Arcana 1, 2, and 3 of the Tarot

This is a transcription of an audio lecture that you can download here: Meditation Essentials 10 Bliss AUDIO . There is also an accompanying pdf:  Meditation Essentials 10 Bliss PDF

"The one who truly awakens attains, as an outcome, full objectivity of his or her Consciousness, authentic enlightenment, happiness." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology

This is the tenth lecture in our course examining the most essential facts about Meditation. We have explained some of the basic terminology and philosophy to help you guide your Meditation practice, specifically how to focus on facts. Throughout the course we have been utilizing a variety of tools, especially the Tree of Life and the nine stages of meditative stability. These tools are based on facts, confirmable truths, experiences that anyone can confirm for themselves. I hope that the course has invited you to confirm those facts for yourself. In this tenth lecture we are going to talk about what all of this leads to. Why meditate? What is it for? What is the purpose? What is the result? What is it that we are seeking? And if we are not finding it, why? If we are not achieving it, why? 

In some sense we can say that the subject of today’s lecture, even though it is based on facts that have been proven by an uncountable number of meditators throughout history, it is also the most elusive, difficult, and contested, precisely because few people are willing to work exclusively with facts. Few people are willing to cut away that which is extraneous, an obstacle, or a veil, such as beliefs, traditions, theories, and philosophies that we adopt and hold fast to, but which in reality are based on nothing. 

As an example, we all have a sense of self, a sense of identity that we clutch onto with great strength, which in fact is meaningless, illusory, based on nothing but lies we tell ourselves. Because we are unwilling to cut that away, we cannot see the truth. Just as we do this as individuals, this is done by groups, schools, religions, countries, and civilizations. We clutch at illusions believing they are real, believing they are a defining characteristic of who we are as a person, as a people, but which are in fact nothing but smoke.

The subject of today’s lecture, bliss, is the result of an effective Meditation practice, and it is an inescapable result, unavoidable: it will happen if your meditative practice is true. This is because bliss is simply the natural state of the unconditioned Consciousness. Every living creature has that. We all have that within, but it is veiled in us. 

Consciousness is the ability to perceive and to understand what we perceive. In it’s natural state, it is free of anger, unblemished by lust, pride, envy, greed or gluttony… in other words, it is bliss: happiness, contentment, joy, love, wisdom, beauty. All of us has seen it, and experienced it, but only fleetingly. When we look into the eyes of a baby, when we experience the pure and innocent atmosphere of a baby, we are sensing the unblemished, unconditioned Consciousness in that child that radiates love, joy, happiness, contentment, purity, being in the moment, that quality of simply being content in the moment, happy and engaging with others. Observe the purity and innocence of a child, a baby: they have no worries, they are not thinking about the past or the future, but are very much in the moment, very imaginative, very expressive, very connected, but of course only at the level of a baby, as a child. Those qualities are the seed or essence of the angel, buddha, master, etc. We all have that inside of us. But as we grow up it becomes veiled and conditioned very heavily by our personality, by our experiences, by our mind, by our habits and tendencies, by our culture, by our language, by everything that we vest ourselves with, like layers of clothing to supposedly protect ourselves from pain, yet which in fact are the causes of our pain. 

The Meditation practice that is rooted in facts and based on this proven ancient structure seeks to remove all those layers of lies and expose that primordial purity that we have inside. It is blissful, content, happy, and serene, spontaneously and naturally, on its own. 

That is why we study the Tree of Life, because it illustrates all of those layers in a symbolic way.

Tree of Life

This tree represents you, it is a map of all of the infinite possibilities of the human being. It is incredibly sophisticated, and yet incredibly simple. I know at first glance it can look confusing and strange, but so did your language before you knew it. You are familiar with your first language, you are comfortable with it, because you have had lots of time and practice to work with it. The same is true with the Tree of Life; when you start working with it, when you start daily exploring it and understanding it, it becomes so simple, so easy, but so profound in what it can reveal about ourselves. 

The Tree of Life is a universal symbol that maps every potential experience from every level of nature. From the most elevated and sublime to the densest and darkest, they are all represented here in corresponding levels. The densest, lowest, darkest aspects of existence are in the submerged shadow of the tree (hell). In the middle regions we find all of these levels of nature that we have some personal knowledge of: physicality, energy, emotion, thought, will, etc. As you ascend higher and higher up the tree, you get into more and more subtle, more expansive, yet simpler levels. They are simple but profound. Simple like space, but profound like space. Simple like infinity, but profound like infinity. We all can conceive of the notion of space, but none of us comprehend it. We are all existing in space, but we do not comprehend that: we do not perceive it consciously, and we do not consciously understand it. 

tree of life psyche

Our physicality is represented by the sphere called Malkuth, which means the “kingdom.” Each of us inhabit our “kingdom,” our physical body. But obviously the physical body is not all that we are. This physical body is animated by its energy, which is Yesod. That energy is slightly more subtle than the physical body. Within Yesod, even more subtle, are our emotions in Hod. Thoughts are in Netzach. These four spheres are easily and immediately provable to anyone of us; we can prove and experiment with these four aspects of our existence. Yet, we cannot prove them to anyone else. You cannot prove your thoughts or emotions to anyone. You can describe them, but you cannot prove them, because I cannot perceive what you are perceiving. This fact immediately demonstrates that Meditation, self-realization, liberation, is one hundred percent dependent on you: no one else, nothing else. No one can save us but ourselves, because no one can know our mind, our karma, our emotions, our Consciousness, but our own self, through our own perception. This is why mediation, spirituality, religion always begins with cognizance of oneself; self-knowledge. It is the beginning, and it is the whole path: self-observation, self-knowing, self-realization. 

We begin with learning these four aspects — Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, Netzach — by putting them under our constant observation, constant watchfulness; the body, its energy, emotion, and thought. This is why when we meditate as we did today we start with that. We relax the body, we relax emotion, we relax thought, and we separate from them. Why? Because the observer is not the body, it observes the body. The observer is not the energy, it observes the energy. The observer is not emotion, it is separate from emotion. It is not thought, it is separate from thought. So who or what is the one observing all of that? Experiencing all of that? This is what we need to prove. We cannot prove it to anyone else and no one can prove it to us. Whether we believe in it or not is irrelevant. We need the fact of knowing for ourselves: who is the observer.? Who is the experiencer, the perceiver, the knower of being? Who is perceiving? 

If we look at this structure that we already described, that observer is not any of those parts, so it must be something else. What about Tiphereth, the next sphere up? That means “beauty,” it relates to willpower. If you observe observation, it is an active will. You willfully look, you willfully listen, you willfully perceive. So will is placing attention; that is concentration. That is how we concentrate in our Meditation: we use our willpower. If we are not using that, we are not willfully placing attention, then we are not concentrating. If our attention is constantly being attracted in one direction and then in another direction, we have thoughts and we are following those thoughts, then a memory comes and we are following that memory, and then an emotion arises and we are following that emotion, this means we in a complete state of distraction. This means that we have no will to control our attention, like a monkey. See how distracted an animal is, a dog, a cat, even a young child? They are running from one thing to the next, constantly distracted. They are not able to hold attention on one thing and maintain it on one thing to finish the task at hand. Most of us start one thing and get distracted by something else and start doing that other thing and then we get distracted again and we start doing that. So we leave behind us a trail of unfinished projects, thoughts, emotions, and situations. We are constantly distracted. You can see that will, even though it is directing attention, is not attention itself. It is not perception itself, it directs attention, but it is not attention. This is because perception is more subtle than will, it is something else. 

You see how subtle this is becoming? If you meditate, you start to understand this; you may not be able to explain it intellectually but you can taste the distinctions I am pointing towards. 

