"Life has an objective. A superior world is the objective of life. Thus, the Gnostic teachings teach us how to live in a superior world, how to live in a solar and immortal humanity; if one would not accept a superior world, transformation would then not have a purpose, this is obvious." - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
The science of Gnosis is a very particular form of knowledge that guides us in the process of transforming our life. This is the very purpose of the gnostic teachings.
The reason behind all of the activity of the many spiritual messengers who have come to humanity has been to give us practical guidance so that we can transform our lives. It is not been so that we can merely believe, play games with our intellect, or to merely theorize. But instead, all the great religions have been given to us as a gift in order to help us overcome suffering, to give us practical tools that we can use to find the truth, experience it, and to find what real happiness is. This is why we study gnosis.
If we study a religion or this gnostic teaching and lose sight of this essential foundation, then we are on a mistaken path. If we merely intellectualize, debate, simply believe but do not practice, then we are on a mistaken path.
This fact becomes easy for us to see when we analyze how existence functions, and we can only know that through our own experience.
Look at life as it is. We see that life is really a series of transformations. Life proceeds and develops by means of transformation.
Everything is in continual change. Nothing is exempt from this. There is nothing in existence that is stagnant or static or motionless. Day to day existence requires change. There is no way around this. This is basic physics.
What we fail to remember, what we fail to grasp, is that we ourselves are undergoing continual change, continual transformation, but in what way? How are we continually changing? This is what escapes our perception. This is because we still lack the capacity to perceive directly, consciously, how we are changing. And this is because our consciousness is asleep.
Therefore, we arrive at the reason why all of the great messengers emphasized the need to awaken. Repeatedly in the gospels of Jesus we see phrases like “Wake up, awaken, sleep not”. We see this throughout the teachings of any great messenger. What needs to awaken in us is our consciousness. This is what we fundamentally ignore.
When the consciousness begins to awaken by means of our will through practical effort that we make from moment to moment, we put ourselves in a position to begin to learn about how we ourselves are transforming from moment to moment. That activity of self-observation or watchfulness initiates a process of transformation, but it cannot fully develop that transformation on its own. In other words, to be watchful of oneself is a beginning, but is not everything.
In esoteric psychology, we learn different tools in order to study ourselves. Self-observation and self-remembering are among the basic tools that we use in order to begin to understand gnosis. And as I mentioned, it is the beginning, but not everything. After we have self-observation developed, there are more skills we need to develop. But first, we need to be capable of observing ourselves.
So for us to begin to comprehend what gnosis is, we have to begin observing ourselves, remembering ourselves, watching our mind continually, and this is a place to start. If you have not already studied self-observation, then you should do so. Study what that means, but most of all, begin practicing it, and never stop practicing it. This is an effort, an activity, that we have to continually renew until we perfect it. This does not come in a matter of hours or even a matter of weeks.
This sense of inner watchfulness begins to show us the depth and complexity of our psyche, the many contradictions that we have within us. It can be an overwhelming realization to see how deep we really are. It can be an overwhelming realization to see how strong the ego is in us.
When we practice self-observation, it can feel exhausting because our consciousness is weak. We have not exercised our consciousness, and thus it does not have the strength to be continually active. This is why we need to continually revive it, to keep activating the consciousness so that it will become strong.
We have many exercises and practices that we use in order to aid the consciousness in its process of awakening. Meditation is the most important one. But there are additional practices like pranayama, sexual transmutation, the use of mantras, and various tools like rejuvenation exercises and runic practices. All of these aid in giving strength to the consciousness so that we can make it more and more active. This is the basis of our foundation. We do not do all these practices to “get spiritual experiences” or to impress others or to look like a very dedicated spiritual person. We do these practices to strengthen our consciousness, so that we can observe ourselves, so that we can learn about ourselves, so that we can change.
When we take a look at our psychology, gnosis teaches us that we have three brains.
We study those three brains, especially in self-observation, to learn how they function and how they misfunction according to our use of them.
And we learn about the different bodies of the soul.
We learn about not only how the physical body works, but also how it is enlivened and given its life by the vital body. And how the vital body in turn is influenced by the astral and mental bodies. We learn how all of these vehicles interrelate with our three brains and all of that understanding is aided by learning kabbalah in order to see the structure and understand how they relate — and all of these things are important and essential and we need them, but without the foundation of self-transformation, it is all a waste of time. Many study Kabbalah and Alchemy, but they do not change. Thus, they are wasting their time.
In our day today existence in our moment-to-moment life, what we seek is to change, to transform our lives and in turn to help make this a better world. This is why we have gnosis. This is why these beautiful teachings have been granted to us in spite of our faults and our defects and our crimes. Therefore, we are with a heavy responsibility to utilize gnosis in the right way and to actualize it, to realize it in our own hearts and minds.
To do that we need to keep this foundation in mind — CHANGE — and not become distracted by all the many subtleties and the difficulties of the knowledge, or the distractions of material existence. Our comforts and securities in the world, our social life, our families, friends, possessions — all of these pass away. Schools, gnostic schools, spiritual movements, religions all die. Our physical body will die. Material existence itself will pass away. But our consciousness will persist. What counts is what we have done with our consciousness. How much we have developed it, awakened it and strengthened it and made it shine? This is why it is so important for us to constantly and continually be watchful of ourselves. To see that the way we are using our energy is feeding the development of consciousness.
