All phenomena of nature and all objects are found intimately and organically joined together, internally dependent upon each other and mutually conditioning each other. Indeed, no phenomena of nature can be integrally comprehended if we consider it isolated. Everything is in incessant movement. Everything changes; nothing is quiet. - Samael Aun Weor, Endocrinology and Criminology
We can see that life consists of series of events, a series of factors. When we talk about Interdependence what we are describing is the relationship between events or the relationship between states. Basically this word means that no one thing exists without another. Everything is dependent on causes; nothing exists independent of everything else. A philosopher said that “No man is an island” and it perfectly expresses the understanding of Interdependence. None of us exist as an isolated entity. This is a real key that we need to understand; no one is isolated. Those who suffer from loneliness might find a little comfort in that. But the true meaning of Interdependence is that everything we do affects others and everything others do affects us. There is a great interaction; there is a great flux and flow of energy that is always moving between individuals.
For example, there is a group of people who independent of one another all have an urge to understand something about themselves. Low and behold they all happen to show up in a Gnostic class at one o’clock. Maybe it is coincidental. But we know for a fact that it is not coincidental; it is because of different circumstances that came together to create that event. This is what we call Karma, the Law of Cause and Effect. Everything has a cause, and every cause is also an effect.
Intellectually this is a simple thing to understand. We see in three-dimensional physics that if we push something, it moves, provided we have enough force to move it. Newton described Karma as it is seen in physical matter, “For every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction.” This is Karma as expressed by three-dimensional physics.
If we also understand the famous axiom “As above, so below,” we will understand the reverse is also true, “As below, so above”; thus, if there are reactions to actions on the physical level, there must be reactions to actions on energetic levels.
We can say that in the physical world or physical aspect of things we understand this rule to some degree, so we have a certain percentage of Gnosis of Cause and Effect in the physical realm. But if we examine ourselves honestly, we will probably find that we have no understanding of this law at all emotionally or mentally, because we still persist in generating and releasing negative emotions. We do not realize the effect that will have; we ignore it.
When we study Buddhism or Hinduism or Christianity or Islam, we come to this word Ignorance. Often because of our culture we misinterpret this word, too; we think of Ignorance as “not being educated,” but the truth is Ignorance comes from “to ignore.” And the truth is, honestly, if we examine ourselves, we can see that we ignore the effects of our actions. We do not care. When we feel angry we do not care if we hurt other people, when we feel resentful, we do not care; in fact, you could say that we want other people to suffer and so we express our anger to make ourselves heard, maybe to get revenge, to humiliate someone.
All the while, we act without the understanding that our activity will produce a result. We are ignorant of that. In other words, we want to do what we want, and we choose to ignore what this means for ourselves and for others. So, we are already breaking a few subtle laws of nature. We do not realize that we depend on the other person. We are not isolated people in life; we need each other. Everything we have and everything we are has come to us through the hands, minds and hearts of other people. Our body, our food, our ideas, our memories, our education. And yet, we mistakenly believe that we are “independent.” We are not, and if you look clearly at your life, you will see that you are a member of a community, even if you do not talk to other people. As a member of a community, you are affected by others, and you affect them.
We ignore the effect we can cause on someone else. We also ignore the effect that will inevitably come back to us. Karma is simply energy; it is how energy moves in nature, the coming and going. So, all the great traditions have all said that we live in ignorance, that we do not see the truth.
One other aspect of Interdependence is that we believe quite mistakenly that our happiness depends on very narrowly defined circumstances. For example, if we are struggling financially our mind gets focused on, “If I can make that sale, or get that promotion, or get that degree, then I will have enough money.” Or, “if I could just get that new car or a bigger house, then I will be happy.” We have this narrow view that our happiness and our well being depends upon these little circumstantial events. If that were true, then it would be rather easy for us to be happy. We would simply need to achieve those little goals and then we would be content. But have any of us found any happy people who are pursing life in that way? Do not answer quickly: observe them carefully, because as soon as they satisfy that goal, They will be happy briefly, then immediately after, they are not satisfied any more and they want something else. Who is truly satisfied? They may say they are satisfied, but in their hearts, in the dark of the night, are they truly and genuinely happy?
