The following transcription is from an audio lecture on Sufi Principles of Meditation, a course originally delivered live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
Everybody who enters and practices the gnostic teachings always wants to have direct experience, mystical states, knowledge of God. When we read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, it is difficult to not feel inspired by the beauty, the depth, the power of the many personal anecdotes and experiences that he conveys. He often speaks firsthand of astral projections, awakened experiences, out of the body in the internal planes, the higher dimensions of nature, in which he has spoken with his Inner God or the masters of the White Lodge. Jinn experiences. Tremendous ecstasies of the soul.
What is particularly attractive of this kind of writing is that it goes against the theories, the conjectures, the beliefs about religion, or spirituality. These writings are powerful. They inspire us and they should enliven our heart, to push us to want to experience these things for ourselves.
It is not the intention to merely show off this kind of knowledge. That was not the intention of the writings of Samael Aun Weor and many other prophets. As Ibn ‘Arabi, a great Sufi master, stated (paraphrased), “When someone raises a lamp, it is in order to show light, not to be proud of one's elevation.” This is why such experiences are beautiful, are necessary. But if we wish to have that kind of knowledge for ourselves, to follow in the footsteps of the prophets, we must be practical.
There are many people who study meditation. Many decades. People love to read about religion, about mystical experience, about divinity, but they don't practice. Many people are merely content with reading about the Being, reading about experiences, and not working effectively to have that knowledge for oneself.
This is similar to reading about the experience of drinking water and yet one is dying of thirst. If you wish to understand the experience of water, you have to walk to the faucet, the well, and extract that water for oneself and to drink it. While this analogy is very simple, this perfectly illustrates the state of many students, not only within Gnosticism, but all religions, all esoteric schools.
We can hear about how wonderful water tastes. How it nourishes our body. And yet we will be thirsty and starving, emaciated, weak, if we do not drink for ourselves.
This is the same nature of spiritual experience. It is refreshing to the soul. It is liberating. It is the essence of life. Without meditation we cannot drink from the fountain of God, which is the well of our own knowledge, our own inner wisdom, our Inner Being. It is through meditation that we refresh our souls. That we nourish our souls. That we become inspired.
It is fundamental. We cannot know divinity without meditation. It is the method that grants the capacity for transformation.
Annihilation and Subsistence
Transformation is essentially the purpose of our practice. We wish to cease suffering, to comprehend what in us gives us pain. Why do we not know divinity? What have we done that prevents our direct access with the truth?
We always state in these studies, every religion states in its esoteric heart, that the obstacle to interior illumination is the ego. The self. The "I." It is only when we die to the ego, eradicate the self, eliminate pride, fear, hatred, lust, that we can learn to approach divinity. We have been stating that our own conditions of mind obscure our consciousness from seeing the truth. This is well explained within Sufism.
They say that in order to know Allah, to experience the truth, the self must be annihilated. The Arabic term they use is fana. It means “annihilation.” When we die to our defects, when we annihilate the self, that multiplicity of defects: anger, resentment, fear, gluttony, etc., we extract the consciousness that was trapped, conditioned. That is how we generate light—the light of our soul that can allow us to see with intensity, with clarity, the profound mystical states of the Being.
The Sufis also state, when we have annihilated the self, we learn to subsist in divinity. We learn how to be, to be one with God. The term subsistence in Arabic is baqa. It is a profound term relating to Al-Baqarah, the second Surah of the Qur'an, “The Heifer,” “The Cow,” which relates to an aspect of our divinity known in different religions as the divine feminine, the Divine Mother, which the Muslims refer to as Baqarah.
That Surah is very profound. It is the longest in the the Qur’an. It refers to the verb, the power of speech, recitation, mantralization, which expresses the perfect unity of God.
Sufism in its heart, in its true expression, is a very profound and practical teaching through which we learn different levels of being, states of consciousness, elevated aspects of the soul and of divinity. We learned to subsist in our work, to continue in our path only through annihilation, fana. There is no way that we could obtain inspiration to continue in this work if we do not comprehend ourselves.
So we need help. We need inspiration. We need to feel joy in this path. It is very easy to sit in meditation, to observe in our day our own negative qualities of mind. If we only focus on the negative, our own morbidity, our pessimism, our despair, such feelings destroy the consciousness, enmesh oneself in suffering until eventually people abandon meditation because they don't see results.
States and Stations: Levels of Being
And this is the beauty of Sufism, is that we learn about the virtues of the soul, the higher levels of Being, the states of God. Which if we practice diligently, we learn to experience little by little, through gifts of divinity. Mystical states inspire us. They guide us in the work and help us to be consistent, to push ourselves, to be disciplined.
There are many different levels of being, as we stated in our previous lecture. Mystical states are dynamic. They are infinite. A mystical state does not necessarily have to focus on just some internal samadhi, ecstasy from the East, an experience out of the body, but can occur physically, when we understand something profoundly, when we feel joy, happiness, inspiration.
It is important to cultivate the virtues of the soul as we work on the ego. This is what creates balance. If we focus only on our hatred, on how dense the mind is, without comprehending the light, we will become very pessimistic, and such people eventually leave gnosis. They abandon meditation. They abandon what is best. So this is why in Sufism we study. In Gnosticism we study the stations and states of the path.
We explain that stations are levels of being which we acquire through work, initiation, degrees. The states of the soul are given to us from divinity in the moment as flashes of inspiration to help us continue in the path. States are gifts. Divinity provides us with light, but stations or initiations are earned. We need both. Without states of contentment, of magnanimity, of joy, of the power of the Being, we will not be motivated to work further.
Divinity seeks us. This is important to remember. The Being longs for realization of its own nature. We are part of the being and as Samael Aun Weor in The Revolution of the Dialectic stated, "The Being is the Being and the reason for the Being to be is to be the Being itself."
Our divinity wants to know itself and we are part of divinity. The soul is a mirror. It can reflect the images of hell, the infra-consciousness, or if it is polished, to give remembrance. We learn to reflect the heavens, which is something that Ibn ‘Arabi, a great Sufi master, taught in his Kitab al-Ahadiyyah, Treatise on the One Alone. Or as Bayazid Bastami stated, "For thirty years I sought God, but when I looked carefully, I found that in reality God was the seeker and I am the sought."
Inquietudes, yearnings of the soul—these are psychological pressures given to us in the heart from our inner Being to push us to return to Him, to Her. Without that we cannot rise up from our state of suffering.
In this way, we study the levels of being. There are infinite levels of being, but for the sake of clarity and organization, for the purposes of study, the Sufis referred to these mystical states in many ways. As we stated, they sometimes refer to seven states or stations. Forty. A hundred levels. A thousand levels. Really its infinite, but we refer to different systems of different Sufi schools to understand more about ourselves, the dynamism of the soul, the great breadth and profundity of the heart.
So these are degrees or initiations. The stations of the path., initiations that we earn. So the Sufi manuals of great Persian masters, especially, are very wonderful for knowing, contemplating the levels of being, the mystical ecstasies of the heart and the soul, which is why Samael Aun Weor in The Aquarian Message stated:
“The seven degrees of ecstasy through which the mystic reaches the perfect state of the soul are described in the school of Sufism. The school of Sufism teaches about ecstasy. The state and secret of our level [of Being] is revealed in Sufism, because this is the interior state of life in God." —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Ecstasy and Being
What is ecstasy? From the Latin exstatuo, “to stand outside oneself.” This means that we go beyond the mind, our current, everyday, mundane perception. We learn to stand on our own feet spiritually. We remove the conditions in mind so that the genie from Aladdin's lamp may be liberated, even if but temporarily.
