In Kabbalah, there are three primary types of souls.
We have said that these three souls are Nephesh, Ruach and Neshamah. (We say ‘primary’ because there are two other souls which are of a much more elevated and cosmic nature which will not discuss here, namely Yehidah and Chaiah.)
The lowest one is Nephesh, which we can call the animal soul. Nephesh is related to our appetites and our instinctive impulses. It is a type of animal consciousness. In a literal sense, Nephesh is means something related to life or life force, vitality, blood, breath of life, soul, or appetite.
Nephesh relates to these lower instinctual aspects of our consciousness and impulses. Ruach is called the thinking emotional soul; this is a soul that has a type of discernment that can rationalize.
The real purpose of Ruach is to develop and understand ethics: to be able to perceive what is right and what is wrong.
The problem with Ruach is we can use it in a very subjective way. We can rationalize our desires. We often feel Nephesh is very strong within us. Nephesh does not think about anything, Nephesh is already doing.
So, while Ruach is thinking whether some impulse is right or wrong, Nephesh is already doing it. Ruach, similarly to Nephesh, can be translated literally as spirit, wind, or breath.
Beyond the thinking emotional soul is the spiritual soul, Neshamah. This is spiritual perception, objective perception. This is our inner light, that which perceives God, and it can be translated literally as breath as well.
As we have said before, the breath and the wind can be seen in all three of these types of souls.
Today we are going to relate this lecture mostly to Nephesh, the animal soul, and what we must do. It is not simply that we need to transcend the animal soul, it is that we have to learn how to transform it, because within Nephesh is an immense power, and if we give up that power we actually will not have what is necessary to do the work. Nephesh is where the power is.
The problem is, all of our powerful instincts are unconscious, subjective, animalistic. In order to clarify this we going to talk some more about the Samaritan woman speaking with Jesus at the Well (John 4:5).
5 So He came to a city of Samaria [שמר shamar, preservation] which is called Sychar [שכר shekar: intoxicating drink, or, recompense], near the plot of ground that Jacob [Ἰακώβ, יעקב Iokab] gave to his son Joseph [Ἰωσήφ, Ioseph, IO-Ceph]. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth [ו vav] hour.
Samaria comes from the Hebrew word שמר shamar which means preservation, and within that land of Samaria was the city called Sychar, which comes from the Hebrew שכר shekar, intoxicating drink or recompense.
In this place that means intoxicating drink or recompense there is plot of ground near of that of Jacob. Jesus sat of this well of Jacob and it was about the sixth hour.
Let us understand more about Jacob, because he is such an important figure of the Old Testament. Jacob has a lot that can be studied, and all of it has a lot of importance, but we are not going to go in every detail at this time.
We should know, but if we are not familiar, Jacob is the one who is renamed Israel, and Israel then has many children with four different wives. People think that these four wives is an example of polygamy, but as we have stated in our prior lectures we cannot interpret the Bible literally. Just as if we were looking at the ancient myths of Greece and Rome, and all the old cultures that has many different dramas, different types of marriages and children. All of these things have to be understood symbolically. All the Gods and Goddesses, heroes and titans they all represent certain archetypes, features, qualities, attributes of our spiritual work. And when they get married to other Goddesses, virgins, heroines, all of this represents certain aspects that need to come together, and begetting children has relationship to all of this.
From the sons of Jacob (later re-named Israel), we get the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
These 12 aspects that come from Israel are, we can say, 12 primary features or archetypes that need to be developed. Jacob is the principal element related to our Human Soul. Where is our Human Soul? We just talked about three souls of Kabbalah: Neshamah, Ruach and Nephesh. We said that Neshamah is the Spiritual Soul. The Human Soul is somewhere within Ruach and Nephesh. We must extract all the impurities out so that we have very pure soul that can blend itself with the Spiritual Soul.
The Human Soul is related to the sixth hour, to the sixth Hebrew letter, ו Vav. It is the Human Soul that has this ability to do what is right or wrong, to accomplish the great work, to merge the will of man, which is the Human Soul, with the will of God, which is related to this Spiritual Soul (Neshamah).
