The science of Gnosis is directly concerned with the development of our own inner Self. The concept of self is much debated among religions, theologians, and philosophers. Gnosis is not concerned in debate, but rather the practical experience, the direct knowledge.
The student who enters these studies will encounter a concept of self, a theory of self, which encompasses ideas which on the surface can appear contradictory. In various world religions, we discover many concepts of the nature of self, the nature of the mind. In some schools, it is posited that there is no self. In others, that the self is the soul, or in some, that the self is Atman. In some, the self is seen as unchanging, permanent, while in others, that the self doesn’t even exist.
By means of this science of Gnosis, the student seeks to experience the true nature of the mind, or in other words the true nature of the self. We begin with our own immediate direct perception of that which we call “self” or “I.” The most fundamental practice that the student is taught, in this tradition, is called Self-observation, and of course, you know that Self-observation is mirrored in many other traditions, being called watchfulness, awareness, mindfulness.
For the student to comprehend the nature of self, Self-observation is a necessity. You can only understand something when you can experience it, when you can see it. So, to Self-observe is to watchfully, attentively analyze, to remain aware, watchful of our experience of each moment.
The beginning student, as well as those who have been studying this science for some period of time, discovers that there are enormous obstacles which obstruct the development of Self-observation. Normally, the student seeks blame for these obstacles outside of themselves, saying, “Life is too hard, my job is too demanding, my teacher is not good enough, I don’t have a school, or books, I don’t have an opportunity, I don’t have the strength.” These are all excuses, justifications, or in other words, what we call “the rhetoric of the Ego.”
To observe the self merely requires the ability to pay attention. All of us have this ability. The difficulty is that our attention is untrained.
When we analyze our experience of this day, we can discover the root causes of our difficulties. To observe oneself now, in this moment, requires Conscious-Will, and Conscious-Will is not only the foundation of Gnostic practice, it is the goal. Conscious-Will means to have the intention, the motivation, the action, under the guidance of the consciousness. You may also say under the guidance of the conscience. So, look at yourself as you receive the impressions of life. During this moment, what is unfolding within your own life? As the sound of my voice is translated by your senses and is interpreted by your understanding, what is the result? What is promoted? What is stimulated within your own mind-stream?
Do you notice associative thought, mechanical association?
If I begin to talk about school, does your mind begin to mechanically associate my words with a memory of a school that you have attended, and is that memory carrying within itself certain kinds of thoughts, certain kinds of feelings, and certain kinds of impulses?
Notice how in the discussion of school, in the recollection, in the stimulation of the mind related to this concept or idea of school, how that impression produces a vibration which extends throughout your psyche, not only as that sensation of sound, but as a stimulant for ideas, for memories, as a stimulant for feelings and even as a stimulant for physical sensations.
If we begin to discuss a painful memory, a whole new set of impressions emerge from the mind itself. Typically, we talk of impressions as coming from the outside, moving in, but memories, ideas, and feelings, which emerge from within the mind, also produce impressions, which produce results.
This watchfulness of your own mind is, in itself, the beginning of the science of Gnosis. A Gnostic student is seeking to perfect Self-Awareness, Self-Knowledge. Self-Knowledge is born from Self-Observation and Self-Remembering.
What happens when you watch television? When you sit down on your chair, couch, or bed to watch television, do you know what happens? Are you aware of the transformation which occurs in your psyche? Do you realize that you become fascinated?
Fascination is a state within which we forget ourselves, and this is easily seen in how we watch movies and television. When we watch a movie or a television show, the impressions which come in through our sensory organs stimulate a state of consciousness, within which we forget ourselves. We become identified with the story, with the images, with the sensations that arise. Identification is a form of sleep.
In a previous lecture, we were discussing the four states of consciousness. The first two, Ekasia and Pistis, are states of sleep. In Ekasia, the physical body is asleep and inactive, while our consciousness escapes and dreams, and in Pistis, our physical body is awake and active, yet our consciousness still dreams.
When we watch television or a movie, we forget about ourselves. We forget how we are sitting, we forget our environment, we forget our own inner God. We become so engrossed in whatever images we are observing, whatever story we are following, that we begin to feel what the characters feel, we begin to worry about what the characters worry about, we begin to desire what the characters desire. This is a state of psychological sleep, profound unconsciousness.
Fascination is a state of consciousness which produces suffering. It is a form of dreaming. Unfortunately, humanity has become deeply habituated to this form of behavior. In fact we can say that humanity is addicted to the sensation of psychological sleep, to becoming absorbed in dreams and fantasies. The addiction stems from our own misunderstandings and misconceptions about life and about the Self. The addiction is rooted in desire. The result is that we remain asleep, and that we continue producing the causes of suffering for ourselves and others.
In common life, during daily life, this form of psychological sleep persists, but it is a little more subtle. Rather than being identified with the television screen, we are identified instead with what is being projected by our own mind. In the case of a television screen or movie, that projection is being produced by an external element. But, as we move away from the TV or movie, as we begin to go through our daily lives, the projected imagery continues, but within, and the projectionist is our own mind, projecting the images of the subconsciousness, unconsciousness, and infraconsciousness, which persist in hypnotizing our essence, or our free consciouness.
In Buddhism, we talk often about the Buddha nature, or “essence.” We say essence in the sense that this is an element which is not fully developed. Another term you may use is embryo, seed, or germ. It is a latent potentiality. In Buddhism, there are a variety of terms for this same element. In some schools, you will hear about the Buddhata, and this term is really derived from a longer term Buddhadatu, which is a clearer relationship to essence. Buddhadatu means “essence of the Buddha,” or the embryo, the seed. In certain other schools, Mahayana schools particularly, you will hear about the Tathagatagarba or Tathagatadatu, and the Tathagatagarba also has a similar meaning, “garba” meaning seed or essence. There is also a certain implication of the term “matrix” here, meaning a web of innerconnectivity. But these terms all point toward the same element.
Now, some misinterpret and misunderstand Buddhism as saying that there is no Self. This is not actually what the Buddha taught. What he did teach is that what people think is the Self is not the Self. And he taught that the Self is empty of real existence. But, to understand what that means, we have to meditate in order to experience it, otherwise, we interpret it as saying that the self does not exist. We exist, we have a “self,” but not in the way we think of it.