The word ecstasy in Arabic is wajd, and ecstasy simply means spiritual experience free of the ego. In the East, they refer to these states as Samadhis. The same definition. Meditations and experiences free of limited physical conditions. They are internal perceptions. The Sufis sometimes refer to these as lights, as inspirations that shine within the heart.
So all these states come to us when we meditate. And as we are proving our consistency, our diligence, our commitment to the Being, we receive help. We receive guidance, because there are certain experiences and qualities that we cannot obtain on our own without help. And we'll talk more about what this involves within the schools of Sufism, especially.
In Gnosis, we refer to this as borrowed light. Sometimes masters of the White Lodge may provide us with experiences to help us, to push us. The Sufis call this barakah, blessings from a master that temporarily awaken the student in a very intense or heightened, clarified state of internal perception, such as in dream yoga, astral experiences, jinn states.
But in order to even receive that help, we have to be working. We have to develop ethical discipline as we explain about Sharia in our first lecture.
“Ecstasy (wajd), befalls the heart suddenly and unexpectedly, coming upon it without design or artificial prompting. Of this the shaykhs have said, ‘Ecstasies are sudden events, but they are the fruits of assigned devotions.’ God increases His kindnesses toward all who increase their spiritual practice.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
The ultimate spiritual practice is meditation, which is fueled by our work with energy. Such as through mantras, pranayama, transmutation. It is important to combine our exercises of Gnosis with meditation because as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Spiritual Power of Sound:
“We can experience the Being, the Innermost, only through profound meditation. The experience of the Being, the Innermost, transforms us radically…
“It is completely impossible to experience the Being—the Innermost, the Reality—without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation. It is completely impossible to experience the Being—the Innermost, the Reality—without having reached a true mastery of the quietude and silence of the mind.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
So the Sufis and our teacher Samael Aun Weor state the same thing. We must work with our assigned devotions, meaning our meditations, our prayers, because divinity provides us with light for all those who increase their discipline, which is why the following quote continues.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that inner events arise out of systematic private devotions. He who has no assigned litany, in his outer being, has no spiritual influx in his inner being. An ecstasy that owes anything to the one who experiences it is not true ecstasy.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So what does it mean to have no assigned litany? It means to have no prayers or practice. Our tradition is replete with innumerable exercises: mantras, prayers, runes, pranayama, alchemy, sacred rites of rejuvenation, meditation. These exercises help to develop quietude of mind, serenity of thought, so that in the stillness of our consciousness, we can experience the truth.
These exercises are fundamental. However, we practice whatever we need in accordance with our level of being and our disposition. Obviously, some people will not be married and cannot practice alchemy until they do so. However, we work with energy: pranayama, runes, and most especially, meditation. Whether we are single or married, we must work with where we are at, so that through accumulating energy, saving our emotional energy, our mental energy, our sexual energy, we have the fuel necessary by which to discipline the mind. Because without energy, we cannot act.
This is why ethics, Shari’ah, is the beginning of religion. Save your energy. Do not waste it through the ego through explosions of anger, of resentment, of pride. It is inevitable that if we are fulfilling the necessary laws and requisites of the path, Shari’ah and Tariqah, we learn to experience the truth, Haqiqah. Through working with the influx of energy available to us when we meditate, we learn through rituals, exercises, practices, to focus our attention.
All of those exercises that work with energy help us with concentration and silence of mind. Without that we cannot have any experiences.
So it's important to establish that foundation First. That is the groundwork by which we enter samadhi, ecstasy, wajd.
“An ecstasy that owes anything to the one who experiences it is not true ecstasy,” said the Sufis, Abu Ali al-Daqqaq, the teacher of Qushayri in his Principles of Sufism.
This is a very subtle meaning. It means that certain experiences that are super normal, very elevated, are given to us as gifts, not because we have earned it, not because we have mastered it, or entered initiation, but because we are sincere and need help. We are yearning to know divinity and because we are practicing, the White Lodge looks upon us and says, “Let us help this disciple and provide an experience, an ecstasy so that it can validate the teaching for him or her.”
So it is very common in the beginning of Gnosis that as we save energy, we start to have experiences. Some people have very intense samadhis or astral projections that they cannot explain. They receive blessings and help which is known as “borrowed light” in our tradition. It is not light that we generate on our own, but we receive from God, from the prophets, because they want to show us something valuable. They want to show us that this teaching is real.
The Sufis call it barakah, blessings, and it is very common within the Muslim tradition to think of the saints, to worship the saints, to venerate them and to ask for their barakah, their blessings from holy shrines, temples, sacred spaces that have been the physical conduit where those masters lived and provided their divine force.
In a more profound level we can receive borrowed light, barakah, internally, when we are out of the physical body. When we stand outside of ourselves, literally, that is an astral projection, an ecstasy in which we are conscious of that dimension.
But all this is founded on our practice.
“Just as, in outward life, it is the ordinary daily transactions in which the servant engages that produce for him the sweetness of acts of worship, so, in inward life, the guidelines the servant confronts are what bring on his ecstasies. The sweetnesses of worship are the fruits of outer dealings, ecstasies are the results of inner efforts.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, what is that sweetness of worship? When you are profoundly meditating, deeply enmeshed in your conversation with your Being, and you feel the elevation of your heart, the sweetness of the soul.
Outward worship at a temple is beautiful. It can be necessary for many people. Attending groups, Gnostic schools, can aid the disciple to feel that sweetness of worship through group practice. We also feel worship in the sweetness of the soul at our daily job, if we are conscious. We deal with people outwardly. We work to follow our own compassionate nature of the soul, raising our level of being in our work physically, and internally. And as we are working on our own negative states of mind, we are performing inner effort.
The internal is a reflection of the external. When your outward life reflects the beauty of your inward life, when you let virtue be your guide, your conscience, your motivation, we naturally develop the sweetness of the work. The joy of the work. We feel ecstasy when we comprehend anger and understand that a discovered defect is a dead defect.
We learn to stand outside of ourselves physically, at our jobs, at our work, in the bedroom. That means that you are observing yourself. The soul is observing the observed, which is the ego. We are standing outside of ourselves so that we can gather data, to comprehend the “I.” As we comprehend what the ego is, we feel joy.
This is what Samael Aun Weor stated, "The greatest joy of a gnostic is the discovery of one of his or her defects,” because when we separate from the mind, we see it for what it is and in that that way we can change. That gives us true ecstasy, joy.
I know people like to think that ecstasy is some samadhi in the clouds. While that is true, we get to that point when we stand outside of our ego as we work in self-observation, or as the Sufis refer to as inner-accounting, muhassabah. We have to take an account of our virtues and our defects. This is the result of inner effort, which develops the sweetness of the soul, and in that way we learn to access supra-conscious states.
There are states of being which everybody reads about and everybody craves. These are states of soul or Being that are at the top of the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, which we studied previously in our lecture on stations. These are qualities of the Being that are very high, which we can only experience after annihilating the ego.
The Light, Unity, and Knowledge of the Being
Being in Arabic is known as wujud, and on the right of this slide we see Arabic calligraphy of the words Al-Nur, meaning “the light,” which is a very famous Surah in the Qur’an, of which we will relate some excerpts.
