This article is based upon the transcription of a live, unscripted lecture originally given on Gnostic Radio, which you can download for free: Beginning Here and Now: Gnostic Psychoanalysis, Part 2 AUDIO . There is also an accompanying pdf: Beginning Here and Now: Gnostic Psychoanalysis, Part 2 PDF .
Our lecture today is in regards to our psychological work that we must perform within ourselves. In our previous lecture related to psychoanalysis (Gnostic Psychoanalysis, Part 1), we spoke a little bit about how to translate theory into practice. In our lecture today we want to take more of a comprehensive look of how to put all these pieces together.
We often speak about different aspects of this work: that we need to meditate and we need to observe ourselves. But how does it all come together into something that transforms us? How do we achieve that? How can we look at it as a method, as a system? In my understanding there is a method. It is not something haphazard or something accidental. Our Being, our Innermost, our inner God, is the one that is organizing the work, organizing our work, organizing our karma. But we have our role to play, and our duty is to take advantage of the situation which is presented before us. So we have to do our part.
We have to work in a way that has a discipline. That discipline need to be both rigorous and exacting, and also fluid and dynamic. There are different aspects we have to work with, and we have to be consistent. We want to eliminate our ego. We want to transform. We want to achieve liberation. But we can not simply pray and beg to God to change ourselves, to change our situation. We can if we wish, but there are laws, there is karma, we have to pay that karma, we have to work with it in some way. We can not just simply have a hope or have a desire to change ourselves, it has to be some type of method, there has to be some type of discipline.
In The Revolution of the Dialectic it is written:
“By having super-discipline we will comprehend and accept that we have to take life, willingly, as a gymnasium.
Whosoever submits himself to super-discipline can expect great triumphs.
Those who live by super-discipline will have to be strong in order to bear the ‘solitude of the path.’”
We bring this up because as we approach this doctrine, as we begin to study, as we become acquainted with the doctrine, we learn at different levels and in different ways. At first we begin to just use the techniques naïvely, and this is helpful. But at some point you need to organize everything, because, to just work in a haphazard way will lead to have haphazard results, it would be more accidental. There might be some times by just living and trying to see defects, you might be able to comprehend some level. But if you are not putting it through a method and you find yourself stagnant, then where do you know you may have gone wrong, how do you know if you are working correctly or not?
So in the beginning if we are looking to change ourselves, the first thing we need to understand is ‘what is it that we are changing?’ and ‘why do we want to change?’ We speak about the ego, and we speak about the Essence, the personality as well, and we have different part of the Being or the spirit. We have the psychological work, and with that we are usually pointing towards working with the ego. So why is that? Why do we have that and why does it need to change? The ego is something that does not have a true root of existence. What does instead is what we can call the Essence, or the consciousness, or the soul. This is an exponent of our Being; this is the part of ourselves which is a connection to our Innermost, to our inner father and mother, which connects us to the Absolute, which is the source of where we have departed from. So it is the essence that we are trying to develop. But unfortunately we have the ego.
Originally, the essence was placed into a lot of experiences, we can call this the wheel of evolution and devolution, the transmigration trough different kingdoms. In the end we arrive in this physical body, but we develop the ego which is a problem. Partly, this ego is necessary, because without it the Essence is virginal, is naïve, and it is not knowing the difference of good and evil. It is through our comprehension of the ego that we learn what is good and what is bad. The ego is related to our karma, which is related to our mistaken actions. So, in synthesis, we develop the ego. As I said, to a certain respect it is necessary, because we need to learn from mistakes, we need to learn how to manage energy. Through the consequences of mismanaging energy you develop the ego. That ego is a condensation of energy that surrounds and traps our Essence. Not just as one thing but as many different things. So this is what we call the ego being multiple, a legion.
So here is where we get the word aggregate from. We say that the ‘I’ is many, because the ego is a certain type of condensation of energy that is wrapping up parts of our Essence and developing its own self-will, which we call desire. So the Essence is the root of our willpower and it is the root, or we can say it is our connection to our willpower, and it is our connection to our perception, our pure perception, our pure willpower. But the ego modifies that, it modifies our perception, it modifies our willpower. So instead of seeing things as they are we see things in accordance with how our ego has modified it. If you take a source of light and you put a lens in front of it that distorts that light, you see something different.
When we talk about observing ourselves we are activating our consciousness, in order to look, in order to see. Because although we have an ego, we also still have some amount free consciousness, a little bit. Typically we say we have 97% of our consciousness within an ego, within egos, within aggregates. And a small percentage, 3%, is able to be free of that and be able to see, and perceive, and act freely. So we can take advantage of that. By taking advantage of that we can look into ourselves, using that part of ourselves that has free consciousness. This is the first step.
Sometimes people hear that we have the 3% consciousness and 97% that is trapped in the ego. But what we have to further understand is that we have to activate the 3% that is free. We do not activate the 3%, then we are not actually using it. So how do we activate it? We have to use our willpower. We have to be present. We have to place our attention inside on the process of our own mind, in order to observe all of the different diverse interactions of all the different things that are going on inside of ourselves.
Therefore, we need to remove the ego in order to (liberate) the consciousness. We need to remove the ego in order to gain self-knowledge, in order to become a Being knowing good and evil, and transcending good and evil. So the first step we can say is ‘discovery’, or simply observation.
In The Great Rebellion it is written;
“In everyday life, it is advisable to observe oneself with the purpose of self-discovery.
It is precisely everyday life, the psychological gymnasium, through which we can discover our defects.