If you read about Jacob’s life, there are many things going on because there are many things that need to go on within ourselves. From the beginning he has a brother Esau, and they fight. That is a relationship between the more animalistic aspect of ourselves and the more elevated spiritual aspects of our self. All the antagonism that goes on between Jacob and Esau is that antagonism and battle that is going on within ourselves.
In relationship to Jacob’s Well we should also understand Jacob’s Ladder. Jacob’s Ladder is from the Old Testament, from Genesis. Jacob’s Ladder illustrates something important about the path.
And Jacob went out from Beersheba (באר שבע place of seven wells), and went toward Haran (חרן ‘cross roads’ of the path). And he lighted (פּגע paga, ‘contacted’) upon a certain place (Yesod), and tarried there all night (in meditation), because the sun was set (for psychological death); and he took of the stones of that place (Yesod), and put them for his pillows (moved the energy from below, to above), and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder (spinal medulla, from below to above) set up on the earth (gonads), and the top of it reached to heaven (pineal gland): and behold the angels (electronic, atomic, & molecular messengers) of Elohim ascending and descending on it…
Genesis 28 10-12
Jacob went out from Beersheba which means “place of seven wells” and he went toward Haran which means “cross-roads.” The place of seven wells is related to the 7 pools of water, 7 aspect or centers within ourselves:
The two superior aspects can only be activated and realized when we are in contact with our higher aspect, when we are in contact with the Spiritual Soul, with our Inner God.
He we out from this place of seven wells and towards the cross-roads, and there he lighted upon a certain place and stayed there all night. He stayed there all night because the sun was set, and it was dark. When he is coming from the place of seven wells he is going towards the cross-roads, but before he arrives the sun sets. This darkness is something within ourselves.
Darkness is within our heart and mind, within our soul. He takes up camp, in a certain place, but what is this place? If we read The Zohar we can see exactly what this place is, their commentary is quite clear. In Zohar in the commentary of Bereshith, which is Genesis it says: Jacob was secretly referring to “the place of the Brit”
And in this verse: “And he was afraid, and he said, How awesome is this place; this is none other than the House of G-d, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Bereshit, 28:17)
Jacob was secretly referring to “the place of the Brit” [ברית berith, covenant, as in מילה ברית circumcision].
Regarding the verse, “And he lied down [וישכב vey shakab] in that place,” (Bereshit, 28:11) some Rabbim teach that v’yishkav can be read, v’ yeish kaf bet [כב ויש]) – the place of the Brit [sexual organs – Yesod].
– Zohar, Bereshit 149
When he laid down in this place in the place of the Brit, it means he laid down in relationship to the place where circumcision occurs, which we know is the sexual organs. In relationship to Kabbalah this is the sephiroth Yesod. Yesod is the sephiroth related to our sexual instinct, our sexual power, sexual energy. Yesod has the word Iod י in it. Iod is one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Iod is also a symbol of the sexual organ. Yesod can be understood as the “secret of the Iod.”
Here Jacob is lying down in relationship to Yesod. He is coming out of the place of seven wells and he is setting up camp where the sun had set. When the sun sets, where does it set into? We know in modern terms that the sun does not really set, but the earth rotates. But in terms of the symbolism the sun is setting into the Earth, the light is going down into the Earth. And what is the Earth? The Earth has to be understood as our own physicality. If we were to think of our being as the whole Universe, that Earth would be our physical body. So when the light descends into the Earth, darkness is all over the Earth. That light is going down into us.
So, Jacob set up camp in this place, which is Yesod, the sexual organs, and “he tarried there all night because the sun was set.” When it says that “he tarried there all night” we can say that he placed himself in meditation, contemplated the darkness “because the sun was set”, the light descended. “And he took the stones of that place and put them for his pillows,” here is something interesting, the stones that of that place are the stones of Yesod, the stones of Yesod are related to our gonads, the stones are another symbol of the testicles or ovaries.