Al-Nur is the Being, the lights and purity of our own inner divine nature, which the Sufis and Muslims referred to as Allah. This is supraconsciousness, states of understanding that are omniscient, beyond the physical universe. They know how to see and travel throughout all the dimensions of the Tree of Life. So to reach that point, we have to meditate. The Sufis state:
“As for being or finding,” meaning to find God, “it follows on advancement out of wajd. There is no finding the Truth save after the extinction of the ordinary human condition, because when the power of reality manifests, the perception of material things cannot endure.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So these are samadhis or ecstasies, which happen outside the physical body, in which people commonly denominate as experiences. As a consciousness, we are in different dimensions of the Tree of Life as our physical body sleeps. To reach those very high experiences, we have to learn meditation. Suspend the physical senses. Relax the body. Calm the heart. Circulate the vital forces. Relax the mind and concentrate on the Being.
In the quietude the divinity within our very core nature manifests. This is how we learn to find our true nature, the Being, wujud, which is etymologically related to wajd, because the Being is ecstasy. It is a state of happiness that is so vast and limitless that it defies reasoning and bewilders the mind.
To reach that point, we have to lose our common everyday perception of what we think or who we think we are. This is the meaning of the saying by Abu-l Husayn al-Nuri, “For twenty years I have been finding and losing. When I found my Lord, I have lost my heart. And when I found my heart, I have lost my Lord."
There are many Sufis who write and talk about this principle, that to know God you have to lose yourself, but that tradition has not really explained any practical experiences or examples. You find those types of experiences very well explicated in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. For the purposes of this lecture, I will relate to you a samadhi that I experience as a consciousness many years ago.
I was practicing meditation, deeply concentrated, and I let my physical body fall asleep. I was undergoing an ordeal in the astral plane, which I conquered. And I was instructed and taught to project my soul through my crown chakra, the Church of Laodicea, which is the chakra relating to omniscience, polyvoyance, intuitive perception, intuitive clairvoyance. It is our link to the very heavens. And I remember pushing out through that chakra and I entered as a soul, divested of any bodies or vehicles, and returned to my own Ain Soph, which Samael Aun Weor relates to in his writings of Kabbalah.
It is our supra-atomic star, the synthesis of who we are, the real Being, which is a light that shines with glory and happiness in the absolute abstract space. And I as a soul had lost my identity as an individual, to what I thought I was, but was united with That. Pure ecstasy. Being. Wujud. However, I identified again with my mind. I lost the ecstasy and I fell back within the astral plane.
That was a beautiful moment of such joy that I don't forget or cease to think about every day of my life, because that is the real Being. The true identity. Our supra-individuality.
And I remember the saying of this Sufi initiate Abu-l Husayn al-Nuri, "When I found my Lord, I lost my heart, and when I found my heart, I lost my Lord." So in that moment, I was in samadhi, but then I thought about my mind back below and my consciousness got sucked back into existence. I identified with my own sense of self and became forgetful of that light.
It is interesting that even the name of Abu-l Husayn Al-Nuri, his name literally means "beautiful light" in Arabic. So many of the Sufi masters took on names, very symbolic and Kabbalistic, profound. Hassan, Hussein, relates to Ihsan, beautiful action—the beauty or light of the soul, or in Kabbalah, Tiphereth, the human consciousness.
Al-Nuri is the light. The light of Ain Soph, as we see in this calligraphy. It is the beauty of the light. It is supra-consciousness. Happiness without limitations. The limitless. It is the unity of perfect expression of the divine.
This is why the Sufis also state:
“It is also the meaning of the saying of Junayd, ‘The knowledge of Unity is contrary to its existence, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So I'm relating to you this experience with my intellect, with words, but intellectual knowledge of that unity, Ain Soph, is contrary to its existence, because words fail to describe or to attribute anything relating to the Being. Its existence is contrary to Its knowledge or our knowledge of It.
The Shahadah: Declaring the Unity of God
So what is the unity in Islam? They pronounce the Shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith:
“There is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
lā ʾilāha ʾillā Llāh, Muḥammadun rasūlu Llāh (in Arabic).
There are many Muslims who pronounce this prayer, but knowing this phrase in the intellect is one thing, knowing it from experience is something else. Shahadah means “witnessing, to bear witness,” to experience the truth.
And what does it mean to submit to God in Arabic? Islam. Many people follow the tradition, physically thinking that through certain adaptation or adoption of prayers, rituals, behaviors, that one somehow is now following God. But it is important to remember that Shahadah, to witness the divine, comes from mushahadah, contemplation, meditation.
The Ain Soph is Allah in Arabic. The limitless. It is a point in space that is our own true light that wants to have cognizance of Its own happiness, Its own true nature. Allah in Arabic comes from أل Al and the syllable لا La, which literally means “The No,” “The Nothing,” “The emptiness,” which is the Buddhist Shunyata, the abstract light of perfect Seity, devoid of common individuality, that is a form of light, our true nature, Al-Nur. That beautiful light is our own star that guides our interior, which calls us back with longing, which seeks us so that we can return with knowledge to It.
There's a Surah in the Qur’an that relates this principle. From Surah Al-Nur (24:35):
“Allah is the light of the heavens (the nine sephiroth) and the Earth (Malkuth, the kingdom or bottom of the Tree of Life). The example whose light is like a [niche] within a lamp (a niche is a supra-atomic point, the synthesis, the Being). The lamp is within a glass, (which reminds us of hermetic science, the science of alchemy), the glass as if it were a pearly white star lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree…” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
That pearly white star is the light of our true nature in the heavens, Allah, Ain Soph, which we learn to experience by working with the oil of the blessed olive tree, known in Middle Eastern science as alchemy, Allah Khemia: the work with energy. That light, that oil, is:
“…neither from the east or the west.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
That tree is neither of the east or the west. On the Tree of Life relating to the sphere of Tiphereth, the East, and Malkuth, the West. The sunrise rises in Tiphereth, the East, which is the goal of our path. To rise up the Tree of Life with light. But if we fall down from Malkuth into the West when the sun sets, we die spiritually. We lose inspiration, allegorically speaking, Kabbalistically speaking.
“Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
We speak abundantly in our studies of the work with the oil, which is a symbol of our sexual matter and energy, which we learn to transform with chastity and purity so that that energy, elevated, is used by the soul, untouched by fire or lust.
“Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills and Allah presents parables (symbols, experiences) for the people and Allah is knowing of all things.” ―Surah Al-Nur 35
So we know in Kabbalah that Ain Soph, the Being, is beyond the Tree of Life. It is the negation of all that is existent. It is our true existence, which is non-existence. It is the negation of the self, the complete annihilation of individuality as we conceive it, of grasping at "me, myself, I."
It is only when we fully die, even if only for a moment, that we can enter samadhi, ecstasy. Ibn ‘Arabi speaks abundantly about the unity of God. He says that only divinity can comprehend Himself. So it is a very beautiful teaching, very subtle. While I am telling you that, conventionally-speaking, that my soul united with my own Ain Soph with that experience, it wasn't me knowing myself, but the Being through my soul.
It is a very thorny issue in theology. Very confusing for people who don't meditate. We can think of divinity as light, even as a person who can only know himself by looking in a mirror. That mirror is our soul, is our heart. If we purify the heart, we can reflect the light and therefore divinity gains consciousness of Its own true nature. He witnesses himself through the mirror of the soul.