Understanding all of that, we arrive at an important aspect of this teaching.
We can observe our organism or our existence in this material world and see that really this body of ours is similar to a factory or machine with three levels.
On the ground level of this factory we take in food and water in order to feed our machine, to give it fuel and energy, to give it health, and we eat and we drink everyday in order to produce a transformation. When we take in the raw elements of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and water, our physical body — through its incredible intelligence — transforms all of those forms of matter into energy and other forms of matter, which sustain our physical vehicle and give us health, all in accordance to how well we eat and drink. Of course, nowadays people have become habituated over decades to eating garbage, to ingesting a lot of chemicals and synthetic foods, which contain no real vitality. Because of that, the vitality of our physical bodies is in decline. Nonetheless, if we are vigilant and willing to renounce all of those synthetic and fake forms of food, we can still take in the material for our physical well being and our mental well being.
On the second level of this factory, of this machine, we take in air. We breathe. The air that we absorb sustains our existence. In fact, this second level is even more important than the first level. We can live without food for a period of time, we can even go without water for a period of time, but we cannot go without air for very long at all. And of course, now in these times we have also become habituated to inhaling and transforming very impure air, such that now people prefer the polluted air in cities, in bars, in clubs, and when they smell fresh air they feel “weird.” Or we become habituated to smoking, which fills the lungs with an incredible amount of toxic material, poisoning the organism and the mind.
When we study the gnostic tradition, the practical teachings, we are informed about these first two levels, that in relation with food and water we should try to eat the purest we can and eat it consciously, attentively, and we refer to the traditions amongst very serious practitioners who would not hold conversations while eating, who would pray while eating, in order to fully consciously transform their food, and we learn mantras for that. Likewise, in relation with air, we learn how to watch our breath, to pay attention to our process of breathing. We learn practices like Anapana which is very ancient traditional form of concentration based on the observation of the breath, and we learn pranayama where we harness the vital forces that are in the atmosphere in order to consciously absorb those energies through our energetic channels and through the lungs. In all of these methods, the goal is to strengthen the consciousness, to give it pure energy so that our consciousness will have a very robust presence and be able to observe and watch with great attentiveness. That is why we learn all of these things. It is not simply to imitate others or to have some kind of ecstatic experiences or very pleasant experiences. It is to strengthen our consciousness so we can learn and change.
On the third level of this factory, we find the most important transformation of all: the transformation of impressions.
"In the same manner that the digestive apparatus has a stomach in order to assimilate the food, in the same manner that the respiratory system has lungs to assimilate oxygen, so too must a mental stomach be created by the mechanical human being. Please do not misunderstand or misinterpret this statement. This is not a bodily cellular stomach. We have to transform impressions before digesting them. The creation of such a mental stomach is granted and facilitated by the Gnostic teachings, consequently making the intellectual animal something different."
Many become bewildered when they hear about transformation of impressions. We call all of the sensory data that comes in through our five senses impressions. All of that data needs to be transformed consciously, and this is a very challenging concept for us to grasp. It seems subtle. It seems elusive. It is here that we can get stuck or confused in the theory or philosophy, especially when we hear what Samael Aur Weor pointed out repeatedly in his books, that life does not exist except in how we perceive it.
Life is not how we think it is. In fact, we only see our impressions of life, we do not see life as it is. When we observe nature, we see a tree or plant. We do not see that tree or plant as it actually exists. What we see is our impression of it. We do not really look at the plant. Instead, we only “see” the interpretation of that plant, which is in our mind. This is a very important reality for us to perceive directly for ourselves, to experience.
If we really reflect on our experience of life, we will find that we have experienced it but never took it seriously. As an example, you may have seen a person, not known them, but seen them around, may be at work or at school or in the neighborhood, and that image or maybe sound that you receive from that person, you interpret in your mind. Maybe you do not like them. Maybe something about them offends you, or scares you, or disgusts you. How did you interpret that image or those sounds? Later, you may hear something else about that person that contradicts your impression. Maybe they are actually a really good person. Maybe you meet them and discover they are actually really a good person and you discover that your impression was wrong. This very simple example of what is happening in us continually. The concepts in our minds do not accurately reflect the reality. Yet, we think that what we think is accurate.
Everything that we receive through our five senses is received and transformed. But unfortunately, not only do we not receive the sensory data with awareness, we also do not transform those impressions with awareness, consciously. We simply receive them mechanically and react mechanically, receive them mechanically and react mechanically, continuously. And we do not even know why we react the way we do. Reactions just emerge as if “spontaneously” from within us. We do not see the perception of the senses for what they are, we do not see the impressions come in, we do not see them transform, and we do not see the reaction that is produced until it is already manifested. That is why we end up making so many fundamental mistakes.
In The Revolution of the Dialectic, Samael Aun Weor explains this by means of an example. If we imagine a lake, a very calm, serene, smooth lake, and we throw a rock into that lake, the rock represents the data coming from the exterior world. When the rock strikes the surface of the water, that is the impression striking our senses. And the waves are the reactions of the mind.
If you have ever tried to meditate, you have seen for yourself that the mind is turbulent. The mind is churning with waves that come from every direction, without any consistency and predictability, and seemingly without anything that you can do about it. So, many people try to meditate but give up when they face this obstacle.
