This is a transcription of the audio lecture Meditation without Exertion 03 Ethics originally given live on Gnostic Radio, which you can download for free.
In the previous two lectures that we gave about meditation, we set up certain principles in order for us to be able to guide ourselves as we develop a strong meditation practice. The purpose of this effort that we make is to acquire comprehension—self-knowledge—so that we can become better human beings. This is the reason why so many great teachers have appeared on this planet in order to help us. Their teachings were not given for us to be entertained, acquire powers, or to show ourselves off before others. Rather, the goal of the teachings is for us to try to save ourselves and humanity from getting any worse. The potential to succeed in that effort begins with each individual working on themselves. In order to aid us in that effort, we have received huge volumes of teaching and instruction from spiritual teachers all over the world, all of which are important and vital, and can contribute to our progress in our internal, psychological, spiritual evolution. But that information will remain useless if it is not actualized—that is, if we do not live it and make it part of our very perception, not merely something that we think about, but a way that we see. So when we study these teachings and scriptures, and read the books of Krishna, Jesus, or Samael Aun Weor, it should be with the goal for us to improve our way of seeing life and transforming life.
Amongst the tools that we were given—particularly in the teachings of Samael Aun Weor—there are a huge range of techniques, from very simple ones to very challenging ones. Throughout them all, Samael Aun Weor emphasized the basic foundation for someone to be a true spiritual aspirant, or what he would call an esotericist or an occultist: the person has to have the ability to consciously work outside of the body. In other words, they must be capable of having their consciousness awake while the physical body is asleep, so that the soul, the essence, can acquire self-knowledge in all the levels of the mind, not merely those that are perceptible from the physical body. Samael Aun Weor gave many techniques and a lot of practical guidance for us to develop that skill. This is one of the main elements that attract students to this teaching, that we have such a robust and very practical system that anyone can use in order to awaken their consciousness outside of the physical body. However, in spite of good intentions and even effort, many fail in this endeavor and become frustrated. Many even hide their failure, and may even be instructors or be reputable people in the tradition who yet do not have this capability. Samael Aun Weor explained why students fail: it is because they do not know how to meditate. Their minds are unstable, out of control. So, the prerequisite to be a true magician or a true priest, and have your consciousness awake outside the body, is to be able to control your mind, to be able to meditate, to be able to comprehend.
Even in the endeavor to meditate, many fail, due to a lack of instruction, or not understanding the instruction, or not trying; there are many reasons. Many try seriously to meditate, but fail to acquire mastery or even the experience of Samadhi, which is ecstasy, experiences with the divine. This also is a source of frustration, and causes many to abandon their spiritual work, or to begin to attack those who were trying to help them. Many students abandon their schools or traditions because the student fails to actualize the practice in themselves. Why? In some cases we can say it is a lack of effort. In some cases, we see people who make enormous effort and yet still fail to have those fundamental experiences, even to fail to reach quietude or a silence of mind. A great friend of Samael Aun Weor explained why this happens. His name is Swami Sivananda. He explained that people who fail in meditation, who fail even to have quietude, fail because they have not been trained in ethics.
"Some foolish impatient students take to concentration practice" — this is preliminary concentration, not real meditation yet — "without in any manner undergoing any preliminary training in ethics. This is a serious blunder. Ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance."
Sivananda also said,
"Concentration without purity of mind is of no avail. There are some occultists who have concentration but they do not have good character. That is the reason why they do not make any progress in the spiritual line."
In my own experience, I've observed these phenomena exactly as they've been described by Sivananda and Samael Aun Weor. I have seen very serious, dedicated people who work very hard to meditate and have even some degree of concentration, but fail spiritually because they have bad character; they do not have cognizant ethics. Instead, they justify their behaviors, they excuse themselves because they say they are "advanced" or they are "practicing tantra" or practicing some esoteric philosophy, so that supposedly gives them the right to continue with their harmful behaviors.
Samael Aun Weor explained very clearly many times that there are many who have been in the teaching for many years who may speak about the doctrine beautifully and may appear to understand the teaching very well, but they do not change. That is, their minds are the same. This is a real problem in all traditions, in every religion.
So for those of us who are really sincere and serious about our practice, we need to remain extremely vigilant on this point: meditation, comprehension, understanding, divine experiences, spiritual awakening, true illumination of the heart—none of these can occur unless we have a profound training in ethics. This is not "morality," this has nothing to do with what is "moral or immoral," it has to do with what is right and what is wrong. Ethics are fixed, they are part of nature. They are part of how energy and matter function. We may debate philosophy or morality, but nature does not debate. If we perform an action that is harmful, we will suffer a consequence. This is indisputable, and this is something that we all experience continually. And yet, because we remain ignorant of those consequences in our lives, and we ignore the connection to the causes, we continue to suffer and we continue to be in spiritual darkness, because we have not created the proper foundation for true practice.
In the previous two lectures, we outlined fundamental principles that we need in order to establish an effective meditation technique. In the previous lecture we talked about a scripture from the great teacher Tsong Khapa that explains three fundamentals or three principles, and those are:
These three principles or three paths represent three levels of instruction and also three levels of comprehension. For all of us who are mere beginners, we start with the first, which is renunciation.
As we explained, renunciation is not related so much to renouncing physical things like comfort or living in the world or shaving your head, which are mere superficial signs of renunciation. Real renunciation is in the mind and heart, it is of the spirit, it is the renunciation of harmful action, it is the comprehension of when something is right and when it is wrong. When we comprehend that an action is wrong, it is not painful to renounce, it is natural, it is normal. This is true renunciation. Yet for us, when facing renunciation we experience pain, because we have attachments and desires.The solution is comprehension, understanding. When we truly understand the harmful nature of a behavior, it is not painful to renounce it.
This is why all religions without exception begin with ethics. Every religion in the world begins in its catechism or its first instruction that it applies to all those who enter into it, and that first instruction is always ethics, not morality, even though nowadays it has become simple morality or philosophy. True ethics are not "moral."
You see, morals change with time and with culture. Behaviors that are moral in North America are immoral in Asia. Behaviors that are moral in Asia are immoral in the west. Thus, morality is subjective. Morality is not eternal, immutable, and infallible. Morality changes with time and culture.
Ethics, on the other hand, are eternal. True ethics, conscious ethics, are laws of nature. Religions originally emerged from consciousness of those ethical laws, even if later the religions degenerate and collapse into moral dogma.
In the West, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, ethics have been synthesized in what we know as the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments. These are ethics that you have heard, such as "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not covet," "Thou shalt not commit adultery, fornication," "Thou shalt honor thy father and mother," et cetera. All of these have an ethical foundation. They are not the only representation of ethics in the Jewish or Christian traditions, they are just a simplified synthesis of them.
Likewise, in Hinduism there are many presentations of ethics. Probably the most famous is in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which is an exposition of Raja Yoga. In Raja Yoga the first two steps are Yama and Niyama. Those two steps are ethics and observances, and these are things that you should do and things that you should not do. Why?
What is karma that you have done? An action that you have thought about or that you have set into motion either physically or vocally. - Yoga-carya-bhumi
Ethics are not just mechanical laws that some external authority is trying to impose upon us. These rules, commandments, or vows have a very specific function, which must be clearly grasped, and that is this: If you perform actions that are harmful, you create disharmony not only in your environment but in your mind. Yet if you follow these "observances," or positive practices, you create positive energy, not only into your environment, but in your mind. So the purpose of Yama and Niyama or the Commandments of Moses is to stabilize our psychology so that we are no longer vibrating with so much negative emotion. For example, in Buddhism, any Buddhist, whether a lay person or a monk, always takes five fundamental vows:
- to not steal
- to not kill
- to not lie
- to not commit sexual crime
- to take no intoxicants
If you kill, steal, lie, have sexual misconduct, or take intoxicants, all of these create a great energetic disturbance in your mind and the environment, but firstly in your mind. When that energetic disturbance is there, you cannot have quietude and peace of mind in order to meditate: to dive in and experience your true nature, to experience and comprehend what the divine is in you. It becomes impossible. If you observe yourself in the course of life, you can see how true it is. When a strong negative emotion like anger or lust takes a hold of you, you cannot relax, you do not have a calm mind; you are very agitated. That agitation is precisely what prevents us from seeing the truth. When we are very angry, we only see through that anger. We only want what that anger wants. In a fit of anger, we can even throw away a marriage, our job, our social status. Anger is totally irrational and dangerous. That is what anger does to us, and so does lust, envy, gluttony, greed, fear, laziness, etc. So with ethics, we are trying to regulate these qualities, and eliminate them.