“With this sense they recite: I find my true existence in vanishing from existence. And from all apparent evidence I see.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So true existence is the Being. It means vanishing from everything that is not that source. We know from our studies of initiation and the Tree of Life that we work in successive degrees, ascending to higher states of consciousness until finally at the very end of the path, we abandon everything that is manifested in this universe to return to that light. The yogis of India refer to this perfect bliss, knowledge, and Being absolute in Sanskrit terms: Sat Chit Ananda.
Sivananda writes about this very beautifully in his books. We can think of it as object, subject, union. These terms or principles describe the perfect state of ecstasy, in which the Being is the object. The soul is the subject and the union is completed. So in that experience the soul that is my true nature was united with That. The light was the light and one could see oneself as both the Being and the soul in union.
This is the meaning of religion, from the Latin religare. Reunion. In Sufism, they refer to this type of experience as Madkhur, the Invoked, which is the Being; Dhakr, the Invoker, who is the dervish or the soul; Dhikr, the Invocation: the call upon the divine, the consciousness of the divine.
In other terms, we say it is the Remembered, the Rememberer, and the Remembrance. It is in that state that the Being has cognizance of Its own happiness. This is the purpose of our spiritual work. To return to that abstract joy. That perfect Being. It is for our own Ain Soph, our own true star, light, and ecstasy of divinity, to have cognizance of That known as Paranishpanna in the writings of Samael Aun Weor.
This is known in Sufism and Islam as the Day of Alast: the covenant made between the soul and Allah, that the soul will return to divinity through the path. This is scripturally validated in the following verses from the Qur’an, Surah 7, verse 172 (Surah Al-Ar’af):
"And mention when your Lord took you from the children of Adam, from their loins—their descendants, and made them testify of themselves saying to them, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said ‘Yes, we have testified.’ This less you should say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Indeed we were of this unaware.’” ―Ar’af 172
So there is a very famous verse within Islam. Many people think it refers to the literal people of Adam and his descendants making a covenant with God. That they will return to their upright ways of living. Some people say this took place physically at Nu’man a valley near Arafat. There are other interpretations of the Qur’an known as tafsir, exegeses, or commentaries on that scripture, that this occurred when Adam descended to the Earth metaphysically. Some say before that or even after. Other Sufis and other initiates comment that it happened in heaven.
This is actually a metaphysical experience. Meaning, we all originated from our own Ain Soph, who is our true nature, our light, which sends its light down the Tree of Life into different matters, energy, into consciousness, forms of expression, so that it can return inward and upward, back to the source with knowledge. “Happiness is not true happiness without cognizance of That.” It is a very Kabbalistic statement by Samael Aun Weor, which you can read about in Tarot and Kabbalah, especially.
So the Being says, “Am I not your Lord? Am I not your true identity?” And that is our covenant. To return to the source, the synthesis of who we are. This is the voice of the silence. It is the source of our own longings and inquietudes. Our deep yearnings for studying this type of doctrine is to know That. To know the unity.
Mythomania and Mystical Experiences
So while many people think that these kinds of mystical states or experiences are indicators of progress, what happens with many people is that while having those types of experiences, many students and even instructors, followers of different traditions or teachings, become confused. They have those experiences and then they return to their body saying “I am a master. I am a great Being. I am liberated!”
What they don't understand is that those kind of experiences are merely states given to us by divinity as a gift. They do not signify that we have entered and subsisted in that state through initiation. We can have those experiences, states of liberation temporarily, but to really be permanently united in That, is a very lofty goal. Very difficult.
As Samael Aun Weor stated:
"Some hermits who isolated themselves within caves, based on rigorous disciplines, attained the ecstasy of the saints and were taken up to heaven. There they saw and heard things that are not easily comprehended by human beings. Nevertheless, their “I’s” continued to exist within their interior.
"Unquestionably, the Essence [consciousness or soul], through rigorous discipline, can escape from within the “I”; thus, it enjoys ecstasy. However, after such bliss, the Essence returns into the interior of the “myself.”
"Those who have become accustomed to ecstasy without having dissolved the ego believe that they have already reached liberation. They fool themselves by believing themselves to be Masters. They even enter into the submerged devolution [descent and destruction within the hell realms of nature, the inferior planes of Klipoth].
"Nonetheless, we are not pronouncing ourselves against mystical ecstasy, against the ecstasy and happiness of the soul while in the absence of the ego. We only want to place emphasis on the necessity of dissolving “I’s” [achieving fana: annihilation] in order to achieve the final liberation.
"The Essence of any disciplined hermit, accustomed to escaping from within the “I,” repeats such a feat after the death of his physical body. Then, his Essence enjoys the ecstasy for some time. Yet, after such time, his Essence returns as the Genie of Aladdin’s lamp, back into the interior of the lamp, the ego, the myself.
"Thereupon, he has no other choice but to return into a new physical body with the purpose of repeating his life on the stage of existence.
"Many mystics who lived and died in the caverns of the Himalayas in central Asia reincarnated again and are now vulgar, common and current people in this world, in spite of the fact that their followers still adore and venerate them.
"Therefore, any attempt at liberation, no matter how great it might be, if it does not take into consideration the necessity of dissolving the ego, it is condemned to failure." ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
This is why in our tradition we speak abundantly about mythomania. There are people who have genuine experiences of God in different levels and because they don't study the doctrine, they get confused. They think they are gods. Mythomania comes from myth of manas, the Sanskrit term for mind. It means “to make a myth of the mind.” The mind thinks it is great, that it is God, but the mind is just the devil. As I explained that experience I had, I left behind my mind, my devil. However, when I identified with my mind again, I lost the experience, falling down into the astral plane, losing the ecstasy.
While that was a beautiful experience, I would never dare make the mistake to think that that is my permanent level. It was a gift. People get confused because they have those experiences but don't really evaluate the quality of their mind. They are not stations: permanent, established, levels of Being. They are states that come and go as blessings from God.
The Definition of States
So let us define what a state is according to the Sufi manuals of the great masters, especially Al-Qushayri from his Principles of Sufism.
“According to the Sufis, a state is a spiritual influence that arrives in the heart without their intending, contriving or earning it, such as joy or sorrow or expansion and contraction or desire or agitation, or awe, or need.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So these are experiences that we receive without intending it, without earning it. And that samadhi that I related to you, that was given to me without my intention and definitely without my earning it. However, I had been disciplined in my practices and was given the gift in order to relate it to this type of knowledge, to clarify things.
So other states such as experiences of that nature can sometimes be even more or less intense, but still very beautiful and profound, like joy or expanding our consciousness. Sometimes there are states that are contracted. We become focused on one thing. Expansion is a type of diffusion into space with a clarified awareness. Contraction is more concentrated, as if we are focusing only on one thing. A very disciplined contracted will. Very strong attention, which also can be as state, a gift, or a desire, or longing, to be agitated in a spiritual sense, to be filled with awe, yearning, or longing for God.
“While stations are earned, the states (ahwal) are gifts. The stations are attained through the expenditure of effort, but the states appear from the fount of generosity. The possessor of a station is confirmed in it…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…or has reached that level of being, has achieved The Major Mysteries according to Samael Aun Weor.
“The possessor of a state is transported beyond it.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So I claim that that experience I had was a gift. I am still in the process of working on myself. Hopefully that I will return to That, to be transported to That. But in order for that to happen, we have to work from the ground up.
“Dhul-Nun al-Misri was asked about the gnostic and said, ‘He was here, and he left.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So what is the true gnostic? A true Sufi, one who is perfected marif’ah, knowledge of God. Knowledge of the truth, and therefore, his or her states and stations are beyond our comprehension. So while that person can be physically present with us, consciously-speaking, they are aware of all the dimensions of nature. Here and now. “He was here and then he left.”
