The Path of Balance
In the previous lecture, we talked about the myth of Persephone, and how this Greek symbol relates to our psychological scenario. Persephone is a Greek Goddess, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, who becomes entranced by a flower and is captured by Hades and taken into the Underworld. The story has many levels of meaning; it relates to the development of humanity in the ancient past, but right now we are primarily concerned with what it represents in us: the flow of forces and energies in our psychology, within us, within our mind, within our heart.
The flower that entranced Persephone is called Narcissus, and represents desire. We are entranced by desire. This story represents a psychological situation that happens in our minds.
Persephone is the daughter of the Divine Mother. Symbolically, the child of the Divine Mother is our Soul. Persephone represents our Essence, our consciousness, our true nature.
The understanding of the Essence, to know what it is, to experience it, to use it from moment to moment, is the original purpose of every religion. Nowadays, most have lost that purpose. Nonetheless, the original purpose of religion was to teach us how to recognize and then awaken the consciousness, thereby achieving union with our divine source, what some call God, Tao, Brahma, Allah, etc.
If you don't know what your Essence is, if you cannot taste it, if you cannot feel it, if you cannot work with it, then you are not accessing, using, or experiencing real religion. The word religion comes from the Latin "religare," which means "to unite, to bond," and that re-union refers to the reunion of Persephone with Demeter, that is, the reunion of our Soul, our consciousness, with its source, its root, which we symbolize as the Divine Mother.
In reality, the Divine Mother has no form. She is a force, an intelligence, an energy. In Sanskrit, that energy-wisdom-intelligence is called Prajna: a kind of wisdom and intelligence that is beyond any intellectual concept or form. Prajna is the level of penetrating knowledge that perceives and understands the essential nature of all things. It is God-mind.
Our Essence (consciousness) came from that distant root, but we have no cognizance of it. Our Essence is just a seed, an embryo; it is a child, that the Greeks symbolized as Persephone: an undeveloped, innocent, beautiful, virginal maiden.
Transmigration and Suffering
A long time ago, in an age long forgotten by our civilization, the innocent consciousness of humanity encountered sensations that produced desire, and our Essence, our consciousness, became hypnotized by that desire. This is symbolized in the flower that entranced Persephone. The whole story of that event in our spiritual evolution is very long and full of heartbreak. Instead of going into history, we need to study this story as it affects us today, as it affects our modern lives, our day to day lives. Our Essence (Persephone) is our true nature, and we need to understand what the Essence is and how it becomes entranced by desire, then trapped in hell (suffering).
On another level of meaning, the story of Persephone represents how our Essence descends into a physical body so that we can live here in the physical world. We explained this aspect in the previous lecture about Persephone.
In Greek mythology, the god Hades (Pluto) rules the lower kingdoms. In Kabbalah, the lower kingdoms include Malkuth (which literally means “kingdom”), which relates to the physical world and the physical body. The lower kingdoms also include the kingdoms below the physical world, which are called Gehenna, Klipoth, Hell, the infernos, etc.
- Outer aspect: Malkuth represents the physical world. Klipoth represents the hell realms.
- Personal aspect: Malkuth represents the physical body. Klipoth represents the subconscious, unconscious, and infraconscious levels of our mind.
The physical world and the physical body are the kingdom of Pluto / Hades. The physical world and the physical body are the world of sensations. Because of falling into identification with desire through sensations in the physical body, our consciousness, Persephone, falls into the lower worlds: the consciousness falls asleep, into darkness.
Stated simply, we do not have a Heaven in our body, but we can, if we know how to liberate Persephone: our consciousness. So we need to know how to save Persephone. How do we bring Persephone out of the darkness of hell? That is, how do we bring our Essence, our consciousness, out of the prison that it is in now?
One level of meaning in the story of Persephone relates to the transmigration of souls. In the myth, Persephone eventually reaches a point at which she can escape the underworld temporarily, but has to return later. She gets a break periodically, so she is able to leave the underworld and go back to Heaven, but she is not free of the lower realms. This is because of karma: cause and effect. Most scholars interpret this as a symbol of the changing seasons, because they are not initiates of the secret teachings hidden in the myths. This symbol represents the situation that our soul is in. Our consciousness descends into a body (the lower worlds) and suffers for a time, until the body dies and the soul is freed for a brief vacation in the superior worlds. At least, it used to be like that.
Life and death - the migration of the soul between two worlds - exists because of a cimplicated history of actions and consequences. The history is not our concern now: we want to know how to change our present and our future. For this, first we have to realize that each action we perform has consequences. Even a thought has energetic consequences. Therefore, we are bound here by cause and effect, by laws of nature, not by the tyranny of God, but by the consequences of our own actions. We are here in these bodies suffering because we produced the causes that created our situation.
Our consciousness, our Essence, became hypnotized by desire a long time ago, and is still hypnotized by desire, and that is why our suffering persists. So because of that hypnosis, we are bound into the transmigration of souls, where we enter into physical bodies, experience a physical life, then we die. Sometimes, if during life we have produced a lot of good results, our Soul (Essence) gets a “vacation,” and is able to enjoy a period of bliss in a superior realm, but this is rare nowadays, and becoming more and more rare.
In ancient times, it was common because the souls were not so burdened with desires, but now it is very rare. Now, most souls are reborn immediately, or accrued so much karma that they do not get to take a body again; they are taken directly into the lower realms, to be cleaned of their impurities. That is what is happening now. Since the 1950’s, many of the souls that die do not come back into physical bodies, because their karma is too heavy, and nature takes them to recycle them; when nature takes a soul to purify it through the infernal worlds, it takes thousands of years of suffering and pain, until at the end it emerges clean, ready to try again.
The process of migration is like a great spiral, and our Soul is trapped in that by cause and effect. What we need to understand is the practical method to change our course. I have found a sentence in one of Samael Aun Weor's books that captures the essence of that method. So today were going to talk about that single line, within which the entire teaching is condensed. In his book Fundamental Education, Samael Aun Weor wrote:
A perfect equilibrium between personality and Essence, the harmonious development of thought, emotion, and movement, and a revolutionary ethics, are what constitute the basis of a fundamental education.
This short sentence condenses the entire Gnostic teaching, but to understand it, to grasp it, you have to study that teaching and know what these terms are. These terms are very specific. They are not vague. They are not open for interpretation. They are extremely specific, and to understand them you have to investigate the meaning of each of these terms in Gnosis.
I already explained that the Essence is our consciousness. Essence is our Soul; it is not the mind, the heart, the body, or the personality: our consciousness is beyond all of them. Our Essence, our consciousness, does not need to think. Our consciousness does not intellectualize. Our consciousness does not have emotions in the way we have emotions right now. Emotions work differently in the Essence, thoughts work differently, cognition is different. The Essence is beyond mere intellect, beyond mere emotion as we know it. Our consciousness is beyond sensation as we know it. Our consciousness can experience any of them, but it is beyond them.
The Essence, the consciousness, simply is. It is the state of Being, it is the state of existence, and understanding this will remain elusive to your mind until you have experienced it - and you can, if you learn to meditate. Through real meditation you can have experiences where you taste, know, feel, experience pure Essence. The sanskrit word for that experience is Samadhi. A true Samadhi is an experience beyond the "I," beyond the ego, beyond the body, beyond the mind, beyond feelings or sentiments. In that state, you can experience thought, you can experience emotion, you can experience sensation, but not the thought, sensation, or emotion of the body or the personality of this time or age. They are experiences that are beyond time, that belong to eternity; such an experience is something different. You may have experienced something similar in a dream, a very rich, deep, profound dream, when you were not who you are now. And then when you come back to your physical body, you become confused, and you think, "Wait a minute, I was not this person with this name and this job and this burden; where was I in this dream? Who was I? I was somebody else." You may have been seeing and tasting a past experience, a future experience, or even your real nature. These kinds of experiences illustrate the Maya, the illusion that is woven around us by the consequences of our own past actions.
Perfect equilibrium is the point of this sentence that Samael Aun Weor wrote. So let us understand what equilibrium means. The first two elements that he mentions here are personality and Essence. Essence is our consciousness. Personality is a mask that the consciousness uses.
Each time we are born into a new body, we develop a new personality. Those of us who took bodies in the Roman Empire built a personality in the Roman Empire. We had a Roman personality that spoke Latin, that had Roman culture, Roman morals, that liked the food of that time, that liked the music of the time, that liked the clothes of that time. In other words, that personality was Roman. It was made in Roman times and could only function in Roman times. The personality is not eternal, it is temporary. A personality lasts only as long as the body lasts, and when we are reborn again, we build a new personality.
The personality is just a mask. That mask has a name, a history, tastes, and many unique characteristics related to where and how we grew up. All of us have a personality. Unfortunately, most of us think our personality is our true identity, but it is not. Your name, memories, family, history, culture, tastes, and interests are all personality. The color of your skin, your accent, the language you speak, your politics, your taste in clothing, food, and music, and all cultural things are personality. They are temporal; they belong to time. They are not permanent. They are not eternal. They do not belong to your Soul; they are not your Soul.
