This is a transcription of a lecture originally given live and unscripted on Gnostic Radio. Download the audio lecture here.
Gnosis is the practical science that we rely upon in order to fully develop ourselves as a human being. The word ‘Gnosis’ comes from the Greek language, and it implies a form of knowledge that is beyond the domain of our terrestrial personality. It is a form of knowledge that addresses the entirety of our psyche, and contains within itself all of the wisdom or the direct, specific steps required in order for that psyche to become completely developed. So, when we study Gnosis, this is our interest; this is our longing. And, in fact, all of us who study philosophy, religion, mysticism, or spirituality do so because we have what is called a “spiritual inquietude.”
A spiritual inquietude is an itch or a longing, a stimulus within our consciousness, something that is deep within our psyche that longs ""to know" (Gnosis). This spiritual inquietude is driven by a force that longs to be, an inspiration that is pushing us as a soul, as a consciousness, to become something more than the terrestrial personality within which we suffer so much. The longing to be or to become is driven from the depths of our consciousness, from a depth about which we remain in ignorance, about which we may speculate and theorize, but have no real experience of, or in other words, of which we have no real Gnosis: experiential knowledge.
The purpose of the tradition of Gnostic studies is to come to know the source of that stimulus, to embody that source, to have direct knowledge of that source. This is really what the term ‘Gnosis’ in its ultimate sense refers to: the knowledge of our root, of where we have come from.
We begin to investigate that by looking into ourselves as we are now, to investigate where we come from, and to learn from nature about how we function and how we can become that which we should be.
All of us as human beings feel this urge to express, to emerge, to become; and this urgency is particularly strong when we are in our adolescence and our youth, when we feeling the longing, the need, the urge to find out who we are, who we are to be – what is our purpose, what is our role, what is that within that seeks to express itself? Who am I? This deep spiritual inquietude is particularly strong in our adolescence and youth, but unfortunately for us, we do not find the answers in our society, in our religions, in our schools and universities, or in our families. We are often told what we should be, but very rarely does someone discover who they truly are.
This kind of genuine self-knowledge - or real Gnosis - cannot be acquired by seeking outside in the world, or in books or schools; it is found by seeking within the depths of oneself. And, unfortunately, the vast majority of the human beings who are born and enter into this phase of longing to know themselves pass through that phase with that longing unanswered. Most people find themselves in lives, jobs, careers, marriages, and situations that are unfulfilling, and they lack that self-knowledge or that self-expression that they so urgently needed during youth, and sadly, they die without ever having discovered their purpose in life.
This situation is analogous to what we observe in the life of any plant or tree, which in the course of its existence will release from itself millions of seeds. Those seeds will be scattered in its environment in order to propagate the species. But the vast majority of those seeds, all of which feel that longing to become a great tree, will be lost.
Every human being is a seed. Humanity is a collection of seeds; every one of us is a seed that longs to become a tree. The tree that we wish to become is called call the Tree of Life, Kabbalah: Otz Chaim, which we symbolize in this symbol of ten spheres, and which is represented in the Bible in Bereshit or Genesis. This tree represents the fully developed human being made into the image of his creator, the Elohim. Every seed, every human being, has the potential to become a great Tree of Life.
The seed that we are is called in Sanskrit ‘Tathagatagarbha.’ This term, when translated directly, means ‘the embryo of an awakened one’ – an embryo of soul, the potential to become soul. It can also be called ‘Buddha Nature’ or ‘Buddhata-dhatu.’ This Buddha Nature or potential is a seed, a kernel, a germ, a small particle that contains within itself a collection of raw elements. This seed in us is our consciousness. In Gnosis, we call it ‘Essence,’ because in it is the very essence of our Being.
In relation with the Tree of Life, this essence is a spark or a particle related with Tiphereth, the Human Soul, and that spark or particle descends into matter, Malkuth, which is the earth. In other words, the seed of our consciousness, the Essence, the Tathagatagarbha is placed into the Earth, which is Malkuth, our physical body. Our physical body is the Earth (Adamah), the ground from which Adam must be taken. Malkuth, our physical body, is the ground within which the seed must be grown.
The seed is our consciousness, and it requires specific elements in order for it to grow.
When we return to the analogy of the great tree that disperses its millions of seeds into its environment in order to create life, we see this great cycle of birth and death. The tree itself came from a seed – a seed that fought to live, and that struggled to become a great tree that gives forth its own seed to create new life. But the vast majority of the seeds that it produces do not have sufficient force to create new trees, or they lack the circumstances or the elements in order to do it.