Yet “he put them as his pillows” indicates that he was taking those stones and placing them near his head. What we have to understand here is that he was moving the energy related to Yesod, the sexual energy and bringing them up into his head so that he could rest his consciousness on that energy which now is up in his head. This is how he took the stones of that place and put them for his pillows. He moved the energy from below to above.
We can see here this energy which is bellow is related to Nephesh, Nephesh is the animal soul. Nephesh is related to our appetites and to our instincts. It is related to the most visceral aspect of our sexual impulse. When you feel that sexual appetite becoming strong within ourselves, this is Nephesh. Nephesh is sitting there in our blood; the impulses of Nephesh are very powerful. It is very difficult to work with; this is why we have to meditate, we have to learn how to transmute that energy moving it from the lower areas which is our sexual energy and learning how to refine that, and moving it up.
So lo and behold, when “he took the stones of that place and put them as pillows he lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reached to heaven.” We are again talking about the earth and heaven. This ladder is this place between the lower aspects of our physicality and the upper aspects. So what connects our lower aspects to our upper aspects? The spine, the spinal medulla, which we can see it is in a way a type of ladder from below to above “set up upon the earth”, the earth is below.
Below there are the same gonads where the ladder begins and “the top of it reached to heaven” which is related to superior aspects above the spinal column, certain glands, like the pineal gland, the pituitary gland, through which the awakened individual facilitates superior types of intuition, experience, vision.
“And behold the angels of Elohim, ascending and descending upon it…”. If we look at the nervous system we can see that the main conduit, the main channel though which energy and information flows is the spinal column. Energy, signals, information are ascending and descending. The signals are like messengers. Do you know the word angel means messenger?
We know that when we do what is right, we work on this path we set up our nervous system to be able to receive a superior signals coming from our inner Being, those impulses that guide us. We have to do our part; we have to set up the throne just like a chair, if that chair is set up correctly then God can sit upon it. For us to set up that throne correctly we have to behave, we have to know how to work with that energy, because Nephesh is there, the animal soul is looking, it wants to take that energy and fornicate with it, to spill it. The throne of God is our spinal column when it has the type of movement of energy that facilitates the reception of the superior principles within ourselves, but we have to do our part. In order to do our part we have to fight, we have to fight against our animal impulses. So here we have the story of Jacob, when he travels on the path, and comes upon darkness, he knows how to make use of that energy correctly, he knows how to move the energy from below to above.
“…and Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured (יצק yatsaq, ‘to cast in metal’) oil (שמן shemen) upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel (בית אל, ‘House of God’): but the name of that city was called Luz (almond tree) at the first. […]
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar [מצבה, matstsebah], shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Genesis 28 18-22
After this profound dream of the ladder, he takes this stone and makes it a pillar. An erected stone, a long stone placed vertically. It is another symbol of a pillar of a column. Just like we have said in the earlier lectures about candelabra that needs to pass oil from the bottom to the top, and the same symbol is represented here, this time Jacob is symbolizing it as a stone and he pours oil on top of this stone.
This word “poured” is יצק yatsaq, which means “to cast in metal”. The word “oil” as we have said before are the three letters שמן which is the word shemen, which is related to semen. Semen is the oil, in this case is the transmuted oil, just as we have said in earlier lectures, this is the oil that we need to produce.
With this oil he “casts into metal.” What does this alchemical statement mean? It means that from this oil we learn how to cast superior types of vessels, superior raiments or clothing. This is how we are forming within ourselves, what is called, The Wedding Garment, and The Wedding Garment is something we need in order to be received to heaven, we need to work with the oil.
This place that he calls Bethel means the house of God אל בית , Beth בית is house, El אל is God. But before it was called the House of God it was named Luz, which means almond tree. This almond tree is the same symbol of the gonads just like the olives were.
The House of God begins with our sexual organs. Our sexual instinct, when refined, makes a pillar of energy. This pillar is like an altar. So, when we approach the altar, the stone, this stone is related to that sexual power but erected correctly. As it is stated in the New Testament by Jesus “the stone which the builders had rejected shall become the head of the corner.” Jacob’s stone is the same stone related here because that stone is sex. Many people who wish to become spiritual or are interested in spirituality do not want to touch their sexual behavior, so they reject the very stone that they need to build their inner temple.
