The study of Gnosis is concerned with a very special form of knowledge. When we say the word "gnosis" what we are referring to is not the kind of knowledge that you can read, or that you can acquire from a book or a lecture, but instead this knowledge refers to something that one acquires by one's own experience. It is important for this definition of Gnosis to be maintained in a clear way within the mind of the student, for without it, the study of the doctrine of Gnosis can quickly become mere dogma or belief; it can remain as a theory.
One of the central postulates of any Gnostic tradition — wherever that wisdom has appeared in the world — has always been "know thyself," the acquisition of knowledge of oneself, which is in fact the central basis or central ground from which the path is discovered. It is very easy for any student to begin to study and explore the wisdom of Gnosis, and to maintain this information merely in the intellect; this is very common and very easy. Likewise, the student may gather and maintain this information merely as a belief, as something they hold dear in their heart, and this also is common and easy. Or a student may adopt the point of view, the practices, and certain types of habits that they learn from the Gnostic doctrine, and maintain those simply as habitual or mechanical behaviors, and this is also easy to do and common. These three fundamental, mistaken paths relate to our three fundamental brains or psychic intelligences, psychic computers if you will, or aspects of our psyche that function as machines, that function in a predetermined way with specific energies and towards limited goals. These three "brains" in their conjunction form a machine that we call "the human-like machine." These three are the psychological aspect of an enormously complicated organism, a very complex, sophisticated, and intricate mechanism.
Each of us is extraordinarily lucky: we have been gifted with the most spectacular device that exists on this planet, and yet we fail to realize it. This device we received free from our parents; it has within the capacity to transform the universe; it has within itself abilities and powers which the vast populace does not even begin to suspect, and yet we remain ignorant of it's function and it's potential. This human-like machine, this body that we inhabit, and it's psychological aspects, has such tremendous power and abilities that only few have realized. In the history of our race, our humanity, there have been a few individuals who have risen above the crowd and have become noteworthy, and typically these types of individuals appear as miraculous to the uninitiated hordes of human-like machines. These very unique, true individuals are beings such as Buddha, such as Mozart, such as Beethoven, Krishna, Plato, Shakespeare. These are individuals who to some degree or another were able to realize more of the capacity of the machine that their consciousness inhabited, and this in itself underscores one of the fundamental factors of learning how to best utilize this human-like machine, and that is to realize that it is not our "self." It is a device, a machine, a mechanism, an organism that is utilized by other forces. This human-like machine, this organism that has the appearance of being human, is just a machine that needs to be directed, that needs to receive instruction, that is in essence controlled by some other factor or force.
Those individuals who have stood out in the course of time, such as Beethoven or Mozart or Jesus, are individuals who learned how to awaken the consciousness, to utilize the consciousness itself as the commanding intelligence to dominate and best use this organism that we inhabit. This is actually the whole reason, the whole purpose of the existence of all the ancient mystery schools. If we look at and study any ancient mystery school such as the Essenes, the Greeks, the ancient Aztecs, the Tibetans, any of the ancient mysteries, we discover that their primary message was intensely psychological.
This psychological point of view or message was always veiled or delivered through symbolism, through metaphor, through analogy. Thus if we study, for example, the Greek mysteries, we may discover that amazing and deeply insightful story of Cupid and Psyche, of which there is a beautiful rendition in the book by Apuleius called "The Golden Ass" or "The Metamorphosis of Lucius." This is an ancient Gnostic novel that contains a very potent but very modern story, a very important psychological teaching, and I recommend that you read and study this book. In the middle of the book, Apuleius tells the story of Cupid and Psyche, and within that myth you discover a profound teaching about the nature of our consciousness.
The gist of the story of the golden ass is about a man named Lucius who is quite vain and quite pleased with himself, who has a strong curiosity about magic. He also has a very strong lustful passion. The combination of these factors leads him to a situation where because of his lust and his naivety he becomes transformed into an ass, a donkey, and from this moment he enters into the most disturbing, extensive series of suffering-different events within which he suffers terribly again and again and again. Lucius is a symbol of you and me; Lucius is a symbol of any intellectual animal that becomes hypnotized or under the control of the desires of the animal mind, that animal mind that we have within.