From the point of view of Gnosis, there are no happy people on this earth. Everyone is suffering terribly. Suffering from anxiety, poverty, starvation, the threat of death, the threat of torture.
The rich suffer for fear of losing what they have. The poor suffer for want of something they do not have. And whatever our station in life, we desire something, we work and slave and sweat to get it, we experience a brief moment of contentment, and then we want something new.
This is widely known in the Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni.
So, there is this constant change of what we want from life. Someone has the goal “I want to be married, that is what I want, I just want to married, then I will be happy. I will have a house, and kids and all these things.” So they get it all and then what: they are miserable. We have all seen that in people we know.
Or they say, “I just need to get a better wife, the one I have is just not good.” So they get divorced, they get another wife, and they are miserable still.
This is the state of humanity, honestly speaking. And are we getting happier? No. Truly and sincerely, we are not. We are getting more desperate. The divorce rates are going higher, crime rates are rising. Life is becoming more complicated, not simpler.
There is this great concept that we all like to believe: that life is getting better. With Fed Ex, fax machines and the internet, “Life is getting easier.” Everyone is excited, “Look at our great technology, look at our great civilization, look at all of our wonderful accomplishments;” but are we really happier?
Are we suffering less?
The evidence is otherwise. Mental illness is more common. Depression is rampant. Suicides are more common. We are packed like rats in huge stinking cities, drinking dirty water and bathing in chemicals.
We are trapped in a hugely complicated environmental decay; the whole world is trembling under the destructive activity of the human beings.
Everyday, the threats to our health and safety become greater in number and more complicated.
We are trapped in debt, working more and earning less.
Every major social structure is on the brink of disaster. The prison systems are overwhelmed and have no answers for the problems. The educational systems are overwhelmed and have no answers for their problems. The politicians are overwhelmed by the complexity of the issues they are pressured by. No one has any answers, and through it all our media keeps singing its happy tune: “buy new things and you will feel better. Get plastic surgery and you will be happy. Dress well, look beautiful, attract the lust and envy of others, and you will be content.”
Deep down, we all know it is a lie. But we cannot face it because we are terrified.
If you look at it objectively, life is getting more complicated. Life is more complicated now that it was for our parents. Life is much more complicated than it was for our grandparents. The rate of change is accelerating, and with that acceleration is coming greater complication, and with the complication there is confusion, worry, doubt, fear. The despair and suffering of humanity is deepening. Why is that? We can see why, if we look at these phenomena:
We ignore the interdependence of all things. We seek to fulfill all of our desires ignoring that everything we take has been removed from someone else. CEOs who earn millions of dollars a year refuse to recognize that the money they horde has been taken from others. In the meantime, others suffer for lack of money.
We ignore that every action we undertake produces a result.
Worst of all, we ignore that we ignore. We believe that we are doing what is right, even though the evidence that proves otherwise is overwhelming.
The Buddha Shakyamuni said,
Our minds shape our lives. We become what we think. - The Dhammapada, ch. 1
From this we can see that life as we experience it now is a product of our own mind, or in other words, what we have thought, felt and done has created the life that we are experiencing now. Therefore, if we change what we think, feel and do now, we can create better circumstances for our future.
We created the situations of our life, and we created this society. Our society, which is characterized by social chaos and widespread suffering and delusion, is a reflection of the collective mind of humanity.
Human beings suffer because of other human beings.
Human beings suffer because of themselves.
We have created our own lives and yet we ignore that truth, and we keep running after these intangible goals, these narrowly defined circumstances. “If I only won the lottery, if I only bought an island, if I only had a jet, or a boat, if only I was better looking or had another degree in something, then I’d be happy.” It is a fallacy. It is completely and patently false, and yet our entire society revolves around this way of perceiving life.
We perceive life through fantasies: thus we do not perceive life. We perceive life the way we want it to be, not the way that it is. Thus we do not perceive life as it is, and we suffer because life never gives us what we expect.