So, just with this understanding, we can see that the vast majority of what most people think is "myself," is an illusion. What we think is “me” actually is not real, it is an illusion. What we think is “me” is something that we build in each lifetime in order to function in a physical body and relate with others, but in reality it is an illusion. The personality dies. The personality is not part of the Soul; it is not part of the Being. We need to make that distinction.
Much of what we consider so important is actually completely meaningless. We fight with each other, argue, and struggle over things that will soon cease to exist. We work day after day after day to make money to feed our personality, to get the clothes that make us fashionable and fit in, to make others admire us or envy us, to get the music, to go to the clubs, to go to the shows, to go to the movies, to have the toys and gadgets and house and car and all the things we think we are supposed to have, but which spiritually are really meaningless, empty, pointless, even damaging. Most of our time and energy is invested into pursuits that have no lasting value, but we tend to spend the majority of our lives chasing them: social, political, and religious theories, doctrines, and dogmas are all related to personality. The political and religious views of one hundred years ago do not fit in with those of today - that is, all of them are dependent upon time. In other words, they are not eternal. They are not lasting. How many political, social, scientific, artistic, or other cultural trends, have faded into uselessness? Well, be aware that all of those that we an entranced with today will also fade into uselessness. Every political party and religious trend will also fade into oblivion. Why then become so entranced by them? It is better to root ourselves in the truly eternal.
Many of us have been born into a religious household, we adopt that religion as the true religion, but it is personality. We go to church every week, we give our donations, but we do not move spiritually. It is just habit. That is not spiritual, it is personality. It is false. It is a lie. Real spirituality is not a habit or rooted in trends or what is socially acceptable. Real spirituality is rooted in the eternal divine.
We need a personality, but it must be in harmony with the essence. Our consciousness must govern our personality. That is, whatever we do, is done through personality. To be in equilibrium, each thing that is done must be done consciously, not mechanically or habitually. To really accomplish this is to break all the chains that the mechanical personality puts upon us. In other words, to really balance consciousness and personality, one has to be completely free from unconscious, subconscious, and infraconscious chains.
The Three Brains
Next, he says "the harmonious development of thought, emotion, and movement." These are our three brains:
- Intellectual brain: thought
- Emotional brain: feelings, sentiments
- Motor, instinctual, sexual brain: movement, instinct, and sex
The three brains are just machines that transform energy.
We have an intellectual brain, which is where thoughts process. The intellectual brain is not physical, but uses physical matter to transmit energy. Thoughts are not created in the intellect, they merely process through it. Thoughts are not created in the physical brain; the brain just displays them. Our true identity, our Self, is not the brain. The Self is not thoughts. Thoughts are matter and energy related to the fifth dimension, related to the Mental Body. Our physical brain is a vehicle of our intellectual brain, which is a psychological machine. In other words, you could say that the physical matter of the brain is the hardware, the intellectual brain is the software, and the thoughts are the data that is handled by them both.
The intellectual brain is a psychological machine that merely transmits the contents of our Mental Body, which is in the fifth dimension. Thoughts are matter and energy in the fifth dimension, which reflect into our physical brain.
Our intellect is not a Self. Our intellect is not the Soul, or an identity, it is merely a machine. We have had a intellect and a physical brain in every one of our physical bodies, and in every one of our physical bodies, our intellect has been different. The intellect changes from life to life, because it is rooted in our physical and vital bodies, which change from life to life.
The intellect is just a device; all it does is compare and recall. The intellect has a certain capacity of memory, and it has a certain capacity to compare different elements (usually not very many at the same time).
Our intellectual brain does not work at its full capacity. We have not learned how to use it properly. Instead, we abuse it continually, and usually ruin it in different ways, either by over or under use, or by destroying it with alcohol, drugs, or other chemicals, or by filling it with garbage that causes it to malfunction or fail.
Emotions, feelings, are related with our emotional brain. The emotional brain is just a psychological transformer, a machine that transmits the contents of our Astral Body, also known as the emotional body. In our physical body, the emotional brain operates in the region of the heart, solar plexus, and other organs and glands in this region. The emotional brain is not physical but it uses physical matter to transmit its energy. The emotional brain receives and transmits emotional energies - love, joy, hate, anger, happiness, sadness, all the different types of feelings that we experience, sentiment, attachment, resentment. All of those are emotional energies, psychological energies, in our Astral Body, that are transmitted through our emotional brain.
It is very important to understand what these two brains are they are and what they are not. Let's illustrate this with a quick example. Right now, there are many energies flowing in you. You feel some kind of emotional quality, and thoughts are emerging, and your personality is functioning, and your physical body is functioning, but can you discriminate between all those different components in yourself? Can you see the differences between each part? Most of the time we do not. Most of the time our consciousness is so weak and distracted that we just “go along with the flow” of all the different forces that are inside of us and outside of us, without really paying attention to them. Yet, this is a fatal mistake. Without cognizant awareness of all of these energies, we are without real awareness of what energies are acting and therefore what consequences will emerge from them. We are trapped in suffering, ignorance, and spiritual darkness precisely because we ignore what is going on inside of us.
We need to learn to see the differences between thought, emotion, and motor-instinct-sex. Even between emotion and thought, many of us get very confused. We try to use the psychological tools we have inside of us in the wrong ways. Our psychological world is completely out of balance.
As the many energies are flowing in and out of our three brains, they are modified by our personality, and we become hypnotized; that is, our consciousness is asleep. This is where the Narcissus flower emerges. The Narcissus flower is not a literal, physical flower, it is a psychological symbol. Do you know the symbol of Narcissus? In Greek mythology, Narcissus became entranced by his own reflection. The flower that entranced Persephone is called Narcissus because it is related with ourself, our mind.
The flower represents the illusion of self-identity that hypnotizes our consciousness. The flower hypnotizes us through sensation: through personality and our three brains. Thus, it represent how our Essence, Persephone, becomes entranced and then trapped in hell, but how does that work in us, here and now?
Don't let your mind take you into extremes and think it only happens when you are trying to lose weight and then you are suddenly offered your favorite meal. Yes, it happens then, but that is not the only time it happens. And likewise, do not think it only happens when suddenly you have an extra thousand dollars and can afford to buy whatever it is you have been desperate to buy, and you feel that temptation. Yes, it happens then as well, but that is not the only time it happens. It also happens when someone merely looks at you.
What happens when someone looks at you? Do you see the psychological phenomena that emerges in your mind? It is subtle, but there is a whole series of reactions that occur that you are not aware of. When someone looks at you, there is an evaluation that happens in you. This is not intellectual, it is much too fast for the intellect. In the split second of your eyes connecting with another persons eyes, a whole series of evaluations occurs, similar to these types of questions, “What do they want? What are they thinking of me? Is this person judging me? Do they like me? Do they not like me? Am I in danger? Do they lust for me? Do I lust for them? Do they respect me or not?” And much more. This does not happen as a series of “thoughts,” so it is not intellectual. Eventually, such questions may emerge in the intellect, but generally these process is far to rapid for the intellect. Very quickly, a powerful evaluation of sensations occurs. Everything we see, hear, feel, and sense is processed and evaluated without our conscious awareness. A reaction emerges automatically from our subconscious mind. A reaction emerges from our ego. If the person we see is beautiful, that reaction is interpreted by our lust, our envy, our pride, even fear, or some other aggregate. Each time we notice that someone else is looking at us, a very complicated and very rapid evaluation happens that we are totally unaware of. Moreover, this is happening thousands of times a day, and this is only one example of a single instance. We are also processing enormous amounts of data related to everything else that happens to us, both from sensations that come from outside, and those that come from inside.
The psychological processing that is happening in us is what creates our suffering. You see, when someone looks at us, and our consciousness is asleep, for example, if that moment is interpreted by our pride, then were going to take that experience of the person looking at us and transform it in accordance with pride. So the pride says, "Do I look good? Do they think I look good? Am I handsome or pretty? Do they think that I'm handsome or pretty? Do they like me or not?" And again this is not intellectual, in the form of thoughts. Sometimes the thought comes, but usually it is not; there is a rapid transformation of impressions that we have no awareness of.
This is how significant this sentence by Samael Aun Weor is. It is pointing towards a radical reevaluation of our psychological habits: radical. We talk a lot in these lectures about self-observation, self-remembering, meditation, chastity - we have to have all of those factors engaged in our psychological environment. But the reason we must have them engaged is so we can learn about our three brains: so we can observe and watch the energies that are flowing in us constantly.
