This is a transcription of a lecture originally given live and unscripted on Gnostic Radio. Download the audio lecture here.
Gnostic psychology is a precise form of science combined with philosophy and mysticism. This is what makes it complete and effective.
The term Gnosis is related to direct knowledge of the consciousness, rather than theory or belief. The word psychology relates to the psyche, which is the soul in Greek. Ology or Logos is Greek for “the Word,” or in other words God, the creative impulse.
In the beginning was the Logos,
and the Logos was with Theos,
and the Logos was Theos. - John 1
In studying Gnostic psychology, we are trying to understand the direct experience (Gnosis) of our own soul (Psyche) in relation to that which is Divine (Theos). We cannot take Gnosis or Gnostic psychology at the superficial level. Gnostic psychology has profound depth and has to be understood in a precise manner.
The foundation upon which Gnostic psychology depends is a proper understanding of this word "consciousness." In any spiritual or mystical tradition, or even in philosophy, there is a lot of discussion about consciousness, mind, or self. The purpose of religion or spirituality is to realize that self, to know that self, or to have Gnosis (direct knowledge) of that self. From that foundation it becomes obvious that we need to know what that self is, what the consciousness is, what the mind is.
Our common interpretation or definition of consciousness has to be revised. Because we do not have a proper understanding of what consciousness really is, we suffer. Truthfully, you could say that the cause of all suffering is ignorance of consciousness or ignorance of self. By coming to know the self, or knowing what the consciousness is, we begin to free ourselves from suffering.
What we commonly think of as consciousness is what Gnosis calls the "vigil state." When we are in the vigil state or are active physically, we mistakenly believe that activity defines the activity of our consciousness, and we believe we are conscious when we are doing things, when we are physically active, when we are living our lives from day to day. While Gnosis states that the vigil state is an aspect of consciousness, it is not the very definition of consciousness, or even a good example of consciousness.
In reality, what we call the vigil state is merely a state of consciousness that is related to the five senses and the brain. In Hinduism and Buddhism, they call this the Six Forms of Consciousness, and these are the six sense contacts and thought. Gnosis explains that consciousness is not limited to this experience that we call the vigil state, which is marked by the experience of the five senses and the brain.
Consciousness exists in every atom of nature. Any given atom, any given particle, has three aspects:
From that point of view we understand that all of nature is alive. All of nature has consciousness in its level.
Consciousness has a vast depth, and also has a vast height. Those depths and heights are illustrated in what we study in Gnostic psychology as the two lines of life. The vertical line, or the Line of Being, illustrates for us in a schematic way the many levels of Being or levels of consciousness. This is mirrored in the scientific or materialistic science related to the study of light.
In three-dimensional physics, it is well-known that light has a great expanse of vibration, ranging from very slow vibrations that we call infrared, to very high vibrations that we call ultraviolet. That expanse is huge, yet the sense contacts that we have only perceive a very narrow band of that light, what we call “visible light.” By using certain kinds of tools we can extend that vision, and see into other areas of the expanse of light: tools like radar, sonar, and x-ray photography extend our physical sight into realms that we cannot perceive otherwise. In the same manner, the Gnostic learns how to utilize certain psychological tools to extend the range of their perception and access levels of consciousness that are not visible to the five senses. Those tools are called self-remembering, meditation, dream yoga, and more.
When we are talking about consciousness, we are really talking about perception. All of the varying levels of consciousness are really varying levels of perception. Gnosis teaches us that there are two primary forms of perception:
These terms are not used in the same way as used in modern philosophy or psychology.
“What do modern psychologists understand as “objective?” They understand it to be that which is external to the mind: the physical, the tangible, the material.
“Yet, they are totally mistaken, because when analyzing the term “subjective,” we see that it signifies “sub, under,” that which is below the range of our perceptions. What is below our perceptions? Is it not perhaps the Infernal Worlds? Is it not perhaps subjective that which is in the physical or beneath the physical? So, what is truly subjective is what is below the limits of our perceptions.
“Psychologists do not know how to use the former terms correctly.
“Objective: the light, the resplendence; it is that which contains the Truth, clarity, lucidity.
“Subjective: the darkness, the tenebrous. The subjective elements of perception are the outcome of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. All of these are perceptions of what we see in the third dimension. For example, in one cube we see only length, width and height. We do not see the fourth dimension because we are bottled up within the ego. The subjective elements of perception are constituted by the ego with all of its “I’s.” - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
In Gnosis, objective perception means the perception of that which is real: to see reality as it is. We have subjective perception which means to see illusion and believe it is real. Subjective perception is illusory, it is fantasy, it is not reality.
Objective perception is conscious perception of objective or spiritual truth, while subjective perception is does not see truth. Between these two is an intermediate state called the Astral World. Perception in the Astral World can be either objective or subjective depending on the level of consciousness of the viewer.
Subjective vision is characterized by fantasy, by artificially evoked hallucinations, by absurd dreams, by visions that do not coincide with concrete facts, or by the influence of one's own projected unconscious thought.
Through subjective perception, the result is false knowledge, false understanding, false concepts, false ideas. Much of what we call science or religion, much of what we call “truth” is in fact subjective knowledge, information, beliefs, or ideas that have are based upon subjective perception.
To reach objective vision, to see things as they truly are, requires that one is able to identify and recognize that which is false. To know what is subjective is required in order to then know what is objective. There are four levels to ascend in order to acquire objective vision or objective perception of reality.
States of Consciousness
According to the Hindu model, the first step is called sleep, and the second is sleep with dreams. These two are states of consciousness.