So, by means of analogy, we see the same fact in the human race. The vast majority of the seeds of consciousness do not grow. The vast majority remain merely as seeds and die. They are planted in the earth, in physical bodies; they may grow to a certain extent and may even produce new seeds, but they are corrupted seeds that cannot produce a tree. The corruption of the seed of humanity is our own karma, the result of our past action. The corruption of the seed of humanity is all that is within our mind that makes us impure: it is anger, pride, envy, jealousy, deceit, ignorance, hypocrisy, lust. These are all diseases, sicknesses that infect our mind and that corrupt our seed – the seed of our consciousness.
In spite of that corruption, we have the potential to overcome it, because we have within us a force of being. That force of being in its root is our own Being, God, that divine element that produced the spark of our consciousness, our own inner Father and Mother who produced that seed of consciousness in us. The reason we are studying this type of information, the reason we long to understand Gnosis, or to experience the internal worlds, or to understand meditation, or to awaken our consciousness, is because our own inner divinity is stimulating our consciousness with spiritual inquietudes, with that longing to know, to experience. That in itself gives us our single cause for hope, because it is that force that is pushing us to develop ourselves that gives us the potential to overcome the obstacles that exist in our environment and that exist in our mind.
In order for a seed to develop in nature, it needs particular elements, and the same is true of the seed of the consciousness. The seed of the consciousness needs the right elements and the right balance in order for that consciousness to grow. We can observe humanity, observe this planet as a whole, to determine if those elements are present. If we look at humanity as a race and we understand the process of nature and understand something of religion, we can see very quickly that something is out of balance. Otherwise, why would human beings be committing such horrible atrocities against one another? Why would human beings be committing such heinous crimes against their own mother, this planet? It is because the seed of the consciousness has become corrupted, and now the human beings are not able to create themselves into trees, the Tree of Life – to become awakened, to become enlightened, to become, in other words, angels, devas, masters, or Buddhas.
The seeds or embryos of the souls are not receiving the sustenance and nourishment they need in order to become what they should be. The evidence is everywhere. And this is partly why we have the longing to investigate, to find out: what are the elements that are missing, what are the elements that we need? And so all of us search and look, study and read and investigate as best we can to find the answers.
The answers are available if we know how to look. But an important factor for us to understand is that the laws that manage nature are very, very strict. When we look at the mechanical laws that govern the growth of any seed, we see that the laws must be satisfied, otherwise the seed cannot grow. If you place a seed in the earth, but give it no sun and no water, it will die. If you place a seed on a rock and not in the earth, it will not grow – it will die. The same is true of our soul, of our consciousness.
Our consciousness needs the right food, the right environment, in order for it to grow and develop. In plants, the seed breaks free of its shell – the force of life within it pushes forth, in the same way that a baby bird, by force of will, breaks out of its shell and struggles and fights to become. It is not an easy process. The same is true for us in our own development, as a Malkuth or as a physical body.
Our parents combined their seeds in the womb of our mother, and there began a chemical process wherein a birth was being prepared, and that seed was nourished and changed. But when the moment comes for that creature to emerge from its protective environment, it is a struggle, it is a fight – it is not easy, it is painful. And even then, when that creature emerges into a new life, it emerges weak, in pain, and terrified. So why do we think that the development of the soul should be any different? Who are we to think that the development of the soul should be easy, when in fact it is the pinnacle of all development and thus the most difficult birth of all?
For our consciousness to actually emerge from its seed, from its shell, requires a tremendous force of will to break free of the shell, to shatter it, to come out. And when that consciousness emerges, it is not powerful, it is not suddenly a great god – it is small, weak, inexperienced, and needs nourishment from its Mother, it needs protection.
All of those elements should be provided to us, but they are not – not on this planet. Instead, we are surrounded by our parents, families, traditions, religions and schools, who remain in complete ignorance - not only ignorant of the existence of the seed of the consciousness, but about the science needed in order to grow it and develop it. So, all of us as seeds fail to grow and develop – we do not find the nourishment we need. There is no easy answer to this dilemma, but there is a way, if we are willing to work for it.
The knowledge that develops the soul can nourish, protect, and develop that embryo into a fully-developed tree, and in its end result, produces an fully developed human being, also known as an angel or buddha. Such a being is a type of intelligence, a type of being, which is far beyond our conception of an angel, or our ideas of what an angel or a master is. It is a kind of intelligence that is a fully-awakened consciousness, far beyond the earth that it came from (the physical body), far beyond that embryo that it came from (the consciousness). In the same way that a great, giant, beautiful oak tree bears no resemblance to the seed that created it, likewise, the angel bears no resemblance to the seed of consciousness from which it emerges.
But there is a striking difference between the development of an angel and the development of any physical tree: in physical nature – the growth and development or trees and animals – the process is fully mechanical; it is under the guidance of lunar laws or mechanical laws, guided by the Moon, and by the laws that manage the level of Malkuth. But the development of the angel is far beyond lunar mechanicity. It belongs to the kingdom of the Sun; it is solar.
