This is a transcription of a lecture originally given live and unscripted on Gnostic Radio. You can download the audio here: Fuel for Spiritual Experience 02 Pranayama .
"Breath is external manifestation of Prana, the vital force. Breath like electricity, is gross Prana. Breath is Sthula, gross. Prana is Sukshma, subtle. By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. The vibrations of Prana only produce thoughts in the mind. It is Prana that moves the mind. It is Prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the Sukshma Prana or Psychic Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. This breath represents the important fly-wheel of an engine. Just as the other wheels stop when the driver stops the fly-wheel, so also other organs cease working, when the Yogi stops the breath. If you can control the fly-wheel, you can easily control the other wheels. Likewise, if you can control the external breath, you can easily control the inner vital force, Prana. The process by which the Prana is controlled by regulation of external breath, is termed Pranayama. Just as a goldsmith removes the impurities of gold by heating it in the hot furnace, by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the Yogic student removes the impurities of the body and the Indriyas by blowing his lungs, i.e., by practising Pranayama. The chief aim of Pranayama is to unite the Prana with the Apana and take the united Pranapana slowly towards the head. The effect or fruit of Pranayama is Udghata or awakening of the sleeping Kundalini." - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
The foundation of our spiritual practice has to be very clear to us, otherwise it is very easy to enter into mistaken techniques and practices. In the Gnostic tradition, we always seek to re-evaluate our spiritual approach; our teacher Samael Aun Weor was very rigorous in his analysis of himself, his spiritual practice, and his technique. He constantly re-evaluated his method, and corrected himself in order to ensure he was on the right path. This is because he relied on practical experience, and was constantly examining the nature of suffering in himself, and was not satisfied with concept or theory. Samael Aun Weor suffered a lot, and that suffering is what gave him the impulse, the motivation, to constantly revise his spiritual practice in order to conquer suffering, and also to help others to do the same. Really, this viewpoint about suffering is the foundation of every genuine path, so understanding suffering is the foundational aspect of all teachings.
Sutrayana: Ethical Discipline
In Buddhism, the introductory level of the teachings is called the Sutrayana or Shravakayana path. Some people call it “hinayana,” even though that term is incorrect.
In the foundational teaching, the first thing that the student is taught is the nature of cause and effect: how our behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and actions create consequences, and what those consequences are.
Moreover, students learn to confirm through observation that everything that we are experiencing is a result of our own behaviors and actions. If we are suffering, it is because our previous actions have created suffering. We do not understand that; by understanding I do not mean in the intellect, I mean in our experience. Real understanding is Gnosis. It is something that is in your heart. It is something that you have experienced.
If you have not experienced that your own actions produce suffering, and if you have not experienced that suffering hurts and is painful, then you will never want to change your behavior. That is logical. We see this is true in ourselves, and this is the case with most of humanity. People do not care about the results of their actions. Most of humanity is so absorbed in the search for desire, the pursuit of pleasure, that they do not care about the consequences of their actions on other people, or the consequences for themselves.
We all need this foundation in our spiritual practice: to constantly analyze our behavior, to constantly watch how our actions produce suffering. It is essential to observe how our actions produce suffering for the people we love, and people we know, and people we do not know.
This observation of facts in our life is the teaching of karma (“action”). In spirituality, the knowledge of karma — not just the concept, the theory in our mind, but the experiential knowledge in your heart and soul — is expressed through conscious ethics.
Ethical discipline is not a set of rules that you impose on yourself from some external authority. Real ethical discipline is what you apply in yourself because you know it is right. It is something spontaneous, and motivated by your heart. It is the ethics of acting on what is right and what is wrong. It is known by conscience, in each moment. The conscience, in the heart, knows right from wrong, and always informs us of that difference, but our desires and our mind seek to silence the conscience.
Genuine ethical discipline is fueled by the experience of karma. Real ethical discipline has the impulse and fuel of energy provided to it by our experiences of cause and effect. When we experience that we made someone suffer, then we immediately feel “I do not want to do that again, and hurt people.” That is ethical discipline. That is how ethical discipline is built and constructed in our psyche.
Mahayana: Love for Others
Ethical discipline naturally leads us to the second level of spiritual instruction, which in Sanskrit is called Mahayana, the “greater vehicle” or the higher level of teaching. At this level, having already understood how our actions create consequences, our concern ceases to be focused on ourselves, and instead becomes concerned with the well being of others.
Again, I am not talking about concepts or beliefs. There are many people in the world who have studied the concepts of religion and who think these concepts are beautiful. We are not interested in the concepts. We are interested in the spontaneous expression of these realities in our actions, driven by the energies that move through our heart and mind. In other words, these levels of instruction are not theoretical, but ways of perceiving and acting.
This word Mahayana or “greater vehicle” refers to a class of teaching that nourishes, feeds, guides, and directs the soul that spontaneously and intuitively realized that it does not want to make people to suffer anymore, and wants to help people come out of suffering. That class of person is ready for Mahayana instruction. That level of instruction teaches a way of awakening consciousness and developing the soul. Mahayana-type teachings cultivate a type of mind stream that begins to be born within in us. It is called Bodhichitta, which means “wisdom mind” or “awakening mind.” That type of mind ceases to be so self-obsessed. The interest in “myself” starts to decline, and interest starts to focus instead on others.
Again, this is not conceptual. It is not forced. It is not something that we tell ourselves, like “I have to do this.” It is something that emerges spontaneously from moment to moment; the person just starts looking at life in a different way, because they know it, they feel it, it is just who they are becoming.
This development, this change, is a radical shift, spiritually, in a person. They become different from other people. They cease to be constantly trying to nourish their own sense of security, fears, desires, interests, and pleasures. Instead, they give. They give to their family, they give to their friends, and to their neighbors, and to people they do not know. Not just giving material things, but giving attention, love, care, and sacrificing their energy, their time, to help other people, simply because it is the right thing to do, because that action is what moves their heart. That is what they must do. That is a Mahayana practitioner.
A true sign that someone is developing a Mahayana type of mind stream, a psyche that has entered into a Mahayana level type of practice, is that they have no interest in material gain. That is the real meaning of renunciation. It is not to renounce all material things and go live in the woods as a saint. Renunciation means the person does not care if they are rich or poor. They do not care what they are wearing. They do not care what class citizen they are, or if they are respected or hated. What they care about is the suffering of others, and how their actions influence and affect others. This is the mind stream of a Mahayana practitioner.
I am discussing this as the preface to what we are going to talk about today, because it is only in a mind stream like that, a Mahayana type of mind, that traditional spiritual structures will introduce to the next class of teachings, which are called Tantrayana.
Tantrayana: Compassion Energized
Nowadays, everyone has heard about tantra. But of course, no one has these foundations in their mind stream about cause and effect and the welfare of other beings. People enter into studying and learning about tantra while they are still self-obsessed, while their minds remain focused on the satisfaction of desires, and lack any regard at all for the consequences of their actions or the well-being of others. In other words, our mind does not care about cause and effect, does not care about karma, does not care about the well being of others. It only wants for “me.” It wants pleasure. It wants money. It wants success. It wants fame. It wants recognition. It wants people to be afraid of us, to respect us, to envy us. That is why when you go out into the world now and you pick up books about tantra, and you study videos and books about tantra, they are all about the satisfaction of desire, and they are all one hundred percent black magic. That class of teaching can only create demons.
Real tantra is 100% about the benefit for other people, not ourselves. Real tantrayana is the expansion of Sutrayana and Mahayana. In the perception of a real practitioner of Tantra, there is no I, there is only others.
The word Tantra means “flow.” It refers to the flow of consciousness, unimpeded by the false sense of self, the “I.” That flow is consciousness as love for others, and it is totally free of lust, anger, pride, envy, fear, etc. In addition, it is perfect ethical discipline: its very nature is pure ethics.
The purpose of tantra is to cultivate this Mahayana type of mind stream, Bodhichitta, to make it a greater expression of love. What is love? Christ, Krishna, Avalokitesvara, Chenresig, the divine light of cognizant love. In real Tantra, the aspirant learns to become an expression of that perfect light of divine love; first, by comprehending that light (the Ain Soph, the Absolute, the Emptiness), and simultaneously by reflecting that wisdom-light in the world. That is the purpose of real tantra.
Therefore, tantra is not about sexual indulgence. It is not about having bigger and greater and more orgasms. That point of view is merely black magic. That focus is one hundred percent black magic. By black magic, we mean it is a class of teaching that creates a demon, a devil, an entity that is only interested in pleasure. That is a devil. So, there is black tantra, which enforces our attachments to desire and sensation, and there is white tantra, which liberates us from desire and sensation.
"Lustful people do not enter the path of liberation." - Padmasambhava, from oral instructions to Lady Tsogyal
This is extremely important to understand, because the Tantrayana level of the tradition is very powerful. It harnesses the root forces of creation, the root forces in all of nature. If you approach the manipulation of those forces while under the influence of desire, you will create a lot of suffering. When you approach the root of these forces and energies and you want to work with those energies, you need to be very cognizant of what you are doing. Do it in the right way with the right training, otherwise a lot of problems emerge, and a lot of suffering will result. All of us can probably cite cases of this happening in different traditions around the world.
In essence, spiritual practice is about harnessing energy. In the first levels, in the foundational and Mahayana levels, the two classifications of teaching, we are really learning how to discipline our mind stream and attune it with the mind stream of Christ. This is why Bodhichitta can also be translated as Christ mind (bodhi = wisdom = Chokmah; chitta = mind).
Bodhichitta is a kind of energy that vibrates with the ray of creation, with the Ain Soph Aur, a type of light that emerges out of the Absolute, a light that comes from Adhi-Buddha, the primordial Buddha. This light, which is the supreme clear light, is the type of light that is absolutely perfect, and is the first and primordial expression of the divine. It is a light of unbelievable, indescribable radiance, whose chief characteristic is a brilliant, shining love. If you meditate on that, simply that, you will comprehend why most of the teachings of tantra you find in the world are black. They are completely contradictory to that light. That light is not interested in pleasure. That light is not interested in the satisfaction of desire. Those are the interests of demons.
When that light emerges out of the Absolute abstract space, it emerges as a form of an archetype, related to the world of Atziluth in Kabbalah. An archetype is a blue print, a primordial form that has not yet become. For that becoming to happen, there has to be a long process of development, and that is the path of initiation, the path through which the soul is born, the soul is created. We are only the embryo of soul, a seed. We are not a soul yet. This is why Jesus said, “With patience you will possess your soul.”
The development and creation of the soul depends upon it being nourished by the light of Christ, this Christic force, which is also called Avalokiteshvara, Quetzalcoatl, Vishnu, and Osiris. They are all the same force. Christ is not a person, but an energy, an intelligence, a light.
That energy creates what we see here as the Tree of Life. That energy descends and condenses and unravels and reveals everything that exists. It is also called the great breath, and is symbolized in Kabbalah and other religions as the breath of God that emerges out of the nothingness. That great breath, that exhalation, is how everything comes to exist, macrocosmically and microcosmically. That Great Breath in Sanskrit is called Prana.
प्राण Prana: breath of life, breath, filled, old, full, ancient, spirit, vitality, energy, wind, spirit, respiration, spirit identified with the totality of dreaming spirits, poetical inspiration, vigour, life, power, air inhaled, vital organ, vital air, myrrh
Prana is energy. Prana is Christ. That energy is the energy that palpitates in the heart of every existing thing. Everything: every rock, plant, fish, horse, planet, sun, universe, sun, is sustained by the fire of Christic Prana. That is why Christ is “the life, the light, and the way.” It is the energy of existence. It is the Ain Soph Aur. That prana, that energy vibrates in many different modalities, many different levels of existence, and it is what sustains everything. It is the great breath. Everything that is in you is prana, in different modifications. We live, we breathe, we exist, we are sustained by that force.
“Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. It is the sum total of all the forces in nature. It is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men [and women] and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are the manifestations of prana. […] Whatever moves or works or has life is but an expression of manifestation of prana. The prana is related to mind [Hod / Netzach] and through mind to will [Tiphereth], and through will to the individual soul [Tiphereth / Geburah], and through this to the Supreme Being [Chesed / Atman]. If you know how to control the little waves of prana working thorough your mind, then the secret of subjugating universal prana will be known to you.” - Swami Sivananda
Prana is not separate from us. It is not a concept. Prana is not a theory. Everything that exists is prana, but modified by cause and effect (karma).
The development of the soul is a modification of prana. The creation of Bodhichitta is a perfection of Prana. When the Bodhi mind, the Christ mind, is emerging in the psyche, it is the ray of creation itself, harnessed, modified, and expressed through us. That is what Prana is. The beginning of that, the harnessing of that, is called by another name: Kundalini. We are going to talk about what that means.
This word Prana is Sanskrit. The Tibetan word is lung. These are two words from different languages that describe the same thing. In English, we can call it energy. For us, when we think of energy we tend to think of things that are materialistic, like electricity. Yet, prana is a type of energy is not limited by physical matter. Prana or lung is in every dimension, not just the third dimension. Prana or lung is the very reason the third dimension exists, but it is not third dimensional. Moreover, it is not merely fourth dimensional, it is not merely fifth dimensional, or sixth or the zero dimension, the seventh.
Prana or lung can also be translated as “wind.” Not physical air, not wind like physical air, but wind like a flowing of energy, a flow of forces we cannot see physically, but we can feel it. Like physical wind, you can feel it, but you cannot see it. Prana is the same way. You can feel it, but you cannot see it with your physical eyes. You can see it with clairvoyance, but not with your physical eyes.
Prana descends down through all the levels of creation. Prana is the root energy of everything that we are. Every thought that we have is a vibration or a modification of Prana.
Our internal bodies are forms of Prana in their respective levels of nature. Our willpower, our consciousness, or our essence or spark of soul, is related in the fifth dimension with the Sephiroth Tiphereth, what we call the human soul or the essence. In Sanskrit, this is called Buddhadatu. It is also called Tathagatagarbha. This means embryo of soul, or Buddha nature. We all have this Buddha nature. It is a seed; it is a germ in which the archetypes of soul are placed. Those archetypes are then impregnated into Mother Nature so that seed can grow. Any seed in nature needs nourishment. Every seed. Especially the seed of our soul.
This seed of our soul has different aspects. It has will, which is related to Tiphereth. It has thought, which is related to Netzach. It has emotion related to Hod, it has vital energy related to which is Yesod. It has a physical vessel, which is related to Malkuth. These in synthesis are the seed from which we can grow a great tree, the Tree of Life or the Bodhi tree.
That seed needs to be nourished, it needs to be fed, and it needs to be cared for. There is not a multitude of ways to do it. If you want to grow a plant in your garden to grow food, you have to know how to grow it. You just cannot throw the seed outside and wait. You cannot just put the seed on the counter and pray. You cannot put the seed in a box and expect it to grow food. It will not. It needs to be in the earth. It needs the light of the sun. It needs nutrients from the soil. It needs water. In the exact same way, our soul, our seed, needs food. In this physical body, we have the way to draw the nourishment. All the nutrients that we need to grow the soul. That is why we are here.
We are not here to get rich. We are not here to get famous. We are not here to trample on each other, crush each other, kill each other, and cheat each other. We are not here to get as much sex as we can. All of those are animal behaviors. We are here to become something more then just an animal with an intellect.
We gather for these types of teachings because all of us sense that there is something more to life then just being born, having kids, and dying. There has got to be more to it then that, but the common humanity does not know about it.
The reason the real spiritual teachings — like Tantra — were kept hidden was because common humanity is not mature enough to be taught openly about the whole path to liberation. The common humanity only wants to kill each other, steal, lie, and get drunk, and cannot be trusted with knowledge that has power. The knowledge that has been given to humanity so far has only been used for destruction. The evidence is everywhere. We are only interested in killing. When someone has a Mahayana type of mind stream — where their concern is solely for others — that person can be trusted with more advance instruction, which is what we are discussing today.
Channels of Prana
This diagram is from a Tibetan medical treatise. It shows subtle channels.
These channels are not just physical. Some have correspondences in the physical body, but most of them are not just physical. They are related to the vital body, the astral body, the mental body, the causal body, and the physical body. They are multi-dimensional conduits of energy. If you have studied Chinese medicine, you know about meridians. If you studied Hinduism, you know about Nadis. These are currents through which energy moves. There are 72,000 such currents. This is a symbolic number. It just means that there are “a lot.” There are a lot of currents. (This is a common method in Asian philosophy: giving a high number just to indicate a high number; the number is not literal, as is commonly assumed by Western culture).
If we are sensitive, we can feel these energies. We use them every day. We use them all of the time. There is nothing supernatural about this. It is perfectly normal, but what is abnormal is that we are ignorant of it. We have our noses buried in the dirt, digging for garbage like pigs, trying to suck up desires, feed our fears and lusts, instead of being concerned with the qualities of the spirit.
If we pay attention, we can experience what these Nadis are, we can learn how they work, and we can learn how to use them effectively to help other people.
The word Nadi means channel or conduit and comes from the root nad, which means movement. That movement is related to Prana. When we look at the Nadis or any kind of diagram — whether it is Tibetan or Chinese or Hindu diagram — what these channels and conduits show is how energy moves. It shows how prana moves through us.
Prana, energy, does not move just physically. It is moving through all the different aspects of our psyche. When we look at the Tree of Life, I was explaining about the top level we have the Prana; which is descending from above. These upper levels relate to Archetypal levels, related to the Innermost, and uppermost parts of our Being.
The Prana of Thought, Emotion, Impulse
The lower portion of the Being relates to us as the soul. The goal of spirituality is to unite all of these parts of the Tree of Life as one.
It is a long process, but the end result is a great Buddha, a great master, a great angel, a being that is fully integrated with God and fully expresses that light of Christ as a perfect, pure radiant force, as an expression of love, and can act on behalf of others and do amazing things.
For that to happen in us, we need to be cleansed. We need to be cleaned. When we look into ourselves and look into our will, our personal will, we see that our human will at this stage of development does not care about others at all. It only cares about our personal security, our future, our lust, our desire, our fear, our envy, our gluttony; our will is all tied up in ego [“I”] and desire. Especially envy, because we want what others have.
Our thoughts are modified by that will. If you observe the stream of your thinking all day long, about 97% of what you think today is going to be identical to what you think tomorrow. We are constantly repeating the same thoughts. The content of those thoughts are “me, my, I,” a stream of justifications, a stream of longings and desires, and a stream of selfishness. How rare it is for a selfless thought to emerge in the mind stream! It is rare to experience — in a given moment, as a truly spontaneous experience — genuine love for someone else. It is rare.
Most of the time we are only thinking about ourselves. Therefore, our feelings, our emotions, are about ourselves, me and myself, not really about others. Even when we feel we “love” someone, that feeling is really about how that person makes “me” feel. It is not really about them and how they are, it is how they affect me. So, it is really about “me.”
Occasionally we may feel a little spark of compassion or concern for someone else, but most of the time, we are enveloped in our own feelings of insecurity, our fear, longing, of needing and wanting. It is rare for the heart to express and genuinely radiate selfless love. I am not saying that it doesn’t, because it does. This is the great virtue of the human being: that we have the capacity to do it. Yet, a fully developed human being is only that love. Everything they do is for others, without exception. We are not there yet. We have the potential to become that, but first that “I” has to be removed from the situation.
If our will and thought and our feelings are only tied up in our own selfishness, then the energy in our vital and ethereal body is likewise self-concerned. This is why even physically pretty much everything we do is about ourselves. Now we might say we are doing for others, but even when we do for others, it is about still really about ourselves. We might say we are doing something good for others, then we tell ourselves “see how good I am.” We do something good for someone else and we think, “Are they going to thank me? Are they going to recognize that good thing I just did? Is anyone going to pat me on the back and give me some praise?” This is how quickly we corrupt our actions. This is how pervasive the ego is.
The ego [Latin for “I”] is a demon. The ego is not the soul. The ego is not our self; it is a devil. It is what we call Satan. The Devil, Satan, is not outside of us. Satan is our mind corrupted by desire. When that mind is purified from that desire, then it becomes Christ-mind, Bodhichitta. That is the aura of a Bodhisattva who is the essence of wisdom, the essence of Christ. That is our goal. We do that by learning about ourselves psychologically, and changing our behaviors, and by applying the principles of the foundational path, by bringing our mind to be in tune with the Mahayana path, concern for others. This is how we attune ourselves with Christ, and through that attunement we are working with energy. We are working with energy through the Nadis. Through everything that we are. Not just physically or not just in the vital body or mental body, and not just through will, but through all of them. In other words, we need to harness all of this energy and learn to use it wisely. That is the goal.
You see, this is real spirituality. This is not theory; we are not talking about things for everyone to feel good and make you think you have an express ticket to heaven. If you want that sort of illusion, there are a thousand groups out there that would be happy to give that to you, and would be happy to take your money, too.
We are not interested in that. We want change. We want real change, today. We want you to learn how to stop suffering, so you in turn can help others stop suffering. We acquire that through modifying our actions, through renouncing selfishness and adopting a Christic mind, a mind that is concerned with the well being of others, that dominates self-interest, and that expresses the Christ. This is not easy. There are reasons why this is not easy; mainly, because of karma: cause and effect.
That prana that is descending from above is a huge force of energy. If you meditate on that and you contemplate how that energy is, it is the energy that descended and created everything that exists. Can you imagine how powerful that is? It really is unimaginable. We think we are so strong and powerful, but we are not even dust on that scale. We cannot even be measured on that scale. We are so insignificant in the cosmic scheme, and yet we have so much self-importance, thinking we are so great, when really we are just animals destroying each other. We are not making much on this planet, but a mess. What do we have here to show to God? God has given us all of these resources, and what do we have to show for it? “Here we are, God, we spent all of your resources on weapons.” We spend most of our time on pornography and lust and making movies celebrating violence. This is what we have built as a society: a world that cares about greed and power. It does not care about children that are dying and people that are being destroyed. We do not care; we just want money.
We need to be practical and realistic. We need to look at the facts.
This energy that is moving through us is called different things in different traditions. Right now, we can all experience this energy because we are alive. We are breathing. Our body is being sustained right now by energy. This body is just energy that has formed into matter, and when the karma is exhausted for this body, then the connection between energy and matter will be severed, and this body will decay, and it will all return back into energy.
You see, energy is very important. Even when we sleep, there is still energy there. Consciousness goes out, but the body is there sleeping, charging, cleaning, restoring. Consciousness goes out, but the body still has energy. This is how pervasive the energy is.
This is why Sivananda states that the energy is even more important then the mind. He is right. You can think what you want, but what matters is what you do. There are a lot of people in the world who think they are doing good, but they are doing harm. What we think is irrelevant. What matters is their action. There are people who think they are doing good when they go out and kill someone else. There are people who think they are doing good when they steal. There are people who think they are doing good when they teach spirituality that is a lie, when in reality they are killing souls. What we think is irrelevant. It is what we do that matters. What are we doing with our energy?
In the Tibetan tantras it states that the lung, the wind energy, has ten primary forms. These forms are related to all the different movements in the body that are not just physical, but psychological. There are many types. This wind energy is what sustains our existence.
When we are sick, it is because there is an imbalance in our wind energy. Every illness is because of an imbalance in our energy. We think that illnesses are because of physical problems, but they are not. The physical organisms are just vessels of energy. The physical organism is nothing but energy condensed as matter. When you get a germ, it is because karma (cause and effect) is moving the energy of that germ and making you sick. The cause is not the germ, the cause is the energy, moved by cause and effect. When you get ill, sick physically or mentally, it is because of an imbalance in your wind energy. Cancer is an imbalance in wind energy. Diabetes is an energy problem. What shows in the physical body are the symptoms of something that is energetic. We try to treat it physically because we cannot see that the causes are not physical they are energetic.
The same is true spiritually. We are spiritually ill. Our souls and spirits are not in tune with God, with the divine. You want proof? Watch your mind. How much of what is in there is divine, how much of it is in tune with Christ? How much do you feel and think is an expression of God in you? God does not need that car, that job, that big house, that boat, that praise or admiration from others. God does not need you to be envied or feared. God does not need you to be respected. God does not need you to have any accolades or wealth. God needs your soul to develop. Watch your mind. How much of your mind is concerned about your soul and the souls of others? Be honest with yourself. This is how you can measure your true state of affairs.
Integration and Interdepedence
These energies that move through us — physical, vital, astral, mental, causal — are all interconnected. When we study these types of things we tend to think that the astral body is somewhere else. It is not. If you are feeling emotion, or you have even the capacity to feel something emotional right now, it is because your astral body is right here. You see, our body is multi-dimensional. It is not separate from us. The astral body is the vessel of emotion. Unfortunately, in us it is kama rupa, a “body of desire.” It is not a solar astral body created by Christ. It is a lunar astral body created by nature and given to us for free that we can use as a vessel to create the solar astral body. The solar astral body has to be created through alchemy, tantra. It is not given to us for free; it has to be earned.
Likewise, our mental body is not somewhere else off in space, unless we are distracted. I assume that everyone here knows how to pay attention and be present here and now, which means your mental body is here and now. If your mental body right now is thinking about work, if you are distracted and you are mentally back at home sorting out your bills, then your mental body is there, but your physical body is here, but your mental body is distracted. If you are here and now, integrated, then your mental body is here too.
Likewise with the causal body. We do not have a causal body, we have an essence, which has the potential to become a causal body. That is our willpower. Our willpower is very weak, and thus it is easy for our desires to manipulate it. That is why we are always distracted. We are always wandering around in our psychological house from room to room, going back through our memories, our regrets, our fears and our behaviors, and telling ourselves “all those people treated me badly and I was right, my parents are to blame, my boss is to blame, but not me.”
What we need to learn is to get all these vessels to be present here and now. This is what allows this energy to start to be cohesive in us. When our attention is focused, we can use energy in an effective way. This is why when you are doing some kind of work, you can do a better job and be more creative when you are concentrated. Concentrated meaning you spontaneously and intuitively are really engaged in what you are doing. That means all of your energy is there focused on that. For example, remember when you were a student in school you might be filling out the test or the paper, but your mind is off wandering around wanting to go home and play a video game and your emotions are pulled around by this song you like because it has this cool rhythm and you like the feeling of it. So you do poorly on your tests because you were distracted and all of your energies were dispersed. If you had really been interested in the subject matter, you would have easily learned the material and mastered the test. Even without natural interest, if you had been fully concentrated on it, you would have no problem remembering the information.
What makes the connection between the physical body, the vital body, the astral body, and the body of will — for the energy to move between them all — are the Nadis. You see, these are not all separate vessels. They are multi-dimensional parts of one thing: you. What connects them are the Nadis.
Chakras and Prana
What connects the Nadis? Anywhere a Nadi meets another Nadi, that spot is called a chakra. A chakra is a conduit, a transformer of energy from one dimension to another. They are points of connection to all the parts of the soul. A chakra is like a vortex. It is like an electrical transformer that takes energy, uses it, changes it, and transmits it. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel.” The meaning is like a gear or a water wheel: something that turns and transmits. It is something that moves because of energy. The body — whether, physical, vital, astral, mental or causal — has many chakras. It has many. Hinduism talks about seven fundamental chakras. Buddhism talks about five, depending on which tantra you study. In Gnosis, we study many more than that. We have seven fundamental chakras that we study in relation to spiritual development. We also have seven fundamental chakras that are slightly different that are related to our organic mentality. They are in our hands and in our feet. They are in our knees. We have chakras all over us. All of them are simply vortexes of energy where the Prana moves through us.
The question then becomes: how does that energy move? Who is in control? Who moves it? How does that happen? This is to our disgrace that we do not know. We should know. It is kind of a silly example, but do you know how some people can move their ears and others cannot? All animals can move their ears, but we cannot. Do you know why? We have muscles there, but we cannot because we do know how. Some people have it and can move their ears like this [demonstrates]. That is not a spiritual power! [Laughter]. But this illustrates a point. Our whole body is an amazing machine that we ignore. It has all kinds of capabilities and powers that we have no idea about, because we are so obsessed with external sensations with phenomena in the material world, instead of realizing and analyzing and experiencing the incredible vehicle that we are all using every day. Do not sit around and try to learn how to move your ears. That is not the point. The point is we have all energetic and physical abilities we have not learned to use, which are the nadis and channels of energy that connect to the chakras and glands in our bodies. It is through those chakras and glands in those bodies that an angel is born, that a Buddha is born. If you want to become a Buddha, you do not need anything outside of you. Everything you need is inside. Everything. The seed has everything. If you nourish it, it will grow.
One of the primary winds or lung is a downward expelling wind that moves from the top to the bottom. That wind is extremely powerful. That is the wind of expelling. It is the wind energy that moves through us to dispel wastes from the body. It is a wind energy that moves downwards through the principle Nadis, and helps the body to be cleansed of impurities. There are many other winds, but this one is important because when Eve abused the fruit, that wind energy became very influential.
Prana and Sex
In Kabbalah we study the symbol of Adam and Eve; they represent an ancient humanity, but more importantly they represent aspects of ourselves. Adam represents our brain and Eve represents our sexual organs. We have our own Adam and Eve within: Adam in the brain and Eve in sex. That temptation in the Garden of Eden, when Lucifer is the trainer, who trains the soul, happens in us too: here is this fruit, what are you going to do? The fruit of course is sex, and Eve, our sexual organs, says, “I want that,” and indulges in it, and breaks the law. Through that breaking of the law our Eve broke the command that was given by Jehovah Elohim, “Thou shalt not fornicate.”
The root of the word fornication is an old English term, gwher, which means “to burn.” In that moment, when Eve the sexual organs takes of the fruit, that sexual energy is polarized by the desire and it burns the soul. That is fornication. That energy is expelled, because it is impure. In other words, that downward wind that move through the nadis pushes the energy out. It becomes polarized negatively.
Eve in turn gives the fruit to Adam, the brain. Adam the brain becomes corrupted by that sexual desire. It is through that primordial mistake that the ancient Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden. It is also how we are cast out of Eden on a daily basis. Our use of energy is mistaken. We mistakenly use our sexual energy, and we commit mistakes because of desire.
Those forces of Adam and Eve are also related to the two conduits of energy that rise along the side of the spinal column. We have heard about the two trees in the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. These two trees really are one in synthesis. They are the spinal column in relation with sex. We see very obviously that the spinal column connects the brain and sex. We know very well all of us that are adults, when we become sexually interested, sexually stimulated by a person, our brain is also stimulated. Our brain cannot think about anything else but Eve. When our inner Eve gets entranced, when our sexual organs get entranced in sexual energy or sexual power or sexual interest, Eve gives that energy to Adam the brain, and they both become entranced. In other words, our sexual energy dominates our brain. This is very obvious. The whole of humanity suffers from this.
Modern culture thinks it is very virtuous to be sexually active, to be sexually exploratory and to be sexually indulgent. Spiritually speaking, that is a crime. The laws are very clear in every religion. “Thou shalt not fornicate. Thou shall not commit adultery,” in the Judeo Christian traditions. In Kalachakra, every practitioner in Tibetan Buddhism takes a vow to never emit “Bodhichitta,” what are called drops, which is sexual energy. It is also called tigle. It is hidden under many terms, like the “jasmine flower drops,” Prana, Bodhichitta, tigle, sesame seed, rice milk, etc. All these terms hide the sexual energy. All tantric initiates take a vow to never release it.
Sexual energy is the energy from which the soul is born.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the spirit is the spirit.”
Both come from the “living waters that flow from our belly.” Those living waters are sexual waters, sexual prana.
Adam the brain is related to a conduit of energy that moves alongside the spinal column. In Sanskrit, it is called Pingala. It is a principle nadi. Eve is related with the sexual organs and the other conduit of energy alongside the spinal column which in Sanskrit is called Ida. Adam and Eve, sex and brain, are also the names of the conduits of energy that connect sex and brain. This is why in tantric art we often see depictions of three primary channels: a central channel (shushumna) which is relate to the spinal column, and two side channels. These are the principle nadis that move energy through us. The most powerful energies they move are sexual energies. This is why every priest, every monk, every nun, every lama, has to perform and work with sexual energy. They have to be in chastity. It is that energy in sex that creates either spiritual elevation or degeneration, depending on how the energy is used. If those energies are indulged in and wasted, it creates spiritual degeneration.
It is quite simple: everything we eat, breathe and take in through our eyes, ears, and mouth, is transformed prana. We take all of that energy into our bodies, and that energy is transformed. The ultimate synthesis, physically and energetically, everything that we are, is in the sexual seed. Your entire being is condensed in a sperm or an ovum. It is your archetype. It is the expression of Atziluth. It is the map of the soul.
When the sexual energy is restrained, when it is transformed, it can be raised up these Nadis, to fill the central channel, to awaken the chakras, to reach the brain, to make Adam into “the perfect man.” Remember in the Bible when it says “let us make man in our image.” We in our current state are not the image of God. That word Adam, that word man in the bible, is not a physical man. That word Adam refers is our brain, our mind [man from manas]. Do we have a Christ mind? No. We have an animal mind. The Christ mind is born of spirit and water. This is the instruction that Jesus gave. The spirit is prana. The water is sexual. The spirit is “the wind.” If that energy is restrained and brought up to the brain, it is the very basis of tantra.
The word tantra means flow of prana. “Continuum” is the other way it is translated. Tantrayana means “vehicle of flowing energy.” Here comes the important point. If that energy is not restrained by our spiritual, ethical discipline, by our Mahayana mind stream which is concern for others, and that energy instead is harnessed by desire, what will that energy create? Lust. It might create some children along the way too, but primarily it will create more animal mind. That energy becomes polarized negatively. Instead of that energy rising up the spinal column and perfecting the soul, that energy is projected downwards as sent by that downward expelling wind. That is where we get the symbol of the “tail of satan.” All the demons have a “tail.” It is the sexual energy that is projected downwards, because it is polarized by desire. We all have that. All of us. If you look at us clairvoyantly we all have a tail. That tail is our ego.
What we learn here is how we stop that. We learn that through our ethical discipline, through the foundational levels of the teachings. When you start have some ethical discipline, you learn how to restrain that energy, you start to learn how to use that energy for the benefit of others. You prepare that energy to create Christ mind. In turn, if we are mature enough, we can learn about tantrayana.
These channels of energy, the Nadis, are really what we start to work with right away in any spiritual teaching. Even if the teaching talks about it explicitly. You see the spinal column is the root of everything that we have. Every single thing that we do as a living entity depends on our spinal column. Everything. Your whole nervous system, your whole mind depends on it. The energies that move around and through it are put into motion by your will, by how you act, how you behave and what you do. This is why ethical discipline is important. When you have established these foundations and you have entered into a real spiritual school that can teach you, they can start to teach you techniques to use that energy to cultivate and nourish your spiritual seed, your Buddha nature. Those techniques vary according to spiritual traditions, there are many. All of them have a similar characteristic to nourish the soul. To take the prana from inside to outside and nourish the soul. To stop nourishing the ego. The ethical discipline helps us to stop acting on and feeding the ego. Initiates take vows to not have the orgasm, to not steal, to not look at others lustfully, to not take intoxicants, to not drink alcohol, to not smoke, to observe a specific diet perhaps. Sometimes they retreat from society in order to isolate themselves from all the temptations so that they can center and balance their mind stream. This was in the past, now a days we are in a different era. We do not need to run off in the mountains. We can do this practice here and now in this city life. That type of exercise is needed. The energies can start to be harnessed and used to clean the nadis and work with them directly.
These channel of Adam and Eve have other names. The channel Eve is sometimes called the moon channel or the lunar channel. It is called a cooling or comforting influence. In Tibetan Buddhism it is called Lalana. It is the energy or the conduit of energy that is specifically related with sex, it is related with Eve. The other channel is called the sun channel, or the solar channel. In Sanskrit it is called Pingala, in Tibetan Buddhism it is called Rasana. It is usually characterized as red and heating or warming. This is related with Adam. These Nadis, are the fundamental Nadis in the common person. In all of us these Nadis are moving energy. There is also a third channel; which is the central one and in all of us it is dormant. It is inactive. In that channel is where we find all of the grades of spiritual development. Thirty-three vertebras on the spine. Thirty-three degrees of development. This is why the Masons have thirty-three degrees and Jesus had symbolically lived thirty-three years of his life. It relates to the thirty-three vertebra. We symbolized the channel of energies in different ways in different traditions. You may have seen a Caduceus of Mercury; which has a central column. It should be a serpent, but often a rod that Hermes or Mercury holds in his hand that has two coiling serpents on the side. Those two serpents represent Adam and Eve. That entwine around the central column.
Pranayama in Tantrayana
The first practice the initiate learns is how to harness their energy. In Sanskrit it is called Pranayama. Every religion has a technique like this, even hundreds. Most nowadays have forgotten them, or they do not use them, or they have decayed or degenerated. Throughout their development, especially in the beginning, every religion has to have it because it is how you harness the energies that come from above.
This Sanskrit word Pranayama comes from the word prana that means energy, wind, breath, life force. It is combined with the Sanskrit word yama. This word has different meanings. It means stopping, effort, or lengthening. The whole word pranayama means wind stopping or wind lengthening. In English sometimes we call it harnessing of the winds. It is accurate to some degree, but the most important meanings at the tantric level is wind stopping and wind lengthening.
This is important, because students in the beginning or the foundational level teachings learn techniques to harness energy. Most of them involve breathing practices. They are not learning the tantric level. They are learning the Sutrayana level, the beginning level. They have not been initiated in the higher aspects. These types of practitioners are taught and believe that when they do their breathing exercises that they are drawing in prana from the exterior world. That is not the only reason for the practice. You might read in books the reason why we do these breathing exercises is to draw in prana from the outside. That is fine, but now you are learning about tantra, and that is not the real meaning. The secret meaning, the hidden meaning, is that you are learning how to stop the wind. To lengthen the energy. In other words, a real pranayama draws up the sexual energy and holds it, retains it in order to harmonize it with God.
This is so important. The reason is: there are certain schools, even amongst the Gnostic schools, that have taken sutrayana level teachings about pranayama and brought them into Gnosis, and they are confusing people. Now we hear of students practicing Pranayama in the wrong way. They are not harnessing energy in the right way. We need to learn about this and do it in the right way, otherwise we are wasting our time.
A real pranayama is a technique to capture and hold energy. Most importantly, to harmonize it with the Divine. This is why the Master Samael Aun Weor, when he was teaching, said Gnostic students need to learn how to polarize the energy. If they are doing our practices and still thinking about desire, they are polarizing their energy with their desire. If they are thinking about God, then they polarize it with God. Sadly, most people learn only the external form of spiritual exercises (posture, breathing) but do not learn to direct their inner attention in the right way.
If you are a single person learning transmutation practices — any form of pranayama, which includes Runes, rites of rejuvenation, vowels, mantras — if you are doing those practices and thinking about lust, then you are polarizing your energy lustfully. This creates more lust. It strengthens lust.
You cannot justify your way around this fact. You might try, but the facts are the facts. This is why this is so important.
Pranayama is about harnessing energy. The energy that we are trying to activate is the energy in the central column. It is to take energy from the other nadis, especially the energy from the sexual organs, and move it into the central column, into Sushumna. That energy is called Kundalini. Also in Tibetan Tantra’s in Sanskrit it is called Candali. In the six yogas of Naropa it is called Tummo. In Kabbalah it is called Shekinah. This energy is the Divine Mother herself.
Spiritual powers are simply how the Divine Mother works through her beloved children. Clairvoyance, astral travel, healing, prophecies — all are gifts from the Divine Mother to aid us in our suffering, our efforts to get out of it, and our service to others.
Some people think the Kundalini is a mechanical energy, like the energy in a match, something that is physical that they can manipulate and play games with. It is not. Kundalini is the creative, divine intelligence of God. It is the very energy of the Divine Mother. You cannot trick her. You cannot outsmart the Divine Mother. She created everything. She created you. She created everything. You cannot outsmart her. You cannot trick her. Moreover, she does not reward liars, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, or any kind of defect. Are you filled with defects? Are you filled with pride, lust, envy? She does not reward those defects. She rewards chastity, purity, humility, love for others, sacrifice, diligence, honesty.
“Let the defects be burnt up by Pranayama.” - Manu
She does not care about money, status, power, materialism. She is not swayed by offerings, success or failure, social positions, your wardrobe, or your friends and acquaintances. In other words, she will not awaken her power in you because you pay someone, or follow someone, or have sex with some so-called master, or donate lots of money somewhere. She does not reward any of these things.
She does not work on a timetable or according to anyone’s promises. She is the Divine Mother! She does what she wills, in accordance with her laws and ethics.
No one can awaken your Kundalini but her. So, if you to awaken her power, you have to appeal to her, no one else.
But of course, nowadays everyone wants quick results, so people are eager to pay for kundalini awakening, to join orgies and have sex with as many people as they can, etc. The only thing that results from these actions is the acquisition of more harmful actions and their results, and of course, the strengthening of the desires that bind them to suffering. These behaviors stimulate the “tail of satan,” which is their sexual energy polarized negatively: conditioned by desire. And yes, by doing these harmful actions they will awaken powers, but as a demon. They awaken clairvoyance, but inverted, that only sees in hell. They come out of the body in the astral plane, but in Limbo and the lower realms. They are awake, but as demons. That is easy. It is very easy to do that. There are a lot of people doing it by going to workshops, schools, temples, clubs, and learning how to do that. They talk about love, they talk about beauty, they talk about truth, and they talk about God, they dress beautifully, lots of incense and perfume, but it is all about lust, craving for power, attachment to sensations.
To work with the power of the Goddess, you have to prove yourself to her. She does not give her powers easily. She does not give her powers to an animal. She gives her powers to someone who has earned it. We prove ourselves and earning her gifts through our ethical discipline, our devotion to her, through the merits of our heart: through Bodhichitta.
What is the greatest concern of the mother? Her love for her children. If we approach her with love for ourselves, saying, “Please mother, give me powers, of clairvoyance, of astral travel, to go into Jinn state, to visit other planets, to display my powers in front of others to inspire them…” What is she going to say? She is going to say, “Go clean your room first, pick up the clothes on your floor, shower, because you are filthy, and eat all the food off of your plate, then wash the dishes and take out the trash. You are a mess. Clean yourself up, and take care of your responsibilities first!” We have a messy house. That house is our mind. It is filled with garbage, and everyday we are filling it with more garbage. What Mother is going to give power to a spoiled, filthy, dishonest, lustful, angry, envious, devious child?
We have to earn her power, her trust, and her secrets. She loves us, but she also knows the reality of our current state.
Kundalini is Sanskrit and comes from the word kundala, which means coiled. This is because that power is coiled up at the base of the spine in the chakra Muladhara. It is latent, dormant, awaiting the moment it is activated.
To awaken the kundalini and raise up the spine — as an initiation — cannot be done by a single person. It can only be done by a couple, a man and a woman who work together. Only a man and a woman can give birth, whether physically or spiritually. This is why all the religions hide the secrets of sexual magic, scientific chastity, the way to create the soul through sexual transmutation.
The woman saith unto him, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw."
Jesus saith unto her, "Go, call thy husband, and come hither." - John 4
In the six yogas of Naropa or the six yogas of Niguma, which are the main tantric tradition in Tibet, the single practitioners first learn tummo yoga. It is a series of pranayama exercises like vase breathing and other techniques where they learn to harness this energy, to purify and cleanse the Nadis, to prepare themselves, so that when they are ready they enter into the initiation of karmamudra.
Karmamudra is sexual alchemy. It is where a monk and a nun unite, male and female. It is through that union that a third force is invoked. That force is love. It is that force of love that opens the spinal column so that energy can rise.
A single person can imitate that, mimic it, in the sense that through the power of Bodhichitta, cognizant love, they harness those energies of Adam and Eve within, and when those solar and lunar energies meet, a spark is produced. That spark creates a flame in the spinal column. That is Samadhi. Everyone in spirituality talks about Samadhi, or ecstasy or bliss or visions; that is how you make that. You cannot make it by praying for it or willing it. It is scientific. If you learn to harness energy, you can produce Samadhi by will, when you need it, and if your Divine Mother thinks you deserve it, because that fire is her. It is her presence, it is her energy. It is how she takes form as in us. That is why all these names are feminine.
Candali come from kanda, which is the feminine name for the moon. Candali is a name of a goddess. It can also mean “inner heat.” That is why in the traditions of Naropa and Niguma, and in Kagyu Buddhism, and actually in all the different traditions of Tibetan Buddhism they study inner heat yoga; which is one of those six yogas. That inner heat yoga is precisely what I am explaining. Meditation techniques to create a match between the solar and lunar atoms at the base of the spine related to the naval chakra so that candali will spark and awaken. That moment is when clairvoyance opens, astral travel happens, dream yoga, transfer of consciousness, all of the techniques that are studied in Tibetan Buddhism are based on that. That is why they go on three year retreats: to perfect that. It is from that energy that eventually they are prepared to enter into a karmamudra practice that you can work with a partner like we have in sexual magic with husband and wife.
The other word that is used in the Tibetan system is tummo. Dumo is interesting term because it is a Tibetan word and has two components. The first part Tum is a masculine term that means “fierce,” and mo is a feminine component related to “women.” You can translate it as “fierce woman.” Sometimes it is called “she who terrifies the ego.” Tummo is a name of the Divine Mother; it is the name of Kundalini.
Shekinah is the Divine Mother in Kabbalah. When the Israelites broke the laws, Shekinah left the temple, and the temple was disempowered. That Shekinah is the presence of the Divine Mother.
Pranayama and Breath
In Pranayama what we are learning to do is harness those forces. That is why Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras states:
“Regulation of breath is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation.”
Some of you might be surprised by that. He does not say it is the “control” of breath. He said it is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation. This is a really important point. Generally in most traditions when you hear about pranayama it is referred to as a breathing exercise. We talk about control of breath, and the reason this is because our breath is related to our prana. You may not remember this, but in the moment you were born and you came out of your mothers womb, that first breath of air, the first thing you took in was not air, it was prana. What was your reaction? AAAAAAA! That was a mantra. That AAAA. That breath was that prana entering in and starting the activation of all of your nadis. From that moment on, we started to make a lot of mistakes, because our parents did not teach us how to use our energy. When we enter a spiritual movement we might learn different techniques of Pranayama as breathing exercises. The reality is they are not breathing exercises. They use the breath, but breath is not the main thing. This is why Vivekananda said:
“Pranayama is not, as many think, concerned solely with the breath; breath indeed has very little to do with it. Breathing is only one of the many exercises through which we get to the real pranayama.” - Vivekananda, Raja Yoga
Breathing exercises are fine and are useful at the foundational level. At the tantric level, they are irrelevant. What we need to do at the tantric level is work directly with the Prana. That does not need the breath; we can use the breath as a tool, but it is not required.
Pranayama has three essential phases: inhalation, retention, and exhalation.
There are many techniques of Pranayama. In some, the simplest, you simply sit and breathe consciously. That is all. Sivananda is a great master, and taught that you can begin your pranayama exercise by sitting comfortably in a stable position with your spine straight, in a clean environment, without stale air, some place you can relax very well and sit comfortably, perfectly relaxed, spine straight, breathe in, and pay full attention to breathing. You breathe in and fill the lungs, and you hold it as long as it is comfortable, and you exhale the breath and begin again. That is a pranayama.
We all breathe, but do you see what is the difference here? Two things: relax, and pay attention. It is those two that makes the difference.
Pranayama must always be without any strain. It should be in complete relaxation.
This is a mistake many students make. While doing pranayama they become very tense. Their shoulders, hands, arms, neck, mouth become very tense. They are not doing anything beneficial then; they are just breathing hard.
Why is this important? In tantra it is known that the length of your life is measured by the number of your breaths.
“A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths.” - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
The number of your breaths is intimately related with the number of beats of your heart. If you want to live a while, slow down.
Have you noticed that your lungs are on either side of your heart? Do you see that your lungs and your heart are those three Nadis? Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. They correspond directly.
With the lungs we breathe. We take the energy into both nostrils that connects to those conduits of energy. In the male, the left nostril is related with Ida, the moon channel, and in the female, the left nostril is related to Pingala, the solar channel. In the male the right nostril is related with Pingala, the solar channel and the left nostril, the female is Ida, the lunar channel. Through each breath we are drawing energy in relation to those two channels, in relation to those two lungs, in relation to the two ovaries, and in relation to the two testicles. Each channel, each Nadi, connects to the opposite testicle or ovary. In the male, Ida the left nostril, connects to the right testicle, whilein the female it is the opposite; Ida the right nostril connects to the left ovary.
Each breath that we take connects with the sexual organs. This is why when we become sexually excited, our breath changes. It becomes rapid. The heart beats faster, because the Prana is being activated.
With lust, if we get engaged in lustful energy, then that downward wind wants to push that energy out through an orgasm, because of cause and effect from our previous actions: because that energy in us is impure. It is corrupted with desire. That downward wind wants to push that energy out, thus it is poison. We should not play with that downward expelling force.
If we want liberation from the causes of suffering, then we have to purify that energy and return it inwards and upwards. To unite our mind stream. To make our Adam remember God. When our Adam remembers God, that Adam can command Eve, sex, and the sexual energy can be harmonized with the Divine. This is how the solar and lunar atoms, those pranic forces, those drops of Bodhichitta, are brought together, and the third force is invoked. That third force is the Divine Mother Kundalini. That third force creates a spark, and if everything is properly organized — our heart and mind and longing and praying to God in that moment — the Divine Mother brings Samadhi, ecstasy, insight, vision, comprehension, Gnosis. This is true whether we are in the sexual act or we are performing an exercise of Pranayama.
Meditation and Pranayama
Before you meditate, do pranayama. There are many pranayama techniques that we teach in this tradition. In The Yellow Book there is one called the Christic Egyptian Pranayama it is probably more suitable for someone who has experience in these matters. It is a little more complicated. There are pranayama techniques taught in Tarot and Kabbalah, The Perfect Matrimony, Kundalini Yoga, The Major Mysteries. All of these books teach pranayama techniques. Learn one and work with it for a while. Learn to direct your energies consciously.
When you do this, the most important moment is the retention of the breath.
“Kumbhaka is retention of breath. Kumbhaka increases the period of life. It augments the inner spiritual force, vigour and vitality. If you retain the breath for one minute, this one minute is added to your span of life. Yogins by taking the breath to the Brahmarandhra at the top of the head and keeping it there, defeat the Lord of death, Yama, and conquer death.” - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
I have heard some students doing pranayamas very rapidly and forcefully. They seem concerned with how intense their pranayama sounds, rather than withdrawing from the external world and diving into meditation. I do not know where they learned that, but it is not congruent with these teachings. There may be pranayamas like that out there; I really do not know. But that method contradicts what we want to achieve here.
“Always inhale and exhale very slowly. Do not make any sound.” - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
Samael Aun Weor was very clear in his teachings; he said do your Pranayamas slowly and relaxed. Why? For many reasons: one, pranayama properly done relaxes the mind and body so we can meditate. The way many people practice pranayama results in them become tense and wound up, so they are getting the opposite result.
Another: our goal in spiritual exercises is to learn to control prana. That cannot be done if we are rushing, or focused on the physical matter alone. To control the subtle energy, one has to become subtle, and find the subtle sensations of that energy. You cannot hear the whispering breeze while on a rushing train! So, do not perform pranayama like a rushing train.
Remember, the length of your life is measured by your heartbeat and the length of your breath. When an animal is sexually excited, it breathes hard and fast because that energy is very active. That is why the more lustful people are, the shorter their lives. That is why they are depleted; that is why they age fast. That is why when you go out now you see people in their thirties and forties looking like they are in their seventies and eighties because they are so indulgent in lust. They are so indulgent in lust because their heart races, their breath races. We live our lives that way. Always stressed, always breathing hard, and always rushing.
“Prana, mind, and virya (sexual energy) are under one sambhanda (connection). If you can control the mind, then prana and virya and controlled by themselves. If you can control prana, then mind and virya and controlled by themselves. If you control the virya by remaining as an akhanda bramachari without emission of even a single drop of semen (sexual energy, whether male or female) for twelve years, then mind and prana are controlled by themselves.” - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
Control of energy is intimately related with control of breath. Control of energy and breath is intimately related with control of sex. If you want to control your sexual energy and harmonize it with the divine, control your mind. Control your breathing. This does not mean that you should always be measuring your breath and counting. It does not mean that. It means relax. Relax, relax, and relax. Our breathing should be like a child. Not a single muscle in tension. Sometimes the breathing is short, sometimes it is deep, but it is always serene. Have you ever watched a child, a baby, and how sweet the breath is? Our breath should be like that. It is not like that because of our ego. Likewise, when we engage in our Pranayama practice, we need to be going slow. Similarly, sexual magic should also be slow and conscious, not rapid and intense like animals.
Pranayama, as a spiritual exercise, is preparation for meditation. It is a preparatory exercise in which you relax deeply and take the solar and lunar atoms, unite them, and create a spark. You have to be prepared to take advantage of that spark; you need to be ready to enter Samadhi. You cannot be tense; you cannot be distracted; you have to be very relaxed, in a prayerful state. This is why we teach these fundamentals when we run retreats: relaxation, prayer, concentration, and visualization. If these four elements are not part of your practice, you will not access Samadhi. It is impossible.
Let me tell you one more detail some of you may be surprised by. Swami Sivananda stated:
Those who read the books of Samael Aun Weor literally think that means they cannot have Samadhi until they have a spouse and raise the Kundalini of the first serpent. That is not true. If you read the books literally it may seem that way, but in fact Master Samael explains this clearly: he says the yogi or yogini who does not have the spouse can activate the flames of his Kundalini with Pranayama and by meditation, however the complete total and absolute development of the seven degrees of power are only possible by working with a spouse in sexual magic.
A single person can awaken sparks of kundalini; that is what produces spiritual visions, experiences, insights, comprehension. A single person can activate that flame and have experiences. A single person can have comprehension. A single person can enter into direct knowledge (gnosis), because these two side channels have the solar and lunar atoms. Through Pranayama and meditation, those atoms can unite unite and create a spark. It does not arise by accident. It does not arise by praying a lot. It does not arise if we never do pranayama.
“The practice of Kumbhaka [breath retention] in Pranayama produces heat and thereby [sparks of] Kundalini [are] awakened and passes upwards along the Sushumna Nadi. The Yogic practitioner experiences various visions.” - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
We hear some students who study this tradition do not like pranayamas. They want to transmute in different ways. They want to go work out, listen to classical music, do art, do all these other things to transmute their energy and then they wonder, “Why do I have so much energy, but I am not having experiences?” Because they are not doing pranayama. They are not meditating.
If you want to have direct experience beyond your physical body, apply these techniques. Relax, pray, concentrate, and visualize. This applies not only to meditation, but when you are preparing for meditation, such as doing mantras and pranayama.
When you are preparing for pranayama, sit in a relaxed way, you can even stand if you want, but if you are going to meditate after, I recommend that you sit. You sit and pray. You relax. Prayer is not just a thought, “Oh God, I remember you.” It is from your heart. Your heart has to come enflamed as best as you can, to pray sincerely. Ask your Innermost for help, call your Divine Mother to help you. Then you have to relax deeper and start concentrating on what you are doing.
“Pranayama requires deep concentration and attention.” - Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama
When you are doing pranayama, do not be distracted. Do not think about that TV show that you were watching, do not think about what you are going to do after you meditate. You need to be fully attentive of what you are doing in that moment. Completely attentive; forget everything else. Forget your body. Forget the room you are in. Put all of your attention into that concentration on visualizing what you are doing. The visualization is to imagine your Nadis. Imagine your energies. It depends on what technique you are doing. The pranayamas present visualization in different ways, but you need visualization. You may not be able to do it the first day, but try.
Pranayama needs to be practiced regularly, especially if you are single. The sexual energy is rejuvenating every day, so you need to be constantly transforming it and harmonizing it with the Divine. If you are ignoring it, that energy is doing other things. It is always moving and always acting. You need to be conscious of it. Controlling it. Harnessing those winds.
Pranayama should be consistently and regularly with a prayerful attitude. I know that you start to do it automatically, “I have to do my Pranayamas now,” then you do it, but mechanically, without really being focused on it. That does not work. Mechanical behavior is only that. It will only bring mechanical results. Not conscious ones.
A married couple can use Pranayamas if they want. This is optional. It is especially useful in the beginning, particularly if someone has not had much experience with sexual magic yet.
Our Nadis are very dirty. The single people do pranayama to cleanse the Nadis and to prepare their mind. You see, these channels connect sex and mind. When you do Pranayama, you start cleansing the Nadis and preparing them so the energy can flow easily. Someone who is not prepared and has those lines blocked, the energy cannot move. They get stuck and it wants to expel out. The person can have premature ejaculation problems and cannot control the energy and have an orgasm without their will. They can have many different types of problems. This is because of blockages in the Nadis and because of mental habits. If you are experiencing these effects, be patient and do pranayamas regularly. You can do as much Pranayama as you want. If you want to do two or three hours a day, do it, it will help you, but at least do 10 minutes or 15 minutes, especially in the morning, because this is when the energy is fresh. Gradually, little by little, the body becomes clean. The Nadis become clean. A person that is working as a single person is only working with their own energy, so it will take more time, more practice, more energy, whereas someone that is in a couple it will happen rapidly because there is a lot more energy, and will be harder, because that energy is very powerful and difficult to control in the beginning. Whether you are a single or in a couple, be patient, be careful. None of us are masters at this. It takes times to learn. It takes time to teach the body. It takes time to clean the Nadis. It takes time to learn the practices. Constantly evaluate yourself. Constantly re-evaluate your practice.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Where are the pictures from? Is there a book reference that has explanations also?
Instructor: The pictures I am using are from our own tradition are gathered from many places. There is no book that explains them. You can find some of these images from different books or from different traditions, but they will not explain it the way that I am explaining it. Most of the traditions are not authorized to give this knowledge publicly.
Audience: It seems like another obstruction to our work is contentment. If you have been doing the work for a while you can get stuck being satisfied where you are and not knowing how to go further. There is a false contentment there, where I am happy the way things are.
Instructor: Yes I see that. In different stages of our spiritual work we can settle into a spiritual lethargy. Like “this is okay where I am now, and I am going to leave it like this.” This is a fallacy of the ego. It deceives us from going further, and the ego entices us. We get complacent. Everyone faces that. It is a form of defeatism, but it is more subtle and it uses pride. I have observed this state where the ego says “I am working hard, I need to relax.” Sometimes we do need to relax. Sometimes we do need to take it easy. That has to be walked very carefully because that can easily become laziness and easily become that kind of defeatism. Yes that is true.
Instructor: It is one way. The single most effective way to recover the energy that lust has stolen is through sexual magic. You go directly to the problem. It is in sexual union. It is in union of male and female, when all of the energy is active that then you need to harness that and take it back. That is the very power of that technique.
Audience: If there is a ringing sound or water coming from the ear can that be related to meditation?
Instructor: There are different kinds of blockages that can occur in us, either energetically or physically that can be cleared by meditation. For example, a blocked Nadi, or channel of energy, can manifest in physical effects. Someone that is meditating or doing pranayama can stimulate or affect the physical aspect. It can result in ringing ears and vibrations of the body. Some people do Pranayamas and they their heart feels anxious or feel like they are floating or leaning to one side when they are not, there are many different types of physical side affects related to the purification of those Nadis. The key is to keep practicing and to pray to your Divine Mother.
The types of Pranayamas that we teach — if you follow the instructions — will not harm you. Neither the awakening of Kundalini. Kundalini is the power of the Divine Mother. She is not going to hurt you. There is a lot of misinformation out there about how these techniques are dangerous. Some say, “Kundalini is harmful unless you work with a Guru [a qualified instructor].” That qualified instructor is your own inner God, your Innermost, your inner Buddha, your Divine Mother. They will not let you come to harm if you follow the teachings explicitly and go against your desire and follow them. All of the masters and angels have acquired their states by doing that. Kundalini is normal. It is natural energy. It is not dangerous unless we misuse it.
Audience: If a lustful thought comes up while you are doing Pranayama, should you stop the practice and observe?
Instructor: Observe it. Keep practicing. Make that visualization about the Pranayama taking that energy away from that lust, and ask your Divine Mother to help you. Visualize that element that is trying to distract you as best you can without getting engaged in it, or indulging in it without it distracting you. Ask your Divine Mother to help you comprehend this lust, help you take the energy out of it, help you conquer it. Do not avoid it, and do not stop what you are doing. If that image is coming up, it is good because you need to work on it. When lustful images and lustful scenes and all of these egotistical images arising in the mind all the students want to avoid it. That is the wrong way. When those elements come up, look at them, do not avoid them. Those elements are why you are suffering. If you want to change your suffering, change those elements.
Audience: How do you get over the restlessness tension that arises between the eyes during practice?
Instructor: Restlessness that emerges during practice can come up for different reasons. Sometimes it is because of residual energy emotionally from stress, or some kind of excitement in the mind, and these types of energies are best dealt with by observing them and relaxing. Sometimes it is too strong and has a lot of stress, so it is good if you take a walk and get a little exercise and help disperse this energy. If it is very strong, for example, I know someone that is taking care of someone that is very ill, and it is very taxing on the caretaker, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sometimes that energy builds up and builds the psyche up almost to a breaking point, if you just dropped a pin they would break or shatter. In those moments it is very hard to meditate. It is better to take a walk. You can do Pranayamas while you walk. You can do Pranayamas while you are doing other activities. When doing that, pray. If you do Pranayamas while you are walking, and you are just thinking about walking or thinking about work, that energy is being used for thinking about work. If you want that energy to be spiritualized and harmonized with God, then remember God and pray. Visualize while you are walking, what you want to work on. You can do that. Remember whatever you are doing keep a prayerful state and relax.
Instructor: That is right. That is the middle phase of the Pranayama, Kumbhaka, is to retain the breath. There are three phases of pranayama: inhalation, retention and exhalation. The most important is retention. When you are practicing as a single person, the instructions are you draw the breath in and you hold it. There are different techniques that tell you to visualize this or visualize that. But the holding of the breath is the important phase, because it is in that moment that you have to be the most attentive and prayerful. That is where the prana is there for you to harmonize. This is where the pranayama happens. The yama, the harness, where you actually take the fire. If you are thinking about something else, then you are giving that energy to whatever you are thinking about. If you are thinking about lust or work or your car, that energy is feeding those thoughts. It will not affect you spiritually; it will not help you have a Samadhi.