Such beings are very difficult to comprehend at our level because they can access all dimensions of the Tree of Life with will, with intentionality. They are not limited to one sphere. But for us, we find that states are temporary. They come and go. We can be meditating, introspecting, contemplating a verse from a scripture, concentrating on an image of divinity, whether a holy figure, or something as simple as a mandala, a stone, a picture. We can be reflecting on the virtues of our own consciousness, of our Being. And, states suddenly emerge in the screen of our awareness. You suddenly see a landscape, a place, a group of people, a conversation, a symbol, a form of life, images, sounds. These appear directly before us and we are both witnesses and participants. These are flashes of understanding or inspiration. Imagination. If we understand the import of those experiences, we develop intuition, understanding of what those states are communicating.
The Momentariness of States
“Some of the shaykhs have said, ‘The states are like lightning flashes.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, these experiences come upon the heart suddenly, without expectation. When we cease thinking.
“If one seems to continue, it is self-deception." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Many times in our practices, especially in the beginning, we are meditating and we have an experience. We see an image, a sound, a symbol with the type of clarity that is very expensive or clear, and suddenly when we realize what is happening, we return to our body, back to our asana (posture). Those experiences are very temporary. They come in flashes, and then we are stuck in the mind again, seeing all sorts of contents, memories, anxieties, fears, worries that continue on and on. This is the meaning of how if these states seem to continue, it is self-deception.
We have states of the soul that are very clear, very profound, and have a particular taste that is distinct. Therefore we have to learn to sift through the mind and understand that genuine states of the soul appear like lightning. They appear, then they vanish. So we should question our mind. Be very diligent to understand that not everything we see in ourselves is going to be objective. If it seems to continue onward, like all the chain of associative thinking we know of, that is self-deception. That is the ego.
“And they have said, “The states are as their name,” [the verb hala means ‘to change’ or ‘to pass’], meaning that immediately as they come upon the heart, they vanish. They recite: Did it not change, it would not be called a state And everything that changes vanishes. Look at the shadow whenever it draws to an end. It begins its diminution when it has grown long.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Validating Internal Experiences
So it is important that we understand something very essential. Having experiences is not enough. Having mystical states is not sufficient. We have to learn to verify what we see.
Scriptures allow us and show us understanding of what these types of ecstasies are. We have to both have experiences, but also read, study, reflect. When we see that our own experiences are reflected within the writings of the great prophets, we develop faith. We don't get confused. We understand precisely what God was telling us, and therefore we have no doubt as to what we know.
Personally, I have had many experiences that I witnessed firsthand, internally, and only later found evidence physically of what that meant. In the case of that experience I related to you, there are other symbols relating to that vision, that ecstasy, that I confirmed in many writings in order to evaluate its objectivity. And in that way I have faith. I know what that experience was communicating and so there is no confusion or doubt.
So many times we can read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, the Qur’an, the scriptures, any of the experiences that, before we read about them, we have.
I believe I related in our previous lectures knowing about the Tree of Life before reading about it. The ten spheres. the ten sephiroth. It is actually very beautiful to have that experience and then later confirm it. It shows us that we are progressing and that we are on strong ground.
We have to learn that we must not only be practical meditators, but studious disciples. We have to read and know the knowledge in depth. This is known as intellectual spiritual culture. Our knowledge, our studies, help us to clarify and decipher our internal experiences.
So we can have those types of experiences, but if we don't know the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, the nature of the path, we will be very lost. We will be receiving messages from divinity, but not having the knowledge to interpret.
Samael Aun Weor mentions that Kabbalah is the language of the internal worlds. We need to have intellectual spiritual culture. This means: have a very good knowledge of every tradition, especially the Gnostic tradition, so that we learn to be balanced, because many people can have experiences and think that they are objective. But if those experiences go against our ethics, the writings of the prophets, then we are deluded, we are confused. So experiences have to coincide with the writings. Otherwise, we will be in error. We will make false judgments and can make mistakes.
Which is why Abu Sulayman stated in Principles of Sufism (by Al-Qushayri):
“Sometimes one of the subtle sayings of the Sufis stays in my heart for days, but I will not accept it save on [the testimony of] two just witnesses: the Qur’an and the Sunnah.” ―Abu Sulayman al-Darani in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So we have to rely on the teachings of the prophets, those who walked the path before. That is because these initiates have very high levels of attainment. They have a lot of awakened consciousness and can explain things for us that are very difficult. We have to learn to study from masters of Major Mysteries, the prophets, people who really established themselves in accordance with hierarchy, meaning their level being is very high, such as Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses, Khidr in the Qur’an, Samael Aun Weor.
We have to study from masters whom we have validated, whom we know are objective. This is important because many people in our studies have committed crimes and even lost their sanity because they lacked culture. They had experiences that told them that such and such person is a black magician, a sorcerer, a demon. Or, experiences that are contrary to our fundamental ethics of how to behave in life, and therefore they literally committed crimes. You can read about this type of dynamic in Samael Aun Weor's book Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology, where he communicates the link between spiritual perception and the criminal code.
Internal States and Spiritual Facts
The foundational of reason why people make mistakes is because they have internal states that do not coincide with facts. They don't know how to interpret what they see. This is why study and practice is essential. Study the true sources of meditative knowledge, because:
“Being and knowing must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowing is greater than being, it causes all kinds of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing, it can produce cases as serious as that of a stupid saint.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Study is knowledge and practice is being.Together we produce comprehension. People who study a lot but don't experience become pessimistic, morbid, defeatist, confused. It is because they read about experiences that they don't have and wish that they can have that kind of knowledge for themselves, and feel covetous of those who do. They become dark, pessimistic, morbid, angry, envious.
It is important to really balance the two, because there are those who even have a lot of experiences, but don't have knowledge. They become stupid saints. They can receive knowledge from God, but because they can't interpret, they are stupid in a very blunt sense. They don't know how to relate their experiences to physical life. They don't know how to make their inner experiences practical for themselves, what those messages mean, because initiation is our own life lived intensely with rectitude and love.
So balance the two. Read the doctrine, study the books, but meditate. Meditate on what you read. We have to learn to digest all the beautiful symbols and concepts and understandings we get from our teachers, the prophets, the scriptures. And if you have experiences, learn to find books and teachings that explain what those are.
In my case, I remember having that one experience long ago before I even knew certain aspects of Kabbalah. I united with Ain Soph, but I was bewildered because I didn't understand the real depth of that experience. I knew it was my Being, but I didn't know how that related to the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah. Now, studying that aspect of this teaching, it has become very clear. Therefore I am no longer confused about what it meant.
Over the years of even studying more and more, I’m seeing that arch an experience is not particular to me, but it is mentioned in many cosmogonies and writings of great authors. Great yogis, great prophets. So I don't claim that this is something only special to a few people, because we all have that inside. We all can experience that. But it takes a type of work and blessings from divinity.
But learning to decipher what we see, what states we experiences, we have to learn to combine knowledge and being, as I said. That statement by Samael Aun Weor is corroborated by the Sufis:
“The best of states is that which goes together with knowledge.” ―Nahrajuri in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
“Any mystical state that is not the fruit of formal religious knowledge brings more trouble than benefit to the one who experiences it.” ―Abu Amr bin Nujayd in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
This is all based on ethics. We can have an experience internally that we are told we are a great God and that we should do such and such a thing, even when that action contradicts divine law, the ethics of the soul, upright behavior, upright thinking, upright feeling. There are many people in Gnosis who have committed crimes, made terrible mistakes because they did not study the doctrine. They were confused by a negative, subjective, egotistical state, thinking that they were in samadhi, that they were in ecstasy, when the truth is that they were just confused, by the ego, by Shaitan, the adversary, our ego, al-nafs, nafas, the soul or the lower soul.