The sun is the Christ, Krestos, and that energy requires individual mind, individual will – there is nothing mechanical about it. No angel is born through a mechanical means, but only through a conscious means. What this implies is very difficult for us to understand, but I will try to make it as simple as I can. No matter what you believe religiously, spiritually, no matter what you do, no matter what you think, if you do not do it consciously, you cannot create an angel.
So this raises a question: what does that mean, to do things consciously? It means that even if we belong to a venerable religion, and we perform all of the practices and rites, and we know all of the laws and rules, and we dress the right way, and we believe in the right things, if we do it without the consciousness, we are wasting our time. We can be a Gnostic, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim – we can belong to any religion, to any tradition, however sophisticated it may be – but if we ignore the usage of our own consciousness, our own Buddha Nature, we are wasting our time. This cannot be emphasized enough, because again, when we return to our example of looking at humanity as a whole, we can see that all of these religions and traditions have existed for centuries and centuries, and yet, how many saints and angels have they produced? Very few. How many great messengers and avatars and awakened beings have emerged from the thousands of years of religion that we have had on this planet? Very few. And this is because the millions and millions of seeds – sparks of consciousness – who followed all of the traditions and rules and guidance of their religions, still failed to satisfy the specific requirements in the development of the soul. And the first one is: awaken, use the consciousness. This is the first and most fundamental thing.
If the religions could be satisfied without this requirement, then all of humanity would all be awakened angels, great masters, Earth would be a paradise. But unfortunately, humanity is asleep; humanity has ignored the consciousness, and may follow all of the rules physically and by appearances, but consciously is asleep. This is why all those religions cry out for us to awaken.
But we do not hear it. We think we are awake. As Samael Aun Weor said, not even cannonshots can cause us to awaken.
There is a danger within this sleepy state of consciousness, and that is what we call the Law of Cause and Effect. Nothing in nature is static – nothing sits still, nothing is stagnant, nothing remains in a perfect state of stillness. Everything is in motion. Every action that we perform produces a consequence. When we act without the consciousness awake, then we act asleep, and the forces that manage our sleeping consciousness in that way are highly questionable. Remember that the consciousness is our connection to that which is divine in us. If that channel is not open, if our consciousness is asleep, then what is working through us? Pride, fear, jealousy, envy. And these can only produce suffering. This is why humanity is in the state that it is in, because humanity sleeps and creates pain.
Within this mixture, there are those who utilize their knowledge in the wrong way. This is why the Bible says,
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
The consciousness needs to be awakened, but it can be awakened according to the polarities of nature, because everything in nature is dual. If we can awaken the consciousness positively and become an angel, we can also awaken it negatively and become a demon. That is why the Tree of Knowledge is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, because it has the potential to set us on the path towards life or the path towards death. This is what it says in the Book of Jeremiah:
“Thus saith the Elohim: behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.”
Therefore, the job of the religions, traditionally, has always been to present to the consciousness the knowledge to discriminate between these two, to know the difference. And unfortunately, in this time, it is very difficult to discriminate. Nevertheless, we need to study and learn how.
The job of religions throughout history has been to provide the embryo of soul with the elements it needs in order for it to grow. The seed of our consciousness needs the right elements. The first element that that seed needs is to be planted in the earth. The earth is our physical body; we need the physical body. The earth itself is where we draw the elements to feed ourselves. The seed that we plant in the earth draws out from that earth the minerals and other chemicals that it needs in order to be fed. Likewise, through our physical body, we receive and transform energy, and we need that to develop as a consciousness.
The other thing we need is light. When the seed is planted in the earth, when our consciousness is planted within the physical body, we need light. This light has levels of significance. Of course, a physical seed planted in the physical earth needs sunlight. Our consciousness also needs sunlight, but this light is the light of Christ, the light of Dharma, the clear light that emerges from the Absolute, which is the Logos, the Word of God. ‘Logos’ is a Greek word that means ‘Word.’ We need that light from our divinity inside to illuminate us, to give us fuel, force, fire. That light is also the knowledge of religion, the knowledge of science, the knowledge of the Path.
But that seed of our consciousness cannot awaken with only being in the earth and receiving light – it also needs water, the Mayim. The water is sexual.
So we see here that we need the two trees of the Garden of Eden.
- We need the Kabbalah, which is the Tree of Life, which is the knowledge of all of the laws – this is that light, descending down the tree; the sunlight, the solar light, the light of Christ that can guide the soul to become an angel, that explains and expresses the solar laws that manage all the levels of creation above, and into which that soul must enter in order to take his place in the cosmic hierarchy. This is how we find our purpose.
- The water is alchemy: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (or good and bad). This is the waters of life, and alchemy literally means the chemistry of God. And it is through the science, the mysticism of the water that the soul can be created.