The solution is to learn to transform impressions consciously. When we do that, when we are attentive and observing our experience from moment to moment, impressions arrive to our senses, we receive them consciously, transform them in the moment consciously. Then the reaction that is produced in the mind is controlled, managed. Then the mind becomes calm naturally, on its own. Then when we meditate, the mind is quiet. It is very simple, in theory, but challenging to do in daily life precisely because we become identified with impressions that come from the outside world and from the inside world.
When we awaken in the morning, we begin to go through our list of things that we have to do, things that we are worried about, thus our anxiety level begins to rise, and this produces reactions in the mind. Our thoughts and our feelings produce impressions. And then when we encounter our spouse or our roommates or our neighbors or we go to work or we go to school and then we need to face all the challenges of the day, we become irritated, excited, happy, afraid, etc. We pass through all the variety of events and states that occur to us during the day. We forget ourselves. We become identified. We become mechanical. And we go from event to event without any self-awareness whatsoever, merely reacting and reacting and reacting. Then at the end of the day we are exhausted, the mind full of impressions of the day, full of conflicts, worries and doubts.
If however we awaken in the morning and we meditate, we set the stage for a different way of experiencing our life. By meditation I mean we calm the mind, we still the mind. We activate the consciousness to observe, to be serene, and when we go about our business we continue our meditation all day, watchful and observant within this body, and absorbing all the impressions of life with great attentiveness. In this way, even if someone curses at us, yells at us, says something obscene, we can receive that impression and not be disturbed.
It may sound impossible, but if you make the effort you can have that experience, to see how if you do not place value on the words of a person then those words will have no impact on you. The reason you become affected by what people say is because you put a value on their words. The reason you really want the new iPhone is because you put a value on it in your mind. But if you were to see that device for what it is, merely a device and something impermanent, something truly inconsequential in the big picture, then that longing, that desire will not disturb you. In fact it might vanish altogether. The same is true for anything in life. The impressions of life agitate, excite, disturb or entrance us because of precisely of the value that we place on them. If we extract that value, if we take it back, then those impressions remain what they truly were in the beginning: insubstantial. This is why all the religions have said and repeated that life is an illusion that life is maya, the illusion or the illusory display of the gods. This is not something that we can simply accept intellectually or believe in as a believer. We have to experience it.
The illusion of our mind is created in our mind, not outside. We create that. We create our own illusion because of the value we place in our impressions. Because of the false value we place there.
Our experience of life is determined by how we transform impressions. If you want to boil it all down to one thing, that is it. If we are a negative person, a morbid person, for some might call a pessimist or a critic or sarcastic, it is our own fault, because of how we transform the impressions of life. We choose this, to experience life that way. Thus we have to ask ourselves sincerely, “how can I change if I am already choosing to be this way?” It is astonishing to discover students of religions or gnosis, who are well educated, who really understand intellectually their teaching, but who are easily angered, who can become enraged or offended, or who are very negative, always attacking others, blaming others, always critical, always complaining, or constantly afraid, feeling threatened, or constantly dissatisfied… What this indicates is that although that person may have an intellectual grasp, they do not have practical experience of how to transform their life. If they did, they will not become angry.
"When one thinks differently and positively about people, it is a sign that one is changing." - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Many of the greatest masters are illiterate, are not intellectual, and do not have everything memorized. They are great masters precisely because they know how to transform from moment to moment, to have a receptive mind, to not be attached to anything, even a belief, or a school or a religion.
The power to transform life is in the transformation of impressions.
We do not realize how important and how powerful this level of factory is, even though we live within its clutches from moment to moment.
As I said, we can live without food or water for a time. We can go without air for few seconds, may be for some people a few minutes. But we cannot go without impressions, even for an instant. This is because the consciousness is a natural transformer of impressions. That is its function. If the consciousness has no impressions to receive, then the consciousness cannot be. If the consciousness is here, then it perceives. Whatever that consciousness may manifest, its simple manifestation causes the arousal of impressions. Even if someone does not have physical body, even if you are in the astral plane or the causal plane, you have to transform impressions. In fact, if you had experiences out of the body then you have undoubtedly experienced that what will kick you out of that experience is a transformation of an impression. Students who study astral projection, dream yoga, inevitably have this experience, that as soon as they awaken consciousness in the astral world, they become so excited that they pop right back out into the physical body. This is because they did not transform the impression of arriving in the astral plane. They became identified, excited or afraid, and that transformation has the consequence of shocking the emotional center. So, transformation of impressions affects every dimension not just physical one. And when we say that it is based on how the data arrives to the senses, it is not merely the physical senses, it is all the senses, all twelve. The senses of each body receive information, and that information has to be transformed consciously.
In our daily life we constantly seek impressions, and we do not even realize that we do it. Why else do we pick the TV shows that we do? Why do we pick the friends that we pick? Why do we choose the books that we choose to read or the magazines or video games or going to certain places? It is because we like the impressions we get from being with those places, the people or things. They provide food for some psychological elements in us. So now we have to start asking ourselves, “What am I feeding when I go to that website or magazine stand or book store or visit those friends? What am I feeding with these impressions?” The answers will probably disturb us much of the time. If we are really sincere and are really observing ourselves, we can start to see that just as humanity is addicted to pornography, violence, cruelty, we too are addicted to them by taking them in as impressions. People think that it is the physical actions that are bad, yet the psychological actions also have consequences.