The Buddha Shakyamuni taught that we all have Buddha nature, which is this same essence. Buddhadatu indicates the Buddha nature, the embryo of the Buddha, the seed, the essence, the root cause of Buddhahood, and what the Buddha Shakyamuni taught was that all sentient creatures have within the potential to become a Buddha, or in other words, an awakened, an enlightened being, fully developed. But that seed, that Buddha nature is obscured.
The Maitreya Buddha gave a beautiful teaching about the Buddha nature, which is in a scripture called the Mahayana Utaratantrashastra, which basically is about Buddha nature. In this scripture, Maitreya used analogies to indicate the nature of the Buddhata or Essence. In one of those, he presents an example. Imagine a poor man who lives in a hut, a very poor house. Now, this man would have no idea of what is buried beneath his house, because he is not able to see through the earth, but a Buddha could see that. A Buddha would know that buried underneath the man’s house is a valuable treasure, but this man, who only trusts his physical senses, has no idea, so he lives in poverty and suffering. Now, of course the role of that Buddha, that God, is to teach that man to look within his own house, to dig into the earth to uncover that treasure. Of course, that treasure is the Buddha nature, which is obscured, which is buried.
In another example, Maitreya explains that the Buddha nature is like a piece of gold that wrapped in filthy, foul smelling rags, sitting within a pile of garbage, and a passer-by would have no idea that the hunk of gold is within that pile of garbage, but a Buddha would know that. A Buddha would teach to a passer-by to dig in that trash, to get their hands dirty to find the gold. The action of digging into the earth, of sifting through the garbage is Self-observation, Meditation, Self-analysis. The filth is our own mind, our own afflictive emotions. The Earth is our own selves, our own body, our own four bodies of sin, the ego, in other words.
The Maitreya also says, in the same scripture, that you can search throughout the entire universe, looking for the nature of your own mind or self, and you will never find it. This is because the nature of the Buddha is only found within, and that Buddha nature is only realized, discovered through introspection, through inner-vision, through Self-observation.
What does this have to do with Gemini? The astrological sign of Gemini illustrates a function of duality. When you observe the astrological sign of Gemini, you will see two columns or two rods placed side by side. Of course, this illustrates two brothers, twins who work together, and this illustrates a fundamental axis of nature. Among the Greeks, they are illustrated in the mythological story of Castor and Pollux, who were two brothers. Their story, which is quite involved and detailed, essentially depicts these two brothers passing through these various types of experience, but what is most notable is that one will die, while the other lives, though they have to work together to sustain their mutual existence. This story allegorizes how energies within nature function.
Nature is constructed of matter and energy. Matter becomes energy, and energy becomes matter. This is important to understand. The consciousness we have is energy. The longing to understand that energy, to understand God, to understand the consciousness, is an energy. That energy has entered into matter, which is our own physical body. Castor and Pollux symbolize the transformation of energy into matter, and matter into energy. They also symbolize other aspects of nature, like evolution and devolution, the way energies ascend and descend, or evolve and devolve. They symbolize birth and death, two aspects of the same function.
All of these forces, all of these Laws which manage nature, affect the development of our consciousness. The stellar influence of Gemini is the influence of a given intelligence which provides for us a kind of energy, energy that may be used to either to develop ourselves or degenerate ourselves.
The Buddha nature comes to know itself when it is provided with energy; in other words, when you use it. If the Buddha nature is ignored, then it remains dormant, deprived of energy, which means it devolves, it degenerates, or it remains hidden, it remains latent, lost. The energies that we receive, stellar influences, energetic influences, are all harnessed by our psyche, and by our physiology in accordance with our actions, so as we behave, we use these energies, transforming them. This is the issue.
As we are now, stumbling through life, asleep, daydreaming, fascinated, fantasizing, identified, driven by pride, fear, anger, we take and transform those energies and forces into the ego, into desire, and we use them in accordance to desire. Thus, the sleeping state is fortified.
How many times during this lecture have you lost the thread of continuity of my speech and become distracted by your own thoughts and memories?
Be honest with yourself, because those moments of being distracted, of going off into your own psychological country, are exactly what you have to see about yourself, in order to understand what Gnosis is. If you avoid the recognition of your own sleepy state, you can never awaken. The only one who can awaken is the one who recognizes he is asleep, because if you think you are awake, then why would you try to change?
The energies that are received and processed within us from moment to moment need to be managed, need to be made conscious. So, we do that by learning how to observe, how to become aware, how to harness the force of the Buddha nature or the essence. In other words, we need to learn how to pay attention, we need to remember ourselves. This is not something we are going to get like that, “snap.” It takes a lot of effort and self-analysis, and trying from moment to moment. We awaken only when we realize we are sleeping, and to realize your sleeping requires that you awaken. There is no easy answer, there is no magic pill. There is only the raw, super effort to maintain a constant state of watchfulness.
So, we begin by trying to analyze how we sleep, noticing how we sleep, trying to maintain continual consciousness of ourselves. One way to do that is to start to analyze all the impressions that we receive, both internal and external, and to begin to question not only how those impressions arrive to us, but how we react to them. There is an exercise that we study in this teaching, called the Key of Sol, or S.O.L.. Of course, in Latin languages, sol is related to the sun, and since this is a solar teaching, that of course has significance. But, really each of these letters stands for a component of this practice. They stand for Subject, Object, and Location.
The first one, Subject, invites us to pay close attention to any given phenomena, to any given impression, to whatever may appear before us, to become aware. Object is similar, to look at the objects, to look deeper into the appearances that are stimulated and arising. Location is to question where we are.
For example, suddenly, I become aware that i am not paying attention. Immediately, I should initiate this practice. Subject: well, on one level, I am the subject, so I need to become aware of myself, to remember that I am a consciousness within a physical body, and I need to look at all of the phenomena that appear before me, to look at them as if I have never seen them before, to look at them with a sense of questioning what I see. Further, I should question where I am, and why I am here.
What you may notice, in this exercise, if you use it, is that it promotes a division of attention; it helps use to develop a very important quality of the consciousness, to strengthen a quality of the consciousness that is necessary for us to grow. This is the distinction between observer and observed.
The practice of S.O.L. can be given a variety of explanations and can be given a variety of interpretations, because in itself it is a tool to activate the consciousness. So, you may hear and read not only how the Master Samael explained the practice a little bit differently at different times, but how varying instructors also explain it a little bit differently. The point of it though is consistent: Wake up, pay attention, notice where you are and what you are doing, pay close attention in the moment.
