This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
Everything in life is in a state of transformation. Life constantly moves and flows. Our bodies, minds, and hearts are constantly receiving an influx of influence, conditions, and effects, which constantly push us to react or respond.
We find this within the macrocosmic universe and within the human being. Compounds, molecules, atoms, are constantly moving, exchanging and interacting with force, which influences the way we eat, the way we breathe, the way we move, how we think, feel, and act.
Biochemistry and the transformation of foods s a compelling influence on our daily, and even spiritual life, because with health, with homeostasis, with balance in our bodies, in our hearts, in our minds, we can function in society, or not, depending upon our level of being, our quality of being.
Our internal world is related to the external world. Everything is related to external phenomena and internal phenomena. We study the relationship between these two worlds, the inner and the outer. This is known as dependent origination: interdependence within the philosophy of Buddhism.
Likewise, just as natural elements, energies, and matter relate, exchange, interact, and transform into different states or qualities, our mind is constantly changing.
However, this begs the question: Is our mind changing for the better, or for the worse? Are we transforming our suffering? Are we developing deeper states of serenity, understanding, peace, virtue, compassion? Or are we giving in to gluttony, hatred, violence, lust, desire, the ego?
If we are honest, we will confront the reality that we tend to be burdened by heavy, conditioned, egotistical states. The ego is mechanical. It makes us always reactive to the impressions of existence, the impressions of life.
The ego as we have explained, makes us humanoid machines: transformers of energy, yet, with no spiritual consciousness. How do we know that we are not conscious of the spirit?
Humanity and many movements like to believe they are spiritual, and yet, this is proven contrary by facts. When we are insulted, we insult. When we are in a desperate financial or ecological crisis, such as with COVID-19, we become weak, miserable, terrified before the uncertainties of existence.
A real human being, a spiritual being, has no fear, because he or she is conscious of their human machine. They know how to manipulate the forces of the cosmos with harmony. Such beings live free from fear and uncertainty like Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Krishna: enlightened ones.
We are the opposite. Humanoids, intellectual animals, souls with intellect, from the Latin anima, to animate. We have a humanoid body, a human body, and yet our psychology is mechanical, a machine, because we are processed in accordance with our own conditioning, which is the animal ego.
And whenever we identify with an ego, we empower it with energy. We invest our force with life into that element, which could have been used otherwise. Energy that can be utilized to empower our spirit, our virtues.
We have spoken previously about upright and ethical behavior. Learning to restrain and remove negative conditions of mind, egotistical states. When we use our mental or emotional, volitional energies relating to our will, in order to feed anger, we deepen our suffering. We empower those egos, those flaws, that conditioning, our faults.
However, energy must be used by the consciousness, the essence, the Buddhata, our Buddha nature, the soul, so that it can develop and awaken. The consciousness must steal energy from the ego. This is well-known as a science in medieval Europe by the term alchemy, the transmutation, the mutation, or transference of base energy of desire, the lead of our personality, into the gold of the spirit: the perfected energy of the consciousness.
The energy that is typically wasted through explosions of anger, envy, jealousy, lust, etc., can be harnessed. We can utilize the same energy that we waste through anger, through lust, through pride, in order to awaken the soul.
We can transform the crude matter of our mind into an elegant flower, a perfected virtue, a gem within the Tree of Life, the Being.
However, we have to learn how. We have to learn how to transform ourselves. How to transform energy with consciousness. So we spoke a lot, in the last two lectures or previous lectures, especially regarding the three brains, the human machine—how we are always channeling energy in the cosmos, but without any awareness. We are mechanical, because the forces of the stars, the planets, our environment, the galaxy, constantly circulate within our nervous systems, our body, our mind, our heart, and yet, we have no consciousness of this fact.
The purpose of this lecture is to talk about how to use energy with will, so that we cease being machines, so that we develop our spiritual potential.
We all wish to cease suffering, but we often do not know how, or simply we may know, but we don't employ the methods. So this course is about self-transformation. The best way to transform the psyche, our egotistical psychology, our life, is through learning about and harnessing different forms of energy.
The Definition of Energy
What is the definition of energy?
So energy is essential for physical, but also spiritual life. Technology, travel, air, land, and naval transportation, businesses, homes, would not operate if we did not have various forms of energy to provide the modus operandi. The means of acting, of operating those vehicles, whether through fossil fuels, green energy, wind, solar power, electricity, or nuclear power, etc., just as material existence could not exist without power sources, likewise, the same with our consciousness.
Our soul could never develop to its full potential if it lacks the necessary force to stimulate and to awaken. Every action in life in existence requires energy, whether positive or negative. But sadly, in many spiritual groups, people ignore the role of energy and its role. So, while energy is important in life, both physical and spiritual, it is not so much the energy itself that is essential, but how we use it.
How do we direct energy? How do we control it? How do we use it? How do we save it? These are the essential points we will discuss.
The Definition of Awakening
There are many forms of energy we have to understand, so that by consciously utilizing them, we awaken.
Let us talk about what awakening is. It is a popular term. Spiritual movements, esoteric schools, religions, everybody teaches that we must awaken. However, if we look at the facts, none of them accurately relate how to achieve that fact. Many groups, spiritual movements, schools, define awakening in very vague, incoherent, ambiguous, and even contradictory terms. Many group definitions of awakening contradict each other, even their own dogmas, ideologies, philosophies, beliefs.
The literal definitions of awakening are:
People typically denominate a spiritual awakening as a realization: to comprehend or understand that one's previous psychological state, one's awareness or relationship with reality, was like that of a sleepwalker—a slumbering or ignorant person. So often people say they awaken, because they understand. They realize something for the first time. Before they had no knowledge. They were unaware.
But awakening is not a direct reference to physical sleep, or the transition from physical sleep to the vigil state. Awakening has to do with our particular, esoteric work, with awakening the essence, our Buddha nature, the consciousness.
Our essence must awaken. We have to see the internal dimensions we have been discussing, the great realities of existence. Some people refer to these as astral projections, out of body experiences, lucid dreaming, jinn states. Unfortunately for most people, they may experience awakening of this nature, but in a temporary and fleeting way.