In a state of alert perception, watchful attention, we can directly verify that the hidden defects flare-up spontaneously.
Clearly, we must work on the discovered defect consciously with the purpose of separating it from our psyche.
Above all, we must not identify with any I-defect if we really want to eliminate it.”
If we do not observe ourselves, if we do not observe life, then we remain ignorant to what is going on inside of ourselves. Hence, we remain ignorant of our own self, we lack self-knowledge, we lack gnosis. So we have to observe it. But how do we pull something out of our unconsciousness? because the ego itself is something unconscious. We have talked about this in other lectures, that the consciousness can awaken in two ways outside of the ego or inside of the ego. But normally most of us have our consciousness sleeping inside of the ego. Those who awaken within the ego are working very hard to concentrate their desire to awaken inside the ego. Typically what we want to remove is not in our conscious perception, it is in our subconscious perception, or unconscious perception, or what we can call our infraconsciousness as well. So how do we discover our ego? This is why it is written
In a state of alert perception, watchful attention, we can directly verify that the hidden defects flare-up spontaneously.
By observing ourselves, by observing our mind, the defect makes itself known. We simply observe the mind for the defect to come up. We do not know what it might be, we have to sit, or be in that perception, in watchful attention, waiting for something to appear. In the same way that an animal which is going to hunt, sitting prone, very watchful, for the correct moment in order to grab that element being that is being hunted. So we sit and watch.
We have to develop a capacity of self-observation. How do we do that? It is a skill that we need to learn how to develop. It is a skill that we learn through practicing. Self-observation is something we should be taking up all the time. It should be our default mode, to be present at all times. To be, for example, an awakened person, an awakened man or an awakened woman, is that… it is to be present, to be observant and to remember one’s self amongst all the different diverse manifestations of impressions that are coming about inside of yourself, and never falling in to identification, and never falling in to fascination, and never falling into dreams. Never falling in to willpower that is trapped in desire. That is what it is meant to be awakened.
We have that little bit of free consciousness (3%) but we need to learn how to activate it; we need to learn how to be observant. And it has a lot to do with dividing your attention, or checking in with yourself and relaxing. So moment by moment whenever we can remember, we look into ourselves. Just by doing that you are already taking a step towards observing yourselves. You have to continuously remind yourself to observe yourself. There are different ways, such as the Key of SOL, S-O-L, which is one of the basic ways of structuring your self-observation. So S-O-L is a reference to the sun, so you can think of the Key of the Sun, in terms of Christ. SOL means: Subject, Object, Location.
If you walk into a room for example, every time you walk into a new place, every time you arrive at a new place, remember S-O-L. Ask yourself a couple of questions. First, Subject, “who am I? what am I?” You can further divide your question of subject into three components: intellect, emotions, and behaviours and instincts. In other words, the Three Brains.
So you think for subject, “Okay, what am I thinking? What am I feeling? What am I doing? What are my impulses?” Even if this is just having a short dialog in your head, that is where you start. Just remind yourself. For example, “In this room I am feeling sort of neutral…”, you may not always have a powerful emotion, or you might feel agitated, you might feel tired, you might realize at that moment, because you have checked with your motor brain, that you are clenching your fists, or you are clenching your eyebrows, or your teeth, or some anxiety is appearing somewhere physically. Immediately you observed that, that observation noticed something is going on. If you are not relaxed, then you must inquire why you are tense, and ask where is such tension coming from. You immediately have a little marker or a little flag that is saying you are tense for a reason. You may not know why, you may not realize why. Or you may, you may know that you are thinking about something that you are anxious about.
Through observation of the subject, you brought that in to your attention, and if you did not go through that exercise, you would have continued to be tense, and if you had to continued to be tense, you are having unconscious mental activity. If you are having unconsciousness mental activity, you are living in ignorance. So you are bringing that activity in to your consciousness, into your observation. You might realize, “oh, well I’m tense because something that is going on at work,” some deadline, or because you had an argument with someone yesterday. It is not always a profound revelation, the clouds are not opening up and the giant thundering voice says “you now have gnosis” or something like that. It arrives in stages based upon work. You have to observe what is happening right now with your mind. It is all of these little things building up into who you are as a person.
Returning to S-O-L, the first is Subject, and you can divide that into your three brains. Then it is Object. So what is the object? The object can be anything that you are dealing with, anything that is in front of you right now. So if you are holding your iPhone that might be the object, if you are making a cup of tea, or there is something in front of you that you are working with. What are your senses focused in on, that is the object.
You do a reality check, “is this making sense? what am I doing here?” Sometimes when you do S-O-L and you are eating food, the object becomes the food you are eating. By pay attention, you may notice how gluttonous you are right now. You will notice how much your gluttony is activated. You find yourself consuming a meal in a gluttonous way, in such a way that you may not have realized before, you just thought it was very tasty. But if you take a moment and reflect on it, you can see how you kind of just engorging yourself.
So like I said, this is a way of checking in, and it is like a bookmark or a way of getting right at the reality of this present moment, what is this defect that spontaneously appears? Sometimes you just have to active your consciousness and observe your mind and the defect is right there.