The first level corresponds to the sleep of the consciousness, which is a very deep, unconscious level without any self-awareness. The physical body can be very active in this state. We are talking about the sleep of consciousness, not the body.
The second level is the sleep of the consciousness with dreams, which means the consciousness has perception of imagery, of phenomena, but without self-consciousness or self-awareness. Again, this is a state of consciousness, not a state of physical inactivity. The body can be active or not. The body is irrelevant.
In Greek these two levels have very interesting names. The first is called "Eikasia." Plato used this term to describe human imagination that perceives fantasy or that which is illusory. Eikasia is the perception of illusion, but taken as reality, and it corresponds to the deepest levels of the sleep of the consciousness.
The second level, sleep with dreams, is called in Greek "Pistis." Pistis is very difficult to translate into English. It relates to the mind, and is sometimes is translated as faith, trustfulness, or wisdom. But, it is a quality of perception. In this case, Pistis is related to beliefs, ideas, theories: things that we take for granted. It is another level of illusion, but something that we believe in more concretely. It is nonetheless subjective, it is part of our subjective vision or our subjective way of perceiving phenomena.
When we act or behave driven by forces that we are unaware of, this corresponds to the first level: psychological sleep. In other words, we are unconscious of what drives our behavior.
When we act or behave driven by forces that we believe in or theorize about, this corresponds to the second level: sleep with dreams. Here, the word “dreams” refers to illusions that we take as real. In other words, we have reasons or beliefs that drive our behavior, but these reasons or beliefs are psychological illusions.
Most of the time, the entire humanity exists in these two states of consciousness, and that is it. Gnosis tells us that humanity is asleep, because these two levels of consciousness are a form of psychological sleep. Our consciousness is asleep.
In Gnosis, our human consciousness is called the Essence. In Buddhism it is called the "Buddha nature" (buddha-datu or tathagatagarbha). The Sanskrit word tathagatagarbha means “seed or embryo of the Buddha.” The Essence or consciousness is really just an embryo, a seed that can be grown into a fully developed human being, also called an angel, buddha, or by whatever name. But unfortunately, 97% of our consciousness is trapped in subjectivity. That 97% is trapped in mental formations that filter our perceptions, resulting in our consciousness being characterized by Eikasia and Pistis. The mental formations exist in levels of our own interior consciousness that are subjective and illusory but that we believe are real. From this we can see why the world is in its current state.
These mental formations are our beliefs, memories, theories, ideas, fears, worries, desires, and more. Most of it is invisible to us, being submerged deep within our psyche.
Since about 97% of our consciousness is trapped in submerged mental formations, that leaves us with 3% that is free an unfiltered, yet we have not learned how to use it. So that 3% also sleeps.
Gnostic psychology is the study of these two portions of our own human consciousness in order to understand how to awaken the 3% that is free so that it can perceive objectively, thereby acquiring the potential to free the remaining 97% from subjective formations in the mind. By that action we awaken the totality of the consciousness and we become free of suffering, which is of course what every creature wants: to not suffer. In order to achieve the awakening of the Essence, we need to understand two more states of consciousness.
The third state of consciousness is called "Dianoia" in Greek. This is the true vigil state. We as beings who are trapped in our subjective vision believe that Pistis or the second step is our vigil state, because we are up and active and seem to be aware of ourselves. But Gnosis calls this level “sleep with dreams” because even though we may be active physically, as a consciousness we remain dreaming; all day long we daydream, fantasize, and interact with subjective elements in our own mind. That is a form of fantasy and is not reality. That is a form of sleep. When one learns to break that state of consciousness and achieve the true vigil state, one is working with Dianoia, which is characterized by an actively observant consciousness.
In Greek this term Dianoia means thought or reason, but this is not the subjective reasoning of our animal mind. Instead, it is a conscious or objective revision of subjective mental formations (thoughts, feelings, sensations). It is a conscious form of reasoning that seeks to transcend subjective reasoning.
The fourth state is called in Sanskrit "Turiya," which means pure consciousness free of defilement, without any subjectivity at all. In Greek, it is called "Nous." This is a state of consciousness that has perfect, objective perception. Nous in Greek means intellect or reasoning, but it is pure objective reasoning without any obscuration at all. In other words, those who have acquired this state of consciousness have no pride, lust, anger, envy, fear; they have no ego. Turiya is a capacity of the inner Being. Turiya is the state of consciousness acquired by beings such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Moses.
When we understand these four steps and begin to look at ourselves to acquire the self-knowledge that is the basis of Gnosis, it becomes evident that we really do not know anything experiential about the third and fourth states of consciousness. It becomes clear that the vast majority of our time is spent encaged within our subjective perceptions of life. We “see through a glass, darkly.”
We need to learn how to activate and utilize our consciousness. That is learned through knowing how to control our attention, because the consciousness is the root of perception. That which has consciousness perceives. So by learning how to perceive consciously, objectively, we activate the free consciousness and we begin to acquire objective knowledge about ourselves. That objective knowledge is to see the reality within us and around us without the filter of our own subjective point of view. This is difficult to achieve because 97% of our consciousness is trapped in subjective points of view, which is a false sense of self. By extension, 97% of what we think, feel, and believe is false. Very few people are willing to accept that because we believe very much in ourselves and out ideas, memories, longings, and desires. Yet, all the world’s religions teach us that we need to undo that self-hypnosis; we need to learn how to dissect our own mind with a scalpel of self-criticism - not self-hate, but objective analysis, objective revision which is Dianoia, the third state. We need to learn how to utilize the free consciousness with objective reasoning, and in Gnosis we call this action self-observation and self-remembering. These are the critical actions that activate the free consciousness and give us the capacity to begin to see ourselves objectively, as we truly are, rather than as we would like to be.