Like a poison that has been ingested,
The commission of even a small sin
Creates in your lives hereafter
Great fear and a terrible downfall.
As when grain ripens into a bounty,
Even the creation of small merit [from virtuous action]
Leads in lives hereafter to great happiness
And will be immensely meaningful as well. - Udana-varga (Collection of Indicative Verses)
There is a great quote from a Buddhist scripture that describes a conversation between Buddha Shakyamuni and the king of the Nagas. A Naga is a serpent being. In the West people laugh about such stories, but nagas are a race of humanoids or creatures, rather, who are intelligent like us, but are a different race. They exist on this planet and they can sometimes appear physically, both as people and in their original form. But they are rarely seen nowadays. Anyhow, the king of the Nagas came to the Buddha with questions, and the Buddha told him:
"Lord of Nagas, a single practice of the Bodhisattvas correctly stops rebirth in the lower realms. What is this single practice? It is the discernment of what is virtuous. You must think, "Am I being true? How am I spending the day and the night?" - Sagara-naga-raja-pariprccha (Questions of the Naga Kings of the Ocean)
That single perspective or point of view can take you all the way on the path. Thus, we have to question ourselves: "Am I being true?" Pose that question when you are tempted by lust, pride, or fear. "Am I being true?"
Who is that 'I', first of all, and what does it mean to be true? Are you true to your Being, true to your Innermost, true to your Divine Mother and Father?
So what this question underlines for us is that the beginning of our spiritual work and the ending of our spiritual work are the same: throughout our entire spiritual path we have to be inquiring into ourselves: "Am I being true? How am I spending the day and the night? What am I doing with my mind, with my body?" This question has to be ever present. In order for the question to bear fruit, though, we need to have good understanding of these fundamental aspects of the path. We need to know how to answer the question, "Am I being true? Who am 'I'?" We have to be able to answer that. True to what? So we study these fundamental aspects.
In order for us to enter the higher aspects of the path, such as the middle range of the path which is the Mahayana aspect, and then the Bodhisattva path, which is the Tantric aspect, we have to have a strong foundation first, which is the sutrayana or foundational path. To have that foundation, we need to comprehend two primary aspects: death and Karma. We have already explained in the previous lectures that none of us comprehend either. This is proven and easy to see. When we analyze just a day of our lives, yesterday for example, if we are sincere with ourselves, we can see how much time we wasted in futility, in activities that are completely pointless, spiritually speaking. There is so much that we have been doing, spending time on, thinking about, being worried about, investing energy into, that are fruitless spiritually. Moreover, we do them thinking that we still have time on this planet, that we will not die. We believe that death may happen to everyone else but not us. We act in ways in which we think we will not bear the consequences, as if we can act, think, feel, and do what we like without receiving consequences. So, for example, we think lustful thoughts, we look lustfully at others, we nurse our anger, we feed our pride, we indulge in envy. All of these are done in ignorance of death and Karma. It is quite simple and quite sad, but these are the fundamental aspects. How can we expect to move on to the greater and higher aspects if we do not even grasp this today in our daily life? It is important that we do.
In the previous lecture, we explained four basic aspects of action and consequence, which I'll remind you of now because you need to keep this in mind as we study today's topic.
1. Actions produce related consequences.
When you perform an action, there will be a result, and that result is always related to the action.
2. The consequences are greater than the actions.
I used the example of throwing a stone into water. We tend to think that action and result are equal, partly because of what we learn in school about Newton's third law of motion, even if we happen to apply that law of motion to thought, matter, energy, psychology. But the actual fact is the result is stronger than the action. This is because, for example, when you throw the stone in the water, the water does absorb the stone and the water moves back up an equal distance to the impact, but there are also rings on the surface and throughout the depths. All the water is moved by the impact. So if you were to quantify all of that motion, that energy, the energy that was set in motion by the action is far greater than the energy of the original action. The same true when you speak a lie. When you speak a lie, you think "Oh, I'm just saying these few little words," or even just a gesture, or even just not speaking seems like a small action, but it not only affects you, but everyone else involved in the situation about which you lie. There might be two or three, there might be a hundred, there might be a thousand. How do you know? So the action is one level of energy, but the result is always greater, even if we cannot see it.
3. You cannot receive the consequence without committing its corresponding action.
This is also quite simple, just as the Bible says: we reap what we sow. If you have not committed the action that causes cancer, you will not have cancer. Nature functions on the basis of invariance. There are only laws: cause and effect. If you are experiencing an effect, it is because you produced a cause that allowed it, and because the conditions are ripe for that consequence to emerge.
4. Once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased.
If you pull the trigger, you cannot pull the bullet back. It is the same with our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Once you have said a critical word and caused pain, you cannot take the pain away. Once you have struck someone, you cannot take away the bruise. The same is true for actions that you do to yourself. Once you commit a wrong act, you cannot take away that act or its consequences.
But: all four of these rules are modified by an essential principle:
A superior law always overcomes an inferior one.
If you have committed a wrong action, you can cancel your reception of the consequence if you perform a superior action. A very crude example is, if you are running and trip and are going to fall, but you catch yourself, you may not fall and get hurt. You might stumble but you might be able to catch yourself. The same is true when you say a critical word, you gossip, you lie, you indulge in lust; you might be able to perform an action that transcends the mistake if you catch it in time, and if you are sincere. This is an important rule to comprehend, and it is the entire basis of the path.
If Karma was invariable, if Karma was a fixed destiny, there would be no hope for any of us and we would not receive this teaching. We would just devolve and be consumed by nature. But the fact is, there is hope because a superior law can transform, can transcend the inferior law. That is our hope, but it is an action. Our hope is not in belief, it is not in faith, it is an action: conscious action, ethical action. To know how to perform the right thing at the right time. This is how we change our situation, our Karma.
In our tradition, in keeping with western esotericism, we tend to talk about seven capital sins, or seven defects. These are the negative aspect, or the polarized aspect of seven virtues. These are qualities of spirit, qualities of pure mind. So in these lectures, we always talk about laziness. Laziness is a defect, a "sin" if you want to use that word. Its opposite is diligence, conscious action. This is what we are talking about today: Diligence, but it has to be conscious diligence.
In context of the last two lectures that we have given, which were based in the teachings of Buddhism, we are going to look a little bit at ethics in the same perspective.
Ten Non-virtuous Actions
The Buddha taught that there are ten non-virtuous actions. This does not mean that these ten non-virtuous actions are the only wrong actions. So for example, in this list of ten, he does not mention taking drugs, or drinking alcohol, or beating your children. These are still wrong, they are still harmful, they just do not happen to be in this list. This list is talking about fundamental psychological axioms that we need to understand.
The first three are considered to be actions of body. Buddhism tends to look at the potentials for Karma as emerging in three ways: physically, verbally or mentally. So in Buddhism, you always hear:
These are three doorways through which we utilize energy. But again, do not think that these are the only ways to create Karma. This is just a model to help you get on your way towards analyzing yourself, but these do not include everything. As a matter of fact, these ten non-virtues are generally studied after somebody has already taken other vows, such as, do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not have sexual misconduct, do not take intoxicants, et cetera. So these ten non virtuous actions come after that.
In Buddhism, the first non virtuous act is called killing. We tend to interpret this as the act of murder, which of course, creates a lot of harm. To kill is a grave crime, and this is why it is punished so severely in all traditions. But we have to remember something, we can kill with a word. We can kill with silence, because we can kill not merely the body, but the spirit. We can kill someone's mind. We can kill someone's heart. Killing is not merely the physical act. To kill is to take someone's life, to take the life of another being. In the scriptures it is stated that this is a right reserved only for God. Depending upon the religion or tradition you study, that right may be further elaborated. For example, there are what we call angels of death: Devas or Buddhas who are responsible for ending life. In this case, killing is not a crime, it is their job, their duty, and it is performed with love. Likewise, there are cosmic executioners whose job is to kill, as punishment, as compassion. Killing is the domain of Geburah in the Tree of Life. Geburah is the Sephirah of justice, and it is ruled by the angel Samael. This is why the Zohar says that Samael is the angel of killing. Samael has a sword and has the right to kill in accordance with Karma, in accordance with the law. Likewise there are great masters, great teachers, great illuminated prophets who acquire this right. David, Solomon, Padmasambhava, Quetzalcoatl, others who in accordance with the law, in accordance with Karma, were able to kill without accruing any debt. We are not at that level. We do not have that right. But, we think we do. Now, most people who hear this topic look at themselves and say, "Well I've never killed anyone, so this does not apply to me." I am sorry, but it does. Our society is as it is because of who we are as individuals. All of us share in the karma of killing. Which civilization, which country on this planet is responsible for more wars and more killing? Which civilization, which country on this planet is spending the most money developing and perfecting the art of killing? The United States. The vast majority of the money that comes out of the United States is spent on the act and the art of killing. Why? We have a lot of "reasons," a lot of "justifications." Some may be good, some may be not. But it is an undeniable truth and all of the citizens of the United States are part of that, in some form, at some level. Whether through active participation or through apathy, we contribute. None of us are innocent.
Moreover, many of us are being trained daily in the art of killing. Do you watch television? Why is it that most TV shows for the last few decades are all about the art of killing? Those who watch television are trained daily in how to murder. Media celebrates criminals, murderers, serial rapists, gangsters, war, and all of us indulge in these movies and TV shows and think "it's just entertainment" without realizing that all that information is going into the brain and is teaching us. Is this what we need to learn? What will be the consequences of a society that loves to learn about death and killing, and how many "creative" ways there are to harm one another? What are the consequences of that? What are the results of that? Remember: cause and effect. If you teach generation after generation of children how to use weapons, how to handle guns, how to shoot, how to stab, what will be the result? Peace, serenity, a golden age, or war? What do you think? What about video games? Have you noticed that the most popular video games are always games about killing, with extreme violence? All of our children are spending hours and hours and hours teaching themselves how to kill: to enjoy it, to indulge in it. Again, there may not be a physical act, but there is a psychological environment that is being created from this. If we wonder why there is so much violence in the United States and North America because of guns, we have to look to ourselves for the cause. If we wonder why there is so much violence in the Mid East because of guns, the people who live there have to look to themselves, not blame other countries, but look to themselves. Or in Africa, or in Asia: the causes are within us.
The second non-virtuous action is stealing. Again, we tend to think of a thief who wears the little black mask around his eyes and sneaks into a house at night to steal jewels and leave. Yes, that is stealing, but that is relatively rare compared to the kind of stealing that we all do every day. It is a crime to steal energy, to steal attention, to steal ideas, to steal the truth. We steal in many ways, not just by taking a possession. We may take away someone's identity. If you have ever had a dream that someone comes and steals your driver's license, passport, or wallet, that means someone in the physical world is criticizing you, cutting down your image, taking away your identity, making you look bad. When we criticize, gossip, lie, point out defects of others, and otherwise calumniate or bring someone down, we are stealing from them. This is wrong. Why do we do it? Because of our pride, resentment, and envy.
Samael Aun Weor wrote that the true spiritual aspirants always have many people around them doing everything they can to destroy their image, saying they are stealing money, are a homosexual, a fornicator, an adulterer, a liar. Every spiritual aspirant, true spiritual aspirant faces this. Why does it happen? Because all the people in the spiritual community have envy, pride, fear, resentment.
Deceit is a form of stealing. When you misrepresent something, you steal. What can we say about all these companies who make big promises and offer beautiful products for us to purchase, and then when we buy it, it is cheap, it is junk, it does not work, or it breaks the day the warranty ends? This is deceit, it is stealing; it is wrong. How many companies or people out there genuinely want to make something that is really good and worth it and will last a long time? Nobody; everybody is trying to get something for nothing. Nowadays, this is the big obsession: to get something for nothing, such as to win the lottery, which is, by the way, a form of deceit sanctioned by authority.
What can we say of people who are professional deceivers? Who are paid, who make their living by deceiving others? Some of us may be those people and we should carefully analyze what we do with our time. Many of us are paid to lie.
The third non-virtuous action—we are still talking about actions primarily related with the body—is sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is a very vast topic, but it includes all those actions that most of us are familiar with, such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, masturbation. But it includes other actions such as trying to have sex with someone, your spouse, for example, when they are ill or not interested or against their will or when they are pregnant or menstruating. These are all forms of sexual misconduct. Having the sexual act in sacred places is wrong. It is wrong to have sex with children, prostitutes, renunciates. So there are many rules related to that sexual crime.
Pornography is sexual misconduct because it is a form of adultery. We have often quoted the master Jesus who said in the gospels that when you look at a person with lust, you have committed adultery with them in your heart, so you have broken a commandment. But Jesus was not the only one to say that, the Buddha said it also five hundred years before.
Commit no adultery. This law is broken by even looking at the wife of another with a lustful mind. - Buddha
It is also in the Zohar. So in every tradition, pornography, or looking at others lustfully, is defined as unethical. Sexual misconduct is not merely a physical act, it is in the mind and heart.
Adultery is any act that corrupts something that was once pure. To adulterate means to change or corrupt something, to make it impure. We tend to think of adultery as just sex between a married person and someone else, another married person maybe. But no, not according to this doctrine, not according to any true religion. That is a form of adultery, yes, but not the fundamental form. The fundamental form occurs the instant we allow ourselves to have lust towards another person, even our spouse. Lust is a form of adultery; it impurifies the consciousness, it dirties the soul, it puts filth into the temple of God, which is within. This is not to condemn sex, because sex is natural and normal, but only when that sex, that sexual act, that sexual emotion is illuminated with the presence of God, is pure. Then there is no adultery. But for us to see that is not easy because we have eyes of lust. We tend to see everyone else through the projection of our own mind. So that's a very long topic we could spend several lectures just on that, but we need to move ahead.
The first three non-virtuous actions are related with the body. The next few are related with speech.
The fourth non-virtuous action is lying. To lie is possible even without speaking. We can lie with our silence, we can lie with a gesture, we can lie with a word. Moreover, we can cause others to lie, either for ourselves or others when we affirm something that is not true.
What is the gravest form of lie? It is the spiritual lie. When we affirm something spiritual or religious that we do not know is true, we commit a horrible action whose Karma is extremely intense. For example: if we join a group, a spiritual movement, a religion, and we begin to preach and try to bring people into that religion but it is all a lie, whether we know it or not, we have accrued a very serious Karma. When you lie to the soul, you affect the inner Being of that person, you affect their spiritual development. This is an act equivalent to killing, because you kill the soul. For example: those groups and schools who are working very hard to spread black Tantra—in other words, indulgence in desire, indulgence in lust, indulgence in the ego—they are committing a form of deceit of the most serious type, because they are affirming to the souls that follow them that desire and lust is ok with God. This is not true, and no authentic scripture in the world affirms it. The black scriptures do, but not the real scriptures, not the pure masters. So this is an extremely serious crime whose consequences will reverberate far into the future, not merely with consequences in this lifetime, but in future lifetimes.
This is why it is such a serious step to become an instructor, to become a spiritual teacher. You must have one hundred percent clarity about what you teach, about what you offer, about the guidance you give. One should not teach merely because "it's fun" or people might respect you, or because you think you have to because you have to sacrifice for humanity, no. You have to teach because you know you are doing the right thing, because you know that what you teach is true. If you do not know with absolute certainty, then restrain yourself until you do. Confirm the teachings completely, know it, experience it. Then you can teach without fear, and teach with confidence. Too often we hear instructors repeating what others have said, or quoting from popular theories and beliefs, because they do not want to contradict what is popular or what people like. We have to teach the truth, but we first have to know what the truth is.
The next non-virtuous action is divisive speech. Divisive speech is related to actions in which we try to separate people from each other, or keep them separated. In some families, for example, there may be an argument and one sister will not talk to the other sister. If we get involved and say "You shouldn't talk to her, she's really bad, she shouldn't have done that." That is wrong. This behavior is very common in the workplace.
Some people love to split others into groups, to divide people, control them, and manipulate them. Usually, the people who do this appear quite innocent or as "martyrs" who seem to deserve our sympathy.
How can we be a spiritual person when we are trying to separate all the people from each other? Real spirituality is about bringing people together, cultivating harmony, mutual respect, tolerance, peace; not divisiveness and contention.
The gravest form of divisive speech is when it is performed in spiritual groups. In some scriptures, especially in Buddhism, it is said that this is the worst crime of all crimes: worse than killing, worse than fornication, worse than adultery is the crime of divisive speech in the spiritual community. Some say it is worse than the crime of killing a Buddha, so it is very serious. And yet, everyone is doing it. Anytime someone is making statements like, "That group is no good, you should stay away from them. They are bad people. They are not true to the lineage. They are not true to the master. They are merchants in the temple. They have left the path. They are not serious. They are all black magicians." These are all forms of divisive speech and they are extremely serious problems. This is rampant in every spiritual tradition, especially among so-called "Gnostics." Every group claims that their group is the only true and good group. It ridiculous to see all these different groups saying "We are the good ones, not them!" This is all lies. Let me tell you something: there are no good groups, not on this Earth. Do you want to find a good spiritual group? Then go to heaven: visit the internal worlds, bow at the feet of your inner Master, then you will find a good group. In the physical world, it is impossible to find a good spiritual group. All of us here have too much ego. All of us here are liars, cheats, adulterers, murderers, and fornicators, without exception. Everyone who says otherwise is a liar. These so-called leaders who claim to be illuminated ones or incarnations of "master so-and-so," they are all liars. The real master we need to follow is within. The real group we need is within.
Divisive speech is a major crime because it separates the Sangha, the spiritual community. It empowers the ego. When groups are divisive, split, and separated into many different small factions and not united, they are weak. How can they fight if they are weak? How can they work for humanity if they are all separated and fighting with each other because of politics, gossip, rumors, and pride? They cannot. This is a problem that Paul wrote about in the years after Jesus. It was a problem then, it is a problem now. Gossip, rumors, pride, divisive speech, all of this interrupts the efforts of Christ to help us.
The sixth is offensive speech. Offensive speech encompasses a wide variety of actions. Speaking critically of others, condemning others, attacking others, even attacking ourselves can be offensive. When our hostility, malice, and anger are coming out through our words, whether written or spoken, or even in our silence, it is offensive speech.
I once visited a gnostic instructor's home with a group of other people and we were all having a very pleasant conversation, when suddenly the wife of the instructor came in the room and the whole tone of the room changed. When I looked at her, she did not say a word, but she was raging with anger. It affected everyone. It interrupted the entire purpose of our gathering. This was an example of offensive speech through silence. You see, she had a lot of resentment at some of the people that were gathered there and she was unwilling to transform it. I understand that and I feel bad that she made this mistake because it is going to affect her later if she does not deal with it.
Offensive speech is generally to create hostility or pain.
The seventh is senseless speech. We tend to think of "senseless" as words that have no meaning, but this is senseless in terms of spirituality. For example, we spend hours talking about sitcoms or about celebrities, about what "so and so" is doing and "Now they're divorced and they've got kids and what are they going to do and oh my God." That is senseless. Reading magazines is senseless speech. You do not have to speak it, you can indulge in it mentally. Television is senseless speech. It is senseless spiritually and it creates harm.
Talking about all kinds of things that are a waste of time is senseless speech. Gossip is senseless speech. "Oh did you hear that story? Did you hear what such and such person did? Oh I cannot believe it, is it true?" Gossip, senseless, harmful, it's wrong. Swami Sivananda has a very colorful phrase to describe this harmful action, he calls it "diarrhea of the tongue." Senseless speech is marked in those people who cannot control their tongue. Who are always "Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" all day long. A person like that cannot meditate. You know why? Because that tongue is only showing what their mind is doing. If you want to control your mind and have serenity of mind and enter into calm abiding, control your tongue. The tongue is so small, isn't it? James said in the bible: "Such a small thing can light such a terrible bonfire." It is true. If you want to know more about your tongue, study the Book of James in the New Testament. He gives very beautiful profound teaching about the tongue.
Talking about all things that do not contribute to spirituality or our wellbeing is considered senseless speech. On that note, we need to talk a certain amount about our jobs, school, educating children, feeding ourselves, taking care of our lives. This is not senseless speech, these are important things that need to be talked about and discussed. Ethical speech does not mean that every time you open your mouth you have to talk about scripture. It means when you open your mouth, you talk consciously, and you know what you are saying and why you are saying it.
The remaining non-virtuous actions are related with the mind.
The eighth non-virtuous action is covetousness. To me, it is very interesting that this is one of the only ones that relates directly to the seven deadly sins. Covetousness or envy, why? To my experience, it is because it's so strong. Samael Aun Weor said that envy is the secret trigger of all action in the world. When we analyze what is happening with our governments, with big companies, with our family members, with ourselves, we can pretty much always find envy.
What is envy? It is wanting what someone else has. We want that car, we want that job, one country wants the resources of another, wants the respect of another, one family member wants the money of another, the love that another one gets. Envy is when we want something that is not naturally ours. Envy always says, "I want it." I challenge you to watch for that in your mind. "I want it." That is covetousness.
In most cases, we experience it in relation with material things. "I want money, a spouse, a better place to live, a big house, an island." We have a list, probably had it since we were kids. I will give you a little secret: burn it. Burn the list, you will have so much more peace when you have no covetousness. When you are content with what God has given you. You see, in the Bible it says: "Let every man accept what God has given him." Who among us does that? Who accepts gratefully what we have? None of us, we are all craving and dying and scratching out a living trying to get more and get more and get more. Why? Because we have not comprehended death. We have not understood that we are going to die and all of those things we are working so hard to get will be useless. So why did we spend years and years and years struggling so hard to get something that we have to give up? What is the value of that, what is the point? Reflect on that.
When a desire emerges in you, really reflect: "What will this fundamentally change for my soul? What will this change about the moment I am dying?" Have you meditated on the moment of your death? You should. Sit and imagine it. Do not hide from it, do not run from it. If you avoid death, when it comes you will be unprepared. And you will die in a panic and afraid, and those energies will affect your next transition. But if you prepare every day for death, it will not come as a surprise, you will be ready, and you will pass into that transition with happiness, with contentment, conscious. The true Gnostic prepares for death every day. The true Gnostic path is a path of dying from moment to moment, preparing for death. And if you are doing that, what is there to be attached to? Why do you really need those shoes or those new pants or that new computer, or to redecorate the whole house, why? It is not that anything is wrong with those objects, what is wrong is our attitude and our enslavement to attachment. You see, attachment is the key factor of covetousness. The state of our world is because of this factor. Yes, we have killing, we have lying, we have deceit, we have divisive speech. We have all those things but the key to suffering on this planet is covetousness. No one is content with what they have and they want what the neighbor has. So because of envy we kill our neighbor, we lie about our neighbor, we deceive our neighbor, we go to war. Covetousness, attachment.
Some examples that you can look for in your mind: "How nice if I were the one in charge." Now you might hear that and think "That does not sound like covetousness to me, it sounds like pride." But it is covetousness. How else will we get the idea unless we are trying to get it from someone else? We see the boss who is in charge: "Look at that nice car he drives, everybody respects him, they bow at his feet when he walks by, everybody salutes the guy in charge, I want to be that guy." Covetousness.
All of these apply spiritually, by the way. A lot of people want to be the Lama or the master who all the students bow to. Why? Not to benefit the students, but to get the praise, to feed pride. To hide from their fear.
"How nice to have the wife of so-and-so, to have their possessions? How nice if I could eat that food?" This is all covetousness.
"How nice if others knew me to be humble, to be compassionate, to be wise?" Every spiritually inclined person has thought that. "I hope everybody can see me as a spiritual person, very humble." That is covetousness. That is not true spirituality.
When you want something from someone else, when you are attached to how people see you, when you want their attention, when you want their respect, it is covetousness. It is not sincere, it is not conscious. It is the ego.
"How nice if people in high places respected me?" Some people think "If everybody respected me, even celebrities would respect me, even politicians would respect me." That is covetousness.
"How nice if I could be reborn in Nirvana (heaven) with powers and servants." Covetousness.
"How nice if I had the ability to go in the astral body, how nice if I was a master of Samadhi." Covetousness.
We should not covet what we do not have. If you want something different, analyze that want, and give it to God. This does not mean that you sit back and wait. There's a great quote from the Muslim tradition: "Pray to Allah but tie your camel to the post." There is another one I like even better, I do not know where it comes from, but: "Pray to catch the bus, but run like hell."
We have to give up our desires, analyze our wants, but we also have to work for what is right. Some people always say "Well if I accept what God has given me, does that mean I do not have to work? Does that mean I should quit my job? If I am not supposed to worry about my clothes and paying my bills and eating, should I just stop doing anything?" No, because if you do not do anything, you will starve. You have to work, you have to act, you have to be prudent, you have to be intelligent.
The ninth non-virtuous action is called harmful intent, or malice. This is any desire or any thought or action directed towards causing harm for others. Our anger wishes others to suffer. We imagine our enemies suffering. We imagine our boss getting fired. We imagine our spouse getting a divorce and being miserable because you left her or him. We imagine our parents suffering in loneliness because of our resentment to them. We imagine our friends missing us because you won't call them back. We imagine our co-workers confused because you won't speak with them. These are all malice, they are the intent to harm.
Any attitude of hostility is malice. It is very common now to find an attitude of hostility in people. How rare it is to find sincere kindness? How easy it is to find hostility?
Impatience with others is a form of hostility, malice. When we become impatient, we become angry, we want others to serve us, especially when we are hungry. Impatience is hostility. When you have that thought, imagining, "I wish that person would just go to hell." That is malice, that is harmful intent. Directing curse words at another, even just in the mind, is harmful intent. That is the opposite of compassion.
How interesting it is that we speak and think without cognizance of what we are saying. We say to people, "Go to hell." Or we say "I'm going to kill you." "I could have killed her." We do not think about what is behind those words. The personality thinks, "Ah, it's just a phrase that we toss around nowadays, it does not mean anything." Then why do we say it? What is behind it? What psychological element is behind those phrases? We should analyze those tendencies. I guarantee you they have nothing to do with Bodhichitta.
The tenth non-virtuous action is wrong views, ways of seeing life that keep us doing wrong things. Primarily, for our perspective at this moment, it is to be ignorant of the reality of death. To be ignorant of the reality of cause and effect. To be willfully ignorant of the reality of a higher life. Many of us willfully ignore these truths. Many people, when they encounter this type of teaching, cannot bear it. It stimulates too much pain in the heart, it stimulates too much doubt in the mind, too many conflicts, and so they prefer to ignore it. This is to willfully ignore something that is fundamentally true.
Wrong views include any attitude that delights in wrong action. Any attitude in us that indulges, that delights in lust, that delights in pride, that delights in gossip, that delights in killing, that delights in stealing; these are all wrong views.
In each one of these ten, there are enumerable psychological aggregates that we have within ourselves. It is our duty to discover them, to analyze them and to stop acting on them.
When we perform actions, we set in motion a stream of energy, and that energy modifies matter according to its vibration. When we feel anger and express that anger, even if it is not outside, but in the mind, that energy affects matter. Matter and energy cannot be separated, remember that, even Einstein said that. Energy exists, maybe not physical, but it exists in the mind stream. So when anger is projected, it has an inner relationship with matter. It may not manifest now, but it must conclude itself. This is a law of nature called invariance. Any energy that is projected must be satisfied, must be brought back to balance, including psychological energies. Therefore, this is the basis for why we are reborn, continually. From moment to moment we are setting in motion a lot of energies, and then we die. Those energies do not stop to exist, they continue to exist psychologically in the mental plane, in the astral plane. Those energies are what push the trapped soul inside of them to be born again so those energies can manifest and satisfy themselves. This is why we keep being born, this is why we keep suffering, this is the wheel of Samsara, this is the wheel of life, which the Buddhists illustrate. This wheel of twelve Nidanas. The center most part of the wheel shows the cycle of birth.
When those energies are there, in our mind stream, they can only emerge when the conditions are ripe, in the same way that a seed can only grow if the conditions are right. If there is no water, if there is no sunlight, the seed cannot grow. Likewise, our subconscious mind is a mass of seeds which we ignore, which we sometimes go skipping through at night when we dream. And this is why our dreams are so complicated and confused and obscure. We do not remember them because we are asleep as a consciousness. When you begin to awaken your consciousness, you begin to remember your dreams, you start to see the vast amount of confusing and complicated elements that are in your mind. In fact, when you fall asleep tonight, listen to the voices in your head. Listen to what they say. Those voices are in your subconsciousness, they are your egos. Listen to them; do not try to change them, just listen. When you are falling asleep, start listening, start listening, listen, listen, inside, inside, listen. You are not going to like it, but it is inside of you. Do not be afraid of it. What is to be feared is that you ignore it, and what is in you is being ignored. You need to learn about it and get in there and see it for what it is.
All of those egos, those aggregates in the mind, are waiting for the conditions to be right for them to act. So when we go to work and some situation starts to brew, conditions are being cultivated by Karma, by past actions that are starting to be prepared for something to emerge. If we are not aware of ourselves, cognizant, watching our mind, suddenly, we start to do and say things and act in a way that is completely inappropriate before we realize what we have done. I am giving you an extreme example. Maybe we will say something we will regret, or do something we will regret, and then we wonder "Why did I do that? Why did I act that way?" or "Why is this situation happening to me? Why do I have to suffer like this?" Because the causes are there, the conditions emerge and then the effect is realized.
So let me read you a list of effects and see if any of these sound familiar to you. These are causal effects from non-virtuous actions.
For the past act of killing, a short lifetime, many illnesses.
For the act of stealing, a lack of resources, poverty, or to have to share everything with others.
For sexual misconduct, an untrustworthy spouse [adultery].
For lying, your life will be filled with slander towards you, gossip about you and you will be deceived by others.
For the past action of divisive speech, you will suffer loss of friendships and people you depend on will always be splitting and divisive with each other, so you cannot depend on them.
For the past action of offensive speech, you will always hear unpleasant words and be surrounded by quarrels and arguments.
For the past act of senseless speech, others will not listen to you, will not respect your words, will not understand your words, or you will have poor confidence in your words.
For the past act of covetousness, you will suffer from attachment and have no contentment.
For the past act of malice, others will be hostile towards you, and you will always be seeking things that are unbeneficial for yourself, always inadvertently harming others or being harmed by others.
For the past action of wrong views, you will suffer from confusion and deceit. Environmental effects are more widespread and in your environment.
For the act of killing, you will have poor or little food, poor or ineffective medicine and the harvests and other resources that you bring will have little strength or will even produce illness.
For the past act of stealing, you will also have poor crops, poor food, droughts, floods, spoiled foods, poisoned foods.
All of that sounds like where we live. All of that sounds like every country I've been to.
For the past crime of sexual misconduct, you will live in filthy places, there will be excrement, urine, mud, vomit everywhere on the streets. You will have unclean things, bad smells, misery and discomfort everywhere.
For the past crime of lying, your work does not flourish, there's no harmony in workers, everyone is deceitful, you will be fearful and have many causes to be afraid.
For the past act of divisive speech, you will live in a place that's difficult to get around, and have many causes to fear.
For offensive speech, a dangerous environment and no comforts such as parks or pools or safe places.
For the past act of covetousness, all good things diminish every year and do not increase.
For malice, you will be surrounded by epidemics, injury, infectious diseases, quarrels, disputes, harmful animals, thieves.
For wrong views, the most important resources will be unavailable or too expensive, unclean things are plentiful, misery appears to be bliss, you will have no home, no protector and no refuge. - [These correspondences are collected from the Buddhist scriptures Lam rim chenmo, Satyaka-parivatara, and Dasabhumika-sutra.]
To me, that is a description of our planet. I cannot name a single place that is free from those qualities. I do not know a single person who is free from them, as far as someone who is living in this world.
So, based on that, you can understand: if these are our circumstances, how can we meditate? How can we have serenity of mind? How can we have calm abiding, Pratyahara? This is why we need to abandon these unvirtuous actions. When we abandon these unvirtuous actions and we begin to perform conscious upright action, we change the circumstances.
Let me explain this very carefully. When you perform upright action, that is, you begin to restrain your tendency to gossip, to spread divisive speech, to kill with your words, to have covetousness, to lie, to deceive; when you begin to restrain those things and act consciously in your life, those energies can no longer affect your mind and your environment. So what happens? Naturally, your mind begins to calm down. Your environment could be chaotic, you could live in a big city or in a workplace that is very stressful, but by restraining the mind, the mind becomes calm. The first benefit is, you have that serenity which begins to emerge, which makes meditation a real possibility. The second benefit is you have stopped allowing the conditions to exists for your past Karmas to emerge. This is so profound, that I could just repeat it again and again. And I say it that way because I have had personal, dear friends of mine who never grasped it, who just felt they can continue to smoke, to drink, to look lustfully at others, to boast about their attainments, and think that they're going to get somewhere spiritually. They use vulgar words, they curse, they say bad words, they talk bad about others, and some of them are instructors in this tradition. They think that somehow, being that way they can continue on the path. And they wonder why they are frustrated, they wonder...
When you restrain those behaviors, it is not just a game, it is not just for beginners, it is so that the environment, internal and external, is calm. It is so that those latent propensities of the psychological aggregates in our mind cannot emerge. They cannot come out if the environment is not conducive. So, for example, if you restrain your tendency to talk bad about others, to criticize others and a situation comes up when you really could do it, you really got something on this guy and you could crucify him with a word, but you do not. What happens? The Karma that was driving that urge cannot come out. It cannot emerge and destroy your life. You have restrained it. Now the next step is, you have to meditate on that urge and eliminate that Karma, because if you do not, it will come back later. If you just repress it, it will come back later, stronger, because that repression strengthens it. So that is why this is the path of the razor's edge, a very delicate psychological balance. We do not walk the path tomorrow, it is in every moment. In every moment your mind is a surging sea of these tendencies that want to come out.
"If you fear suffering and do not enjoy it, do not commit sinful action, either in public or in private. Whether you have committed sinful actions or are committing them, you will not escape suffering even if you try to run away. No matter where you stay, there is no place that Karma has not created. Neither in the sky nor in the ocean, nor even a place in the mountains." - Udana-varga (Collection of Indicative Verses)
You cannot run from Karma, because it is within. You cannot run from the consequences of what you have already done or you are doing now. What you can do is change what you are doing now and create an environment, psychologically, within which meditation becomes easy.
You see, when your mind is surging with lust, pride, fear, your mind is disabled, it is out of equilibrium, it is chaotic. You cannot meditate, you probably cannot even sleep. You have tension all over your body. You try to sit and close your eyes and your eyes are fluttering around like crazy, your neck is tense, your stomach is tense, your back, your arms, your legs; because of your mind. But when you restrain those tendencies, when you observe them and you analyze them and you see, "This is no good, this is no good." They start to calm, they start to settle.
So we learn about the four powers.—Do not worry, I am almost done! But I am not going to leave you just feeling bad about all the bad things you have done. The purpose of this teaching is not to make everybody feel guilty, it is to give us the tools to change it. This is the tool, right here. In Buddhism, they call it the four powers.
The Four Powers
First is the power of eradication. The power of eradication is analytical meditation. We talked about this in the other two lectures. Sit down, analyze it. When you see these disturbing qualities in your mind, tendencies, impulses, analyze that, analyze it in the light of these basic instructions: death and Karma. So if you feel that tendency towards lust, you have to meditate, "What is this lust? What will I gain if I let it live, if I let it continue in me? What will I benefit, how will it help my soul? What will be the consequence if I act on this lust?" And then you try the other side, analysis, "What will be the result if I eliminate it? What will happen to me if I kill that lust, if I remove it?" This is not just something to think about right now, this is something you need to apply in yourself continually, continually. Even while you are walking and doing things. You are sitting at the car at a stop light and you feel impatience, analyze that impatience, "Why should I feel impatient? The light is red, so what? It is red, what can I do? What is my impatience going to gain me? What is my anger going to gain me? However, what will I gain if I eliminate that anger? What will I gain if I stop feeding that anger?" And, remember your Being! Not just "Oh yea, I remember God, He's out there somewhere." No, your Being is in your heart. Your Being is the fire in your atoms. Be in the presence of your Being. Remember yourself. If you seriously visualize that, and feel it with every ounce of your willpower, you will not be able to act on that lust, it will be impossible. You will not be able to act on that anger or spread that gossip because you will feel the presence of God, that divinity. And if you still do not feel it, pray. Chant the Lord's Prayer if you have a Christian tendency. Repeat that, pray on that. In those moments when you are really tempted and you are really struggling with something, chant that in your mind, even chant it aloud. It will give you great strength and it help you remember God. If you are more interested in Buddhism or Hinduism, there are many Mantras you can use. "Om Mani Padme Hum," or "Om Tat Sat Om." The Fons Alpha prayer is good. All of them work. Even just chant the name of God.
But the main thing is to analyze those elements. This is the first power, the power of eradication, analyze it. Not just say "Oh yeah, that is pride, yea, I see." That is not good enough; you need to really deeply understand why that pride is no good and why it would be better for you to get rid of it. Your analysis has to be strong so that you reach a very specific result. If you do not reach this result, you have not analyzed it. The result is this: you must feel a deep remorse, a deep repentance for that action. If you do not feel that, you are not done. If anger emerges and you feel justified in your anger, you do not understand it, you have not analyzed it. If lust emerges and you start looking at that person or that pornography with lust, you have not comprehended that lust, you have not analyzed it. Because you are in that desire, that is wrong view. It is a view that cultivates suffering, so you have not comprehended it.
The sign that represents that this first power of eradication is in motion is repentance. Sincere, true repentance. So that then, if that anger or that lust emerges and you feel it, you say "No way." You cannot even bear the thought or the feeling of the presence of that anger or that lust or that pride. That is true repentance and that is how the true virtue emerges.
People in this tradition talk a lot about transmuting vices into virtues, and Samael Aun Weor was very clear, we have to transform lust into chastity, but that does not happen in the mind, it happens in the heart when we have comprehended lust. And when lust comes and we say "No way, I'm not letting that filth into my mind, into my heart, into my marriage, into my temple," that is comprehension, that is chastity. "The only thing I want in my temple is love, remembrance of my Being and true, hundred percent conscious selfless love for my spouse and for humanity." That's comprehension, the same with anger, the same with envy. When envy comes and we feel like "Oh, I really want that car." or "I really want that respect, I really want success" True comprehension says "Why? I have my Being, I have the Dharma, I have the teaching, I have a chance to stop coming back and suffering like this. What more could I want? I have a physical body, I have the Dharma, I have the teaching, I have my Divine Mother. I do not need anything else. I do not need an iPod." Why do you need these other things when you have got the most precious jewels that exist in the universe? Now you need to use them.
The second power is the power of applying remedies. This begins with learning the teaching, studying the teaching, listening to the teaching, meditating on the teaching; comprehending it, not just memorizing but actualizing it, becoming it. If you get tempted and you have that lust or desire or envy tempting you very strong, a remedy is: say a prayer, say a mantra, analyze, these are remedies. Remember your Being, that's a remedy. Use the conjurations, use the prayers, these are remedies. Another remedy is to meditate, to comprehend the essence, the consciousness, so that you see that an ego is not the self. That is a great and very powerful remedy.
The third power is the power of turning away from faults. This is to restrain those actions. But for this one to work, you have to have the first one, the power of eradication. You cannot turn away from a fault until you have understood that that fault is wrong. You won't turn away from lust as long as you think lust is good and normal and natural. Until you see the painful consequences of lust, until you have comprehended the suffering that lust creates, you won't abandon it. You must comprehend it, you must understand it in order to truly abandon it.
The fourth is the power of the foundation. This one really synthesizes the other three, and it's synthesis is Karma. The power of the foundation is knowing cause and effect is real. We do not get that yet because we still persist in wrong actions. But when you have applied the other three powers and you have really started to see how eradicating a power, applying remedies and turning away from those faults produces a strong effect, then you will have confirmed the truth of Karma, cause and effect. That gives you a rock-solid foundation to continue on the path. Without that conviction in the power of Karma, you will fall. I make you that guarantee. If you do not comprehend the power of cause and effect, you will fail. And if you want to see why people fall from the path and fail in the path, it is because of that. We say, yes, the masters fall because of sex, indeed. And it is because they fail to recognize the consequence of that action, that is why they fall. If they really understood Karma, deeply, they would never fall. So a full and rich and deep training in these fundamentals is absolutely essential.
This is why it is very interesting that Sivananda made a really important statement:
"Do not imagine that you are a great initiate and that you only have to sit in meditation and enter into Samadhi. You will have a terrible downfall. Even after years of practice, you will find you have not progressed an inch forward because there are deep within you lurking desires and cravings which are far beyond your reach. Be humble. Make a searching analysis of your heart and mind. Even if you are really a first-class aspirant, think you are an aspirant of the lowest class and practice the eightfold steps. The more time you spend in the first steps, Yama and Niyama, ethics, the less will be the time needed to attain perfection in meditation."
That is extremely powerful. If you are having frustration in meditation, this is where you need to look. If you have been spending years meditating and not getting anywhere, you need to look at your ethical discipline. So he continues,
"It is the preparation that takes very long, but do not wait for perfection in ethics in order to take the higher practices of the path. Try to get established in ethics and at the same time practice the other steps. The two must go hand in hand, then, success will be rapid."
Questions and Answers
Audience: When we meditate on our death, are we meditating on our actual death or are we meditating on different ways that we can possibly die. For example, a traffic accident, etc.
Instructor: To meditate on your death, you can use your imagination and you can be creative. There are many practices given in relation to this step. One very good example is to just imagine the moment of dying, regardless of the cause. That moment when death is about to take you. Visualize it, let your imagination show you that. See yourself unable to reach up, unable to take your clothes away, unable to speak, reaching out to your loved ones, dying. See all the pain of your loved ones, see all your beloved possessions that you will now have to abandon. Visualize that, let yourself feel those emotions and prepare for that. It's painful. You can also imagine the different ways you might die, but the single most effective way to do this is to cultivate the continual remembrance that at any moment, death could arrive. We do not know when we are going to die. But if we have the continual mindfulness of that, we will behave better, right? That's the basic point. Yes, meditate on your death, imagine it, different ways.
Audience: If energy cannot be destroyed, why do you use the word destroy when you are talking about transforming ego?
Instructor: So if energy cannot be destroyed, why use the word destroy when talking about the ego? Einstein's postulate states that energy and matter cannot be destroyed, they can only be transformed. As we are now, we have an enormous amount of energy trapped in our subconscious mind. And this is why Jung, the famous psychologist said, "We have to make the unconscious conscious." The goal, then, is by analysis of these subtle tendencies, these latent tendencies in the mind, we need to free the consciousness within these Karmic bonds. Each Karmic aggregate traps consciousness. This is why we are mostly unconscious, we are asleep because most of our soul, our essence is trapped in these tendencies towards wrong action. The goal, then is to destroy the vessel. The vessel is a false creation in the mind. Like a crystal or a bottle that is constituted of Karmic tendencies. Through comprehension, through understanding and through the power of our Divine Mother, those tendencies can be shattered. What emerges is the consciousness, free, emerges out of that cage. It is restored to it's rightful place. This is a long process. What happens, then, is a transformation. It is a transmutation. The energy and matter that was inverted, polarized in the wrong way, is shattered from that bondage and reverts to its natural state. You see, the natural state of the mind is cognizant love, serenity, peace. When it is trapped in ego, it is the opposite; chaos, confusion, darkness, pain. So it is a matter not of the energy being destroyed, but freed and restored to its natural state.
Audience: How would you compare the law of recurrence and the law of Karma? We cannot change the law of recurrence but we can change the outcome?
Instructor: The law of recurrence is the description of how these Karmic tendencies work in nature. Nature works in spirals in all levels. There is a chapter in the book Hell Devil and Karma in which Samael Aun Weor talks about subterranean crypts. He explains the relationship between the serpent and the spiral. He talks about Ananke, which is a Greek deity. Ananke means "necessity." She represents the latent or the residual or the base Karmic tendency of all energy and matter, which tends to move in spirals: day and night, orbits around the earth, birth and death. These spirals function through our life as well. Every Karmic propensity or tendency in our mind stream also passes through cyclical or repetitive patterns. We see this in our daily lives where we tend to repeat the same mistakes and repeat the same sufferings and repeat the same problems. This happens from existence to existence. That is recurrence, it is Karma in action. So when we change our attitude and we cultivate restraint of the mind and expression of consciousness, we harness that power. We can redirect it, but it takes enormous willpower.
Audience: Controlling the anger, sometimes I'm able to control the anger by praying. And the next day I try to do the same thing and then sometimes I'm not able to control it. It's because I do not meditate on it, you know, I mean I tend to forget, it happens during the day and at night I forget to meditate on it. And then so it recurs.
Instructor: Absolutely, it will keep recurring. So the key is to learn to reflect on that. At the end of the day, spend a little time, reflect on that anger, analyze that anger. Pray about it, and little by little as you understand it more, it will have less power over you. But it requires that conscious attention on it. Otherwise, we ignore it, we avoid it, and it just keeps emerging and we have no control, right? So it works that way. The first step is: become aware of it. The second is: analyze it, meditate. Only then can you begin to approach removing it.
Audience: Related to that question that anger rises. When a desire arises and you use the analysis as a remedy for that desire, is that the same as when you talk about the transforming the impression?
Instructor: Absolutely. All of these steps I've explained are the specifics of transforming impressions. To transform an impression is to receive it consciously and comprehend it. But to fully do that, you need to have consciousness awake, right? So until we reach that, we need to analyze. And even when the consciousness is awake, we need to analyze to go deeper.
Audience: So the analysis, that's the auto transformation?
Instructor: That's right, because at a certain point when the consciousness is bright, active, awake and vibrant, it naturally transforms impressions. That is its basic function, it naturally will do it, unless there is a impact on the consciousness that is too strong for it, and then it gets knocked back to sleep and an ego takes over. That can happen easily, but yes, generally you got it.
Audience: What is the difference between lust and sacred sex, especially for a single man?
Instructor: The difference between lust and sacred sex is quite simple. Lust is an animal desire that says "I want it." Sacred sex is a conscious love that says "I love you." Do you see the difference? One is an expression of pure emotion, the other is desire that seeks to acquire One gives, the other takes. Sacred sex, true divine sexuality, is an expression of the divine. It is pure love, it is Christic. Lust is animal, it wants desire, it wants sensation, and when it's satisfied, it walks away.
Audience: It is such a huge task to remove all of the impurities. Do we still get to experience true meditation if we have not cleaned all these issues up? Or do we need to completely keep these in check before we get a chance to experience meditation at all?
Instructor: When do we get to experience real meditation, since this task is so big? In accordance with the law of Karma, we receive what we deserve. If we approach our meditation practice from the point of view "I want experiences," we have to realize that this is a desire, it is covetousness, it is attachment. If we approach our meditation practice from the point of view of "I want to change, I want to be a better person," then this is good. Experiences will come naturally when the conditions are right. You do not need to worry about that. Whether the experiences come or do not come, your focus should be on comprehension. When you really understand something, when you really comprehend something, that is the most beautiful gift, the most beautiful result you can ever have from meditation. It is far more valuable than "hobnobbing with God," as the Master said in one of his books. Yes, an experience in Nirvana or in the heavens can be very beautiful, but it does not change your Karma. It does not change your suffering, in fact, it can make your suffering worse. If you come back from an experience in Samadhi and then you feel proud, or you feel lazy, you say "Oh, I did it now, I reached Nirvana, now I am done." This happens. A lot of yogis learn to meditate, they reach that experience and they think "Ok, I hit Samadhi, now I am liberated. Now I'm going to go liberate everyone else." This is very foolish, but also very common. An experience of Samadhi is not liberation. The death of the ego is liberation. Experiences will happen, they will. In the same way that when a tree grows, the leaves emerge and the fruit comes and it feeds us. Experiences come in the same way. Slowly, with patience, with development.
Audience: The experience of the truth is conscious.
Instructor: That's right. As I explained in the first lecture of these meditation lectures, the truth does not come from exertion or effort. It comes naturally without expectation. So you will get experiences when you need them, when you deserve them, when God gives them to you. Do not look to have experiences. Look instead to work on your mind and change. Then true change will come and little by little, awakening occurs naturally, spontaneously, on its own.
A man came to the Buddha and said, "Ok, Buddha, if I meditate for fifteen hours straight, how long will it take me to reach liberation?"
The Buddha said, "Hmm, fifteen years."
The guy said, "Oh, that is not good enough. Ok, if I meditate for twenty hours straight, how long will it take me to reach liberation?"
The Buddha said, "Twenty years."
The man said, "What? Ok, what if I meditate for twenty-five hours straight, how long will it take?"
The Buddha said, "Twenty-five years."
The guy said, "I do not get it! Why do you keep increasing the time?"
And the Buddha said, "Because you are looking at it in the wrong way."
The point is: change.
Audience: Can you give a better example between not identifying with an ego and restraining from doing the behavior?
Instructor: A better example? I do not know if I'm capable of any better examples. Between restraining and not identifying? When you feel a strong impulse in your mind, and it could be a subtle impulse too. For example, if you are walking down the street, you can sense when you are attracted to someone or someone else is attracted to you and you do not even have to see them with your eyes. Has anybody ever noticed that? You can sense it without your eyes. I know women especially are good at this. Men are kind of clueless a lot of the time. Women especially can sense from behind them when somebody is looking at them lustfully. They can feel it. Why? How is that? But, listen, that's not the point. The point is, how do you act on that? What impulses arise in you as a woman to respond to that? Women tend to like that, they might deny it, but they like it and they might encourage it. In fact, they might dress in certain ways in order to encourage lustful attention. They might stand or walk or act certain ways in order to encourage lustful attention. How do we respond to those little minutiae of our behavior? When we learn this teaching, we start learn "Ok, I shouldn't do this thing, I shouldn't encourage men to lust for me. Ok, so what do I do?" You need to analyze your behavior. It does not simply mean that you start wearing garbage bags every day instead of your regular clothes. What it means is, you have to be cognizant of what you are doing and why you are doing it. So when the impulse arises, you have to be continually in observation of yourself to know: is this action proper or should I restrain that? And that's why the question was asked in that Sutra "Am I being true?" "Am I being true?"
The distinction has to be made in this way: There's a pendulum in all things. Nature works in polarities, positive and negative, charges. Everything: light and dark, hot and cold, alkaline and acid. Everything has a polarity; so does our mind. This teaching is a middle path teaching. It is a Taoist teaching, which means, we are seeking to be in the Tao, in the middle, in equilibrium, and that is why we put this equal sign here. So as the pendulum of our mind is swinging between "Should I?" or "Should I not?" We need to be in the middle, neither avoiding or craving. Not indulging or repressing, but in the middle, observing and comprehending. And from that comprehension, then we act. You see, these other two ways we tend to do automatically.
So the guy walking down the street automatically looks at the girl with lust. And then he might realize it, "Oh, I'm looking at this girl, I shouldn't do that! Should I? Maybe I should." And so that right there is where the man is making that decision. "Ok, you know, I'm a Gnostic, I can handle it, I'm going to stay with my lust, I'm going to keep looking just to see what happens." This is how Gnostic men fool themselves into continuing to develop their lust, but they give it a spiritual name. On the other hand, the guy could say, "No, I'm not going to look at all, I'm not going to look." And he avoids it, but instead of analyzing the lust, why it's harmful, he just avoids it, he represses it. The true Gnostic observes himself in equilibrium. He says "It is not a matter of if I look or not, it is a matter of how I am inside. Am I restraining my mind inside? Am I conscious, cognizant inside? Am I in the presence of my Being inside?" You see, this is not easy, but it's the very basis of the path: inner psychologic equilibrium in all things.
Audience: So as far as ethics go, he might stop looking, but he'll keep observing the lust in himself?
Instructor: That is exactly right, you stop looking first. Clearly, you have to control the senses, you have to restrain the senses. But if he represses it, he will immediately start trying to think of something else, distracting himself, going here and there with his mind. But later, that thought, that image of that person will be revived in the mind. Maybe not during the day but at night. That is what causes wet dreams. This is why the bachelors have so much trouble: because they repress lust. It's normal in the beginning, because it is hard to learn to comprehend it. But that repression only feeds the desire. The right step is to continue the observation of the mind. So the person walks away, this guy walks away, the girl is left behind and he keeps watching his mind and he sees these thoughts of the girl keep coming into his mind. He keeps having to say, "That is lust. That is not welcome here. I am in the presence of my Divine Mother. I am in the presence of my Divine Mother! How can I let that lust come into the temple of my heart?" That is equilibrium. It is a continual remembrance. Because at any moment if we forget that equilibrium, then we start indulging or repressing or indulging or repressing. And that is the cycle of the mind. So all of this ethical behavior only describes how we need to learn about that pendulum so we can place ourselves in the center, in the Tao, in the moment to comprehend.
Audience: If a thought goes on in the mind, isn't it the same as if you have done it, even if you did not do the behavior?
Instructor: It depends: are you indulging in the thought? Thoughts come and go without our control. If I tell you to stop thinking for one minute, who here can do it? Well, let me tell you something: you can do it, if you know how. If you have trained yourself in this exercise, you can experience a full minute without a thought, you can experience a half hour. You can experience an hour, because in that stage, you have learned to have such equilibrium, that the mind gave up. That can happen, but none of us are there yet. So when the thought emerges, it depends on what you do with it. Do you indulge in it, do you repress it, or do you observe it? If you indulge in it, then yes, you have committed that action again. This is why our Karma becomes so deep. We have anger with our boss, our coworker, and we keep thinking about it and the thoughts keep coming in the mind, and we keep getting more angry and more angry. That is harmful. Or, that anger comes up and we think "No, I shouldn't be angry, I shouldn't be angry, I'm going to go do the dishes. I shouldn't be angry, I'm going to go wash the car." And we try to avoid it; this is also harmful. You know those people that go into their offices and kill their coworkers? They suffer from this problem. They have a lot of anger that they did not deal with. Every single one of us has the same capacity. Every one of us. Anger is not a game. Lust is not a game. The correct way to handle it is to remember the presence of God, and analyze. Samael Aun Weor told us repeatedly that every single image, every thought, every concept that emerges on the screen of the mind must be analyzed, coldly, without passion; seen for what it is.