You see, when that person looks at us in that instant, there's a huge transformation of energy that happens, below our awareness. So when someone looks at us, and we quickly read their glance, posture, or attitude, and then we assume that we know what they are thinking or feeling. I was recently talking with a young girl who has a little crush on a boy, and she said "He wouldn't talk to me. He doesn't like me," and she felt terrible. I am an adult so I know a little better; I know that the boy does like her and that is why he does not talk to her: because he is terrified of her. All of us are making the same kinds of assumption all the time: we listen only to what our ego is saying. Her pride was feeling threatened because she was feeling an attraction towards him, a little crush, and she felt doubt, "Maybe he does not like me," so her pride continued with "Maybe I am not good enough. Maybe he does not like me. Maybe I am not pretty." Then when he did not talk to her, she felt devastated, not because of him, because of herself. Her feelings emerged because of her interpretation of the event. Of course, as a child she does not see that, but adults do not see this either. All of us are proceeding from moment to moment in an environment of self-created interpretations that actually have no valid basis. Do you see how you are constantly generating thoughts and feelings in your mind, imagining events, replaying memories, interpreting impressions? Do you ever question the content of that psychological stream? You should. We create an illusion about our lives, and we believe it is real. Yet, it is not. It is just a stream of egotistical fortifications.
Thought is related to the intellectual brain.
Emotion is related with the emotional brain.
Movement is related with the body. Movement is further sub-divided into three aspects: a motor center, an instinctual center, and a sexual center.
So if we look at these centers in the body, we see:
- our intellect is related to our physical brain, in the head.
- our emotional center is related to the chest or solar plexus area, around the heart.
- the movement brain has the motor center at the top of the spine, the instinctual center at the base of the spine, and the sexual center related with our sexual glands and sexual organ.
The center of movement is where we process our physical habits: instinct, such as the sexual instinct, the preservation of life, digestion, the way our nerves function, the way our bodies function, all of this is related with this third brain.
In each center, we transform and process energy, so each center is like a little machine. Each one has a certain amount of energy available to it, and it can only process certain kinds of energy. So if we were to assign scientific values to them, we could see that the intellectual brain only processes energy related with the intellect, at a certain vibration, at a certain speed. Likewise, the emotional brain only processes energies related with emotion, and so on with the other centers.
Problems emerge for us when we try to use these centers in the wrong way, when we try to communicate with each other without using the right centers, without having equilibrium in our three brains. Simple examples can be very obvious sometimes. You may have a close relationship with a person and yet never be able to get your point across, and get so frustrated because you think you are making yourself so clear and the other person just does not understand; thus, you get more and more irritated. Can anyone here can relate to this example? [laughter] Everybody? Ok, observe yourself when that happens, and also put yourself in the shoes of the other person and pay attention, because I can tell you what you will find is this: one of you is using one brain, and the other one is using a different brain.
This is very common in romantic relationships. Let me give you a stereotypical example: some men tend to be too intellectual, and some woman too emotional. This is obviously not always case, but it is a common occurrence. So, as an example, during a problem in their relationship, the man is trying to solve the problem with intellectual reasoning, saying "It is logical that A and B equals C." The woman is trying to solve the problem emotionally, saying "But it feels wrong! I do not like it, it does not feel right!" They cannot understand each other at all, because neither one has their three brains in balance. The man is seeing only through his intellect, while the woman is seeing only through her feelings, thus they cannot communicate, and the result is that they fight. Everybody can relate to that. This type of situation is happening with us all the time, because we do not use all three brains in balance.
Gradually, over the course of our existences, as we become more and more entranced with our pride, lust, envy, we build habits and tendencies psychologically, as ego. Likewise, in each lifetime we build habits and tendencies in the personality. So over the centuries, in some cultures, the focus may have been very intellectual, and in another culture the focus can be very emotional. Right now, in North America and Europe for example, the focus is extremely intellectual. In some countries, the focus is emotional; they are attached to the feeling of their country, or their culture, etc. Yet, it is very rare to find any culture that truly develops the powers of the heart; you can find this in a few remote places, or in traditional cultures that still emphasize a strong presence of compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and other values. The “modern” countries and culture only value these as words or ideas (intellectually), but not in practice (emotionally and in action in the body).
It is extremely common to find people that over-develop the intellect. We can see this in our schools now; how are our children educated? They are merely forced to stuff their brains with a lot of data, and they regurgitate that data a couple times a year for tests, and that is all. They do not really learn things through their emotional brain (as comprehension) or through their motor brain through practical use. Modern schools do not require comprehension, only repetition. Our educational system just wants kids to be able to repeat facts. Do you know who repeats facts? The intellect, not the Soul. The intellectual brain can store facts and repeat them. It is a machine. Now we have game shows and contests where people who can repeat totally useless facts are considered geniuses. They are not geniuses, they just have an intellectual brain that is sharp. That is nice; that is a great quality to have, but at what cost?
Equilibrium implies many things. When you over-develop the intellect, you deplete your other centers. We only have a given quantity of energy to use. If, let us say, today I give you a hundred units of energy, observe your day: how do you use that quantity of energy? Do not assume that you use it smartly; watch yourself. Watch what you do with it, watch your behavior. How much of it is spent in repeated habits? Habits are related with the motor brain. For example, we always put our pants on the same leg first. We always hold the cup the same way. We always open the door the same way. When we come home, we do the same procedure. When we leave in the morning, we do the same procedure. These are the superficial habits, but we also have mental habits, and we have emotional habits. We have habits in relationships with others, and with ourselves. Habits are not conscious. Habits are mechanical. Many of our habits are a waste of energy. Some of us have the habit of spending hours wandering around the internet or through television channels. Many of us have the habit of chatting endlessly about completely useless topics. Some have the habit of playing video games for hours and hours. Some have the habit of shopping all the time for things we really do not need. All of us waste enormous amounts of energy in useless habits.
Moreover, what is our job? Let us say we work in a factory, and we do the same job everyday. Do we do our job consciously? Do we consciously take this widget and this watcha-ma-call-it and assemble them and move on down the line? No. We might do it consciously the first five or ten times, but after that it becomes routine, habit. So we can do it and not even think about it, right? In other words, while our body performs the motion, our mind is somewhere else. This is a state of psychological sleep. Our mind is off thinking about some T.V. show, or a memory, or a craving or desire, while our motor brain is doing our job.
So, how do we use our energy? What is our wisdom in the use of energy? We need to analyze that, we need to know that, because really, we should be using these three brains in balance, in equilibrium, each day. The problem is we have tendencies, we have habits that develop over time, psychologically speaking.
Some of us are not what we would call "intellectual." Maybe our memory is not so good, and we do not really like to study, and we tend to be attracted to things because of how they make us feel. Perhaps certain types of art, or jobs, or types of people, make us feel good, so we like that, and that is what were attracted towards. As for the intellectual part, we do not really want to think about that, we do not really want to use our intellect. That type of person will tend to overemphasize the emotional aspect and deplete the intellectual.
There are other types of people that like to get in situations where they repeat themselves, because it gives them security. Some people love factory jobs, and they love religions where all they have to do is repeat a certain practice ten or fifteen times a day and that is it, that is all they have to do; they love that: it givens them security, it gives them a sense of safety. That type of person is very much in the motor brain.
Each of us has a tendency to be over-reliant on one brain or another, while under-using or even ignoring the others.
Why does this matter? Gnosis is about developing the complete the human being, not a machine. Our whole society is only interested in creating machines. Big corporations only want us to be consumers; they just want our money and our energy. Governments are the same; they only want us to be cogs in the wheels of the great machine of society. They do not want us to be cognizant of what is really going on, to be conscious, self-aware, self-reliant. The religions are the same; religions just want followers, believers, people who will not question authority, people who will just go along. We see that everywhere, and we all have the tendency that we want security, we want to be loved, to be liked, to be respected, to be noticed, to be appreciated, and for that, we want to fit in. So, we all develop a tendency or psychological habit related to one brain over the others, that emerges in us gradually over time, but we are unaware of it. Then, when we take that into our religion. Yes, our psychological habit influences our religion. Thus, in the world we find three primary types of spiritual groups. There are three primary types of religions - not in the core sense of where the religion came from, but rather, what we have made the religions into. There are three paths that we are attracted to, based on our own idiosyncrasy.
Three Common Spiritual Paths or Ways
The first we can call the path of the fakir. Fakir is a Middle Eastern term that refers to people who perform seemingly magical feats or feats of great endurance. For example, we have all heard about the Swami lying on a bed of nails; he is a fakir.