Many people who join a spiritual group, who are interested in spirituality, often have what they call an awakening. It can refer to a life-changing event. Something that has altered the course of their life and their spiritual trajectory. Such examples are attributed to Kundalini, to work with energy, with a sudden realization, such as after an accident, a trauma, a difficult situation. What people don't often realize is that those awakenings, those realizations, are only temporary. They are sparks. They are moments which appear and vanish even within the same moment.
And oftentimes, these awakenings are gifts from divinity, the Being. They are given to us to inspire and to push us to actually meditate: to develop our practice, so that those awakenings are constant. Not ten years ago. Not in our childhood. But, every day, now. This is how we cease being machines.
We have to be initiated into this work. This happens when we have experience, internally, within our consciousness.
Matter, Energy, and Consciousness
And so nothing in nature develops without cause and effect. If we wish to enliven, fully awaken our conscious potential, to cease being puppets of life, we have to work with and awaken energy.
So to discuss the role of energy in spiritual life, we have to examine how everything in the universe is composed of matter, energy, and consciousness. Every atom according to Samael Aun Weor, is a trio of matter, energy, and consciousness.
Atoms have a material, energetic, and conscious function. Quantum mechanics has clearly demonstrated that even light particles make conscious decisions. According to research by Dean Radin, in his book Supernormal, he shares some accounts of how scientists are baffled by the fact that light particles can switch into different forms whenever they are observed by people. So, if you are familiar with science, physics, light can travel in particles or waves. They change their forms in accordance with an observer.
Consciousness is light in a basic level. It is the capacity to perceive, and we find intelligence and consciousness even in subatomic and atomic particles, and atoms. Light particles make decisions. This is well known in many studies such as referenced in the book by Dr. Dean Radin.
Just as there are forces that animate the matter of our body, our body also has energy and spiritual intelligence. But we have to know how to access that through practice.
The primary exercise in our tradition for harnessing energy is known as transmutation. We explain a little bit about this term. “Trans” as in transference, “to move over, to carry.” Mutation is to mutate, to transform, to change one substance into another, so, matter into energy.
We know from the first law of thermodynamics that “energy can neither be created, nor destroyed. It can only change forms.”
We have energy in our body that we can transform through exercise. The main one that we use is pranayama—pranayama or alchemy. With Pranayama and Sexual Transmutation, with interchangeable nostril breathing, we work with the creative sexual energy daily. This is so that this energy, which is normally expelled, when it is conserved, it empowers the soul, enlivens the mind and the heart.
Pranayama is a very profound form of devotion to divinity because when you work with pranayama, you work with your breath, the vital air, the wind, so that it circulates within your nervous systems, within your energetic nadis—those meridian channels relating to the subtle forces or vitality of your body. In that way, we circulate force. It is conserved and the energy that can give life to a child is the very energy that can give birth to the soul.
We approached the Being, divinity, when we harness all the matter, the energies, and the conscious potential of our body, soul, and spirit.
We work with prana, which is our vital energies, our sexual energy, the vital substance—which, that matter, the sperm or the ovum in woman, sperm in men—can be transformed and transmuted. That matter becomes energy when we work with the breath. Matter and energy, when it is controlled and directed with profound concentration, it expands our awareness. It deepens our mindfulness, strengthens our attention, illuminates the consciousness
The 14th Dalai Lama stated:
"In the view of Tantra (which is transmutation or alchemy, the vital flow or continuum of forces in ourselves), the body's vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle one's state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies, we transform the state of consciousness."
The visible breath and the vital current within the air helps to cleanse our inner energetic physiology known as the vital body. This vital body is the vehicle of the ether, the sexual energy. All living beings and organisms have a vital body. This is what animates and penetrates our body from the fourth dimension into the third, our physicality.
This is well known in science by the Kirlian camera: a Russian photographic device which captures the vital depth or the vital body of living things. Even stones, plants, rocks, trees, insects, people, butterflies, etc., have a vital body.
In this camera, you can look up on google, it has many images of the aura of living beings. So the aura is from our vital body, the vital energies and without this vital body from the fourth dimension, penetrating to the third, we would die. When the vital body leaves the physical body, the physical body dies, ceases. So it is a very powerful vehicle and within Buddhism it is the means of establishing the highest forms of compassion, because virtue empowered by the creative energy creates, gives birth, empowers.
Prana, vital energy, is creative and sexual. This is the most powerful force we carry, and if it is transformed, when it is conserved, it is a tremendous vehicle for awakening. It is the energy of awakening, the most important, because the sexual power permeates every aspect of our psychology, whether mind, heart, will, physicality, consciousness, and even the spirit.
We learn to awaken the essence, the consciousness, by working with the sexual force, the erotic element. Even in Greek, Eros awakens Psyche. Eros is Cupid: the god of love, and many religions speak about love of God as a man's love for a woman, and vice versa. The erotic energy illuminates Psyche, our psychology, the word for soul in Greek.
We learn to awaken the essence with many exercises: meditation, pranayama, sexual alchemy, tantra within a marriage, sacred rites of rejuvenation, the runes or runic yoga, mantras, etc. All these exercises work with specific energy, which are graded in different dimensions, which are essential to awakening our soul.
Energies and the Tree of Life
This is the Tree of Life, the map of our Being. This illuminates our understanding of who and what we are in terms of our makeup, our constitution. So, this Tree of Life maps out everything that exists in the universe and within ourselves. These sephiroth, which are Hebrew terms for “emanations,” modalities of expression of divinity, modalities of being, levels of being, expressions of consciousness—these sephiroth, emanations, are inside.
They are graded into different levels of energy. They are matter, but they are also force. They are vehicles which exist within these different dimensions, that we can operate in when we learn to save our energy—because a car cannot drive without fuel.
If we want to work with those superior forces, and if we wish to have experiences with the superior worlds, we have to know how to save energy and know how to use those internal bodies. For example, we are all familiar with our physical body, which is Malkuth, the first sphere, the very bottom of the Tree of Life. Above that we have the vital energies, the second sephirah, second emanation known as Yesod, which means “Foundation.” It is our vital body which operates from the fourth dimension into the third, Malkuth, the Hebrew term for “Kingdom.”
This body is our kingdom. It is where we can rule with full cognizance if we learn to dominate these forces, because right now, we are slaves of Malkuth. We obey the body. We do what it wants: when it has an itch, when it wants to move, when wants to eat, and to sleep. The beginning of practice is to control the body. Work with the vital energy, the vital forces.
