This is a transcription of the audio lecture Gnosis of Buddha Dharma 15 The Three Modes of Perception originally given live on Gnostic Radio, which you can download for free.
The basis of this teaching is direct experience. When we discuss Gnosis, we have to put our mind in the correct position in order to properly understand the nature of the lectures that we hear. In other words, what we discuss, what we examine, and what we explore in these lectures about Gnosticism is direct experience, practical experience — not belief, and not simply theory. When we hear the lecture and listen to the topics that are presented, it is important for us to apply it, to experiment. We should not merely take this as something theoretical or merely intellectual, something just for the mind to toy with. To really comprehend and understand what Gnosis is, what Dharma is, it is something we have to work with practically within ourselves, continually.
In regard to the nature of the lecture today, it is particularly important to remind ourselves repeatedly that we have to be practical. If this information remains merely as a theory or as something that we contemplate from time to time, its true meaning will continue to escape us, and we will lose time. We will lose an opportunity.
When we are born - when we are suddenly injected into this material existence - we begin a cycle that is reflected in all of the different levels of nature. Observe how the seasons arise, manifest, and pass away. Observe how plants and animals are gestated, born, develop, and then begin to age, decay, and die. We ourselves as an organism pass through the same cyclic existence, repeating. Our mind, the mind that we have now, fails to remember this.
Our mind produces a kind of illusion that prevents us from seeing the fundamental fact of our existence, not only in the larger scale in context of our life as a whole, but in the moment-to-moment existence of our lives. We are victims of an illusion that is produced within our own psyche, and this illusion is the root of suffering. It is the cause of pain. This is why we emphasize making this teaching practical, now. In the moment. Today. This is not something to think about in the future — as if maybe we will become serious about it in the future. There is no such thing as “a future.” The future is a concept. What exists is now, this moment. It is important for us to grab a hold of that and to utilize this opportunity, to deepen our understanding, to take advantage of life. To not waste it.
When we enter into birth, when our consciousness is born into the little vessel that becomes a baby, this cycle begins. As adults, when we look at children, when we look at babies, or when we look at a newborn, we see a creature that has a quality that is different from us. This creature has a kind of presence or a beauty that is indescribable, that is nearly hypnotic. It is so magnetic and so attractive that we naturally love babies. We love to see the quality that they express naturally: the radiant beauty, innocence, and happiness that is very natural to them.
The Hebrew word for beauty is Tiphereth, and in Kabbalah, Tiphereth, "Beauty," refers to the Human Soul or human consciousness. Tiphereth is a special aspect of the tree of life related to the willpower of our consciousness.
When we are born as a baby, the consciousness that emerges is pure. It is perfectly clean, it is perfectly innocent. It has a radiant quality that is very easy to perceive, and is very naturally happy and joyous. In most cases, in most births, we see babies are naturally beautiful, happy, and radiant. Thus, our willpower (Tiphereth) is pure.
Within every human organism can be found this Tiphereth, this beauty. It is a seed. We say it is a seed because the human consciousness or the Human Soul in the status of a baby, in that stage of life, is the current level of development of the consciousness within us, the consciousness at its level of being. In other words, when you look at a child or a baby, what you see is the pure essence of the human consciousness, which is that beauty, that innocence. But it is just an embryo. It is just the beginning of what a human being should become. In Buddhism, they call this embryo Tathagatagarba, and that Sanskrit word means "the seed embryo of the Buddha." It is the Buddha nature. It is the potential to become a fully developed Human Being, also called a Buddha. Such a person is an entity that has an awakened consciousness that is fully developed. Our essence is just the embryo of that. The spark of consciousness that we have within is just an embryo that has the potential to grow.
Unfortunately, we ignore it. And our own inner beauty (Tiphereth) that by being born has initiated the cycle of life, and becomes conditioned. The human essence, the human consciousness, begins to be conditioned by its inheritance. There is a great law in nature called recapitulation, and in the process of nature creating any form, through the stages of that creation, nature always recapitulates its origin.
This is why when we look at the process of the development of an embryo within the womb, we see how within the womb the embryo of the child begins as a single cell, created by the merger of the chromosomes of the father and mother with the egg and the sperm, which gradually begin to multiply. And that little development begins to change shape and form, and it passes through many stages of transformation. All of those little stages of transformation of the embryo, the fetus, reflect the previous development of the inheritance that is latent within the genes. What we see then is that that development of the fetus is a phenomenon (phenotype), which is the outcome of the genome (genotype), the genes, the inheritance. That inheritance is both material and energetic. It is the inheritance that arrives not only from the parents but from the consciousness, from that stream of consciousness, that stream of energy, which is entering into a birth.
Now at this moment, you might be wondering, “Where did that energy come from?” If you have studied any form of science then you have undoubtedly heard of Einstein. Einstein presented a special theory of relativity and some other special theories that revolutionized physics in regards to the way physics is understood in these times. One of the theories that he presented is that energy and matter cannot be destroyed (e=mc2). This is the famous theorem. What that theorem essentially states is that you cannot destroy energy or matter. They can be modified, they can be changed from one into the other, but you cannot destroy matter or energy. When we understand that law and apply it to our own consciousness, then it is naturally evident that our own consciousness cannot be non-existent. It can only change. This is clear evidence, in physics, for the continual existence of consciousness.
Yet, it does not exist in a continual state. It changes. It flows through a variety of states. In Tibetan Buddhism these states are called Bardos. Bardo means something like "becoming" or "a state of becoming." Bardos are a variety of states through which the consciousness passes, depending upon how it is conditioned, depending upon the circumstances that are applied to it.
When we look at the course of our own life we see that our state of consciousness changes many times. We pass through many varieties, or many states of consciousness. Yet, we still fail to understand what the consciousness is, what it actually is, how it works. This is the very starting point of this teaching. If you don't understand what the consciousness is, you can never understand what Gnosis is.
Gnosis in itself is experiential knowledge, direct knowledge. But it is not intellectual knowledge and it is not belief. It is not theory. Here, no one asks you to believe anything. On the other hand, we encourage all students to experience, to experiment. But, that experimentation, that experience, cannot be limited to intellectual games, and it cannot be limited to beliefs, or mimicry, or imitation in our behaviors. It has to be experience that we arrive at through our own consciousness. So this is the starting point: knowing what the consciousness is, and knowing how it works.
In simple terms, we can say that the consciousness is the capacity to perceive. Simply that. But consciousness is far more than that. It begins there, it begins with the basic capacity to have perception, which is energetic. The consciousness is a form of energy that transmits and transforms energy. In Kabbalistic terms, we call our human consciousness Tiphereth, Beauty. But strictly speaking, Tiphereth refers only to the pure, free consciousness, unconditioned. When the consciousness becomes trapped in conditioned states, we call this ego or “I.” We have a multiplicity of “I’s” or conflicting wills.