So the impulse of the seed to emerge, to come to life, is stimulated by these forces. This is why we enter into Gnosis. Our seed is in the Earth already – we all have physical bodies. Our seed has light, because we are receiving that spiritual inquietude, which is pushing us to learn something – we have that anxiety that longs to know. And we have water – but how are we using it? This becomes our question.
In synthesis, we study three factors. To take advantage of these elements that we receive – being in the Earth, receiving the light, and having the water – we have to learn how to work with them. We have the water inside of our body, inside of our shell; and the light of knowledge, the light of Gnosis, and the light of our Being is shining on us, and we have this body to take advantage of. The duty of all religions throughout time was to then give to that seed the understanding of three factors required to balance and utilize those forces. These three factors are: death, birth, and sacrifice.
All religions have a responsibility to teach and explain these three factors.
Death is the removal of the old, the expiration of that which is no longer necessary or needed. In the case of our analogy of the little seed in the earth that wants to become a tree, inside of the seed will be an amount of material that the seed needs to consume in order to develop itself. In other words, the seed itself must die in order for the life to emerge, in order for the sprout to spring up from the Earth. The same is true of our human seed, our human consciousness: we as a psyche have to die in order for the angel to emerge. And in our case, on this planet, this is even more grave, because our seed has become corrupt. Our human consciousness has, within its very existence now, so many elements of corruption that we can no longer tell the difference between what is pure and impure. We are so accustomed to being angry that we think it is normal. We are so accustomed to lust that we think it is natural. We are so accustomed to fear and anxiety that we believe this is the way nature is. But this is all untrue. Nature, on its own, when free of this kind of corruption or impurity, is a paradise. This was described in the Bible, and in all of the great ancient stories of the early stages of human development – that life was once a paradise, free of suffering, without wars, anger, violence, greed, or anxiety, no one lacking for anything, all provided for and able to find their place in life.
The factor of death is required because all of these elements must die, the diseases we have must die in order for the sprout to emerge and be strong. The emergence of that sprout is birth, the second factor.
When something new is born, it comes through a great transformation, which is not easy. You may not remember your physical birth, but in almost every case, it is very traumatic. It is a great transformation – very painful, very difficult. The birth of the soul is like that, but on a whole other level – far more difficult, far more painful, but also very valuable. From that birth emerges the new, developing soul, which, if it is given the right elements and cared for properly, can become a great angel, a great Buddha. But in the beginning, it is very vulnerable.
The third factor is sacrifice. In the case of our seed, the seed has to sacrifice itself, it has to die in order to be born. And that impulse of the seed to emerge and become a tree is an impulse to give life, to in turn create more seeds, to nourish its environment by its existence. We know that in any plant, this is what occurs: the sprout emerges and immediately begins to take in impurities and to release elements that benefit its environment. The Human Soul, the Human Consciousness, must do likewise, but in an even greater octave, an even higher level. The Human Soul is not born just to be admired or worshipped or envied; the Human Soul is born in order to give life, to aid, to assist, to benefit others, to sacrifice. This is the law of Christ, or Chenrezig: to give, to have compassion. This emerging life transforms energy in order to benefit others. It takes in impurities and releases back pure elements to benefit others.
When we look at this analogy and analyze it in the context of the development of our psyche, we need to understand something with absolute clarity: the three factors in themselves are not difficult to understand, at least in the mind. Death, birth, and sacrifice are not new terms to us. All religions teach them, each in their own way.
- All religions teach through practice, symbolism, and philosophy the mystical death, the death of the ego, the death of the ‘I.’
- All of them teach birth, the emergence of the soul, the awakening of the consciousness, the development of the Buddhata-dhatu or the Buddha Nature.
- And all of them teach sacrifice: Karma Yoga, how to serve others, Bodhicitta, the Mahayana path, sacrifice, conscious love, service, ‘seva’ in Sanskrit.
These are not new, and humanity has been working with these three factors for thousands of years. So once again, when we look, what is missing? If all of our venerable religions teach the factors that are necessary, why is humanity still suffering? Why are there no angels being born on this planet? Why do our beautiful children grow up to become criminals or victims of crime? Why is crime becoming so widespread? Not just crime the way our terrestrial law defines it, but time as our celestial law defines it. Why is there so much suffering, and why are we making it worse, when our religions teach these three factors, if these three are what are necessary?
The missing piece is that these three must be performed by the consciousness! - not the mind, not the personality, not even the body. It is the seed itself that must perform the factor of death consciously. It must perform the factors of birth and sacrifice with conscious will, cognizant will, with self-awareness – AWAKE.
The problem is, because humanity is asleep as a consciousness, humanity – including you and me – studies religion and hears about these factors (birth, death and sacrifice) in all of their varieties of forms, and begins to practice them mechanically, with the consciousness asleep.