Above that, we have our emotional body, Hod, which means “Glory.” It is the astral vehicle, the vehicle we operate in dreams when we physically rest at night.
To the right we have Netzach, the mental body, the mental energy. Netzach means “Victory” in Hebrew, and if we conquer our thoughts and minds, we become a victorious one, a Buddha, an awakened one.
Above that we have other refined forms of energy. Notice that from the bottom up we are moving into different grades of forces—from the most material to the most refined, the most subtle.
Mechanical energy, physical energy, is very obvious.
Likewise, vital energy. We may have more or less in the morning, certain periods of the day. We have more force. It animates us, gives us wakefulness. It gives us the ability to eat, to digest, to exist.
Likewise, we have fluxes in our emotions. We may say that we are the body. We like to think that the body is our identity and yet we tend to ignore how we are more involved in our emotions than anything. The emotions are really a focus of who we feel and think we are in some people—not all. Some people have more predispositions to different forms of expression on this tree, but when somebody insults us, we feel hurt, self-esteem. We point towards our heart. This is an emotional energy, a force that is much more subtle and refined than the lower spheres.
Likewise, with our thoughts—our mind, with its memories, preoccupations, worries, plans, theses and antitheses, projects. It is also more subtle. We know it is there because we are involved in our thoughts all day, usually without any control or awareness of where thoughts come from, how they sustain, and where they pass.
Above this there is volition, our will. This is known as Tiphereth in Hebrew, which means “Beauty.” It can also mean “Splendor,” but it is the beauty of our will when it is perfected, because right now we have a lot of willpower, but for negative things—whether it be drinking or smoking, bad habits, negative behaviors.
Our volition, our will, tends to be channeled through the mind, the heart, and our sexuality.
Notice that the lower four sephiroth relate to our three brains. Mental energy is our intellectual fuel for the intellectual brain. Our emotional energy fuels the emotional brain. And our vital energy, our instincts, and our physicality, how we move, relates to our motor-instinctive-sexual brain. So these sephiroth relate to our body. This is part of our Tree of Life—our physiology, but also our psychology.
Our volition, our will, can act purely when it is developed, when it learns how to obey the consciousness: the sixth sephirah from the bottom up. This is Geburah in Kabbalah, which means “Justice, Severity.” Our consciousness is our conscience. It is that which perceives before will, before thought, before emotion, before vitality, and before the body.
Another thing that Dean Radin points out from quantum mechanics in his book Supernormal is the fact that many quantum physicists are claiming that consciousness or perception emerges and comes before matter and energy. This is something that terrifies materialists, who think that they are the body and that their psychology is the result or epiphenomenon of the brain, that their thoughts and feelings and impulses to act are the result of the nervous systems and the physical brain. They believe they are the random expression or emergence of a physical machine and that they have no free will.
This is a very sad perspective to take, and which is why many scientists now are approaching spirituality, especially Buddhism, because they realize that materialistic science cannot explain the full depth of our inner reality.
The consciousness experiences life before thought and will. But how rarely do we listen to our conscience? Geburah means “Justice” in Hebrew. It is the law of balance within our inner self. It is the voice that says, “This is right and this is wrong.” It is intuition. It is a subtle nudge in our heart that pushes us to study this doctrine, to practice spirituality, and most importantly, to meditate.
Consciousness is the capacity to perceive. It is the state of meditation. It is when we directly receive data from the unknown. That is the capacity of conscious expression and conscious energy. But of course, this is a very very subtle and difficult to pinpoint, because most of the time, we are very clouded by our thoughts, feelings, and impulses.
Take an example of a meditation session. You sit to practice. You rest your body, and as we are instructed, we attempt to maintain a still posture without moving. Swami Sivananda, a great Yogi, a master of meditation, taught us that your asana, your posture should be a mountain like a rock. Meaning, don't move. Don't move your body. And yet if you're just beginning these practices, you find your back hurts. You have an itch. Your stomach is hungry. You want water. You need to go to the bathroom, to relieve yourself. You have a crook in your neck. Your posture hurts and your body screams in pain. And you want to move to adjust yourself. This means that our body is controlling us. That is not meditation.
Likewise, working with vital energy, circulating the vital force through mantras or prayers, pranayama, alchemy. These forms of energy in themselves are important and good. They help to relax the physical body. But meditation is not simply directing energy. Pranayama, mantras, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, vocalizations, prayers: these help to circulate energy so that the body can relax; so that the heart can relax; so that the mind can be silent. These are all preliminary points in our practice.
As you sit to practice, your asana should be firm, and if we are successful in working with pranayama, we find that our body naturally becomes still. It stops being agitated. This is known in Buddhism as pliancy, where the body becomes supple in command, in control, and at peace. It is under our service and not the other way around.
Likewise, pranayama and mantras can still the heart. If we are churning with negative emotions. If we are identified with previous moments in our day in which we invest a lot of power into our anger, we find that we are not meditating. Our emotional energy is out of balance. But of course, this can be calm through prayer, pranayama, vital forces, because the second sephirah of the Tree of Life, our vital energy, is the foundation of everything else. It is what allows all other energies and forces to circulate throughout the Tree of Life.
This is why it is the secret science. It is the secret to entering meditation. But it is not the limit. Vital forces must be stilled, contained, and circulated so that the heart can calm, such as through the mantra "O," a sacred sound we can vocalize to strengthen the heart and to overcome negative emotion.
Likewise, the mind has to be still, and this is the biggest problem for most people. Most people in the West are very acculturated to a society that is supra-intellectual. The mind is always active and all over the place. We are sitting and we are practicing, and then we see that our mind is thinking of what to do later, where we are going to go after our meditation, what we did in the day. There is always a chain of associative thoughts, which are wandering. There is no cohesiveness or cohesion there.
So we have to calm the mind. Relax the mind. Not to force it or to gag it, to make it stop talking, but simply with your will, which is Tiphereth, the beauty of your human soul, you learn to concentrate.