Finally, later in Jacob’s life, there is another important story related to this lecture, this is when Jacob wrestles with God. In Genesis 32 he was wrestling with a man, but in other places it says that Jacob was wrestling an angel.
In the Zohar it says that he was wrestling with the angel strength, Samael. So Samael is a name of God. There is the word El at the end, which means God, and Sam can mean bitterness, bitter beverage, poison, medicine. So, this bitterness related to God is what Jacob had to wrestle, and he is wrestling with him until the break of the day.
Here we have the opposite symbol. Before the sun was setting into earth and here the sun is about to rise out of the earth. When the sun is raising out of the earth this is a symbol of birth of new consciousness, a birth of new light, a new day.
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man (fiery Samael which stings the heel) with him until the breaking of the day (birth of new consciousness). And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh (sex); and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint (not in alignment with desire), as he wrestled with him. And he said; Let me go, for the dawn is ascending (light of comprehension is near). And he said, I will not let you go, except you bless me. And he said unto him, what is your name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel […] And he blessed him there.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (פּנואל, ‘face of God’): for I have seen Elohim face to face and my life (נפשי nephesh, ‘life force’) is preserved (נצל, natsal, ‘rescued’). - Genesis 32: 24-31
When the angel saw that he had prevailed against him this angel touched the hollow of Jacobs’s thigh, and the hollow of Jacobs’s thigh was out of joint. Here the angel was surprised that he was being thwarted by Jacob, Jacob was a very strong person and he was wondering “how is this possible I cannot wrestle this person to the ground,” so he checked the hollow of Jacobs’s thigh. This is a symbol of the sex, they say that this was the thigh joint, but every time that the Bible talks about the thigh, the thigh bone is related to sex.
Pythagoras for example was noted to have a golden thigh bone; this is related to making gold out of one’s sexual energy. Here the angel is checking the thigh bone, in other words investigating the nature of Jacob’s sexual behavior, his chastity, and he saw that Jacobs’s thigh was out of joint. In this case it means Jacob’s thigh was not in alignment with the desires of Nephesh. That is the reason why the angel could not bring him down.
The angel says, “let me go for the dawn is ascending.” This type of energy, Samael, even though it is from God, it is extremely powerful. It is the easiest energy to defile and waste. You must wrestle with it, when you wrestle with it, you learn what it is.
Is your thigh bone truly in alignment with the light or is it in alignment with desire? Because if it is in alignment with desire, that angelic force is going to wrestle you to the ground and you are going to fall into temptation, you are not going to be able to transmute the energy, you are not going to be able to ascend Jacob’s Ladder within yourself.
If you persist, and you do have true comprehension of your desires, and you know how to work with that power to enlighten yourself, then that angelic force gives you comprehension and the dawn rises upon you. A new day arrives on your path. After defeating the angel, the angel thereafter renames Jacob as Israel. This is where Jacob calls this place Peniel, which means face of God, he called it Peniel because he had seen Elohim face to face, and then he says “for I have seen Elohim face to face and my life is preserved”. This phrase “my life is preserved” needs to be understood correctly. The word life here is actually the word Nephesh – often life is chiah, but the actual word here is nephesh.
We talked about Nephesh in the beginning of the lecture. Nephesh is the animal soul. But here is says “my life is preserved”, preserved is נצל , natsal , which means “rescued,” “my life is rescued.”
What do we mean by this, because Nephesh is the animal soul, Nephesh is the animal instinct. Jacob did not lose the energy of Nephesh, he has rescued it, he has mastered it. What does he rescued it from? This is a way of understanding that one has to preserve their life force, which is Nephesh. They have to rescue their life force, because right now the life force is always being wasted, we are always wasting our life force with instinctual desires. We are not preserving it, we are not rescuing it, we are usually expiring it, wasting it, fornicating it. Here with this battle, with the wrestling, if we know how to work correctly, we know how to take that energy and place it towards the will of God and it will enlighten us. So this is how the Nephesh is preserved, when this Nephesh is preserved the animality becomes less and less and what remains is just the power, but this power is enlightened, this power becomes the power that we have as being a child of God.