This is why we see in every religious tradition the scholars or scribes, those who memorize the scriptures, who debate and analyze, who fight with each other about words, but who remain completely asleep, because all they do is play games with the intellect.
We see all of those who have great devotion for their religion, great love, powerful and strong belief and faith in their religion and its leaders, but who end, instead, in being mere fanatics, and die without knowing their purpose. They may have good intentions and good-heartedness, they may be pacifists, they may be vegetarians, they may practice nonviolence, but they fail to awaken the consciousness.
We also see those who perform all of the practices perfectly, perform the rituals of their religion perfectly, who belong to the “right” groups, who are members of the “right” orders, who have received all of the assurances and promises of their particular religion, who even wear the right clothes or the right jewelry, but who remain asleep, never awaken their consciousness, and die.
Truly, this is a tragedy.
The development of the soul is not mechanical. For us to plant a seed in the earth and grow that into a fruit, or a vegetable, or a tree, it does not matter what we believe. It makes no difference what our politics are, what our religious background is, whether we are a man or a woman. What matters is that that seed receives the elements that are necessary for its growth, and that the laws of nature are satisfied. The consciousness is no different: any human organism on this planet can become an Angel or Buddha, no matter what religion they come from, no matter what race, whether they are male or female, no matter what they believe or think, and in most cases even do. If they satisfy the laws that govern the consciousness and the development of the soul, they will become a Buddha. It is very simple to understand that, but to do it is something else.
Now, there is another level here, another point, which is that there are many traditions that teach about the awakening of consciousness, and that teach the three factors of birth, death, and sacrifice (though they may not call them that); they teach about mindfulness and about how to awaken, but this does not guarantee that we will become an angel. Because remember: the consciousness is a duality. The ladder that Jacob saw in his vision goes up and down. Lucifer, on his back, has a ladder that Dante described in the Divine Comedy, and that ladder goes up and down. And amongst the Egyptians, Nut, the goddess of heaven, is symbolized by a ladder, but she in herself is dual and can take the soul upwards or downwards. In other words, you might know the three factors, you might know how to utilize your consciousness from moment to moment, to pay attention, to be awake, but that is not a guarantee that you will become an angel. There is more to it.
There are traditions in this world that teach about mindfulness and watchfulness, about self-remembering or self-observation – they may call it with different names – but remember that there are two paths set up by God: a path to life and a path to death. To know the difference is a matter of great subtlety, and it can only be known when you receive the guidance of your own inner Being. But there are a lot of clues that can help you.
Our point of departure is here and now, in this present moment. This is the doorway to the path. The doorway is inside of you right now. It is not tomorrow, and it was not yesterday, because they do not exist. What exists is the ability that you have to be cognizant of yourself, to be conscious, to be awake. But what makes the difference between these two paths is our will. Whose will guides us? Whose will?
This is where the great deceiver steps in. Traditionally, in Christianity, he is called Satan, or the Devil, or even the Antichrist. And many people say or believe that this is some person – maybe a celebrity or a politician. But the fact is that the Antichrist is your own mind, because it is that which is opposed to Christ. Christ is the light of the Sun, the Solar Light, the Ray of Creation that descends down your own Tree of Life in order to feed and stimulate the seed of your consciousness to grow. All that is opposed to Christ is within us, and this deceiver has innumerable forms, many of them very holy in appearance. Our own inner deceiver can dress in the robes of a priest, a lama, a saint, or a yogi; he can dress in the robes of a scholar, a martyr, or a renunciate. The great deceiver that opposes Christ is our own mind, and that deceiver is most known by his attachment, his sense of self, his sense of ‘I.’ Therefore, if you want to know how to discriminate, then understand that the law of Christ is the law of sacrifice. Christ or Chenrezig is that force of love that gives and gives and gives – gives life (Chaiah). This is the law of sacrifice, the law of Christ, which is one, which is love – pure love, no ‘I,’ no self, selfless. That law is opposed by the law that cherishes the self, that force that grasps at identity, at ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘myself.’
In other words, if we look at this vertical path, this ladder to heaven or from heaven, we would say that to ascend it, to climb upwards, you have to renounce self, to abandon self, to come out of the shell, to abandon the seed, to cast off everything and burst forth from the cage that has kept you.
That cage has many forms: family, heritage, countries, religions, politics, our tastes, our interests, our ideas. All of that has to die. Everything we consider “our selves” has to be cast aside in order to rise up and become one with that Christic force, which has no ‘I.’ It has a solar personality, a solar individuality, which is far beyond any concept of ‘I’ that we can even imagine. It is a kind of intelligence, a kind of being that is far beyond anything terrestrial.
Our other choice is to grasp onto a sense of self, to build up a feeling of ‘I,’ of ‘me,’ to look to become “a great master,” to long to be admired, envied, watched, respected, quoted, relied upon, or noticed. This is the path of the deceiver, who uses our sense of self to entice us to become a devil.