As we study higher spheres on the tree, things get more and more subtle. When we reach Geburah, we are talking about divine Consciousness. Tiphereth is human Consciousness. Geburah is divine Consciousness. These represent Consciousness in two aspects, more subtle. And then when you go to Chesed, this is spirit, very subtle; all of these are part of us, but totally outside of our conscious experience. 

Everyone talks about spirit, they talk about being spiritual, being a spiritual person but if everyone in the room defined spirit, every definition would be different, and that in itself proves that none of it is based on facts. If it were based on facts every definition would be exactly the same. That is how a fact is: a fact is what it is. It is incontestable. Humanity in its current condition has no clue what spirit is because we do not even know who we are. We do not even know ourselves thus we cannot know spirit. In Hinduism, what we are calling spirit is called Atman, which means “self.” But it is not that terrestrial self with my name in history, Atman is something without time, something that does not have the conditioning of the ‘I’ that we think of. 

But you see, we are still not at the top of the Tree of Life. We are at the fourth sephirah, and there are more subtle levels beyond that. 

This yellow one which is called Daath (“knowledge”) is actually another tree entirely that relates to this position on the Tree of Life; it relates to the throat, and is something we will talk more about in other courses and lectures. Daath bridges this abyss between the lower seven sephiroth and the upper three. It represents knowledge, but not any knowledge. It is a very specific kind of knowledge, a divine, angelic, very elevated kind of knowledge. 

Above Daath there is an upper triangle, a trinity of forces which in Hebrew are called Kether, Chokmah and Binah. In Hinduism they are called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In Christianity, they are Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Every religion has a trinity. That trinity represents symbolically a power, an intelligence, a subtle aspect of beingness that is in everything. Like space, the trinity pervades and penetrates everything that exists. In Buddhism they call this the Trikaya. In Hinduism it is the Trimurti, the three faced, the three aspected. It is no accident that East and West both describe this fundamental trinity at the base of all existing things, because it is a law of nature. We call it the law of three. These three are one, they are a light, an intelligence, a fundamental beingness at the root of everything in manifestation and they are a light that emerges out of the emptiness. 

The emptiness is a pure potentiality which is called the abstract absolute, a kind of uncreated light that is a pure potential. When it becomes its first expression, it is this radiance of the power of three. This may sound very abstract to you, and in a certain sense it is, but it is important to understand, because that power of three creates the entire Tree of Life on every level. That power of three multiplies upon itself and creates all the laws of everything that exists. Every atom of our physical structure is based on this power of three and it expresses that power of three, not just physically but spiritually, physiologically, emotionally, mentally… everything about us is based in the complication of threes by threes. This is the basis of Kabbalah. You may have heard of it as numerology or even astrology. Numbers form the basis of every scripture in the world. 

Everything perceptible emerges out of this abstraction, and when it emerges, it emerges as a primordial light of beingness that we call a trinity that is not separate from us. It is the root of being. It is the first spark of life in any living thing. So if we have the capacity to extract our perception from all density, to rest the body and abandon it, to rest our energy and abandon it, to rest our emotion and abandon it, to extract ourselves from thought, to extract ourselves from will, Consciousness, spirit; we access and experience that beingness. This is possible for any of us to do, but it takes a tremendous courage, because with each veil that you are stripping away you sense and feel that you are losing your identity, that you are not yourself. We feel fear because of that. 

We feel we are the physical body, we don’t want to leave it, and that is why most meditators quit. They only want to sit in their physical body and experience the physical body and its sensations. They think that samadhi and mediation is about experiencing physical sensations, and they are wrong. Or we want to feel energy and its sensations, so we become very identified with our so called “Meditation practice,” stimulating energy to feel energetic sensations, believing that sensations are real and important, but they are not. Or we have a spiritual life based on experiencing emotional sensations and we are very attached to that. We have a devotional or religious emotional life that we want to experience bliss through our emotions, and believe that those emotions are real and fundamentally important and will lead us to enlightenment, but they are not. Or we are pursuing religion through our intellect, through memorizing and studying complicated scriptures and theories and doctrines, seeking that feeling of accomplishment intellectually. ‘Yes, I have studied this, I have mastered Hebrew or Sanskrit and I know these scriptures . . .’ And we think each of these types of pursuits is religion, how we will find our true self, but we are wrong in each case. Each one of those approaches is limited, each one is only providing an illusory sense of self and not providing access to our real identity. 

The shadow of the tree is the Hell realms, which is where all of the degenerated aspects of our psyche reside. Our anger, pride, lust and envy, all of that is there, within us, submerged, hidden. Many people seek enjoyment in the sense of self through anger, through lust, through pride, seeking wealth, material accomplishments, etc. Everyone in the world thinks “success” or “fame” or “wealth” means something, and that they give liberation from suffering, or that’s the purpose of life and of course they are wrong. 

There are two important points here. 

One: all creatures in manifestation are seeking bliss, seeking happiness, seeking fulfillment. However, most are seeking it in the wrong way. 

Two: the lower down you go on this tree, the stronger the sense of ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Myself’, and inevitably, also the greater the suffering. The stronger the sense of self, the sense of ‘Me’, ‘Myself’, the stronger the suffering. This is not theoretical, this is provable. The higher you go up the Tree of Life, the less the sense of self, of ‘Me, ‘Myself’, and ‘I’. More selflessness, more happiness, more peace, more serenity, etc. 

All the virtues are in the upper regions. All the defects, vices, and errors are in the lower regions. The gods are above, the demons are below. Happiness, bliss, is above, suffering is below. Simple, right?

To experience reality, one has to experience the Trikaya (upper trinity) and beyond, which are completely selfless. There is no ‘I’ there. There is no sense of ‘Me’. There is a kind of individuality but is has nothing to do with what we think of as being an individual. Beings who have Consciousness at this level are beings like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna; extremely highly developed human beings who have powers and abilities far beyond our comprehension and yet have no ‘I’. Their every breath, their every thought, their every action is about you, is about others. Never about themselves. They never seek for their own pleasure, their own enjoyment, their own accomplishment, instead their every movement is about sacrifice and love for others. There is no ‘self’ there, there is only love, compassion, happiness, serenity. That is the nature of the Trikaya: compassion and wisdom. It is also a region of indescribable joy. profound happiness: bliss. True, unconditioned, unlimited bliss.

“The Self-existent [the upper trinity] is the essence of all felicity... Who could live, who could breathe, if that blissful Self dwelt not within the lotus of the heart? He it is that gives joy.

“Of what is the nature of joy?

“Consider the lot of a young man, noble, well-read, intelligent, strong, healthy, with all the wealth of the world at his command. Assume that he is happy, and measure his joy as one unit.

“One hundred times that joy is one unit of the gandharvas [elemental spirits]; but no less joy than gandharvas has the seer to whom the Self has been revealed, and who is without craving.

“One hundred times the joy of the gandharvas is one unit of the joy of celestial gandharvas [angels]; but no less joy than the celestial gandharvas has the sage to whom the Self has been revealed, and who is without craving.

“One hundred times the joy of the celestial gandharvas is one unit of the joy of the pitris [celestial parents] in their paradise... joy of the devas [gods]… joy of the devas born out of sacrifice... joy of the ruling devas... joy of Indra... joy of Brihaspati... joy of Prajapati... joy of Brahma [Kether], but no less joy than Brahma has the seer to whom the Self has been revealed, and who is without craving.

“It is written: He who knows the joy of Brahman (the Absolute), which words cannot express and the mind cannot reach, is free from fear. He is not distressed by the thought, "Why did I not do what is right? Why did I do what is wrong?" He who knows the joy of Brahman, knowing both good and evil, transcends them both.” —Taittiriya Upanishad 2.7-9

Thus, as we proceed up the Tree of Life, everything becomes less and less dense, more and more subtle, more free, more liberated, less restricted. Why is this important? Because our Meditation practice, fact-based, today, should be focused on this. The Tree of Life is a map of ourselves. Those subtle levels are within us. We can experience them right now if we take the Consciousness out of the dense, conditioning limits of the mind and body.