It is interesting to reflect on how humanity justifies these behaviors. People justify the violence in movies, in televisions, in video games and say, “It is a catharsis for the mind, for instinct, which has instinctive violence. So when we express or utilize that violence through watching TV or movies or video games, then we express that energy so that it does not have to come out physically.” This is how people justify it. What they fail to realize is that the impressions have more impact on us than the physical acts do. Official science is unwilling to admit that what you do in your mind has a dramatic impact on the quality of your psyche. When you watch a violent tv show, your body reacts as if you are doing the physical acts: your brain makes chemicals in response to what you see. So, the psychological action is not free of cause and effect: karma.
People ignore the power of impressions and justify. We justify our addiction to certain kinds of impressions. Some students even come to gnosis, and study these teachings and even practice, and remain addicted to impressions and refuse to change those addictions. Some are addicted to impressions of intellectualism, of constantly reading or studying or comparing different teachings. Some become addicted to the impression of being an instructor or of trying to impress people. Of trying to make people admire them or be envied by others. Some remain addicted to pornography and justify it by saying they are using pornography to learn about lust. Some remain addicted to video games with the same excuse that they use video games to train the consciousness to kill the ego. Some remain addicted to the impressions of romance, but change their romantic ideal to be “gnostic, spiritual.” Yet, the addiction to romantic impressions remains the same. Some remain addicted to the impressions of gossip, and justify themselves, why they need the gossip, or hear about gossip.
All of us have addictions to impressions, and what we do not realize is: in the same way we become what we physically eat, we also become what we psychologically eat.
We prefer to deceive ourselves with this notion that the mind is a separate entity, and we can put into it whatever we want with no consequences whatsoever. We love this notion, because it gives us an excuse to think about, to fantasize about, to indulge in anything that we desire. But let me tell you, this is a lie.
The impressions that we take in become part of us. They become part of our soul, our psyche.
If you want to know why humanity is on the brink of destruction, it is because of this. It is because humanity is addicted to negative impressions, and has become so habituated to negative impressions that we lose all moral values. We lose all sense of what is truly right and wrong because the consciousness goes deeper and deeper to sleep, and becomes more and more trapped in lies.
This is how we see in different parts of the world the spread of terrible crimes, such as crimes against children that are unmentionable but are happening now precisely because of the poisons put into the minds of men and women that they take in of their own will. Poisons like pornography, like violence.
We are so addicted to enjoying impressions in our mind that we have become habituated to crime. We celebrate crime. I do not mean crime just in the sense of stealing material possessions from one another. I mean crimes against nature, crimes against the cosmos, crimes against the soul. Did you know that sarcasm is a form of violence? When we are sarcastic, we are making an act of violence in the mental world. When we joke and throw stinging comments at each other, just “playing,” we actually create harm. But we celebrate this, we enjoy it. We enjoy the impression of being cruel to each other, and we laugh it off like it does not mean anything, when in fact we are injuring each other, and this is a minor thing in comparison with all the other things that we do.
We learn how to behave through impressions. When we watch murder shows, crime shows, gossip shows, we are learning how to behave. We become accustomed to the behaviors we see. Whether we are aware of it or not, our mind is becoming conditioned to imitate those behaviors, to be more open to them. Have you noticed the thought, “I want to kill him!” A truly awakened, spiritual person would not have such a thought. Only demons think that way.
The key to change is to place a watcher at the gate of the mind, a guardian, a warrior who will not miss anything but who will continually watch for impressions, and will act as a guide for the consciousness to make good choices. In other words, we need to select impressions. This is what a serious gnostic student does. The serious gnostic student selects impressions in the same way that we select the best vegetables at the market, or we select the best meat or the best water. We do not go and look for dirt, for poison, for filthiness to put in the body, thus we must also be selective of what we put in the mind and heart. Instead of selecting garbage, the serious gnostic student will select good impressions, healthy impressions.
Most of all we have to learn how to transform every impression that enters into us, because we cannot control everything that is outside of us. We cannot control others, or the world. Some of us try and become very frustrated; some of us want to control everyone in our lives, to control our spouse, to control our boss, to control everything outside in order to avoid certain kinds of impressions that we do not want. This is not the way to liberation. The right way is to control oneself. Control your consciousness.
When our consciousness is receptive, awake, active and watching and in complete control of our three brains, whatever impressions arises and passes through our senses, passes through that lake of our example and does not leave a ripple. It is almost magical. An impression can come right through us and we remain attentive and serene, even if that impression was one of violence, horror, crime. Thus we can comprehend on this basis how it is that Jesus was upon the cross, tortured, and being killed, and yet remained serene, and prayed for his persecutors. This is because of his mastery of the transformation of the impressions. Likewise, examples of the Buddha or of Krishna, facing a great enemy or a great challenge and of remaining serene with an attitude of love.
One of the great postulates that Samael Aun Weor gave to us can help us with this.
“One must learn to receive the unpleasant manifestations of others with gratitude.”
That is a very interesting idea. One could debate it and philosophize about it for hours, but that is useless. What is effective is to use it. Learn to consciously receive any impressions from our neighbor with gratitude.
If our friend, our spouse, our parent, becomes upset, becomes angry, normally those impressions strike our mind and produce big waves and we get angry right back. We match each other. We raise the level on each other. One gets mad, the other gets more mad, and it just gets worse. This is how we commonly react. We may not be the type of person that expresses the anger outside. We might express that anger in a passive way. Nonetheless, we react, whether internally or externally.
If instead we can learn to use this postulate, and we receive those impressions from our friend or our spouse who is so angry with us and consciously we receive that and realize, “I need to be grateful for this, I need to comprehend why I am receiving this impression, maybe it is my karma, maybe I truly made a mistake, maybe I did something wrong. Maybe I need to listen and understand the point made by you, my friend, my spouse, who I claim to love.”
Really this is the most interesting thing. We claim to love and appreciate our friends, and to love and value our spouse, but when they come to us with a complaint, we do not want to hear it. We consider ourselves to be little angels who have fluttered down on to the planet, to grace everyone else with our presence. It is one of the many lies we tell ourselves that we are good. Instead we should be grateful for that opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of another person, because let me tell you: no one sees us the way we see ourselves. This is why a spouse, or an honest friend is so valuable. We should be so grateful that they are willing to put up with us. In those instants of conflict, of difficulty, of adversity is the best time to learn what we need to change to make life better, not only for ourselves but for the ones we claim to love.
What we fail to realize in those moments is that we are making someone suffer, yet we get angry and defend and justify our causing them suffering. We do not want to hear that we were mistaken, that we were rude or crude or violent or thoughtless or selfish. We do not want to hear anything of that because we believe we are saints. This is the problem. But if we can learn to receive those impressions gratefully, serenely, then there is an enormous chance to redirect our life, to become a better person, to be a better husband or wife. This is what it means to receive with gratitude unpleasant manifestations, and this applies to everything in life. If someone at work is giving us a hard time or yelling at us, or someone in our school or group or class, these are opportunities for to change. If someone does not like us or is always rude to us or is sarcastic to us, be grateful for that. This is the greatest joy of a serious gnostic student. It is to discover their own mistakes. That is why we study gnosis. To learn how to change.
By means of that grateful reception, the conscious reception of those impressions, we have the chance to change ourselves, to become better people, and in this this way we can impact our world. If we can change as individuals, then our society can change as well. If we stop consuming the impressions of violence, if we stop consuming the impressions of pornography, then those industries will have no customers and they will die. But unfortunately, those industries are the largest in the world, precisely because people think they can consume those products psychologically, without any adverse effect. That is why our world is falling into decay.
For the serious gnostic student, the person who sincerely wants to change their life, the transformation of impressions is the key. It is important for us to learn to transmute our sexual energy because without this the consciousness cannot grow. This is the very basis of the entire teaching. To enter into transmutation. Without that one cannot have anything because throws away the very essence of the soul, of Christ. But upon that foundation of transmutation we then need to work with the consciousness actively and diligently and here is the reason why. We begin to conserve and manage enormous amounts of energy. If we are not transforming impressions consciously then that energy will be misused by the ego. This is why Samael Aun Weor emphasized in The Major Mysteries:
"Many vain and stubborn people who join Gnosis usually believe that this is just another school amongst many others. Yet, such wretched people are lamentably mistaken, because Gnosis is the doctrine which gestates angels or devils; yes, this is the outstanding reality of these studies. Therefore, those who dedicate themselves to the development of powers but do not strive for sanctification, eventually transform themselves into demons."
There is no other outcome. There is no middle way there. This is precisely because we harness so much energy. But who is using it is what we need to know. Who is using our energy, who is transforming impressions in us?
When we go through life mechanically and we receive the impressions of the life mechanically, automatically, just going along, who is receiving those impressions and transforming those impressions in combination with the energy we have been saving? Ego. The ego, lust, anger, envy, pride. Then we do not get better, we get worse. We get worse. We fortify the ego when that happens. You see in every moment something is being created. Life is not static. Everything is continually changing, everything. Our mind, our heart, our soul, our body are continually changing in every instant. When we remain asleep we are devolving. In The Revolution of the Dialectic, Samael Aun Weor states:
"One is devolving if the digestion of impressions does not exist."
It is unequivocal. There is no option. There is no alternative. In order to transcend suffering, in order to awaken the consciousness and ascend into superior levels of being, we must consciously transform impressions as much as we can, continually.
Having said that, we also have to understand the level that we are in. Transformation of impressions is not something that you will master in a few days, nor in a few years. In fact, the only one who can perfectly transform impressions, immediately, in the moment they arrive, is a fully awakened master. Before that level, we make mistakes. There are mis-transformations that happen precisely because the ego is still alive. Those mistakes may not always be physical, they may be internal. Nonetheless, we need to make the effort until we reach that level.
The transformation of impressions is the way we transform our life. The way we consciously harness the energy that explodes in the moment when impressions arrive into us and meet the psyche. There are great forces in a process of combustion inside our factory, and when we apply our conscious will onto that we can extract those forces in order to learn, in order to grow. When we have the challenge which we all face of seeing a person who stimulates our lust, right there we know we need to transform the impression and not just indulge in that impression and feed the lust. We consciously have to take that situation and turn it around.