Lucius in this story is controlled by his lust, by his curiosity, by his vanity, by his pride, and these, of course, appear in the screen of his mind through his three brains. These three brains are the vehicles through which psychological impulses manifest. They are also the vehicles through which external impressions are received and transformed. These three brains are machines, each of which has a specific function and a limited potential. So in our story of Lucius, we see how this person who had the potential to become a great person instead became victimized by his own desires, and due to karma-due to cause and effect, in other words-he transformed himself into an animal and thus suffered intensely. I will not spoil the ending of the book for you because the ending is fantastic, but what is important for us to understand is that we ourselves have become the golden ass, the donkey.
We, like Lucius, are tossed from situation to situation in life without any real ability to control our circumstances. We find ourselves in one circumstance after another, and merely respond, react, but our potential to change those circumstances is incredibly limited; part of the reason for this is that we do not have individual will. We think we do, we believe we have individuality, we believe we are an integral person, one, unique as a whole, but if we become really sincere with ourselves, really observe ourselves, we can see that this is not true. From one moment to the next our will is constantly changing.
In one moment we may feel the impulse, the craving, the urge to eat, and perhaps we are attracted to a particular kind of food and the whole organism reacts and responds to this, and we feel the hunger, we imagine that food, we want it and we begin to plan how to get it, but then in the next moment we feel a different desire, even a contradictory one. Perhaps we feel we want to be skinny. We want others to like our appearance so then we say, "No, I cannot eat that chocolate cake," and then we begin to feel and to be driven by that impulse to develop our vanity, and then the next moment we feel a desire to buy something, to go shopping, and in the moment after that we have another contradictory desire to stay in bed and sleep or to watch TV.
These sort of seemingly unimportant changes of direction reflect a very significant psychological scenario, and this scenario is called "the doctrine of the many I's." This doctrine of the many I's states that we do not have a single 'I'; instead we have a legion of them, and this legion of I's is constantly in battle to take control of our human machine, to manipulate our three brains in order to feed themselves, and this is how we can understand that in one moment we may be deeply in love with our boyfriend or girlfriend, our spouse, but then with a very small change of circumstances we can feel complete indifference towards them, or even hate. How else can we explain to ourselves this contradictory flux from one day to the next, from one hour to the next, where in one moment we are very happy with our job and in the next we hate it, and just a little while after that we are indifferent?
This constant back and forth of contradictory wills is what keeps us trapped as a victim of circumstances. We may find from time to time that we do develop a very strong desire or a longing to make a change in our lives. Say for example we want a particular type of career and we feel very enthusiastic about this career. We might spend months or even years training ourselves, studying and learning about this career, and then one day we do not like it anymore, we become indifferent, we even hate it, and how is that? Is it true, this illusion we tell ourselves, that we simply "changed our mind?" Or is the truth so disturbing to us that we can not bear to face it, and that is we never really wanted that career in the first place, an 'I' did, an ego, an aggregate in our psyche desired that? Perhaps because of longing for security, perhaps because that 'I' wanted to be respected, to be admired, to be rich, to look different or to follow in the footsteps of a person we admire.
From moment to moment, from scenario to scenario, different desires-or stated another way, different wills-step in and take control over this human-like machine, and we as a consciousness remain asleep. We have this mistaken perspective that somehow we are a unity, and this illusion is there partly because of the nature of having a physical body, that being in a physical body it feels like we are in a continuity. It also comes because we have a memory and the nature of our memory is such that we naturally merge together all these contradictory events as one single flow, but we fail to recognize the true characteristics of that flow of events or circumstances within our psyche.
In the Bible, this doctrine of the many I's is presented in the form of a story.
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
And when he (Jesus) was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs (among empty forms: the Klipoth, the "World of Shells": the unconsciousness, subconsciousness and infranconsciousness. This man lived among the illusions of his own mind, among perceptions and ideas that have no life, or God, in them);
And no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. (Because he is filled with conflicts: he does not keep commitments or respect the bonds of friendship; he cannot keep his word. He says one thing and does another. He is only interested in serving himself).
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones (he is lost in the painful wilderness of life, lost, directionless, with no sense of where he is going or what he is doing, suffering, damaging himself with the abuse of his own stone, the Mercury, the sexual energy).