To acquire objective vision of ourselves requires that we watch ourselves as if we are an actor on a stage. We remember that we have a psyche (soul) trapped in desire. We are watchful of the external events that arise around us, and we are watchful of the internal events or states that arise within us. We need to become aware and capable of perceiving both simultaneously and understand the relationship between them.
Consciousness is pure perception, the ability to perceive, and it has to be freed from the filter of the subjective formations of the mind. When the consciousness is free of the cage of the mind, it can perceive things as they truly are. This means that as the impressions or perceptions of external and internal phenomena arise, we perceive them as they really are, not as we think they are. This is a critical difference. From that point of view we can see that in reality there are many different ways to perceive phenomena.
We began by saying there are two primary ways to perceive phenomena: objective and subjective. Actually, we can expand upon this and see that objective and subjective are broad terms describing a range of levels, and they are important for us to understand.
Now not too long ago some people who wanted to hide this knowledge invented a term that they used to confuse those who were not initiated into these mysteries. They invented a term that they could use amongst themselves in order to further elaborate their understanding of the teaching and that term is clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is from the French "clair" (clear, clean, pure) and "voyance" (vision). Clairvoyance really means "clear vision," pure perception, or in other words, conscious objective perception. In its ideal state, clairvoyance is indeed clear (Turiya), but in us it is not. Our own perception is filtered, and we have varying ways of perceiving depending upon the state of our consciousness. Remember that 97% of our Essence is trapped and thereby filtered. We have to do a lot of work to acquire pure perception.
The most elevated form of clairvoyance is supraconscious perception. This is a form of perception that is beyond ("supra") normal consciousness. When a being has reached the state of Turiya, they have supraconscious perception. This is the type of perception utilized by Jesus, Buddha, and other very highly realized beings.
Second, there is "conscious perception." This the perception of phenomena through free or unfiltered consciousness. It is not as deep, penetrating or robust as supraconscious perception, yet it is clear and unfiltered.
These two first types of clairvoyance are objective forms of perception. When a being sees in one of these two ways, their consciousness is not trapped or influenced by subjective elements in the mind.
The Dreaming Consciousness
There are three lower forms of clairvoyance. They are subjective or filtered forms of perception.
- subconscious clairvoyance
- unconscious clairvoyance
- infraconscious clairvoyance
Given that 97% of our Essence is trapped in subjective formations within our mind, the majority of our perceptions of life are limited by subjective states of consciousness (Eikasia and Pistis). So long as we have not learned how to activate the Essence, to use conscious attention (awakened consciousness), then the fact is that we are perceiving life subjectively. In other words, we take illusory perceptions as real. Yet, right now, we are not seeing what is real. We only see our dreams, and we project our dreams onto the world around us. We exist in a hazy dream-like state. It seems real, it feels real, but it is not. Only those who have experienced conscious perception - even briefly - can realize the truth of this statement.
Those who are asleep believe they are awake. They sleep, and dream that they are awake. To awaken, we first have to realize that we are asleep.
Conscious perception (clairvoyance) is acquired only by those who have awakened their consciousness. When the consciousness is awakened, perception is radically different. Those who have awakened their consciousness do not dream, because a dream is fantasy and a fantasy is subjective, it is not real.
Humanity lives asleep both in the physical world and in the internal worlds. Whether the physical body is up and active or lying down and sleeping, the consciousness of humanity is in a dream state. Yet, for those who awaken their consciousness, they do not dream in the physical world or when their consciousness is out of the physical body. Instead, they are awake and active, even when the body is resting.
Until we awaken our own consciousness, we remain sleeping and interacting with our own subjective point of view. We sleep the night away, dreaming our illusory dreams, and when we arise in the morning we remember nothing or only vague, imprecise things, and we continue our day in the same way: dreaming, remembering nothing, or only vague impressions of life. We cannot remember what we did yesterday or the week ago, because we are asleep. We do not pay attention to life.
From moment to moment, we dream. Our consciousness floats randomly through subjective states, perceiving only it’s own projections of desires, fears, resentments, and memories. These perceptions are the three lower forms of clairvoyance, empowered by the states of Eikasia and Pistis.
In order to really penetrate into the true and fundamental objective reality, we must end dreaming. Fantasy in all its forms has to end. Every true investigation into the mysteries of life starts there. So long as we are dreaming, we cannot perceive what is real.
Dreaming, fantasizing, must end, and that dreaming must end here and now. To activate the Essence and to direct one's attention consciously begins in this moment. It does not begin tomorrow because there is no such thing. For the Essence, for the consciousness there is only now. Past and future are concepts that do not exist. The only thing that we can grasp and rely upon is the present moment and on that foundation the consciousness is awakened in the positive sense.
It is necessary for every Gnostic student to awaken here and now in order to fundamentally and subsequently awaken in the internal worlds. In this way, conscious perception is developed. If we do not awaken in the present moment, here and now, within in our physical body, we can never awaken in the internal worlds. If we remain asleep in the physical world, we will remain dreaming and perceiving life in a false way, therefore we will suffer.
Seeing the Facts
In order to know and verify that what we see is true, it must be supported by facts. The Gnostic student who is learning to awaken consciousness is learning to perceive life in a new way and to receive visions (clairvoyance) in meditation and internal experiences. In order to stay on the path towards the state of Turiya, we must always remember every authentic true vision is supported by facts in the physical world. If our visions or dreams are not supported by facts, then we must doubt them. In the same way, we have to doubt every perception that we have, because they are all filtered by the mind.