Nephesh, we can say, the fire, this is our gift. If we did not have this fire within ourselves, we would not be able to do the work. Unfortunately fire can burn us, and this is what we end up doing, we do not know how to use the fire so we end up in pain, suffering. But here Jacob is showing us that we have to preserve our Nephesh in a special way. This is not repression, this is not ignoring our sexual instinct but rather working with it, wrestling with it in a certain way, comprehending, renouncing animal desire, replacing animal desire with true love, comprehension, even into our instincts. That instinctual power, which is this fire in our belly, this fire in our loins, then (this fire) rises up Jacob’s Ladder and it enlightens us and we see the powers of our Innermost, the powers of our inner God, face to face.
All of this is outlined in the story of Jacob. Let us return all the way back to the New Testament again, where we are reading again about the Samaritan women when Jesus comes to the city of Samaria שמר shamar, which means preservation. And this place in Samaria is called Sychar, שכר shekar which means intoxicating drink. This intoxicating drink we can say is a type of spiritual intoxication that happens when we know how to preserve our Nephesh in the right way. And where is Sychar near? It is near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph, and therefore it was called Jacob’s well. This is where Jesus was.
And thus sat Jesus by the well and talked to the Samaritan woman at the sixth hour. Interestingly enough, Jacob’s father, Isaac was sixty years old when he had Jacob. Here we have Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the sixth hour.
The number 6 is related to ו Vav, ו Vav is like vertical column, and the vertical column is represented by our spinal column. So Jacob’s story is related to Vav, this vertical ascension of the archetypes. So ו Vav is the work that we must do when we are continuously challenged to do the right thing, when we make the right decisions, then we do well, we progress on the path, we ascend. When we do the wrong things we descend, and that all happens in relationship to Vav.
If we remember ו Vav is formed by Iod that has been elongated vertically, ו Vav is the word for “and”, so ו Vav is the connector between ideas, it is a bridge between ideas in language, and symbolically ו Vav is the conduit between man and God, between heaven and earth. ו Vav is the vertical staff of the wise, the spinal column, the reed, the measure of wisdom within us. This is completely related with the Ladder of Jacob.
Now we are talking about the well of Jacob, John 4:7 reads:
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God [δωρεὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ, dorean tou Theou] , and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
This is all relating to Nephesh. In order to draw the water out we need to have control over our Nephesh, our animal instincts our sexual instincts. Jesus is testing the woman, saying “go call your husband,” and because she does not have a husband indicates that she is not working with her sexual energy. Where is the well of Jacob? We can say that the well of Jacob is at the same place where the Ladder of Jacob begins, which is down in the earth, because we know that the Ladder of Jacob begins in the earth, even in this case we can say that the Ladder of Jacob begins not just at earth, but inside, which again in us is related to our sexuality, our sexual organs, Yesod.
Yesod is 9th out of 10 sephiroth, so we can take the ten sephiroth of Kabbalah, we can super impose it over the physical body, over the regions of the physical body. At the very bottom is Malkuth, which we can relate with our feet, and one sephirot above that is Yesod, Yesod is related to our sexual organs as we said.
Yesod is the 9th sephirot and the 9th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called ט Teth, ט Teth looks almost like the letter in English the letter U but with more features. It is made of 2 vertical areas, left and right that are connected horizontally at the bottom. Kabbalistically analyzing in terms of the letters, letters can be made of other letters, so ט Teth is formed on the right hand the right vertical by a ו Vav, and on the left vertical by a ז Zayin, and at the bottom horizontally connected. At the top you can see the ז Zayin and you can see the ו Vav but they do not touch at the top.
ט Teth is a symbol of the serpent. It looks like a coiled serpent with his head raised up, so on one side is the tail of the serpent and the other side is the head of the serpent. On the right as we have said, ו Vav is related to the spinal column.
