In the Gnostic tradition, we seek to examine the practical utilization of all religious, mythological symbols, in order for us to harness the very purpose of those symbols and aid us in our own development towards the perfection of our human soul. In other words, Gnosis relies upon the study of myth and theory to empower practice. This is the entire purpose. We do not study religion or spirituality as a diversion or as entertainment, but because we are tired of pain, we are weary of war, we are tired of being in darkness.

The one who approaches the study of Gnosis—even if they call it something else—the one who seeks to experience religion, to know it from their own direct conscious experience, does so because they have lived and known the First Noble Truth of the great Buddha Shakyamuni: that life is suffering. If someone as not yet verified this fact, then real Gnosis—experiential knowledge—will remain a closed door; for those who have not verified the basis of suffering, real experience of religion will remain impossible.

In order to harness real Gnosis—conscious knowledge—you have to be ready to die to all your desires, because the Second Noble Truth is that suffering is caused by desire. Until you have experienced this truth, you will not be ready to die psychologically, to perish psychologically, to relinquish all your desires. For it is by the death of desire that the birth of the soul occurs. It is through psychological death that spiritual birth can occur.

If you still have attachment to your desires, and habitual indulgence in pleasure, then Gnosis will remain a closed door, because where pleasure abides, pain must also abide. This is the nature of nature. This is the very function of material existence, a great pendulum that swings between craving and aversion, symbolized in the two pillars on the Tree of Life: mercy and severity, pleasure and pain. If you indulge in one, you empower the other.

It is only when these two sides of Tov and Ra (Hebrew for good and evil) are consciously understood, experienced, comprehended, that the tree of knowledge can yield its true fruit.

Thus, in order for us to reach that experience, we have a physical body. We inhabit this third dimensional level of nature and we suffer. We suffer not because of a tyrant in heaven or because of the burdensome rules imposed upon us from above. We suffer because we have desire: we have lust, we have anger, and we have pride. This is why we suffer.

When our mind becomes freed, when our heart is freed from fear and from envy and from jealousy and resentment and all of the multitude of defects that corrupt the temple of our heart, suffering ceases. This is why the Third Noble Truth says, “There is a way out of suffering.”

The way out of suffering is the Fourth Noble Truth, which indicates how to reach the cessation of desire, and is outlined as an eightfold path upon which one walks in any true religion, by any name. Those eight aspects have many names and may be intellectually examined in many ways, but in practice, they are universal and required.

This is what we seek: to step upon that path, which is not in the physical world. It is in the heart, it is in the mind. That path calls for urgent action, psychological action, spiritual action, which may not be visible physically. It does not always mean that we modify our visible physical behaviors, like how we dress, talk, or act, although in some cases we do need to change those things. The main change is psychological, and this is in order to alter the vibration of our mind.

We suffer because our mind is very heavy with desire, memories, anger, pride, and resentment, and as such, burdened with these very heavy elements, the mind sinks into the depths.

All of nature is a great expanse of vibrating matter and energy, and everything vibrates according to its psychological level. This humanity vibrates with a very dense, low level, and we see that this intense vibration is increasing, from day to day. It is becoming heavier.

Life is becoming more complicated, more difficult, more uncertain. As many bright ideas that we have, all the optimism that we want to cultivate about the bright future that we hope for, the facts are impossible to deny. Our world is sinking.

A simple review of the experience of our life and the experience of our parents and grandparents and their parents can demonstrate how much more complicated life has become, how much more burdened with difficulties, responsibilities, uncertainties, pain. We see that the pace is increasing, and that the effects of all of our actions are beginning to amplify and become overwhelming.

When we survey the expanse of our planet, we cannot comprehend the extent and depth of our problems. It is impossible for our mind to picture the entire scenario, the entire range of potential threats and dangers that are growing day after day: the changing climate, the proliferation of pollution, radioactive materials in our water and our soil, the threat of war—which could spark anywhere at any time and overwhelm us—the proliferation of lust, the decay of the family, the collapse of our criminal justice system, of our education system, of our political system, in every level, in every aspect of life.

We do not see a Golden Age emerging here. We do not see a civilization riding into the light of the sun, gloriously reflecting the beauty of the divine. Instead, we see a civilization that mocks anything that hints at religion, that scoffs at virtue, that ridicules the pure, that crucifies the prophets. This is our world; this is why we need these studies.

Our study of Gnosis is not merely to entertain ourselves or be distracted from our problems: it is to solve them. Our world exists as it does because of how we exist as individuals. Our world trembles in pain because we as individuals tremble in pain and darkness, with supreme anxiety, loneliness, and spiritual emptiness, longing to know the Divine, but not even knowing the language of the Divine, longing to know how to solve our problems, even petty ones, but not knowing how to communicate with the divinity that is within us.

Kabbalah: The Method to Receive from Above

Kabbalah is the language of God, it is the language of the internal worlds, it is the method by which all of the Buddhas, the Avatars, the Messengers, speak the Word.

The Word, or the Logos, is that supreme expression of the light, which is a form of knowledge that is so beyond the intellect, it is as if we compare an atom of dust with a galaxy. This is why when we approach Kabbalah, Gnosis, or Da’ath, we become overwhelmed, because we try to comprehend a galaxy with the mind of an ant, and we are an ant floating in the infinite; we are a speck of dust in the infinite.