The 97% of our consciousness that is trapped results in a form of perception that is filtered or modified by formations in the mind. These formations have different structures; we call some of them aggregates, egos, or defects. We call some of them representations. In truth what we have is a collection of effigies or false creations that trap the consciousness and utilize the powers of the consciousness to perceive, but each of those effigies perceives according to its own nature, which is subjective.
Imagine a huge collection of bottles, and each bottle contains a spark of light (consciousness). Each bottle is colored glass - some very dark, some very faint - and the radiance of that light is filtered by the quality of that glass. The light becomes twisted and colored by the glass. We see through that light. That light is our consciousness. Each mental formation twists the perception, and thus it is not clear and real. The job of the spiritual aspirant is to destroy those bottles and free the consciousness to see clearly. Each of those bottles represents a mental formation. These formations are called pride, anger, lust, memories, ideas, beliefs, concepts, theories, experiences.
Every perception, whether coming from inside or outside, has to be processed. When our consciousness is asleep, when we have not trained our consciousness to be awake and controlled with directed attention, then those perceptions are received by the subjective nature of our own mind.
Imagine an office whose responsibility it is to receive, interpret and transmit information, and in that office is a worker who takes that data and files it. The office is our own mind and the worker is our personality. The worker processes the information according to its conditioning. It translates all that information in accordance with its own prejudices, its own beliefs, its own point of view, with its preconceptions. The organs of the senses take that information to the personality, who receives that information and interprets it, but in the wrong way.
When we go to a movie we become very fascinated with the images and the story. We begin to receive all of the information (the images and the sounds) from our senses. Inside of us, reactions are produced, energy is transforming. The result of that mixture is a formation in the mind. If we are watching a movie that contains violence and we become fascinated (hypnotized), we get excited, our heart beats faster, we get tense or nervous, and the imagery of violence produces a formation in our own mind. The personality takes that data and stores it in the mind as formations, so we are creating new bottles that have the qualities of that violence. Therefore this element, which is an entrapment of energy, exists within our own psyche as energy, matter, and consciousness, but subjective. That energy needs to act and it can only act in accordance with its nature, which is violence.
If the movie we were watching had sexual situations and we become identified with an actor, we feel desire for that actor, that desire ends in the result of a formation of lust in our own mind. That energy projects itself in the form of images, and those images will arise repeatedly in order to get our attention, to feed it more, because it is hungry. This results in daydreaming. It also results in comparing other perceptions we receive with that stored formation. If we are married, we have a spouse, or we are looking for a spouse, unconsciously we are comparing the perceptions that we are currently receiving with the ones we have stored. We have desire in that memory or that formation of the actor or actress. We have new perceptions of our spouse or future spouse, and unconsciously we compare them. Likewise at night, we sleep, we dream and that formation in the mind projects its imagery and so we dream about that actress or actor and we fornicate with that image in our mind. In other words, we keep giving it energy.
We do the same thing all day long: we project movies in our mind. We imagine scenes with our spouse or parent, and imagine conversations or events, and we react emotionally, mentally, and even get upset: but it is all self-created illusion. We create scenarios and events in our imagination that have nothing to do with reality. We perceive these images in our mind, but we are generally unaware of doing it.
These are simple examples of unconscious perception, and illustrate how we are not consciously controlling our attention. Our consciousness sleeps, and thus perceives through the filters of the mind. Yet, through those perceptions, creation occurs. We perceive life unconsciously, we create psychological elements unconsciously, and thus we live life unconsciously. The result is suffering. Unconsciously, we create formations of anger, pride, envy, lust, and more. Each of these is an unconscious desire. Fear desires security. Anger desires retribution. Envy desires what others have. Yet, each desire only causes suffering. We create desires that cannot be fulfilled, so we always feel unfulfilled. We create thousands of these desires. We are trapped in a chaos of conflicting desires. Likewise, we continue to invest energy into our psychological creations, which seek more energy and want to be fulfilled, but can never be fulfilled. Each time we fulfill a desire, it becomes stronger and wants more. Desire can never be satisfied. Thus, we suffer continually, burdened by desires that want to be fulfilled but never can be, and attracted by new desires that promise happiness but that never deliver.
The infraconscious levels are very submerged. These relate to the very deep animal levels of our own mind, such as cruelty, violence, deep sexual degeneration, nightmares. Nightmares are the perception of our own infraconsciousness. Nightmares are real in the sense that those images exist within our own mind. They are images, creatures, that we ourselves have created because of wrong transformations in the past and because we have fed our desires.
Our infraconsciousness is really our own deepest levels of hell, where a part of our own soul, our own psyche, is trapped. We have to descend into that hell like all those great heroes of the past, to descend into the abyss, our own psychology, to retrieve the purity or that beautiful maiden who is trapped there. That maiden is our own Essence, our own consciousness, and we save that consciousness by destroying or conquering the dragon, the beast, the animal psychology that is within our own mind.
Infraconscious perception is the result of those deep elements in the mind projecting their imagery.
People who become very identified with sexual sensations need to continue increasing the intensity of the sensations that they seek. When you satisfy the desire for a sensation, that satisfaction only lasts briefly, then it passes away, we are no longer satisfied, and we want more. This is the nature of desire. The more we feed desire, the more dissatisfied we become. Each time, we have to increase the intensity more and more. Little by little, step by step, we have to go deeper and deeper, further and further, extending and exploring more intense sensation, more dangerous. This is how people are led from simple sexuality into pornography, prostitution, and the extremes of sexual abuse, such as masochism, sadism, homosexuality, brutality. These extremes belong to the infraconscious mind. Those who feed infraconscious desires deepne their enslavement to those desires, and that person becomes trapped more and more in those levels of the mind. Eventually, they awaken consciousness as a demonic soul. They have no conscience.
The subconsciousness is that which is below our conscious awareness; "sub" means below. Subconscious perception is closely related to the personality.
The personality is a mask (Greek: persona) that we develop in each lifetime, that acts as an interface between our consciousness and the outside world. The personality is temporary. It is not our “self,” although we mistakenly believe that it is. In each lifetime, we create a new personality. When we die, the personality is discarded.
The personality is created through three primary sources, each of which is related to the inheritance that we have in our karma.
Genotype is related to our genes, which we inherit from our parents, and is the encoding of our karma (consequences of past action) in matter. That inheritance is both physical and psychological, and includes our race, our culture, our situation with our family, our blood, our sex, our skin color, where we were born, what kind of family we have.
Phenotype is related to our education and upbringing, and is related to what we have learned as we have grown; this includes the education we received at school and home, the examples we observed, the things we were taught.
Paratype is related to the circumstances of our life, such as living in an area that is poor or rich, having friends that are cruel or friends that are lustful.
The combination of these influences guide the creation of our personality as we grow up. When a child goes to the movies or watches T.V., he is shown images of detectives and thieves and he grows up filling his mind with formations related to crime. He is shown on television how to commit crimes, what the thieves do, how clever they are, how smart they are, how attractive they are. All of those influences guide the development of his personality, and in turn the personality transforms those impressions, producing formations in the mind of the child. When he becomes an adult, he will know very well how to commit crimes and get away with it. In the same way the child learns how to fornicate, how to behave in a selfish manner, in a proud manner. These all remain within the subconsciousness of the child and so later, as he faces life and faces many situations, those subconscious elements - without his conscious awareness - stimulate him to act as he does. Those examples exist within his own mind and are there pushing for a particular kind of behavior.
Our parents teach us and pass onto us all of their own negative values. Our friends, our school mates, our co-workers all influence us to imitate them. In any situation where we are not consciously attentive to the perceptions that we are receiving, we are forming more subconscious elements in our own mind. Those elements push us to act in accordance with their creation.
Nowadays, it is very popular to watch television comedies, which are all based on cruelty. Our modern humor is based on violence, on making other people suffer, humiliating others, criticizing others, making them feel bad, by being sarcastic, being cruel. As we watch those television shows and watch those movies, we alter our personalty to imitate the actors, and we produce more formations in our own mind. Later, with our friends and family and loved ones, we act like the actors on tv, and we do not even see that we do it. We think it is funny to be cruel.
Likewise, we read books and magazines and see movies and television shows that demonstrate to us all of the pleasures of animal sexuality: adultery, fornication, orgies, homosexuality, lesbianism, drug use, smoking, drinking, all forms of crime, thievery, robbery, lying. We take all of that information, we adjust our personality to accommodate our new interests, and we create mental formations that then prompt us to fill those desires. So long as we do not activate the consciousness and consciously question the impulses that arise inside of us, we will act that way and we will remain unaware of it. Therefore, our life proceeds in a decline towards depravity and discontentment at a pace relative to the pursuit to fill our desires.
The Third State
To reverse the descent into deeper suffering, we must begin to examine all of the impulses that arise within us, and at the same time receive all incoming phenomena with conscious attention. We must remain conscious at all times, and observe actively our internal states and our external events. By this simple observation, we can transform the impressions of life and cease creating false formations in the mind.
When we learn how to self-observe, we are aware of the observed phenomena and the one who observes it. This is a division of attention. When we self-remember, we are aware that we are doing this. We are in our bodies aware of being in the body and using the body, aware of sensation, aware of consciousness, perception. To be in self-remembering and in self-observation is 100% active; it is not at all mechanical, and it is not at all passive. It is an active form of perception. We may know for example that we are in a room sitting on chair and listening, but that is passive. To actively listen, to really pay attention to what is being heard and at the same time to be aware of all of the reactions that are being stimulated from moment to moment, requires great activity of the consciousness. For that to happen the personality has to be passive. Our own mental formations have to recede and become passive.
Directed attention is the key: consciously placing our attention from moment to moment. When consciously direct attention becomes continuous from moment to moment, not just during the day but even when the physical body is asleep and we remain consciously attentive, we have achieved and established ourselves in the third state of consciousness, which is Dianoia. That is the establishment of self-remembering, and that is how one becomes the fourth type of personality, who is the one who has transcended the Tower of Babel (the lower three types) and is working to become the fifth. The fifth type has created the Solar Astral Body.
In order to reach the development of the fourth type of person, to become established in the third state of consciousness, one has to be equilibrated. We must be in equilibrium, able to consciously direct attention and observe the three brains, the five centers, at the same time we receive all impressions consciously whether external or internal. That is to be in equilibrium. That is not yet conscious clairvoyance, but is the first step. We experience conscious clairvoyance when we reach the third state of consciousness, that active directed attention, because we begin to perceive objectively. But, with limitations, and that is because 97% of our consciousness remains trapped in the ego. The goal is to establish conscious perception through continuous awareness, continuous consciousness. By that we are reaching for supra-consciousness, which is a level of perception beyond human consciousness, beyond normal consciousness.
A supraconscious person is someone at the level of Jesus, Hermes Trismigestus, Rama, Buddha, Krishna. These are Beings who have 100% pure consciousness. That means no ego, not a single formation in the mind, completely pure. These are very developed forms of intelligence, forms of consciousness.
Every Gnostic student is working towards that goal and to reach that there are steps. What we are trying to achieve is that state of Turiya, the fourth state, which is pure, objective perception. To reach that we utilize self-remembering and self-observation, Dianoia, the third state and the road to the fourth, which implies intellectual revision of beliefs, concepts, theories, ideas. That is why Gnosis teaches spiritual, intellectual culture. We need to have a very good and clear understanding of the logical and conceptual basis of all spiritual teachings. Gnosis teaches decency, refinement, logical analysis, conceptual synthesis, academic culture, higher mathematics, philosophy, science, art, religion.
"Therefore in no way whatsoever are we willing to continue to accept the gossip of hallucinating people, nor the madness of dreamers." - Samael Aun Weor
This is what we have inside. Our own subjective mind hallucinates and dreams. The one who wants to achieve supra-consciousness reaches that degree by eliminating from within themselves all that hallucinates and dreams. To become a supraconscious person requires that all dreaming and all fantasy must stop.
The Steps to Supraconsciousness
There are four steps to ascend from the third state of consciousness to the fourth.
The first of these steps is that we have to develop the ability to stop thinking. This means we need to achieve the silence of the mind. The first level properly called is "Pratyahara," also known as "calm abiding," "Dhyana," or silence.
The achievement of the silence of the mind can never be reached by force; you cannot force the mind to be silent. What you learn is how to activate the consciousness, and when the consciousness becomes active, the mind is no longer overwhelmed with all of the impressions that are being wrongly translated and thrown into it, and therefore the lake of the mind becomes calm. When impressions are no longer being randomly thrown into the mind, the mind settles. Therefore, by learning to consciously direct attention, to concentrate, to pay attention, to relax, the mind settles on its own. And little by little, the student achieves the capacity to not think.
When one is able to truly stop thought, the Gnostic disciple then attains and develops the capacity to concentrate on one thing. To concentrate on one thing requires first that the mind is silent. In Sanskrit, this step is called Dharana.
The third step is correct meditation. This brings the first flashes of new consciousness into the mind. Many believe that steps 1 and 2 are meditation, but they are not: they are preparation for meditation. The third step is actual meditation, and this is where we begin to really perceive and interact with the object that we concentrate upon. This is where we begin to penetrate its meaning.
The fourth step is actual contemplation or Samadhi. The fourth step is related to Turiya, pure consciousness. As practitioners, we can taste these levels of consciousness. We may experience them, but that is not the same as to be established in them, to become one with those levels. Any Gnostic student can experience Samadhi, but that does not mean they are fully and permanently awakened.
Unfortunately, people believe that to achieve the degree of Turiya is easy, that it can be done quickly. People come into these studies and expect to achieve these things in a matter of weeks. That is unfortunately a subjective means of perception. To achieve purity of mind, to achieve pure consciousness, requires enormous effort and discipline. Nature does not make leaps; everything in nature grows in accordance with its own development and its own needs and the consciousness is no exception. To become a Buddha requires great effort; to become an angel requires enormous sacrifice. What we have to sacrifice is our own sense of self. That 97% which we ourselves have created and formed in our mind. All of that must die in order for something new to be born. The Master Samael Aun Weor has told us "in order to be that which we are not, we first must not be that which we are." We have to un-become what we are now in order to become something better. Wishing and dreaming remains merely that, a wish, a dream.
The Gnostic student seeks practical, concrete reality. The Gnostic student who is learning about themselves and learning about life accepts nothing at face value. He questions everything; he believes and does not believe. The Gnostic student learns how to analyze all vision, all phenomena, but to analyze from the point of view of consciousness. Not through theory or intellect. Whatever arises is an illusion, whatever we perceive is not real. From that point of view, knowing that perception is subjective, one can then reach the objective truth. But you cannot reach objective truth so long as you do not see subjective nature, and that subjective nature is within us. We see through colored glass and until that glass is removed, we see falsely. When we see falsely, we act falsely and thus we act wrongly and we produce unfortunate circumstances, unfortunate results. The correct use of life and energy depends upon the correct perception of life and energy.
The Master Samael Aun Weor, knowing full well that the knowledge contained within these teachings is terribly powerful, provided this knowledge with a warning: Do not accept things at face value. Every vision, every experience, must be totally supported by concrete facts. We must be patient, we must analyze, we must be rigorous. Moreover, we have to purify ourselves of all misperception. He wrote in his book The Perfect Matrimony:
"All Gnostic sanctuaries must exercise the greatest of vigilance to protect themselves against the spectacular pseudo-clairvoyants who from time to time appear on the scene to slander and discredit others assuring us that such a fellow is a sorcerer, that such a fellow is a black magician, that such a fellow is fallen etc. It is urgent to comprehend that no authentic Turiya has pride. Indeed all those who say "I am the reincarnation of so and so, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, Napoleon, etc. are proud fools, misguided pseudo-clairvoyants, stupid fools. In front of the terrible and glorious majesty of the Father, we are nothing but miserable particles of dust, horrible worms of the mud. What I am stating in this paragraph is neither an allegorical nor a symbolic matter. I am literally and bluntly asserting a terrible reality. Indeed, it is the "I" that says "I am the master such and such," "the reincarnation of the prophet so and so, etc. Certainly the animal "I" is Satan, it is the "I," the ego devil who feels himself to be a Master, a Mahatma, a Hierophant, or a prophet."
This cannot be emphasized enough. The first time the Gnostic student beings to perceive visions internally, pride emerges. One astral experience can convert a sincere Gnostic student into an unbearable fool. One astral experience can be misinterpreted and become an obstacle. One clairvoyant vision can knock a student off the path.
It is an absolute certainty that any sincere student who works with the teachings of Gnosis will access clairvoyant vision, and will experience what it is to be awake outside of the body. Every student who reaches that experience must then comprehend how their own pride will seek to divert them, and many do not. Many take all of their experiences at face value and forget that all of the information, all of the language, all of the symbols of the internal worlds are symbolic. We may see ourselves as Moses, that does not mean that we are Moses. We may see ourselves as a devil, and that may be true, but which are we likely to believe? Our pride wants to believe that we are Moses, never that we are a devil. We may have an internal experience or a vision about someone who is close to us, but how do we know if that vision is just a formation of our own mind? We may be seeing the past, we may be seeing the future, we may be seeing a symbol. We may see our own spouse committing a crime and not realize that the crime was committed in the past, or that the image of that spouse may represent another person, or that we are projecting our own fears or desires.
To properly interpret perception requires intellectual culture, knowledge of Kabbalah, self-knowledge. Understanding of the laws that govern all phenomena. That is why Gnosis teaches decency, uprightness, intellectual culture, logical analysis, rigorous evaluation. Students are recommended to be very patient, and never accept an experience at face value; wait. Compare your experiences with physical, concrete facts. Remember the laws that govern all symbolic representations. The Law of Analogies, The Law of Correspondences, the Law of Numerology, the Law of Opposites.
There are three levels in initiation, three levels to reach the state of Turiya. These are imagination, inspiration, and intuition.
By learning to meditate, by learning to travel outside of the physical body consciously, we are really learning how to perceive things in a new way, which is the proper use of imagination or in other words clairvoyance, consciousness.
With imagination we perceive new images, but often we do not know comprehend or understand those images. The understanding comes partly through inspiration. We begin to see new symbols, new images. So first we learn to use the imagination, to awaken the capacity to perceive. Then, we receive new information which is the level of inspiration.
Going deeper, we receive intuition, understanding.
All symbols, all visions, all phenomena must be interpreted coldly, without passion, without pride, without desire. Considering that 97% of our consciousness is trapped in desire, this becomes very difficult. We have to extremely rigorous with ourselves.
To have intuitive understanding of our visions requires effort, requires knowing how to work with our five centers, knowing how to work with our consciousness, knowing how to understand the messages that come from the superior worlds. It does not come easily, so we have to patient. We have to question ourselves and question our visions.
Many, many, many students of many schools fail because they do not know how to interpret what they see. A student can become an assassin, an adulterer, a murderer, a criminal, by the misinterpretation of a vision.It is important for us to remember to question ourselves and question what we see because you remember at the beginning we explained the perception of all phenomena is divided into two camps: objective and subjective. Between them is the astral world, which can be either subjective or objective depending upon the consciousness of the viewer. You may feel you are awake, you may be awake, but you may yet be perceiving unconscious, infraconscious, or subconscious images. So we have to learn how to distinguish the taste of those images.
Questions and Answers
A: Kundabuffer is the energy of the ego, or that fire which is trapped in subjective nature. When we are identified with subjective elements in the mind, we are identified with that fire which is projected into the astral light and becomes imagery that we take as real. So the more we interact with that phenomena and take it is as real, the more we develop that inverted fire of the kundabuffer. When we enter in Gnosis and practice transmutation and alchemy, we work towards the awakening of the kundalini which is the conscious, positively polarized fire. And that fire is a direct extension of the Holy Spirit. That fire also illuminates the astral light. So it illuminates it in a positive way. That fire spins our chakras in the positive direction which results in the reception of positive imagery.
Q: How does Dzogchen relate to the four states of consciousness?
A: Dzogchen is a Tibetan teaching related to the direct and clear perception of reality. Dzogchen is a pure awareness school which means that they teach how to be perfectly and attentively aware at all times. So in truth you can say Dzogchen is a form of Gnosis which teaches how to self-remember and self-observe, the third state. Through that one reaches the fourth which is Turiya.
Q: How do I get past the duality of the mind in order to use the scalpel of self-criticism?
A: The duality of the mind is a result of the matter and energy of consciousness being trapped in subjective formations. Nature itself is dual. The energy of our subjective mind expresses in the form of duality: yes vs. no, good vs. bad, positive vs. negative. The comprehension of that pendulum only can come when the consciousness is actively and attentively present. Meaning that, under normal circumstances, when we are psychologically asleep, the mind is swinging on a pendulum between positive (or good) and negative (or bad), which are really just states of identification. Craving and aversion, seeking and avoiding. When the consciousness is brought into any given situation and we use directed attention in order to observe phenomena and comprehend phenomena, we bring the third state which is the Tao or the center of the pendulum. That is the only thing that can produce the equilibrium of that duality or the balance of opposing forces. In simple terms, in means be present, be aware, do not identify. Realize that whatever phenomena you are experiencing has its opposite. All phenomena arise and pass; why become identified? If you are experiencing pain, it will not last, it will pass away. If you are experiencing pleasure, it will not last, it will pass away. So do not identify with either extreme. That is how you balance the duality of the mind.
Q: Is one of the reasons that we may see an object, person, or even a dwarf clairvoyantly in that particular form because we at this stage would not be able to understand what a life form is in reality so the mind gives it a form?