To merely observe ourselves is only the beginning. To even know that we need to transform that impression, we need to have been observing ourselves, otherwise we would automatically transform that impression into lust and we would create a new I in the mind and trap ourselves more in suffering and mechanicity. So mere self-observation is the first part. To be aware of ourselves and see the impression of lust. But you cannot stop there nor can you simply pray for God to save you, to take away the impression. There is no knowledge gained there, there is no wisdom earned, there is no consciousness awakened when you do that. What you have to do in those instants is to perceive why the lust is harmful. To perceive how your consciousness is on the edge of that cliff, on the edge of falling into that abyss of desire. And you need to feel that terror. A feeling the consciousness about to be swallowed by yet another desire. And we have to turn that around. There are many ways to do this but none of them come through avoidance of the impression or suppression of the impression. Instead we have to remain indifferent. Neither indulging in it or running from it.
There are some groups who teach to indulge in desire, to enjoy it, to indulge it, and in that way they claim that they harness the forces and come closer to God. But that is a lie. That is black magic or black tantra. There are other groups who teach to avoid that impression, to run away from it, to call upon God to save you and to run as fast as you can away from that fire. This is mere suppression or avoidance. It goes nowhere, because that desire remains alive in the mind. We have no understanding of that desire and thus we have no knowledge of it and thus we remain trapped in it.
The way to transform any impression is to be in the middle, neither craving, nor avoiding, neither indulging, nor repressing, but being there conscious and comprehending. When a lustful image comes into mind and we see the person who stimulated it, our concern should not be about that person at all. To really transform that impression, be concerned with the psychological reaction, the impression and its impact on the mind. Observe how we are taking that image in. When we observe that image arriving into the mind, by consciously receiving that, we can apply the forces of the teachings, of the knowledge, of our comprehension, our understanding. As an example, you can see that person, let us say you are a man, and you see a woman and you feel lust. An immediate way to dispel that lust is to remember your mother or your sister or your Divine Mother, best of all, and to realize you need to have that same attitude of respect and modesty towards every woman. The same attitude you have towards your own mother, your own sister, you Divine Mother, you should have that to other women. To not look at them lustfully but to treat them like a sister. Like someone who is pure and deserves respect. That has a lot of power. This is the way that we use our three brains in a positive way. To consciously think those things. To consciously feel the love we have for our Divine Mother or our physical mother or our sister and in turn to consciously transform the event. This can never happen mechanically. It can never happen automatically. Do not develop the concept that you can sort of figure out how these things work and you will do these things automatically from now on. It does not work like that. Gnosis is not mechanical. Awakening of consciousness is not mechanical. It is not automatic. Just because intellectually you may have figured something out, does not mean that you are doing it consciously. It takes constant, constant effort, consciously. And we can apply similar technique to any impression that arises. Whether that impression is positive according to us or negative according to us. We have to transform all impressions.
At the end of every day, take a few minutes, sit in a very comfortable place, close your eyes, be still, and look back on your day. Reflect on those moments when you felt a change in your mood, or your attitude. When something shifted for you. And reflect on those moments and look for what impression caused that change. That may be a change towards a negative state or even to an identified state that you would call positive, such as when you became really excited. In general, look for anything that leads us to be identified. We need to look for that. Reflect on the impression that caused that change. Then we need to start analyzing what was happening in our mind, in our three brains, reflecting on this. “When this certain event happened, what did I think? What did I feel? What did I see? What did I hear?” The best guide to this practice is your intuition, listen to your heart. Your heart will lead you directly to the thing that you need to work on, if you listen to your intuition. Most of the time though, we do not really want to find the problem, and so instead we listen to the mind and we are trying to remember what did that guy say in the lecture? About this or about that? What is the opposite of what so and so said to me? How do I use the second jewel of the yellow dragon and the battle of the opposites? What is the opposite of him saying this or that? And we get caught in this intellectual debate. This is not the way to resolve a conflict. We resolve it intuitively.
In those moments of reflection you should also pray and ask for the help of your Divine Mother. It is through her intercession and her assistance that we can successfully terminate the egos that cause the problem.
We need to do this type of activity everyday. Every day, reflect on the things that changed our mood or attitude, things that affected us, where we became identified. And we need to discover what that transformation that we make and how can we fix it.
"In order to be able to transform our impressions, we need to reconstruct the scene just as it happened, to find out what hurt us the most. If there is no digestion of impressions, then nourishment from them will not be attained. If there is no nourishment, the essential bodies of the Being will languish. [...] Good impressions should also be transformed. If during the day one has had three impressions which have affected his psychological mood, then they must be studied and transformed at night by utilizing an orderly procedure. Each “I” is connected with others; they are associated. The “I’s” conjoin together in order to form the same scene." - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
The System for the Transformation of the Impressions of the Day
1. Absolute relaxation.
2. Reach the state of meditation.
3. Relive the scene just as it occurred.
4. Seek within oneself the “I” which caused the problem.
5. By observing serenely, one places the ego in the defendant’s chair and one then proceeds with the judgment.
6. Ask the Divine Mother Kundalini for the disintegration of the “I” - problem.
I suggest that you also take it another step. When you reflect upon the mistake that you may have made, the bad transformation that you made, also pray to your Divine Mother to show you how you should have behaved. Ask for the guidance of God to show you what would have been the right thing to do. And in that way you can arrive at the synthesis, a conscious comprehension, real understanding.
This topic of the transformation of impressions has a lot of details and it takes a lot of study and practice to get it. You can learn a lot by studying The Revolution of the Dialectic, in which Samael Aun Weor explains this repeatedly in different ways.