What is being pointed at and indicated is to develop the difference, the distinction, the understanding of the observer and the observed, to notice that there is a distinction, to learn to have a sense of inner separation. Fascination, identification, daydreaming happens because we forget ourselves, we become absorbed in dreams, in fantasies. This practice helps us to separate from dreaming, and to move our center of gravity into the consciousness, to become more aware, more consistently attentive and awake.
Now, the third aspect of S.O.L. is Location, in which we ask, “Where am I?” This has implications and importance beyond first appearance. When we question where we are, we need to truly look at our environment as if we have never seen it before, paying close attention to the details.
This is not just an interesting exercise. What you are doing in this practice is training your consciousness to work. Remember, when you were a child, everything was new, every experience had some kind of vitality, a living, breathing quality which is lost as we incorporate more and more of our ego. The practice of S.O.L. helps recover that capacity of the consciousness, to see things as if they are new.
When we ask where are we, and what are we seeing, we are training the consciousness to awaken. It is necessary to persist in doing this practice all the time, moment to moment, all day: not mechanically, not just saying, “Ok, where am I, what am I seeing, what am I looking at?” That doesn’t work. It has to be sincere, it has to be genuine. It has to be very attentive. If you make conscious effort all the time, then the consciousness begins to do it on its’ own. The same way you train yourself to walk, and the same way you train yourself to write, you can train the consciousness to pay attention, but beautifully, magically the consciousness will start to do it at night, and you will start to do it while your physical body is asleep and you will awaken in a dream, questioning where you are and what you are seeing. You will become conscious of the dream. This is the unique gift that the influence of Gemini is stimulating in humanity right now.
Gemini, of course, is in the house of Mercury, which is an air sign. The intelligences of Mercury, all the hierarchies related to that ray are in these moments providing energy, guidance, and assistance to this humanity to awaken consciousness, and specifically, to awaken consciousness in the world of Hod, the astral plane. This is a beautiful opportunity that we all have, to take advantage of those forces, but we all have to work to receive it. Nothing is given for free. We have to earn that gift. In the many teachings that we study in Gnosis, in the many books, there are literally hundreds of practices, many of which are concerned with developing the capacity to awaken consciousness in the astral plane. Such an experience does not arise mechanically. It does not arise by chance. Rather, it arises by causes and conditions. We have to produce the causes and conditions to awaken the consciousness. If you want to awaken your consciousness in the astral plane, in the mental plane, the causal, the buddhic, and the atmic, and beyond, you must awaken here first. We have the consciousness within. We have to awaken the consciousness now, not tommorrow, but in this moment, to make it active, to make function as it should, to take advantage of all the assistance that is coming from our own Being and from all the compassionate Gods, the angels, the Buddhas, all those intelligences providing their assistance. But all of that help is wasted, if we do not use our consciousness from moment to moment.
As we are now, we slip in and out of the dream state during the day, all day long. Some of us sleep all day long, we never even have a moment of attentiveness or awareness. This level of sleep is characterized by constantly moving from one worry to another, from one fantasy to another, one memory to another, from a dream, a desire, a hope. We are never really here. We are never really in our body, experiencing what it is like to be in the body and to receive consciously the impressions of life. We rarely have this experience as adults, though as children we have it. But, as the ego incorporates, that experience becomes less common, till eventually we are in a state of sleep all the time.
There is a good measure that you can apply to yourself to gauge your own conscious development, but you won’t like it. I’ll tell you what it is, but I will tell you now you will not like it. What happens when you go to sleep at night, what happens, when you take a nap? Do you completely lose consciousness of yourself? Do you awaken from your sleep a little while later, with either no memory at all of what happened since you went to sleep or some vague, vaporous, obscure image which will probably disappear from memory within a few minutes?
Understand that the consciousness is eternal, the consciousness does not die. It is energy. Einstein pointed out that you cannot destroy energy. You can transform it, but you cannot destroy it. The energy of the consciousness does not die. The Being, God within does not die, but he is also not born. He extends a part of himself, the consciousness, into matter, and that part of himself is the Essence, the Buddhata which is with us.
When we sleep, physically, and dream, the consciousness is there, but it is asleep. It is buried in that pile of filth. When we have no conscious awareness during the time our physical body is sleeping, then in the same way, exactly the same, will we experience death. There is only one little difference between the way you sleep at night and the death of your physcial body. That difference is the connection between that body and your consciousness is cut. Otherwise, sleep is death are the same. That is why in Greek Mythology, Sleep and Death are brothers.
This is why Dream Yoga is so important. This is why the Hierarchies of Mercury, working through Gemini, are teaching humanity how to awaken consciousness out of the body, how to utilize the watchful, attentive state while what we call “dreaming.” Actually, the goal is to not dream, but to be awake while in the body and out of the body. Samael Aun Weor stated, very explicitly, “The awakened person no longer dreams.”
Now you may say, “Well, I don’t remember any dreams…” That doesn’t mean you are awake, it means you are deeply asleep. First, you have to become aware of your dreams, to come to know them, to discover where they come from and what is producing them. Then, we have to eliminate those causes. When all the causes of dreams are eliminated, you are awakened, you are a Buddha, you have reached Enlightenment. Enlighten: “to have light.”
So, we begin physically, while we are here in the body, training the consciousness to be awake, to pay attention from moment to moment, questioning everything we perceive, both internal and external. Samael Aun Weor put this in terms of Observer and Observed. Become aware of the consciousness within us: this is the observer, that which pays attention. This must be made active. Actively pay attention.
You may know that you are sitting down right now, but that doesn’t mean you are paying attention to it or that you are watching it.
You may know that you have eyes, but that doesn’t mean you are watching your eyes or that you are aware that you are receiving impressions through your eyes.
You may know that you can hear, but that doesn’t mean you are observing how the sound enters into your ears and how that sound is translated.
So, watchfulness is very active, very attentive, and you may start to feel tired. You may start to feel exhausted, trying to be attentive. Actually, that is a good sign. The reason is that our consciousness is very weak. We have not used it. It is really like a little baby. The consciousness that we have is not grown, considering the way we live now, the way we are educated now. We have to consciously grow and develop the consciousness, the essence. But, as it is in us right now, it is like a little baby. It has no coordination. It has very little energy. It is very small and fragile and becomes tired very easily. It cries. It has a lot of longings. It needs food, it needs nourishment, it needs love.