More specifically when we talk about ו Vav and ז Zayin together, we are referencing the duality within our spinal column: we have the right and the left sides. The right is related to ו Vav - masculine aspect, masculine energy. In the book of Genesis this is related to Adam. ז Zayin is the feminine-creative energy, Eve, on the left.
ט Teth is the 9th letter, related to the 9th sephiroth, Yesod, which represents sexuality. ט Teth is the tempting serpent of Adam and Eve. The serpent tells Eve the way to know good and evil is by biting the apple, the forbidden fruit. Eve (ז Zayin) does not resist the temptations of her Nephesh. The result of that is not an ascension of consciousness but descension of consciousness. Eve is within all of us.
In that symbol, the energy of the spinal column goes into darkness and is kicked out of Eden. Eden is a word that means bliss, to be full of the bliss of God. But when we succumb to our instincts, to fornication, to orgasm, we push all our energy out. When this occurs, the energetic throne of God no longer exists within us. Therefore, God cannot sit within us, so God leaves and we are left with just darkness.
ט Teth is the tempting serpent of paradise, ט Teth is the crucible of spiritual knowledge. Within that wrestling of Jacob, within that strong energy of ט Teth, of the strong angel, we discover our own willpower. We need to learn how to work with that, this is related to the 9th hour, 9th letter, Yesod.
Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God [δωρεὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ, dorean tou Theou] , and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
Let us talk more about the gift of God. It is very important to understand. Normally the gift of God is interpreted as a very simple, easy way to achieve salvation, but we must understand this more esoterically. The gift of God is what allows us to do the work, if we did not have the gift of God we could not do the work, we could not enlighten ourselves, we could not erect the pillar within ourselves, we could not pour oil onto that pillar of Jacob to mold new metallic forces within ourselves, to speak alchemically. The ‘metallic’ forces within ourselves is what attracts divine principles to us. We need to understand metallic in an Alchemical sense – this is not literal metal, but metallic forces. Just like different metals have different energetic, magnetic and electronic qualities, these ‘metals’ within us is what can attract the forces of the Universe, the forces of God.
If we do not have the gift of God, we cannot develop anything within ourselves. What is the gift of God? Gift of God is the same gift of fire that Prometheus gives to mankind, but in that symbol the fire is viewed a little bit differently. The punishment and how things go are different.
In the Old Testament, Adam and Eve are tempted and they fail, because the fire is within themselves, but they did not know how to handle it. That same fire, that same strength, power, which is Nephesh, is what Jacob wrestles with and achieve enlightenment to ascend his consciousness up the ladder. If we do not have the fire, we can never make light, we need the fire, although this fire is a bitterness sometimes, it is also power. With this fore we must wrestle, we have to know how to control it.
We also need to understand that fire is symbolized as water, as an ocean, as a well, as a pool, because this fire is liquid fire, a fluidic igneous force. It is both, an igneous water or liquid fire within us. It is the sexual impulse.
The gift of God here is dorean tou Theou. Later in the New Testament, Paul talks about the Gift of God, so whether we call it dorean tou Theou, or Theos Doron is the same Gift of God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the Gift of God [Theos Dóron / Donum Dei / מתיה Mattaiah], not of works, lest anyone should boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
People think this means that all you must do is believe in God, and because of that you will be saved. One main problem here is a misunderstanding of the world faith. Faith does not mean simple blind belief, as we have said already in prior lectures.
What about doing good for other? Charity? This is very good, wonderful. Yet, it is also not the fundamental and necessary aspect of salvation. Simply put, if you do not work with the Gift of God, charity cannot replace it.
First, you have to work with the Gift of God, the Donum Dei, Theos Dóron, and in Hebrew is called מתיה Mattaiah. As we have said, Judas gets replaced by מתיה Mattaia. Judas is related with the sexual organs, sexuality when used incorrectly is a principal cause of the crucifixion of the Lord, but when we do the work correctly, Judas, which is brute, instinctual desire that is always going against the will of God, gets converted into its natural element which is the Gift of God, מתיה Mattaiah.