This is why Christ said in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
Everything that we are now is just a modification of the seed that we received from our parents – that sexual seed. Contained in that seed is the entire history of humanity. Where else did that seed come from? That seed that was you in the womb came from that long lineage of human animals producing seeds, and dying, and producing seeds, and dying, until now, here you are – the recipient. The embodiment of those thousands of generations is all there encoded into your blood, into your mind. We have to break free of that. We have to shatter that cage, that history.
And this is why he says, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” That house is our mind.
Our father and mother in this Gospel are symbolic of all of those forces – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – that gave rise to us.
And “our sons and daughters” are the results of our own actions. When he says, “He that loveth father or mother (our background, our history, our tradition, our family, our heritage) is not worthy of me.” He that loveth son or daughter – our projects, our books, our ideas, all of the things we want to make, all of the things we want to do, all of the things that we produce in our own mind and heart are our own sons and daughters. If we love these things more than Christ, we are not worthy of Christ.
This also applies to religions, to countries, to politics. Many people are proud of their race or their gender or their religion, but when you actually awaken your consciousness, you begin to receive, consciously, the memories of your inheritance. You remember past lives, past existences when you were Roman, or Greek, or Asian, or a man or a woman. What then of this religion that you grasp onto in this life? What then of your gender? What then of your politics? All of these things are like illusions that we cleave to and grasp on to; in other words, they are shells.
Anyone can have this experience if they awaken their consciousness. Awakening is not a matter of belief; it is not a matter of having an idea. It can never be arrived at through the repetition of any physical action – even chanting a mantra, or circumambulating a stupa or a temple, or a ritual, or meditation. No physical action can awaken your consciousness; no belief can awaken your consciousness; no idea, no theory, no thought, no book. Only you can, by using it and being present, by remembering yourself, by being mindful.
Awakening is the perception of the actual reality. It is an intuitive perception of what truly is. This has nothing to do with belief.
When the consciousness begins to awaken in the positive way, we begin to see beyond these shells; we begin to see beyond even religion. You see: religions, theories, doctrines and teachings only point to the door – they are not the door itself. The door itself is inside of you; it is your consciousness. This is why in the Bible, in Corinthians, it says:
“Awaken to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”
We need to awaken the consciousness, not just believe. And we do this not merely through self-observation and self-remembering, but by applying those three factors, consciously. And by way of that, we start to eliminate the impurities and create more consciousness.
The clue or the secret is within the other seed that we have within: the sexual seed. Our consciousness, in this analogy, is described as this sort of seed of the human soul. But everything that we are – everything – is encoded in our sexual seed. Our very level of being is encoded in our sexual seed. Everything that we have, that we have ever been, is there, and everything that we can become is there, in the sexual seed. Therefore, if we learn to work with that seed in a pure way, to sow a seed of incorruption, we can create the soul. This is why it says, continuing in Corinthians:
“Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”
In other words, our seed, which is corrupted, must become uncorrupted. We have to put on that which is incorruptible: to change. And we know that the way to do this is also hidden in the Bible, because it says in the book of John:
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
That seed is the sexual seed. When that seed “remaineth in him,” it means we have renounced the orgasm, the expulsion of that seed, the waste of that seed. And we know this is so because of the laws of Moses. In Leviticus he makes it very clear that the emission of the semen or the seed makes one impure or corrupt. This is why in Tantra, all Tantric initiates (of pure Tantra or upright Tantra) take a vow to retain the seed, to hold the seed, to transform it.
In other words, the sexual seed, which is the force of being, that embodiment of the hormones (which is a Greek word that means ‘the force of being’), that force, when it is expelled from the body, can create a new body. But when that force is held in the body, it also can create a new body, but not a physical body – it can create one in another dimension, in other levels of life. This is what we call the soul. Jesus explained this very clearly to Nicodemus.
This is why we know that there is such a strong relationship between sex and mind. Our mind, our consciousness, is corrupt because of sex. When we transform our use of sex, we transform our mind. These two are inseparable. This fact is clearly evident also in Tantra, when we see that the word for ‘the awakening mind’ or ‘the compassionate mind,’ which is ‘bodhichitta,’ is also a word for sexual energy or semen. It is the same word. In Tibetan, it is byans sems, which can be translated either as semen or as the mind of enlightenment.
This relationship between sex and mind is also evident in the Gospel, when Jesus says that even when you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery, meaning even the idea of it, even the thought of it is a crime, is an abuse of sexual energy. This is why, in the book of Peter, it says:
“Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind.”