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, (because he still has the consciousness inside, and can recognize the Christ)
And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. (already he contradicts himself: he goes to Jesus because he wants the Light, then he tells Jesus not to torment him. We seek out the light of Christ by seeking for Gnosis, yet when we find it, we make demands and want the teaching to come according to our taste, our desires; we want it in accordance with our ego).
For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. (the ego)
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. - Mark 5:1-9
This story symbolizes how that universal compassion embodied in Jesus, that compassion that we call Christ, has the capability to clean our unclean spirit. To reject from our psyche all of those legions, those psychological elements that constitute what we also call "the ego." It is in this way that we find and discover that there is a way out of suffering, and that way out of suffering is to cleanse the mind, to eject from our psyche all of those discursive emotions, discursive thoughts, discursive impulses which arrive into the screen of our mind from our own subconsciousness, from our own unconsciousness, and the infra-consciousness, the deepest levels of the consciousness. When we are capable of doing that, we can arrive at what is called individuality.
Someone who is an individual has an individual will. An individual is someone who does not contradict themselves, who knows the will of their own inner Being, their own inner Buddha, and acts on that will without contradiction. This is a person like Buddha, like Jesus or Moses: human beings in the full sense of that word. These are people who learned how to control their own human machine consciously, with conscious will, no longer being driven by impulses.
We learn that through self observation, through self remembering, through meditation, and we learn that by studying ourselves. We need to study Gnosis, we need to study the doctrine, we need to study the scriptures, but all of those studies are only there in order to give us fuel, to give us support for the study of our own selves. If we are not studying our own mind, we are wasting our time. If we are not really studying the function of our own psyche, we have not begun to enter into Gnosis, because remember as I said, Gnosis is the study of our own selves. When we sincerely observe our own life, when we watch our own mind from moment to moment, we begin to become terrified because we see very quickly that the mind is out of control. If you have tried to meditate, to quiet your mind, to have a silent mind, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
If you have individuality, an individual will, you should have the capability to sit and not think, to be silent, to be serene as a mind, but what you will discover is that you do not have that ability, and that thoughts and feelings and impulses arise from your three brains constantly without your will. The recognition of this could drive you mad. If you really just watch your mind, just watch the impulses that come up constantly and how contradictory they are, when you really start to listen closely you will hear and see and feel in yourself a whole legion of voices, voices that have different tones, different timbers, different characteristics. Some sound like men, some sound like women, some cry, some shout, some whisper... and who is that? This is something for you to question about yourself. You may notice this situation most strikingly in those moments when you are falling asleep or just waking, when external sensations are not so distracting and you are more submerged into your own interior psychology, and you can feel and experience this cacophony of voices, all of whom struggle with each other in order to establish control over your machine.
This is a very disturbing thing to face in oneself. It is very unsettling, it is very uncomfortable, and this is one of those causes that drives people away from genuine self-knowledge. It is very painful to see the facts, yet if we cannot diagnose the disease, we cannot cure it. It is essential for you to see yourself as you really are, to recognize that we, each of us, are victims of this legion of our own mind.
This is very important for beginning students in this study in Gnosis, but it is equally important for students who have been around for a while. It is very subtle, but gradually the more you become familiar with this doctrine, the more relaxed you can become about making effort. There are many who have been studying Gnosis for many, many years, who have the illusion that they are knowing themselves more, but they are not. It is easy to become hypnotized by the circumstances of life and by the various egos that feel very threatened by this knowledge.
Yes, our mind is very threatened, because Gnosis seeks to destroy the ego, to remove pride, to obliterate lust, to vanquish envy, to crush fear, and in that way, when all of these conflicting, discursive, filthy egos have been removed, what remains is the Being, what remains is the consciousness, what remains is purity. When the ego is removed, what remains is the Essence, the pure consciousness.
The Essence is the embryo of the real individual, the embryo of the soul, that part of our psyche that can be grown and developed into a complete human being. The essence is the reflection of God, and it is those great prophets and angels and masters from all times who reflect to us the nature of our own Essence: conscious love, innocence, tremendous intelligence, brilliant creativity, patience, happiness for others, temperance, fortitude. All of the real virtues emerge from the consciousness.