We must work with the fire, then the fire goes up the Ladder of Jacob and becomes a Pentecostal fire, it becomes the light of the menorah, the light of the halo, it is the same Gift of God, the same fire, the same Nephesh but refined.
Let us not ignore Nephesh or hate Nephesh; we must learn how to wrestle with it, apprehend it. How is it that we know how to wrestle with it, what should we do? The answer is meditation. Simply saying “I don’t want to be a fornicator, I don’t want to have lust,” is not going to work. It does not work that way.
We must learn how to meditate. In relationship to ascending that energy we need to learn how to breathe, we need to know, what in yoga is known as pranayama. The same type of science is thought in esoteric Christianity.
At the beginning of the lecture, we talked about the three souls of Kabbalah, all three of those can be related to the word breath. Breath or wind is a movement of energy that is almost invisible, but it moves things, and you can see that we are moved by different forces, this is one way we can understand that breath or wind within ourselves.
Even physically, biologically, our literal breathing can help move energy within ourselves in a way which is going to help us transmute, to bring that energy from below to above, up to our brain, up to our pineal gland, to the superior forces to set up the throne of God within ourselves.
In the well of Jacob are the waters, we need to know how to make a pillar out of these waters. There is a passage, or song in Exodus that talks about the triumphs related to Exodus. The common interpretation of this verse is:
“And with the blast of your nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.”- Exodus 15:8
We need to understand this esoterically, because there is the word Ruach already, and Ruach is related to the wind, the breath.
“And by the רוח ruach of your noses your [sexual] waters were gathered together, your flowing waters were lifted up like a pillar, and the depths [of Yesod] coagulated in the sea of your heart..”- Exodus 15:8 (esoteric translation)
Here is an understanding of breathing, learning how to breathe correctly. We all know when the nervous system is agitated, our breath changes. We should also understand that if we regulate our breath this has the same effect, backwards, into the nervous system .
Breathing is a way of controlling the nervous system, when we consciously breathe or are conscious of our breath it naturally regulates it begins to regulate the energy within our body in accordance with our consciousness.
This is very good and beneficial, especially if we are single and cannot partake in spiritual marriage. If we are single person we need to understand how to transmute the sexual energy and we do this with deep breathing.
Samael Aun Weor states:
Single people must transmute the seminal liquor with deep breathing, keeping the lungs full thirty seconds or more.
– Samael Aun Weor
If someone is trying to awaken their consciousness and they are working with chastity, obviously the energy of Nephesh, our sexual energy begins to pull up, our nervous system becomes very sensitive to the impressions. All sort of impressions that may excite the sexual center, this indicates that we need to work very diligently with transmuting that energy, because the energy is going to pull up, to continuously receive the Donum Dei, the fire of God within ourselves we must do the work, to lift it up.
If we are a single person, we need to transmute that with breathing exercises, amongst other things, but breathing is very important for transmutation and in relationship to meditation, because good meditation, going into our consciousness, into our mind we need a calm nervous system. Everything is built upon each other. If your physical body is agitated and your nervous system is agitated it is going to be difficult to go into meditation.
These types of breathing exercises are well documented in the Philokalia. St. Gregory Palamas in his work In Defense of Those who Devoutly Practice a Life of Stillness, writes:
Since the intellect of those recently embarked on the spiritual path continually darts away again as soon as it has been concentrated, they must continually bring it back once more; […] some teachers recommend them to pay attention to the exhalation and inhalation of their breath, and to restrain it a little, so that while they are watching it, the mind, too, may be held in check.
– Philokalia, St Gregory Palamas, In Defense of Those who Devoutly Practice a Life of Stillness
This is a common technique that is known by many people today and it is unfortunate that a lot of people who consider themselves Christian they do not like the idea of meditation, they think it is something related not to Christianity, but in truth - it is. It is the same type of practice, but they have different names for things, practices of the path.
Watching the breath is very excellent practice that will help regulate your energy and prepare you for meditation. By placing your concentration, your perception on the way you are breathing, this helps bring and collect your attention in one place, so little by little you become less scattered and become more concentrated. Restraining your breath is a subtle way of pulling the breath through your nostrils into your lings, but not too forceful but, normally when we breathe in we open up the back of our throat very well so that we can breathe easily, but if you do not open up the back of your throat too much, you have type of way of breathing with little bit of restraint, so you are pulling the breath in; this also works as a way of calming the mind.