Then Location, which is the L of S-O-L. You observe and ask, “where am I right now?” We have to continuously adopt an attitude of curiosity, especially with location, because we tend to inhabit familiar locations over and over again. But we stop looking at them, we stop observing them, and life tends to become boring when you stop looking, and being curious, and looking for the newness in life. Location is very helpful because it awakens your consciousness when you see things in a novel way. Particularly if you make sense of how you got into your location currently. If you can think back and say, “I am in this location because I walked here, I drove there, and this all makes sense.” If you do that spontaneously throughout the day, eventually you will do it when you dream, and you will discover that the location that you are in does not make sense, because you will remember that you went to sleep.
S-O-L is a way of dividing our attention, a way of waking up our consciousness. If you do not make the effort to awaken, it is quite amazing that we can think that we are kind of aware and kind of awake, but we are just accepting all the impressions. We can see if you have a dream or something very strange happens, you just accept that strangeness in a dream like it is any old regular thing, because the consciousness is sleeping. Even if you are remembering the dream, at that time in the dream you did not check in with yourself, you did not really awaken your consciousness, you did not activate anything, so you just accepted it as a really bizarre event. If you where to take advantage of that, if you where to practice S-O-L repeatedly, it is starts to get ingrained in a more mechanical level and you start to automatically do it throughout the day and you start to do it throughout the night. Because whatever you do during the day you will repeat during the dreams. This is a way to awaken. So that is one way to divide our attention to discover ourselves.
As we are moving on, as we are moving through life we have to continue to self-observe. You might do S-O-L to wake yourself up, but then you have to continue observe yourself, continue to move through self-observation. The two primary factors of self-observation are “what is going on in the outside world?” and “what is going on in the inner world?” Furthermore, how the two relate to each other, because it is the two in relationship that things pop out of the mind.
For example, if you are going for a walk, or if you park your car, and you have to walk across a parking lot to get to work, or to get to a building or something like that, it is a wonderful place to observe yourself because there are not many distractions. You are not talking to someone else so it is not so complicated, so you are just simply walking. You can learn to relax your body and walk, and observe your mind and observe the world. It is more difficult to observe yourself as you are having a conversation, or in a social gathering, there is a lot more going on there. You still want to do that, we still need to do that. However to begin to learn how to self observe yourself, I always found it helpful or easier in those moments when you are by yourself. Maybe you are in the world and there is still thing going on, but you are in this time when you are just walking, or just sitting down. You observe yourself, you can observe the senses, noticing, ‘what am I seeing?’, ‘what am I hearing?’ In such a way you can open up your consciousness to the different birds that are singing or different noises going on.
In such a moment, you may see different people, and because you are being observant, you may begin to notice how you are responding to the way everybody is appearing to you. For example, in the previous lecture (Gnostic Psychoanalysis, Part 1) I mentioned that when you see someone, you immediately bring up a whole host of factors that come up inside of you, and you immediately judge that person. It may even be an accurate judgement, and it may be even, ‘I do not want to be next to that person, it looks like they are pretty dangerous’ or something like that. Such a judgement may be accurate perception; however the point is just the way you respond to what the world has given you.
We have to become curious as to why we may feel repulsed, or to feel a tension between this person, and maybe attraction towards a different person. You have to be curious about that. You may realize it is happening, but you have to become curious, because that is telling you about yourself. You may think it is telling me about the other person, “I like that person I do not like that person.” A more integral and deeper way of looking at that is to acknowledge that such a reaction is really telling you about yourself. It is giving you a way to look in to your own consciousness: to see that impression, the quality of that impression, and how you relate to that impression as being good or bad or indifferent. You found out something about yourself.
You have to question, you have to look into the moment, not just accept an impulse to react, because something about you automatically placed such an impulse in your mind. The quality of your unconscious will or unconscious perception put it there. So if you approach the dynamic between impression and response with curiosity, you can then look in to it. If you just accept it, then you never realize why you are making the decisions that you are making. Our work all starts with these little things.
Self-observation is a part of our discipline that we have to practice continually throughout the day. And like I said there are more difficult times to practice self-observation, such as when you have many more impressions coming at you very quickly, sometimes it is in social situations. How quickly can we go from having an equilibrated three brains, and then jump into a conversation of 2 or 3 people and instantly become fascinated, instantly forget ourselves, instantly start to gossip and slander, or become emotionally entangled in some concept, or some desire. The attraction is so quick; it is so powerful that we lose our observation.
We have to struggle to be observant, but we also need to reflect and observe how we lose our self-remembering, how we lose ourselves. Such a process is giving us the clue that a particular impression made ‘me’ fascinated. Therefore there is an ego related to that type of impression that caused fascination.
So, if we where to break down this a little bit, you have the outside world which we get through the sense perceptions, we get through our eyes, our ears, nose, skin, and tongue. That is how we get the external world. The reason we get, for an example, an image is because light from somewhere else bounced off that object, it interacted with that object that creates the image. Then that light interacting with that thing comes in to our eyes, and interacts with our eyes, and then our eyes transform and transmit that data to our mind, and then our mind, our ego, interacts with that information.
There are all these different interactions: the outside world coming in interacts with our mind and that is were we get this pull to possibly become fascinated and identified with the moment. Something about the quality of that interaction pulls our ego into activity. If we are self-observant and the ego is subconscious, how is it that the ego or unconscious activity (when we forget ourselves), is able to take control of the three brains and puts our consciousness to sleep? How does that happen if we are in control? How is it possible that the ego comes in and takes over control? Why is that happening? You must know this. You must be acutely aware of this process, both conceptually and in reality.