In Meditation, you can experience all this. It is not difficult, yet it requires clear understanding and precise methodology.

When we sit to meditate, we have to still the body and leave it alone so we can rise out of it. We then do the same with energy, emotion, thought, etc.

Let us consider science. Oil and water cannot mix. Similiarly, your inner spirit (Chesed, Atman, Buddha) cannot mix with your ego. This is the same physics as oil and water: they cannot mix. They may the appearance of being mixed, such as a salad dressing. Our psyche is a choatic mess, like a salad dressing: it is a mixture of many elements, and you are accustomed to the taste of it, but it is actually hurting you. If you want to experience the reality of the Inner Being, your true nature, you have to stop mixing up all the elements in your mind, and leave it alone. You have to set it down and let it rest. If you do that the parts will separate, and then you can see them clearly for what they are. Then it is not the taste of the “dressing” anymore, all the tastes become separate, isolated from each other psychologically. This gives great inner clarity.

So, just as oil and water separate naturally when they are left alone, the same occurs when we learn to rest our mind and body. This is how we learn to meditate properly. We put the body in its position, we let it rest, and we forget about it. We do the same with all the other aspects of our psyche. When we do that every day, little by little everything starts to separate and we start to see ourselves clearly; we can clearly see the differences between the levels, the layers of our body and mind. We develop the ability to sense and perceive for ourselves all of these levels on the Tree of Life, within ourselves. Then these teachings no longer are theoretical, but we are perceiving them, experiencing them. 

Why is this important? Because our state of Consciousness determines our experience of life. 

"When one discovers the real cause of so much misery and bitterness, it becomes obvious that something can be done...

"If we manage to eliminate our me, myself, our “I” of drinking sprees, our “I” of vices and our “I” of attachments that cause so much heartfelt sorrow within us; if we manage to eliminate those worries that torment our minds and make us ill, etc... then clearly what arrives is that which is timeless, that which is beyond the body, that which is beyond attachments and beyond the mind, that which is truly beyond our comprehension and is called happiness!

"Unquestionably, while our Consciousness remains trapped within the ego, the me, myself, the “I,” in no way will be able to know genuine happiness.

"Happiness has a quality that neither the me, myself, the “I,” or the ego has ever known." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion

To understand real happiness, we should study the facts of our own experiences. We have had many experiences. We need to understand the differences among them. 

Roughly we can say we have positive and negative experiences.

Positive Experiences

Characterized by selflessness, altruism, compassion, wisdom, non-attachment, diligence, zeal, sacrifice, love

  • Supraconscious: selfless experiences related to the trikaya and abstract absolute space
  • Conscious: selfless, clear apprehension of facts

Superconscious experiences are those related to these upper regions of the Tree of Life. Most of us we have never had experiences like that. We might have theories and ideas about those experiences, but we have no conscious experience of it because while our Consciousness is conditioned, it cannot experience it. Only if the Consciousness is extracted from its cage can it experience that. And honestly, without preparation, without understanding, if we had that experience now it would probably terrify us because we would experience the selfless nature of being. But when you are prepared, it illuminates you. 

A conscious positive experience would be one in which we have clear apprehension of the facts without ego interfering. Without an ‘I’ interfering. For most people that type of experience is exceedingly rare, because most of the time our experiences are characterized by some desire or another, some ego or another. Even when we do something generous or altruistic, generally the ego is there wanting to take credit which means it is truly not a selfless act. Sometimes we can experience conscious positive experiences when we truly do something out of love for another person; spontaneously without expecting anything in return and we can experience something higher than our normal life. That does happen, but it is not that often. Most of the time our experiences are characterized by an “I” of one kind or another, some flavor of anger or pride, lust, greed, gluttony, envy or laziness, etc. This defines the vast majority of our experiences, sadly: most of our experiences are negative, because the ego is involved. 

Negative Experiences

  • Subconscious: repeated patterns  
  • Unconscious: rooted in desires
  • Infraconscious: brutal animal impulses

Subconscious experiences are repeated patterns, usually based in memories. We always go to eat at a certain place because we have memories of experiencing pleasant sensations there and we want to repeat them. We are always attracted to the same type of mate because of sensations we want to repeat. Usually, we want to repeat our experiences of lust. Yet, we also have patterns of anger that we seek to repeat, patterns of gluttony, envy, pride… we have many repeated tendencies that we do not have awareness of. They are subconscious, they are below our awareness. Because of the ego, our whole life is made of subconscious patterns, repetitions. 

Unconscious behaviors are rooted in desires. We want to get ahead, we want to be noticed, we want to have some accomplishment so we always chasing money or chasing status; there are desires (for comfort, security, status) that motivate us without us really being aware of it. Why do we pick our clothes? It is not that we have a certain “taste,” it is that unconsciously those clothes are connected to the fulfillment of some desire: they reflect an image we want to project. Perhaps we want to look like someone we envy, or we want to attract someone we lust after, or we want to make someone else envious of us. In every case, there is an unconscious desire motivating our choices, actions, thoughts…

Infraconscious experiences are related to brutal animal impulses. Lust, anger, violence, greed. There are many deep and dark impulses that motivate us in ways that we do not perceive. None of us are free of them. Put in just the right circumstances, each of us are capable of terrible actions. 

Let it be clear that by “negative” we mean that the Consciousness is conditioned negatively, downwardly, towards the lower worlds on the Tree of Life. To the ego, to our desires, those experiences feel “positive,” but the consequences are negative for the Consciousness. For example, when we fulfill a desire it might feel good, but the effects of that experience condition the Consciousness, hypnotize it with sensations, desires, and start it dreaming towards repeating the sensations again. This is not liberation, it is enslavement. Thus, it is “negative.”

If we study the facts of what is happening in our world right now, it is easy to see that most of everything happening on this planet is negative, related to unconsciousness, subconsciousness, and infraconsciousness. 

“It is enough to read universal history to find out that we are still the same barbarians of the past, and instead of improving, we have become worse. 

“This present century with its magnificence, wars, prostitution, world-wide sodomy, sexual degeneration, drugs, alcohol, exorbitant cruelty, extreme perversion, monstrosity, etc., is the mirror in which we must see ourselves; there is not a good enough reason to boast of having reached a superior stage of development.” —Samael Aun Weor 

It is very hard to find conscious expressions of Being anywhere on this planet. It is very hard to find truly selfless acts rooted in virtue, expressions of virtue; it is exceedingly rare, which is very very sad. But if we are going to talk about facts we have to address that. 

Nevertheless, there is a range of potential experience. Studying this polarity shows us quite simply that if we want to experience real freedom, real happiness, we cannot find it through desire or sensations, but through liberating the Consciousness from low conditions. That is why we learn to meditate. 

So, let us study our Meditation experience in light of these types of experiences. If we look at how our Meditation went today, and we looked at the facts of it, what did we experience? What did we perceive during our Meditation session? Did we have positive or negative experiences? Did we have a selfless conscious apprehension of facts? Did we experience our Trikaya, the trinity? Did we experience something beyond the so-called “self” or were we just sitting in our physical bodies suffering? Struggling? Which is probably the case for most people. 

It is necessary for us to be this explicit when examining our spiritual life. We need to be very honest, very clear cut, very direct with ourselves. Be very demanding with yourself. Cut through the nonsense, cut through the lies we tell ourselves, cut through the illusions that we craft around ourselves. “I meditated today, I feel so good about myself.” What do you have to feel good about? You sat there and suffered. You sat there and fought with thoughts and emotions and sensations from the body. Ok, it is good that you fought it, it is good that you were making the effort. But what did you accomplish? Did you experience divinity? What held you back? Did you cut through illusions? Or did you daydream the entire time? You have to be boldly honest with yourself, willing to face the reality, willing to face the truth even if it not pleasant because if you do not, things will never change. If we want change, we have to see the facts and that begins with ourselves inside. 