We perceive ourselves through fantasy, thus we do not perceive ourselves. We want to see ourselves as we want to be seen; we do not see ourselves as we are. Thus, we live in ignorance of who we truly are, and we suffer because we are not what we want to be.
Learning how to meditate starts here. One can never ever learn how to meditate until one begins to break these circumstances and see oneself with true sincerity.
Sincerity: “honestly and without pretending or lying.”
Real meditation can only begin when we have the courage and willpower to let go of our fantasies about ourselves and about life. Real meditation will take us straight into seeing the objective truth about ourselves and about life; thus if we are attached to our fantasies, we will not allow ourselves to see the truth, thus we can never meditate properly.
To learn to meditate is to learn how to transcend the mind, to access what is called “the consciousness.” Consciousness is the light at the root of all light. It is beyond the mind, beyond emotion, beyond the “I,” “Me,” “Myself.”
The Two Lines of Life
This first line, extended horizontally, is what is called the Line of Life, or the Line of Knowledge.
This Line of Life shows the course of time from Birth to Death. We are born, we grow, we get educated (or not) and all the events of our lives pass, and then we die.
This is called the Line of Knowledge because real knowledge is the point of living. We are alive in order to know what life is really about. But this is not the knowledge of books and theories; the knowledge we need is real Gnosis: direct, experiential knowledge of objective realities, the mysterious knowledge of Daath (Hebrew for knowledge).
When one sees and experiences a truth, there is no need for theory. Therefore, we walk the Line of Life, or the Line of Knowledge, in order to come to our own Knowing, or Gnosis.
But HOW we walk this line is the critical difference between finding real Gnosis, and living in its opposite: i-gno-rance. And this difference is precisely found through knowing (gnosis) to use the Consciousness, or not knowing (ignoring) the use of the Consciousness.On this line every being who lives will walk; every being is subject to the laws of this line, the Line of Life. That means that every one of us was born, obviously. But what we do not know (in terms of knowing through our own Gnosis) is that you cannot have birth without death; they are one and the same thing. Most of us do not really know that we are going to die because we ignore that. We may have the concept of death floating somewhere in the darkness of our mind, but this is not Gnosis. Life and death are two sides of the same coin and yet we have this point of view that we only want to look at the “good” side or, rather, the side that we like.
This is what we know as “the two sides of the pendulum.” The pendulum expresses duality. We have what we call “bad” and what we call “good.” We can say this one is “negative” and this one is “positive.” We have “pleasant” and “unpleasant.” We have “past” and “future.”
Life exists because of death. Death exists because of life. Likewise, we can only call something good if we can also call something bad. This is a fundamental polarity of nature, and it is part of the natural order of things. Yet in us, it is out of balance.
The natural state of the pendulum is to be centered in the middle, with the energies of either side in perfect balance. If one side goes out of balance, the pendulum swings. The pendulum is a manager of energy. As with every phenomenon in nature, the Law of Polarities manages and balances the good of the whole. This is simply an expression of the Law of Karma as organized by the interdependence of all things. Simply put, it means that if we swing the pendulum one way, it will swing back the other way in order to re-establish equilibrium.
However, the habit of the mind that we have now is to ignore and avoid what we call "bad" and to crave or chase what we call "good." So, the vast majority of humanity spends all their energy persistently chasing their desires, obsessively pursuing what we call "good." In Buddhism, these polarities of duality are called Craving and Aversion.
This phenomenon happens on every level in ourselves. It is simple: when we go to a restaurant, what do we order? What we crave, what we desire. When we watch T.V. what do we look for? What we crave, what we desire. When we interact with other people what do we look for? What we crave. In none of these cases do we normally seek what will create equilibrium.
We avoid anything that creates what we would call suffering, pain, discomfort, humiliation, fear, insecurity, death. We especially avoid death.
This fundamental axis is at the root of all mechanical behavior. We spend a great majority of our time avoiding things that we do not want to deal with. You may find in fact that you had some resistance to studying this course, for example, or to going to see a therapist, or to going to church. And sometimes, maybe most of the time, that resistance is there because there is something there that you do not want to deal with, that you do not want to see. Can you see that in yourself?