Conceptually, we can say it is because the quality of that impression attracts the quality of our mind which is an egotistical state, which is the ego. Our ego is attracted to certain impressions in the same way that a magnet attracts the filings of iron. If you are make a bunch of iron filings on a table and you put a magnet there, the magnet would attract them all into a shape. So the magnet is like the impressions, in all those different iron filings are like our aggregates, and they will clump together and form a shape in response to that magnet. Now if you can imagine a million types of magnets and a million different types of ways those iron filings could aggregate and clump into different shapes, you might have a way of understanding the way the ego is shaping itself in response to impressions.
The ego has its own self-will, so its acts in accordance to its own self-will. Our consciousness when it is active, and we are self-remembering, is doing the will of our Innermost or our Father. The ego takes the capacity to have the willpower and imagination, and because of the aggregation of psychological material, it can act differently, so it does. It is called the self-willed in The Pistis Sophia. So that is why, even though we are self-observant, an impression appears and attracts our egotistical consciousness and puts us to sleep. The more you become observant, the more you become skilled and observing yourself, the more you will be able to see how your consciousness is being challenged by your egotistical willpower. And you might be able to see how you are still being present and at the same time there are egos related to that impression and are ready to take over your three brains. They are right there, wrestling in our three brains to take control, kind of going in and out. So you can be present and at the same time observe at deeper levels that activity going on. Now, because we have so much ego, and because we have so many impressions going on moment by moment, it is difficult to remain present throughout the whole day. It is very difficult. It takes effort, it is not something that can be achieved in one day, or in one week, but we strive for continuous consciousness.
We can see now if we reflect again on these words:
In a state of alert perception, watchful attention, we can directly verify that the hidden defects flare-up spontaneously.
It is precisely everyday life, the psychological gymnasium, through which we can discover our defects.
That is how we are discovering.
Now there is something else, too, when you begin to observe a little bit deeper: it can become more difficult to see how the external world is casing your internal world to erupt into these different egotistical states. Because what can happen also is an impression from quite a while ago can still be swirling around in your unconsciousness and still come up and take over your three brains. So when you have that unconscious mental activity, your egotistical activity, it causes a chain reaction into further activities. These chains of internal modified perceptions is what we call a dream, one event leading into another fascinating event, which fascinates us about another connected event, which fascinates us about another connected event, which fascinates us about another connected event. This how we dream, this is how we day-dream, that is why day-dreams persists. Because as we are fascinated with one event, that reminds us of another fascinated event, and you can see almost like a chain, there all these different egos are chained together and appear in a series of perceptions filtered through our memories which we can call a dream or a day-dream.
If you begin to observe that, then you begin to “connect the dots.” Sometimes you have that day-dream, when finally something happens so that you get out of it (your consciousness awakens), the first thing to do is reflect, retrospect. Ask yourself, “I just was thinking about this strange thing, something that happened years ago, why was I thinking about that?” You have to sit in reflection perhaps, and if you become skillful in your reflection, you may start to see the chain of events. You will see, maybe seven things all connected together, seven different memories, in some way connected together. Through such an experience you discover that all those seven memories have the same “flavor,” something similar about them. If you were to go into the next step, which is comprehension, you have a starting point of finding the unconscious theme of that daydream and bringing it into your consciousness.
The first is discovery, the second is comprehension, but before we get to that we need to speak about something's that goes right along with self-observation, which is inner self-remembering. Really self-observation and self-remembering need to be simultaneously present in our practice. However, we sometimes look at them separately because it is helpful for our understanding. When we say inner self-remembering we are pointing towards our Innermost, we are pointing towards the Divine Mother, we are pointing towards the fact that we are a child of God, we are the essence of a Being. It may be strange to think about it, but you can learn how to self observe without self-remembering. So you can learn how to record and observe things fairly accurately but without this inner self-remembering you lose the special shock of the consciousness which really awakens you.
So for example in my own experience I know I had a dream were I was observing very well and I was observing my three brains very well, but, I was not awakened in that dream. I was still sleeping. Although I was observing everything I was not remembering myself, I was not remembering that I went to bed and that such an experience must be in the astral world. So in such cases we are missing that remembrance. Inner self-remembering puts the big picture view in place, it connects you with your spirit, and it is that connection that provides that special shock that can help us overcome a fascinating element.
In The Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology Samael Aun Weor writes:
Innumerable are the depressed aspirants who, due to a lack of psychic powers and inner illumination, have renounced the Esoteric Work for themselves.
Few are the ones who know how to take advantage of adversities.
During times of rigorous temptations, discouragement and desolation, one must appeal to the intimate Remembering of the Self.
Deep within each one of us is the Aztec Tonantzin, Stella Maris, the Egyptian Isis, God the Mother, waiting for us in order to heal our painful heart.
When one gives to oneself the shock of “Self-remembering,” then indeed, a miraculous change in the entire work of the body is produced, so that the cells receive a different nourishment.
Through inner self-remembering we are performing that aspect of religion of connecting ourselves to our Innermost, to our Divine Mother, moment by moment and remembering. Sometimes self-observation feels very dry, and that is probably to do with the lack of inner self-remembering, because inner self-remembering really opens up your heart and provides this beauty to life no matter what situation you are in, it is really what you need to take solace in, you need to take refuge in your Innermost, and you need to take refuge in your Divine Mother, because you cannot do the work without her.
This goes hand in hand with what we call the transformation of impressions. In the quote it is talking about someone who is struggling a lot and they can not seem to overcome the adversity, or we can say they can not overcome the temptation. In reference to this lecture, if you are falling asleep, becoming fascinated, if you remember your Innermost it provides that shock, it provides that perspective, suddenly you realize how pale and how superficial this impression is in front of you. It is just a manifestation of a moment and it helps you overcome that desire, that ego, that wants to grab that impression and feed itself.
If you can think of a perspective of being on a top of a mountain, or in the superior worlds, and you see these little events occurring on earth that we think are so important, that we are fascinated with, that take all of our energy away from us. If you were to go on a mountain top and see how little and how insignificant it is and what the reality is of it, it would be easier to transform that moment. So, in the same way when you are practicing inner self-remembering, you are elevating your consciousness, you are seeing it from a perspective, you are remembering that you are the child of a inner Being and that gives you a superior perspective.
As we said before, the first step is discovery and we have these different methods for discovery. We have talked about self-observation, we have talked about the Key of S-O-L, we have talked about needing to transform the impressions, and using inner self-remembering.
We have all of that but we need to go deeper, we need to put into ourselves a discipline of meditation. It is a bit of a thorny subject I think for some people. I do not know how you can progress in this work without meditating on a very regular and daily basis. Maybe you can make some type of progress without meditation. But if you are not meditating on a regular basis I really do not know how you are achieving deep comprehension of yourself. However, I not want to speak for anybody else but that is my view: without meditation your life will remain superficial, you will work with superficial defects and you will work with superficial change. With meditation you will go deeper. So it is something to contemplate. If we are okay with our level of being then you do not have to meditate. If you are not okay with your level of being I recommend meditating.
Comprehension is a word we use quite a bit, and I think there is an impression often given of that either you have no comprehension or you have total comprehension, and that you need to achieve comprehension of your ego and then eliminate it. This is true. But the ego is something very complicated. We naïvely think of it as simple, discrete (separate), objects within ourselves, but the reality is much more complex, intricate, dynamic, and subtle. The ego has levels and levels all interconnected in a chaotic web.
What we need to comprehend is the way our ego manifested in a particular moment, at a particular level. If we can comprehend a moment of life, by consequence, if the ego is active in that moment, then we comprehended the activity of that ego at that moment.
If we are observing ourselves throughout the day, and we are transforming impressions, naturally we will become more skillful in observing. We will begin to see when we are behaving in an imbalanced way, when our three brains are working in an unbalanced way, when we are falling asleep. Through this knowledge, we now have information on what needs deeper comprehension.
If you are not sure what to meditate upon, you can still review your day, which is called retrospection. This is sitting in meditation and visualizing the way you acted today; seeing there was a moment when you really lost your balance. It may not have been noticeable for everybody else, it may just be internal. If you can remember those moments, you can work and retrospect on that particular moment.
Meditation is a skill, so it is something you practice. You practice at whatever level you are at. In a sense it is very simple, if we were to simplify our practice as much as possible, it would be to learn how to relax your body, close your eyes, and to work with conscious attention and conscious imagination. You are going to struggle, with the same exact factors that you are struggling with self-observation throughout the day, which is falling into fascination, into identification, into dreams.
Meditation has the same process, the only difference now is that you are closing your eyes, you are shutting your senses off and now you are dealing just with the inner chain-reaction of inner-impressions. All the difficulties that we have talked about in the discovery aspect can also happen while you are meditating. In order to help, we have different mantras, breathing exercises that can help generate energy, to sedate the physical body and to provide helpful energies to see internally, to move our chakras so we have more of our creative energy flowing, so you have a better stability.
In meditation, images may start flowing through your mind, through your perception. In the same way they would flow if you were just observing life, in the same way you may be fascinated by one of those, and you may fall into a dream in your meditation. Hopefully without to much time passing you remember yourself. If you remember yourself the first thing you should do is reflect: “how did I get here? I was just dreaming about something…” It may be difficult, but make the effort. If you make the effort you can meditate right then and there on something that brought you to fascination. If there was something that brought you into fascination, and you can discover that. By such a process you are that much closer to uncovering another little piece of your mind.
So you reflect, and if you can remember, you become a little more skillful at all of this. If you do remember what you were just thinking about, and you can remember the memory before that, you may find a chain of memories that are all connected, and you can meditate on them as a chain. By such a process you are going deeper into comprehension. That is one way that you can develop comprehension.
Many times we are talking about comprehension and we think of an ego that is very difficult and is causing a lot of suffering. We may want to work on something that is causing us a lot of suffering, but it is a really big thing, and it is difficult to tackle a really huge problem. Maybe it is a problem with someone in your family that has been going on for years, it is very difficult, such as an interpersonal relationship which is causing a lot of suffering. Obviously we want to work on that, but sometimes when we sit down to meditate on that thing, all these other memories that may have nothing to do with that situation have us fall asleep into fascination and all that. Sometimes a student has a resistance to want to meditate on “little” things when they really have “big” thing they want to get to. We have to consider that there is a relationship between the memories that randomly appear upon the screen of the mind when we are focusing on a problem. We take a completely open and curious perspective. The appearance may not be random at all.
If all these memories came up, perhaps we do not think they have anything to do with the problem but, we should observe them anyway and see what they are. Perhaps there is just a spontaneous eruption of the mind, some random chaotic memory. But if you sit with it, and comprehend it – if it is maybe a superficial or shallow type of memory, perhaps you can transform it after ten or fifteen minutes – that is the way to go through such a distraction. If you have your target problem or ego, and then something pops into your head and you try to shove it aside to work on your preconceived target of meditation, you are adding forces into your mind, you are creating a division. Such an effort is forcing you to not think about something, and that will not work.
So that is a part of the skill of meditation: whatever appears to you, you must accept it, observe it, look at it, at least for some period of time, until it fades away. If you do that, you will find that you have gone to a deeper level of meditation. Why? Because it is that element that kept you from relaxing more, which is related to the very reason it appeared. Then, being at the deeper level of meditation, maybe now you can tackle a “bigger” thing.
So what is that bigger thing? If you are observing yourselves, you will be able to question yourself, “What is causing me to have an unstable moment which is causing me to fall psychologically asleep?” The best way to work on it, as I said before, is not just to say, “Well I have a problem with this family member for many years and it is always causing me problems I am going to meditate on it.” That may be a valiant effort, it will help, but there is a more practical way.
It is better to say, “Today I had a conversation with my co-worker and I felt jealous…” By doing this you actually make it very practical. You have to work with concrete facts, not an abstract idea of a problem, but instead with observed facts: What is your actual memory? What did you feel? What was going on in your three brains? Then you really are working with the material, you can actually look into it. It is not an abstract thing where you just meditate on a big vaporous idea of having a problem, you are actually working with how that problem manifest in your life, in reality. If you continue to do that, you are working on the manifestations of the problem, you start to understand the “big” problem, you begin to transform it, you comprehend it.
Unless you are a Master, I do not think there is any shortcut in which you can comprehend a huge problem like that in one sitting, not in my experience at least. So that is how you want to work with the comprehension, to take concrete facts of what happened to you, and the only way you are going to have that is through observing.
As we work, we achieve some level of comprehension, sometimes the question is asked, “How do I know if I have comprehended something?” The answer is sometimes a bit illusive, but fundamentally you have some more serenity about it. It does not fascinate you any longer. Sometimes it is very clear. Sometimes, if you are in meditation and bring up a concrete fact, a particular event, and you are visualizing it, you are seeing it. You are able to re-live it but without becoming identified with it. You see it, you hold it in your attention, but not too tightly, because you want to be fluid and flexible, because that memory may morph and move into something else that your mind is bringing it towards. So it may become active, you may start seeing something else (something you did not intentionally bring up), and you need to keep the attention fluid, because you do not want to see how it develops.
If in mediation you are holding a memory, an experience in the mind, and now it begins to change into some other memory, it must be asked, “Why? I did not choose that memory; the mind itself is going towards that.” There must be a relationship. You must then hold in attention both things, simultaneously, dynamically, fluidly. At some moment you may find some flash, some image, some realization, which provides the connection.
For example, I had a difficult time with someone in my life, an acquaintance, and I always felt a tension there, even though we had supposedly resolved our issues. There was just something there, and it was really difficult at the times too, I felt some kind of emotional pain. So I was meditating on a particular event, specifically the way we interacted with each other, precisely what had happened. I was holding it in my memory, but I was also relaxing and seeing what else could appear, what else could appear. Holding it and having that flexibility.
For some reason, I saw a plate that had the image of this person on it. The plate was dropping into the floor and shattering. And that was the moment of comprehension for me, in that particular way. And somehow that image spoke to me saying, “That relationship has been fractured.” There a damage, there is something deeper than what an intellectual resolution could achieve, and that the source of this pain was a deeper emotional damage of that relationship than I previously had seen. That led me to understand what was going on deeper within myself, that there was a fracture, there was a wound within myself about that, which was still hurting. I was hurting, but I did not see it because I lacked the insight until that moment.
You may not always have that type of experience, where we have that type of flash of insight right away. You may complete your meditation, you visualized the image, you played through a memory, you sat in it, you marinated in that experience, you never became identified, you sat there for 30-40 or 60 minutes and you finished your meditation. You might feel a little more, maybe a little more a peace with it, because you have worked with it a little bit, but there was no profound experience. Sometimes it takes additional effort, sometimes it is a little more elusive. You can combine meditation with dream yoga, you can pray and ask for assistance. Sometimes the comprehension arrives in the middle of the day when you least expect it – but based upon previous efforts. You are just on your way to work or you are on the train, and suddenly you understand, suddenly you thought about it again and your insight goes deeper, and you find more serenity about it, you can see it and it makes sense. So, in that case it was not, like again, like the clouds opened up and this thundering voice gave you the knowledge or something like that. Sometimes it is like a thief in the night, it happens just very suddenly, it may take some perspective and meditating on multiple times.
Even if you do not feel like you fully 100% comprehended something in the absolute depth, if you feel you have comprehended at least something about that, in my experience, it is enough to ask your Divine Mother to help you eliminate at least that level of the ego.
In regards to comprehension, Samael Aun Weor writes:
Comprehension is very flexible, which is why it is necessary to delve deeper each time. What we understand in one way today we will better understand tomorrow.
Considering things from this angle, we can verify for ourselves how useful the diverse circumstances of life are when indeed we use them as a mirror for self-discovery.
We would never in any way attempt to say that the dramas, comedies and tragedies of everyday life are always splendid and perfect. Such a statement would be ludicrous.
Nonetheless, however absurd the different situations of existence may appear, they are marvellous as a psychological gymnasium.
The Great Rebellion
Comprehension has its levels. It is something flexible and something that arrives through our discipline of meditation. We say sometimes that the intellect is the first level of the mind. So sometimes even having an intellectual understanding of something is more helpful than none. If you are working with the intellect you can comprehend something intellectually, but you need to go much, much deeper, to really achieve radical transformation.
We so far have talked about discovery, which we can also call observation, then we talked about comprehension. You also can also call comprehension, judgment. We have to understand that that word for judgment is more like a divine judgment.
Finally, the third step is execution or elimination.
Our mind is able to observe itself, it is able to see itself and it is able to understand itself, because it is capable of self-reflecting. The mind is often symbolized as a mirror or a type of reflecting object that reflects, refracts, and transforms light. So, we want to polish that mirror, we want to learn how to meditate, and achieve very good concentration of that light until we see what we need to see. But the mind itself cannot destroy the ego. The mind itself never created the ego. What created the ego was our creative energy; it was our sexual energy, in different ways in different formations. We have that creative energy within ourselves and if we do not transform impressions correctly, we will create more ego.
There is no rule that says that says because you are in a spiritual doctrine or that you are going to a Gnostic school that you are not creating more egos. We hope not, but it can absolutely be the case. We have a flow of impressions coming into ourselves, and we have a flow or stream of reactions to that. If we do not transform those reactions, they are going to pull out of instinctual center or our sexual center, and create or bind up our consciousness into more aggregates.
If we have an impression of life that causes us to get extremely angry, or if we put a lot of attention and a lot of emotion into something, we are going to start to develop an ego related to that. For example we have the World Cup right now going on (or any sports event). It is amazing how the sports event bring up so much emotion. It is very interesting. For myself, I know I really loved watching some types sports in my past, and I realized how much emotion I was putting into watching these games. I knew intellectually that I was wasting my time, that the result of that sport did not affect me, it was arbitrary. But, at the same time I was putting my energy into it. At some point I did not want to watch, but at the same time I did want to watch. This is because there were egos related to that, egos that wanted that sensation, because I had put so much energy into it, it created something in me at some point, obviously. When you do not want to do something but you have the desire to do it anyway, when you have that conflict, obviously there is unconscious willpower acting. States of conflict and stress are exclusively of the ego.
It is not to say that sports are bad – sports have all sorts of problems in this world – and I’m not trying to make someone into a fanatic either way. You can enjoy life, but observe the results. Obviously there are a lot of things in the world that can really pull our emotion out, and someone who is really a fanatic, they feel that if they are not watching the game then life is boring, because they have so much ego trapped, and they need that to feel anything. So if they do not have the game, they cannot feel anything.
Similarly, someone who likes to ingest a lot of intoxicants, alcohol or drugs, life appears extremely boring unless they have that chemical in their body, because they have very strong egos related to that. They cannot feel anything; life is boring and miserable because nothing is being activated in their psyche. So, they put the chemical in, they go to the event and then all these emotions erupt, and they feel like they are alive. But it is a false type of living.
Whatever we spend a lot of time putting our emotional energy into we have to be very careful: movies, TV, music, you have to be careful. There are certain things that we can experience in a healthy way, we can enjoy them but we have to be observant of it: “How many hours of my day am I spending watching a screen or some event? Is it feeding my sense of self? Am I getting a sense of self out of these external impressions? Am I developing my sense of self out of this?” You are probably creating ego. It is something to observe.
Now, to return to our topic of execution. The mind cannot eliminate itself. We use or have used creative energy to (unconsciously) create the ego. The ego is created, in other words, through a mechanical and unconscious activity of the creative energy. That creative energy is related to our Divine Mother. The elimination of that ego is a conscious activity of that creative energy of our Divine Mother. So we have a beautiful picture here of Durga putting a spear into the enemy into the ego. It is a whole story of that, but, I am not going to get in to it.
Samael Aun Weor writes:
The mind by itself cannot radically alter any psychological defect.
The mind can put a label on any defect, transfer it from one level to another, conceal it from ourselves or others, excuse it, etc., but never absolutely eliminate it.
Comprehension is a fundamental part, but it is not everything. Elimination is necessary.
An observed defect must be analyzed and understood completely before proceeding to eliminate it.
We need a power superior to the mind, a power capable of atomically disintegrating any I-defect which we have previously discovered and judged in depth.
Fortunately, such a power lies profoundly latent, beyond the body, the affections and the mind…
The Great Rebellion
Developing a relationship with your Divine Mother is something very critical and important and necessary: taking refuge in that, making that connection, learning how to pray to your Divine Mother. Some people have a difficulty in that, and if you are not sure exactly it means to have a relationship with Her, then you must put in the work, to struggle, to search within yourself to find that connection.
If we have comprehended a defect, we can call upon our Divine Mother within meditation. If you are working in alchemy in sexual cooperation with a spouse, you can unite sexually and ask for the elimination of an ego. Through sex, the practitioner is activating a lot of creative energy. However, as bachelors or a single person you can, sit down and meditate and supplicate, praying to the Divine Mother help remove an ego. If we have comprehended it, and if the karma is paid, then it will be granted.
In the work, it is something that is not always directly and immediately known when we have really eliminated something. The bottom line is, are we changing as people, to ask, “am I changing as a person?” We have to develop what is called Work Memory, which is the looking back at our past and seeing how we have changed. Looking at our past and seeing ourselves almost as a different person and how we have changed little by little. That is how we know if we are achieving that elimination to some degree. That is the real test. Sometimes you may also have some type of experience. Experience often is looking very similar to the picture here (the image above); it can look very similar to that. It can take whatever manifestation our Divine Mother wishes.
