of a devotee, and especially distinct from that of a Gnostic, a master.
Samael Aun Weor explained in many books that we are miserable slugs in the mud of the earth and that we must never forget that only the Being, Allah, is worthy of praise. Many so-called masters of this tradition place too much emphasis on their mastery. So, considering one's spiritual condition is of great value is something that is very applicable today in the Gnostic Movement. There are many people in Gnosis who go around proclaiming that they are initiates, saints, masters. Sufism teaches that a saint who proclaims their sainthood to the world is in danger of losing their sainthood. As stated by Al-Hujwiri in Revelation the Mystery:
“My Shaykh used to say that if a saint reveals his saintship and claims to be a saint, the soundness of his spiritual state is not impaired thereby, but if he takes pains to obtain publicity he is led astray by self-conceit.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation the Mystery
And Samael Aun Weor also said that one should not accept masters in the physical world, but learn to travel in the internal planes, specifically.
“When the disciple is ready, the master appears.
“‘Beware of false prophets.’ Do not accept external Masters in the physical plane.
“Learn how to travel in the astral body, and when you are skillful in the astral, choose an authentic master of Major Mysteries of the White Brotherhood and consecrate unto him the most absolute devotion and the most profound respect.
“You must walk with much care in the physical world, since there are many false prophets. Do not accept external orders from anyone; you must only obey the commands that “we” give you in the Astral Plane.
“Within this physical plane there exist many good and sincere initiates of the Minor Mysteries, but since they have not yet fused themselves with their Inner Master they are also ‘living dead.’ Consequently, they have serious and very grievous errors, which can lead the student astray and even make him fall into the abyss.
“When we want to make ourselves known to a student in the physical plane, we will give him ‘signs’ and proof in the Astral Plane. But ‘be careful,’ live alert and vigilant as a watchman in times of war, because in these times of the end, the Anti-Christ makes deceptive signs and wonders.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Zodiacal Course
Lastly, Gnostics who approach the joy of intimacy with divinity, yet identify with their mind again, they lose their ecstasy, the samadhi and then they sin against reality. So levels of repentance.
This is just a little outline of where we might be and what we aspire to and what we seek to change. Obviously, the most profound act of repentance is to comprehend the ego daily, to self observe daily, and to eliminate our mistaken aggregates daily, with as much depth and frequency as we can. And I recommend that if you are meditating profoundly with retrospection, that you also reflect on the virtues of your Being, your soul, because that is your true nature. That is how you know what you are fighting for in yourself.
I would like to open up the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: How do you know when you are fully in touch with your soul?
Instructor: There are levels to this. One basic example is when you are in a difficult situation. This is something that I have reflected on in my own life. Sometimes internal experiences or astral projections don't come readily. We go through periods of absence, so to speak, rather than presence in our internal life, and in the physical world, we might have a difficult circumstance in which somebody confronts us, comes at us with a lot of anger, with a lot of resentment, a lot of hurt self-esteem, and is attacking us with their energy. Now, we know that we are more in touch with our soul, our conscience, when we act ethically to those problems. So instead of retaliating with hatred or self-justification, or pride, we learn to respond with humility and compassion. That is one level.
I think that is the most concrete example I can think of, because I know sometimes we like to think that to really be in touch with your soul, you need to be out of your body in the astral plane, the higher dimensions. There is that reality to that, but more importantly for us, we know that we are really deepening our connection with our divinity and our Being, our soul, when we act uprightly: upright thought, upright feeling, upright action.
Question: What do you mean by going deeper in an ego? Is that having a new point of view in on a situation?
Instructor: Yes, that is one component. To really go deeper into an ego, we may have some understanding at our level about how anger works in a particular situation. We can understand its thoughts and feelings and impulses to act, but on a deeper level, we may not be seeing everything. We can have a different point of view in our meditation whereby we perceive directly how our perspective was originally skewed, such as, we have an argument with a friend. We feel justified. We feel vindicated and therefore we argue back and forth in a heated debate. Now if we are meditating and going deeper on a defect, we might have observed in that moment when we were angry, we can perceive through a vision or our imagination, a comprehension, how we perhaps were mistaken, and that the other person could have been seeing something differently from us.
You can actually have that vision where you see from another person's point of view, because the consciousness is dynamic. It is expansive. It is multi-dimensional. It is not limited to one point of view, but is universal, and therefore you can have actual visions where you perceive states of consciousness, and from that point of view, you can see third person, or literally look at yourself in a new way. So yes, that is possible.
Comprehension unfolds magically. It is always alert and new. There are distinct qualities and flavors to it that only you will apprehend through your own practice.
So it's always good, as one of our students at mentioned in our private messaging, to have a set time in which to practice. Personally, I like to retrospect at night, review my day, and all the moments that led up to when I have gone to my meditation chair, when I am going to introspect and before I go to bed. Usually if we discover really strong egos, it's good to meditate there and then if you can. If you have the time and space and ability to do so, but it is always important to have a set discipline by which we are meditating and practically implementing these tools.