There are some who say "if you destroy the ego, you destroy the person, you destroy the mind, what is left?" These types of people do not understand that the ego and the Being are different like oil and water. The destruction of the mind means the destruction of the animal mind. The destruction of the 'I' brings about the revelation of the true self, the real Being, which is beyond any kind of 'I', which is a kind of individuality that is beyond individuality.
The true self, our true nature, is empty. Our true nature, our true 'I,' has no 'I' but is individual, and though it seems contradictory, it is directly verifiable, it is something you can experience if you practice meditation seriously, if you dissolve your ego, if you conquer your desires.
As we are now, we are tossed from circumstance to circumstance, from one form of suffering to another like a donkey, like an ass who is tied to a stick, who does not see the rope or the stick, who sees in front of it's eyes a carrot, and who wants the carrot, and that carrot could be anything: it could be a new car, it could be a career, it could be a baby or a child, it could be spiritual realization, it could be money or wealth or fame, it could be "success" (whatever that means). Each of us is that donkey, marching from day to day, blindly and with a great deal of hypnotism, pursuing this carrot that dangles before us that we can never seem to grasp, all the while not realizing that we are tied to a pole and all we do is walk in circles, around and around, repeating ourselves again and again, repeating our circumstances, repeating our sufferings, and all the while the only result is we make that hole deeper. Every time we walk around that circle, we dig it deeper.
The fact of this is ignored by everyone because it is too painful. We cannot face it because we love the idea that we can achieve our dreams. We love the dream that "life can be what we want it to be," but it is a lie. So long as the ego is alive, we will be what our circumstances produce; we can do nothing, because the ego is karma, the ego brings to us the results of our actions according to the law. The Bible says we will reap what we sow. We receive what we give; we receive what we are due.
So we repeat ourselves in cycles again and again-in fact, when you seriously begin to observe yourself, to study yourself, you discover that the vast majority of the feelings and thoughts that you had today, you had yesterday. The vast majority of the fears and concerns and worries that you have today, you had yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, ad nauseam. What is new in our minds, in our hearts? Where is our will? This sad truth is nothing new, what I am stating to you is an ancient truth which is contained within all of the religions, within all of the mystery schools. In fact Shakespeare wrote about it very beautifully but tragically, in Macbeth.
The story of Macbeth is of a man who had tremendous potential to become a great leader, to become of tremendous benefit to Scotland, but who instead was misled by three sisters. These three sisters symbolize the Three Furies, the Three Traitors. If you have studied any religion, you have studied the three traitors. Jesus has three traitors, Hiram Abiff has three traitors, Osiris has three traitors-in all of the great religions those three traitors represent the demons that inhabit our three brains: the demon of the intellect, the demon of the heart, and the demon of our instinctive, motor and sexual center.
These three sisters in Macbeth offer prophecies to Macbeth, and when those prophecies start to become true, he becomes convinced that these three witches have supernatural powers so he begins to trust them. But, very significantly, his companion Banquo says:
...oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence.
This is exactly what the ego does. Our own ego always working to convince us of it's authority, of it's wisdom, of it's importance; it tells us things in our intellect about ourselves, about our future, it tells us things in our heart about ourselves, about our future, about our potentials, and it tells us things through our sexual center, our motor center, our instinctual center. This is where we get these thoughts and ideas about what we can become, about what life can be for us, about all the great things that we will do in the future, about all our dreams.
It is a very bitter medicine to become a little older and discover that it is all a lie. Some people discover that when they get a little older and reflect on their lives and find nothing has gone the way their mind told them it was going to go-nothing, not their brilliant career, not the great wealth they would acquire, not the fame, not all the friends, not the admiration, the success, and even if they got some of those things, it never comes the way the mind says it will, because the mind is a liar, the mind is Satan, the father of lies.