Unfortunately, because of our own wrong actions, we have trapped our Buddha nature within a pile of filth, our ego, which is, incidentally, that running commentary that you hear in your mind right now. That running commentary is not your consciousness. It is your mind, which traps the consciousness. The chatter, which is always processing, is not the consciousness. It is chatter, which are the voices of the Ego. Sometimes it sounds good, sometimes bad, and sometimes neutral, but do not mistake that chattering voice for the consciousness, it is not.
By training the consciousness to be attentive and aware, we have to fight from moment to moment. The fight is learning how to discriminate phenomena. To realize firstly this distinction between observer and observed, to know the difference. The consciousness observes phenomena. You have to see that for yourself, to feel it, to discover, “Where is the consciousness in me? What is it?” While you are aware of that, you must also be aware of what is outside of that consciousness. Now, the observer is the essence itself, but we also have to observe it. We have to observe the observer. There is a division of attention that must occur, and this is exhausting. These are muscles that we have to develop, muscles that are very difficult to strengthen. We strengthen these muscles by constantly observing the observer and by meditating.
Meditation is the main exercise, the main practice that we use to develop the consciousness. Meditation is the practice in which we first learn to concentrate, then to imagine, and thirdly, to comprehend. That series of steps gives us more strength to observe ourselves. Similarly, when we observe ourselves during the day, we develop more capacity to meditate. This is why we say that Self-observation and Meditation are the really same thing, in the sense that they are both an activity of conscious attention directed by will. This does not mean that you should only observe yourself during the day and not meditate. You need both.
When you observe yourself during the day, you are learning to use the consciousness amidst the battlefield of life, while all the different impressions are arising, both internal and external. We need this skill. We also need the skill of using the consciousness when it is isolated; when all those impressions are not arising, we can enter into silence. So, we must have both.
The “observed” is all phenomena. That includes the essence itself. That includes the physical body, as well as our three brains. It includes our mind, and it includes the external world. Is this appearing to be a challenge now?
In synthesis, the Gnostic student has to teach themselves to simultaneously observe everything, everything, not only all the impressions that are coming from the outside, but also all of those arising on the inside, and how we perceive them. That entire series, that entire collection must be maintained continually within our field of conscious perception. As we are now, this is extremely difficult, and you might say it is impossible, but it is not. In fact, this is required, and no one can teach you how to do. No one can do it for you. You can get indications. You can get assistance. You can get clues, but ultimately, you have to teach yourself. You cannot rely on anything or anyone, only your own consciousness. This is why the Buddha said, ” I cannot save anyone, I cannot make anyone a Buddha, you have to do it yourself.” The assistance you can get comes from Christ, and Christ is a compassionate energy, not a person, a force which is given unto us within, but it must be born in us.
We begin by studying the teachings, studying ourselves, learning how to use the consciousness. When you establish even a small percentage of being able to perceive observer and observed consciously and attentively, this is where you can really start to understand the mind. Not understanding in terms of the intellect or being able to label it.
Any one of us can be aware of a discursive thought or discursive emotion or an afflictive feeling, like anger. We can all feel anger, and say, “This is my anger.” This is not comprehension, neither is it awareness, neither is it watchfulness. It is only a label.
Do not fall into the trap of believing that applying a label to a psychological element equates with comprehension. In fact, applying labels to psychological elements can immediate cease our comprehension, because we then start to see only the label, not the element itself. This is the same as you “knowing” that you are sitting down now, but you are not observing it. If you label an element “pride,” you will then only see a collection of thoughts, feelings and impulses as the label, rather than what is actually arising from moment to moment.
To awaken the consciousness, to utilize the consciousness, is to observe. When you have a feeling, you have to watch that feeling. You have to observe that feeling. The beginning student, even some advanced students, can easily make the mistake of judging a feeling and repressing it. So, we may hear, “Well, anger is no good.” So, as soon as we feel the arising of something like anger we repress it, we avoid it. This is a mistake. There is a sort of balancing act we have to learn, which is the ability to watch or observe what arises without repressing it, so we neither act on it or avoid it.
Now, this is in stark contrast to how our mind functions mechanically. This axis of Gemini, one of the dualities that it can stimulate in its’ negative aspect is the pendulum of the desires of the mind. When we are not in this kind of study, when we are acting like a normal person, an impression strikes the consciousness, strikes the mind, and we react. That reaction occurs across a range.
If you imagine a horizontal line, there is a whole range of qualities here. On one side, far out to the side, are all the qualities related to aversion, something that we want to avoid. While on the opposite end, are all those qualities that we crave, that we desire, that we want, and in the middle, are all those things that we are indifferent towards. So, we have this range of qualities.
As an example, we see a given person on the street and that impression enters into us. When we are not paying attention, that impression stimulates some part of the mind that happens to be there. So, we may feel an aversion towards that person, we may feel craving for them, or we may feel indifferent. None of those are conscious. These are mechanical reactions stimulated in the mind, and this is happening all day long.
Each reaction, wherever it occurs along that line, is a transformation of energy. The energies that are in ourselves and those arriving are transformed and assimilated according to the reaction produced by the mind.
If we feel envy, like we want what they have, then we stimulate that envy, we feed it, we strengthen it.
If we feel pride, that we are better than that person, then we stimulate, feed, and strengthen that pride.
This is how we are normally, but we will say abnormally here, but constantly throughout the day and night, as we sleep, as we experience impressions, all those energies are being transformed and assimilated by the ego. This is an influence related to Mercury, related to the mind, related to Gemini. It is this duality of the pendulum which is occurring in us right now. The solution is to pay attention, to become aware of the impressions that are entering into the senses, to observe them and to begin taking conscious control of the mind.
Another example: we are walking down the street again, and we see some person and we feel aversion. Let us say we see some person who we feel is inferior to us. We have to observe that feeling. We have to analyze that. Do not avoid, do not repress it, and do not act on it either. Remain indifferent, remain watchful, observe the feelings. This is the first stage, to remain aware. Simply, watching. Then, later, do the same in meditation.
Later in the day, you sit, you relax, you close your eyes and you review the varying events in the day that strike you as important, things that you need to understand. All you need to do is observe them. You replay the scene and watch it in your mind, but notice something important: Your mind will try to change it. Your mind will try to alter the memory, to try and change it to support the ego. There are a lot of subtle things that will happen, and the development of the attentiveness is key to stop making mistakes.
In that process, both in day to day, moment to moment experiences and in meditation, what you are seeking is to enter into the third state of consciousness, which is Self-remembering: A state of profound conscious attention combined with the remembrance of God (divinity). In other words, in that experience of seeing a person on the street that we feel is inferior to us, if we remember God, our own Being, our own inner Buddha, how can we feel pride? How can we feel superior to that person, who also has God within? Similarly, If we see another person on the street, and we feel lust, desire, craving for that person, if we remember God, then we will feel remorse. We will then recognize that the other person is a child of God, the same as us. We may, for example, see this person whom we feel lust for and by remembering God, in that moment, by observing ourselves and seeing that lust for what it is, we can realize that the lust is a desire for an image, for a sensation, which is ephemeral, which is impermanent, which is an illusion.
In all the experiences of life, by learning how to use the third state of consciousness, to be in Self-observation and Self-remembering, we are starting to work with the Tao. The Tao is the third state, and that is a state of profound attentiveness, a state in which we learn to pay attention to everything as it is, not trying to change impressions but to comprehend them.
The Tao or third state transcends the duality of mind. To be in the third state of consciousness transcends craving and aversion. In fact, it transcends evolution and devolution. It is beyond birth and death. This is why they say the Tao, “is, was, and always will be.” It is a state of absolute existence. Through the third state of consciousness, remember, we enter that door up the vertical path, the levels of being. So, maybe this is a little subtle, but the point is when we learn to consciously manage the dualities of life, all of the dual forces of nature, within ourselves, we transcend those dualities.
Another example is in Man and Woman. Gemini, of course, is typically seen as the twins and is normally depicted as two men, but actually, that symbol has many levels of meaning. The two columns of Gemini can represent the two columns of the temple. The two souls of atman, Buddhi and Manas, or in other words, the human soul and the spiritual soul. Those two pillars may also represent the astral body and the mental body. They may also represent ourselves and our double, which is one of the great occult mysteries. It may also represent ourselves and our astral body. There are many doubles, many twins, many pairs, but in every case, the development of the consciousness occurs when the pairs are equilibrated, balanced. We see this also, of course, when we study the nature of Daath.
Daath is the tree of knowledge of good and bad, or in other words, of two factors which polarize each other or oppose each other, but the science of Daath is the way to equilibrate those two forces. Now, when those two forces are in equilibrium, there is a third form, which is the third force.
Similarly, we have in ourselves the mind and the heart, the intellect and the heart. The natives of Gemini, because this is an air sign related to mercury, receive a strong push or influence related to the mind, so they tend to be somewhat intellectual or rather they try to solve everything with their head, which creates a lot of problems for Gemini people. What they need to learn is to balance the mind with the heart, to learn to feel with the head and think with the heart. Truly, all of us need to learn that, but it is particularly true of the Gemini native. The balance of heart and mind cannot occur so long as a third force is absent. Do you know what the third force is? The consciousness.
This is why we see many students of religions, students of Gnosis, who fight and are always in conflict between the feelings they have and the thoughts they have, the ideas they have. There is always a fight in them. They feel drawn towards Gnosis, but conflicted in their theories and ideas about it. This conflict is happening in them because they are not learning to awaken the consciousness, they are not learning how to pay attention, they are not learning how to meditate.
The mind and heart are brought into equilibrium when the consciousness is developed. Then, these two, heart and mind, are naturally equilibrated. Those three are strengthened, feed, and fortified through transmutation.
So, you may encounter students who have this conflict, who may be transmuting their energies, may be studying Gnosis, may have a lot of good ideas about Gnosis, may seem very sincere emotionally, but they are always in conflict. They are always fighting, within themselves and with others, fighting outside, fighting with ideas or theories.
For example, there are students who may have been studying Gnosis for years, but nonetheless, who remain deeply conflicted about these studies, about meditation, not understanding what it is or how to do it. This is a very painful experience. This issue arises simply because that person is placing too much importance either in the heart or mind. In reality, they need to learn to balance the mind and heart within the domain of the consciousness. This is not something that anybody can teach them nor is it something that can be done for them. Each of us has to arrive at that understanding on our own, and it is painful. It is difficult. This is why we always emphasize, repeatedly, to Meditate. To practice.
Notice and observe in yourself how willing you are to spend an hour a day or two hours a day watching television, but you are not willing to meditate. Notice how resistant you feel to practicing meditation, but you are very willing and excited to watch T.V., to watch movies, or to gossip, or read magazines. Why? What creates that? What are you feeding with your behaviors? What are you fortifying with your behaviors?
The Indian Tantric Master Padmasambhava, who brought Tantrism to India, taught something very similar to the Master Samael Aun Weor. When we study this practice of S.O.L., we are learning how to separate the consciousness and observe, and in this very potent and long held secret of Tantric scripture, we read these words from the Indian Master:
You should observe that which naturally arises and naturally originates within in your own mind. First, observe the source from which these appearances initially originate. Second, observe the place in which they abide in the interum. Third, observe the place to which they will finally go. Then, one will find that just as, for example, a pond dwelling crow does not stray from its pond, even though it flies away from the pond. Similarly, although appearances arise from the mind, they arise from the mind and subside into the mind of their own accord.
The practice of S.O.L., in its refined practice, leads the consciousness to understand that all appearances are produced by the mind. If you have a struggle or conflict with meditation, it is not a fault of your instructor. It is not the fault of your school, nor the fault of the day and age in which you live. It is arising from your own mind.
If you have a desire to watch television, it is arising within your own mind.
If you have a conflict with your boss, with your friend, it is arising within your own mind.
The development of the attention and the consciousness should lead you to that comprehension: to never blame, to never assign responsibility outside, to comprehend that Right View perceives the inherent nature of all things as being empty of independent existence, and impermanent. Thereby, we can reduce our own suffering and begin to act in the right way.
So, what we need to do, in synthesis, is to learn how to awaken consciousness right now, in this moment, to become aware of that conflict of craving and aversion within ourselves and to observe that.
I will give you one more little clue about the consciousness we have within, because really, unless you grasp this, Gnosis will always remain a mystery to you. The consciousness is what we must develop, and in order to do so, you must know what it is. You have to be able to find it within yourself and to work with it. The Maitreya Buddha said,
If the Buddha nature were not present, there would be no remorse over suffering. There would be no longing for Nirvana nor striving and devotion towards this aim.
The longing to know God, the longing to experience the truth, is a longing of the consciousness or the Buddha nature, the essence. When we complicate that longing by becoming too intellectual or fanatical, we can create problems for ourselves. The longing that the consciousness has, the buddhata, has to be feed with practical experience. The urge that the student feels to study Gnosis, to consume it, to stuff oneself with all the books, lectures, and everything, can create a complication. We need to study. We need to read, but we must practice. Study without practice creates suffering. If you don’t believe me, look around at students who study but do not practice.
This is one way that we need to balance heart and mind with the consciousness. The heart has that longing, to know what Gnosis is, to know what Nirvana means, to know what God is, to experience the astral plane, to speak with an angel or a God. That longing is part of the Buddhata, which longs to reunite with God.
There is a longing also of the Buddhata which comes through the mind, the longing to understand, to understand why life is the way it is, to understand the laws that manage the planets and suns, why we have a physical body, why we die.
If we just stimulate those longings in the heart and mind but we do not practice, we will remain outside of the door of Gnosis.
The Gemini native can suffer from this particularly, because they can become overly intellectual or fanatical. They have this dual aspect, and again, the answer is: meditate, practice, learn how to be attentive, learn how to be aware. In a sense, it means we have to become a spy of our own selves, to always be watching our own selves.
There are a number of practices that we study in these teachings. Of course, today we have talked extensively about Self-observation and Self-remembering. There are numerous practices that we can begin to study, to develop our own skills with meditation. But, in relation to Gemini, the focus is particularly related to becoming conscious of the dream state. Of course, that begins physically, to stop dreaming physically, to be attentive, aware, but we also need to learn to become conscious as we transition between the first two states of consciousness. In other words, when the physical body is going to sleep, we have to become conscious of that. Any person can develop the ability to remain conscious while the physical body goes to sleep, and you do it by making the effort to do so. So, tonight, when you are ready to sleep, lie down and pray from your heart and ask your own inner Being, your own Buddha within, your own Divine Mother for help. You can also pray to those intelligences that are related to Gemini and Mercury to help you. There is a mantra you may use, if you want: chant aloud the mantra Rusti and extend the vowels. If you have other people present, then you may do it silently in your mind.
It is not enough just to repeat a mantra. You have to be attentive. You have to be watchful. You have to utilize the consciousness. It is not enough to simply lie there and make noises. If you do not utilize your consciousness, then you cannot awaken it. The consciousness does not awaken by any mechanical means. There is no drug, no trick, no shortcut. The mantras help. They draw and focus energy. They stimulate psychic centers. They can open doors, but to walk through the door, you have to be awake. There is no accident here. There is only conscious will.
Now, the real challenge becomes learning how to do that without desire. If you are lying in your bed and you are starting to do the mantra, but you feel a lot of desire to have this kind of experience, you probably will not. That desire may well be egotistical. Similarly, if you feel a lot of fear, the experience will not happen, because fear is a desire. It is just aversion.
Through practical experience we can affirm to you that the one who learns to enter at will into the astral plane is the one who knows how to be in equanimity within the heart and mind. To be in equanimity means to have neither craving nor aversion: to be at peace. Equanimity is a natural quality of the free consciousness.
Gemini is the symbol of the two columns, whose power is the power of association or fraternity, harmony; we have already talked about the harmony of heart and mind. This harmony is an equilibration, or balance, or equanimity. Those forces, working through the influence of Gemini, can assist us in our development and understanding of equanimity. So, when you try this practice, if you feel fear, just reflect: Every night when you go to sleep, you go into the astral plane but you just do not know it. That is what you should be afraid of, because you are going into realms without consciousness of it. What you are trying to do now is become conscious of it and to take control. If you feel desire or longing that is very strong, reflect in a similar way. “Why should I feel desire for something which is natural? If God wants me to have this, then he will give it.” Have peace. Have acceptance, and the experiences will unfold naturally.
Questions and Answers
Q: What is the next realm after the astral plane?
A: Well, to answer that question requires a little subtlety. Maybe, I’ll ask you instead. What do you mean?
Q: Is there, in sleep, a higher realm that you can get into?
A: Yes, there are many realms and many levels. Another useful way to look at this is in terms of dimensions. This physical world we call the third dimension, because we perceive length, width, and height. But, there are other dimensions which extend below and above this one. What you should notice firstly is that even within this physical world there are many levels, most of which we cannot perceive easily. For example, the very small (such as atoms), which require the use of tools to see, or the very large (such as planets), or the very far away. But, the same is true of other dimensions like the astral plane. They also have different levels, different aspects.
When you are dreaming, when you are outside of the physical body, most of the time you are in what we call the astral plane, but it is really only a little piece of it. It is actually your own mind. It is a self-enclosed little world of your own mind, which is inside the astral plane. In Hebrew terms, we call this the “Klipoth.” This is the unconscious, subconscious, and infraconscious levels of your mind, which are illustrated in the tree of life by the inferior tree, and there are nine levels to that, so it goes quite deep. Generally, in our dreams, we are in the first levels, what we call Limbo. However, more disturbing dreams, nightmares, occur in the deeper levels.
What is important to point out here is that this is where the majority of our dreams are experienced. Dreams are living experiences. We are just not aware of it. We are just not conscious of it. Some people are, so we always hear about lucid dreaming, or out of body experiences, or near death experiences. These are really all the same phenomena with slight variations. They are experiences of the consciousness of other levels of nature, which exists within us, as well as outside of us. A dream is an experience of our own mind, which is real, but which is empty of independent existence, or in other words, is not real. To grasp this requires meditation and experience.
When we are dreaming physically, during the day, we are here projecting our dreams in the mind, so they seem less distinct. When we step out of the physical body, utilizing what people call the astral body, those experiences seem very real. That is why we usually do not realize we are dreaming, because we think it is real. So, you may wake up one morning and ask, “Why was I dreaming about having a conversation about philosophy with a hedgehog?” Because you were dreaming and you thought it was real. Your consciousness was so asleep, fascinated, identified, that you did not realize you were in Limbo, your own psychological Limbo. And this happens because we do this all day long too, being so fascinated by life, by possessions, by desires.
In our dream world, we act out all of our fantasies, all of our desires, all of our dreams. We repeat past experiences and we project our desires and act them out. So, if you are angry with a person, you may dream of hurting them. It is a projected desire, but you do not realize it because you are dreaming.
The goal of the spiritual aspirant is to awaken consciousness, because those experiences are real. They are real, living experiences of matter and energy. It is just different from physical matter. Nonetheless, cause and effect still applies, karma still applies. What you do in your dreams has Karmic implications. Just because you are dreaming does not make you free from the Law. It does not give you immunity from the consequences of your actions. You are still responsible, because those elements are in you and they are acting. “Ignorance of the Law is no excuse,” is what they say, and it is true. So, this becomes an urgent necessity, because day by day, moment by moment, daydreaming and fantasizing produces Karma.
Q: Can you explain more about the mystery of the double?
A: The double. Well, there is this very strange and mysterious fact that we each have an antithesis. We have a double. We have a mirror opposite. Personally, I do not talk about it much, because it seems to me that this can be a cause of great skepticism in a student, and it can stimulate too much fantasy or worry. Basically, in esoteric traditions, it is understood that we each have a sort of twin, double, or opposite. For example, the Buddha Shakyamuni had his brother, who is called Devadata. He is called, “The king of Hell.” He is really just the double or the opposite of the Buddha. So in occultism, it is understood that each of us have a double.
Q: What are you to do when you are trying to do something, like wash the dishes, and maintain consciousness?
A: Very good question. I think to understand the answer to that question requires two things, both a little subtlety of thought or intuition and a bit of practical experience. First and foremost, whatever we do, we should do only that. This is so important. It is hard to fully convey the importance of doing only what you are doing, without distraction. The reason behind it will be understood when you do it. Typically, when we are doing any given thing, let us say we are washing the dishes, we are not only doing that thing but we are thinking about other things, such as the bills or work. The same is true about when we lie down to go to sleep at night, we are not there just to go to sleep. We are thinking about tomorrow. We are thinking about what happened today, etc.
The whole point of our studies is to gain conscious control over mind. However, you cannot force the mind. You can only silence the mind naturally. It will silence on its own. This is why I say it requires a little intuition and practical experience. When you learn to pay attention, to consciously direct attention, what you are learning to utilize is the consciousness, not the mind, but we confuse that. Typically, we think that the mind is the consciousness, and this is where the problems begin for several students.
In the Dzogchen tradition, they state this very well. One instructor said, “Whatever thoughts arise, observe them, and if thoughts do not arise, observe. Whether this or that, remain the same, observing.”
The same is true when you are doing the dishes. You just do the dishes. You just do your action, whether thoughts come or not. Do you see the subtle difference? It is a matter of how you pay attention. Normally, we get so indoctrinated with this idea that “we must silence the mind,” that we take a violent approach, which does not work. It actually creates more problems, which become very difficult to unravel. So, right from beginning, do not gag the mind.
Do not force the mind to be quiet. Firstly, it is impossible to do it. Now, you might push and push and push and gather the impression that it is starting to be quiet, but that is a lie, an illusion. The deeper levels are in even worse condition than before, because you are forcing something, repressing something. That can become very difficult.
Instead, focus on learning to pay attention, no matter what happens, no matter what is arising, no matter what is passing away. So, as you are doing the dishes, you pay attention, “I am washing the dish.” You do not have to think anything. You are just watching yourself do it, then you notice some thoughts arising. Remember the quote I read from Padmasambhava, he says,” Notice where the thoughts come from.” You just observe.
“Here comes this thought about John and his problem and this and that.” Simply notice it and observe how the thought hangs in your mind for a little while and then it goes away, but all the while remain consciously attentive.
Normally, what happens is the thought arises and we become identified with it. We start to think that thought. We start to feel what that thought stimulates. We start to feed it and follow it, “Maybe I should do this, maybe i should go here, maybe i should talk to so and so.” We become identified. We go to sleep, and after a moment or two, we are not even aware of what we are doing, washing the dish. We are actually imagining John and the thing that happened and what we need to say and do. We are deeply asleep, dreaming. The Master Samael Aun Weor said, “It only takes an instant of forgetfulness to begin dreaming.” Like that, “snap,” you are dreaming.
Q: Talk a bit about how the mind can become identified with others arguing or other things outside.
A: It is easy for us to become identified. Even with external things we observe, we can become involved and identified within our own mind. There are many examples the Master gives within his own books, but I think it is most useful to look into our own lives and discover what are the things that cause us to lose awareness of our own selves. We have to become mature, consciously speaking. That maturity arises when we begin to recognize our own behaviors and look at why we chose to do the things that we do. We become very quickly absorbed into things that were not originally our intention, so an example is, we may see two people arguing, which does not concern us, but we can become involved psychologically by becoming identified one way or another with what they are going through. In that way, we can bring a lot of unnecessary suffering onto ourselves, as well as others. There are numerable examples of how we sleep, but the point is, we have to learn to do one thing at a time and how to pay attention to that. To question when something is stimulating us to act, we must question where is that stimulation coming from, where is that impulse coming from. Is it conscious or is it mechanical? This is not an easy battle and it is not a short one, so each day we have to observe and pay attention, not to gag the mind, not to reject what is arising, but to observe it.
Q: Well, that seems like I cannot really give my opinion about something. Like, say I like a certain type of music, while another does not, is there something wrong with that?
A: Well, you have to discover that for yourself, in the nature of each experience. But it is very important that you question the way that you are doing anything. With each experience that arises, with each impression that you are observing, you have to question your reactions, you have to question your impulse to say something. Here I am, being stimulated by this impression of the music or a singer, and I have this phrase that is bubbling up that I want to say, but why, why do I want to say it? Is it to benefit someone else, is it my pride, is it my anger, is it sarcasm? Is it something conscious or not? So, it means we have to become more passive as personality and more active as a consciousness. Unfortunately, we are so mechanical that we say things and we do not know why we say them, and much of what we say we are just repeating someone else’s opinion. This is a curious thing about people in these times. People will repeat the opinion of someone else and then fight to protect it as if it were their own. Often, they do not know why they believe it or say it. There is no real conscious comprehension of that opinion, or idea, or statement.
Q: When you say the personality is passive, aren’t you labeling it in that sense?
A: No. The personality being passive is a state of inactivity. When your personality is active, that means the face, the mask, the persona you use to interact with others is very active. So, the qualities of your upbringing, your training, your form of speech, your kind of cultural influences you have, become very active. So, for example, music; you may be hearing a singer or music and do not like it, but it may be your personality that does not like that type of music. This has no reflection on the conscious value of the music, so if you were raised in Latin America, then you have the cultural value or personality which enjoys music from Latin America. But, if you hear music from China, you may say “yuck,” and not like it. That does not mean it is a conscious reaction, it may be a reaction of the personality. Whereas a person who is conscious, attentive, and aware may be able to perceive the conscious values of that music and learn to appreciate it. If there are any conscious values within the music. You follow me? The bottom line is, the consciousness just is, while likes and dislikes are reactions of the mind. Craving and aversion, like and dislike.
Q: What do you do when something arises that either deals with craving or aversion, after you observe it. Do you just play it out while watching yourself? I am not really certain how to deal with it after you observe it.
A: Well, the point of this process is to develop the capacity to act from intuition. Intuitive action is what leads us to awaken the consciousness, and intuitive action is free of good and bad, yes and no. To act intuitively requires that you are able to hear intuition and recognize it, so you have to have some discrimination. We all have some discrimination so long as we have some degree of free consciousness incarnated, and the first sign, which i mentioned, is that we should have a quality of remorse when we do something wrong. Right there you know. If you are doing something and you become aware of yourself and feel a quality of remorse, stop, stop it. That does not mean repress what is occurring in your three brains. It means cease that action and observe yourself. For example, you may find yourself in a heated argument and then you become aware of it; you should stop talking. You should be quiet, which means to cease the action, but then you should observe the anger. Notice how it feels, because anger is a state of suffering. It is very painful, so you should be observing that. To repress it means you would avoid it. You would get away from the situation, maybe avoid the person, maybe try to cover it up, by saying,”Oh no, I am sorry, I didn’t mean it. Let us get some ice cream and go hang out together.” Wrong; you need to observe your anger. You need to comprehend your feelings. You cannot if you avoid them nor if you indulge in them.
Now, there are cases in which it is necessary for us to replace that inferior emotion with a superior one. For example, that anger may be so strong that we cannot control it. In that case, it is good to take a walk, to get an ice cream, to not think. This is not repression. This is a subtle thing, not repression. You are not avoiding it within yourself. You are calling in a superior quality, maybe you listen to relaxing music, go work in your garden for a little while. Just until that heat calms down enough to where you are able to control it, then you should meditate. Then you should start to reflect on that event and analyze it. Do not walk away and leave it alone, cause if you do, it will remain there unsolved, probably getting worse and festering inside.
So, this work requires a great deal of delicacy and a great deal of caution. Each situation will require a little bit different management, and that is something that only you can define. It is intuitive; your Being can guide you but you have to listen to that quality of intuition. “What do I really need to do here,” feel that. Do not rationalize about it. Do not reason about it. Trust the sense about it that your Being can give you. Remain with this quality of watchfulness. In the beginning, it requires so much effort, so much caution to learn this, and later, it requires even more, because you start to deal with even more subtle egos which can feel like intuition but are not. So, it is not going to get any easier in that way. It is something that you will have to experience. Become aware of yourself and feel what is right, feel what is wrong. Your consciousness can tell you that only if you listen to it, and it will tell you through hunches, through just “a sense.” You may not know why, you may not have a good reason, but you will sense it if you will listen. That takes the ability to trust your intuition, to trust your consciousness. Often times, it will seem to contradict what your mind tells you. So, you will probably encounter in yourself and in other students who have a conflict, a sense of feeling that something is right, while thinking that it is wrong. It is very common. Again, the mind and heart battling. The equilibration happens by meditating with the consciousness.
Q: Well,I guess that means that watching sports for me is out of the question. I have my favorite team and am rooting for them.
A: Why not? You can watch sports. Let me tell you something. Gnosis is not about abandoning or changing your physical habits. It is about understanding them and making better choices. You can watch sports, but watch them consciously, you see? The reason I am putting it that way is that, if you have a great love for sports or if sports have been a great part of your life, that means that a great portion of your mind is wrapped up in that, and if you avoid sports, then you will not comprehend that part of yourself. You will be avoiding it. So, watch it, but watch it consciously and watch yourself, until you understand it. You may find, in the end, that you can watch the sports and not be identified and still enjoy it. You may find you do not need it anymore. It depends on your own development. Similar results can happen with music. We all talk about how classical music is helpful or good, but many people are identified with it and it is a very egotistical thing for them, which is harmful. So, it does not mean they should just stop listening to it. It means that they should just listen to it consciously and learn to discriminate and differentiate. Others hate classical music. But, if they simply learn to listen with the consciousness, free of mental or emotional filters, they will experience why classical music is good for the soul.
Gnosis is in the experience of each moment. We have to transform our experience of each moment. You will not find Gnosis by avoiding things. You find it by transforming them. Here is another example. The Master Padmasambhava is a great Tantric master, who has great knowledge of many of the arts and sciences of Gnosis, and during certain stages of his development, he would meditate in cremation grounds. Now, most of us would say not only is that foul, it is unhealthy. Why would you go to a cremation ground? There is so much filth there, so much cause for disease. Our whole being or sense of self would reject that idea. But for him, there were conscious values that he was able to develop through that experience. So, the point is we need to look to transform our life as it is now, and work with the practical facts of our lives.
Now, certain kinds of behaviors we need to stop: fornication, obviously. We should not kill anybody. We should not do anything that is harmful. This is clear, so from that point of view, we start to say, “Ok, what other activities that I am engaged in now are harmful, should I stop them?” You need to analyze. Maybe you love to read books. This does not mean you need to stop reading books, but instead you need to read consciously. Maybe your taste changes. What about television? That is up to you. Some people need to stop it completely. Some people are so identified with it that if they reject it completely, their problems will actually get worse. This is one thing the Master says in Fundamental Education: If you completely repress a behavior, you do not solve it. You can actually make it worse. You need to comprehend it. So, it does not mean that you should walk away from a behavior completely. Some students will walk away from a certain kinds of behaviors and repress them and ignore them. All that happens is the desire for that experience gets stronger, so repression does not work, avoidance does not work.