In the Philokalia, again, St. Symeon the New Theologian, in his work The Three Methods of Prayer:
Restrain the drawing-in of breath through your nostrils, so as not to breathe easily, and search inside yourself with your nous so as to find the place of the heart, where all the powers of the soul reside.
– Philokalia, St Symeon the New Theologian, The Three Methods of Prayer
Finally Nikiphorios the Monk in his work On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart writes:
Seat yourself, then, concentrate your nous, and lead it into the respiratory passage through which your breath passes into your heart. Put pressure on your nous and compel it to descend with your inhaled breath into your heart. Once it has entered there, what follows will be neither dismal nor glum. Just as a man, after being far away from home, on his return is overjoyed at being with his wife and children again, so the nous, once it is united with the soul, is filled with indescribable delight.
– Philokalia, Nikiphoros the Monk, On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart
Nous is related to our intelligence, often these works are translated into English and they translate nous as intellect, but this is a poor translation because nous in terms of spirituality not related to our intellect and our reasoning, nous is related to our higher aspects. Nous is our remembrance of God, our spiritual light we must place that inside of our heart.
Many people are too intellectual, and they try to be cerebral when they meditate, but what we really need is an open heart, it is the fires of our heart that control the fires of our sex.
To solve the great struggle of our life we need to learn how to love, this may sound over simplistic or cliché but it is the truth. This is a love that birthed within us when we know how to work with the Donum Dei, with the Gift of God. In order to erect the pillar within ourselves, the pillar of water, or the pillar of stone, this pillar of energy within ourselves, we have to live a life of rectitude and love.
We need to begin to meditate and one of the principal methods is to learn how to watch our breath. First Samael Aun Weor states that one way of transmuting our energy is to take very large in breaths and hold then exhale; while we are doing this we can imagine breathing in, like a pump, pulling energy from our sexual center up. Then as we exhale let that energy settle into our heart. We can do this practice for 5, 10, 15 minutes.
Thereafter we can watch our breath, just watch it, ignoring other things, ignoring your physical body, any aches, and pains that you may have, always going back to your breath. This is a foundation of good meditation practice.
When you can watch your breath for 20, 30 minutes without any problems you can then let go of that practice and go deeper. Because the sun sets into the earth and we have to find the light inside of ourselves, but when the light shows itself, in the earth, in the depths of the earth, it does not look pretty. With other words, when our mind is calm things are lit up within ourselves. What usually lights up is not always pleasant, what lights up within ourselves are our demons sometimes, what lights up within ourselves can be our nightmares, uncomfortable memories, guilt, remorse, pain, suffering.
The only reason we saw that, is because it was lit within ourselves. What is it lit up by? The same fire (Gift of God). It is through the comprehension of what is lit up within yourself, that you extract the light and you can destroy those old patterns of behavior, those old patterns of thinking and feeling.
We have talked about that in our previous lectures how to work with that, how to eliminate the ego. All of these things are combined together.
Breath is very important and particularly for beginners of meditation working with the breath is very powerful and a very simple way, to form a foundation because without a foundation trying to meditate on something may be very difficult or impossible. If you have a foundation of how relax and concentrate, from that base camp of relaxed body, concentrated mind, and open heart you can then apply that tranquility into other things.
Depending on how our meditation goes, things may come to us without our willing it, those are the things lighting up inside of ourselves. Sometimes they may be beautiful and wonderful, you still must understand them, and sometimes they may seem very unpleasant, painful. We must understand that too. Other times things appear which are confusing or neutral and we have to understand them. Nothing must be left incomprehensible.
This is going to take our entire life. People want to know how to become a master, and the mastery is the mastery of all your mind, your whole heart, your whole consciousness. This is the way we do it, we do it through the work of Donum Dei, the Gift of God, and we should be thankful that we have such a gift within us.