So Macbeth follows what his own three traitors tell him, and if you are familiar with the story, the outcome is tragic. At the very end there is a part of him that realizes it-he doesn't change course because his ego is too strong, but he makes a statement that can only be made from the comprehension of this fact of life, that the ego is a liar, and as we listen to it, we waste our life.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Truthfully I tell you this: I read this to you with pain. It is painful to see the realities of life, a life lived under the sway of the illusion of the animal mind, this legion of egos that controls humanity... To see all of the children who are being indoctrinated with this false idea, who are not being taught about the consciousness, about how to awaken their own consciousness... who are being taught instead to celebrate lust, to enjoy their anger, to be entertained with violence and to cultivate envy and greed. These are the values of our current civilization, these are the things that we celebrate and love, and the result is suffering. The result is the mass of confusion and chaos that we now furtively attempt to deny.
We all are grasping desperately to the idea that somehow life is going to get better, when in fact from week to week it is getting worse, from month to month life is becoming more difficult, more complicated, more contradictory, and this is because that is what is happening with the ego. The ego itself is not organized in any way; the ego has no coordination at all. Now there are some schools who believe that it does, who believe that you can "map" or "structure" the ego, but the fact is that the different elements of the ego emerge in our mind only because of circumstances, and when circumstances change, new egos emerge. There is no pattern except chaos. There is no structure except a riot. That riot is our own psyche.
The solution is to begin to pay attention to it. We need to come to understand that this human-like machine has capacities, enormous capacities, but that have to be harnessed by conscious will. Even science nowadays tells us that we only use a very small percentage of the brain, and the percentage varies, three percent, five percent, sometimes a little more, but neuroscientists all recognize this universally and are perplexed. How is it that of all of the beautiful and intricate systems in our organism, the one we do not use is the brain? The one that we do not understand, the one that we take for granted, and that is underdeveloped and underutilized is the brain, which incidentally we all think is our real identity anyway. How curious it is that we think we are the brain, and yet we only use a small percentage of it.
All of the mystery schools teach how to awaken the consciousness, and when the consciousness is awakened then we start to use the human organism to it's full capacity. We start to use the entire brain, we start to use all of the glands, the endocrine system, and the nervous system. We awaken subtle centers of transformation that exist throughout the seven bodies that we have, and in that way open up senses that up till now have been dormant, ignored.
This is how we can understand those great prodigies like Mozart. I invite you to study Mozart, to listen to his music, but more incredibly, to look at how he wrote it. Actually look at the documents where he wrote the music down, and you will see that he didn't erase anything. He wrote it down once. He didn't sit and think about it and say 'oh maybe I will try this or maybe I will try that'. He heard the music inside and then he wrote it down, that is all. All the great composers have stated that that is how their greatest works have come to be. They themselves did not write it, they were only machines that transformed it.
Straight-away the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind's eye, but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration. - Johannes Brahms
[Madam Butterfly] was dictated to me by God; I was merely instrumental in putting it on paper. - Giacomo Puccini
I can only assume that God wanted penicillin, and that was his reason for creating Alexander Fleming. - Sir Alexander Fleming
The consciousness, when awake, can perceive other dimensions, can perceive things beyond mere physical matter. The consciousness can see and hear and sense the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the seventh dimension. This is how Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, and the other great composers heard their music, received that music through the three brains, consciously, and transcribed it. This is why all the great artists, the really great artists say "I am but the pen of God."
This is the goal, the purpose of this human organism: to receive and transmit the idiosyncracy of our own inner Being. The purpose of this marvelous machine is not simply to be born, to fornicate, to have children like rabbits and then die. That would be truly sad if that were the point of life. The point of life is to become a human being, a real human being: one that can see, reflect, and interact with the whole cosmos. The great prophets have all reflected that to us: life does not have to be just suffering and pain. Life can be joyful, beautiful, very fulfilling, but it cannot be that if we remain hypnotized by our self interest, by self will, by our own self-obsessed ego.
This is the other name for the legion: "the self-willed," and that term can provide us with a great clue when we are self-observing, when we are observing our own mind. When we see elements arise in our thoughts, in our feelings, or in our impulses to action, we can analyze it: who benefits? "Who will benefit if I take the course of action that my mind is proposing?" Who benefits, who loses? The point of view of our modern culture is 'give me what I want'. Our entire culture is focused on this, fulfilling desire, getting whatever it is we want, and yet if you take a step back, and you imagine for a moment the limited sphere or circle of life, and you put within that circle a pile of goods, and all the people who are within that circle have the same idea, 'give me what I want'. The strongest, the fastest are going to rush forward and take what they want, and some will get nothing. Who benefits, how long can that circle be sustained? If the resources are limited, and a few are stealing all for themselves and leaving nothing for the rest, what will happen? Obviously, the rest will die, the few will be left alone, and they too will die, because no one can exist independently; what is left is nothing.