Notice that this sephirah, Tiphereth, on Tree of Life is at the center of this map. It rests upon Yesod, the foundation, the vital energies. When you are working with pranayama, your will is learning to direct Yesod, the vital forces, up your spine to your mind, to your heart through the two channels known as Ida and Pingala in Sanskrit: the lunar and the solar energetic currents which rise from your sexual gonads, up to the brain, and then to the heart.
This energy is what allows you to calm the heart and the mind, but we have to use our concentration, which is Tiphereth, our volition, our will. But sadly, for most of us we lack concentration. We find it very difficult to stay focused on the object of our practice, which is the reason why we have to keep trying, so that we have that consistency and stability and permanence, so that with practice, you don't forget what you're doing. So that when you are doing pranayama or mantras or practices in this tradition, you can get their full effect. This is really the important thing—not to forget what we are doing. We only reach that point when our will is obeying our consciousness. The consciousness is what guides our will.
Our heart, our conscience, the law of balance, tells us through intuitions that certain practices are what we need. And so, we have to listen to our intuitions which are beyond thought and will.
Lastly, we have the spirit, which is the seventh sephirah, which is our inner Being, our inner God, our inner Buddha. The spirit never mixes with impurity, likewise, our consciousness, the divine soul. But our will, obviously, being at the center of the tree, can either go up to the superior heavens, the superior sephiroth, which is the Being, or enter into conditioned states of suffering which are related to mind, emotions, vitality, and physicality: the lower bodies of sin mentioned in the Fourth Way schools, Theosophy, and many spiritual groups.
Above in the top Trinity we have forces that are very difficult to comprehend, of which we are not going to discuss in detail today. But in Buddhism, we know them as Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya: Kether, Chokmah, Binah in Hebrew—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. These are the three primary forces that give rise and create any universe, and to work with those forces, we have to be very stable in our practice of meditation. We achieve those heights by working with the lower seven energies, especially.
I want to emphasize some points relating to this and relating to the Tree of Life because many people in Gnosis or even in many spiritual groups, believe that simply by saving energy we will awaken, but Samael Aun Weor pointed out that this is not the reality.
He states in The Great Rebellion:
“No matter how much we might increase our strictly mechanical energy (relating to Malkuth the physical body) we will never awaken consciousness.
“No matter how much we might increase the vital forces within our own organism (the sexual energy of the Yesod the foundation) we will never awaken consciousness.
“Many psychological processes take place within us without any intervention from the consciousness.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So here, by psychological, he means emotion. There are many psychic, astral, emotional, processes that occur within us, within Hod, the world of Glory, without any intervention from our inner consciousness, Geburah.
“However great the disciplines of the mind might be, mental energy can never achieve the awakening of the diverse functions of the consciousness (relating to Netzach, mental energy, the mind).
“Even if our willpower is multiplied infinitely, it can never bring about the awakening of the consciousness.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So even having a lot of will in Tiphereth, the ability to do something, cannot bring about the awakening of the consciousness by itself.
“All these types of energy are graded into different levels and dimensions, which have nothing to do with the consciousness.
“Consciousness can only be awakened through conscious work an upright efforts." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
It is not enough to save energy. You can fill up your car with a lot of fuel, but if you don't know how to drive your car, you won't get to your destination. You need the fuel in your vehicle so that you can act. The same thing with your internal bodies. The same thing with your soul. You as a consciousness are the driver and your car is your mind, your emotions, your vitality, your sexuality, your instincts, and your motor capacities. But most of the time we are not aware that we are even driving our car. Most of the time we identify ourselves with sensations or feelings, impulses, thoughts.
This indicates to us that we are completely asleep. We are not aware that we, as a consciousness, are asleep at the wheel, and just as a person can get into accidents physically by falling asleep in their car, the same thing happens spiritually. We truly are in a lot of danger, spiritually speaking, because in a moment of a crisis, if we don't know how to act and be aware of how to use our mind, our emotions, our vitality, our volition, our body, we can get ourselves into great harm.
So, we have to be aware of our intuition, of what the soul, the consciousness, is saying to us. Consciousness speaks to us in the heart through intuition about what behaviors to perform, whether they are physical, creative, vital, sexual, emotional, mental. Intuition is conscience. It is the knowledge and wisdom of ethical conduct, and that ethical conduct always produces liberation from suffering. Intuitive action is the consciousness guiding and working through our willpower to act.
Samael Aun Weor often explains that intuitive action leads us to the awakening of the consciousness. Our intuition is the consciousness. It is conscience. Geburah, our judgment about what is right and what is wrong, but sadly because our will is very weak. We do not often listen to our heart, our conscience, our ethical intuitions. And so, we often act on our thoughts, feelings, and desires. This is why we suffer, and this is why we are asleep and why we practice meditation, so that we can know the difference between right and wrong. Conscience is judgment, inner wisdom, which must guide our actions, our willpower.
It is interesting that Samael Aun Weor mentions how Geburah, the divine soul, our consciousness always enjoys bliss, cognizance, and happiness, while the human soul, the will, has to work, has to act. This last statement in this quote is very interesting, and very deep.
"Consciousness can only be awakened through conscious work and upright efforts." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This implies Geburah and Tiphereth working together, meaning our concentration and our perception united in harmony. The consciousness is imagination, the capacity to perceive as we discussed in the previous lecture. And the ability to work is the ability to concentrate, to focus, so that when we meditate, we are focused on a mantra, a pranayama, a prayer. As we learn to suspend our thoughts, feelings, and volitions, our desires, our impulses, our instincts, our body, we achieve stillness and the awakening of our inner imagination or perception.
In that way, we begin to see things and to meditate, to receive information, because according to Samael Aun Weor, meditation is the state of perception, when we acquire data of the new, when something new emerges in our consciousness that we never saw before. That is when we really are entering superior states.
So, concentration is will power, the ability to focus, and imagination is Geburah, the ability to perceive. One without the other is not effective. You need serenity and visualization in order to really experience the spirit, which is samadhi, ecstasy, experiences out of the body in which you are conversing with your inner Spirit, your Buddha, your God. Work with both to get results
Conscious works and upright efforts means: Gerburah and Tiphereth together. Our Consciousness must guide our will, control our will, through hunches, to guide us, so that our concentration and will can manage our three brains with their respective energies:
Again, saving energy is not enough. You have to know how to use it. And that is the point. It is not to say that we do not need these energies. It means that we know how to use them.