And as I mentioned, the only time we clearly see that pure, unconditioned part of ourselves in our lifetime is when we are really small, a little baby. Then, it is at that stage of life that we can also see the recapitulation or the reflection of our origin.
A long time ago, we were in that pure state naturally. We existed in a state of innocence, a state of purity. A long time ago, the human consciousness had no ego. There was no pride, there was no anger, there was no lust. So, when nature recapitulates our development through the growth of the embryo of our body and the growth of our own entrance into life, those early stages of freedom and purity are recapitulated.
As a baby grows, its inheritance arrives. That inheritance is both physical and psychological: it is matter and energy. It is the inheritance that is arriving due to cause and effect, or in other words, karma.
Just as Einstein pointed out, you cannot destroy energy, you can only modify it. What this really points out to us is a law of physics called invariance. Invariance states that if an energy begins at a given level, and that energy is moved, it must inevitably return back to its point of origin. That energy must become equilibrated. This is a law of physics. As an example, you can see invariance in the movement of the ocean. When wind strikes the water and a wave is formed, projecting the water forwards, the water will naturally recede in order to balance that energy, until it resides back again in its original state. Thus we see the water surging forward and then back. This is the law of invariance in action. In Sanskrit, this is called karma. Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. Energy and matter are ruled by cause and effect.
The other implication of that theorem e=mc2 is that energy becomes matter and matter becomes energy, and there is a constant flow, or exchange, back and forth, between matter and energy. There are transformations that are always occurring in nature between matter and energy. There is a great interaction that is occurring right now, in every level of existence. Energy uses matter and matter uses energy. When you really start to investigate the nature of that law, you see how mysterious and wonderful it is. Sadly, it is poorly understood by the common person. Most people nowadays, in their understanding of science, in their understanding of just simple physical matter, are still several centuries behind those who are educated in science. Most people have a way of perceiving the world and a way of perceiving each other that is centuries behind even what materialistic science says, to say nothing of what the esoteric sciences say. We all suffer from this point of view, not understanding the way physics actually works, not understanding the nature of matter.
I will give you an example. In quantum physics, in the analysis of quanta, or particles of light and other energies, it is now understood that your physical body is mostly empty space. The atom itself is mostly empty space. But your mind produces the illusion that your body is a solid, existing, permanent thing, even though it is not. It is mostly empty. It is mostly nothing. In reality, the body consists of a variety of particles that have come together due to certain causes and conditions, and when any one of those causes or conditions suddenly changes, your body will cease to exist. There is a very delicate balance of matter and energy that gives us the opportunity to be alive, to give this body the opportunity to exist. That same delicate balance is what provides us the opportunity to have the consciousness in manifestation in a physical body, and to have the ability to perceive.
Not only do we mistakenly believe the physical body is solid and real, we also believe it is our identity. We make the assumption that the body is who we are. We might not think or believe that, and we might believe that we have a soul, but we do not really know what the soul is. Nonetheless, in our behavior, we demonstrate consistently that because we only perceive the body, we believe that the body is our identity. But the physical body is not our identity. The physical body is impermanent.
When we look at nature, we see that everything in nature has a cycle of life. All physical, existing organisms are born, grow, develop, decay, and die. This is impossible to deny. We ourselves are subject to this invariable law. But the law of invariance states when you set an energy in motion, that energy must return back to its original point of departure, it must be balanced. What this tells us is that during the course of our existence we initiate the flow of many types of energy. We initiate flows of energy in our intellect, which is a form of energy that relates to matter. We initiate flows of energy through our emotional center, which is an energy that relates directly to matter. And we initiate energy in our physical actions. All of those energies are streams, or forces, that are put in motion through our will, through our own use of consciousness: Tiphereth, willpower.
We use our consciousness and we use our organism according to our will, or so we think. In every moment we put energy in motion. In every moment, we use our willpower (whether conditioned or unconditioned) to propel energy.
When death arrives and the physical body begins to decay, all of the energy that we propelled during our lifetime does not cease to exist. It continues in its motion, because it must be satisfied. Remember: you cannot destroy energy or matter. They merely change form. An energy set in motion must be set back in balance. This is the nature of invariance, also called karma.
The propelled energy is united with its initiator. That is us. Our consciousness propels energy, and must receive the consequences. Thus, when the physical body dies, the consciousness (energy) returns into a new body (matter) because it must. Invariance, karma, is why we are born again and again. We take a new birth, a new body, without even wanting it, because of the actions we set in motion in the past. Thus, at birth, our free consciousness arrives into a body, and little by little the conditioning of our past actions begins to condition us, and we receive our energetic, psychological inheritance.
This is how we can see - from one lifetime to another lifetime - cycle of behaviors, cycles of patterns. In this way we can understand why certain people are born with certain talents, gifts, understanding, or habits. This is how we can understand how children arrive knowing a lot of things spontaneously, without being taught. That is because the consciousness is beyond the body.
This is not all. The human consciousness is a seed. That seed has the potential to become something more, like any seed in nature. When we look at nature and we observe, for example, a great tree, we see that the tree came from a seed that was quite small. Because of the conditions that surrounded it and the forces of nature in activity, that tiny seed became an amazing tree. That tree, in turn, generates seeds, and those seeds then enter into their own challenge, which is to become great trees. In mechanical nature, that process unfolds automatically, according to the laws that manage that level of existence, but in the human consciousness things are different. The difference is because of will. The human organism is put in a unique position because it sits in a unique place in the cycle of nature. The human organism needs to develop individual will.
The tree of our example also exists psychologically, spiritually, consciously, and we call it the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is also called the Kabbalah. It is called Yggdrasil. It is called Kalachakra. This tree has many names in many traditions throughout the world. The Tree of Life is a map. It is a diagram that reflects the structure of creation. In Kabbalah, it is usually illustrated as ten spheres organized in a pattern. The Tree of Life not only maps our human consciousness in its many levels; it also maps the dimensions of nature. They reflect each other. We see the microcosm and the macrocosm.
Tiphereth, our percentage of pure human consciousness, sits directly in the middle of the Tree. When we enter into a physical body, the consciousness descends from its normal habitation in the sixth dimension (Tiphereth) into physical matter, represented by the sephirah Malkuth. And thus is initiated that cycle of life, and all those energies are put into motion.
What the Tree of Life shows is a vertical path, symbolized by Jacob's ladder in the Bible. Jacob's Ladder is the structure of creation upon which beings ascend and descend. While some are rising to more elevated states of consciousness and more elevated levels of being, others are descending into more degenerate states, to more inferior levels of being. The physical world is between the two great levels, the superior and inferior, what some call Heaven and Hell, or in Sanskrit terms we would call Samsara and Nirvana. These are levels of bliss and levels of suffering that oppose each other, and between them is this physical world.
The Tree of Life is a map of states of consciousness (bardos), and any religion, any true religion, explains the science one needs in order to reach more elevated levels of consciousness. Conversely, any form of black magic explains the science you need in order to become more degenerated and enter into more inferior levels of consciousness.