Reciprocity is another word for karma. Everything in life is reciprocal, circular, cyclical. Every action that we perform has a consequence. Every direction that we choose has a consequence. When we take something, who are we taking it from? Who benefits, who loses?
I am not proposing that we should renounce all things; I am proposing that we should become cognizant of what we use and why, because at the moment we are not. How else can we explain that the vast majority of the world's resources are concentrated in a very small number of places? For example, North Americans and Europeans can eat anything they want at any time, but most of the rest of the world does not have that benefit. Why? Who loses and who benefits? Do you want to know why there is starvation in the world? The answer is simple: because others are hoarding what they do not need. The same goes for poverty, for the lack of clean water, for the grossly imbalanced distribution of every kind of necessary resource.
There is a fundamental disparity which is caused by the self-willed. We persist from day to day listening to the desires of the mind. As a friend told me, "we live as slaves to our tongue." Each of us is a slave to taste: if food does not taste sensational, if we do not love it, if we are not crazy about it, then we do not like it at all, we criticize it, we reject it, we will not eat it, and if you go to any restaurant in the western world, you will see how people will send back food or not pay for food, when not too far away there are people who have no choice, who eat things that westerners would not even consider eating, would not even touch it. I am giving this as an example of the point of view of the ego. The ego is all about "more and more and more, give me more, give me what I want" - it is self-willed, selfish, and this fundamental point of view is what has caused the situation our world is in. Society does not exist separately from you or from me. Society is because of you and because of me. All of us long for a better society, and all of us want to change others to be the way we want them to be, and yet we cannot even change ourselves.
It would be good, it would be beneficial for us to wake up, to become conscious, to begin to establish conscious control over this intellect, and when thoughts arise, to question them. It is useful to not just go along with whatever we think, but to question our thoughts: "where does this thought come from, what does it want, why am I always listening to these thoughts, did I ask for this thought, did I call this thought," etc.; we need to ask these questions of ourselves. The same is true of emotions, feelings, likes and dislikes. Why do we feel antipathy for a person? Is it because we see something of ourselves in them that we do not want to see? Is it because we see something in them that reflects something that we have, that we cannot bear?
Do we really consciously comprehend why we feel the way we do, why we have the desires that we do?
Why we are attracted to certain kinds of emotional stimuli such as music, television or books?
Likewise, we are we driven by impulses that arise in our action center, and motor-instinctive-sexual center?
Why is the sexual impulse so powerful, why are we such victims of the desire for sexual sensation?
Why do we have no control?
Why is it that this donkey is allowed to do whatever it wants?
What about our impulses to over eat, to eat poorly, or to be extremely picky, or the opposite?
There are people who are very proud of themselves when they get the latest fashion, when they get some new clothes and they love how it makes them feel. They feel pretty, handsome, they feel "new," they feel like they're "ahead" of everybody else, but this is vanity and pride. Standing next to them is another person who feels vanity and pride for wearing their old clothes, who feels vanity and pride, telling themselves "I'm better because I'm being more prudent, I am saving my old clothes and reusing them," this is still vanity and pride.
The ego is multi-faceted; so long as we continue in all of our circumstances to be driven by the impulses of the animal mind, suffering will persist. So the solution for us is to learn about ourselves, to know ourselves, to be aware of what is arising within us, to not be a marionette, to become a real person, a real human being.
Q: I guess we have a misconception of mental projections, there is something we project onto others through the eyes I guess, through the jealously, or pride, or it could be like a scenario that we create that just because we are not committing a physical action that we do not really receive karma for that, or is really karma administered for committing the act or not just by mental projection?