So any mystical state must be corroborated by the doctrine, otherwise it brings trouble. So if you have those experiences that are confusing or dark, that don't coincide with the knowledge, then you have to discriminate, meditate, interpret, look for the source. And if that type of state is contrary to the law, then disregard it.
We have to be very exact with our concepts. Logical thought and exact concept are necessary in order to develop spiritual perception, says Samael Aun Weor, I believe in the book on Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology.
This is why we study the lives of the prophets. The Sunnah, the scriptures. This is so we know how to live ethically. Ethics empowers our actions and our actions influence our spiritual states. Our spiritual devotions physically is what determines what states we will experience.
There is a famous Hadith in the Muslim oral tradition which emphasizes this point: how our actions permeate everything we are mentally, physically, emotionally, instinctually, sexually. Prophet Muhammad was known to have stated:
“The outer law (shari'ah) is my word, the spiritual path (tariqah) my actions, and the inner reality (haqiqah) my inner states.” ―Prophet Muhammad
So these three levels of instruction: Shari’ah, Tariqah, and Haqiqah, are essential when we study mystical states.
Everything is based upon our ethics or code of conduct, which is the path of the heart. Without that foundation we cannot have true inner states or knowledge, Haqiqah: the experience of the Being, which is embodied in the life of any prophet.
So of course we emphasize again, develop your ethics. Question what you see in your mind stream. Without that we cannot discriminate with objectivity.
When we work effectively in the path, we progress into higher states of consciousness. This is always occurs in accordance with the death of the ego. There are masters prophets who, due to hierarchy, they enter incredibly vast, beautiful states that for average persons is inaccessible, incomprehensible. There is a particular beauty to studying what is known as progressive states (ahwal) because there are prophets who were so elevated in their level of being, that it is very difficult to understand. But, they can inspire us to change, to reach those heights. We have to learn to remove the covers of our perceptions. Remove the veil, the egos, through vigilance.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq speak about the saying of the Prophet, “Something covers my heart so that I ask forgiveness of God Most High seventy times a day.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So this has to do with our work of self-observation. We see things many times, in our mind, that are very negative. And so we learn to ask forgiveness for our faults. We don't have to have any prayer formula, but remorse. This is what this quote from the Prophet means. We are taking account of our own internal states, our egotistical states, so that we can enter superior spiritual states, experiences.
“He said that the states of the Prophet were always in progressive development. When he moved from one condition to a higher one, it would sometimes happen that his attention returned to what he had advanced beyond. He used to count this ‘a covering’ compared to what he was attaining in the immediate condition, for his states were always in increase.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So while this may not apply to us, this is something important to acknowledge. Advanced initiates enter states progressively higher and higher, in accordance with the death of desire, by descending into the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, the infra-consciousness.
So a prophet that has moved very far beyond the ego, still needs to go even higher and higher, because they are refining their consciousness very much. So a profound mystical state which to us can be very high, could be a barrier for a prophet. Because they are developing so much that they are always entering higher states of infinitude, which of course is very difficult to comprehend where we are at, but with practice and meditation we understand more.
These are the levels of being which as Abdul Karim al-Jili stated "The path to God is short. The path in God is infinite. " So even upon attaining union with divinity, there are levels of knowledge of God which go higher. States that go even deeper into that source.
"The Truth’s capacities for depth and subtlety are without end. And since honor is due to the Truth. It is impossible to fully attain this; the servant is always involved in the refinement of his states. No spiritual significance is conveyed to anyone unless there is in his destiny something beyond it, to which it may transport him. This is the point of the saying, “What is good in the righteous is bad in those brought closer to God.” Junayd was asked about this, and recited: Explosions of light glitter when they appear Making a secret visible and giving news of unification.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
These explosions of light are samadhis, experiences, states. And they are a brief allusion to what true unification is, true religion, unity, the Being.
We will conclude with a quote from Samael Aun Weor. The basis of our meditation is silence and perception. Concentration and imagination produce comprehension. Concentration and imagination produce ecstasy, illumination, understanding. When our mind is calm like a lake, it can reflect the heavens. We can reflect superior states.
“Illumination and ecstasy come when the mind is silent, when the mind is quiet. Drowsiness in combination with meditation produces ecstasy. God searches the nothingness in order to fill it.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
So if we wish to have those types of experiences, we must become empty. Empty of ego. Annihilate the ego. Abandon the ego, because in that nothingness, we can experience the true plenitude in beauty of God, who is a state of consciousness beyond all evidence and materiality. So it's good that we learn to study these states and even comprehend that there are levels and levels to that type of experience. And that is possible for us. Without that context, it is difficult to motivate ourselves, to know that there is a goal and that we can obtain it with patience and tenacity.
Questions and Answers
Question: I like to ask whether or not you know, besides just the telling us to okay meditate and quietude and things like that: did the Sufis have any specific practices that are, you know, that is known, that we can learn about?
Instructor: Yes, they speak abundantly about invocation and very commonly within the Sufi schools, they practice what's known as Dhikr, which means “remembrance” in Arabic. It can also mean invocation. In simple terms, this means mantra. Many Sufis will spend decades in their schools, in their masjid, under the jurisdiction or guidance of a Sheikh, a guru, a teacher, utilizing certain mantras.
So a very common one is Allah Hu Allah. They say these mantras out loud, repeatedly and in groups together, in unison, and many times they even encompass these mantras with dance, which is a very sacred form of religion. There has been a lot of controversy especially within the Muslim orthodoxy towards the Sufi schools, especially the Mevlevis, those who practice with the school of Rumi, the whirling dervishes in which those types of dances have been criticized.
But the purpose of any of those exercises like dance, sacred songs, and mantra, is in order to invoke energy. So they want to make sure that they unify song, mantra, movement in order to invoke divinity, and in that way, they bring in good energy. That energy helps to silence the mind, to concentrate the mind, to obtain serenity. Primarily because serenity is developed by working with sacred sounds.
The Sufis place emphasis on this. The mantra Allah Hu Allah relates to divinity on the Tree of Life, which is Ain Soph, Kether, Chokmah, Binah. As well as “Hu,” which means Spirit, Chesed: the Compassionate, the Merciful, which is why in the Qur’an it teaches Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim: “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.”
The Sufis would recite this mantra Allah Hu Allah. Those mantras help the Sufis to obtain union with God. So in that experience I related, I was experiencing my own inner Allah or experiencing the Absolute. Through 'Hu,’ which relates to the breath, the Spirit. So the breath is deeply related, the mantras are deeply related with energy, with the divine.
They also perform exercises of dream yoga, but especially by working with mantra. A lot of the exercises that the Sufis practice in the most esoteric sense are very well hidden, which is why you won't find many aspects of that doctrine publicized. However, from the writings of Samael Aun Weor, it is easy to see that there are exercises that they do in secret, especially alchemy. Transmutation. Meditation. I remember even being on YouTube and looking at a video clip of Sufi group. They were performing Ham-Sah. They were spinning performing the dervishes and breathing Ham Sah in unison, with music, in harmony. So the Sufis know this doctrine, but they don't publicize many hidden roots that we study openly. But there is that relationship there.