You may start to see now that this teaching, this school, requires tremendous sincerity. Without sincerity there can be no real understanding of this knowledge. In reality we need a better word because sincerity is the same thing as real courage. Someone who has real courage is a very sincere person. This does not mean someone who is unafraid and is willing to go to battle, or who looks that way. Those types of people merely have a lot of willpower. The sincerity and courage that is meant is a willingness to face the truth. Without that willingness we are wasting our time studying this material. In fact, everything is a waste of time because without sincerity and real courage there can be no change. There will be a continuation of ignorance.
So as we travel this line of life pursuing all of our desires and avoiding whatever we cannot face, we are ignoring certain principles. One principle that we ignore is the consciousness.
It is here that we find another line, a line that runs in a totally different direction from the Line of Life. This is what we call the Line of Being. This line expresses levels of consciousness.
When we combine these two lines it becomes a little easier to understand certain things about people in life. As we travel the Line of Life, moving from our particular birth to our own particular death, we are always at one or another Level of Being. This means that there is a fluctuation to some degree, some vibration within us. We have more conscious moments and less conscious moments.
What differentiates these moments in life is not how successful we are and how much money we have made, how much we have impressed people, how many people love us or how many people hate us. What really makes a difference in life is our Level of Being; how conscious we are, how sincere we are, how honest, how aware.
Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life. - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
Our Level of Being determines our life. Our level of consciousness determines whether we are living with great complexities and problems, with great sufferings or with great peace. If we are angry and vengeful, our life will be filled with circumstances that relate to these qualities. If we are lustful, our life will be filled with the problems related to lust.
What we need is to use the consciousness itself in order to change ourselves internally. If we are fearful and timid, we must learn to use the consciousness, because it is neither afraid nor passive. If we are hyperactive and imprudent, we must learn to use the consciousness, because it is calm and consistent.
The consciousness has had many terms to describe its activity. Some people call it awareness, some call it attention, some call it presence, some call it watchfulness, but the term that most accurately describes it is Vigilance.
When we think of these other terms, sometimes we think of them in a passive way. We think of mindfulness and some people have an association that It is very passive, like a monk sitting there. In one aspect there is some truth to that. But someone who develops themselves with that understanding will have obstacles, problems. So, if you could understand the consciousness in terms of vigilance, you will be closer to understanding It is true nature: it is very active, and someone who develops that understanding of consciousness will move very rapidly in understanding this material. It must also be understood that the original meanings of these terms relate to specific aspects of the consciousness itself; they are technical terms, and should not be used interchangeably.
The consciousness is the root of perception.
It is that part in us that perceives with absolute purity, without feelings, without thinking and without sensation.
It is the part of every person that is present before thought, before emotion, before sensation.
It is raw perception in a pure, unaltered form.
The consciousness is our direct connection with our own divinity.
This is the root principle upon which every genuine meditation practice in the history of mankind is based. The terms might be different, and the means of description may vary, but the root principles are universal and unshakable. Thus we absolutely must know what the consciousness is and how to use it.
So, when we study this diagram of the Two Lines of Life, we are really studying how to use attention properly. We need to learn what our own Level of Being is and we learn that by being vigilant, by learning how to watch, how to pay attention, how to be conscious of our movement through the Line of Life; the more conscious we are of our movement through life, the more we raise our Level of Being, thus we rise above the sufferings and ignorance of common life and move ourselves into a whole new way of living.
In order to meditate, in order to be on any spiritual path, no matter what you call it, you have to understand what the consciousness in yourself is, because that is what we are trying to awaken.
We are trying to awaken and make active this watchful presence that we all have, but that we do not know how to use. We never really learned. What we learned when we grew up was about the Line of Life. We learned about the mind, about desire, about sensation and we learned about personality. But none of these things have anything to do with the consciousness. These are all separate. They are other factors and they are things that we need to understand, yes, but we need not to be enslaved by them.