A: The question is about whether there is karma for actions that occur in the mind. You have to understand that we exist in more than just the physical body. Because we are asleep consciously, we have lost the ability to perceive the other aspects of our existence. This human-like machine that we exist within is multi-dimensional; it is not just physical. All of the energies that surge and process themselves through our three brains have components or aspects that are likewise multi-faceted.
So for example when a thought is processing in your physical brain, that thought has arrived from an ego. That ego exists in your own particular klipoth or hell, which is part of the fifth dimension, the submerged part, and that thought is a reflection of the will of that ego.
Energy and matter can never be separated, and this is what Einstein pointed out to us, so when that energy of that thought is processing itself through your intellect, it has consequences. Everything has consequences, without exception. Your thoughts have consequences, but you cannot perceive it because you are asleep. When you awaken consciousness, then you can perceive that a thought is an energy which produces a result.
Our mind is not a self-enclosed sphere; this is part of the illusion that we have, related to this idea that we are an individual. We think that our mind is a self-enclosed unit, and that within that space we can think what we want, we can feel what we want, we can imagine whatever we want and this is a lie.
Whatever you think, whatever you feel, whatever you imagine, affects others. How else can we explain those times in our lives when we have felt intuitively that someone is feeling a certain way towards us, while there is no physical evidence? Say for example when you were a kid and you started to feel like one of the other children liked you. There is no physical sign because as children we do not show things like that, but you can sense it, or if you work in an office and you have a co-worker and you start to sense something, to feel something. That is because the mind is not self-enclosed: we mix and blend with each other. When you think and feel things, there are consequences.
Any other questions?
Q: So why is it that I guess when we project something onto others, we always get it back as it is what we will both get, right? So in reality, I mean, we should think about it before projecting our suffering right?
A: Well, yes, we need to become more cognizant of our actions, there is no question about it, and that includes our actions of thought and feeling. Let me give you an example. Many people who are in a marriage or in a couple are being indoctrinated with this cultural perspective now that it is o.k. for them to fantasize about having sexual acts with other people, as long as physically they do not do it. This is the idea; this is a lie. The physical body is just a vehicle in the physical world. Our emotions have their corresponding vehicle in the astral world. Our thoughts have their corresponding vehicle in the mental world. When we understand that the vehicles we inhabit have seven dimensions, the physical is just the lowest, and we are encouraging and indoctrinating each other with this idea that it is o.k. to fantasize about others, what we are doing is saying it is o.k. to commit adultery, because eventually all of that energy in the mind will manifest physically; it is inevitable. As much as you fantasize and think about things and allow your mind to imagine, in this case the sexual act with other people, what is happening is that you are training your mind that it is o.k., and all that remains is that flimsy barrier to act on it physically, and you can see very easily that that barrier does not stand up when the desire is strong, and that is why adultery and fornication is so widespread, that is why so many marriages fail, because people fantasize.
Q: "I remember when Jesus says, if you have lust in your heart then you have already committed adultery."
A: "Yes, it says in the gospel. If you have committed an act in your mind, you have committed it. It says that in the gospel, Jesus says that, if you have committed adultery with a woman in your heart, you have committed the act, and this underscores the extreme difficulty of this work, because our ego wants to indulge itself in all of it's desires and if it cannot do it physically, it sure wants to do it in our fantasy, in our minds.
Fantasy is an obstacle to comprehension. Fantasy is an obstacle to the awakening of the consciousness.
Daydreaming is a form of hypnosis, it is a way of lying to ourselves and committing crimes.
The function of imagination is critical, because imagination is directly connected with sexual energy, and sexual energy is the most powerful energy that exists within our organism.
We can see seven fundamental types of energy that exist within us. There is the physical energy, which is clear, there is vital energy or sexual energy, emotional, mental, the energy of will, energy of consciousness and energy of spirit, but what is the most powerful one? What is the one that we have so much difficulty controlling more than any other, that has the most power? The sexual energy, it is the one form of energy that gives us the power of God, and in the most superficial level, that power comes about when we join a male and a female through the sexual act. They have the power to create a child. That is the most superficial level of the use of sexual energy. There are levels above that and beyond that, that are more powerful, and that is to use that sexual energy to transform the mind, and this is the basis of tantra: to harness those forces, to utilize them and direct them consciously to free ourselves from the legion, and that is what is symbolized in the story about Jesus.