We have seen the Sadhu who had his arm raised towards God for thirty-five years without lowering it; he is a fakir. We have heard about the monk who has been sitting in silent meditation without eating or drinking for months or years; he is a fakir. A fakir is a person who is developing willpower through the center of movement. This applies to any religion, theory, belief, doctrine, or person who believes they can reach God solely through willpower. In yoga traditions, this includes those who only practice Karma Yoga: they believe that only through service to others they can reach God. They do not bother to develop their intellectual culture or emotional center. Yet, there are people on this path is in every religion. Personally, I have encountered many such people. Many of those who are devotees of Hatha Yoga are really following the path of the fakir, because they think that through physical exercises they can reach spiritual enlightenment. I have met many people who believe that by sitting in a meditation posture for extended periods of time, forcing themselves to stay in that posture, that they will reach spiritual development. I have also met many people who believe that by repeating certain mantras or phrases, or by performing certain actions or spiritual practices, that they will awaken consciousness. Some say, “If you do this mantra in this posture one hundred thousand times, you will awaken a certain chakra.” Or if you do it a hundred million times you will be merged with God. Yet, these beliefs are not true. What they do develop is willpower, which is good and useful. They develop the brain of movement. They develop a lot of will over sensation, will over the body, but they totally neglect the powers of the heart, and the powers of the mind. People on the path of the fakir in any religion focus primarily on developing willpower; they have intellectual theories and emotional beliefs, but their primary focus is related to the motor-instinctual-sexual brain, and they neglect the development of their other centers. Moreover, they do not work with the consciousness. So then they become a person with a lot of willpower, but with no understanding of their emotion or how to use it, no understanding of their intellect and how to use it.
The second path we can call the path of the monk, and this is just a term used for it; it does not mean that all monks are like this. We call it the path of the monk because many monks practice a devotional path, a path of belief, of devotion to God. This path of the monk would include devotees of Bhakti Yoga.
Bhakti Yoga is popular in India and is the path of the devotion to God. In their spiritual practice, a Bhakti Yogi only sings praises of God, always remembers God and sings the praises of their deity, who may be the Divine Mother, Krishna, or Shiva. They sing a lot of songs, mantras, bhajans and aratis (devotional religious songs). We find this same path in Christianity (Pentecostals are an example), in Judaism, and in any religion. These types of people just want to feel emotional ecstasy. This type of person has a great deal of what they call “faith,” but it is really just belief. They believe fervently, which is good, but unfortunately they neglect the intellect and the center of movement. This type of person will typically say, "I do not need to study the scripture; I have my faith, my belief, and that is enough." They say, "I do not need to do complicated practices. God accepts me because I merge with him in my heart. I love God." These beliefs are in every religion. So, the “monk” is a believer. Such persons have ideas and theories in the intellect, and may read a little scripture, and they may do some practices related to the motor-instinctual-sexual brain, but ultimately they do not develop the three brains in balance. They focus almost exclusively on emotion.
The third we can call the path of the yogi or the scribe. Of course, this person studies intensely, memorizes scriptures, can quote perfectly from the sacred books, is an expert at debate and applying logic to spiritual concepts, but they abandon the development of the heart. In yoga, this is Jnana Yoga: the path of the intellect.
Intellectual types can be very cold and cruel. They do not develop the fires of the heart. They only care for intellectual concepts and structures. They also generally ignore the center of movement, so they have little willpower or self-control. They just have a lot of theories and ideas. Samael Aun Weor called them "walking libraries." This type of person studies a lot and builds very beautiful models of God in their mind, but has no experience of God. This is because to experience God, to experience the Divine, to experience religion, is impossible through the intellect.
It is possible to have experiences of God through the path of the monk, which is through the heart, or the path of the fakir through willpower. That is why we can find fakirs or monks who have had experiences, who have tasted something of a superior realm, who have experienced a Buddha or an Angel. But you will never find an intellectual with those experiences. The scribes have a lot of ideas, and they can explain all those experiences to you and quote scriptures, but they have never had the experience themselves.
So here is our challenge: every one of us is one of these three types of people. Yes, every single one of us “Gnostics” is on one of these three paths. We all call ourselves "Gnostics," but you only become a true Gnostic when you have balanced these three paths as one path in your everyday life. That is: you use your intellect for religion, you use your heart for religion, and your center of movement for religion. You see, Gnosis is the fourth path.
In the staged arts of long ago, the individual would receive information in his three brains: motor, emotional, and intellectual. In the schools of today however, only the intellectual brain receives information. Neurosis and the sick states of the mind are due to this. Mental disequilibrium is avoided by balancing the three brains. - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
The Fourth Way
Through many years of working with students, we have observed thousands of intellectual Gnostics, thousands of emotional Gnostics, and thousands of habitual Gnostics. It is very rare to find a student who balances all three brains. It is very rare, because it is not easy to do since our consciousness is asleep and we have centuries of psychological habits already built inside of us.
We come to Gnosis with all of our habits. That is, over centuries we developed our psychological habits, and then when we come into Gnosis, we continue with the same habits. So, most Gnostic students are one of the three types: intellectual, emotional, or action-driven. And of course, they cannot understand each other, and disagree with each other. This is also why it is easy to find Gnostic instructors who disagree with each other, because some instructors are intellectual, some are emotional, and others just want to do a lot practices and do not want to study (intellect) or believe (emotion). All three types are wrong. It is especially wrong among instructors, because their students learn to imitate them, and to think that the behaviors that they mimic are the real way to practice Gnosis. That is, students of intellectual instructors think that real Gnosis is intellectual. Students of emotionally-habitual instructors believe that real Gnosis is mere belief (what they call faith).
To be a true Gnostic, you have to unite the paths in yourself into the Fourth Path. This is a Fourth Way school. This is the path of the balance: intellect, emotion, and action, equal and conscious.
Gnosis is a path of equilibrium, but to enter that path is only possible when you have created that equilibrium in yourself. Otherwise, you will never enter it. You cannot enter the path of the balanced way if your own inner house is out of balance. If your psychological state is out of balance, it is impossible to enter into real Gnosis. You find Gnosis within: "Know thyself."
So then our task is to discover, “How am I out of balance?” We have to observe ourselves: how do we practice? How do we use our energy? What are our tendencies? What are our habits? And once we see our habits, we have to break them.
Most of us do not want to break our habits. When we find this teaching, we see "Wow, there is a lot of information that I can study with my intellect. There is a lot that I can believe in my heart and many mantras and practices that I can use to really connect with God emotionally. There are hundreds of practices I can do to develop willpower and unite with God." Do you see those three aspects? Intellect, emotion, and movement.
So the person who has the tendency of the fakir comes into Gnosis and starts doing a lot of practices, but they do not like to study the books or to develop their heart, so they do a lot of practices - they may meditate for 8-10 hours a day, do mantras, runes, all kinds of esoteric exercises, but if you ask them "What are the three brains?” Or, “What are the three minds?" They say, "I'm not there yet! I'm not studying that yet. I'm not ready for that." They do not know even basic things. And when they practice, they look to have physical results, like sensations or experiences defined by sensations. They tend to expect that samadhi is ecstatic sensations in the body, and that awakening consciousness, kundalini, or chakras is measurable through physical sensations.
The emotional types believe in Gnosis strongly. They may focus on mantras, prayers, and group events. They want to be part of a big movement and feel connected with “the Gnostics.” They believe in Gnosis and want to help humanity very sincerely from their heart, but they do not want to study (because they say the teachings are “too complicated”), and they do not really practice very much. That is, when they practice, they look to feel a certain way. They do not go beyond feelings. They may believe and have good intentions, but they do not know the doctrine in their intellect, and they do not know the doctrine in their conscious experience, because they do not practice consciously with the three brains in balance.
Then we have the yogis or scribes, the ones who really, even deeply, understand the concepts of Gnosis. They may memorize the books and teachings, they can quote at length, and they grasp concepts and can explain them very beautifully, but emotionally they are cold. Emotionally, they are empty. They suffer from a lot of doubt: doubt in themselves, doubt in the Masters, doubt in the teaching, doubt in the instructors, doubt in the movement. Doubt is why the intellect gets so out of hand. The intellectual, suffering from doubt (a lack of faith), try to find faith through the intellect. Yet, the intellect cannot have faith. It is a machine that compares; that is all it can do. The intellectuals are disconnected from their heart, and are searching for emotional connection through intellectual pursuit, but they will never find it there. This is a personal sadness for me because people I have known and loved went too far trying to find faith and belief by studying intellectually, and never developed their hearts. In the end, they became great cynics, very critical, and became enemies of Christ, because they never developed emotionally. They never brought the teaching into their heart, they never brought the teaching into their body, and therefore they could never make the teaching conscious in themselves.
You see, that is the goal on the balanced path:
- you study intellectually to to learn the concepts and the doctrine
- you work with the powers of the heart through ritual, mantra, practice, prayer, meditation, you open your heart, you develop compassion and love, patience, true virtues - all these virtues are in the heart, not the mind.
- you develop the powers of movement, by perfecting all the exercises and practices, through sexual alchemy, meditation, transmutation, mantric practices, runic practices, many techniques that harmonize the body, that activate the chakras.
Only when these three aspects are all in balance with each other IN YOU can you enter the Fourth Way. Why is this so important? Because if you do not achieve this, you can never enter the Major Mysteries.
This is the domain of Persephone, as we explained in the previous lecture. Persephone as a Goddess, as a symbol, represents the Divine Mother who tests us in the Minor Mysteries. The Minor Mysteries are about establishing psychological equilibrium. This type of equilibrium does not mean we have perfected our three brains, and it does not mean that we have united with God through the Minor Mysteries. It means that we have proven that we comprehend how to balance our psyche.