Some people like to get up early in the morning, 4:00 or 5:00 a.m in order to retrospect and to meditate deeply at that hour. It is always very good to awaken at that hour to practice, but if you find that it is easier to stay awake in the night time before you go to sleep, before you dream, you can retrospect at that time too.
Question: Can you explain which sephirah of the Tree of Life the Rune Rita involves to help us visualize them during the practice?
Instructor: The Rune Rita relates to the sphere of גְּבוּרָה Geburah: Justice, or in Arabic, دين Din. Geburah is الله دين Allah-Din, الدين Aladdin, the judgment and justice of God, the discrimination, the intuition, the perception of divinity that knows how to discriminate with effectiveness and clarity. It is our consciousness, our ability to visualize and imagine, to perceive.
So when you are doing the Rune Rita, you pray and you ask to work with that part of your Being known as the Kaom. So internally, in the astral plane, part of our Being related to the sephirah Geburah is known as the Kaom. They are the police of the law. And literally, in an astral experience, you can meet them. Your own divinity, your own conscience that appears in the form of police officers, either to hold you responsible to the law or to arrest you for a mistake, for a crime, is the voice of ethics in your heart.
Personally, I have worked with my inner Kaom many times in the astral plane, where I have had negotiations with them in accordance to the law of karma. The voice of conscience speaks abundantly through the heart of the mysticism of Geburah, the judgment of divinity. It is how we judge ourselves. It is the strength of God, and it relates astrologically to Mars, to iron, such as with the Iron Surah as we mentioned previously. So when you work with the Rune Rita, imagine that sephirah, the strength of divinity in you, helping you to judge your faults or mistakes, and asking the inner Kaom to help you be more accountable to the law of divinity, to Shariah.
Question: I struggle with remembering past sins before remorse sets in. There is a bit of satisfaction and I am horrified by this. I feel great remorse. How can both exist and how to combat this?
Instructor: Both exist because we are not one way or the other, but we are mixed. We have a little bit of consciousness that is free, about 3 percent, statistically speaking, according to Samael Aun Weor. And we have 97 percent conditioned psyche or ego. So therefore, our center of gravity is going to be towards our faults.
It is going to be very difficult to transform that, and of course there is a lot of suffering involved, because as much as we want to follow divine law, chastity, pure things, pure principles, we have a lot of perdition inside, and this is a source of great moral pain. The way that you combat it is not through repression, not by pushing it away, not hiding from it, not justifying or feeding it either, but comprehending it with serenity.
I know some people like to think of this term Jihad in Islam as something as a holy war, in which we exert a lot of effort and fight against demonic creatures, with demonic beings who are oppressing us. The word جهاد Jihad comes from the Arabic mujahadah, which means “to strive,” to work against, to perform effort. But this effort has nothing to do with the mind. It has to do with comprehending the mind. Real effort of the consciousness, of the conscience, is a serene state. You cannot combat chaos with chaos, with repression or justification. You have to look at it serenely. Let the mind settle by not identifying with it.
You can deepen your serenity through exercises in this tradition. We have many practices that can help you give strength and stability to your concentration as well as your serenity, such as the mantras of this tradition, Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation, the runes, especially, are important. The more energy you empower your consciousness with, the more stable, flexible, strong, and serene it will be.
In reality, the best spiritual warriors are serene at all times. This is very well known amongst the samurai, before that tradition had degenerated, where these warriors would defend their homes and their families, their loved ones, their Lords, by meditating before battle. They knew that if they give into agitation, they would be lost. They would make mistakes. In the same sense spiritually, this doctrine of Bushido in Japanese, the way of the warrior, is found within the Muslim doctrine of Jihad: holy war or striving against the ego, internally.
So don't beat yourself up on the fact that we have errors and egos and defects. You could spend a lot of time being pessimistic or morbid about it, or you can work effectively on your defects, what you can see, and develop serenity, because after repentance and really working not to feed those egos, we develop serenity of mind, calmness of thought, equanimity, and stabilization of the Essence. The best weapon is serenity, without exception.
Question: Does shame come from identifying with one of the three parts of repentance?
Instructor: Shame is an ego, is a result of not having resolution to change. It is also the result of not abstaining from desire. To feel shame as an ego, as a defect, is to feel bad about having committed an error, but is an egotistical quality.
There is a very distinct difference between remorse and shame. Remorse is conscience. It is when the soul recognizes its faults, and this is something that only you can recognize through persistent efforts. Shame, if you observe yourself diligently and discriminate in your soul in your observations, is a defect. So learn to discriminate between the two, because shame is inverted pride: a sense of self that feels an identity in being morbid about oneself or self-denigrating. Instead, remorse is liberating. It is conscience.
Question: When one feels remorse or and repents for a wrong action, what part of the Being feels that pain? Does one still have to pay karma if one repents genuinely?