Audience: Quoted from Major Mysteries by Samael Aun Weor, when you study gnosis you either become and angel or a demon. Meaning if we do not transform our impressions, we do not you know die, if we do not kill our egos with the help of our divine Mother, then anything that we do, such as the vocalizations, transmutation, the other exercise, it will convert into demons, powerful demons. Correct?
Instructor: That is right. Unfortunately, because of our pride, thinking that we know everything once we have studied a couple of books, and because of our ignorance, we fail to put into activity the consciousness right away. What happens is that people will study this teaching or other spiritual teachings and do all the practices, meditate, even transmute the sexual energy, but because they do not work on the ego in the right way, in the serious way, they awaken negatively. Even during the sixties and seventies when Samael Aun Weor was teaching in Latin America, he commented about this specifically, and said unfortunately many students were coming out of Latin America awakening negatively. Many of his students, because of this. So what about now? It is a big problem. It is a problem of pride. Many think that because they have studied some books or because they have studied under such and such a person, or belong to a certain school, that they are on the express train to self-realization. And thus, they believe they will just “naturally” awaken consciousness in the right way and thus they do not really study, they do not get into the details, especially of their own minds. There are many who talk about the ego and meditation, and talk about transformation, but are deeply asleep. There are some who are even awakening consciousness but in the wrong way, in the negative way. For us who are students, who are asleep, who are sincerely trying to make an effort, we cannot differentiate between all these different types of people. This is part of the reason why Samael Aun Weor said do not follow anyone, except your own inner being. So yes the danger is there, but that danger exists in any religious tradition. It does not matter. Do not be scared away from gnosis just because of that statement. It is true of any religion.
Question: May be you can talk more about the idea of not reveling in an impression but not avoiding it either. Immediately after you mentioned this, you […01:19:57] stopping these impressions. This is a tricky situation because someone can misinterpret this techniques and allow impressions to happen and to consume them, thinking they are observing them. But when you apply techniques for terminating the impression you may be fleeing and suppressing the impressions.
Answer: Well it is a very good question, is a long question. It is a good one. From what I understood from the question is there is a great danger for a student to think that they are transforming when they are still indulging or even repressing. And yes, that is absolutely true. But there is no sure antidote except experience. We have to teach ourselves how to transform impressions; there is no trick. There is nothing you can memorize in your intellect, as a sure guide to transforming an impression. The only way to do it is to be consciously active continually. Let me give you an example. Say for example that you get into a conversation with someone, which took a turn for worse. And let us say you cannot get out of it. Being in a car or in a bus or at work, may be you are with your boss and your boss starts talking about stuff that you do not really want to talk about. Very negative things. What you are going to do? If it is your boss then you have to be attentive, because if you space out you can get fired. The answer is to be conscious, to be respectful, to listen but to not indulge. The mind becomes conflicted about this because the mind wants a concrete A or B. Do I do this or do I do that? But let me tell you, transformation of impressions is not the domain of the mind. Transformation of impressions is the domain of the consciousness, who can use the mind but is not dependent on the mind. And this is something that you can only see from your own experience. And you will see it.
Life is very challenging in these times. Our karma is very heavy. All of us are facing situations that are challenging and painful and difficult. Each of us has to learn for ourselves. How do we act, how do we behave, how do we transform this for the greater good? You can only learn that at the feet of your inner master, who will teach you if you listen.
What I said about going by the guidance of your intuition in meditation applies to the transformation of the impressions. I was just giving you examples, very crude ones. But in the moment of transforming impressions you have to look into your intuition as to how to do it. Do not get stuck in the mind. The mind which compares, that wants definitions or concrete “do this, do not do that.” If you get stuck in the mind, trying to remember what scripture says, or what is the moral code for this or that, then you can no longer receive the impression consciously. What happens is then you just start thinking, comparing, analyzing, getting scared, getting afraid, getting worried, no longer transforming consciously, then you are taking all that energy into your fear, into your worry, into your frustration, right?
Be conscious. Be aware.
Audience: How do you both not allow an impression to enter your mind but at the same time not to run away from it? How is it possible? […]
Answer: Let me answer that by means of an analogy. When I talked about selecting impressions in the same way that we select food in the market, we have to do the same thing in life. Many cases where we wrongly transform impressions, we put ourselves there because we are ignorant. That is the first thing. Do not put yourself in a position of having to take in bad things. For example, do not eat garbage. Simple. But we do it with impressions. We choose to take them in. That is the first thing. Stop choosing to take in garbage. That is the main thing. So, do not go where you will receive bad impressions.
Secondly, if we find ourselves in a situation where we feel the danger of becoming identified, first thing you have to do is relax. Because if you become tense or anxious or afraid, you will repress or run away. The transformation of impressions is based in being very relaxed and very attentive.