During the course of a Meditation session we can experience many things. We can experience visions, we can have spiritual experiences. We go out of our body, we perceive other worlds, we experience spiritual powers and it can feel tremendous. That sensation does not make those experiences positive. Having experiences or visions doesn’t automatically indicate they are positive. We can be awakened in other dimensions, out of the physical body, or even in the body having visions, awakened, but  those visions are usually just reflections of our psyche, illusions from the hell realms: we are seeing our desires. Being awakened does not automatically mean that experiences are positive. You can be awakened and still be one hundred percent negative. A demon is awakened; a witch, a sorcerer, has visions, experiences, pleasant sensations. They have awakened Consciousness, but are completely conditioned by desire. So, being awakened does not mean that one is on the right path. Another example is someone who is schizophrenic. The schizophrenic, or the person suffering dementia, paranoia and other types of conditions, perceives non-physical images and sounds. They say, “I am hearing voices, and I am seeing things’ and we think it is nonsense, but it is not. They are seeing, but negatively. Their Consciousness is awakened, but negatively. So we need to make that distinction as well. Seeing things does not automatically mean it is good. If we do not question ourselves and our perceptions, then we will definitely end up degenerating.

All of us are seeking happiness, we are seeking contentment, we are seeking fulfillment. This is the natural impulse of being: to find ones purpose, the reason for being. But because we are so clouded by desires, by patterns, by impulses, we tend to seek contentment, bliss, through desire. Everyone on the planet is doing that. If we observe the animals they are seeking happiness through their animal behaviors. The so called human beings are no different. Every so called human being is seeking happiness and contentment through sensations, through desire, through ‘I’ : what ‘I’ want, what my ego wants, what my pride wants, what my lust wants, what my envy wants… which means we are seeking bliss through negative experiences, harmful experiences; emotionally, intellectually, physically. 

Real bliss, real happiness, cannot be found in the lower aspects of the Tree of Life. Everything on the Tree of Life is impermanent and interdependent. This may sound like philosophical mumbo jumbo, but it isn’t, it is very important. When we analyze our experiences, particularly the negative side, we can see the importance of it. What does anger seek? It seeks its own type of contentment: it wants others to suffer as it has suffered. When we are angry, we are blaming someone for our pain, and we want them to suffer even worse pain. That is all that anger wants: it wants others to be in pain, because it is suffering. There is no other purpose of anger. I know nowadays people think anger is “normal,” and everyone is willing to accept anger and embrace anger. But in all religions, anger is a sin. Anger is a form of suffering, and it can only cause suffering; it can never bring happiness. Anger produces and creates pain; that is all it can do. So when anger is controlling us, it wants to make others suffer and it finds contentment, strangely, by making others suffer. Yet none of us are willing to recognize that. We love our anger. We protect our anger. We get angry and we only see everything through our anger and when others are suffering we feel good, right? Why? 

The anger, the lust, the pride, envy, greed, are all the same in that way, they all are seeking happiness, but through their own perception. Lust wants to experience sensations. It seeks happiness through sensations and it believes that when it experiences those sensations it will feel bliss. And briefly through lust, one experiences blissful sensations. But what that entity does not recognize is that it comes at a cost, always, it comes at a cost. Just like anger comes at a cost. When anger expresses itself, it produces suffering. Suffering doesn’t just happen without any consequence. When we make someone suffer we acquire karma. When lust fulfills its desires, we acquire karma. When envy takes what it wants from others, we cause suffering and we acquire karma. 

Furthermore, none of these elements recognize that the bliss it seeks is impermanent, it’s insatiable, in fact. Lust has brief sensations of bliss, then it fades and the desire only wants more. And the more you feed lust the stronger it gets, it is never satisfied. What about pride? Pride is the same, it is insatiable. You feed pride a little bit, it just gets stronger and fatter and more powerful and has more and more control and it will never, ever get enough. 

“Even were the wealth of the entire world bestowed lavishly on a man, he would not be happy: contentment is difficult to attain.” —Uttaradhyayana Sutra 8.16

“O my wealth-coveting and foolish soul, when will you succeed in emancipating yourself from the desire for wealth? Shame on my foolishness! I have been your toy! It is thus that one becomes a slave of others. No one born on earth did ever attain to the end of desire.... Without doubt, O Desire, your heart is as hard as adamant, since though affected by a hundred distresses, you do not break into pieces! I know you, O Desire, and all those things that are dear to you! The desire for wealth can never bring happiness.” —Mahabharata, Santi Parva 177

Desire is all about ‘me.’ Desire, craving, is a condition of the lower worlds, hell. It is a quality of demons. Everything in the lower regions are illusions; none of it is fundamentally real. The ‘I’, the ego, thinks desires and the fulfillment of desires is real, but it isn’t. Everything in the lower worlds exists only temporarily, because of causes and conditions. Nothing there is reliable or permanent, but even more important: nothing there can provide genuine happiness. Where we find something true and lasting and real is only in the upper regions, and you have to go very high on the Tree of Life to find anything that has a fundamental substance, a fundamental existence. 

Truthfully, everything on the Tree of Life is interdependent; meaning nothing on the tree exists in and of itself, on its own. Every part depends on something else. And if something is depending on something else, it does not exist on its own, it cannot be relied upon. The physical body is heavily dependent on so many things. It cannot be relied upon, it will die. And it can be killed in so many ways. A tiny microbe can kill it. How can you depend on this body? How can you expect it is going to last long enough for you to liberate yourself from suffering? It won’t, and the same is true for every other part of ourselves. Our energy is extremely vulnerable, our emotions are extremely vulnerable, and our mind is extremely vulnerable. A single bad experience can be enough to drive someone mentally unstable, they can lose everything in their lives. So we cannot depend on the body (Malkuth), its energy (Yesod), emotions (Hod), thoughts (Netzach). Even our will (Tiphereth) is so weak and so easily diverted away from good things. I know we all think we are very spiritual but if someone came in here with just enough temptation we would abandon this classroom immediately. 

Even if you create the Astral body, the Mental body, the Causal body, and you start reaching these higher levels, all those levels suffer the same vulnerabilities, the same fundamental impermanence; having these bodies does not guarantee liberation, truth, security, or real happiness. The only place where you begin to find something permanent and real and lasting is in the Trikaya, the top trinity on the Tree of Life. This is why we stress Meditation so intensely in this tradition. It is good to create the Astral body, the Mental body, the Causal body, but it is not enough. It is good to learn Meditation, it is good to learn transmutation, it is good to learn about the ego and the psyche and learn to change all of those things. However unless you are capable of directly accessing the Trikaya, this upper region of your own self, then you have no concept of what ‘real’ self is, what the true nature is, what reality is. 

When this body dies and your Consciousness leaves it, there is an opportunity in that transition to perceive the fundamental truth immediately. With training before death, one can be ready to recognize these three aspects of beingness, to perceive them, to know them, to be cognizant through the process of death. That training is in Meditation, today. It is also in training every night when we go to sleep. There is a way to extract your own beingness from all these lower aspects and directly connect with that trinity tonight. It just takes the courage to abandon the lower parts of our sense of self. 

"Bliss is the essential nature of man. The central fact of man's being is his inherent divinity.

"Man's essential nature is divine, the awareness of which he has lost because of his animal propensities and the veil of ignorance. Man, in his ignorance, identifies himself with the body, mind, Prana and the senses. Transcending these, he becomes one with Brahman or the Absolute who is pure bliss.

"Brahman or the Absolute is the fullest reality, the completest Consciousness. That beyond which there is nothing, that which is the innermost Self of all is Atman or Brahman... It is the pure, absolute, essential Consciousness of all the conscious beings.

"The source of all life, the source of all knowledge is the Atman, thy innermost Self. This Atman or Supreme Soul is transcendent, inexpressible, uninferable, unthinkable, indescribable, the ever-peaceful, all-blissful.

"There is no difference between the Atman and bliss. The Atman is bliss itself. God, perfection, peace, immortality, bliss are one. The goal of life is to attain perfection, immortality or God. The nearer one approaches the Truth, the happier one becomes. For, the essential nature of Truth is positive, absolute bliss.

"There is no bliss in the finite. Bliss is only in the Infinite. Eternal bliss can be had only from the eternal Self.

"To know the Self is to enjoy eternal bliss and everlasting peace. Self-realisation bestows eternal existence, absolute knowledge, and perennial bliss.

"None can be saved without Self-realisation. The quest for the Absolute should be undertaken even sacrificing the dearest object, even life, even courting all pain.

"Study philosophical books as much as you like, deliver lectures and lectures throughout your global tour, remain in a Himalayan cave for one hundred years, practise Pranayama for fifty years, you cannot attain emancipation without the [conscious] realisation [the experience] of the oneness of the Self.” - Swami Sivananda

Knowing these upper aspects through your own experience, you experience what it is to be selfless, yet to be. To be a perceiver, a knower, an intelligence, a wisdom, but without ‘I’. The intellect cannot conceive of that, but when you experience it you will understand it. In the Bible this upper trinity is called “the Crown of Life.” In the book of Revelation it says:

“To he who overcometh, I will give a crown of life.”

What does one overcome? Everything below it. Attachment to everything else, to not be attached to physicality, to pride, to anger, lust, shame. To not be attached to energy, emotion, thought, will, anything. To be free of all attachment, to simply be. One then vibrates at those levels, very high. That is the superconscious experience I was describing earlier. We cannot have that as long as we are identified with our three brains and sensations, like we are now. 

“When totally free from outer contacts
a man finds happiness in himself,
he is fully trained in God's discipline
and reaches unending bliss.
The experiences we owe to our sense of touch
are only sources of unpleasantness.
They have a beginning and an end.
A wise man takes no pleasure in them.
That man is disciplined and happy
who can prevail over the turmoil
That springs from desire and anger,
here on earth, before he leaves his body.” —Bhagavad Gita 5.21-23

We are all seeking bliss, fulfillment, something reliable, something to define our life, to give meaning to our lives. We are seeking that through our intellect, emotion and body. And we seek those things spiritually in the same ways. We need these parts of ourselves, we need to use them, but they need to be used in the right way. Most significantly we need to understand that the way we use them from moment to moment is what creates our life. How we use our energy, our Consciousness, our mind, our thought, our body are what create the consequences that we experience. If we want to experience the truth, that subtle space at the base of all living things, the base of all existence, we can. We just have to produce the actions that result in that. 

If we eliminate the ego and all its desires, we find true happiness, true contentment, true bliss. 

“From Joy there is some bliss, from Perfect Joy yet more, from the Joy of cessation [nirvana] comes a passionless state [serenity], and the Joy of the Innate [Absolute] is finality. The first comes by desire for contact {through the senses], the second by desire for [conscious] bliss, the third from the passing of passion [death of the ego], and by this means the fourth [the absolute] is realized.” —Hevajra Tantra 8.32-33

Those who are chasing lust and living through their anger and pride think they are going to find bliss and happiness through feeding their lust, through feeding their pride. They ignore are that everything is impermanent. Even if they get momentary bliss, they have committed an action that produces a consequence. This is the law of cause and effect. Everything we do has a consequence. If we are pursuing lust, anger, pride and envy, we are acquiring consequences for those actions. Modern humanity does not care about that, and everything in our media is encouraging us to chase our desires and to feed them, to strengthen them. Everything in our culture is about ‘get what you want’. It is all a big lie. It ignores the law of cause and effect. Everything we do has a consequence. We experience that, but we ignore it; we do not want to see it. 

Someone who is pursuing lust and having lustful relationships suffers a lot, especially emotionally because they never find love. Love and lust cannot mix, so the lustful person — the prostitute, the sex addict, the masturbator — never finds love because they are saturated with lust, which is selfish: it cannot love anyone. It only seeks to fulfill its own desire. Lust cannot love. So they suffer, but they do not recognize that they are the producer of their own suffering, they blame others. They blame their parents, they blame their culture, they blame the other sex or the other gender, or whatever, never recognizing the law of cause and effect. 

Secondly, we never recognize that the effects of our actions are greater than the cause. When we produce an action, the consequences of that action ripple out and produce more effects than the energy it took to create that action.

We also ignore that you cannot receive a consequence without completing its corresponding action. Everyone thinks that God will just welcome them and we will just go to heaven as soon as we die, and if we just right at the last minute, when we are about to die we say ‘God forgive me, I’m sorry for all the bad things I did . . .’ It doesn’t work like that. We get what we deserve.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” —Galatians 6

If we want liberation, if we want to rise up out of the level of demons and the people that are in the hell realms, then we have to stop committing the actions that correspond to those levels. Meaning, we have to renounce lust, pride, anger, envy. Not simply to renounce them, but to eliminate them from our mind so that we become incapable of them. That is how one becomes a purified soul: through actions. 

Therefore to receive the consequence we want, we have to produce the action that corresponds to it. If we want the bliss of the superior levels, we have to produce the actions that correspond to them. 

Furthermore, once an action is performed, the consequences cannot be erased. We can apologize when we have done something wrong, but the results of that action will remain. When we hurt someone, they will remain hurt no matter how penitent we might be afterward. The pain will not be taken away just because we say “I’m sorry.” The same applies in every other level of the Tree of Life. If we do something harmful, the result will still be there. 

Finally, fortunately for us, a superior law always overcomes an inferior law. We have all done wrong. Without any exception, every person on this planet is a liar, a thief, a murderer, a fornicator and an adulterer. All of us are guilty of those actions. 

Let us consider this:

Once an action is performed the consequence cannot be erased.

Yet,

A superior law always overcomes an inferior one.

These appear to contradict each other, but they do not. We have all done wrong, and that is why we are suffering now. If we want to change our situation, and find genuine bliss, happiness, we need to perform superior actions: this applies to our Meditation, how we meditate. We need to reach for a superior method, a superior action in our Meditation in order to overcome the inferior consequences that we will otherwise suffer. 

We need to understand that the path of Meditation has three basic factors, explained in the beginning of this course. 

  1. Sila: Ethics
  2. Samadhi: Ecstasy (Bliss)
  3. Prajna: Profound Wisdom

The very beginning of religion, whatever religion you want to follow, whatever spiritual life you want to adopt; all of them have the beginning foundation as ‘ethics’ without any exception. Nowadays people think they can invent their own religion, but they are fooling themselves, because everyone wants to have “spirituality” and also fulfill all of their desires. In other words, they skip the first, most important step of religion: ethics. If you want to find real happiness, bliss, you cannot skip ethics. 

Ethics means that we stop harmful action and we adopt beneficial action. So in the moment when we feel anger, we control it and we seek to transform that anger into love, to not allow the anger to escape our mouth, or to escape through our hands, even to escape through our eyes. Instead we observe the person we are angry with and observe them with love, with understanding that they are suffering and whatever they may have done to make us angry, they did not intend to make us suffer and thus we should not intend to make them suffer. You see this is how conscious willpower can take control of the three brains (intellect, emotion and body) and transform that negative experience into a positive one. So: the superior law (conscious will) conquers the inferior law (anger). Then we become an expression not of the hell realms, but of the superior ones. We are expressing not a defect of pride and anger, but virtues of selflessness and compassion, patience and tolerance. Doesn’t that sound like how we should be living? That is ethics. That is only step one. And it corresponds to this triangle on the Tree of Life: Netzach, Hod, Yesod, which are thought, emotion, energy. 

Ethics guide how we act as a psyche, psychologically: how we behave, how we utilize these functions that we have available to us. If we seriously are doing that and we are meditating on our defects and on our virtues in order to understand them, the second stage of Dharma occurs spontaneously on its own. In Sanskrit, it is called Samadhi. We can translate that in a lot of different ways, and in accordance with today’s lecture it would be “bliss.” When someone is acting not from their self-will, but from a cognizant conscious will that is selfless, they are then a reflection of divinity. We talked about how very highly developed beings are expressions of cognizant love, terrific wisdom and compassion. When we act appropriately with our ethics and we reflect that sort of behavior, that produces a bliss, an ecstasy, of some degree or another. And it can be as immediate as the instant that you give food to the one who is starving, and you feel love for that person: that is a form of real bliss, real happiness. That is not pride, that is sincere, that is love. That doesn’t belong in the hell realms. That is from the very height of beingness, that kind of love that serves others. It gives with no expectation of anything in return but gives for the sake of loving, to reduce suffering, to help. That action provides an ecstasy, a bliss, and that corresponds to the middle triangle of the Tree of Life

In the level from Tiphereth down, those levels of our psyche — emotion, intellect, energy, physicality and the submerged mind — are mixed up with our karma, with our desires, with our defects. Anything that is experienced in these levels is highly questionable. 

But in this middle region — Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth — there is no ego. That is why it corresponds to ecstasy, bliss. In that level, the Consciousness is not afflicted by the ego. So, again, that is why we meditate: to extract the Consciousness (Tiphereth) from the lower conditions, thus allowing it to experience its true nature: bliss, freedom, contentment, etc.

Now if that experience of Samadhi deepens and persists, and we develop mastery, it can give rise to profound wisdom which is called prajna and corresponds to the upper level of the tree. 

These three stages of the dharma correspond to the Tree of Life. These terms are from Buddhism, yet they correspond directly to the Tree of Life of Kabbalah. The main thing is how to understand how they apply to your Meditation practice. 

In Meditation, we seat the physical body (Malkuth), we relax the energy and utilize the energy (Yesod), we relax the emotion (Hod), and we relax the intellect (Netzach). So this lower aspect is what we experience very easily and can work with those very directly in Meditation. But you see, these aspects are very clouded because it is through our thought, emotion, energy and body that our desires are seeking their expression. Pride is filling our head with thoughts, and filling our heart with that desire to feel admired, and praised. And it is filling the body with energy in order to go out and do the actions that will acquire that praise for us. We want some particular person to look up to us or feel belittled by us because we are so great. So even if we are meditating regularly, if we are in that type of psychological atmosphere, we are conditioned. We may even be a meditator who wants to be admired for being such a good meditator. We have Meditation pride. We want everyone else to look, ‘Oh wow, his posture is so good. He can sit there for an hour without moving.’ We want others to feel that way about us, to envy us. 

But if you are able to extract Consciousness, you let the body come to rest, energy come to rest, emotion come to rest, intellect come to rest and you are retreating into will (Tiphereth), that is directing attention. And you are projecting your will at something, observing it. The body will try to distract you, energy will try to distract you, emotion and thought will all try to distract you and pull you back into their world. So you have to have patience and consistency to develop sufficient concentration and will to remain concentrated. 

That is what these nine stages are about that we explained in all these previous lectures: will to develop pliancy. Pliancy is a quality that emerges when the body and mind become trained, and they become subservient to will. Meaning that when it is time to meditate, the body and mind happily agree, they do not fight you anymore. That is pliancy. 

Only when all of this is relaxed, still, like the oil and water separating, the Consciousness can pop right out of all those conditions effortlessly without any exertion. That is how we experience what we call Samadhi, ecstasy, bliss. That is an unconditioned happiness. It can take many forms. It can be as simple as, you can be aware of the body, aware of energy, aware of thought, aware of emotion, aware of space, aware of many things but just feel so content. So happy. So simple. Unconditioned. It can be that simple. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you feel it, it will radically change you. Bliss can arise in many other ways, too. You can suddenly awaken Consciousness in one of these other dimensions and be more awake than you are now in your physical body and experiencing that world as more real than what you are experiencing now in your physical body. And that can be in the astral world, the mental world, the causal world or beyond. That also is called Samadhi. 

Samadhi corresponds to any type of experience where the Consciousness is not conditioned by the lower vehicles or the ego. So there are many types of experiences that are “samadhi’s.” They can be in any of these levels. You can go out of your bodies as a Consciousness and go into your own hell realms and see your hell realms, and that is a Samadhi because you are conscious of it, you are aware, you are not afraid, you are not disturbed. You are self-less, but awake. That is a Samadhi, and a very valuable one because when you see what is in your mind, in your psyche, in the depths, that perception gives you knowledge, insight and wisdom. It shows you things that you can work on to change. 

You see, experiences in the heavens are beautiful, but they don’t help you much. They might give you inspiration, they might give you some understanding, but what you need is to eliminate all the devils and demons that are in your own mind, submerged in the darkness that you do not see right now. So that is why we learn the science. We are not interested in chasing pleasant experiences: that is merely to continue with our former bad habits, only in a supposed “spiritual” way. No: in real Meditation practice, you do not chase pleasure (whether physical or spiritual), but pursue knowledge, especially knowledge about how you created your own suffering. 

That trinity that I was explaining is here in this fundamental principle that I explained to you today:

Concentration + Imagination ➞ Meditation

We learn to concentrate, we learn to visualize, and in that combination we access the state of Meditation: samadhi. 

Those three principles are the first three cards of the Tarot, and they are the first three Sephiroth of the Tree of Life

tarot 1  tarot 2  Tarot 3

Learn about the meanings of the Tarot cards.

The Magician is a masculine projective force. When we sit to concentrate we are willpower, focused, projective. In this tradition we learn to visualize. In todays practice we visualized a sun. We were willfully projecting an internal image of a sun. That corresponds to concentration, the first principle, the Magician. If in the experience of that practice we were able to project it, to willfully place the image, and then find that the image is sustained effortlessly, then then we have established imagination, the second aspect, where that image is no longer projected, but received. The Magician (concentration) is projective, while the Priestess (imagination) is receptive. Then, concentration is placed on an image that we are receiving. When these two are harmonized, balanced, then the third force arises naturally: The Empress, which here represents the perception of reality.

 

"The number three is the Empress, the divine light. The light in itself is the Divine Mother. It corresponds to that part of Genesis that says, “And God said let there be light and there was light” (the first day of creation)." —Samael Aun Weor

That divine light is the light of bliss, the light of samadhi that reveals the truth, reality.

Yet, there are deeper meanings here, too. 

"Pray and meditate intensely. The Divine Mother teaches her children. Prayer must be performed by combining Meditation with the sleepy state. Then, as in a vision of a dream, illumination emerges. The Divine Mother [the Empress, the Arcanum 3] comes to the devotee in order to instruct them in the great mysteries." —Samael Aun Weor

 

In addition, the third arcanum represents the trinity, the trikaya, that part of ourselves closest to reality.

Thus, by combining concentration and imagination, the true state of Meditation happens. That is the door to samadhi. That is how you access it.

Meditation is simple. It isn’t complicated, it doesn’t require reading a bunch of books, memorizing a lot of things, going to different places. Meditate every day. Work with concentration and imagination constantly until you get that ability to where when you project an image you can let it go and it is sustained and you see it easily, without effort. It becomes receptive. You will begin receiving new information or you will be going out of your body. That is Meditation

These three factors are an expression of the law of three. These three create. They create understanding, comprehension. 

These three factors have many names, but always express the same principles:

  • Concentration + Imagination ➞ Meditation
  • Calm Abiding + Insight ➞ Ecstasy
  • Shamatha + Vipashyana ➞ Samadhi

It is important to know these factors in detail, in your own experience. Thus, study and practice them in this way:

Distinguishing features of Serenity (Shamatha, concentration):

  1. vivid intensity, intense mental clarity
  2. stability, one-pointedness

Distinguishing features of Insight (Vipashyana):

  1. visualization / imagination
  2. analysis / discrimination

Your Meditation practice needs these characteristics. 

When developing concentration, look for vivid intensity and intense clarity, stability and one pointedness. What this means is the ability to place attention on one thing, perceive it, hold it without being distracted. 

When we are working with visualization we need to be able to perceive the image, to visualize or imagine it. But we also need to be able to discriminate between what is a projection of the ego and what is genuinely received from the superior level. That you learn through experience, through study of yourself and of Kabbalah, the Tree of Life

Learn to concentrate and visualize and discriminate what you see. Don’t take visions as real, don’t take visions as what they appears to be, but discriminate, analyze. 

Regarding analysis, let me point out that analysis is not intellectual. This is all an act of will, Consciousness. This is something beyond intellect. So when it says ‘analyze and discriminate’ it doesn’t mean your donkey mind is saying ‘well, I’m trying to remember when in this lecture, and he said this and that,’ no. That is intellect. That is memory. Analysis is perception, not comparison. Discrimination is perception, not comparison. The intellect compares. We are not talking about comparing when you do your analysis. Discrimination is to see through appearances and recognize the truth. To see what it really is, not what it appears to be. 

Exercises

1. Every day, as part of your self-observation from moment to moment, become aware of your use of imagination. 

2. Every day, practice meditative retrospection. Recall what you perceived externally and internally from the entire day.

3. Write the facts of your day in your spiritual diary.

Throughout the course of the day, observe yourself, watch your psyche. Be aware of how the body, the energy, the thought and emotion are functioning in you. Is your will controlling them, or are your desires controlling them? Throughout everything that you do, self-observation is really important, specifically how you are using your imagination. Because we are using our imagination all day long so we need to know how we are using it. 

And in the second step, Meditation retrospection at the end of your day take some time to relax and recall with your imagination everything that you experienced through the day. The facts of those things. So this is a Meditation practice, this is not an intellectual analysis, it is not to sit and write out a list, or to see how you felt about the way things happened emotionally. It is not something that happens with the three brains. This is something cognizant, conscious. It is a review of the facts of your experiences, not only externally, but internally. So how did you behave, objectively speaking? Not how you wish you had behaved, but what did you actually do? What were the consequences of what you did in the facts of what you experienced? 

The key and most important thing to all of this is to learn to separate the facts from the desire to change them. No speculating, no guessing, no reimagining of ‘I should have done it this way or I should have done it that way.’ This is just about gathering the facts of what you actually did, of what you actually experienced. Put the facts together. It is that accumulated body of facts over the course of days and weeks that will start to show you patterns that you did not see before. If every day you are still reworking your memories, massaging them and cleaning them up and making them look better, you are fooling yourself. Do not lie to yourself. Be honest, be sincere, be clear and direct. 

Third is to write those facts down. I know we all like to fudge the facts, make ourselves feel a little bit better about ourselves. Don’t do it. Change your behavior, start with this sort of thing. It is not hard to do, it just takes honesty. 

“The bliss of lusts and heaven-world equal not one sixteenth of the bliss of craving's ending.” —Udana 11

“The felicity that results from the gratification of desire, or that other purer felicity which one enjoys in heaven, does not come to even a sixteenth part of that which arises upon the abandonment of all kinds of thirst!” —Mahabharata, Shantiparva 177

Questions and Answers

Audience: [Inaudible]

Instructor: What did you have for breakfast? [pause] Don’t tell me, but see it. That is imagination. How did you get here today? [pause] Did you see those images flicker in your mind? That is how to imagine, visualize; you simply inquire inwardly and allow the images to appear. It takes no more than that; eventually, with use and training, that ability becomes stronger, clearer, deeper. 

That ability to recall things that were perceived is the very ability that we need to strengthen, and it doesn’t take effort. It simply takes using it. Like any muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it. When we were children that ability was very strong in us. In an instant we could imagine universes of activity all around us and we imagined being the superhero or the villain, running around playing games, but imagining so much, effortlessly. We still have that ability but it has been clouded by our bad habits. So we want to recover that. 

It does not require straining yourself to imagine. Some people think this is something supernatural, and they strain their faces, crushing their eyes together trying to force themselves to “see,” but that is wrong. That is not how it works. To see mental images is an effortless act. As easy as it is to remember where you were an hour ago or two hours ago, and these images just flicker through your imagination, that screen, the mind’s eye. That is what you want to work on, to strengthen. That is all. So little by little, as you conserve your energy and stabilize your psyche and work with that skill more consistently, it does become an effortless and easy thing to access. And eventually it becomes a very powerful tool. 

Audience: I have a question about imagination as well. In another sense could you say that imagination is just the reception of any impression? So if we are here in the physical body and we are receiving a number of physical impressions, sensorial impressions isn’t that all arises in the field of the imagination?

Instructor: Yes, it is. Imagination in the broadest sense simply means the perception of anything: of an impression, of some kind of information. It does apply to any level of nature. Why do we say this? Because in our current condition we do not see anything as it truly is: we only see the interpretations made of it by our senses and mind, and that interpretation appears in our imagination as an image with attached labels and meanings — properly said, those appear in our subconscious, unconscious, and infraconscious imagination.

Audience: So in another sense you could say that Meditation is just to, with your will remain in this moment and receiving all the impressions of this physical body?…

Instructor: In this slide we are looking at serenity and insight. Defined in the tantric traditions, insight is the ability to discriminate what is perceived. So if you study tantric Buddhism, and you have studied Shamata-Vipashyana, when you get to the point where you are working with techniques of insight, you are working with techniques of discrimination, specifically how to discriminate between the unreal and the real. That applies to anything that we can perceive. What matters is our response to it, how we interpret that, how it affects us. So that is the point of insight. It is to see and know what one is seeing, to discriminate that.

Audience: So then the problem is that when people are in the physical plane or are in the astral plane, or any plane; instead of receiving all the impressions with conscious imagination they are either thinking, or they are projecting some other kind of image that actually has no basis in reality, right?

Instructor: That is right, we are caught up in reactions and responses and imaginations that have nothing to do with reality.

Audience: So when we are meditating, if somebody were just to live in each moment and actually receive the impressions that were before them, you would already be able to cultivate that state…

Instructor: Of course, and in fact if you have come from that tradition that uses that type of terminology specifically, they do divide the development of insight in pre and post Meditation practices from those done in actual Meditation. Yet the development of discrimination or insight is a continual process. And it is precisely that: it is learning to see, and also discriminate what you see, not just to react and have the mind go off with associate processes like you mentioned. 

What is so important is to constantly develop the ability to recognize the illusory nature of whatever is perceived, not just to think that appearances are illusions, but to learn to actually see it. 

The practice that I explained to you today about retrospection is only the first part of a series of practices that one learns to do. In the first phase you observe your recollection of your day and you observe the facts of those experiences. Later you will pick out facts, experiences, and you will analyze them more deeply by taking that scene, that event as the object you concentrate on in order to gain insight into it. So you visualize that event, that thing that happened to you. You observe it with concentration. You play that scene back with your imagination, but you penetrate into it with your discrimination in order to uncover the aspects that you could not see when it was happening. The intellect cannot be engaged here, neither can emotion, because if they are allowed to act mechanically they will interfere. This has to be conscious. And when you have that capacity, particularly if you are able to access the state of samadhi or bliss then you are accessing your true nature and you are observing that scene without the influence of pride or lust or envy or greed; which means you are able to see it with perfect clarity. You can understand the karma, you can understand the position of the other people involved with that event. Moreover you will intuitively understand how to respond in a superior way, to transform that karma into something of benefit. You see how all these pieces come together?

Audience: So are the experiences that are illusory, are they because they are related to the ego and are there experiences higher in life that are no longer illusory or is . . .

Instructor: Where is the boundary between the illusory and the real? The fundamental truth is that the only thing that is fundamentally real is the Absolute. That is why we always mention it. When we look at the Tree of Life we conceptualize the primordial emptiness that everything comes out of. That is the only reality; everything else is relative, interdependent, impermanent… and that is what we forget. 

“Abstract space is the causa causorum of everything which is, has been, and will be. 

The profound and joyous space is certainly the incomprehensible “Seity” that is the ineffable mystic root of the seven cosmoses. It is the mysterious origin of all of that which we know as Spirit, matter, universes, suns, worlds, etc. 

“That,” the Divine, the space of happiness, is a tremendous reality beyond the universe and the gods. “That” does not have any dimension, and truly It is what always will be and has been. It is the life which intensely palpitates within each atom and within each sun. 

Let us now talk about the “Ocean of the Spirit.” How can It be defined? 

Certainly, the Ocean of the Spirit is Brahma, which is the first difference or modification of “That,” before which gods and human beings tremble. 

Is “That” Spirit? Truly I tell you that It is not. Is “That” matter? Certainly I tell you that It is not. 

“That” is the root of Spirit and of matter, but It is neither Spirit nor matter. 

“That” overcomes the laws of number, measurement, and weight, side by side, quantity, quality, front, back, above, below, etc. 

“That” is the immutable in profound divine abstraction. Light which has never been created by any God, neither by any human being. “That” has no name. 

Brahma is Spirit, but “That” is not Spirit. Ain the Unmanifested is Uncreated Light. 

The Absolute is life free in its motion; it is the supreme reality, the abstract 

space that only expresses itself as absolute abstract motion, happiness without limits, complete omniscience. The Absolute is Uncreated Light and perfect plenitude, absolute happiness, life free in its motion, life without conditions, without limits. 

Within the Absolute we pass beyond Karma and the gods, far beyond the Law, beyond the mind, and the individual Consciousness which only serves for mortifying our life. Within the Absolute we have neither an individual mind nor individual Consciousness. “There,” we are the free and absolutely happy unconditioned Being. 

The Absolute is life free in its motion, without conditions, without limitations, without a mortifying fear towards the Law. It is life beyond the Spirit and matter, beyond Karma and pain. 

The Absolute is absolute abstract space, absolute abstract motion, absolute liberty without conditions, without reserves, absolute omniscience, and absolute happiness.” —Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah

So in the course of our daily lives, what does this mean practically speaking? What we need as a skill in our perception is that cognizance that what I am seeing, what I am experiencing is not the whole truth. It is not to look at others and say, ‘oh you are an illusion so I can treat you badly.’ You know some people do interpret it that way, it is not like that. It means that I am not seeing everything. I am seeing something, and it has some reality at its level but it is relative, there is more. I can’t take this as it appears to be, it is illusory, what is the meaning beyond it, what is deeper? What is really happening?” So it is that questioning perspective that is important.

Audience: Could we also say that there is one level of illusion which is just anything that you can self-create that actually has no basis in anything whatsoever? That is all subjective ego. Like all my own ideas, all my own fantasies, all my own thoughts, that is just completely made up?

Instructor: Yes.

Audience: The higher levels are not really like that, there is actually something there and is not just something that I created in my mind, right? Even though it is not objectively real, it is not so subjective that it is all these fantasies that . . . What I mean is like for example if I look at a tree. There is something there. But if I create some image and have an idea about some fake tree that doesn’t actually exist, that is just fantasy. But there is some kind of tree there but . . .

Speaker: “It is relative to the perceiver; meaning, yes, you are perceiving the image of the tree, but that is not all there is to it. Nothing is what we think it is, nothing is the way we perceive it. Even when you are awakened in the internal worlds, you are still dealing with illusion, it is just on a different level.

Audience: But isn’t there a real danger in saying that since some people can think that all of their own fantasies are just as real as anything else?

Speaker: Of course. It is relative on a scale. That is why the Tree of Life is so important. The closer you get to the Absolute, the more real it is. The further away you are from the Absolute, the less real it is. So, our perceptions are relative. to where we are, what senses we are using, and what is the condition of our psyche and Consciousness

Your degree of Consciousness (level of Being) is what determines the reality of what you perceive. We are all here in our physical bodies, but every one of us has our own level of being. We here are probably all or less in the same condition, because we all have a lot of defects and a lot of ego and we are asleep, psychologically. If a buddha came in here, that buddha would look exactly like us; that is, according to appearances, she would look like any average person. In our condition, we would not have any clue that she was a buddha, because we would perceive her from our level of being with our current state of Consciousness. But, she would perceive us from her level. She would be in a physical body but would not be seeing things the way we see them. Her perceptions would be completely different, on another level: more real that ours. So, perception is relative. 

This also applies to being awake in the internal worlds. If we are awake in the astral plane and accompanied by a buddha, that buddha will see more, and more accurately, than we could. 

The perception of a bodhisattva would also be on another level, higher, since relative to their psychological work they can be far more awakened than a buddha. 

The unique quality of a bodhisattva is that a bodhisattva is working on learning to see the two truths simultaneously. 

  1. Absolute truth (reality, the emptiness)
  2. Conventional truth (apperances, relative truth)

As a bodhisattva works through the bhumis (levels) they acquire degrees of prajna (wisdom) that correspond to this upper trinity. These are degrees of objective perception (objective reasoning), a type of understanding of reality that is deeply profound and characterized by terrific compassion. Prajna is discriminative wisdom that is able to see the two truths at the same time. So someone with that degree of development would see the conventional reality that we see, but would also see the inherent emptiness of that. A bodhisattva seeing you can see you as you see yourself, and can see the veils that afflict you, and can see the reality that you do not see. Yet, most importantly, they have so much compassion that they also see how to best help you. That is how bodhisattvas have the ability to cut through and get right at the heart of something, because they have that type of perception. 

All of this sounds like a lot. I know that the terminology, the theories, the structures and all that stuff can seem overwhelming. The main thing is so be practicing consistently. It is the most important thing. Practice a lot, practice, practice, practice. The more you work in Meditation, the clearer all this becomes. 

And I know Meditation is hard because our mind is a chaos, but that is particularly why it is so important to practice rigorously. Remember in the early part of this course we were talking about these nine stages. And you see how the monk is chasing the animal mind, and this raging fire is how much effort it takes, how much energy it takes, how much zeal and enthusiasm we need. It feels tiring at first, but little by little it takes less and less effort, and becomes more and more natural. Eventually when your practice is getting really well established you will have pliancy, which is where the body and mind do not fight you at all. This is the natural outcome of practicing effectively. It will happen, as long as you persist and keep going, and keep revising your practice, always revise, always study your practice and see where you are falling short, where you are fooling yourself, where you are cheating, and then change those things. 

The practice of Meditation is not an adoption of something foreign to who we are. It is how we cause who we are to come out. So it is not something added to us, it is not something that we restrict ourselves with, it is actually quite the opposite. Meditation practice is a way that you remove restrictions from yourself. So if you are feeling that your Meditation practice is too painful or restrictive, or a burden, then that is what you need to revise: that concept.

“The Infinite is the source of joy. There is no joy in the finite. Only in the Infinite is there joy. Ask to know the Infinite.” —Chandogya Upanishad 7.23

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