To fully balance your psyche, you have to resurrect. You have to die, and resurrect. Only a Resurrected Master is a fully equilibrated human being. Until you have become a Resurrected Master, you are not fully equilibrated, because the ego is still alive.
Any ego is disequilibrium in nature. A single ego is enough to create disequilibrium.
Every ego has three brains. When we observe ourselves, we watch our three brains. Why? To learn about the ego, to see how our ego works through our three brains, to learn about our tendencies.
I hope this illustrates for you that we have tendencies that we ignore. Even when we come into Gnosis and become very admirable Gnostic students, we still have our habits and tendencies. So let me give you a little bit of advice, take it as you will: if you are a person who is very intellectual, then stop reading so much. Slow down on the intellectualizing. If previously you would read for an hour to two hours, cut that in half, and then meditate and use mantras for an hour to two hours. If you are a person who does not like to practice, then begin: you need to practice in order to balance your three brains. If you are a person who only likes to practice, you do not like study or believe, you just want to do practices all the time, then slow down your practicing, pick up a book, and try to study a little every day.
We have to put all three brains in balance. It is necessary, and let us explain a little bit about why.
Let us say that you are a person who is attracted towards the emotional aspect of the teachings, which is very beautiful: all about sacrifice for others, about the love of God, about the Divine Mother, about the sacrifices of Christ, and this really inspires your heart, and you love the groups, when the groups come together and everybody's in harmony and it feels so nice to see all the people relating with each other and helping each other, and you love that, but you don't like studying, and practicing is o.k., doing mantras is o.k., or prayer is o.k., but studying Kabbalah? No way, too complicated, you don't like that stuff, too complicated, right? "I don't get it," is what you say. So what is going to be the result? Let us look at that. Let us say that you spend five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years doing your mantras, doing your prayers, and not studying. What is going to be the result? Well, you will start to awaken some consciousness, you will start to have experiences in the internal worlds, but you will not understand any of them. You will misinterpret everything you see, because you will not have any understanding of how the superior worlds work. By avoiding studying Kabbalah, you fail to learn the language of the internal worlds.
The objective of studying the Kabbalah is to be skilled for work in the Internal Worlds... One who does not comprehend remains confused in the Internal Worlds. Kabbalah is the basis in order to understand the language of these worlds. - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
If you do not study the teachings, then you will very easily become really confused and misled. This is why we find many people with a very beautiful aura, a presence of so much love, but who do and say stupid things, because they do not know anything. They do not have an intellectual culture. There are many Gnostics like that, many Christians, many Hindus, many Buddhists. They say dumb things without realizing that they are dumb, because they have not studied. They have not worked on the intellectual aspect, moreover they halt their own development, they misinterpret.
Let me give you a simple example. I had an experience many years ago, when I first came into Gnosis. I had an experience in the Astral Plane in which I saw Al Pacino threatening me, very violently, and I was scared, because he was like a terrifying gangster. I was really scared from that. So after I had this experience, I was thinking to myself, "I have karma with Al Pacino, and he hates me!" I was really worried because I lived in a place where I could potentially run into him. I was thinking, "Oh man, I am going see that guy and he is gonna hurt me," so I was really worried about that for a while. But luckily, my Gnostic instructor was teaching me Kabbalah. Eventually, after having more experiences and study of the language of Kabbalah, I started to realize, "That dream was symbolic. That was not literally Al Pacino. That was a symbol." Then later, when analyzing other experiences I had, I realized that symbol of Al Pacino was pointing to a person I was dealing with in my physical life, who was acting like that. This person was acting like a gangster and was very angry with me, but hiding it. Physically, I could not see it, but my Being was showing me in the internal worlds, "Watch out for that guy, he is really angry and dangerous." Luckily, I understood before things got really out of hand. I was able to get out of that situation before he hurt me psychologically or spiritually.
What that example illustrates was: if I had not been studying the Kabbalah, if I had not been studying Gnosis, I would have continued to interpret the experience literally, and ended up in a bad situation. I would still be thinking that I have a karma with “Al Pacino.” I would probably be telling people stupid things like, “Al Pacino and I are connected from past lives,” as if I knew him. I would have started talking like an idiot and saying stupid things like a lot of people say nowadays. We have all heard it. We have all heard that “such and such” a person is “a great Master,” or “I have karma with this guy and this guy and that guy,” and this and that. In every spiritual group there is a lot of nonsense, because people do not study the teachings, and they misinterpret everything, and they do not understand their own experiences, much less their physical lives. Thus, it is very important that we balance the three brains in ourselves. Otherwise we will get stuck.
It is easy to misinterpret our experiences. We have given many examples in these lectures of how easy it is to misinterpret. You may be a great meditator, you may have great abilities through your heart to project in your Astral Body, and this is one of the benefits of developing the heart. We have met many emotionally-habituated students who, for them, astral projection is easy, because they have emotional energy to do it. Their energy is accumulated around their heart; that is the energy that lets you use your Astral Body, the emotional body. So for them, it is easy to have astral experiences. The problem is, when they have experiences, they do not understand them. They do not know how to interpret them, because they have not developed their intellectual culture through study. They do not study Kabbalah, they do not know the symbols, structures and laws, so they are confused easily. Usually, they go to others for help interpreting their experiences, and the ones they ask are usually intellectual, who have memorized a lot of symbols, but because they have no emotional development they have no intuition at all, so their interpretations are wrong.
Conversely, a person who is very intellectual may read all the astral projection books and memorized their contents, but cannot get out of their body to have an astral experience. They may have memorized Kabbalah, or can tell you the meanings of every single Tarot card. Or they can quote scriptures, and they have a lot of conceptual understanding, but have zero power in the heart, because they have put all of their energy and effort into their intellect. Do not become such a person. That is a dead end, and very painful. Sadly, there are many people in that position who will not admit it. There are even spiritual instructors like that, but they will not admit that they cannot get out of the body, they cannot have experiences, they have not tasted Samadhi, they have not experienced God, so they suffer privately. On the surface, they look like great instructors of any religion, but inside they have nothing, no experiences at all. This is very sad. Do not walk that way. Develop your heart and mind in balance every day, not just once a week, every day: use all three brains in balance with each other. But to do this, you have to observe yourself, and correct yourself continually.
There are mantras to aid the harmony of mind and heart:
OM MANI PADME YUM
OM MASI PADME YUM
This mantra - in either variation - is very powerful for developing balance in heart and mind.
Then there are the fakirs. Another example comes to my mind of a man that I knew, who could meditate in a perfect posture for hours, but would confuse the most basic Kabbalistic concepts in his discourses, and had no experiences in the internal worlds because all he did was develop a lot of willpower. He ignored his heart and did not develop his intellect. He meant well, and tried to balance his three brains, but stubbornly refused to recognize that the primary obstacle he faced was his own attachment to practicing like a fakir.
It is very important to see our self-deception.
...a perfect equilibrium between personality and Essence, the harmonious development of thought, emotion, and movement, and a revolutionary ethics.
We have been talking about ethics a lot in recent lectures. Ethics are not morals. Ethics are not platitudes that we memorize, or rigid norms that we imitate. Real ethics are conscious, cognizant, they come from the conscience. To have real ethics is to know what is right from wrong, and to do what is right. Nobody can tell you that. Nobody can tell you what you should do, who you should marry and who you should not, what job you should have and what job you should not have. The only place you can get that knowledge is from your Innermost, not from anyone else. No one can tell you how to live your life, but your Innermost.
This “revolutionary ethic” is to awaken your consciousness. It is to learn to listen to God. This is the crux of the whole passage. If we understand our personality and we can keep it subdued - that is, our name, our image, our appearance, our language, our culture, all of that stuff - if we start saying "This stuff is really pointless, and I'm sick of trying to live up to the standards of my family or my society; I need to live to the standard of my Innermost." If you can do that, you can start working with your Essence directly, putting the personality in a passive state. Then, you start to work with your three brains. If you do not get your personality under control, you cannot work with your three brains; it is impossible. If you are so concerned about your outward appearance, about what your family is going to think about you, about what your friends are going to think you, about what your spiritual group will think about you, and all that kind of stuff, or trying to live up to certain standards, real Gnosis will remain an illusion, it will remain vague, you won't understand anything, because your personality will keep interfering. Essence has to control personality. Consciousness has to control personality. That is: you have to be authentic, not to this time, not to this day and age, not to your family, your heritage, your culture, your city, your country: but to God, to your Innermost, to your Buddha, to your Divine Mother.
You see, you are Persephone, and Demeter is waiting for you. When that psychological domination is present, when personality is subdued and becomes passive, allowing consciousness to use it instead of the ego, then your three brains are made visible. This is a problem that a lot of people have, even Gnostic students: they do not see their three brains clearly because their personality is always interfering. Make your personality passive. Let og of worrying about all those so called "requirements" of your society, of your environment, of your family, and your spiritual group. This does not mean that you should abandon your family; it means re-prioritize, put your Innermost first, put your spiritual well-being first. And then, when your three brains become more visible to you, you start to see your three brains more easily. So when problems emerge in life, you can see "I am really being too intellectual about this," you can see were starting to try and make decisions and we start over-thinking it, or we don't want to think about, we just want to feel our answer, right? What “feels right,” this is just emotional brain. Or then we try to solve things instinctively, but that's just instinct, animal instinct. You cannot solve your problems through the three brains unless the Essence is active and using them. This is the issue: if the Essence is asleep, who is using the three brains? If you are not paying attention, if you are not cognizant, if you are not awake, who is using your three brains? Your ego. How often are we awake? I mean awake, cognizant. How often are you fully aware of your body? How are often are you aware of your eyes that see? of your heart that is beating? of the sensations of your environment, of the air, the atmosphere, of your digestion, of your breathing, of the electrical impulses in your brain, of the pumping of your blood, of the rise and fall of emotion, and the trickle of thought? Are you aware of that? ever? That is Self-observation, and admist that, do you remember God? Do you feel the presences of your Innermost, of your Divine Mother? Right now? That is Self-remembering. If those qualities are not present, you are asleep, and if you are asleep, then your ego rules your house: habits, desires, laziness, pride, shame, all of those discursive elements that constitute "the myself."
Gnosis not easy. It is not automatic. It is not mechanical. It has to be provoked, continually, by will, conscious, cognizant will, a will of awareness, a will of openness. A will that is relaxed, and vibrant. Here is how you do it: in each moment, remember your Being. This is so fundamental, but so easy to forget. It is not just to think in your intellect, to have the thought in your mind: “God.” That is not remembering God, that is a thought. It is not have a feeling in your heart: “God.” That is just a feeling. It is also not to forcibly produce a chill in your spine, or little goosebumps "gasp, God is here." That is just sensation. Self-remembering is not in the three brains, it is beyond them.
To remember God is conscious. It is the action of the Essence, which is beyond the three brains. As beginners we all struggle with this part, trying to learn self-observation and self-remembering, but we tend to do it from our old mechanical habits.
Intellectuals try to do it in the intellect, their always thinking, "I have to observe myself, I have to observe myself, I have to observe myself." That is not self-observation, that is repetition, that is just the intellect. Self-observation is not intellectual.
The emotional ones are trying to feel self-observation, "I feel like I am observing myself, it feels o.k.," emotionally, "or it feels weird," emotionally. That is just emotion. Self-observation is not emotional.
The ones in the center of movement try to manipulate the body and position the body to somehow remember itself. I knew a guy who when he was trying to observe himself, you could tell, because he would get this look on his face, a very sort of tense look, and all the students around him knew, "Oh, he's observing himself now." [laughter] In fact, other students were imitating him, thinking that was how to observe oneself. In reality, it does not work like that. That is just a fakir habit. Self-observation is not physical or dependent on positions or sensations.
How do you really observe yourself? You activate your consciousness. It does not mean you change your behavior, or your thoughts, or your mind, you simply look at them, equally.
To be observant is to just observe. It is to just observe, but to do it being aware that you are observing. So right now, become aware of how you are sitting. Feel everything there is to feel about sitting. Feel your whole body, and just observe it. Do not change anything about yourself. Do not modify anything. Just become aware. Self-observation is an act of observation. You do not have to think about your body, or feel an emotion about sitting, "Do I like it or not like it? or does it feel good or bad, or do I love this, or hate this?" It is not emotional; you are just sitting. Neither is it dependent on any sensation, good or bad, you are just sitting, and you are observing how you sit. Now, also, observe the thoughts that trickle, any emotions that might be trickling, and retain that awareness, and underneath all of it, do not forget what gives you the ability to be this and do this and experience this, is your Innermost, your Inner Being, who is ALWAYS there. Feel that. It is not emotional feeling, an intellectual thing, or a sensation in the body, it is something that you are cognizant of. You see, to do this takes effort, right? You have to work at it, and you are just sitting still.
Later, try to do this in every moment, such as when you are in conversation with someone; it is a lot harder. The instant you get out of this lecture, all your habits are going to re-emerge. You will resume worrying about what people think, how they see you, how you look, etc. We are always worried about so many things, trying to impress, and we get into a conversation we totally forget ourselves, we totally forget our Innermost, we totally forget our Divine Mother, and are just in the thread of the conversation, maybe it's an intellectual conversation, maybe it's an emotional conversation, maybe it's instinctive. What is an instinctive conversation? Something that is indulging in instinctual behavior: sarcasm, lust, anger, pride. We all have friends that we start talking, maybe we talk in very intellectual way, debating a little bit or comparing ideas, and enjoying that discussion of ideas. Some of us talk emotionally, "I felt this and he felt that." The rest of the time, we wallow in very instinctive, bestial topics. The same happens with the television that we watch, the movies, the books, the magazines, all that psychological food: we forget ourselves, we do not pay attention to what we are doing with our three brains. So all of our energy is being utilized in negative ways.
Conservation and Transformation of Energy
When you start to really learn to sustain your self-remembering and self-awareness, and observe you three brains, you start to save a lot of energy. Where in the past you may have engaged in habitual intellectual behaviors, such as conversing with others, talking, being on the internet, researching things, look up things, comparing. Or emotional: indulging in watching sports for example is a very emotional and instinctive activity. People who love those romantic movies, very sentimental stories, abuse the emotional center. We have these habits, what happens is we waste that energy, because we are asleep, not really aware of ourselves, or we don't care, and all that energy gets wasted. Why do we do it? Because when all that energy is wasted, we feel that we “relax.” What do you feel like at the end of the day? When you spent that hundred units of energy I gave you a little while ago, you are exhausted, right? You go home and you just want to space out, sit in front of the T.V. and click channels, or the internet and click around, spaced out. Why? You have no energy, you wasted it all it, through your intellect, through your heart, through your motor center, wasted. Then you get home and think, "now I need to meditate," but with what energy? Where is your energy, your fuel for meditation? Or for transmutation, or for mantras? That is one of the reasons why morning is a great time to do your spiritual practices. You wake up fresh, you have all your energy, and then you direct your energy in that way, first thing. This is an excellent, excellent way to start every day. At the end of the day, your energy is gone because you did not observe yourself, your did not remember yourself, and you engaged in mechanical habits in your three brains, so all the energy is gone. So with what energy are you going to reach Self-realization? If each day you are coming home exhausted mentally, emotionally, physically, where is the energy to practice Dream Yoga overnight? Where is the energy to meditate and comprehend your ego? (which you should be doing every night). Where is the energy to unite with God? There is none, so where is your progress? Where is your spiritual life? We have to be practical. We have to be hard on ourselves, and really see our mistakes. If we do not have any energy at the end of the day to do our practice, we are fooling ourselves. It means that we are wasting it all day long.
When you start to observe yourself, to manage your three brains, and to develop equilibrium, you start saving energy. You start to realize when that friend comes around that loves to get into those intellectual conversations with you, you say "You know what, I can talk to my friend, but let me do it consciously, let me not waste my energy."
Or when that friend comes around who loves to gossip, "Oh you know what I heard? Let me tell you what I heard, you are not going to believe it," and your heart says "oh I want to know! tell me," and then you observe yourself and you say "I am not going to waste my energy on this."
But here's the hard one, when that show is coming on, T.V., that show you love to watch (you know the one, I am not going to name it, because you will be embarrassed). What do you do when you watch that show? You waste energy, because you get involved in the characters or in the story, or the events of the show, and all your heart energy and all your intellectual energy is spent on the feelings and thoughts you identified with. After the show you feel depleted, and think, "That was good!" All the energy is gone, what did you do with it? You splurged it, you squandered it.
Naturally, we have the same behaviors in the whole range of our activities: we get identified, we forget ourselves, and we expend all of our energy. To walk on the Fourth Way is to do everything consciously, using our energy wisely. In this way, each action is a conscious transformation of energy. The result is wisdom and elevation.
What we are talking about here is conservation of energy. Transmutation is to take energy and to transform it into something else. We always talk about sexual transmutation, but what were really trying to perform is a work of Alchemy, which is a transmutation of the mind, a transmutation of the Soul. How will you do that if there is no energy?
The fourth type of person has learned to balance their three brains to save energy and transform it, to harness all their forces and utilize them in a conscious way for spiritual benefit. To put it in another way: if you are wasting all your emotional energy in sentimentality, attachments, watching violent sports, violent movies, romantic soap operas, and all that kind of stuff, with what energy are you going to build an Astral Body? The Astral Body is built from the energy of the heart.
If you are wasting all your intellectual energy in theories, conversations, debates, and concepts, how are you going to build a Mental Body?
If you are wasting your physical energy by being stressed out all the time, by running around and doing dumb things like shopping all the time and working 26 hours out of the 24-hour day, constantly running, never sitting still so that your body is completely depleted every day, how are you going to raise the energies of the physical body and the vital body to conquer those two serpents of the Major Mysteries?
Persephone, related to the Minor Mysteries, says "You have to dominate the beast," your body, your three brains.
Only when you have managed to prove that you know how to control your three brains, to save energy, to put them all in balance, and have cognizant control, can you move on to the Major Mysteries. That does not mean that you have to be conscious 24-hours a day (although that would be great). To pass the Minor Mysteries, you have to show that you know how to balance your three brains. The more you do it, the better. When you have demonstrated that ability, then your Divine Mother says "Let us take you to the next step," because you are saving enough energy to enter the Major Mysteries. If you do not have any energy, then there is no point, there is nothing to transform, there is nothing to transmute.
In this process, you face a lot of ordeals, a lot of tests. It is difficult, very challenging, and everyone is tested according to their own idiosyncrasy. We do not receive the same tests in the same ways. We get the tests according to our psychological habits. The intellectuals are tested intellectually, to see if they can work with that aspect and save energy in that aspect. The intellectuals are tested emotionally, to see if they can use their heart, and they are tested in the center of movement, to see if they know how to properly use their body. We are tested in all three brains, but according to our idiosyncrasy. An emotional person is tested in different ways, an instinctual or motor-type person is tested in their own ways, but all of us are tested. So it is our responsibility to learn about our three brains and learn how to balance them.
Look into yourself and see, what are your habits, and break them. I am not talking about the habit of always putting the towel on a certain side of the towel rack. You want to break that one, fine, but it is not going to bring you closer to God. The habits you need to break are psychological habits: the way you think, the way you feel, the way you act. You have to go against yourself. This is the hardest part. We feel that our habits our good, that our habits are who we are, and let me tell you a little secret: that thing that you think is your greatest virtue, it is the reason you are suffering. That is a painful thing to see. That quality in yourself that you think makes you so special and such a good person, such an upright person, is your worst defect. We cannot see it, and we do not want to see it.
I will give you a second clue, equally distasteful. Samael Aun Weor said in The Great Rebellion, this beautiful statement, which really can help you a lot in this, listen carefully, he said this:
A general Gnostic rule in the Gnostic esoteric work is that when we do have a point of contention with another person, we can be certain that this is the very thing against which we must work on within ourselves. Whatever it is that we criticize so much in others is something which lies on the dark side of ourselves, and which we neither know nor want to recognize.
What we do not like to see in others is what they show us about ourselves. So if you know somebody at work that really irritates you and you say, "That guy is so arrogant, he drives me crazy," you know why? Because YOU are arrogant, and you do not want to see it, and he is like a mirror to you. When you feel a strong repulsion towards somebody or a certain quality, look at yourself, and keep looking; you won't see it the first time. But if you keep looking, you will see it, and when you do, you will be devastated, you will feel horrible. But then, if you persist, if you do not run away from the facts of your what is in your mind, you will come to discover the greatest joy of the real Gnostic: the single greatest joy is when you discover a defect.
Yes, we have joy when we see God, when we talk to God, and we have joy when we have experiences in the internal worlds, these are beautiful things, and we have joy when more people come to the teachings, and when new schools open and new instructors teach, these are all joyful occurrences, but they are nothing compared to finding a defect that you have never seen before in yourself. It sounds strange, right? It doesn't sound joyful to us right now, because we only know our pride, we do not know our Essence, but when you are centered in your Essence, in other words, when you have psychological equilibrium, you have a center of gravity in your Essence, and when you see that defect, you feel an unimaginable joy, because that is an aspect of your cage of suffering. Now that you see it, you can kill it - not overnight, but now that you see the enemy, you can vanquish him. If you do not see your cage, you are just trapped, suffering.
So this is the work. I love this little passage because it embraces all of that. Everything is in this.
What is the fundamental education? It is the education of the consciousness. The consciousness can only be educated as to what is right and wrong if we control our personality, if we awaken our Essence, and if we cognizantly balance thought, emotion, and movement, and we act from revolutionary ethics (conscience). When that phrase is actualized in our day to day life, we become different, very different, life changes.
Questions and Answers
Instructor: That is a big challenge, to remember yourself when you go to work, to live your daily life. It doesn't mean that you quit your job and go find an easier job, because you will the same person, whether in that job or a new job, you will have the same habits, the same tendencies. You will be the same, even if your circumstances are a little different, so you have to learn to modify yourself, to modify what is inside, instead of what is outside.
So, what can you do to help yourself to remember yourself? You can use “tricks” like an alarm clock. I have known people who have like written little notes to themselves and hidden them around their office, so they will open their a drawer and see a note, "Remember yourself." That might work once, and it might work when you look in the drawer again a year later, but it is not going to work everyday. Those little tricks are just ok, but they are just modifying the external circumstances, not the internal cause of forgetfulness. To modify the internal cause of forgetfulness is very hard. It is not easy to do it, and it will not happen overnight. The only way to remember yourself is to remember to do it. There is no trick or shortcut. You have to make effort, and make consistent effort; keep trying.
This is very similar to when we learn to meditate. When start our meditation, we have a great intention, "I am going to meditate now for ten minutes." We get about five or ten seconds into it and then we begin dreaming. The ten minutes go by, when we suddenly realize, "Gasp! I totally forgot I was supposed to be meditating!" We feel bad, but keep trying. Eventually you reach the ability to retain mindfulness of what you are doing for two or three minutes before slipping away into distraction; then you remember "Oh, I'm supposed to be meditating, so let me concentrate again.” Then a few seconds go by and you fall asleep again, and then another two or three minutes go by and "I should be meditating!" Everyone goes through this when making effort to learn meditation: you catch yourself repeatedly getting distracted and losing attention. This is also what happens during the day when trying to observe yourself. The effort is the same: to pay attention consciously: to not be distracted by our mind. The more effort you make, the more often you catch yourself “wandering away.” Do not feel defeated when you realize you have been distracted. It is wonderful to catch yourself being distracted. That is a triumph! The Buddha said that if you meditate and become distracted a thousand times, and catch yourself a thousand times, that was a perfect meditation, a beautiful meditation, because you realized you were distracted. You restored your consciousness to being present and attentive. If you didn't remember it at all, then you need to work harder. Eventually, gradually, the stronger your consciousness becomes, the more attentive it becomes. Then you are able to remain more cognizant for longer periods, but the challenges change, they become something different, more subtle, still hard,but more subtle. We can talk about that in another lecture. For now, keep trying. It takes a lot of willpower.
There is a chart used in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, often in the antechamber, of the steps of concentration, called the nine stages of tranquil abiding. It illustrates the stages of developing conscious attention. The very first step shows a monk with a rope and an axe, and next to him is a huge blazing fire.
Those two implements, the rope and the axe, represent the tools of mindfulness and observation. The fire represents how much intensity you have to put into your willpower, to be cognizant, to be aware of yourself. It takes A LOT of energy, a lot of willpower. An enormous blaze is next to him, but if you look at the painting, as it winds up towards higher states of concentration, the flame gets smaller, until at he top there is no flame. The reason is, as he ascends that path, developing more cognizance, it takes less effort; the consciousness becomes trained, the mind becomes trained, the three brains become trained, it becomes easier to remain self-aware, then the challenges are different after that. So that's basically the point: keep making the effort to be mindful, A LOT of effort.
You will have to sacrifice other things. Earlier I used the example of us having a hundred units of energy. In the morning, most of us probably only have ten units, because we wake up tired, because our mind is wasting energy all night long. So, let us say you have those ten units of energy. Well, to awaken, you need a lot of energy, so if you are serious about your spiritual work, you should stop engaging in activities where you waste energy, actions that do not help you spiritually, and that may even harm you spiritually. Some examples are to stop listening to negative music, stop watching negative television or movies, stop reading harmful materials, books, the internet, websites, etc. Stop any behaviors where you waste energy. Sometimes it means you have to take a break from friends, from social events, from family. It may mean you need to change habits that you have had for your whole life. Do it: your very Soul is at stake. This is not a game. You need energy to awaken your consciousness. You need energy to manage your three brains. You need energy to be cognizant. If you are wasting your energy, that is your choice. So, evaluate your life. Look to see what you can change. Find areas where you can save energy. No matter which tendency we happen to have, whether we are more intellectual, emotional, or a motor type, we each waste energy in all three brains, we just tend to do it one way more than another.
Part of it also is restraining our senses. When you see a billboard or an advertisement, or you see a person dressed in skimpy clothes, you have a choice of whether to look or not; when you look, you expend energy in the transformation of those impressions. If those impressions stimulate your lust or envy, then you have invested energy into those egos. When “that show” is coming on tv that has questionable content, turn off the tv, spend time with your kids, do something useful with your time; don't waste your time. These actions that seem insignificant add up rapidly. One of the sutras says:
Never underestimate the significance of any act.
It is very important, because each little act has an impact greater then the original action. That little act of looking at that webpage or looking at that magazine cover, or looking at that woman or man, has an impact; a lot of energy is spent there, and it creates something, but what? Is it creating your Soul, or is creating an ego? This is the kind of radical ethics we need. Samael Aun Weor emphasized "a revolutionary ethic." The revolution is not against the outside world, it is against your mind, your habits, your tendencies. You have to revolt against yourself, and let your Being guide you.
All of us want guidance from God. We are all praying, "God, please guide me." But how can God guide you when - first of all - your three brains are filled with garbage, things that you have accumulated all day long that should not be in your mind and heart? And second of all, your three brains are depleted of energy. It is as if you have a radio that is not plugged in, how can you listen to the radio if there is no energy to power it? If there is no energy in your intellect, emotion, or body, or there is no energy in your consciousness, what can God do? God respects the Law. If you have an open mind that has energy and is active, you have an open heart that has energy and is active, and if your body is relaxed and has energy, God can give you a lot. But we have to put ourselves in that position; we have to create those circumstances.
Instructor: That is right. I gave a very simplified presentation of these three paths just to make the distinctions clear, that they are related with the three brains. But the fact is, in any of these three paths: fakir, monk, or yogi, they have all the practices. The fakir has intellectual theory and his doctrine; it is not as if he does not have an idea of what he is trying to do. He also has beliefs, related to his heart. If you talk to a fakir-type of person, he can give you a whole exposition of why he is practicing that way, and it sounds reasonable; nonetheless, he is not developing the full use of his intellect or his heart. The same is true of the monk and yogi. They use all three brains, but not in balance. Yogis who are developing just in the intellect might do mantras, meditation, and practice, and they have beliefs in their heart, but not in balance.
Instructor: That is right; perfect equilibrium is when the personality is under the control of the Essence. The personality is necessary. It is the tool that allows us to relate to each other. It is where we have our skills of language, culture. If the personality was not there, we would not be able to relate with each other. It would be confusing; we would not have language skills, body language, all the ways that we use to relate, to be with each other. The difference is that, the ego uses the personality and makes the personality big and fat; personality becomes this grotesque thing. We all worship big personalities; rock stars, movie stars, leaders, politicians, celebrities. They all have BIG personalities, very dominating personalities. But when we deal with somebody who does not have that, whose personality is passive and under control of Essence, they have a completely different feeling. For example, Samael Aun Weor has a strong solar personality, which is something else; we have lunar personality. Or another Master, such as the Dalai Lama, for example, he has very powerful, conscious presence. So, personality is always there, even the highest Masters have personality, but it is a solar personality being controlled by the Spirit.
Instructor: Equilibrium is when our moment to moment activities are managed by the consciousness; that is to have equilibrium. In The Revolution of the Dialectic, Samael Aun Weor talks about a Permanent Center of Gravity or Permanent Center of Consciousness; that is equilibrium. Instead of being centered in our intellect or centered or in our heart or centered in the motor-instinctive or sexual centers, the person in equilibrium is centered in the Essence. And so when that person faces challenges, situations, they are centered in the Essence, managing the three brains consciously, and do not get swept away by emotion, or swept away by conceptual things, or swept away by instinct; they are conscious, cognizant. That is the platform from which you can transform impressions; that's another level. But without that center of gravity, you cannot do the work
Instructor: Not necessarily, it depends. We talked about five centers today: three related to the body, and then the emotional and intellectual, but there are two more: superior intellect and superior emotion. These centers are related with the heart and the brain, but they transmit a superior type of force, a superior type of energy related with the Being. Any one of us can receive influences or impressions from those superior centers; for example, you might have a vision or an awakened, conscious experience out of your body; you might have some kind of powerful, spiritual experience with your Innermost, even while in your physical body. Those are related to the superior centers. But, because we tend to waste so much energy and we do not have control over our three brains, such experiences are generally “accidents” or something provoked by the Being to push us. The two superior centers become fully active when we have created the Soul; when we have the Solar Astral Body and Solar Mental Body. When we meditate, we are looking to have experiences or get information from those centers. We can have it, but it is not easy for us; we do not have the energy, we do not have the equilibrium, and may not have those bodies internally.
Instructor: Well, this is the whole challenge, it is exactly that. Samael gave a great lecture that partly explains it. He gave a lecture called "The Taste of Life, and the Taste of the Work," to illustrate that we have to get to know the flavor of our psychological experiences and our spiritual experiences, and this is something that takes a long process of study. Not merely study in the intellect, but study in the heart, and study in the body. It is part of the reason we need to be in a balanced form in our practice. I was talking about yogis or monks who may have experiences of Samadhi; because they do so much practice, they easily have Samadhi and they go out and talk with the Gods and have experiences with elemental forces of nature, and so they think that they are enlightened. They interpret those experiences as if they are liberated. Then they come back to the body and they say, "Hey everybody, I am a Master!" But they are wrong. They are lacking study of the higher aspects, the metaphysics (Kabbalah) of those experiences. So the short answer is: in order for you to accurately interpret your experiences, you need a lot of study, a lot of patience, and you need a lot of self-criticism; you cannot take any experience at face value. Kabbalah is essential on this point. The whole purpose of Kabbalah is to be able to interpret our experiences; that is why we study it. It is not just to have a theory, it is to be able to interpret accurately what we see and experience internally and physically. We have the example of the other instructor, who, someone came to him in the internal worlds and said, "You are Moses; we know you are Moses." Of course, from studying, he knows that he is not Moses. Moses is symbolic. But if he had not studied Kabbalah, he would be now claiming that he is Moses. So when we get information through the superior intellect or superior emotional center, we have to know how to discriminate and understand in context; we have to understand the symbol. Everything in those experiences is Kabbalistic,.
Audience: When we live in society, real world... the real world is what were talking about here... to find that balance between equilibrium... putting your life together... very, very fine line... talk about the balance so...
Instructor: It is a challenge, but that is part of the beauty of the Gnostic teaching: it does not demand that you change your physical circumstances to go to the woods or a monastery. Gnosis is a path of the Fourth Way, which any person, in any circumstance, can utilize and change their circumstances for the better. So the simple answer is: do what you are doing, but do it consciously. Do what you are doing, but do it from your heart, consciously. We all need jobs. We all work. We all have responsibilities with family, kids, with our different activities we are involved in. The practice Gnosis does not mean we have to stop all those things, by no means; we need all that. Our life is our karma; that is where were going to learn about ourselves. Our life is our mirror in which we can see who we really are. So we do what we have to do, we eliminate what we do not have to do, and we learn how to do our activities better. Be a better person in your day to day life. If you have a job, do your job from your heart. Turn your job into a spiritual practice. Turn your family life into a spiritual exercise. When you go to work, take it as your Gnostic path, instead of taking it just as a way to get money. Your daily life is a way for you to learn about yourself. It is a way to contribute to your community, your family, your environment, and to the people around you. A job is necessary in this day and age; we need it. We need to be able to survive, and it is the only way we can survive right now. So, do your job, but do it as a spiritual practice. If in every interaction with others, in every moment, we seek to extract what is useful, to make it conscious, to make it of benefit to others, and we get rid of what is not useful, discard it, your life then has incredible meaning and value. This is not easy, but it can be done; I give you my personal testimony of that. I have had jobs that are very difficult, and I suffered, and I still suffer, but thanks to Samael and the help I get from the Gnostic teachings, I have learned how to transform, whether easy tasks or difficult tasks. I do not do it perfectly, but I am learning. It can be done, that's what I can tell you: it can be done. Whether you are a janitor or a president, it doesn't matter; what matters is to be conscious. Do what you do consciously; act from your conscience. If you have a conflict with your job, if it bothers your conscience, then change it, but if you can do your job in good conscience, then do it, and do it to benefit your coworkers and the clients you serve. Do it as a service to humanity, then it becomes a beautiful sacrifice. Instead of just doing it to get money, you are doing it because you can sincerely do something to benefit other people, to help them. Then your job becomes a great vehicle for transformation. The same opportunity exists with your family. We all have challenging family karma, but if we can take that as an opportunity to serve, instead of just as a source of suffering, if we can turn our job and our family and our community responsibilities into opportunities to serve each other, then each one becomes a very powerful tool to transform our mind and to help transform the lives of people around us. It is just a matter of shifting our attitude. It is not easy to do, but we can do it, and that's by training. That is why this tradition is called “mind training.” In Tibetan it is called lo jong. We train ourselves to be better people. The fruits of that training do not come overnight, but through patience, persistence, and learning a little bit more each day.
The instructors who teach the lectures and courses are volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Each has years of experience teaching and working with the practices and exercises that awaken the consciousness. Since the goal of dharma, yoga, or gnosis is to follow our inner Being, and to focus on divinity not terrestrial personalities, the lecturers remain anonymous, and do not broadcast their names, faces, or personal information. They do not have spiritual titles or names, do not accept followers, and live their lives anonymously like any other person in society.