Question: Thank you for the explanation and I'm guessing that you know, the Sufis practice, even though not very publicized or published, that the the practices from Master Samael, like you said Ham-Sah, they are probably pretty much include a lot of what Sufis do, right?
Instructor: Yes. Remember that Sufism is still a very Piscean tradition. They are very well known for their conservative nature, keeping their most esoteric practices hidden. That tradition is especially very occluded, meaning: they don't give their practices openly, but the truth is that they do practice the whirling dervishes, such as the sacred rites [of rejuvenation], which we have many similarities to. But their knowledge is not given openly.
The Aquarian knowledge is very different. With the Aquarian doctrine these practices are available to everybody. We don't need to attend a [physical] teacher, a Sheikh, a Guru, a master, to receive these practices. They are available to anybody [Editor’s Note: However, the true master is not to be found in the physical world, but within our own consciousness]. The Age of Pisces was known for its system of instruction in which a Sheikh or master would have to individually pick a student and teach them directly from mouth to ear. Without that, they would not provide their knowledge openly and so they still maintain that system very diligently.
So it would be very difficult to find any of those schools explaining some of the things we are doing here, because with the Aquarian knowledge, in the Age of Aquarius, the exercises for transformation are given openly. The only one who had authority to really do so with the accordance with the White Lodge was Samael Aun Weor, specifically.
Question: I have a question regarding something you said in the beginning about discipline of practice. In the book study ,that one of the first chapters in the book [Fundamentals of Gnostic Education] talks about discipline and the need to not have discipline. Now. I am guessing that you mean something else than what Samael Aun Weor is talking about by discipline and I'm wondering what it is that you mean when you say talk about discipline and practice.
Instructor: Sure, so the statement that the Master Samael Aun Weor makes in Fundamentals of Gnostic Education is a reference to the kind of rigid systems that people adopt intellectually in the mind, especially in relation to certain studies, such as at schools or academies. That type of discipline of intellectual study and eclectic approaches to any kind of field of knowledge, without a practical dimension, is useless.
It is useless to study any discipline of any field, whether in astronomy, science, anything—if it's not grounded in some type of practical work. So in the context of that book, he is referring a lot to the tendency in people to want to merely leave everything in the intellect through rigorous intellectual discipline, like getting a doctorate or PhD or being very obtuse in one's knowledge, specific to one thing that really doesn't address the heart, or the soul.
Real spiritual discipline is when we work on the mind. Samael Aun Weor speaks abundantly in other books, like Igneous Rose, that we must submit ourselves to profound esoteric discipline, which means meditate. Restrain the mind. Conquer the mind. But the danger is, especially with analysis or any religion, that we just study things intellectually and leave it there. The problem with that is that we may have a lot of knowledge intellectually, a lot of discipline intellectually, taking a lot of time in our schedule to read a lot, but not having any practice. It makes people unbalanced.
The essence of real spiritual discipline is combining our meditation with some type of study. One without the other is useless. But combining the two, we produce comprehension. Hope that answers your question.
Question: I think so. It reminds me of, I read about like lunar celibacy versus solar celibacy, and it seems like it's the difference between, I guess intellectually, deciding I'm going to do something or maintaining a rigid form of how something's going to go versus a preparation for which means an open-mindedness. So you're still involved. It's still very involved but it's how you're involved. Is that the way you participate differentiates discipline versus discipline?
Instructor: Real esoteric discipline involves both knowledge and being. We have to combine our studies with meditation. If we don't meditate on what we study, our understanding will be very shallow. But when you combine the two, spiritual experiences, with study of the doctrine, then it's very easy to remove any errors. We don't get confused.
In relation to lunar and solar celibacy, that is a little bit of a different practice. But yes, people who are commonly practicing what's called celibacy, they may read a lot of Christian writings or any other religion or teaching, but they don't really understand the practice of transmutation, working with the body and the energies, and so that's an incomplete discipline, which can relate to this dynamic. People can study that aspect of yoga and religion, but because they lack a practical dimension of what those traditions teach, they are confused and they suffer a lot. But real discipline is when we combine esoterically meditation, transmutation, service for others. Knowledge and being have to be united. Without that we don't comprehend anything.
Question: My question is about the stages of meditation and Master Samael Aun Weor talks about in Igneous Rose that appearing in the vision of the meditator, in a daily basis of the meditator. Like not particularly in the meditation session. I don't know if you are familiar with that quote.
Instructor: So you are saying that to have that experience is some kind of vision even when not in meditation?
Question: Yes. I think he called it color yellow, color red and I believe the third one is blue, and it's sort of like a stage. I believe he explains them as a stages of concentration you are maintaining throughout the day. How should we, if we receive that, how should you look? Is that like a phenomena? An experience? Is it something earned? It seems like it's coming and going and coming again. How should you look upon those things?
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor mentions in Igneous Rose that as we develop our meditative practice we learn to start seeing visions and images, even when being physically active. He refers to this as clairvoyance, spiritual perception, which can form as a type of psychic imagery in the mind, the consciousness, the third eye between our eyebrows. He explains how if we're really diligent about meditation, we will start to understand more things relating to our daily life.
You can be physically active involved in other activities, at work, being with people, and he explains how suddenly we may start to perceive psychic imagery—understanding of the thoughts, emotions, and motives of other people. He refers to this as clairvoyance. It is a profound form of concentration, our attention, of where we are focused, on what we are doing. In that way we start to become inspired by what we see in other people and ourselves.
He also explains in other books that inspirational knowledge pertains to our understanding of interrelations, interdependence, how our thoughts and the thoughts and emotions of others, interrelate—to see that in a conscious way. It can occur with imagery, understanding other people based on that kind of perception, which doesn't have to just occur when we are sitting in our posture, in a silent room in the dark with eyes closed.
It is good to see more and more things, more internal states in relation to external events in the process of meditating. The Sufis speak a lot about this too. We have to learn to match our internal state with the external event, and that comes about by understanding what we perceive. So questioning our internal states, which can be positive or negative, we can learn how to judge, to comprehend, and images can occur as we are interacting with people. It happens quite often and it will happen more with greater clarity as we are refining our meditative practice too.
Question: In the same line, I would say, how can we understand that at the same moment without letting the mind doing the judgment? You know, if you feel something from someone, let's say the mind labels it as a negative, but you know that it isn't actually negative. Everything is a lesson and every everybody has their own Being. So how can we have all the situation's going into the positive or constructive way, even though they appear at the surface as a gossip or it's something that we don't want, you know, to happen?
Instructor: Comprehension occurs as a result of following our inner judgment. That voice of conscience that says this is right and this is wrong. In most cases we tend to follow our mind, which can be clouded, if confused and burdened with a lot of negative emotion. In order to understand what we experience and what is objective, we have to follow our heart. Your heart will tell you that this situation is negative or positive, or this internal state is wrong or good. The only issue is that as you've mentioned, or you’ve implied, we have a lot of ego. It is difficult to discern what is positive and what is negative, what is objective.
So the solution is, because our senses are very deceiving, our mind is very deceiving, even our emotions can be very deceiving, we have to learn how to clarify our attention. This is really the value of meditative practice, is that after a day of self-observation, in which you have seen or witnessed certain things, we have acted our best in the different circumstances of our jobs or family life, we go home, we sit, we relax, we suspend our senses. We work with energy. Circulate the vital force, through pranayama, mantras, or even sexual alchemy if one is married.