Unfortunately most of us grow up learning to serve these elements, to feed them whatever they ask for. If the mind wants a hotdog, we give it a hotdog. If the mind wants a video game, we run out and get it. If the mind wants to be famous, we spend a lot of time and energy to satisfy that desire. And often we act without any consciousness of having done so.
It is very common and very sad that many people, by the time they are approaching the end of their Line of Life, begin to look back and realize the truth of this. People that have a near death experience, or who are getting old, or are very sick, often begin to reach out to others. They become more emotional, they become more remorseful, even depressed.
Some become very angry, and generally it is because they are looking back and seeing that they did not satisfy everything they wanted to do. They did not get the big boat they wanted, or their kids hate them now, or they hurt people. And later on they realize, "What was I doing? Why was I spending my life that way? How could I have done these things?"
The other way common experience is that they feel that nobody understood them, so they tell their story over and over. "Nobody understood me, I did not mean to do this and that. I was wronged."
That remorse, that quality of regret, often comes too late, and usually people do not feel it because of their own pride. But if they get to a point where they are close to dying, then they realize, "Wait a minute, I am running out of time. I am wasting time." It is really in our interest to see that and reflect on it. Try to apply this understanding, learn from that mistake. Use our time well now. We need to see how we waste time pursuing vanities, things that are meaningless.
But most particularly, we need to see what we ignore. This is the fundamental axiom of learning how to meditate: we need to see what we do not see. We need to become aware of what we are not currently aware. All the way until the end, unto the heights of the consciousness, this is the work itself. And the depths, the lowest levels of consciousness are marked by the opposite quality: deepest ignorance, illusion and darkness.
(Even the consciousness itself is a duality: one may awaken positively, in the light, in the superior regions of the consciousness, or one may awaken negatively, in the darkness, in the inferior regions of the consciousness. The one who awakens positively is called an Angel, and Archangel, a Seraph, etc. The one who awakens negatively is called a demon, a devil, a black magician, etc. So there are two ways to awaken: but only one leads to freedom from suffering.)
Death is a fact, an unavoidable reality, and none of us know when it will come; no one. If you really reflect on that and examine it, if you look deeply at your own physical body and realize that this machine is not immortal, you see that it will break down and stop to work at some point. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be in 50 years. But you just do not know.
This not knowing is a tremendous source of fear in our lives. There is a growing trend to run out and get full body scans in order to find any potential problems now, before we are sick; this is a symptom of the fear of death.
There is a long-standing tradition in the West to subscribe to any religion that promises an easy solution to this fear. And many leaders, both religious and secular, use this fear of death and the unknown as a way to manipulate people. How many people have we known who belong to a group of some kind solely out of fear? There are many who come to Gnosis driven by their fear. Many join political groups. Many join the military. Many drive themselves day to day to build a fortune; all that effort is a way of avoiding their fear of the unknown, the fear of poverty, loneliness, or of "being nobody." We can observe that the most fanatical people are really the most afraid; their fanaticism is a coping strategy, a form of craving and aversion.
Regardless of our sex, race, political allegiance, or religious membership, we will die. Reflecting on the inevitability of death can produce tremendous sincerity. Real understanding of the nature of life and death can produce tremendous motivation.
From a profound recognition of the approach of your own death, you see all these things that you thought you wanted really mean nothing. Why should you waste your time trying to impress other people? If you have that sincerity and you look at yourself, you might find that an extraordinarily high percentage of all your behavior is there simply to impress other people, to get them to like you or to respect you. It is all meaningless if in choosing that you are abandoning your own Inner God, your own inner development, something that can never be taken away from you.
The recognition of what is truly important and what is not is priceless. Here is an example. There was a monk who had studied some of the profound teachings. He recognized the truth in what the teachings said, that the vanities of life were all illusions, and he could see that people would spend lifetimes trying to impress other people, trying to make other people happy, or trying to feed all their desires, and they were never able to do so. Everyone was struggling to "make their mark," and yet they were all just suffering and struggling in the mud of life and going nowhere. He decided not to do that: "I want to know the truth in myself; I know there is more to life than money." So he decided to go and meditate. But there were lots of meditators in those days, and few caves to house them. The cave that he got was not a perfect cave; it had a thorn bush at the entrance. So every time he would walk in or out he would get scratched. His first impulse was to cut the thorn bush down because it was irritating. But as soon as that thought came into his mind, he realized, "If I waste the time that it takes to take this bush down I might die. The time it takes for me to go get some tools and cut this bush down may be my last breaths. Why should I waste my time simply because it is in my way? I will just go around it." So he did.