Instructor: This is an interesting question, because in the ultimate synthesis, the Being is happiness. There is no pain in divinity. In the absolute heights of our most profound synthesis, the Being is liberated joy, ecstasy, divine qualities of compassion and liberation and expansiveness.
The one who feels that pain is the Essence. The Essence is the one that feels remorse, because there is a pressure from within, from the Being, that is exerting its influence in our heart, that is telling us that what we did was wrong or that we failed to enact a virtuous action.
Now what is interesting is that we pay karma not only for the wrong that we commit, but for the good that we omit. But if we repent genuinely, meaning: the ego is dead, then there is no karma to pay. Real repentance is when that ego is fully dead. Nothing left. So if you had an ego of anger that was really karmic and repetitive and cyclical, that kept permeating certain aspects of your life that were problematic and then you removed it, then the karma that would have inflicted you regarding that aggregate, for having that ego, is annulled. It ceases. So karma is paid when the ego is dead completely.
Question: With respect to retrospection, I struggle with continuity of thought. Do you have any recommendations on where to start?
Instructor: Continuity of presence is best implemented when we have energy to do so. It takes a lot of energy to awaken consciousness. This is why we have so many practices of breath, pranayama, mantras, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, sexual alchemy, because the sexual energy that is manifested and directed to those exercises, helps to give strength to the Essence. If you want to have greater continuity of attention and awareness, to pay attention, spend some time, some significant amount of time working with your energy. With energy you have more light, more force by which to work.
If the battery is not charged, the flashlight is not going to work. If the light keeps turning off here and there, it means that you need more force. So I remember one experience, to kind of help relating to this, where I was in the astral plane around 4 am in the morning, where my Being showed me an oil lamp and the light went off. It was Illuminating a very beautiful room, and then it ran out of oil and ceased. When I woke up, I realized my mind and intellect were tired. I was having difficulty with my practices of self-observation and remembrance. But fortunately, knowing the science and being married as well, I learned to work with the sexual energy, and therefore work with the oil to enlighten the lamp of consciousness.
That oil is the semen. In Hebrew the word for oil is שֶׁמֶן shemen: the oil of anointment. The oil of purification is the sexual energy which we conserve and elevate to our mind, so that symbolically we anoint our heads. We illuminate the intellect. If you want more power to your retrospections, give yourself good energy. Transmute. Spend more time with that type of exercise.
Question: Also, do we rewind playing events backwards from the current moment or press play from the first moment we can remember that day, or could both strategies be useful in different circumstances?
Instructor: Yes, whatever is easiest for you. If you find it easier to review from the moment you sat down to back in the morning, if you are meditating at night. Or you can meditate from the morning up to the moment you entered your meditation space. Either way is effective. What is important is that you do what's easier for you, whatever is more natural.
Question: Can you negotiate karma before facing the Guardian of the Threshold?
Instructor: Yes, you can. Obviously there are degrees of work and development that you can do, but it is not necessary that you have had to face the guardian in order to be able to work out certain situations in your life.
Question: Is it possible to eradicate an aggregate through relationships with family? I have seen an ego that is distasteful. I pray to the Divine Mother and felt that I'd overcome it, but I find that certain situations trigger the ego to come up again. How do I rid myself of it for good?
Instructor: Keep meditating. Keep reflecting. Be patient. We need to be very strict with ourselves. But also, we have to be very understanding as well. Repentance does not mean we beat ourselves with a rod of iron, but instead we learn to be flexible, intuitive, enduring, diligent, patient. You'll understand that ego the more you observe it and the more you reflect on it. There are levels of understanding. There are depths that unfold as a result of our successive meditations and practices. We go deeper each time. So don't weary or cease to persist in your practice, because the more you comprehend, the more you remove until finally after comprehending deeper and deeper, you reach the roots.
So there are levels of the consciousness and subconsciousness and infra-consciousness as well, the unconsciousness, etc., 49 levels. We can understand egos in certain degrees, but it gets deeper the more we work. So have faith in your comprehension and your Being, because it is a very long work and it's very difficult to eradicate certain egos that are very deep. The more repentance we show successively in our exercises, the greater freedom we will experience until, finally, one day, we realize we are liberated from that fault. Trust in your Being, your Divine Mother, because She knows exactly the process that you need to go through to be liberated.
Question: When we recite the rune Rita: RA, RE, RI, RO, RU. Are the r's rolled? Do we open and close the feet and arms in between each mantra?
Instructor: Yes, the letter R or the consonant R is rolled like this:
When you do the mantras, you don't have to open and close the feet and arms in between each mantra. You simply keep the position with your left hand over your left hip, left leg out, right hand at your right side.
Again, I thank you for attending and thank you for your questions. Remember that this is a process. Repentance occurs in degrees. As the first state and station of the path, it is also something that we perfect gradually in relation to the other stations and states of the spiritual path of initiation. So I thank you for coming.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
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