When meditating and looking deep within, visualizing that event that we have questions about, put that scene in the screen of our imagination and try to picture everything that happened. But without adding to or taking away.
Be honest. So learning to be honest is a combination of two things. Sincerity is developed in the moment when we see a state or action in us that is negative. Or we sense a negative thing. We may not act perfectly in the moment. In many cases, we tend to follow what our ego wants and we feel the consequences, the suffering resulting from that. So that internal state influenced the external events of our job or our daily activities. And if we feel that pain and suffering and remorse, and even if we acted rightly in the situation, meaning, we felt that we followed our heart and produced a situation beneficial for everybody, still we go home, we meditate, we close our eyes, visualize the scene, and imagine everything that happened relating to that moment.
What was the event? Who is involved? Where did it take place? What time of the day? And going even deeper, what was our mood? What were the thoughts associated with that moment? What were the feelings, the actions that we took, whether for good or for ill? And to ask our Divine Being our Divine Mother, al-Baqarah in Islam, the sacred cow, the divine feminine, to show us what in us needs to be understood.
In many cases, we have too many Impressions entering our mind stream in a moment, which can be very intense and difficult to control and to decipher. So if we get overloaded by that event and may have acted wrongly, we should learn to say, “Well, I made a mistake or I think I did well in this situation, but let me go home later and meditate and examine that situation deeply,” because there may be certain behavior subconsciously that we are not aware of yet.
And this is really the importance of meditation. Real profound change, elimination of our internal states in our daily life, can only occur when we meditate. It is a combination of our daily work, being physically active in the day, learning the sweetness of worship by fulfilling our obligations, as the Sufis state.
So remember that quote that states that we learn to feel sweetness of worship in our outward deeds. This is the first step. We gather data about our ego. Moment by moment, instant by instant. Following our heart to the best of our ability. There are occasions where we may feel that joy, that sweetness in the heart that says, “I know I did the right thing,” or perhaps remorse, “I felt that I did a bad thing.”
Ecstasy occurs, understanding occurs, comprehension evolves, unfolds when we make inner effort. Meaning: go home, retrospect your day, visualize the scene as it happened and ask divinity to help you understand what was going on there and how you could have acted if the situation was wrong, or if one behave badly. That is the only way to really gain clarity, because it's difficult to trust what we see.
We tend to be very clouded people, but it is inevitable that if we are saving our energies meditating daily, reviewing our day, imagining those scenes and asking for understanding and comprehension of the ego, that naturally as we go back to work the next day or repeat the same situation, we will start to see things more and more. If we are changing more profoundly, psychologically, it means that we will act in better and better ways and that conscience in our heart gets stronger.
Question: I wanted to ask you at the beginning, when I first started studying, I only focused on you know, just the intellectual part, like just reading and reading and reading until I can build my practices little by little, but I'm still not... like sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough. Obviously. I am not doing enough, but I wanted to know what is the significance of the difference between, I guess, the [Church of] Laodicea and the Church of Philadelphia! because I was meditating and I went to a place and it was very beautiful, and I asked them what that place was and there was an older man. He said this was Philadelphia, so I'm not sure. Then later I see, well, you know, there's the two glands but maybe I'm not doing enough or I don't know. I don't know what that meant.
Instructor: Those two chakras, our churches, between the eyebrows, Philadelphia, and the Church of Laodicea at the crown, those chakras are known as the Chakra Ajna and the Chakra Sahasrara according to Eastern mysticism. According to the Book of Revelation they are known as churches, and the Sufis refer to these centers as Lataif, the seven world centers [seven organs of perception] in which the powers of the initiate are developed through the help of a master according to Sufi tradition.
Philadelphia literally means “brotherly love.” Philos, delphia: love of humanity, and that has to do with perceptions relating to astral projection, clairvoyance, understanding thought, understanding our own selves, self-observation, awareness. A lot of people like to think that this term clairvoyance only applies to a few people who have a special gift. It is a French term that means “clear vision.” It was invented by a group of people to confuse humanity to make them think that only a few people could have that knowledge, which is a mistake. It was an effort to deflect people from studying their knowledge.
But the reality is that clairvoyance or perception means “imagination.” It's the ability to perceive spiritual images. That clarity of vision occurs in the astral plane, especially, when we awaken in the dream state, or when we are meditating and we start to see images. They can be experiences or landscapes, as I said. Lights, illumination, internal states of the soul. Those visions greatly vary and apply to what we experience in meditation in terms of imagery, psychic experiences, visuals, sounds, even.
Sounds can also relate to the chakra of the throat which is the Church of Sardis in the Book of Revelation, relating to sound, mystical sounds. Those centers are active when we calm the body, calm the heart, calm the mind.
It gets deeper more and more as we are practicing self-observation, as well as imagination exercises. Meaning, we take an image and visualize it and try to picture it with clarity between our eyebrows. We have to develop that type of perception when we are in our work of self-observation.
It is a profound form of clairvoyance to see the ego objectively. To separate as an observer to the observed. The soul, the consciousness, is observing then the nafas, the ego, the animal "I’s,” the lower soul, desires, according to the Sufis. And learning to separate from that we develop greater clarity of perception.
A lot of factors pertain to that element, but the primary one is, in accordance to the name of Philadelphia, philos-delphia, love of humanity, brotherly love, we develop that chakra profoundly when we eliminate anger, because the opposite of brotherly love is hatred. If you want to develop that type of perception with greater clarity, illumination of the soul, we have to learn to eliminate negative internal states, the ego.
This is why in that excerpt from The Aquarian Message we read, "God searches the nothingness in order to fill it." If we are filled with anger, we cannot reflect God. Anger ripples the mind, the lake of the mind. It makes it agitated, and therefore the images of the superior world cannot reflect in our meditation and likewise in our daily states. If we are not working on that negative emotion in our daily life, we won't see with clarity. It will be difficult to understand right from wrong, to observe our own egos in action. But if we develop serenity, love of humanity, the mind calms, we transform our situation, we see our perception, our situation with clarity.
But even beyond that is the crown chakra, which is much higher. It has to do with very elevated experiences like the one I related to you all tonight, in which you leave behind the universe and enter the states of Being which are beyond thought, feeling, and will. Those are states that we can only understand through experience, but it's good that when you are meditating and studying and practicing, that you learn about these experiences so that when it happens you don't get confused.
We are going back to your comments and your question is, that if you want a greater clarity in your perceptions, if you want to understand what that aspect of your soul is, Philadelphia, the Church of the third eye, that Chakra Ajna, we have to learn how to develop serenity, patience, and love. Without that we don't have any clarity in what we see. Sometimes our perception, that third eye, can be negative if it's charged with pessimism, resentment, negativity. Therefore, everything we see will be clouded from that element, which is why when people are filled with anger, they don't see clearly. They can't rationalize. But it seems that the experience you just related has to do with the beauty of the soul that learns how to see with objectivity.
The Church of Philadelphia internally is very beautiful. All the churches of the Gnostic movement are very beautiful and profound. So there are places that you can visit internally, but also relates to certain qualities, perception. So if it's a beautiful experience that you had, it would seem to be that it's indicating to you the beauty of your own clairvoyance when it is pure. If it's clouded by negative internal states, then it becomes a problem. Hope that answers your question.
Question: Yeah, it does because I think this was like a gift like you were saying so that it would motivate me to work towards that.
Instructor: Yes. That is usually how those experiences unfold.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.