Years passed. Everyday he would get cut, and everyday the bush would grow bigger. So after a few years he was squeezing into his cave, trying to get around the huge thorn bush. Eventually it got so big that he could not get around it; he had to go through it to get in and out of his cave. And he was suffering a lot. The pain of the scratches was terrible. He was only a monk after all, and there was not anything he could do to help them heal. "What is a better way to spend my time: walking to town to find a doctor, or using those hours to meditate?" He always decided to meditate.
Then one day he achieved his goal. He completely comprehended his entire mind, his entire psyche, and completely freed himself from Karma, and he became an enlightened being with tremendous understanding. Throughout all the other caves were monks with nicer views, with comfy grass to sleep on, with running water nearby. And yet, all he had was the thorn bush, and this is why he made it. He owed it all to the thorn bush.
The thorn bush represents all the minor inconveniences of life: criticism, the opinions of other people, money, cars, having a job, having to eat, bills, illnesses, children, debts, political problems, etc, etc, etc. These are all the circumstances of life; we all have to deal with them, no matter our wealth or sex or country. What makes a difference is how we deal with them.
If we continually react to life, we will be like "a leaf tossed by the wind." If we always act from craving and aversion, we will always be chasing elusive satisfaction and trying to avoid inevitable pain.
We could, however, take advantage of that suffering, and allow it to produce results. Wisdom is comprehension of suffering. Compassion is comprehension of suffering. That is all it is, but neither wisdom nor compassion can arise by avoiding suffering. Wisdom and compassion arise by comprehending it, but understanding it and by transcending it through understanding and willpower. Comprehension comes when we rise above the duality of good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, up and down, poor and rich, left and right. In the middle is equilibrium. In the middle is the Tao.
We need to see in ourselves how we avoid things that are unpleasant. We need to see how we avoid the truths in our minds and in our lives. And we need to see the truth of suffering in ourselves.
Suffering does not just mean physical pain. Suffering begins the moment we are disconnected from the Divine. All of us have that disconnection, all of us suffer because we do not directly know and access our own inner God.
To transcend suffering is to change that. To transcend suffering is to comprehend how and why we suffer and to change the actions that produce suffering in ourselves and in others. Through this change we develop understanding, compassion, wisdom. That is what the word enlightenment means: "enlightened, to be filled with light." When we close our eyes now, we see darkness. We need that darkness to be filled with light.
The answer, the way to achieve that, is to begin to comprehend the consciousness in ourselves. Every human being has inside them an embryo or a seed of consciousness that must be grown, it must be encouraged, it must be fed. The consciousness that we have now is largely trapped in the mind, it is trapped in desire.
The consciousness itself is an energy. It is an energy that needs to be activated. And it must be separated from the mind in order to be activated. In Zen they call the seed or embryo the Buddhata; in Tibetan Buddhism they call it Tathagatagarbha. In Gnosis we have a simple word; it is just called the Essence. It is a small spark of light, but it only shines when we know how to use it. If we ignore it, it sleeps.
The consciousness is the root of perception; it is our window to all phenomena and in its natural state it is unconditioned, without desire for sensation.
If we perceive life through the consciousness, then we are fully present and actively observe all phenomena.
If we perceive life through the mind, then we are distracted and passively observe all phenomena, because we are more concerned with satisfying the craving for sensations, be they mental, emotional or physical.
As we move down the Line of Life we are burdened by our karma. Our karma has produced all the different circumstances that we have to deal with now. These circumstances are the swinging pendulum; one day we are rich, another we are poor; one day we are healthy, another we are sick. This is the result of all the different energies that we ourselves produced in the past. In the midst of that storm, there is this little seed of consciousness that needs to be developed.