The next thing is how do you take that in, or avoid taking that in, or not suppress, or all these other aspects of it. Do not worry so much about it, relax and pay attention. Listen to your intuition, listen to your heart. Do not get so rigid. We have to relax and listen and pay attention and whatever impressions come, transform them consciously, not with the mind. It is not an easy thing to explain. Our language does not transmit how to use consciousness. Our language is too crude for that. If for example somebody is saying something offensive, and you have no choice but to be there. You will know that you are indulging in it, in the same way that you know that you are eating food. You chew it, you chew on it. If an impression comes in and you chew on it, meaning you are repeating it over and over in your mind, you are replaying it, you are analyzing it, and you are saying “Oh I cannot believe they said that”. You are indulging. If on the other hand, you simply let that impression go right by, and you keep paying attention, it passes right through you. It leaves no waves. You will still remember that it happened. But you wont be digesting it, you wont be chewing on it continually in your mind. Same thing happens with a lustful image. Nowadays you cannot avoid them. They are everywhere. Bill boards, magazines, TV everywhere, covered with images of lust. You will know that you are indulging it when you repeat that image in your mind. When you recall it, when you use it as a basis for comparison, for memory, for fantasy. That is indulging. If that images passes through and leaves no wake, it is gone. On the other hand if that image comes up and you push it away and you push it away, you are repressing. You see this is a very delicate thing, that no one can teach you, but you have to teach yourself. To be conscious, to be awake, to be serene and relaxed, then you will get it. Mind wont.
Audience: What is more dangerous. Indulging in impressions or suppressing them?
Instructor: They are equally dangerous. Both result in the same thing. Whether you indulge or repress an ego is created, an ego is strengthened.
Audience: That is like certain members of clergy who perform some unspeakable acts? How do they say one thing, perform a service or ritual and privately doing all sorts of really negative things. I think it is because they are repressing so much that the energy comes out in really bad ways.
Instructor: Yes that is a good example.
Audience: I was wondering if it is not a matter of focus as well. If you turn your focus away from constantly being attacked by things and turn your focus on to the fact that the people around you are lacking understanding. As what may come across as an ugly behavior is still a lack of understanding in a way. And I think it can make one feel little bit less aggressed and again internally focused on what you need to keep warding off and more sends out a sense of compassion that you just keep feeding and what is going around you, no matter how ugly it looks, it is constantly like a lack of understanding that in some ways can be a protective force where you know it keeps you less vulnerable to suppressing, thinking negative and more like bring focus out like there are others where you understand things that they do not understand.
Answer: You made a very good point. That is the reason we emphasize Bodhichitta. One part of Bodhichitta is compassion.
The problem is that we do get so self-centered and so defensive in ourselves and we are always looking at other people as aggressive or as a threat to us. Compassion is definitely a component that needs to be present for the awakening of the consciousness. But compassion alone is not sufficient. What is necessary is full Bodhichitta. And by that it means not only compassion for other people but comprehension of emptiness. It is through that combination that Bodhichitta provides protective armor around the consciousness. We have given several lectures that explain its importance, and it is too much to go into now. Let me address one more thing about that though.
There is a common danger in students who learn some gnosis and learn some transformation of impressions and how to be attentive. That student can start to develop a gnostic personality, certain internal attitudes or behaviors that we believe are gnostic, and that we feel are gnostic, but those are really just personality, ways of acting, but are not part of the consciousness. The result is we start to behave in mechanical ways, while thinking that we are conscious. The danger there is that then we think we are transforming impressions, but we are not. We are being mechanical, but in a way that appears to us to be genuine. But it is really superficial. It is something that is hard to explain, but it is a danger that we face as we are developing true conscious transformation of impressions. The clue to it is to discover this: when you are trying to be present and transform impressions, if you feel any sense of “I,” you have a mistaken view.
"We need to cease being what we are in order to become what we are not. One has to become missing to oneself. The outcome of all of this is the advent of someone who is not oneself." - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
This addresses what you brought up about compassion for other people. If you feel any sense of self, then your transformation will be flawed. The perfect transformation of impression occurs when one is empty of oneself. When the personality is not in the way. And what is there is pure consciousness which has no I. There is individuality but beyond what we think of individuality. And this is why in the revolution of the dialectic Samael Aun Weor emphasized this that one cannot have a sense of self esteem and transform impressions. So for a student who has been working with this for a while, comes a clue to move past stages where we become stagnant , to start watching, is there a sense of I here?, Is it about me being a gnostic, about me being so called serious? If it is, we are wrong, we are on a mistaken way. We need to correct that. We need to empty ourselves of any sense of self. To be pure perception. To merely be conscious, no I. And that is experiential. The mind cannot do that. Only when the consciousness has become strong, we have given it lot of force and strength we can experience that , we can taste that and it is beautiful. And it is in that taste when there is no false personality there, when we can really transform impressions that otherwise would be indigestible to us, and then we can transform things that could be shocking or horrible, but we can come through that with serenity and love.
Question: Gnostically speaking, what is the meaning of compassion. Is it related with self-esteem?
Answer: Self-esteem is self-love, which is egotistical. Real compassion has no self. Real compassion is the force of Christ related with the sephirah Chokmah, within which there is no I, no ego, there is only love, wisdom. For us to experience what true love is, our “self” cannot be in the way.
We often give the example that we can taste a glimmer, a very slight flavor of that form of love, when we are a parent, because a parent can experience, not always, but from time to time can taste that pure love that just wants to give, to protect the child. Not all parents experience it, and certainly most parents do not experience it very much. But as a parent you can taste that flavor. Real compassion is like that. It is a form of love that has no desire for self, but only wants what is good for others.
As we explained, the full development of compassion is only possible in Bodhichitta, and that is a Sanskrit word which refers to a fully developed awakened consciousness. Bodhichitta is the ethereal human being (Yesod) who has fully developed the love of Christ as selfless, pure love. Anyone can reach that, but we have to be willing to renounce our self-interest.
"When impressions are transformed, everything becomes new." - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic