"When your body is rightly posed [asana], and your mind [consciousness] absorbed deep in meditation [Dhyana], you may feel that thought and mind both disappear, yet this is but the surface experience of Dhyana. By constant practice and mindfulness thereon, one feels radiant self-awareness shining like a brilliant lamp. It is pure and bright as a flower, it is like the feeling of staring into the vast and empty sky. The awareness of Voidness is limpid and transparent, yet vivid. This non-thought, this radiant and transparent experience, is but the feeling of Dhyana. With this good foundation one should further pray to the three precious ones [Buddha, Dharma, Sangha], and penetrate to Reality by deep thinking and contemplation [on the nature of the Absolute]. He thus can tie the non-ego wisdom [prajna] with the beneficial life-rope of deep Dhyana. With the power of kindness and compassion, and with the altruistic vow of the bodhi-heart [Bodhichitta], he can see direct and clear the truth of the enlightened path, of which nothing can be seen, yet all is clearly visioned. He sees how wrong were the fears and hopes of his own mind." - Milarepa, The Shephard's Search for Mind
This is a transcription of a lecture originally given live and unscripted on Gnostic Radio. You can download the audio lecture for free here: Fuel for Spiritual Experience 06 Absorption
In order to acquire spiritual experience, there are specific factors that we have to understand. Spiritual experience does not come randomly or by chance.
We define real spiritual experience as comprehension, understanding, insight, and wisdom. In the context of Gnosis we do not define spiritual experience as something limited only to fantastic tales that are written in books (like seeing angels, masters, buddhas, or fantastic journeys through other worlds). We define spiritual experience as profound insight into oneself, insight into how nature functions in it most fundamental, hidden ways, and most importantly: insight into the nature of suffering so that we can transform our lives and eliminate suffering for others. This is the true basis and the true meaning and importance of spiritual experience. After all, what value is there in visiting heaven if afterward we return to our lives and continue with the same mistakes and problems? We must instead seek to unravel the causes of suffering and change them. From that, we will naturally and spontaneously reside in superior levels of life, effortlessly, and without having to return to the pain we once suffered within.
As such, in this course we have given essential principles that establish a foundation from which anyone can acquire genuine spiritual experience, or comprehension of reality.
In order to fulfill that, the principles we explained have to be actualized in our lives not merely once or twice per week when we feel a little spiritual, but as a continual process of change. The change we seek is not in superficial details like our wardrobe or places we go or music we listen to, but deep change in the most fundamental area of our life, which is in our consciousness. That is what we pay attention to: the state of our consciousness from moment to moment. This is where real change has the possibility of being stimulated.
Superficial changes like changing our wardrobe or changing our terrestrial habits are very temporal. They come and go. Anyone who has had a little experience in life can look back on their life and see that they have adopted habits and changed habits again and again, but the fundamental problems in our lives have not changed. This is evidence that real change is not produced by superficial modifications of our lifestyle. Real change comes from deeper then that. It is precisely in the consciousness.
To render that type of change and there by acquire genuine spiritual experience, wisdom, we need to know the agent of that change. We need to be working with it all of the time. Again, not just when we go to church or class, but all of the time. Constantly, continually never stopping.
The agent of change is within us. It is not outside. It is not in any external behavior that we display and it is not in how we dress, how we talk, it is in what produces all of that. The possibility of change begins in the very spark that initiates experience of any kind. That is consciousness.
Many people think we need to change our way of thinking, or we need to change our way of acting, or we need to change our way of talking. These changes are superficial because they are at the top level or at the most visible levels of our behaviors. All of those behaviors of life — thinking, talking, walking, and dressing — are all driven by something deeper, which is consciousness. The real potential for change is changing consciousness. We have to change how it works in us, how we use it. We need to know what that is, and how it works in us.
In that context, we can then begin to understand what spirituality really is, what religion really is, what yoga is, what tantra is. These sciences are not belief systems or theories that we lay as a blanket over our current way of life. They are not a vesture or an outfit we put on to look special. Instead, they are a way of changing perception.
This point cannot be emphasized enough. There are many people who claim to be Gnostics, Buddhists, Tantrics, or Yogis, but they merely wear the theories and beliefs like a jacket. They put it on over their stale habits and they continue to behave in the same way that they always behaved. They may speak beautifully about their beloved beliefs, and they may act like saints, but inside, they are not beautiful and they are not saints. They continue to behave in the ways that they always have, and they continue to suffer. Let us not fall into that mistake. Let us not make our spirituality or religion another kind of personality, a mask that hides the reality inside of us.
We are always concerned with outward appearances, and our attention is very much absorbed in outward phenomena. This is our problem. We have forgotten that the outward phenomena only exist and are perceptible because of the inner phenomena. We have forgotten that, and we continually forget it. Our attention is completely absorbed by external events. Our attention is identified with appearances.
By external in this context I am not talking merely about physical matter, I am talking about all phenomena that are external to the Being and to the real Self. Our attention, our consciousness has become fully absorbed in external things that have no basis in reality. This is what has to change in us.
Consciousness is the major element that we need to comprehend in order to have any spiritual life. Most of us can barely begin to explain what this word consciousness means, even as a theory. It would be much more difficult for most of us to explain what it means in practical terms as what we experience.
The shocking truth is that consciousness is the basis of life. It is what gives us the capacity to be alive and to perceive. That is the root word of consciousness and perception. Consciousness is the ability to perceive, not merely through the five senses that we have physically, but in every level.
This is why spiritually, in the context of religion, we always say that consciousness is light, but not physical light. It is spiritual light. It is the light of the Ain Soph that descends and crystallizes into different levels of matter and energy until finally arriving in this physical world radiating outwards from within us and giving us life, the ability to perceive.
“The soul of every living being emanates from an atom. This atom is the Ain Soph. Each person has his own Ain Soph. This is a star that shines in infinite space beyond the nine Heavens. Souls must return to their Star, to their own Ain Soph. This return towards their Star, the Ain Soph, is a divine event. The day when the soul is Self-realized will be when it has the luxury of returning to its star.” - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Consciousness as a form of light is not a wave, it is not a particle, it is not matter or energy like any other matter or energy. It is distinct. It is different. It has characteristics similar to other energies in nature. That is, it can polarize. It has a very wide and even infinite range of potential. Just like physical light has a wavelength, a vibration, a characteristic in terms of color and in terms of its magnetism, so does the consciousness that gives us existence. It has color, it has vibration, and it has a wavelength. In other words, it vibrates according to laws.
Consciousness is spiritual light. At the heights of the Ain Soph, the Absolute, that light is perfect and pure. It is only modified by one law when it comes into manifestation. That is the law of Christ, the ultimate law. As it descends, it begins to modify and create into three laws, into six laws, into twelve laws, into twenty-four laws and finally into forty-eight. All of those notes of the octave are very organized and flow according to very specific patterns in nature. All of this is mystery to us because when that consciousness, that light, finally emerges through forty-eight laws, which relate to physical matter and the physical body, that light has become very modified. Here and now, we experience consciousness, but very modified.
In other words, imagine the brightest light that you can imagine, and put forty-eight filters in front of it, forty-eight prisms; that is how modified that light becomes. The forty-eight laws are related to physical matter. In other words, the physical world is very dense, thus the light of the Ain Soph is very dispersed and hard to perceive here.
That light is beautiful, it is what has created the physical world, it is what has created the physical body, but it is not unified, because of what we have done to ourselves psychologically. Self-realization is the process of uniting that light within us.
When we look into our own mind, we can see that the light has been modified much more. When we look into our mind we can see all of our characteristics of our own psychology: pride, anger, lust, envy, jealousy, fear, craving — all of the different psychological characteristics that surge in our mind stream. Every one of them is a crystallization of that light, and that passing through the laws of nature became crystallized because of our mistakes. Instead of knowing how to use that light, consciousness properly, we modified it with desire. As such, that light becomes crystallized, made more dense, trapped in additional laws. All because of a single law: karma, the law of cause and effect.
From that context, we can then picture in our minds with our imagination many levels descending… at the very top of our imaginary scale we see the pure light of the Ain Soph, which is perfect. As that light descends and the ray of creation elaborates the superior levels of our Being, we can imagine our spirit and our soul. When that light descends further into physical matter and we take a body and we begin interacting with matter and energy physically, we transform that light according to how we behave. When we behave selfishly, when we behave with anger, when we behave with lust, that light that should have been pure becomes caught in the karma of those behaviors, and that light becomes modified. It becomes crystallized.
If you have ever seen a crystal, it is a mineral. It is the hardening or crystallization of mineral elements that form certain shapes and patterns which refract light. That is precisely what the ego does in us. It refracts light, it bends light. This is why when we become angry, we only see through the filter, the refraction of that anger. Everything we see, everything we hear, and everything we think is modified by that anger. We interpret everything in according to anger, and we express everything according to anger.
Reflect in your own experience and look at this. When we feel a surge of lust the same thing happens. Lust filters our perception. Everything we see taste, sense, hear, feel and want is modified by that crystal structure in our mind, because that filter has modified that light. As such, we continue to deepen the mistake, so that the energy, the light that is flowing through us and through that filter becomes further modified.
This is why the ancient laws of Manu state:
“Desire never rests by enjoyment of lusts, as fire surely increases the more butter is offered to it.” - Laws of Manu 2.94
A desire can only grow if it is fed. The more we feed it, the stronger it gets.
Here is the key point of understanding this function in nature. Observe yourself. Notice that when some desire, a fear, envy, something that we want or do not want is strong in us, that it captures our attention. It holds our attention and will not let us go. When we become very irritated with someone, and even if we are not around them and some event that has happened that made us angry, we will continually be feeling the anger for days and sometimes for weeks, feeling the anger and thinking about the anger, feeling tense and stressed. All three brains are disturbed. That is how strong the laws are that manage anger. That anger, that crystal is trapping our light. The longer we continue to sit and be enveloped in that sensation of anger, the stronger it becomes. What is worse is that this is a form of identification. We use this word in Gnosis, in Gnostic psychology a lot.
We need to understand with precision what identification means. In the first part of that term we see “identity.” So then the meaning becomes very obvious. We are finding our identity in that experience, in that emotion, in that thought, and in that sensation.
When we become very angry, we are identified with our anger, meaning that anger becomes our identity, our I. That anger has become a vampire, a tick, a leech that is sucking up the light, the consciousness, that energy that is flowing through us, and it is using that energy to feed itself, to make itself fatter, to make itself more powerful. This is the difficulty: Identification.
When we become identified, we give up our connection with God.
Identification is the state of psychological sleep. It is a state in which the consciousness has become hypnotized and trapped by a desire.
Within our mind we have millions of examples of these types of desires. Millions. Each of us has our own. Each of us has our own “psychological country,” an inner landscape that keeps us fascinated, bewildered, identified: asleep.
The science of Gnosis, yoga, religion, tantra teaches us how to change our perception so we can break the chain of identification. The science of Gnosis requires a continual effort from moment to moment. It cannot succeed if we only use it once per week, or on a retreat once per year. To break identification requires incredible energy every single day, from moment to moment. This is why we need to save energy. It requires incredible endurance, consistency, discipline, and willpower. Concentration. In other words, we have to be trained. Do not think because you have read some books or have gone to some classes that you all of a sudden know how to do it. If any of us knew how to do it, we would not be suffering. We would not be trapped in our karma. We would be escaping it.
To know how to do it is not a matter of thinking or believing, it is a matter of perceiving in a different way, using perception in a different way.
"Internal meditation is a scientific system to receive information. When the wise submerges into meditation, he searches for information. Meditation is the daily bread of the wise. Meditation has different steps. Asana (posture of the body), Pratyahara (serene mind), Dharana (internal concentration), Dhyana (internal meditation), Samadhi (ecstasy). Firstly, we must place our body in a very comfortable position. We have to place our mind in serenity before starting our concentration; that is to say, we have to remove every type of thought from our mind. After having accomplished the former steps, we then rise up to the steps of Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi." - Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga
That is why we have been explaining in this course and through out all the books and lectures we have given what the stages of training are. In the Hindu tradition, the author Patanjali outlined these steps according to his perspective. His outline expresses the same principles that you find in any other training of this type — whether Chinese, Tibetan, or Aztec, they all express the same principles.
1-2: Yama and Niyama
According to Patanjali, the very first step for this training is ethics. In Sanskrit, it is Yama and Niyama. Without ethics, there can be no spiritual progress. These ethics are not morals of the world, they are the ethics of the spirit. They are to do what God wants us to do, what our inner Buddha directs us to do. Based upon that, we can then begin to practice meditation.
When our ethics are getting strong, then our posture likewise becomes strong. When our ethics are weak then we cannot sit still. Breaking our ethical rules, when we commit infractions against our own Being, against our own Buddha this puts into motions cycles of energy, karma in us psychologically and physically, which results in the body being unable to relax. If we are stressed all of the time, and unable to sit still and keep a good posture, we need to work on ethics. We need to work on taming our mind and our behaviors.
After our posture or Asana, we work with Pranayama. As we explained in the third lecture in this course, pranayama is not merely a breathing exercise. It is not limited to that. Pranayama means “to harness the wind energy”. In Tibetan it is called “lung.” That energy runs through us continually and we use it according to our will, continually. Right now, everyone here is using prana. The question is how are we using it? When we use our prana, our energy, from moment to moment consciously, that is pranayama in it’s ultimate synthesis. We also have exercises where we sit and focus on harnessing energy and that is called pranayama. At the highest level, pranayama is a continual effort.
Then we learn practices to study the mind, to study the consciousness, to have a serene mind or Shamata, which in Tibetan is called shi-ne. This is to have equanimity, psychologically.
This type of equanimity in Sanskrit is called Pratyahara, and cannot be had if our vital, emotional, mental energies are out of balance. If our mind is surging with lust, if our body is surging with stress we cannot have equanimity in the mind. The mind will be surging.
In order to have a serene mind, Pratyahara, we need to harness energy and stabilize it with pranayama. In order to have that we have to have a strong posture and a relaxed body. Tension in the body impedes the flow of energy in the body and in the Nadi’s. In order to have that relaxed posture you must have ethics.
You see these steps, you cannot skip any. You need all of them.
Once the mind is reaching serenity, we can start to develop and experience true concentration. Real concentration is called Dharana in Sanskrit. Real concentration is undistracted. It is the ability to place attention and not waiver for anything. Any of us can do that. We cannot do that if during the day we are allowing our mind to be constantly distracted, if our attention is always getting pulled this way and that by the surging desires inside of us and outside of us.
Real concentration emerges in us once these other levels have been established in our lives: Pratyahara, Pranayama, Asana, Yama and Niyama — all of these have to be established first.
Once concentration built upon those foundations begins to be our reality, we can move to the next stage and experience Dhyana. In Sanskrit this word Dhyana, strictly translated means “meditation.” It does not mean sitting around and doing OM, or chanting mantras. It means meditation in the real sense of the word.
In English, the word meditation has been completely ruined. People in English have no concept of what meditation really means. They think it is sitting around and spacing out, daydreaming and fantasizing about things or just sitting around with you fingers curled up like you are from Asia. That is not meditation. A better word in English is “absorption.” That is a better translation for Dhyana. That is what we are going to talk about in the lecture today.
"Thus, while in sublime absorption, I delved within my own mind, meditating on the mystery of life and death." - Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
Dhyana, absorption, is a state of concentration that is often called "one-pointed mind." It is a state of concentration in which awareness and perception are totally "absorbed" in the observation of a phenomenon.
From the tantric point of view, there are many dhyanas. Here, we just describe the basic meaning.
Once we have established the ability to have absorption, which is real meditation, actual meditation, then can come the final fruit, which is Samadhi. Samadhi is very difficult to translate into English. Some people translate it into ecstasy. Unfortunately, because of the nature of our mind we hear that word and we think of sex. We think, “Samadhi must be better then sex. It must be some incredible sensation, a whole body orgasm, something like that.” This is what people think. They are wrong. They are completely wrong, because they are identified with desire. The mind, the consciousness, has become so modified by desire that we see everything through desire.
Samadhi is the ecstasy of the consciousness liberated from the conditioning of the psyche. It may last only a moment, but it is joy, love, freedom, ecstasy...
"Pratyahara makes the mind calm. Dharana steadies the mind. Dhyana makes one forget the body and the world. Samadhi brings infinite Bliss, Knowledge, Peace and Liberation." - Swami Sivananda
"If you want Samadhi, you must know well the process of Dhyana. If you want Dhyana, you must know accurately the method of Dharana. If you want Dharana, you must know perfectly the method of Pratyahara. If you want Pratyahara, you must know Pranayama. If you want Pranayama you must know Asana well. Before going to the practice of Asana, you should have Yama and Niyama. There is no use of jumping into Dhyana without having the various preliminary practices." - Swami Sivananda
Transformation of Energy
This is why we study the Tree of Life. This chart or graph or octave that I had you imagine all the many levels of density and matter and energy are here on the Tree of Life. At the heights we have the Ain Soph, and as we move downwards following the ray of creation, matter and energy become more dense. The tenth sephirah is Malkuth, which represents the physical world, the physical body. This is the point of balance between the heavens and the hells.
How energy is modified in Malkuth determines our future. It determines our present and determined our past. When energy moves through us we have life. We are all alive breathing, seeing, feeling, hearing, because we have the light of consciousness flowing through us. It is very modified but it is there.
Become aware now of your five senses. How often in your lifetime have you been aware, conscious of your eyes that see? How often in your life have you been conscious of your ears that hear? Of your skin that transmits touch, of your nose that transmits scent? Of your tongue that transmits taste? It is very rare for us to be cognizant of our senses, and yet we depend on them from instant to instant. The sad truth is we have become hypnotized by them. Completely identified with the phenomena that vibrate through our senses.
Let us understand something very important here. Imagine inside of yourself, look inside. Your body, your physical body: feel it. It has a given range of function, a range of action. We can call it “a field.” Not a field of wheat, but a field of energy or matter. It extends out a certain distance, and within that field we have all the different sensations that we are currently experiencing. How are we experiencing them? How does it happen? What happens in us? Why are we experiencing them? Is there another way?
As you are feeling and sensing your body, become aware that right now you are experiencing many sensations. Most obviously, sound. You are putting attention in the sense of sound to listen to the explanation. That energy of sound is passing along a conduit a circuit flowing into you. Everyone can perceive that, right? You can experience that. Yet, we are never cognizant of it. This is precisely the beginning of suffering. It is also the beginning of the freedom of suffering.
Every form of energy that we encounter is a transformation. The energy that passes into us through touch, taste, scent, hearing and through the eyes is energy that passes along a circuit and is transformed, but it is transformed by how we receive it.
If you have studied these courses for a while you know that Kabbalah comes from the word kabel, which means “to receive.”
Master Samael Aun Weor taught us that there are two kinds of people that study Kabbalah: white magicians and black magicians. Black magicians study everything with the intellect. They memorize, they adapt a lot of theories and beliefs. They do not experience. They do not receive intuitively. The white magicians receive intuitively, that is consciously, through cognizance they come to know. That Kabbalah that they study is not a chart or a book or a diagram, it is themselves. We are the Tree of Life. To become a white magician, an intuitive Kabbalist, means that one constantly, cognitively observes the Tree of Life. That Tree of Life is ourselves. It is not outside. What that means is that that every energy that passes into or out of Malkuth our body has to pass in or out consciously, not mechanically, but none of us have done that yet. Anything that passes through us passes out through identification.
When the body gets hungry, what happens? We start to feel stress. Subtle stress maybe, but that stress of hunger, the urgency to eat. The body is telling us: food. What happens in the mind? We become agitated. We start to imagine food. We start to think of food, to figure out a plan to get food. We build images in the mind. We build a longing in the heart. We start to crave what we want. If we know we cannot get that or it is unlikely, then we start to feel pain. “I have to eat my Grandma’s food again.” So we are stuck craving, aversion. We all need to eat to be alive, but we make of it a religion. We make of it a desire. A false religion. In other words instead of the religare, the union with the Innermost, which is the real religion, we are performing a religare, a union with the projections of our mind, desire. That thing that is so natural in every living thing to eat, becomes in us an obsession, an identification. We want our food according to our taste, on our schedule. If we do not get it, there are a lot of problems. We get grumpy, we start arguing, fighting, we lash out — all kinds of psychological repercussions.
We are all different, so we get identified in different ways, yet we do this with every area of our life. We need clothes. Many people make a religion with clothes. An obsession, an identification. We need shelter. We also need impressions. We need to take in information.
You see, the consciousness that is flowing through us does not go one way. This is another great misconception that we have. We think whatever happens inside of us is a closed room. That it is private. It is not. There is a law of energy, a law of nature that has different names in different traditions, that in its synthesis explains simply this: When any energy meets another energy there will always be an exchange of forces. Always, inevitable, unavoidable. There will always be an exchange. This is the whole basis of forensic science. Anytime two people meet there is always an exchange of energy, or matter, or both. What is important for us spiritually: anytime our Malkuth encounters any phenomenon, there is an exchange of forces.
Remember a moment ago I had you pay attention to hearing. Did you realize that your hearing is reaching out? You are listening, you have attention going outwards trying to grasp the meaning of what I am saying. Realize in that reaching out, you are pulling in. The energy is going two ways. As you are listening, data is flowing in, information and energy. This happens with all five senses. Whenever you touch something, whenever you taste something, you reach out to grab that impression, and you pull information back. This is how we live, this is the basis of life. The basis of living is that exchange of information. The problem is we do it without consciousness. What happens then is that we are not cognizant of that exchange. We are asleep. We do not know what happens. We have no awareness. That means we do not know what we are doing.
We are constantly taking in information whether we want it or not. Constantly taking in data, information in the form of sensations.
If we imagine this field of the body, inside in the center or core is the light of Ain Soph. As it flows in us, it flows outwards and makes all the different dense levels: the trinity, the monad, the soul, the mental body, the astral body, and finally the vital and physical bodies. That light projects out through us. Sensations are encountered. That light strikes any phenomena along that path and produces sensations. In other words, when you see something, there is energy of consciousness moving into you, through your eyes, striking something. There is a transformation there, immediately, and information is brought back through your eyes to your brain, to your mind, to your soul. We are not cognizant of that. Because we are not cognizant of it, we do not know what is happening. In other words, we do not have Gnosis, knowledge. This is the whole point of existence: to acquire knowledge of reality; we acquire it though perception of reality. So we are here for that light to express itself into manifestation, to gather cognizant knowledge of phenomena, and then to go back where it came from with that knowledge. Therefore, we need to understand the relationship between consciousness and existence precisely in the gateway of the senses. This is why all the ancient scriptures state: restrain the senses. Conquer them, control them. Be cognizant of them. It is precisely in the door of the senses that we find the doorway to hell and the doorway to heaven.
When we are asleep, when we are identified, our attention goes to that object and is hypnotized. It becomes fascinated by the vibration of that sensation.
Reflect on your life. Look at yourself, and see what sensations hypnotize you and cause you to forget your self-awareness. If you are sincere, you will find many. Most of them will not even seem significant. We lose our awareness because we see an attractive person, or because we get irritated, or because we get a new idea, or because we want attention, or we do not want attention. We lose awareness because of thoughts, feelings, sensations. While our psyche is distracted, our body goes through all of its motions mechanically.
The sensation that hypnotizes us is not to blame. It is not the fault of external phenomena that this happens. It is the fault of internal phenomena, about which we have even less cognizance than the transformation that happens externally.
Consider anything that you relate to externally — the nature of the relationship is not determined by the external object. The relationship is determined by our state of mind, and by what is inside of us. For example, I can see a “hot dog” and I do not care; I do not like them. Yet I have a friend who, upon seeing a hot dog, he starts to salivate; he wants to eat it. The reaction in each of us is not caused by the external phenomena (the hot dog); instead, it is caused by the mind. Do you grasp the point? The physical sensation is not to blame. It is not the fault of the physical sensation. It is a psychological sensation that hypnotizes us.
“We live in a world of sensations, and we need to comprehend them. There are five types of sensations:
- Visual sensations
- Hearing sensations
- Olfactory sensations
- Taste sensations
- Tactile sensations
“The five special types of sensations transform themselves into desire. We must not condemn the sensations; we must not justify them. We need to profoundly comprehend them. Only by comprehending sensations do we kill desire. Only through annihilating desire is the mind liberated, a mind that is normally found bottled up within the bottle of desire. The awakening of the consciousness occurs when the mind is liberated. If we want to exterminate the causes of desire, we need to live in a state of constant awareness. It is urgent to live in the state of alert perception and alert novelty.
This is why when we talk about renunciation, we do not care about the physical aspect, whether you have money or you do not, whether you live in a palace or a cardboard box. The physical appearance is irrelevant. What matters is your psychological relationship with those elements. A beggar can be as attached to his cardboard box as a wealthy man to his mansion. What is vital is the psychological relationship, the psychological sensations. In both cases, the identification is happening in the mind.
Identification is the polar opposite of absorption.
"People are asleep, dreaming, while working.... They are asleep, dreaming, while driving their cars ... they are asleep, dreaming, when they get married. They are asleep, dreaming, during their life, and nevertheless, they are totally convinced that they are awake. Whosoever wants to awaken their consciousness here and now must begin to comprehend the three subconscious factors, namely: identification, fascination, dreaming. Any type of identification produces fascination and dreaming. I.e., you are walking on a street, when suddenly you are facing crowds lashing out in a intense, rash protest against something in front of Mr. President’s palace; if you are not in a state of alertness, you become identified with the riot, you mix with the multitudes, you become fascinated, and soon the dream comes: you shout, throw stones, you do things that in other circumstances you would not do, even for a million dollars. To forget oneself is an error of incalculable consequences. To identify oneself with something is the breaking point of stupidity, because the outcome becomes fascination and dreaming. It is impossible for anyone to awaken their consciousness if they forget themselves, if they become identified with something. To awaken the consciousness is impossible for those aspirants who allow themselves to become fascinated, if they fall into a dream." - Samael Aun Weor, Light from Darkness
In this course, we have been talking about how to meditate, how to reach spiritual experience. Do you want to know why we cannot? Because we are identified all of the time. Dhyana, proper absorption in meditation, is impossible if we let our mind be identified all of the time with external and internal sensations. Let us examine that a little bit.
All of us can readily understand external sensations. We understand that we have eyes to see — that is how we see — and likewise with the other sensations physically. Let us pause and question. If we only have those five physical senses, how is it that we can visualize a carrot? With what sense can you imagine a president, your mother, your childhood? How do you remember going swimming and what it felt like? You are remembering sensations, and you are perceiving sensations, but not with your five physical senses. How is it that you daydream? With what sense? When you become distracted and your mind starts to fly away like a little bird and you are fantasizing and you are daydreaming, how are you sensing that? No one can deny that you can sense your thoughts, but with what sense? No one can deny that you can sense your emotions, but how? Materialists would say we sense thoughts with the brain and emotions with the heart. There is a little bit of truth in that. Those physical organs, the heart and brain, transmit sensations. Yet, they are not the senses themselves, but merely transformers of sensations. But where do we actually capture those sensations? That is, we imagine a place we have been in the past: we perceive it, but those images, and the objects in in those images, are not in the physical world. Where are they?
Those of us who have had some spiritual experience would then take this questioning further, “What about my dreams? What about all of those things that I sensed when I was out of my body? What about my astral experiences? What about my nightmares?” How do you sense those things? The answer is simple, and at the same time, complicated. Simple and complicated, because we have not only a physical body, we also have internal bodies. That is, we are multidimensional, but we are not aware of that fact.
The thoughts we experience while in our physical body are reflections or sensations originating in the world of thought, which is the mental world, part of the fifth dimension. The emotions we feel are the same: they are reflections or sensations originating in the emotional world, which people call the “astral world.” This is also part of the fifth dimension.
All the dimensions are here and now, interpenetrating, but we are not aware of it. Yet, our thoughts and feelings are like “windows” into those worlds. Sadly, what we perceive through those windows is all illusory, because of the condition of our psyche. If we clean our psyche, then we can see reality through those windows.
The internal bodies are part of the process of how information travels back and forth from those subtle dimensions to the physical one. In the fifth dimension, we have a “body” that we use, just as we use this one in the physical world. You know this is true, because you have had dreams: in your dreams, you are using your fifth dimensional body.
The internal bodies have the senses that the physical body has. They see, sense, touch, taste, and here. When you are in your astral body, you can taste, you can see, you can hear, you can feel.
Even more incredible is that you can escape all of the bodies (third, fourth, fifth, sixth dimensional bodies) and — as the consciousness, without vehicles — you can still experience “sensations” in that level of perception.
What this means for us is that genuine spiritual experience can be had anywhere and any time if we know how to manage the consciousness. This is why we stated in other lectures that a genuine master can be in samadhi in the physical body even while it is active. That is because they have trained themselves to not become identified. They use the consciousness free of modifications. All of the egos and all of the I’s are modifications.
When we look at how the light becomes more dense in nature through a series of compounded laws, we described how physical matter is sustained by forty-eight laws. When the energy that is passing through the physical body is corrupted by desire and thereby acquires karma, those laws are multiplied according to the gravity of the mistake. Fornication, anger, resentment, lust, pride, envy — all of these psychological phenomenon transform and crystallize energy in our mind as egos, as I’s, and those are all managed by laws. This is why we have such a hard time extracting ourselves when an ego is strong, when a desire is strong. When we become afraid. When we become enraged. When we are feeling a lot of pride. When we are feeling a lot of lust. It is very difficult because each of those are subject to a lot of laws. Those egos are very dense and they trap our consciousness.
When we are identified, it means our consciousness is trapped in the perception of an illusion projected through one of these crystallizations, there we are in turn under the power of these laws. If you really analyze this, you should become really concerned.
Heaven, the superior worlds, what in Buddhism is called Nirvana, is modified by very few laws. That is why it is such a beautiful experience to experience heaven or Nirvana. In those states, your consciousness is not modified by so many laws, but a lot less. We feel freedom, joy, ecstasy. The ecstasy of Samadhi is when the consciousness is free from the ego. It is the ecstasy of the soul. It is a sensation in the soul, psyche, and even in the spirit. It is not an orgasm or anything like it. There is no comparison. The sensations that we experience physically like an orgasm are brute sensations, very superficial, crude, and very temporary. They have a brief peak, and they pass away, and always have consequences that we ignore. The ecstasies of the soul are lasting, and they change you.
The ecstasies of the soul are experiences of the consciousness free of ego. Those experiences are incredibly beautiful. They are not physical, they are emotional. They are psychological, but they are not theories or beliefs. They are cognizance. They are a vibration of consciousness that cannot be explained with words.
When we are identified, we are experiencing the sensations of the ego. When we are identified with anger, very angry, observe that sensation. Anger is a form of suffering yet we become so habituated to it that we become addicted to anger. We become accustomed to it. It becomes our way of doing things. We even become proud of it. There are many people that are proud of being angry. They enjoy the sensations of pride and their sensations of anger. In other words, they love their cage. They love their suffering. They love to be angry, and love to show their anger, and love to find reasons to be angry. They love to repeat those sensations as much as they can.
For us, this is the clue: identification loves to repeat. Identification loves to repeat itself. When we feel sensations of anger or lust, when we feel like someone is praising us and makes our ego feel so good, we want more praise. We want to do again what got that praise so we can feel that sensation of praise again. In other words, it is cycle. Every ego is a cycle. In other words, every ego is Samsara.
The word Samsara means “circling,” or in other words, cyclical suffering. Every ego is that. We are all trapped in the “wheel of Samsara.” It is the worlds of hell. Those worlds only exist because of our own inner wheel of Samsara, which is our own mind. It loves to repeat sensations and ignore the consequences of its actions. We do not care if our anger hurts people. We want revenge, we want justice according to that ego. We do not care that our pride hurts people. We do not care that our envy hurts people. If our gossip hurts people. We do not care. We love the sensations of gossiping, criticizing, and blaming. We love the sensations of lust; we do not care if it hurts others. It does.
In all of these modifications of consciousness that exist in our subconscious, unconscious, infraconcsious levels are cycles of suffering that we are trapped in because we are identified. This is why when we lay down to sleep, we pass out, we lose consciousness the whole night; we dream of the same things we always dreamed of repeating, again and again, and why in our daily lives we keep repeating the same situations again and again: because of these cycles of ego.
To change this we have to change how we pay attention, now, in each moment. To start transforming how we receive information. To transform impressions. This is how we acquire the ability to experience what is beyond the circling.
Real meditation (dhyana) is built on the previous stages. We have to have ethics, relaxation, harnessing of the winds, a serene mind, concentration, and once all of those preliminaries have been established, not only once per week but in our daily lives, then dhyana becomes a real possibility. Dhyana is absorption. It is a form of Nirvana.
The Sanskrit word of Nirvana means “cessation.” Cessation of what? Cessation of that cycle. Cessation of identification. You see in Hinduism and Buddhism, Samsara and Nirvana represent these two polar extremes: “Heaven and Hell” in Christian or Islamic terms. Heaven and hell are places, but what concerns us most is the psychology in them, which is in us. Heaven and hell are here, right now. What are we experiencing? The great Tantric Master who brought tantra to Tibet said very clearly:
“Samsara and Nirvana have no difference than that between the moment of being unaware and aware, since we are not deluded by perception but by fixation [identification]. Liberation naturally occurs when we recognize that fixated thoughts are only mind grasping at its own empty manifestations.” - Padmasambhava, Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness
The difference between Nirvana and Samsara is attention.
People who are materialists and read everything literally would say: “What? Nirvana is heaven and Samsara is Hell — how can the difference be attention?” They do not understand tantra. The difference is attention in oneself. Cognizance. When we have self-cognizance, we are transforming energy in a different way. Let us explain what that means.
Remember the example of conscious flowing through us like a light, striking a sensation, and returning energy, returning information — that process is what has to be cognizant. To achieve that, we first need willpower to be attentive, to be present, to be present here and now. All of the time.
That perception of here and now is not just towards perceptions of the world outside of your body. It is not about counting how many bricks are on the wall, or checking the position of all the chairs or constantly being outside looking at physical things. That is not how it works.
Samael Aun Weor taught it very clearly in Revolutionary Psychology. We need to have a division of attention. That division is to be constantly aware of what is outside and what is inside. That division is between observer and observed.
When I say “outside and inside” in this case I mean outside of consciousness. That outside could be in the internal words also. That division has confused some students, because in the previous lecture I was telling you that there should be no separation. That is why I am giving you this lecture today so you can understand what this means. There is no contradiction. Do not get caught in the terminology. Capture the synthesis of it. These two tarot cards illustrate what I am talking about.
The Magician is the first card of the Tarot. The Magician is our Being. The Magician represents willpower. That is why he stands. He is attentive, always watchful. That willpower has many levels of meaning. For us today it means: self-cognizance, self-observation, self-remembering, never forgetting oneself, mindfulness, watchfulness, vigilance. To be constantly watching ones consciousness. This is cognizance of one self. It is simply to be aware. It is not complicated. Do not let your mind make it into something complicated and a big deal. It is very simple. Look at how you pay attention. That is all there is to it. Be aware of how your attention is moving. Be aware of what you pay attention to. Be aware of what is happening in your three brains. That is all that “division” means. To be cognizant of oneself no matter what is happening.
That self-cognizance, that observation, is the entire basis of religion. It is what unites us to the Innermost. If you forget God you cannot unite with God. Our consciousness comes from God. It comes from our inner Buddha. By remembering that, by being cognizant of that stream of energy, we connect to it. We feel it. You may not feel it now, but you will as it strengthens in you, as you practice meditation, as you harness energy.
As you relax and these preliminaries become more familiar to you and express in you, you will start to experience something called the “sensation of contemplation.” It is not a physical sensation, it is not emotional, it is not mental, it is in the consciousness. It is the sensation of active consciousness that is aware of oneself. This sensation of contemplation begins to be experienced in Pratyahara. It becomes more stable with Dharana, it becomes expressed in Dhyana, it becomes fully activated in Samadhi. It is something that you have to experience to understand.
All the information of the first five or six lectures is all about The Magician. It is all about harnessing energy, harnessing attention with willpower, learning to concentrate, learning to relax, learning to pay attention. None of that is enough.
Basically, everything that we have explained to you so far is what you will get in the first two levels of spiritual training: Sutrayana and Mahayana. We have talked about some of the tantric aspects. But in reality, Raja Yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga and all of the Sutrayana and Mahayana traditions, even including the Vipassanna traditions that are popular in some countries, they basically all teach you essentially this: Ethics, Relaxation, Concentration. That is it. That is all good. You can experience Dhyana to some level of that. That is why in those traditions they use the words Dhyana, Jhana, Ch’an, Zen, Sampten. They all sound the same, because they are talking about the same thing. Zen, Ch’an, Jhana are all names in different languages for the same state of consciousness, which is Dhyana. That is the state of meditation or absorption.
Some traditions will use the word absorption. What does it mean? In the same way that we become really absorbed in a movie and we forget ourselves? No. In real Dhyana you become very absorbed, but you remember yourself.
Identification and absorption are opposites. Identification is the negative aspect of Dhyana. Dhyana is cognizant absorption. It is the state of consciousness in which we become fully absorbed, but self-aware.
There are many types of Dhyana, and many terms, many structures, many teachings that explain Dhyana. The key to understand is this: It is beyond mere concentration. It is a type of spiritual experience, not yet Samadhi, but a very profound absorption, a state of consciousness in which we are very aware and very focused: perceiving. This is the key.
In Tantra, there are many Dhyanas that are described and discussed, and followers of Tantra may become very devoted to working with them. While these states of absorption exist, they are not a goal in an of themselves. Some people become identified with them, just like others become identified with astal projection or others types of powers.
Let us be clear: Dhyana is just a step along the way. It is good to reach it. It is better to leave it behind.
"The Four Dhyanas that for kalpas last are on the lower path; never can they bring one to omniscient Buddhohood. Only through cultivating bodhichitta and contemplating the Void (Absolute) can karmas, troubles, hindrances, and habitual thoughts be killed." Milarepa, Guiding Instructions on the Bardo
Many of the introductory schools talk about Jhanas and states of concentration, but they exclude perception. They exclude imagery. They exclude sound. They do not want you to visualize, they do not want you to see anything. In that way, they are cutting off their own arms and legs. They have not received the third level of training: Tantra. To really experience and establish Dhyana, you need the second aspect of concentration, not just Shamata, concentration, what Samael called willpower. You also need imagination, which is represented in the second card, the Priestess.
The High Priestess is feminine, receptive. You see the two polarities? Masculine projective, feminine receptive. The man stands attentive, the woman sits receiving. These are the two wings of meditation. In Tantric Buddhism they are called Shamata and Vipashyana. In Mahayana Buddhism, they have different terms to describe the same thing. In Sutrayana they do not use imagination. In Gnosticism we talk about this quite simply as willpower and imagination.
Stated simply, once you learned to concentrate to relax and to have those preliminaries established so that you are reaching Pratyahara and Dharana and you have good concentration, then you need to start using imagination. Visualizing. This is the great teaching that comes through tantra. Everyone thinks Tantra is sexuality. That is part of Tantra. But the real difference in tantra, the third level of instruction to the other schools, is that it fully embraces and teaches visualization. In Tantra, visualization is the core meditation practice. It is what takes the focused power of the preliminary stages and actualizes it and unites these those two aspects into one. Shamata and Vipashyana become one. When that union between the two aspects is balanced, Samadhi is the result.
“The key to power is found in the harmonious vibrating union of imagination [vipashyana] and willpower [shamatha].” - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
"It is most hard to find a man who can merge both Dhyana [concentration] and Insight [vipashyana, imagination]. It is most hard to find a man who knows how to work on the vital point of the mind." - Milarepa, Rechungpa's Journey to Weu
In practical terms what this means for us is that when we become meditators, when you establish the preliminaries, you are sitting in meditation and you have good concentration, as soon as you start visualizing you can enter Samadhi easily at will, any time. A great master can do that even while their physical body is active, just by opening their sense of visualization. And it is a sense. In us it is weak. In us, our power of visualization is barely active, not developed, but it has an infinite capacity to be developed. This is why in this tradition we teach visualization.
To develop visualization, imagination, the first and most important exercise that we teach is retrospection. It is a visualization practice that we do everyday. It also has an important psychological component. It’s value is that it not only teaches us psychologically, it teaches us to use visualization.
Now you can ask yourself again, “how is it that I sense what I imagine?” If I tell you to imagine a fire truck, you can visualize it even with your eyes open, right? Everyone can “see” an image of a fire truck. That power is the power of visualization. It is not with your physical eyes. Remember that when you sit to meditate. Many people when they sit to meditate they close their eyes and try to “see” with their physical eyes. You will waste years trying to visualize like that. It is not with your physical eyes that you visualize. Your visual eyes should be totally relaxed.
A good exercise when you are beginning meditation, even with your eyes open, is to start doing simple visualizations. Start remembering simple things. Visualize a banana. Visualize your house, visualize your altar. Visualize your mother. Just so you get that sense of “this is how I visualize, it is up here, it is not with my physical eyes.” When you start doing that, then close your eyes and start your retrospection. You will go a lot faster in understanding how to do this practice. A lot faster. Visualization is very important.
Here is what we need to happen. Normally when we close our eyes and images start to appear, we become identified immediately, right? We do it every night when we lay down to go to sleep. We lay down, we start remembering work, we start thinking about tomorrow. We start imagining breakfast, and immediately we start dreaming. Not dreaming consciously, but identified with the images. We get sucked into sleep mechanically, unconsciously. The same thing happens when we start to meditate. Anyone that is trying to learn meditation has experienced when they are sitting, relaxing, as soon as images start to come they get distracted, and they start dreaming and they lose cognizance of themselves. This is the gateway where we have to start training ourselves to be cognizant of those images. This is the value of retrospection. It trains us to be cognizant of the images that appear. It takes patience and a lot of relaxation, and a lot of attentiveness to develop the skill.
What will happen is you become more mindful and the capacity to remember that you are meditating will be stronger, and you become able to be cognizant of yourself as you fall asleep. When those images appear, you do not react with surprise or by being identified. You start to maintain observation of them and maintain cognizance.
The ability to do that is developed during the day through your self-observation, through your observance of your mind during the day. If you are struggling to develop this ability in meditation, or when you are doing your dream yoga, do it more during the day. Observe the images that come in your mind. Watch those images. Be cognizant of those images and sounds that you hear in your mind. Anyone here ever had a song playing over and over and over in your head and you cannot get it out? Do you know how it got there? Because you were asleep. Does anyone have scenes from a movie or a TV show that keep coming into your mind; do you know how it got there? Because your mind was asleep when you watched it. Your mind has been programed with that information. You were unconscious.
Become conscious of everything you see outside. Become conscious of everything you see inside. Through that training, the doorway to Samadhi enters easily. That doorway is Dhyana, absorption.
Properly defined, Dhyana means the ability to perceive images without distraction, to be absorbed and fully attentive of what you see. To not be identified, or not to be shocked out of it by fear. To be right there, watching. That is Dhyana.
Sampten, the Tibetan version of the word Dhyana, means “to be established.” It is the fifth of the six pāramitās. The sixth pāramitā is Prajna, which is ultimate knowledge. Dhyana is the foundation where we become established to reach Prajna, ultimate knowledge. This means that in your meditation practice you need the ability to sit, to have your visualization open where you see images, and you are able to stay there and watch. That is how we reach comprehension, wisdom, Prajna, knowledge.
Once again, that is impossible if we are always identified. We have to break our identification, continually becoming aware of ourselves in order to experience it. That is what this image is showing.
This yogi that we have looked at in every class has all of the preliminaries established. He has a very relaxed posture. He has harnessed energy, he is using mantras to concentrate, he has Prana flowing through his pineal gland in his head flowing upwards and illuminating his mantra, and from that emerges his energy from the ethers. Those ethers related to the vital body provide him the window of clairvoyance. That is how he is able to see this temple. He is sitting serenely observing. This picture is a state of Dhyana.
To comprehend this we need to know the five types of imagination.
Imagination is a common English word for a fancy word called “clairvoyance.” Clairvoyance is a deceptive term invented by some occultist several centuries ago and since then has been misused to mislead people.
We all have clairvoyance. In other words, we all have imagination. Yet, there are many degrees of imagination. In general, there is positive imagination, which is related to the consciousness liberated from conditioning, and then there is negative imagination, which is related to the conditioned consciousness.
To explain this with more precision, we describe five fundamental types of imagination.
1. Conscious clairvoyance: to perceive any given phenomenon (whether internal phenomenon related with the psyche and internal worlds or external phenomenon related to the circumstances of the physical world and nature) through the intelligence of the Monad which is essence or consciousness. Conscious clairvoyance is experienced when one is able to perceive a physical or psychological phenomenon how it really is, in all of its causes and multiple dimensions.
2. Supra-conscious clairvoyance: This is the level of Logoic consciousness. This is only for those Venerable Masters who finish The Great Work. This level of consciousness is Turiya, those Masters who have no ego, who have resurrected, and for those who never dream.
3. Subconscious clairvoyance: This is related to the perception of the egos who are related with memories of past experience. These egos are the most superficial egos whose inherent pattern was defined during the formation of the personality (birth to seven years old). These egos can be created at any time in our lives but the pattern is related to the false personality and the PCPF. An example of a subconscious ego is the one who avoids broccoli for their entire lives because they remember the disgust they had when they were forced to eat it by their parents. Remember that subconscious clairvoyance is the way the ego perceives that particular experience; as in the example, it was the way the ego perceives the impression of broccoli and that example.
4. Unconscious clairvoyance: This is the type of perception that develops through the frustration of desires. Pride constantly talks about himself and how great he is because it if frustrated that nobody else talks about him; this is an unconscious habit. Lust becomes frustrated because it was never able to satisfy its sexual desire to fornicate with a particular movie star, etc. This desire becomes frustrated and in the astral plane projects its frustrated desires in the form of sexual dreams with the image/impression of the movie star.
5. Infra-conscious clairvoyance: The deepest aspects of our egos, related to the spheres of Lilith in the Klipoth. Remember that everything in the universe has its antithesis. The antithesis of the angel of love, Anael, is Lilith, the demon of fornication, black magic and homosexuality. This region is usually only experienced during nightmares. A minority of people bring these egos to the surface, incorporating these elements in action and with the personality. Sadly, this humanity has more and more people who bring the elements of black magic, homosexuality and brutality to the surface of their psychological world.
The great masters — like Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Padmasambhava, Samael Aun Weor — by working on themselves they established supraconscious imagination. This is the ability to perceive multiple dimensions simultaneously without any filter. In other words, they see reality. Only very elevated beings reach that degree of imagination or clairvoyance.
When we say imagination, in English when we think that it is something that is made up or fake: it is not. Any image that is produced in your mind is a reflection of something. Your mind is a mirror. That is all that it is. Even if you try to invent something totally new in your mind, you cannot, because everything you try to make up can only reflect things that you have seen. It sounds weird, but test it. Anything that you try to imagine is merely a reflection of something that you have already seen. You might combine different parts or put things together in a different way, but you cannot invent something totally new because you are not God. Only God can do that. Everything we see in our imagination is merely a reflection that we have already seen, but slightly changed or modified with a different color, different coat of paint, but the same entities. This is why in esotericism it is stated:
“No man can see that which he does not know.”
This may sound contradictory, but it is a great truth.
“How could the mind recognize that which it has never known?” - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Imagination is merely a reflection, a mirror. It is not made up. What we see with it depends on our mirror. In us what we see in our imaginations is usually a reflection of our own degenerated mind. Usually when we close our eyes and imagine we only see images related to our lust, anger, and pride and envy, and all the other garbage that we carry around. It is very difficult for us to visualize God, to visualize a divinity, or imagine that, because we have scarcely seen it. What we have seen of it, we have corrupted, too. We have all these images and ideas of God that have nothing to do with the truth.
Conscious imagination is only possessed by those who are awake in the internal worlds. That means to see consciously, to see images without obscurity, without filters, you have to awaken consciousness in the internal worlds in the astral and mental planes. That is not easy. We are very asleep.
I have met many Gnostics who think they have conscious imagination. They show that they think that because they think that everything they imagine is real and true. They think that their visions and their dreams always reflect perfect truth. They go around talking about their dreams, “I dreamed this” or “I dreamed that” as if it is really true, objective, real. They are deceiving themselves more than anyone.
The master Samael said very clearly:
“Every true, positive vision must be totally supported by concrete facts of the physical world.” - Samael Aun Weor, Fundamental Notions of Endocrinology and Criminology
If what you see in dreams or visions is not supported by the facts of what is happening in the physical world, then do not believe in it. Test it, because we have a lot of ego, and the ego is what we usually see through.
That is what the next next three types of imagination are: unconscious, subconscious, infraconscious. These are images of those levels of our mind.
Unconscious are all the images and egos, projections and entities in our mind that we have created while being “asleep,” that is: without awareness.
The subconscious are all those that are “below our knowledge.” Sub, underneath our consciousness. We have no clue that it is there. These are psychological elements related to Genotype ( karmic inheritance, such as genetic or family factors), Phenotype (education, family influences and experiences, childhood), Paratype (circumstances of life). They are submerged impressions, traumas, memories, records of events that are rotting in the mind until the opportunity appears for them to surge forth and influence our behavior.
The infraconscious is the deepest. If you ever once had a nightmare you have seen your infraconscious. Nightmares are experiences in the infraconscious level.
We need to study from moment to moment what images we see continually in the mind. Not just in meditation, but throughout the day. What images are we creating, what are we projecting, what are we fantasizing, what are we imagining?
If you do think you do not imagine, you better watch yourself closely. To be alive is to imagine. You just are not conscious of it. Consciousness perceives; that is its sole function: to perceive and transmit information. We are constantly using imagination all day long and all night long. We are constantly using it, but we do it unconsciously. Without awareness.
Many of think we just go through our day and do what we need to do and we do not imagine things, we do not fantasize… You are fooling yourselves. Our lives are a continual flow of energy psychologically and that flow is all perceptible, but you have to look at it to see it. You have not seen it because you have not looked. If you start watching yourself to see it, you will be greatly disturbed.
All of our perception is modified according to our willpower. For example, if our will is trapped in the need to please others, then everything we perceive will be interpreted or seen in accordance to that will, regardless of whether that perception is external or internal. Whatever we experience we will interpret according to that desire to be accepted or praised by others. This means when somebody says something and we hear those words, we use our imagination to figure out what it means. Don’t we all use our imagination to understand, “Maybe he means this, or maybe he means that… What if I say…?” That is all imagination.
Let us say we are hungry and our coworker says, “I found the best burrito place in the whole world, let’s go for lunch.” It is only 9:30 or 10 in the morning, so we start imagining, “Wow, those must be really good burritos.” We start building in our imagination many scenarios and scenes about how the burrito looks, how it smells, how they serve it, what it tastes like. We can do this for hours. We all know that once you go to that restaurant, it never matches what you imagined, ever!
This is how we use imagination all of the time, constantly, with everything. That is why we are fully identified, absorbed. It is the polar opposite of Dhyana. It is using imagination through the ego.
Dhyana [absorption] is a doorway to perception of reality. In that state, the consciousness does not project its desires. If we want to access that state of consciousness, we have to stop projecting our desires now, from moment to moment. We have to learn to see things for what they truly are.
So: if you want to understand this subject, the only way is for you to dedicate yourself to meditation until you access the state of Dhyana for yourself. Do not think that is a matter of "time," since it is not: it is only a matter of applying the steps effectively in the here and now.
"When you sit on the posture, think: “I am as firm as a rock”. Give this suggestion to the mind half a dozen times. Then the Asana will become steady soon. You must become as a living statue when you sit for Dhyana. Then only there will be real steadiness in your Asana. In one year by regular practice you will have success and will be able to sit for three hours at a stretch. Start with half an hour and gradually increase the period. When you sit in the Asana, keep your head, neck and trunk in one straight line. Stick to one Asana and make it quite steady and perfect by repeated attempts. Never change the Asana. Adhere to one tenaciously. Realise the full benefits of one Asana. Asana gives Dridhata (strength). Mudra gives Sthirata (steadiness). Pratyahara gives Dhairya (boldness). Pranayama gives Laghima (lightness). Dhyana gives Pratyakshatva (perception) of Self and Samadhi gives Kaivalya (isolation) which is verily the freedom or final beatitude." - Swami Sivananda