The presence or absence of the consciousness in us is discovered in the intersection of the Line of Life and the Line of Being. This present moment, right now, is the intersection of these lines. And the intersection is constantly changing, because time is changing and because our level of conscious attention is changing.
Is our attention, our presence, our vigilance, getting stronger from moment to moment, from day to day? Or are we burdened by more worries, more thoughts, more concerns, more desires, more anxieties?
The more the consciousness is activated positively, the more peace we have.
The more the consciousness goes to sleep, the more suffering we have: mental suffering, emotional suffering, and spiritual suffering.
First of all, relax. Relax as deeply as you can. There should be no muscle in tension.
Become more aware of yourself. Deeply, fully, actively aware. To be aware means to be actively looking.
To know and to observe are different. Many confuse the observation of oneself with knowing. For example, even though we know that we are seated in a living room, this does not signify that we are observing the chair. - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
Try to see yourself as separate from yourself, as if this body is merely an actor.
The thoughts and feelings are a critic next to the stage, a critic who will not shut up. Do not try to make him be quiet. Just stop giving him your attention. Separate from him.
The sense of separation, the sense of active awareness, is the foundation of every mystical practice that exists on the face of the earth and in every other dimension.
Try to maintain this sense of watchfulness. This is the first practice that every monk, every nun, every mystic has to absolutely perfect in order to achieve anything. It is the sense of having an inner separation.
We need to see that we, as a consciousness, are truly separate from thinking.
We as a consciousness are separate from emotions.
We as a consciousness are separate from all sensation.
We as a consciousness are that which is conscious, that which observes, that which perceives.
The perfection of that separation leads to every Samadhi, every ecstasy, every Satori, every enlightenment. By whatever name, from whatever country the tradition comes, every mystical experience is derived from the activation of the consciousness. There is no exception to that rule. The one who experiences mysticism is the consciousness within us, not the mind. Until that is clearly understood, we can access no mystical experience. This must be understood in practice, by applying it repeatedly, regularly, rigorously, with great discipline.
The person who is established in the consciousness can simultaneously experience great pain and great pleasure, and yet be separate from both. There is a distinct sense of peace in spite of any circumstance, no matter how great or how terrible.
It is very rare to find people whose intelligence is in a state of stillness. Indeed, such a state is only to be found in those who through their whole manner of life strive... by guarding the intellect and by inner watchfulness... Watchfulness cleanses the consciousness and makes it lucid. Thus cleansed, it immediately shines out like a light that has been uncovered, banishing much darkness. Once this darkness has been banished through constant and genuine watchfulness, the consciousness then reveals things hidden from us. - St. Philotheos of Sinai, from "Forty Texts on Watchfulness," 9th or 10th century
One principal that can help you distinguish what is within you is that the consciousness does not desire sensation nor does it avoid sensation. It does not crave and avoid in the way the mind does. Consciousness just is. It is either on or off, either present or not.
It has other qualities, subtle things. It has levels and depths. It has "emotional qualities" but these are superior emotions that have nothing to do with what we call "emotions." The free and pure consciousness never vibrates with hate, with loneliness, with emptiness.
The consciousness does have longings, however: it longs to know God, to know the great realities of Nature, to perceive directly in Internal Worlds, to see the great enlightened beings face to face.
The root of the consciousness is pure Love. This is Love that is beyond attachment, beyond requirement, beyond name or place or any kind of physical sensation or mental concept. It is, in truth, beyond emotion.
Be strict with yourself. In order to achieve anything in this kind of teaching you have to do it yourself. That is why Master Samael said, "Do not follow me, I am just a sign post." We have to do it ourselves.
This means that we have to develop the willpower and the discipline to perfect our own sense of awareness. We have to teach ourselves how to pay attention. And be warned: if you think you know how to pay attention just fine, you are fooling yourself. Do not be deceived by your pride. We have not mastered attention until we have mastered the consciousness in all levels of nature, meaning that the one who has developed perfect attention is able to perceive directly at all moments all the other realms of nature simultaneously. They can perceive atoms, they can see the karma of others, they can see the past and future, and what is more disturbing of all, they can see all of our thoughts and feelings and desires as easily as a picture on the wall.