When we enter into life, we enter into the horizontal path, which directly crosses this vertical path. So then we see two paths, or two lines of life, one horizontal and one vertical, and they cross each other. This is one of the meanings of the ancient cross, again a symbol that is found in every religion throughout the world.
From birth to death, every organism walks the horizontal line. But unfortunately, because of our past mistakes, humanity in these times ignores the consciousness, does not understand the laws of invariance, the law of karma, the law of cause and effect. Humanity now believes that we as individuals can do whatever we want, pursue whatever desires we have, pursue any course of action that we intend, without consequence. We ignore the law of invariance. And because of that, all the human organisms who enter into birth and march steadily towards death, initiate cycles of energy within one life and within repeated existences, which invariably drag them down.
As we create, act upon, and stimulate our anger, we set in motion cycles of energy that belong to the inferior worlds, Klipoth, the world of the shells, the world of the empty shells, what is also called Hell. Hell, or Avitchi, or Averno, the inferior worlds. Anger, lust, gluttony, envy, greed, laziness: all of these qualities are inferior states, inferior wills or desires, that condition the consciousness to feed them and act according to their will. When anger comes into us, all we can think about is anger, and we feel that, and we want to act upon it. And when we do, whether we act upon it simply in the mind or through the heart, we initiate these activities, these energies that put in motion the law of invariance. Our consciousness is trapped within that energy. As the initiator of that energy, it belongs to us, and thus that energy begins to flow, but it belongs to the inferior worlds.
So, when we expand our perception here and look at the whole of humanity, we can see why humanity is becoming worse and worse from day to day. Because of our psychological addictions, because of our egotistical addictions, because of our ignorance, humanity is degenerating. We ignore the fundamental laws that govern nature. We ignore that there is a vertical path, and that our actions determine whether we ascend or descend. Those actions are not merely physical actions — they are actions of the consciousness (will) in the mind, in the heart. This is why in the Gospels Jesus said, "If you even look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery." If you even LOOK at her with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart. The crime is committed, even if you had not performed the act physically.
So we see here a grave responsibility in how we utilize our energies. That responsibility is not merely for our own well-being, it is also for the well-being of others. When we have angry thoughts towards a person, that energy affects them. We can make someone sick. But unfortunately, we remain unaware of this. The reason is because we have never learned how to grow our own embryo of consciousness, our own soul.
When we are born as a baby, the consciousness enters into life, we have that beauty, that purity, that innocence, but our own inheritance from our past actions begins to enter into us. And if you have ever raised a child, you know how dramatically they change from ages 3 to 8. They can have a complete reversal of character and become a completely different person. What happens during that time is that the ego (willpower trapped in selfish desire) that was created in past existences begins to manifest due to invariance. All those desires, all those unresolved energies, begin to enter into the organism. This is because the human being, the human organism, does not develop immediately. Like any thing in nature, like a tree that grows slowly over time, the human organism develops in periods through life, developing itself, growing slowly, and so all those energies arrive gradually, and we see those changes that enter into us. But what happens when those desires arrive, when our inheritance arrives, is that the consciousness becomes hypnotized by those desires once more.
When we were babies, our free consciousness was there: awake, pure, perceptive. But as we begin to grow and develop and our own inheritance arrives, the consciousness becomes entranced once more with all of its old fears, with all of its old longings, with all of its traumas. All of the desires, and anger, and envy, and gluttony, all of the elements that we had previously set in motion, arrive. The child becomes conflicted, fearful, angry, resentful, gluttonous, lustful, proud, or ashamed. And those problems begin to overlap and become very complicated. We begin to suffer. And that suffering only grows, because our consciousness, that beauty, has fallen asleep.
This is illustrated in the Greek myth of Psyche, when Psyche falls to sleep. This is a symbol of how our own consciousness falls asleep. And all the great fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, all represent how desire intoxicates the consciousness and puts it to sleep.
You may find it strange, but this teaching tells us that all of us are asleep right now. Our own consciousness is not awake. We might be here and have perception, but that perception is filtered and conditioned by the "I", by the ego, and thus the consciousness is dozing. It is not fully awake and attentive the way it was when we were children. And if you want proof of that, just take a quick second to reflect on how many times you lost the thread of this lecture since it began. How many times were you distracted into thinking about something else? Or going off and wondering about something that happened this morning or something that will happen later today, or daydreaming about something you heard in that past, or about something you have to do? All of those distractions, discursive thoughts or feelings, are those egos or "I's", memories, images, sounds, that surge within our mind, that condition our consciousness and give us the great difficulty to remain attentive, to be present, to be here and now.
All of us suffer from this problem. We have a very weak consciousness. It takes enormous effort to train the consciousness and develop it, to strengthen it, to be present, to be attentive, to be concentrated. To direct our consciousness with conscious will takes a lot of discipline. It only takes an instant of distraction to fall asleep again.
This is why all the great religions emphasize watchfulness, awakening, mindfulness, or as we call it, Self-observation, Self-remembering. You may have studied these things in depth, but that is meaningless if you are not performing it right now. To perform Self-observation or mindfulness or watchfulness, is not something you can just start and walk away from, the way you start a car or any engine. It is not mechanical. It is conscious. It has to be continually maintained. This is not an easy thing to do for us, who are like babies. The baby does not have yet the strength to crawl, to walk, to run, and our consciousness is the same. It is in an infantile stage, and needs to be grown, needs to be developed, nurtured. The food for the consciousness is in the scriptures of all the religions. The food for the consciousness is in its use and activity. It is in meditation.
So it is good and useful for us to study, to feed the consciousness with good things, but the most important thing we can do is to use it. To activate it. To pay attention to ourselves, and what we are doing.
In Buddhism, the worlds of existence are represented by the Wheel of Life: the Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Becoming. This wheel is in the grip of a demon. His name is Yama. This demon represents the God of Death. This whole wheel represents the cycle of suffering that we ourselves have initiated, and we continue to initiate so long as we act ignorantly. All the beings who dwell throughout the worlds that are depicted on the wheel suffer from Wrong View. They do not see reality.
It is worth noting that the worlds that are illustrated here range from the hells up to the heavens, in the same way that you see on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The physical world is there, too.
The Axis of Suffering
In the axle, the very point around which the entire wheel rotates, are three animals. These three animals represent three essential qualities that keep the Wheel of Suffering in motion. The first one is a pig. The second one is a rooster, or a bird. And the third one is a snake. These three represent Ignorance, Craving, and Aversion.
Ignorance in Sanskrit is "avidya." This ignorance does not refer to a lack of education. It is ignorance of the true nature of existence. This is the greatest problem that exists. When we talk about ignorance, we tend to think of it as “to not be educated,” or to not have a scholastic or intellectual education. This is not what we are referring to. Ignorance in this case is the root cause of all suffering, and ignorance in this form is that we ignore reality. Not just as an idea and not just in our theories or our beliefs, but practically, in our ways of behaving, in our ways of perceiving.
We do not perceive reality. We have the illusion that we do, and unfortunately in these times, not only does our own false ego or "I" produce that illusion of knowing or seeing reality, but science is making it worse. Now we have this mistaken idea that science in these times is unraveling all the mysteries of life, and our media is doing everything they can to support that mistaken idea. But if you step back, you will see that our science reverses itself continually. They will make one statement and fight and fight to affirm its truth and fact, and a short time later, they will say, "Oh, sorry, we were wrong — it is actually like this." And then they will revise it again.
We cannot rely on the opinions of others or the doctrines or dogmas of others for the perception of the truth. The only way to arrive at Correct View is through our own consciousness. This is the first step of the Eight-fold Path that was taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni. The first step is Right View.
First, he stated that all life is suffering. Then he stated that all suffering is born from illusion. Then he said there is a way to overcome suffering. And that way is, firstly, Right View: to learn to see.
Once more: that way of seeing is not with an idea. It is not by simply believing or disbelieving what I am explaining. It is by training your own consciousness to see. To perceive, without condition, without any conditioning, without any filter.
Right View is not based in physical senses, either. The consciousness itself is far beyond the senses. The consciousness is far beyond the brain. Far beyond the body. People have out-of-body experiences in surgery or after death or while sleeping. This demonstrates that their consciousness is not tied to the body. We can experience this for ourselves, when we learn the tools, when we awaken our consciousness and learn how to direct it, by will. We can experience these things. But for us to do that, we have to first learn how to see What Is, to begin to overcome this ignorance we are submerged within.
What we ignore, firstly, are the other two animals on this Wheel of Life, at the axis. We ignore aversion and craving. These are psychological phenomenon. We ignore desire, in other words. Craving and aversion are the two sides of desire. When we crave, we are trying to pull something towards us. When we have aversion, we are trying to push something away. It is this pendulum between craving and aversion that produces suffering, and we ignore that pendulum. That pendulum is in activity in this instant, in you, and in me. That pendulum is how the mind is fluctuating, always, between "for" and "against." "Do I believe this or do I not believe it?" "Do I accept it or do I reject it?" "Does it scare me or does it excite me?" "Do I like it or do I not?" That is the pendulum. That is what the mind does.
We play games with “yes” and “no” in the intellect. We play games with “like” and “dislike” in our heart. We play games with "it feels good" or "it feels bad" in relation to sensation.
It is this pendulum, that is always swinging, that we ignore. Because of our ignorance, we initiate cycles of suffering. Due to this, we never realize that the repeating cyclical habituation, being hypnotized by our own intellect, our own emotions, our own sensations, is dragging us downwards, whether quickly or slowly. All of the organisms on this planet who are infected with the ego are sinking into the Abyss (Klipoth). This is why life is becoming more and more complicated.
The Tree of Life, at the bottom, is extremely dense and complex, with many laws conditioning those levels of life. At the very top, life is very simple. As the Ray of Creation descends, energy and matter become more complicated, more dense, more painful.
In Dante's Inferno, as Dante began to descend into the Inferior Worlds, he saw how suffering increased every time he went down one more level. Of course, there were nine spheres, just like in the Aztec and Mayan traditions there are nine hells and nine heavens. Same in the Nordic. Same in the Christian. Same in the Jewish. Same in the Buddhist. They all have nine heavens and nine hells. Why is that?
The conditioning of the consciousness into the ego causes the consciousness to sink. This is why we suffer. The pendulum of identification is self-produced. We initiate that. But we do not like to admit it. We prefer to blame others for our suffering. We do not realize that we, ourselves, produced the consequences that we experience. That is why the Bible says “we will reap what we sow.” This is Karma.
This brings up an important point about the Infernal Worlds: God does not punish us, we punish ourselves. God does not punish us for our anger. Our anger punishes us. But we do not see that. We refuse to take responsibility.
When we have anger, we suffer. When we have lust, we suffer. The same is true of every ego: Fear. Envy. Gluttony. They all condition the consciousness that was once pure, and they cause us to suffer. No one is to blame for that but us. We created it.
When we became identified with a desire, when we became entranced with some craving or some desire to avoid something else, we initiated a cycle of energy that must be satisfied. But unfortunately, when we become identified with desire, the outcome is suffering, always. Desire can never be satisfied as a desire. As much as you try to feed lust, it only becomes stronger. It only becomes a fire that burns. The more you try to feed greed and satisfy greed, the more it consumes you. And all of our great literature is about that. What else was Shakespeare writing about? What else was Homer writing about? It was that. But we ignore it. We think we can get away with it, because we lack the perception to see the consequences.
We fail to grasp that before us is that vertical path, and our every action defines: Are we acting in a way that will cause us to rise as a consciousness, to raise our Level of Being? Or are we acting in a way that will cause us to sink?
Action is not limited to physical matter. By action we mean as a consciousness, how are we acting?
Our actions as a consciousness produce energy that relates to matter. If we become tempted to steal something, we initiate a flow of energy related to theft, and we condition the consciousness to enjoy that sensation of stealing. For us it feels normal, it feels right, and we have justifications for that. That is why when the police catch shoplifters, shoplifters never believe that they are doing something wrong. Very rarely do they see that they are doing anything wrong. They believe they are doing something good. They feel justified in doing it, and that is because their consciousness has become conditioned. The same is true of an alcoholic. We all know that alcohol destroys the cells of the body. Destroys it. And yet all around us is advertising to celebrate alcohol, to encourage its consumption. And there are many who defend it, rigorously, and who actively consume it, ignoring the simple fact that alcohol is destructive. They willfully destroy themselves. The same is true of lust. The same is true of gluttony. We know we should not overeat, we know we should not overindulge, but we do it. We ignore that there are consequences.
This is why it becomes very curious, this depiction that we have of Hell — that somehow hell is “God's punishment.” But it is not. It is actually the natural consequences of energy that has been put in motion. When you consciously perceive Hell, as Dante did, which he wrote about, you can understand this.
In reality, hell is a place that was put in place out of compassion, to give us another chance. If we do not do the work to free the consciousness in our physical life and our time runs out and our karma is too heavy, then nature has a great cleanser, a recycling plant, that will purify us of all those mistakes, and we will recycle and have another chance to try again.
Hell is not the way that it is depicted in our religions: A place of eternal damnation and great physical pain. Physical pain is nothing compared to the pain of hell. If you reflect on the greatest anguish that you have ever experienced or seen, I am talking about emotional suffering — that is a window into what hell is like. It is not physical pain, it is conscious pain.
We can avoid that experience. The way we do it is learning how to perceive correctly. In this very instant, this very moment, right now, there is a door. The door is not outside of you. It is not in your brain, it is not in your heart, it is not in your body. It is your consciousness. Your consciousness is a doorway to ascend or descend. As a person, as a soul, as a consciousness. If you use your consciousness wisely, if you put in motion energies that are proper, in harmony with nature, then you set in motion causes and consequences that will naturally cause you to become elevated.
You do not have to believe anything. This is a law of nature. If you start to perform good things, truly good things, in your mind, in your heart, and in your physical actions, it is a law of nature: you will start to ascend.
This is why in the Hindu traditions, for example, people who have committed great crimes are often given a lot of Seva, or selfless service, to begin their work; a lot of Karma Yoga, to perform a lot of charity. To go and serve the lepers, to go and serve in a clinic or a hospice, to assist the dying, to work in places that are painful and difficult simply out of sacrifice and love. And that is because that service, that performance, turns the course of their life. There are many levels of that type of activity. The most important ones are psychological, not physical.
The path to ascend to Heaven, or to Nirvana, is in this exact moment. It is not in the future, it is now. You can only enter that door by being aware of yourself, by activating your consciousness. By fighting against the habits of your mind.
We have to become Tiphereth. The symbol of Tiphereth in the mysteries of Northern Europe is Lancelot, the knight, the warrior, the fighter. Odysseus. Hercules. These great warriors. Aeneas. Jason. All of these warriors or fighters symbolize the necessity for the consciousness to fight against the dragon, the demon, and that dragon is our own desire. Not just lustful desire. The desires of pride, the desires of anger, the desires of envy. Hercules fought against the Hydra, which had seven heads, and those are the Seven Capital Sins. The Seven Defects. Laziness, Lust, Avarice, etc.
That doorway is here within us, if we choose to use it. The Bible talks about this in many ways, when we look into the Hebrew or Christian Bible. In the Book of Proverbs, which is an old Jewish text, there is a very Kabbalistic explanation, in the second and third chapters. When I say "Kabbalistic," what I mean is: the work is written as a form of poetry, but the Hebrew words hide the Tree of Life. They hide a deeper esoteric meaning, Kabbalistic meaning. To understand this, let me explain a little bit about this Tree.
When you understand that this vertical path is the Tree of Life —we are here in this moment in the physical world (Malkuth) — the capacity to elevate our own Level of Being, our own consciousness, is in this moment. We can begin to learn how to perceive more than this physical world, including other dimensions that interpenetrate it.
At the top of the Tree of Life we have a triangle called the Solar Logos. This triangle has three spheres which in Hebrew are called Kether, Chokmah, and Binah.
Kether means the Crown. The Bible often talks about the Crown of Life. This is that Crown. This is the Father, Brahma.
The second one is Chokmah. This is the Hebrew word for Wisdom. In Sanskrit, this would be Vishnu, or Bodhi, for wisdom. This is the Sun, the Christ.
The third sphere is Binah, which usually is translated as Intelligence, or Understanding, but is directly related to perception. In Christianity this sphere is called the Holy Spirit.
These three spheres are the Tri-Kaya, the three bodies of the Buddha, which reside at the very root of our consciousness, but undeveloped. They are there in potential, but there nonetheless, for us to give birth. When our consciousness is fully developed, we then have elaborated our own Tree of Life, at the top of which are the three bodies of the Buddha, the three glorious bodies of the Soul. Immortality, perfect knowledge. Paramarthasattya, which means "perfect happiness, perfect truth, perfect knowledge." That is the ultimate potential that we have.
That doorway in the vertical path to ascend those levels is through the use of the consciousness now, in this very moment. Not by believing or thinking, but by using energy and matter wisely.
The three spheres at the top are the Trinity, the three-in-one, the three forces that are behind all of creation. So in the Book of Proverbs, we find a short passage which reads,
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding.
Remember I said that wisdom is Chokmah. Understanding is Binah. So this phrase is saying, "True happiness, true freedom from suffering, is acquired by the one who can incarnate these two aspects of our own Inner Buddha."
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver and the gain thereof of fine gold. She is more precious than rubies and all the things thou canst desire are not compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Proverbs is usually read in these days quite literally as nice poetry, but it actually hides the same teachings that the Buddha gave. True beatitude, true happiness, is in the heights of consciousness that we have latent within us.
The Lord by wisdom (Chokmah) hath founded the earth (which is us: our physical body is the earth). By understanding (which is Binah, the Holy Spirit) hath He established the heavens.
The heavens are these nine spheres above the physical world.
By His knowledge the depths are broken up.
Knowledge. By the knowledge, which is the opposite of ignorance, are the depths broken. The depths are the hells, Klipoth. In other words, by knowing ourselves, by acquiring Gnosis of ourselves, we can escape suffering. We can conquer Hell. That Hell is here. It is not after death. We experience it every day. We carry Hell around with us. Hell is a state of consciousness. It is a place, too. But more than that, it is a state of being. If you observe the life of any alcoholic you can see very clearly that they live in Hell. If you observe the life of any thief, any murderer, any adulterer, pretty much any person on this planet now, you can see that their life is a hell. To their own level, and according to the circumstances. Life is a lot of suffering. The opportunity is there for us to escape that suffering, and the opportunity is within us.
When wisdom entereth into thine heart (wisdom is Chokmah, Christ) and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul (the consciousness) discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee, to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh fro-ward things, who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the fro-wardness of the wicked, whose ways are crooked. To deliver thee from a strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words, which forsaketh the guide of her youth and forgeteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death and her paths unto the dead. None that go into her return, neither take they hold the path of life.
This is cause and effect. The passage is basically saying: When you receive the light of consciousness, Christ, in your heart, when you begin to pay attention to yourself and utilize those forces actively, you begin to find happiness. But that happiness has nothing to do with circumstances. You might be in good circumstances or bad circumstances, but still you are happy. That happiness is unconditional.
Instead, most of us do not find pleasure in that knowledge. Instead, we are deceived by the voice of the harlot, Jezebel. That is our own mind. Instead, we pursue our craving for comfort, for security, for sexual pleasure, for our lust for money, for our greed. To conquer others. To scramble to the top of this dunghill of humanity. For what? All of that type of activity, the activity that is so celebrated in our world now — to get rich, to get famous — is really just scrambling around in Klipoth, the kingdom of shadows. None of that lasts. All of it is impermanent. As rich as you may become, you have no guarantee of happiness. As famous as you may be, you have no guarantee of long life or health. And no guarantee to raise your level of being. We have to break the illusion that our ego tells us. We have to understand that real happiness has nothing to do with physical circumstances.
In the book The Revolution of the Dialectic, Samael Aun Weor addressed this very plainly.
What is understood by happiness? Are we sure that we are happy? Who is happy? I have known people who say, “I am happy! I am content with my life! I am joyful!” But I have heard these same people say, “Such a fellow bothers me! I dislike that person! I do not know why I cannot get what I have always desired!” Therefore, they are not happy; what really happens is that they are hypocrites, that is all.
To be happy is very difficult; for that, one first of all needs to be meek.
The word beatitude means inner happiness, not in a thousand years, but now, right here, in the instant we are living.
That happiness can come to us when we develop correct perception.
There are three terms that we are going to talk about:
These come from the Yogacharya school of Buddhism. The Yogacharya school of Buddhism is most associated with Asanga and the Buddha Maitreya.
The ignorance that we suffer from now is because of a certain mode of perception that we have. A certain way of seeing which is caused by the conditioning that our ego produces. In Sanskrit this mode of perception is called Parakalpita. Kalpita relates to something that is illusory, something that is false. This mode of perception is a view of life that is projected by the ego. In other words, we project our view. Our ego projects it. We see life simply as a physical thing, we only believe our five senses. And then we see everyone else as if they have the same point of view. Meaning, that we think everyone else sees things the way we do, as physical matter. If we have the focus entirely on money, on becoming famous, then we have this view and mistaken perception that everyone else must see things the same way. And so we compete with everyone else. We project our point of view, but it is an illusion, it is a lie.
This kind of identification is produced by desire. And when we say that desire produces identification, we can say that when we have a desire that arises within us, it causes us to forget everything else. We forget everything else and our focus becomes entirely on that desire, so we lose perspective. We forget the bigger picture. And then we begin to pursue that desire at all expense. Once again, we return to the example of an alcoholic. Someone who is desperately craving their next drink only sees that desire and will do anything to get it. The same occurs with a drug addict. They will do anything to satisfy that urge, to feed that addiction, to feed that sensation. When we become angry, when our anger is very strong, all we can see is the anger. Everything that appears to us is filtered by that anger. And so we project the point of view of that anger on everything. When we are out of work, out of money, at the brink of poverty, our fear affects everything we see. That ego, that form in the mind, discolors our entire mode of perception.
In other words, we do not see the whole picture. We fail to see the reality. This mode of perception is the mode of perception that all of us are existing within from moment to moment. But we ignore it, because our consciousness is asleep. We are not seeing those impulses that strike us physically, to act in certain ways, that strike us emotionally, to feel certain things, to crave certain things, to avoid others, and that strike us in the mind as thoughts. We think this body is who we are, our thoughts are our real self, and our feelings are genuine. And this is all mistaken. And it can all be demonstrated as mistaken if we awaken our consciousness.
The adulterer who becomes identified with her desire for another person becomes so absorbed in that lustful desire that she forgets her spouse. She forgets her children. This is Parakalpita, the mode of perception that is illusion. It is a distorted picture.
This form of identification is very evident when we watch television. We do not like to hear this. We really like TV. But when we watch TV and movies, we completely forget about ourselves. We become the movie. We become so identified with the story or the characters that we feel emotions. Our body will jump. We feel our pulse racing. We sweat. Because of something, an illusion, that is playing out on a little screen, that has hypnotized us, completely hypnotized us. We become so absorbed that we feel all kinds of emotions and thoughts and sensations that are not ours.
All of those thoughts and emotions and sensations are transactions of energy. They are a waste of energy. How can we say that this experience has improved our lives? That this has made us better people? How can we say that the few minutes we watch of a show and the few minutes we watch of commercials are good for us? When really, all it is is a form of programming. They even call it that. You know what "programming" means? Conditioning. When you program something you condition it to behave in a certain way. The television is programming you to behave in a certain way. To mimic the actors and actresses, to act like Al Pacino, or to act like your other stars that you like, to behave like them. It is also programming you to have certain kinds of humor, to indulge in your lust, to express your anger, to celebrate your envy, and to buy all the products that they desperately want you to buy. This is not beneficial for anyone except the actor or the advertiser, who is like a great vampire, sucking the blood (energy) of humanity.
This forgetfulness of self is the very ignorance at the root, the core, of the Wheel of Suffering. And this is why we always return to this point of view: pay attention. Be here now, be in your body, do not forget.
Be very aware of how you use your energy in each moment, because it has a consequence, a direct consequence.
Understand that if you learn how to overcome identification, you can begin to use your energy in a way that is harmonious with the development of your consciousness. That is why in Proverbs, it says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life." Righteous does not mean someone who believes. Someone who is righteous is someone who behaves properly. That behavior is not physical, it is conscious. It is behaviors in the mind and the heart. Behaviors of the consciousness, which are both beyond the body, and with the body.
If we are ignoring even the laws in the physical world, if we do not know how to behave in accordance with the laws here — for example, with our continued addictions to lust and alcohol and drugs and money and all the other things that we are addicted to — that is just here in Malkuth. We also have to learn how to act in harmony with all the other laws that modify nature, in all the other planes of consciousness. This is not easy to do. It is impossible to do if our consciousness is asleep, because we will have no awareness of those places. We have to develop that awareness by starting here and now.
As another example of how we ignore the Law and rely too heavily on science, there is this materialistic idea of how things function. To demonstrate for you that we really do not know what science is and not even science knows what matter is: Did you know that in recent experiments with a single particle, the scientists project that particle toward a card that has two holes, and that single particle can pass through both holes at the same time, and emerge on the other side as a single particle? The scientists are dumbfounded. How can that one thing be in two places at the same time? They can prove that it happens, but they cannot explain it. This is because matter and energy function in ways that our physical senses cannot perceive. Nonetheless, our consciousness can see it, and that is how the Buddha discovered the atom 2500 years ago, and understood the functions of energy. Because he could see it.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. We need to learn a new mode of perception. This is called non-identification. But this non-identification comes in stages, it comes in levels. In the first form, Parakalpita, we are identified with the illusions that are projected by our own mind, illusions that are self-produced, that are part of our karmic inheritance. This is the illusion of the "I", our false "I". To go beyond that, we have to learn to start seeing things as they truly are, and this is called Paratantra. The word tantra means "continuum" or "stream." Para is "beyond." So, the mode of perception called Paratantra is where we learn to start seeing beyond the stream, beyond the continuum. To see beyond what is apparent, and to see what is.
Now, let me explain once more: this mode of perception is beyond Parakalpita. It is beyond identification. In this level, we are trying to move into perceiving nature or reality or any phenomenon as it truly is. The term for that in Sanskrit is Paratantra.
Paratantra is a way of seeing that has two aspects. Paratantra has two modes, or two levels. Once we have started to break our identification with the ego, we start learning how to really self-observe, to really Self-remember, to really be present, to really awaken consciousness. Then we start to see objects as they are. As we are now, we do not. We see things through our projected illusion. But someone who is beginning to awaken consciousness begins to start seeing things in a new way, and first is impure: impure perception related with Paratantra. It is impure because they are still only seeing things in terms of the Wheel of Samsara, the wheel of illusion, the wheel of life.
So, as an example: When we are identified with the ego, we would see a rope and we would think it was a snake, and we would become afraid. There is no snake there, and if we really awaken the consciousness and look, we see, "Oh, it is not a snake, it is a rope." That would be the Samsaric view. We penetrated past the illusion projected by the mind and we see the thing as it appears to be in this level of life. But if we awaken the consciousness more, then we can see it in its pure form, in the Nirvanic way, and we would then penetrate and see that rope as it exists in other dimensions. This requires more consciousness to be awakened, and in this context we would see, for example, the atoms of the rope. We would know how many atoms were there, we would know the constitution of those atoms, the construction. We would know the history of that rope, where it came from, who made it, where it has been, what it has done. This is the type of information that emerges spontaneously to the enlightened eye of a saint or a buddha. That information is simply visible, it is known. But that is not the ultimate view. There is a third, which is called Paranishpanna.
Paranishpanna is the ultimate view or perception. Paranishpanna is the mode of perception that penetrates to the absolute truth of a given thing. It sees not only the physical aspects or the superdimensional aspects, but the absolute aspects, which are beyond matter and energy. This is something our intellect cannot really grasp, but in synthesis we can say that type of vision sees the two truths simultaneously: the ultimate truth and the conventional truth. This is Right View.
Fully developed Right View, in the context of the Eightfold Path, is that View which can perceive: (1) Yes, the rope exists physically, conventionally, in conventional truth; it is here physically. (2) In the Nirvanic levels, we can see the atoms and the construction of the rope. (3) But in the ultimate level, it does not exist. It does not exist inherently, independently on its own. It is only there due to all the causes and conditions that we can see, that we can perceive spontaneously when we have that mode of perception. That is Paranishpanna.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that these points of view are intellectual games. It is very sad to see students of the various traditions who study consciousness and its modes of perception, who develop the belief that as soon as they have read about these higher perceptions, Paratantra and Paranishpanna, as soon as they have the intellectual idea, then they get it. That somehow they are done, somehow they have figured it out already and they understand it and that is it. And then they are very proud of themselves. This is false. This is actually Parakalpita: it is deluded perception. We can study a teaching and understand a teaching, and it is good. But these are forms of perception, these are ways of seeing that we have to cultivate and grow. These are not ideas and intellectual things. These are not beliefs. These are facts of life. To put it in another way: When someone has developed the perception to perceive things in a Paranishpannic way, to have Right View fully developed, this person has reached Paramartha. Paramartha is absolute truth, absolute happiness. What that means is: when you have developed your perception to its fullest capacity, you are naturally happy. Spontaneous happiness. This is the natural state of the mind: joy, ecstasy. That natural state of consciousness is represented by these spheres at the top of the Tree of Life, the Crown of Life, where the law is very simple, it is one law: that law is love, and that is all. Pure, unconditioned compassion. So when you have the Paranishpannic view, you have ultimate Right View, and you see all things with perfect equanimity and beatitude. Happiness, spontaneously — not produced artificially through a belief or an idea. Naturally. And that is because the mind has become perfectly clean. No impurities at all, no ego, no false "I". Instead, what remains there is the fully developed consciousness, fully awake. A being who naturally radiates happiness, love for others, diligence, great equanimity, tolerance, and tremendous beauty. Just radiates it! Similar to how a baby does, but to a far greater degree. It is hard for us to understand that because most of us have never met a person like that, but they are there. There are a few around.
In synthesis, what we can say is that we have a choice. That choice is with us in every instant, and the choice is very simple: do we remain enslaved to our habitual desires, our habitual mistaken views of life, or do we fight against it? Are we brave enough to open up our view, our point of view? There are many tools and techniques that are taught in this tradition to assist us in that effort. But there is no trick. There is no shortcut. It is very hard work. You have probably noticed just in the short course of this lecture how many times you have been distracted, how many times your own consciousness has wandered off into some other land, and then you remember, "Oh! I am supposed to be here paying attention." It is hard. But if you make the persistent effort to keep putting your consciousness in its place, to be aware of yourself, you can start to train your point of view, to expand your vision, to not simply see things in the very limited way that your ego wants you to see it, and in the very limited way that our culture encourages. We need to see the bigger picture. In order for us to come to know what God is, to know what the truth is, we have to stop living a lie. The lie is self-perpetuated.
If we stop lying to ourselves, start being honest with ourselves, stop justifying ourselves, and change, suddenly it is like a veil can become lifted. The type of change that I am describing can be rapid. This correlates directly to the amount of effort you put in. If you just change a little each day, that is fine, you can do that. No one is pushing you. But the option is there to change a lot. The method to do it is actually not that complicated: Pay attention. Observe yourself. Watch all of your actions, not just physically, but in the mind and heart. From each moment, whether you are alone or with others, pay attention and do your activities consciously. At the end of every day, review that. Look back over the course of your activities. Even during the day, if you have a moment, reflect, "What was I thinking? What was I feeling? How did I behave? Why?" We have to become our own judge, our own watcher, our own police. If we do that with sincerity, little by little we discover that our point of view begins to expand: we begin to see a little more, first about ourselves. When we really start to see things about ourselves and understand how our own mind functions and how it is the cause of our pain, then we can start to grasp why other people suffer. Then we can help them. That is when the real magic can begin. The pain and suffering that we experience now is not the definition of life. It is just the consequence of our mistaken activities. Happiness, joyfulness, true love, is the natural state of our mind. Pure peace. This is the natural state of the mind. But our mind has been infected with a great disease. And do you see the breakdown of that word? Dis - ease. That disease is the "I", that we made. The doctor is our own consciousness; the medicine is Gnosis, self-knowledge.
That thou mayest walk in the way of good men and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
This is simply cause and effect. If you produced the causes, you will enjoy the consequences, whether good or bad. This is the point of this teaching. You are free to accept or reject, to believe or disbelieve, but all of the instructors of Gnosis, wherever they are in the world, have only a single objective, and that is to help you learn how to see yourself, and that is all. Any questions?
Audience: [...] can clairvoyance be used by the ego, and by the Being?
Instructor: The reason I did not address clairvoyance in the lecture is because we perceive in many ways, or through many vessels. You perceive through your sense of touch. You perceive through your sense of smell. Through your sense of hearing. Through your eyes. Through your taste. And these five senses are all, of course, rooted in the physical body. But you also can perceive that you have thoughts. And you can perceive that you have emotion. But we do not see a direct physical correspondence to these things. We think it is the brain — science thinks it is the brain — but it is not. The brain is a vessel that is involved, but it is not the source of thought. It is not the source of consciousness or feeling.
Clairvoyance is a word that was invented in order to describe a certain mode of perception, or a vessel through which we can perceive on a given level of nature which is beyond the physical senses. It is from French: Clairvoyance, which means "clear vision." But in reality, there are five fundamental types of clairvoyance, five ways through which the consciousness can receive information, whether we are perceiving through the physical senses or the supra-physical senses — for example, when you see your own thoughts and feelings, you are not seeing that with physical senses. You do not see your thoughts or feelings with the eyes, or your sense of touch or taste, but you perceive them. That is a form of clairvoyance. Your daydreaming, your fantasy, your imagination, are forms of clairvoyance. In other words, these are senses that are beyond the physical ones. Whichever of those vessels you are receiving the data through, that data is received and interpreted through one of these ways of perception, one of the three we talked about today. If your consciousness is conditioned with Parakalpita, by the illusions that are projected by your ego, then everything you see, whether it is physically, whether it is as a thought, as a feeling, or as a daydream or a fantasy or a dream while your body is asleep and you are out of your body — all of those perceptions will be false, whether it is physical or clairvoyant, because you are seeing through Parakalpita.
Audience: How does one counter negative clairvoyance?
Instructor: Stop dreaming. You have to learn to pay attention, be present. Daydreaming is produced by the sleep of the consciousness. When we start to become drowsy as a consciousness, we might be very busy physically, but our consciousness is very lazy, we start to daydream about, "Oh, wouldn't it be great if I had this much money and I could go here and there and I could buy this or that. I could do this, I have all these things I could do, blah blah blah." This is daydreaming. This is a form of clairvoyance that is harmful. It is negative. The only way to stop that: get a hold of yourself. Pay attention. Be where you are. Pay attention to what you are doing physically.
You will notice this very easily if you read, because you will be reading the page of a book, your eyes will continue reading the page, but your mind is in Singapore, or on the moon, or in a video game that you were playing yesterday, or in a movie that you were watching last week — and then all of a sudden you realize, "Wait a minute, I have turned three pages and I have no idea what I just read." Right there you need to wake up and realize that you were just asleep. Your consciousness was dozing, slumbering, and you were daydreaming and fantasizing, and what you were doing was wasting your energy and your time. Pay attention. Read consciously. I guarantee you if you read consciously, willfully, carefully, your experience of reading will be completely transformed. This does not mean, however, that you cease to imagine. Let us say you pick up a scripture like the Bible, and you have heard these lectures and you say, "I have got to read this chapter of Genesis with full consciousness and really pay attention and be here and now" and you start reading, and you start yawning, sleepy, and you still cannot make sense out of it. After a while, when you start to really get the feeling of how to truly pay attention, to really be observant, you realize that you can read, consciously, and activate your imagination at the same time. This is how you really comprehend a scripture. That is how you really read. When you read that way, you are aware of yourself, you are reading the page, you are conscious of it, and you activate conscious imagination, and this is how the meaning of the text can start to appear to you as images, or as intuitive grasp, an intuitive understanding of it.
Audience: It is a Paranishpannic meaning, right?
Instructor: Right. It is the Paranishpannic meaning, it is the way you begin to penetrate the truth that is hidden in the code, in the symbolism of the story you are reading. The capacity to do that is within all of us, but unfortunately, we read, let us say the Bible, and we read it with all of our projections about the Bible, the conditioning of our mind. Most of us who have grown up in the Western countries read the Bible according to the conditioning we were given by the church, and that is to read it in accordance with church doctrine. This is wrong. You should not even read the Bible in accordance with the things that I am telling you. You should read it openly, with a completely open mind, with a completely open imagination, willing to receive — which is the base of the term Kabbalah, "to receive" — the true meaning, from inside. This is how you can penetrate into the depth. But only the consciousness can do that, not the mind.
Audience: This question is about [...] perception versus arrogance or righteousness, specifically, how can you tell the difference and logically differentiate between the two?
Instructor: Well, the question is kind of complicated. If I understand it right, it is about, How do you tell the difference between right view, or right understanding, and arrogance? You have to observe yourself. No matter what level of being you have achieved in your spiritual development, so long as the ego is alive, you need to pay attention. You might have achieved certain levels of development, and have the capacity to access other levels of consciousness that are beyond the physical one. This does not mean that you can take your understanding for granted, or that you can just be relaxed about how you perceive things. You have to be very diligent. It is extremely common for a person to enter these studies, develop a certain amount of capacity, and then become diverted by their own Pharisee, their own ego. Bottom line: If you observe arrogance in yourself, you are wrong. It is simple. There is no place for arrogance with God, with what is pure, with what is really divine.
Many students who approach this teaching or any given religion, approach with this longing or this wondering about what is God, or what is divine, and many have this frustration: "How come I cannot experience that?" And sadly, there are students of traditions like this one who have practical tools, and students still fail to experience the realities that are beyond the flesh, to really see and perceive directly what God is, what a buddha is. For this type of person, there is a simple piece of advice for them: Observe yourself. The ego cannot go where God is, and that is all. If you are not having the experiences of perceiving something that is divine, your own inner Monad, your own inner Spirit, your own inner Buddha, to perceive Jesus as he truly exists, it may be because you are trying to take your ego, your desires, there. Or you are expecting God to fulfill your desires. And let me tell you: God and the ego can never mix. They are like oil and water. You cannot mix them. If you are failing to have experiences in meditation or with dream yoga practices, analyze yourself. You may have desires that are interfering. You may have expectations that are interfering. You may not be working with your consciousness. You might just be intellectualizing, and if that is the case, you need to develop an antidote. Find an instructor who can help you.
The bottom line is, only the consciousness, which is free of conditioning, can experience the nature of the truth, and this is what these modes of perception express. As long as your consciousness is identified with anything — it could be with bills, it could be with financial troubles, it could be with marital troubles, it could be with "Where am I going to live," it could be with your friends, your family — as long as your consciousness is conditioned by any form of identification, you are trapped there. And you are trapped there by your own will. The thing to know about all of the divine levels of existence is that all of the beings who live there respect your will. They respect your will. If you want to indulge in that desire, "OK. We wish you would not, but you have the will, you have the right to do it."
Audience: Is it your ego speaking or is it God speaking?
Instructor: Well, that is a question I will have to answer for myself when I meditate. I will have to meditate on it and see. If I as a consciousness have done my job, then my inner Being is giving me the words to speak.
Audience: What are the best tools or techniques to change the conditioning that has taken place in our consciousness?
Instructor: I have explained them, they are quite simple. The first one is to observe yourself continually. This is how you begin to gather knowledge about yourself. There is a lecture that was recently given called "The Methodology of Gnostic Dharma" and that lecture is about that.
- First stage, you observe yourself.
- Second stage, you meditate.
- Third stage, you work on eliminating those conditions.
That science can be simplified in those steps. It can be understood in that way, but it is extremely difficult to fully accomplish it. The obstacle is our own mind. We do not want to change. All of us want to go to heaven exactly the way we are, which is impossible. We have to change. So when we are always questioning and doubting and having problems with knowing how to practice in this teaching, sometimes it is because we are not willing to really change, we want an easier way. We need to be sincere with ourselves and change ourselves. That is not complicated to understand but it is complicated to do.
If you want additional help with that, I recommend you study three books: The Revolution of the Dialectic, The Great Rebellion, and Revolutionary Psychology. Let me point out something: You notice how all three of those titles say "revolution" or "rebellion"? These are not about rebelling against the world but against your own mind; that is why it is so hard.