Many people exclusively believe that with Hatha Yoga or Fakirism, contorting the body and doing painful postures and poses, even for years in one form, produces awakening. Some fakirs can put their hands up in the air for ten years and never let them down. That's an extreme form of control of the body and the manipulation of mechanical energy—to dominate the instincts, but of course, this is very foolish. It doesn't awaken our real potential. It has nothing to do with the Being, our inner Spirit, the Innermost.
Some believe that pranayama or celibacy alone, just collecting the sexual energy, is enough. But this is wrong. There are many people who save their sexual energy, whether they are priests or monks within certain religions, but they never know how to transform it, and therefore, they never awaken the consciousness. In fact, the energy that builds up there has to act and often does so in deviant ways, which is why you have a lot of cases of monks and priests, or imams or rabbis from many traditions, who basically degenerate. They form and perform sexual misconduct, because the energy is saved, but it has to act. Because they don't know how to control it, they become victims of it.
Likewise prayer, to develop the heart, is not enough, because many people who pray exclusively often avoid study of the mind and development of the body. Therefore, emotional or psychic processes are not the full expression of consciousness.
Mental energy can be utilized and developed through study, and we need to have some level of development in our intellect. We have to know the doctrine. We have to know the scriptures and the practices, how they work, how they are mapped out. And lectures help us with this, but simply studying with the intellect all this knowledge and not applying it or understanding it, creates a lot of imbalance—a lot of weakness.
Some people develop their willpower through a lot of exercise or sports or yoga, even Fakirism, because that is developing will over mechanical energy. This teaches us how to dominate the body, but not how to control the mind, the heart, and especially the sexual energy, in a conscious way.
So the consciousness must awaken through intuitive action. This encompasses all the energies and directs them all in balance. Save your energies, your mind, your heart, your sexuality, your will. Save your physical energy. Learn to use them in balance. Learn to direct them with your conscience, and that is how you know how to live with upright works. This is how you drive to your destination.
It is not by ignoring the car and letting it get damaged and destroyed. There are many people in spiritual movements who say they are elevated and awakened, and yet their physical life is deteriorating. Their bodies are sick. They do not take care of themselves. They do not exercise. They do not study. They do not develop their heart. And this is sad because we have to take care of our car, our body, and our internal psychology.
Take care of your vehicle, consume good energy, transform these energies, but with understanding of their place and their purpose—without deifying them or putting them in one category or another as more or less important. You have to learn how to use your machine with balance. This is how you awaken. This is why we meditate, because your car cannot drive without proper fuel. So, save your energies, conserve them, and learn how to direct them. That is the most important thing.
Sexual Power: The Determinative Energy of Nature
This is why we study many exercises for energy, as we have explained. Of course, the most important energy we have to discuss and conclude with is sexual. This is the foundation of everything.
As we see here the human body, the human machine, is the Tree of Life and that Yesod, the vital-sexual-creative energy, is over the sexual organs, because this is, in Genesis, the stone and foundation of our inner Being's temple. Nothing else could exist without the work of sexual energy, which is why if we do not save this very vital force, we cannot awaken at all, in a good way, because the creative energy empowers everything else.
When you transform the sexual energy, you have a tool that is going to open doors that are inaccessible for people who don't conserve their energy—who are fornicating, in other words. And of course, fornication means to expel the semen, the raw matter, which could be conserved and transformed to elevate our spirituality.
Master Morya in The Dayspring of Youth refers to the creative energy as determinative energy. It is what determines our existence for good or for ill. At the book Shiva Samhita states (and it's included in the end of Kundalini Yoga by Samael Aun Weor), it states that “conservation of semen gives life. Emission of semen brings death.” Because that energy can give life to our organs, our energetic centers, our mind, our heart, our will, but when it is expelled, we are incapacitated. The car can't move in the spiritual direction we seek.
We have to conquer lower eroticism, animalistic behavior, lust, in order to experience divine Eros, creative sexual love, chastity. Chasity means purity in sex. It does not mean to avoid sex, to run away from it, to repress it, to demonize it. It means to understand it and to know how to use it in accordance with the Being.
So, neither in justifying passion or running away from it is the solution. We have to understand the role of sexual energy in ourselves. And this is why we study many books. You can study The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor as well as The Mystery of the Golden Flower, Kundalini Yoga, and pretty much every book he teaches, he teaches how to work with energy. They are all useful resources.
Master Morya states:
“Many occultists are told to conserve their creative energy: to master their lower sex nature. Atoms always find their own level. It is the vapour that rises from the surface of our seminal fluid that gives us this determinative energy in Nature… …When we determine to do a thing it has already been accomplished within our secondary system…” —M., The Dayspring of Youth
…which means the flow of sexual energy in us. So, when you conserve that energy, you can use that force with your will power to silence and calm the mind, the heart, and the body.
“When we determine to do a thing it has already been accomplished within our secondary system, and this gives us a determination to work and accomplish this on the objective plane. But we generally fail if we do not consciously or unconsciously draw upon the determinative energy in Nature.” —M., The Dayspring of Youth
If you don't have energy, you cannot work. You cannot act. Even in a basic level, if you had no vital energy, you would be dead, as we stated.
“If we use this principle we shall complete our determined work in this life or in our next incarnation. For we all incarnate to gain certain experiences, and we cannot be happy if we fail in this.” —M., The Dayspring of Youth
In conclusion, the purpose of our studies, especially is, to awaken—to have conscious experience of the realities of the Tree of Life, the tree of knowledge. But to do so, we have to learn to conserve our energy and know how to use it well, which is why we study in the principles and meditation.
I invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: I really appreciate you mentioning that remark about, once a person has made a decision, it goes to the secondary level. That's a really great principle that has a lot of strength in it.
Anyway, I would like to ask if you if you may. I have noticed in our experience in using the term concentration relating to the work, it is not the type of concentration that we have been conditioned to think about. That concentration really is in the life as a non-initiate. I have always thought concentration with something where you just crunch your mind to learn something, either an action or memorized, but that has always been under stress. In this work, concentration really has a different meaning. Is that correct? Could you give a little definition on that?
Instructor: Certainly, excellent question. People know how to use conditioned will, egotistical will, and our society, our education system, our humanity only knows focus and concentration through desire. And often many spiritual movements reflect this tendency, where you are taught that if you just use your will to get what you want, if you desire for something—and this also plays into our imagination too—you can imagine what you want and desire and then you will get it. This is often recited in films and books like The Secret, which is a very popular type of novelty.
It is true. People get obviously what they work for, and when we talk about willpower, in most cases, people think of concentration as something relating to our desires, our egotism.
There is a very different type of concentration we need to explore when we meditate. For example, it is easy for us to sit in front of a television and to concentrate on a movie for two hours—to follow the movement of characters, their development, the plot—and yet, when we sit to meditate and concentrate on a mantra or pranayama, we find that our mind is wandering all over the place, and we realize that our genuine conscious will is very different from conditioned will.
Conscious will is Tiphereth, human soul. It is the beauty of our essence, our consciousness in a human level. It is willpower in a genuine sense. It is the level of consciousness that can give us serenity, equanimity, and insight, but unfortunately in us, we have our egotistical thoughts, our feelings, and our desires. That is all conditioned. That is ego. Every ego has its own thoughts, feelings, and will.
If you study Christianity, we know these figures as the three traitors: Judas, the demon of desire; Pilate, the demon of the mind; and Caiaphas, the demon of evil will. So this is a system we use to categorize different conditions of mind. Of course, there is a multiplicity of different factors. We call that legion, and so all of the defects and egos we have, each have their own ways of thinking and feeling and doing.
Therefore, our mind is all over the place. We don't actually have one mind, but many minds. And no one can discover this unless they sit to introspect and examine themselves. So the concentration and the will, to sit in front of a television screen is very easy for us, because for most of our life, we have been conditioned by culture—even in the East now—North America is obviously influencing people with entertainment and television. It is very easy to sit in front of a movie because it requires no effort. It is an egotistical attention. Our desires can focus on something that they want, but of course, that is mechanical. It doesn't take any effort. But the kind of willpower we are trying to develop has nothing to do with desire, and therefore, because that part of us is very weak, we struggle.
So sitting to concentrate on an image of a candle or a stone, to concentrate on the breath, counting the breath, doing mantras or pranayama, we find it is very difficult to do those exercises without thinking of other things, because our mind is fractured, in a multiplicity. Of course, this can be very discouraging because we find that our concentration is not developed in a genuine sense. If we really had true objective concentration and will, we would be able to focus on one thing at the exclusion of all else, and not be distracted.
And of course, we have to train ourselves. We get there little by little. So the more we practice and work with energy, especially pranayama, we learn to fortify our willpower, our human soul, and therefore we experience the beauty of our inner Being, our inner consciousness, which is very different from states of desire.
Of course, you have to learn to sift through the mud, you know: discriminate what you are seeing. That helps to clarify your imagination too, as we discussed in the previous lecture. Our clarity of perception is only as strong as the foundation, which is serenity. Your serenity is only established, your ability to focus without distraction, is only established, when you work with Yesod, the vital energy. That is how you work with awakening. So, one type of concentration is liberated. It is voluntary. The other type of concentration is involuntary. It is mechanical. So we can focus on certain things, egotistical things, but usually without any attention or real will. That is why we meditate. That is why we we practice, so that we can develop more consistency. Hope that answers your question.
Audience: I think so, and in synthesis then, as we reach serenity, that concentration is a natural process that begins to work and then we learn to work with that and it is much different than the concentration that we have been conditioned to think as actually concentration.
Instructor: Exactly. Because you know, if you have studied, as we talked previously, about the nine stages of concentration in Buddhism, the Tibetan Buddhist mural of a man or monk chasing an elephant, those nine stages described in that iconography show us how a lot of effort is needed in the soul in the beginning, in order to control the mind.
That is symbolized by the fire that blazes along the corners of the path as the monk ascends. The further that monk ascends, the fire begins to diminish because it takes less energy in order to reach stabilization. So that fire is your energy of awakening. It is important that in the beginning of our spiritual discipline, we work a lot with energy. That's why we have runes, sacred rites, pranayama, alchemy, because that energy is what is going to empower your spiritual practice.
The further you go up the stages of concentration, the less effort it takes. That is kind of the paradoxical nature and beauty of our real will. You know, we like to think that willpower in meditation or concentration is to be very exertive, like you are lifting weights. Of course, it may feel like that in a conscious sense, in a psychic sense, because our mind is all over the place and it is very difficult to focus. But the more you reach those higher stages of concentration, as represented in the glyph, that elephant that was once leading the monk begins to slow down. It begins to whiten, to become pure. And that refers to how the dullness in the mind is vanishing and there is greater crispness, clarity, and perception of what we are seeing. We are not distracted by our thoughts, our emotions, or our body. The body and the mind and the heart become pliant. They start to obey the monk, obey our willpower.
And of course, when you reach the heights of that glyph, the fire is gone, the monkey or the animals represented in that image, representing desire, craving, and laziness, but also the dullness of the mind, begin to obey the monk. Finally, the the elephant rests at the top. The monk sits in meditation and perfect equipoise, and then you find him flying out of his body in the astral plane, above a rainbow. And that refers to, when you have reached the true heights of concentration, you are in a perfect state of equanimity where you don't get distracted at all, and therefore, it takes no effort to be in that state. It only takes familiarity.
So, of course, we like to think, especially in our level, that we have to work with a lot of effort to reach this goal, but of course, paradoxically, real effort is no effort. Real concentration is effortless. It is a state of perception. But of course, to reach that we have to work with energy in the beginning.
I invite you to study the lecture we gave at our course called Gnostic Meditation. There is a whole lecture called Calm Abiding: The Stages of Serenity. It explains this whole glyph in depth, but also you can study Meditation Essentials, which is a whole course based on that image and goes into much more detail in a very systematic and didactic way. Hope that clarifies things.
Question: To to follow up on what you were just talking about on the elephant and relating to this lecture on awakening. So once you are able to control your mind all the way at the top of that picture, does it mean that you would be awakened at that point?
Instructor: Yes, to a degree. You know, there are levels of awakening. We may have a very basic awakening, even in our body that we are controlling certain energies and sensations. Of course, that is a very minor gamut of what is possible. But the further up this meditative path you ascend through concentration, you eventually enter the state of meditation—which in the example of the monk, he is meditating next to this calm and placid elephant, and then finally see him flying over a rainbow.
That could be an experience in meditation where physically, you leave your body. Your body goes to sleep and you are awake in the astral plane or the mental plane or the world of willpower, Nirvana, Tiphereth, even beyond. You can go to these dimensions and have that freedom of will and expression in which you are experiencing liberation. This is known as samadhi, and those samadhis are in different degrees, obviously. You can have a samadhi or ecstasy in the astral plane, in the mental plane, in the causal plane, and even beyond.
Now, the important thing to remember is that a samadhi simply means to be outside of the ego, even if only temporarily. It does not mean that that is our permanent state, but it does show us the reality of our own Being. This type of experience is really important, because it helps us to have inspiration in our work, to continue practicing. But, the important thing too is not to get attached to experiences, because they are not going to be eternal unless we fully eliminate the ego. So eliminate the ego and then you are going to always live in a perfect state of samadhi, which means ecstasy.
And the word ecstasy does not refer to drugs or to substances, but to the Latin term ex-statuo: which means “to stand outside of yourself.” You are no longer standing in your common everyday perspective of the ego. Instead you are in higher dimensions. You can even have a samadhi in the physical body too where you are very awake. You have lucidity in your perception, your spatial sense. You see the environment with greater clarity, with less thought—or no thought—with a state of concentration and inner peace, compassion, love, virtues. There are many qualities and levels of being, very dynamic, which is why we have to study meditation and practice it so that we know that what these different states and experiences are, if that makes sense.
Question: Yes, and then in one of Master Samael's books, he talks about voluntary suffering to achieve the same state. So, for those people they have that experience, the voluntary suffering, and they don't actually have to go through this path? Maybe it is a separate path or am I mixing things up?
Instructor: Voluntary suffering has to do with the suffering that we must inevitably face when we work on ourselves. Meaning: we are practicing meditation and suddenly the body hurts. Our posture is awkward. We feel our spine is agitated. Our muscles are tense. We have itches. We want to move. We want to scratch. Likewise, our heart, our emotions, are churning. Our mind may be distracted. We may feel a lot of pain mentally, with anguish, emotionally too, even physically. There are a lot of sufferings we have to face in this work and overcome.
So to voluntarily suffer means to accept the sufferings of life without trying to run away. Most people go through life suffering at their job or their career or their marriage, or whatnot, in a very unconscious way. Meaning, we just go through life and we suffer bad situations or unpleasant things. But to voluntarily suffer means that we are using our voluntary will, our concentration, in order to work on ourselves, because inevitably we have to suffer the consequences of our karma. Everybody has to face their karma. But whether we do it voluntarily or involuntarily is up to us.
We study meditation and suffer voluntarily the consequences of our former actions, which can arrive in situations or difficult ordeals, in relationships, in which we are tested, to see whether or not we are going to overcome the egos or defects that produce that situation which are creating conflict and suffering. Of course, when you are using your willpower, you are concentrating in yourself and withstanding the sufferings in the body, the heart, and the mind, so that you can comprehend their source.
To give you an example of what voluntary suffering is, there is a very famous story of a Buddhist monk or master who would go to a cave in order to meditate. But the reality was that in order to enter the cave, there was a thorn bush, and every time he would have to get into the cave, he had to go through this thorn bush which would scratch them up terribly and make him bleed. But he was so dedicated to his meditation, his discipline, that he would always go in and suffer the consequences of that bush. And he did it for decades, and many years, until finally in his meditations, he overcame his pain, and he entered samadhi and achieved liberation.
So this is an allegory, a Buddhist parable, of how we have to accept the sufferings of life. When we go into the cave of our mind to explore ourselves, we have to accept that, perhaps, our job, or our career, our family life, our marriage, can bring us pain. We have to accept that pain and not to run away from it or to reject it, or to justify it either, which are different extremes of how one focuses on unpleasant things—but look at them. Use our willpower to go through the bush. You know, we get scratched up by life. We feel pain, but we do it willingly because we know that by understanding these situations is how we are going to be liberated, if that makes sense.
Question: Yes, but my question was whether or not they are able to go through the voluntary suffering in order to awaken without all this effort in meditation. Maybe just by having to go through that suffering, that was enough to awaken?
Instructor: Of course, the thing to think about is that there are levels of awakening. Most people who come to a spiritual group is that they will have some situation in life that is really traumatic, or very intense, where they suffer a lot and then they are really inspired to understand their purpose in life. And then they study yoga or meditation, approach spiritual groups, because that pain of that experience pushed them to a point where they recognized that they had a do something different in their life to change.
Now, that is a very temporary and limited example of awakening, but it does constitute an awakening, obviously, to a small degree. Now the type of awakening I am talking about is when in meditation, you are working with these exercises and you are voluntarily suffering, again, in your daily life, accepting things that you can't change, and working to change what you can, and in that way through your discipline, you awaken the full potential of your capacities. And that is awakening to a higher degree—you know, your full potential, your full being—you are raising your level of being. But of course, people who have a minor experience, and it could be a situation in their life where they really have to come to grips with their trajectory, they question everything that they have done and where they are going. And of course, that is a very noble and necessary thing, but it is only the beginning. There are degrees and degrees.
Comment: Thank you very much for the lecture and that was a great explanation.
Instructor: You're welcome.
Question: In the lecture you talked a little bit as you are explaining concentration. You said there are three steps, but I didn't catch them all. Can you explain that again?
Instructor: Three steps for concentration?
Question: Yeah, you said there are three main points of concentration. I did not get them.
Instructor: When we concentrate, it is important that we learned to focus on one thing at the exclusion of everything else. We do not let our mind wander. We do not think of other things. We try not to feel other things, but have a receptive mind and a focused will on whatever we are concentrating upon.
We state that in Buddhism, there are nine stages. We have nine stages of meditative concentration. When you are concentrating, the most important thing is that you are controlling your energy, your sexual forces, or Prana. You are controlling your your emotions, and you are controlling your mind.
So those three things are what we try to focus and control, but this kind of control or concentration does not mean that we are exerting ourselves or repressing the mind—repressing what we are feeling or seeing in our thoughts, or our inner instincts. By controlling mind, heart, and body with equanimity, with concentration, and focus, we enter deeper states of equanimity and relaxation.
Concentration has to not be swayed by thoughts, not to be distracted by them, because usually when we are concentrating on an object, such as a stone or an image, our mind starts to think of something else, and if we identify with that thought, we get distracted and we lose 20 minutes in our meditation and then we realize we are distracted. We are not actually in the practice.
We have to learn not to be identified with our thoughts and even our feelings, negative emotions—such as if you are concentrating and focusing on the events of your day through retrospection, you are visualizing a moment in the day in which certain egos emerged, in which you are concentrating on that moment and not letting your heart run away. Perhaps you had an argument at work, or someone criticized you, and the egos of anger, pride, and self-esteem emerged. Three different defects. So if you are visualizing that event and concentrating upon it, to extract information, to know the ego involved, you don't let your negative emotions ferment and brood, where we are just reliving the experience again through memory and feeling negative about the whole situation, instead of really comprehending it from a distance, with a sense of separation. Then likewise, we have to control our body, relax our body, relax our heart, relax our mind, relax the three brains. So these are the three things necessary: the three steps we need in order to really enter a state of equanimity to really ascend up that winding path of the Buddhist stages of concentration, so that we reach perfect equipoise and calm.
Question: This is probably going to be a question of a new person. You talked about saving up the energy like doing a car and that not being good enough in itself because of the need for conscious work. So, what would be the examples of conscious work to actually create this growth in consciousness?
Instructor: Wonderful question. We have a multitude of exercises. The most important one that we use is self-observation. Samael Aun Weor mentions in a book called Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, the need for self-observation. In the fourth lecture of this course, we talked about that explicitly, where you as a soul, a consciousness, must be observing the mind, the emotions, and the body. These are the three brains. These are the three centers in which the ego manifests.
So we have to separate from our thoughts, feeling, and will as a consciousness, as an essence, as a soul, in which we are seeing a separation between ourselves and the different negative thoughts that may emerge in a situation—whether from an ego of anger, of resentment, and pride, etc. Likewise, we observe the different emotions and impulses that act. We examine ourselves moment-by-moment, instant-by-instant. Self-observation is the means of gathering data about our faults, so that in situations that provoke our deepest subconscious elements, we begin to see the darkness in ourselves so that we can extract light. When you comprehend the source of each ego and defect, we extract the light or soul that is conditioned or trapped in those elements.
We also have exercises to empower our self-observation because it is impossible to stay conscious in this sense without energy. We have mantras that we use, sacred sounds, exercise known as Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation. These are a form of Tibetan yoga, which we have books about. There are practices of pranayama, which are very important exercises, which you can read in books like Kundalini Yoga and The Yellow Book. Pretty much all the books that Samael Aun Weor wrote all have practices that we use, and the most important one is meditation.
Meditation, as the state of awaken perception, cannot be realized if we are not gathering data in our daily life. So, the most important thing we do in our studies as the beginning is self-observe and the best way that you can learn that practice is if you study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. That book has a lot of depth. I mean, it is a simple concept, you know, observing yourself, but knowing what that means and how it works is a very delicate skill. It is something that we cultivate with a lot of work. This conscious work is learning to see ourselves as we are, and not as we presume ourselves to be.
And again, self-observation is empowered with working with energy. Those are the two main things we work with and that is what serves as the foundation for meditation. So, I can reference for you those books, especially. We have them available on gnosticteachings.org in an online format, but also you can purchase books from the Gnostic Store. I hope that answers your question.
Question: I have a quick question. You talk about energy in this lecture and I was wondering... you were giving an example of the car. It's got all the moving parts. It all functions and work together as a whole, but what if a person has a chronic illness? Will that energy short circuit or not flow as well? Is there something that a person with a chronic illness might have to do differently in order to, you know, do the same work?
Instructor: Great question. I personally know a lot of people in our movement who have a lot of illnesses. You know, I have been in many Gnostic groups, in different parts of the country, and I have gotten to meet a lot of people who have suffered from illnesses, some relating to the mind, some relating to the heart, and some relating to the physical body. And of course, any illness is an imbalance. It is a form of congestion of forces. People who get sick in their mind or emotions, or physical body and vitality, have a kind of obstruction in their energies, which obviously create that imbalance, which manifests as a physical illness.
So, all illnesses are the result of past actions, usually those without our awareness. We don't typically remember, our past existences, past lives in which we performed actions that were harmful, and so we suffer the consequences of our former behaviors. That type of energy or egotistical behavior creates an imbalance. It misuses energy in those inner bodies and creates a condition that makes it difficult to work.
So yes, there are impediments that we face in our path when we suffer illness, but it does not mean that we are going to be limited by it or stop. Because personally I have worked with people in Gnosis who have suffered schizophrenia, depression, bipolar, clinical diseases, that you know are considered incurable—cancer, other diseases, and yet those practitioners have been able to raise their level of being tremendously. And in fact, the reality is that this type of impediment is not really an obstacle in the true sense. It becomes an opportunity.
Samael Aun Weor mentions in his books that the most difficult circumstances of life are the greatest for spiritual and psychological growth, because they provide us a type of pressure that can give us a lot of willpower and impetus—a lot of longing and inspiration to change, to work—and so people who have had certain obstacles in their energies or difficulties, they might be, you know suffering an imbalance in one of the three brains. So that center is very sick, but still, those people progress tremendously because they learn to overcome their weaknesses or their illnesses.
We have practices in our tradition that can heal us, and this is why we have books like Igneous Rose relating to plant magic or elemental magic. We have Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic, you know, many tools like Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation exercises that can give us energy and help us to heal.
I know many people who have suffered terribly chronic conditions who were able to be healed, or to be able to prolong their life and to develop themselves tremendously, over people who never suffered such an illness or condition. Sometimes people with the greatest obstacles are the ones who develop the greatest will, development, and awakening. Like the example of the man meditating in the cave, where he has to go through a thorn bush every day. It is painful. It is a lot of suffering. It is a lot of pain to be in that type of condition, but if we have the willpower and the upright efforts to do so, we endure that pain and develop our practice with a lot of fidelity and consistency. And in that way, we grow in ways that are inaccessible for people who face no hardship.
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