Learn to discriminate. Learn to tell the difference between the mind and the consciousness. Without that there can be no understanding. Without that there can be no progress. You can read a lot of books, you can attend a lot of classes but you will never grasp the real meaning.
Until one really and truly knows one's own mind and can govern it with awareness, even if very many explanations of reality are given, they remain nothing more than ink on paper or matters for debate among intellectuals, without the possibility of the birth of any understanding of the real meaning... It is necessary to maintain a continuous present awareness without becoming distracted... Because the continuation in the presence of the true State (of Awareness) is the essence of all the Paths, the root of all meditations, the conclusion of all spiritual practices, the juice of all esoteric methods, the heart of all ultimate teachings, it is necessary to seek to maintain a continuous presence without becoming distracted. What this means is: do not follow the past, do not anticipate the future, and do not follow illusory thoughts that arise in the present; but turning within oneself, one should observe one's own true condition and maintain the awareness of it just as it is, beyond conceptual limitations... - Namkhai Norbu, Tibetan Lama
In order to enter into real meditation, one must first learn to observe oneself in every moment of every day.
This means we must learn how to maintain the sense of inner separation from thoughts, feelings and sensations.
Though others sleep, be thou awake! Like a wise man, trust nobody, but always be on the alert; for dangerous is the time and weak the body... - Jainism. Uttaradhyayana Sutra 4:6
The intersection of the Two Lines is the present moment. Right now. What that means is that the road back to your own Inner Being is through the doorway of the present moment. It does not exist in the past in any memories, in any events, in any reflections, in any stories, in any histories, and it does not exist in the future or any circumstances that may come.
You yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night... So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us be awake and be sober. - 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6
The doorway to real change and the doorway to your own inner Gnosis is by perfecting your own Presence, being present, being in your body where you are, every moment of every day. Someone who is perfected that ability does not dream. Can you imagine that? They never dream, they are continually awake and everything they perceive is real no longer a projection of the mind, but fundamental reality.
Those who wish to keep this discipline
Must guard their minds in perfect self-possession.
Without this guard upon the mind,
No discipline can ever be maintained.
To keep a guard again and yet again
Upon the state and actions of our minds and bodies -
This alone and only this defines
The sense of mental watchfulness.
- Shantideva, The Bodhisttva's Way of Life 5:1, 108
About the Weekly Practices
Throughout this course, we have provided some basic exercises you can utilize in order to develop your own experience of the factors that lead to the actual state of meditation. These practices are not meditation itself: they are preliminary experiments designed to help you comprehend the nature of the consciousness.
Each of these practices can be used as often as you like. We suggest that you practice them for a period of at least one week before moving to the next one. In the beginning, it is advisable to practice for a period of ten to fifteen minutes. Gradually, the time can be lengthened. Students of Tibetan Buddhism are often instructed to practice short sessions many times throughout the day, and we believe that this is a very effective method.
Make a place for yourself to meditate. It should be clean, quiet, free of distractions, well-ventilated (but not drafty), and provide you with a means to sit in complete and total relaxation, with a straight back.
Sit in a very relaxed posture. Take a few moments to make sure you are relaxed in every way. Take note of your psychological mood.
Determine that you will not reflect on any problems in your life, or unresolved situations, or plans, or memories. Take this time as a break from everything.
For the next few minutes, vocalize the vowel “O” and imagine a warm light glowing in your heart. Relax deeper and deeper. Allow the sound to penetrate throughout your entire being, and imagine the light growing and illuminating everything within. Relax deeper and deeper. Let go of everything but that light and warmth. Focus completely on imagining the light in your heart and the sound “O” filling everything.
Rest silently. Observe yourself with a sense of detachment or distance. Watch every impression that enters into you or that emerges from within. Watch carefully, but without tension. Rest, and watch.
Afterward, when you get up from this practice, look around you as if you have never been in this place before. See everything as if it were new.
Do this practice everyday without fail. Continue with this practice for at least one week before moving on to the next practice.