Sometimes in the internal worlds our egos that have been comprehended look like small children, little devious small children. And the Divine Mother will do the deed to eliminate that ego and liberate the consciousness, the Essence. There have been times, for example, on looking to eliminate something and I find a deep emotional catharsis occurring. Meaning: feeling in a very deep level how that ego was causing suffering for myself and how that ego was causing suffering for all the other people in my life, and my emotional center intensely activating, at times with tears, but with a levity behind it, a luminous type of experience of being free of that ego’s weight, of having the ability to not be enslaved, to be one level more free of that. So sometimes that is related to elimination. You have being granted another level of serenity about an event: you have serenity about that, you are conscious about it, you have comprehended it and you have eliminated it.
Other times you may be in the internal worlds and see your Divine Mother working to eliminate your ego. For example you may see – sometimes we are talking about this being an execution – sometimes you can find yourself in front of a judge and you may be next to a particular aggregate represented in that astral world. You can experience a trial and judgment and execution occurring.
To summarize the three steps:
- Discovery or Observation
- Judgment or Comprehension
- Execution or Elimination
This is our method, it is a method of seeing ourselves and working on ourselves to awaken our consciousness, to eliminate our ego. However, we need to actually do it. We cannot just sit by idly, nothing will happen if we sit by idly.
In the Book of James, it is written:
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
James 1:23 - 25
“A man beholding his natural face in a glass…” seeing himself in his own psychological mirror and doing something about it. If you have a prescription for medicine but you never actually take the medicine, the medicine does not do anything. The teaching is that prescription, but you actually have to fill out the prescription and take the medicine, and the medicine is the work.
I was talking to a gentlemen who was for many years in this tradition. His mom, his birthmother was in this tradition so his whole life was in this tradition. I was talking to him and he was giving me the impression that he really thinking that he was awakened and that he has really done a lot of work on himself. I said, “ok, nice to see you…”, and he had to go on his way. Then he came back a few minutes later, and knocked on the door, and said “I forgot my cellphone…” But this person really thought that he had done all the work he needed to do, and before he had left I directly asked him, “Do you think you are awake? Do you think you have anymore work?” He was really giving the impression that he was done…
But it does not matter how many years you are in this tradition, it really it does not. It is weather you do the work or not, that is what matters, the results. And just because you might have a very vast intellectual culture about something, it does not mean that you have done the work. So that is really, that is the fundamental thing. Do not rely on the passage of time, or the cultivation of a spiritual personality. It is better to do the work.
Questions from the Audience
So with that do we have any questions?
Audience: Samael mentions that comprehension is not enough, we need to get the deep significance of something. Is that like, I would ask you to give an example but I am pretty sure you have already did, it is like the shattering of the glass you explained. Would you say that that was like deep significance or what is the difference between comprehension and deep significance?
Answer: It is a good question. So the question is about comprehension and a deep significance. In that case that I gave, that was precisely when I saw this image of a plate shattering, that was something that was new to me, I did not know where it came from. Obviously it arrived from my conscious imagination, from my Innermost delivering that impression, that symbol. That was deeply significant to me.
Audience: So it is usually like a symbolic message?
Answer: Here is the thing, yes, it is going to be something new but it does not have to be an image that you see in meditation. It can be just an abstract intuition; it can just be a knowledge that is appearing without conscious imagination or clairvoyance, without a visual representation.
Audience: Or emotion?
Answer: A superior emotion, yes, there does not necessarily have to be a profound clairvoyant vision or something like that. But something has to, like I said, go deeper, it has to click at some deeper level. We should clarify that you are not going to necessarily understand the whole ego, you might get a significance, and work at that level and then go to deeper levels which require a deeper significance. That is what the quote says, “Comprehension is very flexible, which is why it is necessary to delve deeper each time. What we understand in one way today we will better understand tomorrow.” I think you can develop a deep significance and work on that and then you can develop an even deeper significance.
Audience: Samael mentions that we should work two months on each defect. Is this recommended all the time every level of the work or is it something in the end?
Answer: So it is written about working two months on a specific defect. I think you need to understand that both in a literal and a symbolic sense at the same time. Such that you definitely can work two months on every defect, but you may need to work more some, less on others.
The problem is, when attempting to follow such a discipline, if you work two months on a particular defect, many other problems may appear in the midst of it all. It may be really showing that there is something else much more important to work on right now, you might need to work on another defect right then.
But as a guideline, if you see a particular trait or characteristic in yourself and work on it for two months, that is a serious work. You are going to figure out something about yourself. Perhaps then you can move on to another defect, and a period later you may move back to a deeper level of the first defect again, because you see it again in a whole new way, you’re your new level of perception allows you to see a more subtle level; that defect was at even deeper levels.
So that is what is strange about the work, because it has a method and an order to it, but at the same time it has to be very flexible and observant, because if you are too identified with working on this particular defect, you may put the blinders on and not see other things that you really need to see. We have our own concept of what the defect is; that is our intellect labelling the defect. But what if the intellect is really excluding critical information needed for comprehension; such needed information can only be integrated by abandoning that level of understanding. So you have to be very fluid. That is my experience at least.
Answer: Because of the three primary forces. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, or Kether, Chockmah, Binah. The three primary seed elements of ourselves. We say about 3%, the three percent represent the last bit of our free consciousness before it gets totally swallowed up. So as long as we have those three factors, we can work on our ego. Whether there is someone who has a little bit more or a little bit less, it depends on the person. That is why we say 3%, again, it is literal but it is kabbalistic at the same time. It is about 3%. But if we do the work it starts to develop, our 3% becomes greater. But only we know inside what that percentage is.