A: Yes. We perceive what we know. A man cannot perceive what he has not known. You cannot understand truth if you have not experienced it. In simple terms that means that normally we perceive what we have already perceived. We can only perceive what we have formed in our own minds and to extent beyond that is not easy to accomplish. An example would be when you go into your bathroom you do not really see your bathroom because you have been there so many times that what you really see is your mental formations about your bathroom. Your seeing projections; you do not see it for what it really is. That is why you cannot find things. That is why when you lose something you cannot find it because you are really reviewing the formations you have in your own mind and not what is actually physically in front of you. To learn to direct attention in the right way means you are really starting to observe phenomena as they really are. And the perfection of that can lead you to look beyond that.
Q: What is the relationship between Samadhi and intuition in relation to the three steps of meditation: imagination, inspiration, and intuition.
A: The three steps of imagination, inspiration, and intuition are really grades or qualities. They are not like steps that you step up on onto and then stay there. They are more like qualities that one passes through, quickly or slowly. The same is true of the states of meditation like Dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi.
In any given moment in meditation, we have an active mind, we are trying to concentrate, then suddenly the mind may become empty, and we are able to concentrate on one thing, we penetrate the meaning of that thing, suddenly we are experiencing something beyond our limited self and just as suddenly we are back where we started. In that moment, we pass through all those levels, both on the chart of Dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi, and on the chart of imagination, inspiration, and intuition. The charts explain qualities of those experiences. If in that moment we were concentrating on an event from the day and we became angry and in our meditation suddenly we began to perceive a person we do not recognize in a situation we do not recognize. That is inspiration. And then in our heart we feel, "Oh! this is a symbol of how that anger causes me to behave." That is intuition, and just as quickly the experience can end.
Q: What is the difference between intuition and direct experience?
A: Intuition is understanding. You can have intuition in different ways, in different forms, there are many levels. To have real intuition you need direct experience, but that does not necessarily require internal direct experience, that could be direct experience here. And that direct experience can be simply the experience of being very conscious and very aware, which can bring you intuitive knowledge about any given situation. Master Samael explains that as we develop these capacities, we may meet a person and if we are really paying attention and observing ourselves we may all the sudden know something about that person. Something that just arises in us, we just simply know. That is intuition. We may even perceive images related to that person, that is clairvoyance and it may or may not be accompanied by intuition.
Q: How to know the taste of the feeling.
A: Knowing the taste of a gut feeling is very important for everyone to understand, because we have all kinds of impulses that arise in us. But there is that gut feeling or that hint or hunch that we feel in our heart, which can be intuition, it can be the guidance of the Being. So knowing what that tastes like is a matter of experience, you simply know it, and there is no other way to characterize it.
Q: What about mental self-criticism, it does not really seem to have any real knowledge of the problem or solution, but compares it to previous teachings, dogmas, and experiences. How do we distinguish between that and real objective consciousness?
A: Mental self-criticism is also a tricky thing to manage. It is required in Gnosis that we learn how to be critical of what we feel and think and perceive. Yet at the same time we have so much pride that that criticism can become a form of abuse or self-recrimination, which is very damaging. Learning how to balance that is also a matter of experience. The foundation of Gnostic self-criticism is active, directed attention. And from the point of view of active, directed attention, there is really a limit on thought. There is instead the development of intuitive understanding. This is a difference of point of view. When you are observing and receptive to phenomena, active as a consciousness, but receptive in your perception, there is no room for you to actively beat on yourself, to humiliate yourself, because if you are thinking bad things about yourself, how can you be actively aware? To be actively aware requires that the mind be passive, which means you develop the capacity of not thinking. So this is something that is very difficult to really understand with the intellect and that we have to understand by experience. Remember that the first step on the road towards achieving the state of Turiya is to develop the capacity of no thought: to not think. One can not think and analyze, just the same as we can perceive without thinking. The consciousness itself is capable of profound analysis, but it is not based on comparing. Comparing is a capacity of intellect. Analysis is not restricted to intellect.
Q: Is intuition confused with reading another's mind which the egos apparently can do. How do we tell the difference? The egos can be accurate too if it serves their purpose.
A: That is very true and that is really why we have to be so discriminative in our perception. The ego, each ego, has consciousness within it. So the ego utilizes the powers of the consciousness for its own ends. That means clairvoyance, or the capacity to perceive things beyond the physical world, is a capacity that the ego also has. That is why we experience things like recurrence because the egos in us communicate with egos in another person if order to bring about the reunion of those egotistical elements. The egos in is can read the thoughts and feelings of other people and that is why we can sense when someone does not like us, or we can feel when we are being talked badly about and we generate resentment or fear or shame. To know the difference between and egotistical perception and a conscious one requires learning how they taste through experience and through meditation.
A: Pray. You learn how to distinguish between the two in accordance with the guidance you receive from your Being. He is the only one that can show you.
Q: Can an ego protect itself from the Being showing you something?
A: Learning to discriminate between the two is something that we are given by the Being. The messages that we receive from the Being are how we learn to discriminate, because on our own we are so trapped in subjectivity, we need a force and an intelligence that is superior to the mind in order to guide us. If we rely solely on our own will, we will fail, it is impossible. So we have to appeal to superior intelligence for that guidance, and the best source of that is our own Being. When in the face of any perception, we should pray. We should use the techniques and capacities that our Being has given us, and that includes learning how to conjure, learning mantras, all superior forces in order to assist us. Otherwise we remain confused. And this is a matter of discrimination. If you say "no I can do it on my own!" that is pride. If you say "no I understand it very well," that may be pride. Pride is very sneaky. Having confidence in your internal experiences, good. But it can also be a trap; you have to know how to have proper confidence. And that proper confidence comes when your own Being delivers real intuitive understanding.