The same is true with the practice of sexual magic. When the man and woman are joined sexually and performing their sexual magic exercises, the retention of the breath is the most important moment. If you are engaged in sexual magic and you are breathing like animals, then you are not gaining anything. You are polarizing that energy with lust. What matters here is to slow the breath and relax. Holding the breath and polarizing it with prayer. This is what matters. That practice could be thirty seconds long and you only breathe once. That is a great practice. If you practice for a few hours and the whole time you are breathing hard and you are fighting with lust and the whole time and you are not thinking about God, what are you doing?
Students asked the Master one time, “Should couples practice pranayama?” For couples, it is not necessary. If they are doing sexual magic properly, transforming all the energy in the body that is there that day, they should not need pranayama. Then the person says, “Well what if they have a mistake and there is residual energy after.” What are you doing? Why do you need pranayama? It is like trying to milk a cow after you have milked it. If you are doing the practice as a couple properly, then you do not need pranayama. You can use it, especially when a time period passes when a couple cannot unite, you can use pranayama, it is good, but it is not necessary daily.
There are couples who practice pranayama after sexual magic because they are not performing sexual magic properly. They have a lot of energy after the “practice” because they are being too lustful. They have to do the pranayama to control the energy. They are actually hurting themselves. It is not good. Eventually, they will lose control.
A practice performed properly transforms all of the energy and leaves a state of ecstasy in the practitioners. Not a physical sensation, spiritual. If you want to know if you are doing sexual magic right, that is what you look for. It is not a physical state afterwards, it is a spiritual state. It is where that energy has been harmonized and vibrates your consciousness with a blissful state in the heart and mind. It is a bliss of peace. It is Eden. That word Eden literally translated from Hebrew means “bliss.” When Adam and Eve, sex and brain, man and woman, go into the Garden of Eden, sex, and they respect the law, they experience Eden, bliss. Not animal. Spiritual. That harmonizes that energy and feeds the soul. It nourishes us and uplifts us and helps us to cultivate Bodhichitta.
Audience: In the practice of Ham-Sah, should we lengthen the pause between the inhalation and exhalation as long as possible?
Instructor: In the practice of Ham-Sah, lengthen the retention of breath for as long as it is comfortable. This is the key thing: as comfortable. Do not become tense. When you are doing the Pranayama, relax. When you hold the breath, you should stay relaxed. When you feel tension or feel like it is too much, exhale. Then begin again. It should be relaxed, relaxed, relaxed.
Audience: When you inhale should it be as long as the retention?
Instructor: There are different instructions on the timing of the inhalation and the exhalation. Generally speaking, the inhalation is shorter then the exhalation. I know that it sounds illogical. When you practice it, you will understand why it is. Depending on the pranayama, there are some subtleties in the techniques, but generally the inhalation is longer. You inhale, retain it, and exhale short. There is some air retained. Again it is prana that we are concerned with.
Let me clarify something here as well. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and learns a lot of breathing practices and techniques and that is great, but when you begin at the tantric level with working with breath, your attention is not on physical breath. Make that clear for yourself. When you are working with breathing exercises, if you keep your attention on the physical body, that is all you are going to get out of it. Make sense?
Like we were learning at the retreat, people who do annapana practices or southern style vipasanna practices keep their attention on physical sensation, meaning they will have no experiences spiritually because their attention is fixated on physical matter. If you want to have Samadhi, and you want to have spiritual experiences, forget the body and physical sensations. Put your attention inside. This is why the Master Samael states in The Yellow Book and Kundalini Yoga that beginning level instruction students think they are bringing in prana from the outside, so their attention is outside. Their attention is on the tip of the nose, in the nostrils, it is even in the lungs physically. The ones who are initiated in the real knowledge know that their attention needs to be on the prana. That is why we withdraw our attention from the external senses and open the imagination. Imagination is related with Pingala, Adam, and Christ mind. That is related with the ethers of the ethereal body, the two superior ones related with imagination, willpower and perception through the senses, not just physical but internal. When we activate imagination, we are activating our capacity to see clairvoyantly. Imagination and clairvoyance are the same thing. If your attention is physical, you will stay there, watching your nose. Boring… If you want spiritual insight, forget your nose, forget the physical breath, and put your attention on the energy, and then Samadhi can happen.
Audience: Is there a direction of flow to visualize?
Instructor: Yes. Every pranayama is different. Follow the instructions for the pranayama you are working with. I do not know about pranayamas from other traditions, but from the Gnostic tradition we have many. Just in the books you can get off the shelf there are at least ten: The Yellow Book, Major Mysteries, Kundalini Yoga, Tarot and Kabbalah all have pranayama practices. Use them, but do not mix them up. Pick one and work with it for a while until you get familiar with it. Until you can experience it, know it, feel it. Then you will start to see the differences. They all work differently for each of us. We all have different problems and different Nadis that need work. If you are working with one Pranayama for a while, not just a day, but a few months, and you are feeling like this is not the best one switch, try another one. Give it time, work with it; you are not going to get it in one day. It is going to take time. These are subtle practices that are not easy to master.
Audience: I am confused now. Do you visualize prana entering the body or do you visualize the Kundalini rising up the spine to the mind?
Instructor: Every pranayama is different. In some pranayamas, you imagine the energy rising from the base of the spine to the head. This is true for the Ham-Sah, for example. In the Egyptian Christic Pranayama, the visualization is different. You are imagining taking those energies and putting them into the coccyx. In other pranayamas, you are visualizing moving energies related with the naval chakra. In some, you are visualizing energies related with the brain. They are all different. Follow the instructions of the pranayama you are doing. The simplest is to do the breathing I explained, and just pray. If you have trouble concentrating, and you have trouble keeping attention and staying mindful, you can work with that. Some students get frustrated. Work with the one that you feel is helping you. You may need something more complicated to help you keep your attention on it.
Audience: How do you do the Ham-Sah meditation?
Instructor: You first have to establish the foundation. Relax and take a comfortable posture. Make sure your spine is straight. Make sure your head is relaxed and floating on top of your spine. You do not want to be holding any part of your body stiff. If you are, it is going to distract you and make problems and block energy.
For westerners, usually sitting in a chair is a very effective technique. You can sit in a relax way with your hands relaxed on your knees, keep your spine straight with your head floating there relaxing like it is floating on a pool of water.
Then, praying to your God, to your Divine Mother, as you breathe in visualize your sexual energies rising from the base of the spine up to the brain. You mentally pronounce the mantra “haaaaaam.”
Hold your breath, and you hold that energy in your brain, in Adam. You imagine that energy, that Christic force irradiating and illuminating your brain, healing you. Fusing your brain with beautiful white light, with energy.
When it is no longer comfortable to hold the breath, then you release it through the mouth as you pronounce out loud “Saaah.” and imagine that energy moving from the brain down to your heart, illuminating your heart.
It might sound complex to you in the beginning, but it is actually a simple exercise. As you concentrate and pray, visualize what is going on. This is an extremely powerful practice. It is my personal favorite to teach, because it is quite easy to learn, and very effective. All the pranayamas work, but this one is especially useful because of its simplicity and beauty.
Audience: I have practiced pranayama once and I went to another dimension and I was very scared. Could that be possible?
Instructor: Yes. The reason we do these practices is to gather energy to feed us and to nourish us to give us spiritual experiences. Depending on the circumstances and the karma, yes you can go out of your body and you can experience another dimension and you can have visions. If you are not prepared for that, sure you would be scared. That is only because you were not prepared psychologically.
The ability to go out of the body and see other dimensions is a natural ability of the human being that we have lost. The bible is full of examples of the prophets going out of their bodies and receiving instructions from God through their dreams and other types of experiences. We need that, but we need to be prepared for it and trained for it. We actually go out of our body every time we go to sleep. We are just not aware of it. If you learn about it and you learn to be aware of it, then you can take advantage of it consciously to use it for your spiritual growth.
That is why the Pranayama is the early technique in the six yogas of Naropa. After that is dream yoga. Where the practitioner has harnessed the energy through the pranayama and uses it to go out of their body consciously. If they do not harness that energy they cannot go out. That is why we need this energy.
Audience: In the Ham-Sah, should you imagine the heart chakra or the actual heart?
Instructor: Imagine the heart chakra. Again, in these exercises we want to let go of the physical matter. We want to separate ourselves from the physical body and work with the Pranic aspects. When you are visualizing, the goal is, even though you are imagining the energy rising up the spine, you do not want to be working with the physical body as much you want to work with the vital body where the prana is moving. Likewise, moving deeper in the astral, mental, causal bodies. Let go of the physical body. Let it rest, let it sleep, get deeper inside. Do not be distracted by physical matter. Visualize the energetic aspect, this is pranic. It is in the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimensions.