This is a transcription of the audio lecture Self knowledge 01 The Importance of This Moment originally given live on Gnostic Radio, which you can download for free.
Since we have begun a new year, I felt that it would be beneficial for us to talk about change.
In western symbolism, we have an old tradition of representing the change of one year to another, as an old man, representing the former year, handing his responsibilities to a newly born child. Although in recent decades that mythology of western culture has been more and more ignored, it bears in its bosom an important meaning that is derived from ancient esoteric tradition. That is the relationship between the Moon and Saturn.
The Moon and Saturn
The old man of that New Year tradition represents Saturn, the ancient god whose original name is Kronos, the god of time, the god of death. Kronos is symbolically represented as an old man who carries a scythe. He represents the passage from one phase from another; he represents time and change. He is the seventh of the seven primary planets in esoteric traditions.
In esoteric knowledge in many places around the world, there are seven fundamental laws or forces that are symbolised and described in different ways, and those seven end with Saturn. They begin with the Moon.
The Moon is a planetary influence that creates, initiates, begins. Physically, the Moon influences conception, birth, creation. This is why in western mythology the Moon is represented as a baby, a new born child.
It is interesting that at this time of the New Year we also celebrate festivities related to death and resurrection, specifically the 25th of December, which is a symbolic date in which we celebrate the birth of Christ, not only in the Christian tradition but in many ancient religions. The sun god is born on the 25th of December. That birth that brings light into the world is made possible through Saturn, death.
Cycles of Birth and Death
We see this cycle of birth and death in everything, a cycle that is inescapable, a cycle that is the very foundation of nature. Death opens the doorway to life, and we see that in the emergence of any living creature. For any living creature to emerge, there must have been death. This is why we gave an entire course about death and its mysteries, so that we can understand that to have life we must have death, and to fear death is to be in ignorance. Death is an important part of the process of living.
Through death we have change. As I mentioned in that course, none of us would be alive if it were not for death. The simplest example of this is in order to make it through this day, you must kill. Something must die in order for you to live. You need to take into your organism minerals, water, plants, and perhaps animals, and you will kill them, you will destroy them, you will consume them, and they will die so that you can have life. This is the basis of living: every breath that you inhale, every mouthful of food that you take, every time you chew and swallow, you are killing, you are destroying, you are creating life for your organism. Even by drinking water you are killing the organisms in it.
This process is inescapable. To be alive, you must kill, but of course you have to know how to kill in balance with nature, both your inner nature and the nature around you. This is why we must learn to eat responsibly and respectfully. We need to learn how to eat and only take what we need to live, to not take more than we need, this is the ancient way, a way that has been lost by society. We now want to take more than what we need and hoard it or indulge in it or try to make a profit from it. This is why we have a great imbalance not only in our society but in our bodies. This is why we become overweight, we develop gluttony, we develop many health problems because of this tendency to want more than we need. Fundamentally, this comes as a misunderstanding of life and death.
In the Gnostic tradition we seek to deeply comprehend the actual nature, the objective truth about life and death—what they truly are, not religiously, not philosophically, but practically, right now. Our very moment to moment existence is managed by laws, and in order to sustain our existence, we need to work in harmony with those laws. In the Gnostic tradition we study the laws of nature in our bodies, in our minds, in our environment.
In order to accomplish that study we need a particular point of view. We need to have a consciousness that is able to pay attention and is capable of seeing things as they truly are—not as we want them to be or wish them to be or hope them to be, but as they actually are. This is a rare quality. It is not something that one receives by inheritance; it is a point of view that one has to develop and know how to manage.
To begin to develop that point of view, we start here and now, being in the body, reflecting on the nature of the body that we inhabit, and starting to examine the relationship between the perceiver and what is perceived. Commonly, this is a relationship that we take for granted and we never analyze. We assume that what we perceive is real, true, and valid. We never question the perceiver. We never analyze and study how the perceiver perceives, and this is the cause of our suffering. This is the root of our suffering: our lack of knowledge about perception.
In Sanskrit terminology, this lack of knowledge about our perception is called avidya. In most translations of Asian scriptures, avidya is translated as ignorance. But when we look deeper at the entomology of the term avidya, we see something very interesting.
First is the letter a. That letter 'a' is a prefix that in Sanskrit, when attached to another word, implies "without" or "lacking."
Vidya can be translated in a variety of ways, but in the context of this lecture the most important is that it means "knowledge." Vidya does not mean book knowledge, theoretical knowledge, or philosophical knowledge, it means conscious knowledge, knowledge that one has experienced, knowledge that is irrefutable, in other words dharma, truth, something that is real.
Vidya is derived from the ancient Proto-Indo-European root u̯eid, which meant "to see" or "to know." From this word also comes the word Veda, which refers to the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.
Thus, a-vidya means "without seeing" or "without knowing."
So this word avidya is somewhat similar to its English translation of ignorance, because even in ignorance we see a similar construction. We see the prefix I and after that comes three letters 'gno'. That prefix is the same 'gno' that we see in the word gnosis. So that I implies, lacking, something missing, without. So "to ignore" is to lack knowledge.
When we say "to ignore," we usually use the word to ignore as something willful, for example "my child is being very irritating so I am ignoring him." That is a willful choice. However, when we use the term avidya and ignorance, we generally, when most people study scriptures and philosophy, we assume that this ignorance is a lack of willfulness. We assume it means a lack of education, a lack of instruction, but in fact, it is a willful lack of knowledge, and we can prove this by analyzing our behaviors today.
We willfully avoid seeing the truth. We willfully, intentionally, avoid the facts. This is very unfortunate because truly it proves that ignorance, avidya, is the cause of our suffering. We avoid the facts of our lives and instead we grasp at dreams, hopes, good intentions, fantasies; we avoid the truth, we avoid the facts. We try to cover up what is plainly in front of our face, and distract ourselves away from seeing the fundamental facts.
All of us have our own mechanisms that we rely upon in order to avoid facing the true reality of our lives. Some of us utilize our lifestyle. Maybe we claim that we are too busy, maybe we claim that we have too many responsibilities, we have to care for our family, we have to save money or make money, we have to do this, we have to do that, and thus we "do not have the time" or perhaps we justify ourselves by saying the world is already too corrupt and "there is nothing that I can do about it, it is hopeless" or perhaps we justify ourselves by saying "it is all in Gods hands, not mine."
We have many excuses, explanations, justifications. We have many behaviors and habits to avoid the truth. Some of us put on a shirt of spirituality and claim we are doing our best, we are "spiritual" people. Some of us put on the shirt of politics, of commerce, and claim that those outfits that we wear are our effort, are our way of trying to approach reality of truth, trying to solve the mystery of reality and life.
Some of us avoid the truth outright by engaging in any number of pursuits in life: getting an education, making achievements and accomplishments, accumulating products or wealth.
Be honest and sincere with yourself and ask yourself the question: have you truly comprehended that you will die? Does your behavior reflect a genuine cognizant understanding that the moment of death will arrive and it will not be according to your schedule? Do you live your life day to day fully taking advantage of the opportunity of living in order to prepare yourself for the moment of death? Are all of your activities geared towards preparation towards that inevitable outcome? How much of your time and energy is wasted in frivolous and even harmful activity?
We do not like these kind of questions, because they reveal places in our lives that we do not want to look, and they reveal habits and tendencies that we do not want to give up, but the fact is: we will die, it is unavoidable, it will happen, and we will not expect it.
This is why we gave the course about death, but there is another reason we gave that course. It is not only so that we as individuals can initiate a training in ourselves from moment to moment, but also so that we will be prepared to transform our experience of what is about to happen to society.
The training is to keep our consciousness in a position in which when death arrives we will not be surprised, we will not be caught of guard, we will be prepared and be able to transform that experience into something positive instead of something terrifying. This is possible. It has been done, it can be done, but one has to be trained. Truthfully, you have to train yourself, no one can teach you that because no one can see all the intricacies of your mind except for you.
We learn to be capable of transforming the shock of death by transforming all of our other experiences. We should never be surprised by anything, but always prepared for anything.
That training is really, really important, not only for transforming the experience of death, but in transforming the experience of life. Life is not going to go according to our plan. I hope that is not too shocking for you to hear, but those who are a little older are starting to realize that a little more, but the youth have that gift, that wonderful youthful hope, maybe it is a little naivety, but it gives them great energy to try. Whereas the older ones who have tried and failed and faced the challenges of life and the unpredictability of life, often give up and resign themselves to just watching the world in despair.
We need to heed the words of our teacher Jesus:
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before.
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. - Matthew 24
In order to awaken consciousness and rise out of suffering, we need to train ourselves in a very specific way.
This training to be attentive and present, continually watchful in oneself from moment to moment, not only as a preparation of the moment of death, but as a mechanism, a tool that allows us to transform the process of life. This technique, this skill is becoming more and more important, because life is getting harder and harder, and it will continue to get harder. Life is not going to get easier. The facts attest to this.
What we need to understand is that we are not the mind. When we analyze the relationship between perceiver and perceived, we need to see that we are not this body. This is a physical body that we all have and even though there are slight differences among us structurally, physically and psychologically, we have these basic factors that we need to understand and analyze and study and know very deeply how they function, how they work.
The first is to be aware that the perceiver is not the body, the perceiver is not the eyeballs, it is not the ears, it is not the thought. You can perceive without thought, you can perceive without eyes, without ears, without taste, without touch; perception is still there. That root perception is consciousness, cognizance, existence, a state of being, and there are many, many degrees of consciousness, levels, infinite, not only infinitely narrow and limited, but infinitely expansive and perceptive. Our level of conscious development is very, very small, far smaller than what we assume it is. The consciousness is more capable than we can even imagine, but without training we cannot realize its potential.
This training begins now, here, in this moment, starting to become aware of oneself, observing the body. Observe the relationship between perceiver and perceived. The body is not the perceiver, because we are perceiving it. Moreover, inside the body there are many, many details and systems, all of its functions. Really, all of that we synthesize as a "brain," and we call it the motor/instinctive/sexual brain. Really, this is a center of activity that has three primary parts: a motor center, an instinctive center, and a sexual center.
These are three "machines" that function through the body, that fulfill their roles in order to give us existence. The motor center gives us the ability to walk around, to do things, to talk, to eat, to ride a bicycle, to go to work. The instinctive center manages the basic functions of our lives: to eat, to survive. The sexual center is the center that drives all of the energy in us not only reproductive but spiritual. Our spiritual and sexual life is rooted in the sexual center.
So, being aware of being in the body is the beginning of being aware of this center, this brain: how our body functions from the easily observable to the difficult to observe. It is easy to observe oneself walking, using your hands and feet, adopting different postures as you stand and sit, this is very easy, although we do not do it. We are generally unaware of being in the body. We forget the body, and are totally distracted by the mind. Self-Observation must encompass awareness of the body, observation of it.
Then, we learn to observe thoughts. We call this the intellectual brain or the intellectual center. So, learn to be aware that thinking is not the perceiver, either because you can perceive a thought. A thought does not perceive. A thought is a concept, it is not a perception. A thought is a record, an image, a memory, a theory, an idea.
Now we are observing two brains: the motor/instinctive/sexual brain and the intellect, the brain that is in the skull. There is more to us than that, because we also have emotions, feelings, longings, fears and anxieties, that aren't necessarily connected to physical sensations and aren't exactly connected to logical thoughts, but we sense them and feel them in our heart. So then we have to learn to observe the third brain, the emotional center.
The emotional center is not the perceiver, either, just as the intellect is not the perceiver and the body is not the perceiver. Do not take my word for it: observe yourself. Perceive these centers in yourself, and you will begin to see that you are not these three. You are the perceiver. Your true nature is deep inside of perception, but your perception is being clouded by these three.
Your perception is being clouded continually by impulses that arise from your body, from your motor/instinctive/sexual center. Your perception is clouded by the impulses, feelings, and sensations in the body: you feel tired, hyper, hungry, thirsty, you want to lie down, you want to run around, you want to eat, you do not want that food you want this food, you want to have sex you do not want to have sex, you want to survive, you want to die. All these impulses arise almost randomly, chaotically, without any conscious control. This includes many kinds of addictions, like addictions to food, substances, sex, tv, the internet, work, profit, shopping, attention, etc. It includes addictions to psychological process also that become deeply rooted in the body. Some of us become so addicted to certain forms of entertainment that addiction is in the body because the body thrives on the sensation that that type of entertainment produces. For example pornography, soap operas, lots of sports, very violent activities like video games or competitive sports that are quite violent. We might be interested in them in the intellect, we might like the feelings of them in the heart, but the addiction to them is in the body.
We become very clouded in our perceptions by the sensation that we experience in the intellect also, by theories, by concepts. We may have been told our whole life the idea or the philosophy that "life is like (this)" and when we start to experience that life is not like that, we have conflict. All of us grew up in a certain kind of culture and receive a certain education to see life in a certain way, and when we experience that life is not that way, we have an internal conflict, and we suffer. We may have been told that life is about getting a marriage partner, a house, kids, a car, a job, a savings package, and when you get to sixty-five you retire and live on the beach, and when this scenario is not happening for us, we suffer. We do not observe this, and we do not realize that "I am suffering because of this idea that life is supposed to be a certain way." We need to comprehend that life is not an idea, and does not conform to our ideas, it conforms to our karma.
We also become deluded and confused by sensations in our emotional center, longings and cravings in the heart. A parent loves their child and wants the best for their child and wants their child to be the president, the prime minister, but that child only wants to watch TV and play games, or in school wants to study something other than medicine or law, so that parent suffers in their heart. That suffering is not caused by the true nature of the parent. The suffering is caused by a desire, a longing in the heart that clouds their perception of seeing reality. It may be that that child's destiny does not correspond with the concept of the parent. It may be that their destiny is to be something totally different, and that parent has to learn to let the child do that.
For all of us, perception becomes clouded in the heart. We may feel that we deserve a certain type of life, a certain type of partner, so we suffer. We may feel that we need and want a certain kind of attention from someone, a certain kind of affection, and we do not get that, so we suffer.
In all of these cases we see qualities, sensations in the three brains that cloud our perception and cause us to not see life as it is. This is the fundamental problem that everyone in humanity suffers from. We call it by many names, such as ignorance, avidya, etc.
The solution is to observe these three brains and to recognize the difference between perceiver and perceived, to start to establish that distinction in our perception.
Let me make that perfectly clear. What I am talking about is not a theory to put into your intellect. It is not a feeling (belief) to build in your heart. It is not a sensation to feel in the body. It is a way of seeing.
There are many people who study self-observation, and they understand the theory very well, but they do not observe themselves. There are many people who study self-observation and they feel in their heart that they understand it, but they do not observe themselves. There are many people who study self-observation and build physical habits and tendencies that they believe are self-observation, but they are not observing themselves.
Self-observation is an action that originates beyond the three brains. Self-observation is a manner of perception. Self-observation is the most fundamental training to transform your experience of living and dying.
There is a reason why I am emphasizing self-observation today. This lecture is not happenstance. I am mentioning this today at the transition from one year to another, because there is a great deal of energy in motion. Our entire world is poised to go through an incredible transformation, and we are not going to like it. I know we all have a lot of beautiful ideas and theories about a coming "golden age" and "maybe with the next election everything will be better" but these are lies we are telling ourselves. We are not willing to see the fundamental reality. We need to see it, because if we do not, our suffering will be increased dramatically.
If we begin to see ourselves as we truly are, through that perception—not a theory or a sensation but perception—we can also start to see the world around us, not for what we wish it was or hope it could be, but what it is. This has extreme significance. To survive the difficult days ahead, we have to be capable of seeing with precision, without interference. To survive, we have to see clearly.
In order to completely understand this, to completely empower our consciousness and grow in self-observation, there is another component that is vital.
We begin here: learning to be present, learning to be in the body observing ourselves. That alone can take years of training, because our habits are so deeply engrained. This is the most important foundation. But it is not enough.
We talk about many things in this tradition, many concepts, many teachings, many practices, but without this, you will get nothing. You can be transmuting your energy all you want, but if you do not know how to use that energy, you will get nothing. We learn to use energy by directing attention, through managing our consciousness from moment to moment.
Self-observation is the first step, but to empower that, to take the knowledge that you acquire from self-observation and properly use it, you also need self-remembering.
We can say that self-observation is a somewhat focused energy. It is the ability to recognize and experience that perceiver and perceived are not the same; there is a difference. Now philosophically, this is going to get a little bit confusing, but if you practice this, you will start to understand it, so do not let your mind get caught in it.
This first stage is to recognize the difference between perceiver and perceived. The second stage is to realize that they are the same thing. It sounds contradictory, but it is not, because in the second aspect, in self-remembering, you remember God, you remember the Being.
When you remember your Innermost, when you remember God, it is not a thought in the intellect, thinking, and we imagine whatever we imagine that God happens to be, in our mind. No, that is not self-remembering.
It is also not to experience a sensation in the heart, a love, a longing, an anxiety, a missing, something in the heart, "I love God." That is not self-remembering. It is not to be the type of person who experiences a lot of bhakti or devotion and to feel your heart. This is good, but that is not self-remembering.
It is also not to experience sensations in the body, feeling tingling, as if "God is here." That is not self-remembering. Those are sensations in the body.
Self-Remembering is conscious, expansive awareness. It can be said that self-remembering is the awareness, the perception, that absolutely everything is God. Your intellect cannot hold that, your heart cannot hold it, and your body cannot because they are all inside of it. To see it, you have to get beyond the three brains, you have to get beyond yourself.
Self-Remembering is an expanded awareness that encompasses self-observation surrounds it, energizes it, fuels it.
There are many students in the Gnostic tradition, the Buddhist tradition, Zen, Taoism, who learn to be present but they never remember themselves, and thus their practice becomes dry.
To remember oneself is to be actively engaged in perceiving the nature of the perceiver, and this is when you begin to see that what you perceive is not distinct from the perceiver. Philosophically, it sounds contradictory, but experientially it is not contradictory. Even science is beginning to recognize this. If you have studied physics of the last hundred years or so, it is all leading to this, which is something that has been known in spiritual traditions for thousands of years: perception is the basis of existence. How you perceive determines everything.
Now, even science states that if there is no perceiver there is no event. The event is only real when it is seen. It sounds like Buddhism, Taoism, Confucius, or Lao Tzu. Yet that is what modern science is realizing. That statement is gnosis, because it is true. Your relationship with what is perceived determines your reality. Your reality is determined by the nature of your power of perception. Do you want to change your reality? Then learn how to see more clearly.
This is the fundamental question. How to you relate to what you perceive? By habit? We have only learned to relate to what we perceive through our three brains because we perceive through the clouded interference of our body, heart, and intellect, and we have never learned how to perceive without them, beyond them, controlling attention consciously, without interference.
That is what self-observation and self-remembering together will teach you. I cannot teach you that; you have to learn it through practice, through effort, through remembering constantly to do it.
Let me give you some example of what will happen if you learn this.
Transformation of Impressions
The way we are now, with our habits now, if we have a difficult experience we suffer a lot. For example, if someone we love does something or says something that hurts us, it affects our perception of everything, especially if they do something that goes against our will. We want them to do A, B and C, and they do not do any of it, we get really mad, hurt, our heart in pain, our body in pain, we are tense, we cannot sleep, we cannot work, our mind races, "Why did they do this, how did they do this to me, doesn't he know that he should have done A, B and C," and we fight, and we argue.
The problem is our perception. We are not observing ourselves, we are not remembering the Divine, and we are not seeing anything in that situation as it truly is. In other words, we have no comprehension, no real understanding of what is happening in that scenario, so we feel hurt.
A person capable of self-remembering and self observing will be capable of experiencing that situation in a completely different way. The pain might be there because we might not be getting what we want. We might feel disappointment, we might feel hurt, but we will also feel love, we will also feel comprehension. We will understand that person, and this happening because of karma. Whatever the reasons of that scenario may be, we will understand it. Our judgement will not be clouded by our desires, by our longing to control the other person, and whatever intentions good or bad that we may have. With some self-awareness, we are better able to act for the benefit of others and ourselves, because we are not so blinded by our egos. This is a very simple example to show that you can begin to receive benefit from this training immediately, to begin to transform your experiences of life so that you are not suffering so much all the time.
This is more important though, when we put it into the context of society as a whole. This training becomes more important. Spiritually speaking, this training is critical, because we do not understand not only our own karma but the karma of our society. As we are now, we are taking everything for granted. All of us assume that we will live for another thirty, forty, or sixty years, and in that time we can pretty much do whatever we want, and we have the opportunity to acquire as much as we want to acquire, and go wherever we want to go, and do whatever we want to do. That fantasy has nothing to do with reality. It is a fantasy that has been foisted upon us by our culture that is only interested in getting money and more money and keeping us confused so that we will not see what is really going on here. With this training, we start to see what is truly happening in the world, and that knowledge leads us to see how we can help to change it.
Our fantasies about life keep us in a state where we do not realize and recognize the undeniable fact that we will die. At that moment of death every action that we have performed is calculated mathematically in order to determine what will happen to us next. Good intentions do not fit into that equation, only our actions. What we did or did not do is reduced to a sum, and that sum propels us forward to our next scenario, whatever that scenario may be. Our current scenario was derived through the cumulative actions we have engaged in up till now. What will happen to us later today, tomorrow, the day after that, will be determined by everything that we have done up to this point.
So when we analyze that, we recognize this fundamental state in which we are constantly being fooled by our perceptions of our mind, of our heart, of our body. We are always being manipulated by our sensations, by our fears, by our pride, by anxieties, by our lust and gluttony and greed. From this understanding we can easily determine that the outcome of actions produced under those influences will be more suffering. We have behaved in ways that produce suffering. We have behaved through ignorance and desire, only focused on our wants and needs. This is why we suffer now, and this is why we will suffer tomorrow.
That accumulated series of actions and consequences produces a stream of energy in nature. Some people like to call it "soul," thinking that it is their real identity, but this stream of accumulated action is not the soul; the soul has to be created. In some traditions they call it "mind stream." Really, it is a stream of karma that our consciousness is trapped in.
Let us imagine a stream of energy moving through space on a horizontal plane. That stream of energy is our energy. It is the accumulated actions and consequences of everything that we have ever done in every lifetime. All of that is condensed and synthesized in this exact moment right now. All of that is defining who you are, where you are, and everything that is confining and binding you, everything: the type of body you have, the type of mind you have, the type of culture you have, your interests, fears, longings, anxieties, skills. Everything that you experience as "myself" is really just a stream of energy that is condensed right here and now.
Everybody wants to know about their past lives, and they want to go to another person and pay them money to find out about their past lives. You do not need to. If you seriously examine who you are now, and learn to meditate and analyze who you are today, that meditation process will unlock the keys of who you have been, because who you were determined who you are now. It is quite simple. But, we ultimately do not want to see the truth of who we are (just as we do not want to see the truth of who we are now) because we were not John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, or Joan of Arc. We weren't Jesus's sister, mother, daughter or whatever saint. We were people like we were now, blind and foolish, perhaps with good intentions, but without real knowledge. We made a lot of mistakes, and that is why we are still suffering. We had a lot of pride, and that is why we are still suffering. We had a lot of arrogance and a lot of anger, and that is why we are still suffering.
Observe your mind, your heart, your body; see it for what it is. That observation here and now, observing what is happening here and now, is a doorway, a key that can unlock everything that exists in nature, everything. The Greek oracle said,
Know yourself and you will know the universe and its gods.
That knowledge of self is not theoretical, it is not intellectual, it is not a belief, it is not a theory, it is not a sensation. It is not in the three brains, it is in the consciousness, it is in perception of the truth.
Of course, we do not remember much of our true past. When we imagine the stream of energy that made us what we are today, we really do not remember that much, it is hard for us to imagine that flow of forces.
It is even hard for us to really remember were we were and hour ago, and what we exactly thought and felt just an hour ago, we have to make effort just to remember that. "What was I doing precisely sixty minutes ago, was I standing, sitting, what was I thinking and feeling, what was I doing?" We cannot remember. We cannot remember what was happening three hours ago. We cannot remember what we were doing when the body was asleep this morning. We cannot remember much of yesterday or last week or last month. So, this is why no one remembers their past existences. How can we remember something that happened many years ago, if we cannot even remember recent events? We have a very fragile, weak memory, and there is a primary reason why: it is because we do not pay attention. We are distracted. From moment to moment, we are either of thinking about random things and barely paying any attention to the moment, or we are of indulging in our feelings random things. Or we are distracted by sensations in the body: hunger, discomfort, pleasure, etc. We are never fully present, conscious of what we are seeing and doing, observing our three brains and our environment.
On occasion, such as in a shocking situation, our consciousness can become fully present and receptive. When something really unusual happens, sometimes we become fully aware, and the result is a strong impression filled with details that we will never forget. This was a moment in which we were actually awake. We should be like that all of the time. Some of us have such moments in childhood, at seemingly random moments, but that produce indelible impressions in us.
But, since we have not been trained to maintain that state, we fall asleep, hypnotized by sensations, thoughts, and feelings, and go through our lives not really living, not seeing anything of states and events: our psychological state in relation with our external events.
We never really pay attention. So, in the evening when we look back at our day, we have big gaps in our memory. We think, "I cannot remember what happened when I got of that bus. I guess I walked to work. Somehow I got to work,because I was at work but I do not remember. Yesterday did you call me? I do not remember."
We do not remember because we do not pay attention. This is proof. If you really observe yourself and remember yourself, you will remember everything in detail, and it will be overwhelming how much you remember.
If you really want to remember your past lives, if you really want to be awake in the astral plane and be able to go to visit temples and talk to masters, you need this skill of being awake here and now in your physical body. If you cannot be awake here and now within your physical body, then you cannot be awake here and now in the fifth or sixth dimension. To be awake in the internal worlds, you must first be awake here. So develop this skill here.
Regardless of how extensive our memory is, if we can only remember bits and pieces of our current life, at least through analyzing that flow of energy we can start to surmise its potential momentum forward from this moment. In other words, imagine this horizontal line. We are here in this moment, and everything that we ever did throughout all of our previous lifetimes is that stream of energy behind us, leading to this exact moment. Where will this energy go now? What determines it is not your boss, it is not your spouse, it is not your children, it is not the city you live in or the country you live in or the language you speak. Its momentum is not determined by your education or how much money you have in the bank. Your movement forward in life or in evolution is determined by your perception, by how you see and what you see, it is determined by your state of consciousness. In any situation, you cannot guide your direction if you cannot perceive yourself and your environment. Similarly, your evolution depends upon your ability to see.
In other words, if you continue the way you have always been, barely aware of anything, just being pummeled by the forces of life, driven here and there like a leaf in the wind, then your life going forward will be exactly the same, with the exception that all of a sudden at a given moment you will be dead, but you will not know it, and you will be acting the same way in limbo, propelled by the karmic forces of all your previous actions, and you will enter into a new womb or pushed to devolve in nature.
This is the most likely outcome for the vast majority of humanity, because the collective karma of the entirety of humanity is too heavy, because all of humanity is conditioned this way: asleep, propelled by desire, driven by lust and pride, compelled by sensations and addiction to materialism.
Thus, the entirety of humanity is on the precipice of a tremendous transformation. It has already begun, and it is going to get worse. I know we do not want to see that, we do not want to hear that, we want to believe things are going to get better, but the facts indicate otherwise.
Consider this imaginary line to be the collective actions of the entire race on this planet, an accumulation of centuries of momentum. Look also at how that stream connects with the psychological condition of humanity at this moment: how much greed there is, how much violence, anger, lust, pride, gluttony, envy, and fear. Consider how difficult it is to find chastity, temperance, patience, humility, happiness for others, selflessness, respect for the divine, etc.
Look objectively at the entire planet, and we see how the stream of energy—actions and consequences—is moving. How can you possibly entertain the theory that things will get better, when month to month, year to year, they are getting worse?
We do not want to see it. We want to distract ourselves with TV, music, sports, culture, technology, fashion, politics, and video games.
We do not want to face the fundamental objective reality, which is that our suffering is getting worse, poverty is expanding, and pollution is worsening. Worldwide, it is harder and harder to get clean water, clean air, and pure food. There are more wars, there is more slavery, there is more rape, violence, and killing than there ever has been.
Life on this planet has never been so threatened by so many problems. And we originated them!
Many so-called scientists reject this notion, claiming with their theories, charts, figures, and data that life on this planet is better than ever, but what science rejects today it accepts tomorrow.
In our hearts, we all know that humanity is on the precipice of destruction. We feel it, and we do not want to deal with it.
This stream of energy of humanity, thus stream of cause and effect, is bearing consequences that are starting to bear fruit. The consequences are happening; they are emerging; nature is fighting back.
Nature always seeks to balance energy in order to preserve itself. Nature does not care about us. Nature does not care about civilizations or species, it kills them to preserve itself. It has happened before, and it is happening again. As a humanity, as a race, we have unbalanced nature on this planet with all our atomic testing, nuclear blasts, pollution, with our raping of the land, the raping of the earth, with the destruction of the oceans, our killing of life forms worldwide. We have infected the entire planet with our illness, and the planet is revolting against us.
The planet is on a different time scale than we are. The planet is a living organism, a conscious being that has compassion, who has love, but who also acts in accordance with the law. This planet has already destroyed four civilizations before ours, and it will destroy ours, too. It is only a matter of time.
This imaginary line that we have been talking about is the Line of Time. It ends in death. It always does, it always has, it always will. This line applies to our individual life. Our body will die. This line applies to our societal life. Every civilization in history has died, and so will ours. The question is, who will be prepared to take advantage of that death, to transform that death consciously and utilize it for the benefit of everyone?
Even Jesus died in order to resurrect. The Buddha died in order to resurrect. Every great master dies in order to have the resurrection of the spirit. Humanity must die in order for a new age to emerge, for a new humanity to be born. Humanity cannot go forward with all of its pride and anger and lust. Humanity in its current condition is a grotesque creature. Humanity is bound by impurities that cannot rise to heaven, and the only way to remove those impurities is through death. A shepherd who cares for a flock will kill an animal that is filled with infectious, noxious disease, because that one sick animal can kill the entire flock. Humanity is a sick animal, and cannot be allowed to infect the others in our region of the galaxy.
The sickness is psychological. Our sickness is our pride, lust, greed, gluttony, envy, laziness, avarice, etc.
As individuals, we have a choice: we can engage in that death consciously, willingly, actively engaging in killing the ego in ourselves, pursuing our anger and killing it, pursuing our pride and removing it, pursuing our lust and eradicating it. We can consciously choose to do that. That is a psychological death, and through that psychological death comes a psychological resurrection: the soul is born, the spirit is born, a master is born, a Buddha, an angel. The only way to make a Buddha, a master, or an angel is through a psychological death. That is why in all the great stories of all the great masters they die. They are beheaded, they are crucified, they sacrifice themselves for the benefit of all.
Unfortunately, humanity does not want to cast the ego aside. Humanity wants to take the ego to heaven, and go to heaven with all of their lust, anger, and pride, and this will never happen, it cannot. The only way to those superior levels is for those aspects of our psyche to die.
Nature is participating by helping to resolve the karma, our karma, in helping us to suffer so that we can pay what we owe.
"No man knows the hour save the Father," but the hour will come.
Then, this planet will undergo a great transformation. In the coming days, all of us will witness many painful things. We will experience events the likes of which have never been seen before.
We have a choice. We can avoid it and bury our heads in the sand, and watch television and debate politics and stay with our addiction to frivolous materialistic things, or we can learn to transform the experience, learn, and change.
It is extremely likely that in the coming days our lives will be dramatically changed, and the life of comfort and ease that we have longed for and wanted will be denied to us.
It is highly that the comfort and ease in which we go from day to day will be gone, and we will have to suffer and struggle simply to get by.
In that process, we have a choice. Shall we handle it by the guidance of our habits and defects, or by the guidance of the divine?
This training that I have been explaining to you—to self observe and self remember—has a supreme significance, because it is the doorway to developing a truly spiritual life. The doorway to real spiritual advancement is not in the future. It is not in the projected line of life going forward from this moment. Your spiritual advancement is not in the future, it is available not tomorrow, it is not possible after you finish your big project, it is not possible after you get your degree or after you get married. Your spiritual future is not in the future. Your spiritual future is not found after you find a good school or church to go to, or after you read that book, or after you have learned this or that skill in meditation or self-remembering. It is not there in the future.
The doorway to spiritual advancement is here and now, right now, and it will always be here and now. It will never be in the future. It will never be dependent on any external circumstance. It is always dependent on your state of being right now. Your state of consciousness determines your spiritual life.
You Choose Your Life
You choose in this moment whether you are deluded by your thoughts, deluded by your feelings, deluded by sensations and impulses in the body. You choose.
It is a choice. When you decide to sit down and be hypnotized by the TV or the computer screen, you have chosen to be hypnotized.
When you choose to experience and indulge in your fear of the future and you worry about what will happen, you have chosen that fear and clothed yourself in it.
When you experience longing for material security, craving for wealth, for a sense of being safe, you have chosen a delusion and wrapped it around yourself; you have chosen to be asleep.
The entrance to a real spiritual life is to choose to be free. That is a choice. It is a choice you make here and now continually; to be free, to free your heart and mind and body from the delusion of the internal and the external.
You choose with your conscious will to have your perception free or jailed. It is up to you.
In each moment, you choose how to respond. If you continue by habit, asleep, then your life of life will continue to flow downwards into suffering. Yet if you choose to respond consciously, transforming your experience of each moment with sensitive awareness, you can respond to every challenge with the best of yourself.
If difficult times, those who are conscious of themselves will be capable of responding with the best of themselves. Conversely, in difficult times, those who are asleep will deepen their suffering dramatically.
Learn now, in each situation, to be awake, choosing to respond consciously, with your best qualities. This is how you can prepare for the difficult times to come. Face your difficulties now with patience, acceptance, and humility, so that you are prepared for your future difficulties.
The one who chooses to be free refuses to be bound by any thought, by any feeling, by any worry, by any sensation, and instead observes them, does not fight them, does not resist them or indulge in them, but is in balance, conscious, aware, not reactive, observing, conscious, continual. That person experiences something completely different, because that person experiences the actual nature of time, the reality of time, this line of time, because in reality that line does not exist.
That "time" that we all worry about, "I do not have enough time, I'm running out of time" is an illusion. We all think "I have only so much time to build my soul, to create the solar bodies; I have only so much time until I die." You do not know how much time you have. "I only have so much time to get my degree, and go to college, and get a house, and a wife, and a boat, and a car, to build my career, to get famous." This is an illusion.
The Vertical Path
Time is not real. Time is a way of perception that is rooted in desire. The one who truly self observes and self remembers escapes time. In other words, they open the door to a vertical path. The vertical path emerges from this moment, right now. It is not in the future.
The vertical path is the path of the Being, the path of the consciousness. That path goes two ways: upwards and downwards.
Learn to observe yourself, to be in the present moment, to be in your body, to be here and now, to observe thoughts but not indulge in them and not resist them, to observe emotion and to not indulge in it and to not repress it, and to observe sensations in the body and to not be driven by it and to not avoid it. In other words you achieve Tao, to be in the middle, the middle path between aversion and craving, neither craving nor avoiding, neither chasing nor running away, but just being. When you learn that, you are truly learning to observe the three brains objectively, and to not be victimized by them, to not let them control you, so your thoughts will come and go and your feelings will come and go. When you are conscious of yourself and a person says a mean word to you, you may feel pain in your heart but do not react; you watch the pain arise and then pass away, and then, it is like nothing happened, because you did not indulge in it, you did not react to it, you did not respond to hurt the other person so that they would feel what you felt. In other words, you comprehended. You remain serene. In this way, you strengthen your consciousness and avoid creating harmful consequences. You acquire wisdom and experience. You learn.
The same is possible with sensations in the body. You may feel the impulse for the orgasm, but, conscious of yourself, you do not indulge in it, and the sensation goes away and you no longer want it; you have comprehended something. Sensation, thought, and feeling are impermanent. Truly, ultimately, they do not exist. What truly exists is the perceiver. That is our true nature: the consciousness that sees. When we envelop our consciousness in the fascination with any sensation, we condemn it to suffer.
We have lost knowledge of our true nature because (for example) we grasp at a false sense of self defined by a sense of security in our intellect, wanting people to think of us a certain way, and to think of ourselves a certain way so we are safe. Or we want a sense of security in the heart, that we feel a certain way so everything will be fine. Or we grasp at a sense of security in the body, that we get the sensations that we want. That is all a lie, because it will all die.
People's opinions of us will change like the weather. Why rely on something that is unreliable?
We cannot rely on how we feel, because our feelings changes like the whether. We cannot rely on sensations, we cannot rely on a house, a car, a spouse, an education, we cannot rely on a president, a prime minister, a king, queen, or a priest. We cannot rely on anything outside, because it is all impermanent and subject to karma, and will all pass away. You cannot rely on money in the bank; you cannot rely on your children, on your parents, on your friends. You cannot rely on anything, anywhere, but one place, your true nature, which is perception, which is the Being.
To learn that now will aid you a lot in coming months and years, because humanity is going to suffer a lot. All of these games that humanity is playing with politics and media and money will be revealed to be what they are: fruitless, useless, impermanent, and unreliable.
We suffer because we rely on things that cannot be relied on. All of us want to rely on money in the bank, our political system, our education system, our children, our family. They will all pass away sooner or later, and the moment they are taken, we suffer a lot, by our own fault, because we invested our sense of security in those things. We chose those things to make us feel safe, and that was a mistake.
The process of approaching this teaching is to recognize that. To not put our trust and faith in things that cannot be trusted, and do not last, but to invest our time and energy and our spirit and consciousness into something eternal and permanent, and that is consciousness: the perceiver, which is inside.
The Two Ways
Why is this so important? It is because this line, the vertical path, goes two ways. From this very moment, when we talk about time and we talk about energy, we are all making a choice how we use our energy, how we use our consciousness, how we pay attention.
When we clothe ourselves in our pride, and we feel ourselves, "I am good" or "I am bad" we have chosen to invest energy in that pride. We have chosen to be hypnotized, we have chosen to sleep. In other words, we have moved down the vertical path, because we have trapped consciousness in a false entity.
The same is true of envy. When we see what someone else has, we want that. We have invested energy in envy, and trapped our consciousness in it, and then that envy will pursue us with thoughts and impulses, like "Remember that thing that you really wanted? Remember? You really want that, right? You really want that. Now you have to get a job or go and make money or get money from somebody to get that thing that you want." That desire incites you constantly. We think it will make us happy and secure, but we are wrong. The sooner we begin to realize that, the sooner we will begin to change our suffering.
Every time we indulge in those desires, we step down on the vertical path, we descend, and that is why the entirety of humanity is descending. To ascend, we need to liberate the consciousness from every kind of desire: every kind. To not be bound by any desire. To not be bound by anger, pride, lust, laziness, gluttony, greed, envy, fear.
We train ourselves to do this from moment to moment, from day to day, through our daily experiences.
When someone criticizes us, we need to be aware and question ourselves, "Do I indulge in this anger? Or do I comprehend the criticism? Maybe they are right, maybe what they said is true. If it is not true, why should I get upset, because it is not true? If it is true, why should I get upset, because it is true?" So if you are upset, you are fighting reality, you are denying something, you are avoiding something.
When you are upset, something in your mind is in conflict with reality. In order to solve pain, we always try to change the outside, and we always fail. That fundamental nature of every problem is found with our perception, inside.
If I know who I am, and I know what I did, and I did the right thing, anybody in the world can say I did the wrong thing and I will not care, it will not bother me at all, because I know in my consciousness that I did the right thing, and no one can take that away from me.
Trust in God
That is the authenticity of the consciousness, of the Being. That is the type of certainty and serenity that we need to face what is coming. There will be wars, there will be death, and there will be disasters. This world is going to change, sooner rather than later.
Purge from your mind the illusion that things are going to improve. Do not look to the future for something that does not exist. Look to yourself, here and now. Analyze who you truly are and change for the better. Learn to know your Being.
Whatever happens, whether it is at your house, or down the street, or in the next country, you can handle it if you remember your self. If you forget your Being, you will suffer a lot. But if you remember your Being and trust your Being, if you can be present here and now, not putting the mind in the future or the past, not getting identified with your longings and fears, your cravings and desires, but being here and now, listening to your intuition, you can be aided, you can manage. You can survive.
Let me give you an example. If a dramatic situation happens and someone is terribly injured, and the crowd of people around that person is in a compete state of panic, how are they going to help that person if they are all scared, afraid, and panicking? No one will have a level head, and there is a good chance that the person will die or their suffering will get worse. In order to help that suffering person, there needs to be someone there who is not identified, who is not emotionally engaged, who is not afraid, but is able to be calm and skillful and solve the problem.
Similarly, we need that to deal with our life. If our mind is confused, conflicted, and trapped in desire for security, for wealth, for fame, for an escape, we will be in conflict and will be unable to see the reality for what it is. We will not be able to solve our problems. We suffer from that right now. All of us have problems that we cannot solve because our mind is in conflict, because we are identified with our problems. If we learn to not be identified, to accept what God gives us and to work for what we deserve, then we would not have this problem and this suffering.
Therefore, in the coming days, we will need the ability to remain serene while facing terrible adversity. Serenity is a quality of free consciousness. Only a serene person will be capable of managing the forces that will be in motion.
The Rights of Canchorrita
There is a guarantee given by the Divine to all of those who faithfully serve their Innermost, and that guarantee is given in every religion by different names. Samael Aun Weor called it the rights of Canchorrita. This right is also in the gospels and is explained by Jesus.
These rights are also explained in Tantra by the great master Padmasambhava.
No matter how bad it gets, even if the entire world is plunged into warfare, disease, starvation, and suffering, those who are truly committed to fulfilling their responsibilities to their Innermost will always be protected and will have the basic necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. You might not have a fancy car, you might not have an internet connection, you might not have electricity, but you will have an opportunity to continue your spiritual work, and really, that is all you need. Of course to acquire that, to earn that, to receive that right, you have to do your part. You have to be faithful to your Innermost, to your Divine Mother, which means you have to be working daily to free your mind from its cages and prove your faithfulness to the Divine.
We have to abandon our faithless habits. Truly, we are faithless. We make a commitment and then in the next minute we break it. We all do this, continually. To earn the rights of Canchorrita we have to become faithful, consistent, committed, unwavering, serene.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Since karma is not fixed, in the Buddhist tradition they have practices to clear karma. Does the Gnostic tradition have practices like this?
Instructor: Yes, since karma is not permanent, many traditions give practices in order to clear karma, such as in Buddhism they have many mantras, rituals, prostrations and other types of exercises. Also in Hinduism there are exercises that are given to students in order to work on karma.
The fundamental basis of those exercises is to guide the student to engage in an activity that is not selfish. Unfortunately, we tend to engage in all of our activities in a very selfish way. For example, a practitioner in Buddhism who learns to do prostrations is given the exercises to do a certain cycle of prostrations everyday. They are given that so as to engage in that activity to purge certain types of karma and these are all effective, good exercises but they are not deep. They do not penetrate into the reaches of the mind. The causes of our suffering are deep in the mind. In order to change suffering, you have to change the behavior that causes it, and you cannot change that behavior if you do not identify it and understand it.
It would be somewhat like having a deep rooted cancer and taking an aspirin. The aspirin can help you and the painkillers can help you a little bit, but they cannot cure the cause of the disease. In Gnosis, we focus on curing the disease. To cure our karma we have to purge the mind of all of its diseases and there is only one way to do that, through deep investigation in meditation.
Nonetheless, we have many practices that aid us to deal with our karma.
Audience: What you said, there is no time, to the Innermost everything is timeless, we've lived all our lives, according to the Innermost its all happening at once, so is there for the Innermost when something is comprehended on this level is it also comprehended on the past life and the future life, is it kind of like, is the future life kind of converging in how they express. Doesn't it kind of know what is going to happen being that there is timelessness?
Instructor: It is an interesting question. To answer the question about time and its relationship with the Being, we need to understand what Einstein explained in a very superficial way, and that is that time is relative, and it is always relative to space. That is why in science we do not talk about time as a separate entity, we talk about space-time. You cannot separate space from time.
The point of view of the Being is very different from our point of view, because the Being is beyond the limitations of the space-time that we are in at this moment. The Being is here, but we are unaware of that, yet the Being is very aware of us. Furthermore, what is happening in other parts of the being is unknown to us because we are so asleep. For that to become known to us, we have to awaken.
That process of awakening begins to reveal the timelessness of the Being. It also begins to reveal how one can know the past and the future. The implication is that by escaping the confines of time, you can see the past, you can also see the future. There is a great flexibility or impermanence and relativity to the nature of that perception, but it explains to us how we have certain prophecies, how we know certain things will happen.
All the great scriptures have predicted the times of the end, and in relation to this class today we have chapter 24 from the book of Matthew, quoted above, in which Jesus explains in his words what I explained to you in the lecture. What he explained is that everything that we see is going to be destroyed, and we do not know when, but we know it will happen, and if you are asleep, if you are distracted by your frivolous activities, you will be caught of guard and will suffer the consequences. That is really the synthesis of what that chapter says. Jesus is saying pay attention, be present, work on yourself, it is going to happen.
Likewise, we have had many other teachings on that matter, for example from the masters that I have already mentioned like Samael Aun Weor and Padmasambhava. Both gave prophecies. Their prophecies are coming to pass, now! It is happening. Likewise, many other teachers and instructors in this tradition and other traditions have seen that these events will come to pass, and it is precisely because they are engaged in the work, they are engaged in escaping the confines of the mind, which is the confines of time, and through that have gained perception of reality. Part of that is being able to see what will come.
Audience: The biggest obstacle to me has been an inability to agree with the statement, "We are in extreme suffering." Why do I feel that our life here is a blessing and I cannot get past gratitude and appreciation? Can you help me reconcile it?
Instructor: That is a beautiful question, feeling gratitude and that life is beautiful is a wonderful virtue. Truly we should feel very grateful for these moments. Life is a precious gift and we need to take full advantage of it. We need to be grateful for that. Honestly speaking, truly speaking, we have received an incredible extension in these times. The Third World War was already supposed to have happened, to state it bluntly. It should have happened already and it has not. That is a gift from the gods. There are beings who are working very hard on our behalf in order to extend this time so that those of us who are seriously making effort can take full advantage of it, because once the war happens, it will be extremely difficult to work. Our time, our energy, our resources will be much more limited. So we should be very grateful. We should take full advantage of the moments we have to work. We should be grateful and we should show that gratitude by working seriously on ourselves and helping others to do the same.
Regarding suffering, understand that so long as we do not experience the Divine, we are suffering. We are in extreme suffering, because through our mistaken actions we have separated ourselves from our true nature. Truly, we have no understanding of the reality of our situation.
Audience: You spoke about the Tao and the middle path, always watching the left and always watching the right. Is the key then when it comes to eliminating an ego to do it with equanimity? Is not the act of going down and recognizing that you have these problems, is not that kind of like going to one side or the other?
Instructor: In order to achieve true equanimity in the mind, true equanimity in meditation, one has to escape all forms of duality. The mind or the intellect is very dualistic and it is comparing option A and option B, opposites. So the mind or the intellect says, "Well if there is serenity one hand there must be chaos in the other hand." This is an intellectual perception, but it is actually unfounded. What is it that allows both of those to exist? What is it that provides the ground in which that duality can be there? It is the Tao, and it is beyond both extremes. So that is what we have to experience in meditation. It is not a concept, it is a experience. The only way you can experience that is to disengage from that process of comparison of opposites. When the mind reaches a state of rest, then you can experience that state of nonduality. As long as the mind is engaged in comparing and contrasting, trying to understand intellectually, it cannot grasp it.
Really, the process of meditation is not related to the mind. It doesn't have to do with the intellect. It is really about seeing what is beyond the intellect. So a bit of advice that I was given once in which I like to share with the students is: if you really want to understand what meditation is, try to see what is between those thoughts. Look between them. Instead of focusing on thoughts and what the thought contains, what happens between the thoughts? It is in that window that you can find the answer to your question. You can only do that through meditation, not through intellectual analysis.
Audience: The rights that you have mentioned, where can I read more about those rights.?
Instructor: I've pretty much have said everything that there is to say. The rights of Canchorrita are talked about in the gospels, in the sermon of the mount when Jesus explains:
Observe the lilies o the field, the birds of the air.
Samael Aun Weor explains the rights of Canchorrita in numerous books, such as in Christ's Will.
Audience: We always talk about how to extract a virtue from learning and comprehending an ego. So we are actually, I do not know if you could call it dualism but there an analysis there so how should we act in that situation. There is an analysis you could call it?
Instructor: We need to analyze our behaviors and analyze the ego, but what we ultimately need to do is not become confused by the process of analysis. In the process of analysis, what can happen with students is that we get caught in the terms and structures of our analysis and we begin to think, "What is I, what is self, am I this, am I that." The attempt to answer these questions can cause conflict, because ultimately, we are the perceiver, we are the process of observing; you can put any kind of labels and descriptions you want on that, but it is all intellectual, it is philosophical, it is all vapor and dust.
The true way to comprehend the ego is to see it for what it is, not what our analysis says, not the names and labels we give it in the intellect and not the feelings we have in the heart or the way we sense it in the body. It is to see it as it is; redemption comes through perception. The process of perception is not dual, it is integral. It can see duality, and it can see beyond duality, and that is why we use the different tools, because different tools apply in different contexts.
To the intellect the practice is confusing. To the students, it is confusing, because we sound like we are contradicting ourselves. We say on one hand, "separate observer and observed" and on the other hand we say, "there is no difference between the two." Ultimately, the point is you can never comprehend this with the intellect. The intellect can never comprehend anything; all it can do is compare. It is not a tool of comprehension.
Comprehension can only be acquired through the heart, and that is when it is conscious, cognizant. That is when the consciousness is awake, it sees something for what it is and comprehends it in the heart and something clicks, something happens, you just know it, you cant explain it and if you try to explain it it wont make any sense.
Comprehension is like that. It is in the heart. Not the emotional brain, and this is the other difference. When we talk about the emotional brain, we talk about the three brains, they have levels especially in the intellect and in the heart, they have levels. The way we experience our heart and intellect now, it is completely caged in subjectivity, in the sense of self that we have, in ego. If you learn to awaken consciousness and learn how to use the tool of consciousness free of ego, you can also begin to experience the superior aspects of the intellectual and emotional centers. The superior aspects are related with the spirit, with our divine soul. Those are forms of thought and emotion that do not have a sense of self like we have here and now. It is different, it is a knowing, it is knowledge, it can be a thought, it can be a feeling but it is not terrestrial, it is not selfish, it doesn't have your name and your longings and desires. It is something else, and it is mysterious an it is beautiful. It is something that we used to all have, but we lost.
Audience: How can we approach sexual activity without desire?
Instructor: We have to approach sexual activity as we are now, and learn about that. The only way you can approach sex without desire is when you have no desire left, and that state is only reached when all the desire has been comprehended, and to reach that level is a long path. Right now, we have a lot of desire, so we approach sexuality and we observe ourselves as we are, and we learn to control and comprehend that, to not let the desire control us, but to control the desire, and start to comprehend it and remove it, to understand it. That is the only way. There are many who say you have to go into sex without desire, but that is impossible so long as you still have desire. We are consumed by desire. We are trapped in it. We have no choice but to deal with it.
This is true with each defect. How do you go to work without pride? How do you go to shop at the store without envy? How do you go into that rich neighbourhood without envy? You cannot, because you have a lot of envy, you have a lot of pride, you have a lot of anger, so, rather than trying to be what you are not, be sincere with yourself, and deal with it. Do not repress it, do not avoid it in yourself, but look at it and comprehend it. Look closely and perceive it for what it is. See how it functions, see how it acts. See how it impels you to act certain ways, and see the consequences of those actions. Pride causes suffering. Lust causes suffering. Envy, gluttony, greed and laziness all of these cause suffering, but you'll never understand it as long as this remains intellectual or a belief. You will only understand it when you see it in action in yourself.
Having said that, even though the moments that are coming are going to be very difficult and painful, and we truly, sincerely wish that there was another way, it is going to happen. So, when it happens, let us learn. It is sad to say, but the truth of this humanity is we really only learn when we suffer. It is sad that we are that far declined, but it is true. As long as we are getting what we want, we do not learn anything, we just want to keep getting what we want. It is when we get smacked down that we realize, "I shouldn't really have done that." When we are wounded and bleeding, suffering, we realize, "That was a stupid thing for me to do." It is really the only time we learn. Unfortunately, most of humanity is going to be learning that way, because we are that far gone. So, when these events happen, let us learn from it.
When you see people suffer, do not turn away. Learn, because it could easily be you in their shoes. Everyday we hear in the news about people suffering terrible things and we just brush it off. If we were really conscious of our moment in time and space, if we were really present and aware of what is happening on this planet, all of us would be in tears, we would be in tears, because all of the people who are suffering now are people who we have been related to before.
When you understand the science and you understand the cycles of transmigration, you understand that mathematically it is quite logical that through our many lifetimes we had many parents, many siblings, many wives and husbands, many very good friends, and they are all over the planet now, people who we have loved dearly. They are suffering, they are dying, they are starving, and in pain, and we do not care. We just want to buy new clothes, to go shopping to get this and that, we want to get that promotion at work and we do not care about those people "over there." That shows our level of development; it is very low.
Someone who is awakening consciousness feels others in themselves. They feel the suffering of others. That is a sign that you are awakening, positively, when your compassion begins to emerge. If you have a cold heart, you are asleep. You might feel sympathy; you might feel bad for people from time to time. That can be empathy or sympathy, and that is good. Compassion or bodhichitta is a very specific quality of an awakening mind, of an awakening consciousness. That is what bodhichitta means, a consciousness that is awakening and perceives reality and perceives suffering for what it is and feels a lot of compassion and spontaneously renounces actions that causes suffering. We need that. Humanity needs that. Humanity needs a lot of help. Even though there is going to be a lot of suffering and a lot of pain, a lot of good can come of it if we learn to transform it and help others.
Audience: In regards to self-observation. There is some question in regards to it. Is it truly more of a natural state and also how do we self remember? Do we have to experience it or can you explain it for us?
Instructor: Self-Remembering is a state of consciousness that has to be experienced to be understood. It is elusive to the intellect because the intellect is not the consciousness, but we try to put it into terms that you can understand so that you can learn qualities or approaches to it so that you can identify it for what it is.
Self-Remembering at the beginning is a remembrance of being here and now, of being in the body. It is to remember oneself, to be aware of oneself. That is the most fundamental, basic aspect of self remembrance, but it is far more than that. When that remembrance of self is deepened and made continuous, it begins to embrace much more than oneself. Really, it becomes bodhichitta. Not only is it connected with our divine spirit, our inner Buddha, that is one aspect of self-remembering, it is a sense. It is not a thought, not a sensation; it is a sense, it is to sense divinity.
Right now, we do not sense that, but we can. If we want to develop that, to sense that, we have to develop the ability to sense it, but we cannot force it. For example, in order to see, you have to open your eyes, and light pours in, and those photons are transformed into images by the brain. This process happens automatically. In self-remembering, you also have an organ that sees, but it is in the consciousness, it is not physical. It has nothing to do with the body, it is consciousness. It is not bound by the intellect, by the heart, or by the body.
That organ is atrophied. It is not like your eyeballs that you are born with. It is an organ that has no energy and no development. It takes fuel and a process in nature for that organ to be energized and develop itself. It does not happen overnight, it takes patience, but the more you are present here and now in your body observing yourself, the more the sense of self-remembering grows. It grows in tandem with self-observation. That is why we describe them separately. They really are one thing, ultimately. It is the presence of consciousness that is observant here and now. We talk about it separately because self-remembering is an expansion that is connected with the divine that perceives, that is here and now and present, but it is not mere self-observation. If you do not understand that, keep working and observing yourself.
One technique that helps many students is that in the process of observing yourself, is to use your imagination. This can rapidly develop self-remembering. To use your imagination like this.
Be aware of yourself, do not change anything, just observe, be aware of everything you can, feel your body, feel all the sensations, maybe there are some feelings maybe not, maybe there are some thoughts, maybe not. Be aware of listening, be aware of seeing, be aware of touching, everything that you can sense both outside and inside; this takes a lot of effort. You have to willfully do it. This is important to understand: it doesn't happen automatic, you have to be paying attention.
This is the first part; this is self-observation, to be here and now, aware of everything. The second part is to use your imagination. If you cannot feel god directly, use your imagination to imagine god is here and now with you. Be creative, because really, god is formless. Divinity has no form. You can imagine that divinity as the energy of everything, as the light of everything; you can imagine that divinity is in the form of your Divine Mother or a great Master that is standing right behind you or sitting with you and is always with you. It can be a great Buddha, a great angel who is with you constantly, with you always, helping you, protecting you, observing you, measuring what you do with his energy or her energy. That process of imagining empowers the consciousness and it starts to reach out and realize, "Wait a minute, I cannot just behave like I am by myself all the time, because God is here, too." That will very quickly help you to develop self-remembering.