The loins are a reference to the sexual force, and to gird it means to have control – but it is not just physically; it is in the mind. Later, in the same book of Peter, he says:
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
To awaken the seed of the human soul is a very difficult, very rigorous work. It cannot be accomplished by any mechanical means. It can only be accomplished if these factors are brought into balance with each other, to consciously perform these three factors while also transforming the sexual force. These basic parameters provide the framework, but to actually do it is extremely difficult, and the reason is because of our own mind. Our own mind convinces us of many things which are not true. After we have studied to this teaching for a while – listened to the lectures, studied the books, learned the practices – our mind can convince us that we know how to perform these three factors. Our mind can convince us that we already know how to observe ourselves, and that we are already conscious. The mind is a great deceiver.
It is necessary for us to continually revise our understanding of the teaching; the fate of our soul is at stake. But more than that, the fate of humanity is at stake. Because within our seed, both sexual and as consciousness, rests the entire fate of this planet. Do you grasp that? It is not just your soul that hangs in the balance; it is the fate of this entire race.
One seed that emerges from its shell, that renounces self, that longs for that light, that transforms its waters, and takes from the earth the elements that it needs, and grows and turns into a great tree, can feed an entire system of organisms. And we have seen this with Buddha, with Jesus, with Krishna, and many others who developed their own seed and became great beings, driven by the force of love, of care for others – not greed for power, not for recognition, but to help. Every human organism has that potential if we are serious and we do it.
So let us begin by awakening now, by paying attention to our mind, being observant of ourselves, changing, not allowing our mechanical habits to guide our life straight into the grave, but to bring new forces from moment to moment through our process of self-observation and self-remembering.
Do you have any questions?
Q: You keep mentioning that mechanical means cannot achieve the awakening of consciousness, but even the Dalai Lama will say that reciting prayers – mechanically, even – or doing physical lamasery exercises, doing meditation – these are the tools. The awakening of consciousness is not just something that happens, it is a slow process, obviously, and these are all tools that we need. So mechanically we cannot achieve it, but these are tools that we need.
A: Yes, we need all the tools of prayer and meditation, the different practices that we use for the three brains and for the consciousness. However, for centuries people have been doing these practices – centuries – and how many have awakened their consciousness, how many have created the soul, how many have become great Buddhas? Very few. This is the point. We cannot just rely on the practices. When you do the practices – whatever the tradition, whatever the practice – do it consciously. Make sure you are working with all of the factors necessary for that practice to be effective – this is the point.
There are many who come to Gnosis, and who read a couple of books, and study, and may call themselves Gnostic, and begin to use pranayamas or try to meditate, but they do not do it consciously. In this way, they have no idea what Gnosis is – no clue, because they are not using it consciously. On the other hand, if you teach someone how to be conscious, to really do it, that is what they need. They will get more from their moment-to-moment experience than someone who has memorized all of the books and all of the practices. This is the essential factor. We always study these three factors, but if we do them mechanically, if we do them just from belief or idea, or just as repetition, they are a waste of time – all of them. The practices are pointless unless we awaken consciousness. It is like the difference between the Ark of Noah and the Tower of Babel.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. One of the main things that we study in Gnosis (and also in Hinduism and Buddhism) is the use of mantra. And there is a great emphasis on mantra, especially in Hinduism and Buddhism. They say, “if you repeat this mantra a hundred thousand times, you will get this or that result – this charka will awaken,” or whatever. But let me point something out: the mantras are a collection of sounds. So is the language that we use every day. Everything I have been saying for the last half an hour uses all the same sounds that are in the mantras, so why should my speech and dialogue not have the same result? We have all been talking for years and years and years – why has that not produced the awakening of the consciousness? Superficially, the only difference is the arrangement of the letters, and even if you said that mantra over and over and over for forty years, it does not guarantee your consciousness will awaken, because the real difference is the use of the consciousness.
Conversely, I can talk about anything, but if I awaken my consciousness while I talk, the sound of my voice can act as a mantra, because there is a vibration that is producing the same vowels, the same notes. This is why the words that the angels and masters speak are sacred – because they come from an awakened consciousness. They become mantras. In fact, this is where we get the term ‘bija,’ which means ‘seed,’ but it refers to a mantra. These are the seed sounds, the seed mantras which are within all forms of matter. Your body has a seed mantra, a key note in other words.
Achieving our goal does not occur just by doing practices. You cannot go out and say, “oh, I’ve found the best mantra in the universe.” Because the best mantra in the universe is inside of you, it is not in a book. When it comes from the mouth of your God, your inner Buddha, your inner Being, that is the one.
Q: But you also cannot give up and say, this is not working, you know?
A: The reason people have frustration with their practices – they say, “I’ve been doing this practice all this time and it doesn’t work” – is because they do not do it consciously. They do it mechanically. They will sit to meditate, and instead of actually meditating with the consciousness, they will repeat a mantra mechanically, while their consciousness is asleep; they may sit in the perfect posture, but they are just thinking the whole time, or spacing out, or fantasizing, or daydreaming – that is why the practice does not work. It is not the fault of the practice, of the mantra, or the posture, or the rune, or whatever it is; it is the fault of a sleeping consciousness.
If you are really conscious, if you really learn how to awaken your consciousness in the moment, you can perceive things beyond the physical senses very rapidly. It is up to you. You can have an experience of Samadhi in your first practice of meditation. You can perceive God, you can talk with an angel, you can get out of your body – if you know how to work with the consciousness, if you know how to dominate the mind. Unfortunately, we are so habituated to the cage of our mind and our sense of self, that we want to take that cage with us into Samadhi. We want to go with our ‘I’ to see God. It is a law of nature, however, that the ‘I’ cannot go there. To really experience what meditation is, you have to abandon everything that has anything to do with your sense of self.
This is why we always start meditation by relaxing the three brains. These three brains correspond to our psyche; we start with the physical body. Always begin your meditation practice by relaxing your physical body. Any vestige of tension is enough to cease the meditation. Deep relaxation is essential. So, that is how we relax the third brain – the motor/instinctive/sexual brain – we get the physical body very relaxed.
Then we need to relax the emotional center, which is related with the Astral Body. This is our psychological mood. We need to observe our mood: we may have anxiety, or expectations, or fear, or attachment of some form, emotionally, that may be stirred up from the events of the day. Any of these emotional qualities is enough to cause the emotional center to vibrate and to keep our sense of self centered here, in the body.
Likewise, we have to relax the mind, related with Netzach. To let go of the habit of thinking, to abandon thought, to learn how to be a mere observer. When a thought comes, it comes, and when it goes, it goes. We do not interfere or go along with it; we just observe.
So these are the three bases from which we can find the door to Samadhi. All of this has to be done consciously.
But if you look at the Tree of Life and you see what we just outlined, you see that we are talking about the four bodies of sin, the four lower spheres. If, in our meditation, we relax those, and we disassociate our consciousness from them, what is left? Tiphereth: the Essence, the embryo, the seed, the consciousness – yet extracted from the body, the affections, and the mind. When the Essence is extracted from the ‘I,’ in other words, all that is left is consciousness – pure, free, vibrant, awake.
This does not require the repetition of any mantra, although a mantra can help you. It does not require a particular position in meditation, although particular postures can help you. It also does not require a deep understanding of any theory or dogma, although they can help.
The single requirement is: extract the consciousness from the four bodies of sin. When that extraction is performed, and anyone can experience real Gnosis and find real self-knowledge, and thereby grow the seed of their consciousness: they will experience for themselves the true nature of their consciousness, which in its root is pure joy.
Q: But again, there are levels. I mean, the misconception, I think, is that there is a final state of consciousness, and there is not. What about the highs and lows that someone experiences, like different levels of intelligence or consciousness, and then goes to the bottom levels of the ego, and extracts that, and seeks higher levels of intelligence again?
A: There are an infinite number of states of consciousness that can be experienced, and those are mapped on the Tree of Life, but are roughly arranged as a ladder, and that is that ladder that goes up and down. At any given time, you can be experiencing any particular level or vibration of consciousness, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, or even an indifferent state. In order to properly comprehend those states of consciousness, it is necessary that you have a lot of experience, and this is because most of the experiences that we have are inside of our own mind, especially in the beginning.
Most of the experiences that we will have in our self-remembering and self-observation, and in our meditation, will be in these lower levels of the Tree of Life – in other words, in the 49 levels of the mind. Those experiences can be pleasant or unpleasant – even indifferent. Those experiences can seem like we are in heaven (but we are not), or they can seem like we are in hell (which we are), or they can seem like a harmless place – but to know the difference and to comprehend them requires more and more experience, and more study. The more you understand about the Tree of Life – the Kabbalah – or if you are studying another tradition like Kalachakra or something like that, the more you can comprehend the nature of those types of experiences. But we always have to doubt them, because we are not awake, and that deceiver is always there, waiting to interpret that experience leaning towards the ‘I,’ to benefit the ‘I,’ to say: “oh, well, I’ve had this great experience, I must be doing really well. I must be a great master from past ages. I must be a great lama or a great teacher who just forgot.” This is the deceiver; this is the ‘I.’
The point of this lecture, which I hope you have grasped, is that Gnosis – real Gnosis – cannot be acquired mechanically. We do not give you an insurance policy, we do not give you any guarantees, we do not make you any promises; it is all up to you. The development of your soul is in your hands. The only one who can save you is within you, and that can only happen if you prepare the environment of your mind. Learn to awaken the consciousness. From this, everything else depends. If you do not learn to awaken from moment to moment, to be cognizant, and to seek to change, you will waste your time.