Q: What are the kind of dreams you have at night like when you do not have control of them?
A: Dreams that we have at night are a reflection of our state of consciousness. If we lack any control over our dreams at night it is because we lack any control over our consciousness during the day. Between night and day there is a continuity; the only difference is at night we let the physical body rest; that is the only difference. Your consciousness functions the same way, but what happens is, because we are so asleep, and because we are so hypnotized and identified with our ego, the different desires that arise in us, when the physical body goes to sleep we become totally entranced by all the manifestations of our mind, and in reality what we dream is the interior of our mind, and that is why we have dreams about being at work, about going to church, about going shopping, about going here and there and doing all the same things that we did during the day.
If you want to take conscious control over your dreaming, take conscious control over your waking life first, because by natural extension if you become conscious of yourself during the day, then when your physical body goes to sleep you will remain conscious of yourself and then you can begin to exercise conscious will over your experiences while you're outside of the body. Anyone can achieve that if you make the effort.
The problem is we want an easy answer, everybody wants a simple trick or a magic pill that will awaken their consciousness in the astral plane and nobody wants to make the effort to awaken physically; that is because we want the sensation of being awake in the astral plane. This is the ego; it wants to experience the sensation of flying, of moving through walls, of manipulating matter the way you can do in the astral world. But if we instead start from the point of view that we want to change to take control of our lives, to become a better person, then we will start working here physically and that work physically to become conscious of ourselves, to dominate the donkey mind, will start to reflect in our dreaming, because we will start to be awake during the process of dreaming and be able to take control over those dreams.
Nonetheless, whatever we do while dreaming while in the astral world whether we are conscious or unconscious produces karma, because every action on any level of existence has consequences. So if you are dreaming that you are committing a crime, in that world you are committing a crime, and that is because in your mind you have the element that can only commit that crime, so it becomes your responsibility to remove it; that is why we study the dissolution of the ego.
Any other questions?
Q: O.k. but how do you distinguish then when you are, I guess, in your own experiences like a God, or have problems when you try to interpret your dreams. If you are shown robbing some bank or some vain or really interpretation could be something over a computer... [inaudible]
A: Well, this is something you have to develop through experience. It is one thing to watch the screen or the reflection of a past action or a potential action, and it is another thing to do the act. For example, when you are in meditation, if you have observed some impulse in yourself during the day that is disturbing. Say for example, you have felt extreme anger toward your spouse, and this is very disturbing because we are supposed to love our spouse and when you feel that kind of anger, anger is hate, anger wants violence; this is disturbing to see, but we all have it. So if you are meditating on that, and observing that, part of what you have to do is to replay that scene where that feeling emerged, the impulse emerged, so you have to review it, to reflect upon it, to watch it. This does not mean you are committing the action again unless you become identified with it and start to invest more emotional energy into it like "yea I was right, I should be angry", then you are making it worse, but if you can maintain that separation consciously, to just observe the image, you are not contributing to the continuity of the crime, in fact you are doing the opposite. You are beginning to extract what is valuable from it, to comprehend it. In this way you can see that the consciousness has a power that is in some crude way similar to the power that the body has to digest food. The body has the power to take food, to extract from it the elements that we need and to dispel the rest, to eject the rest. The consciousness can do that with impressions, but we do not use it, and that is why the mind becomes so full of so much garbage, but when we start to activate that ability from moment to moment by observing, we start to clean the mind and that does not mean that we are contributing to those crimes in the mind.
Each one of us has the potential, the great gift to become a human being. As difficult as life is, as painful, we have an unbelievable opportunity. In lectures like this and in studying the books, sometimes the knowledge is very bitter and painful and we do not like the taste, but we have to take our medicine.
It is important for us to realize that within each one of us is the seed of a Buddha, the seed of an angel, but that seed can only grow if the ego dies, because a Buddha, an angel, cannot have ego, cannot have lust or anger or pride or envy or fear, gluttony, greed, avarice, self love, self esteem - none of that. So we have the capacity to become pure, we have that potential, and this human-like machine that we inhabit at this moment is the vehicle that can take us there if we use it wisely. If we use all the energies in all of it's levels, we can become what we should be.