The potential to comprehend nature, enlightenment, the Divine, exists within us, because we have the consciousness (the essence, the human soul), which is a particle of that expanse, a particle of the Divine. Within us we have an element, which is connected with God, but unfortunately that element sleeps, and most of us are not even aware of it. In this tradition we call it the consciousness, yet it can also be called the essence, while in Sanskrit or Buddhist terms it is called tathagatagarbha, which means “the embryo of the Buddha,” or the Buddhadatu, the Buddha nature. These terms all refer to a seed, a germ in the ancient use of the word, like the seed of a great tree; it is an element, which if it is cared for and fed can grow to become a Buddha, an Angel, a fully developed human being.

The seed of the consciousness, or the seed of the soul, resides within each human being, but it is just an embryo; it needs to be grown and cared for. This is why humanity has been given many religions and mystical teachings. All religions have as their fundamental purpose the nurturing and development of that seed.

In Hebrew terms, that seed is symbolized in the letter Nun, from which comes the name Noah. The story of Noah and his famous ship represents the beginning of this process of the development of this seed, and that process is symbolized throughout all the stories of the Bible, from Noah through his children, through Joseph and to Moses and beyond. Each of those prophets represents a stage of development, symbolically, of the development of the essence, until it becomes a fully-fledged human being, a soul, represented by Moses.

“Moses was born, and was exceedingly fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” — Acts 7:20

Moses represents that soul who has reached nirvana, the Promised Land, and become a full human being. His name, properly, is Moshe, which is spelled משה Mem, Shin, Hei, and those letters encode the meaning of his name; it means “born of water and spirit.”

The lesson of Moses is encoded in his name.

If you have studied Christianity you know what Jesus told Nicodemus:

“Yeshua answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born (the letter ה Hei) of water (the letter מ Mem) and of the Pneuma (Spirit, the letter ש Shin), he cannot enter into the kingdom of Theos (God). That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Pneuma is Pneuma. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Pneuma.” — John 3

“You must be born again of water and Pneuma,” means that you must become Moshe. In other words, you must be born spiritually as a human soul.

No creature in the universe is born by belief: birth is always a sacred act (sacrament) of upright sexuality. From sexual purity (chastity) – i.e. an immaculate conception – the savior (Yeshua) is born.

This is why Jesus said, “With patience ye shall possess thy soul.” [Luke 21:19] He never said that we have a soul. So, there are many things in our religion, whether Christian or Jew, Buddhist or Hindu, Muslim, Zoroastrian, within which we need to delve.

All of the stories in all of the scriptures are symbolic and provide teachings to us about how to develop our soul. That teaching is not easy; to accomplish the development of the human soul is to fulfill the greatest work in the universe. This is not something that comes easily or comes overnight.

Many people like to comfort themselves with the idea that they can simply believe in a religion, or do a ten or fifteen minute practice everyday and they will be saved. If you have not heard it before, I am sorry to be the one to tell you, because I know it is painful, but that belief is not true.

The development of the human soul requires every atom of your being. Every atom, every single bit of your matter and energy, has to be directed towards freedom from suffering. This is how difficult it is, this is how challenging. Why? Because the end result is a God, an Angel, a Buddha. Such a creature is not born automatically, overnight or mechanically, in the same way that a planet does not arise spontaneously overnight. A sun, a solar system, a galaxy, these things correspond psychologically to the level of Angels, Buddhas, Prophets. These are huge, cosmic events, which occur over great expanses of time and with enormous expenditures of energy. Likewise, to develop the human soul requires enormous energy.

When a seed physically bursts itself to become a tree, the seed dies. That seed passes away and that new life emerges within it, but for that seed to become a sprout, and that sprout to become a huge tree, a huge amount of energy and matter is required. The development of our soul is the same. The emergence of the soul within us requires that the shell die. That shell is our personality. It is our name, it is our history, it is our beliefs, our theories, our ideas, everything that we think of as ourselves, because we are merely a seed.

The Tree of Life and the Tree of Negative Existence

This death is symbolized in the story of Noah and the ark. Noah (נח from the letter nun, the seed) enters the ark in order to escape suffering. You should know that in the Bible, in Hebrew, the word ark is not there, as we explained in a previous lecture [See, The Ark of the Covenant]. When you look in the Hebrew to find the word “ark,” you will see either תבת, tebah (ship) or ארון aron. Aron means a vessel, a container; properly, it is Aron Kodesh, which means the holy vessel. But aron can be translated also as coffin.

The very last line of Genesis / Bereishit (the first book of the Bible) says, “Joseph died and was placed in an aron in Egypt.” Joseph represents the lineage from Noah and symbolizes the development of that seed of our soul, who must die. The essence is placed into that coffin, so that that essence may be saved.

All that is impure must die. When Noah entered the ark, all of the degenerated beings were punished by a great flood; the only surviving elements were the pure ones. The same thing happens with our soul. That story represents the development of our soul. When Joseph entered the ark, it represents a later degree of the development of the soul. Genesis ends with the death of Joseph, and the next chapter is Exodus, which is when Moses comes.

Moses arrives because Israel is in trapped in suffering again. The name Israel (Ish-Ra-El) does not refer to an ancient nation; it represents all the parts of our Being, the consciousness, our divinity who has become trapped in Mitzrahim. The English Bibles say “Egypt,” but in Hebrew it says Mitzrahim, “the place between the waters,” which refers to Hell.

“ISRAEL is a word that must be analyzed. ‘IS’ reminds us of Isis and the Isiac (Isaac) Mysteries. ‘RA’ reminds us of the Solar Logos. Let us remember the disc of RA found in the ancient Egypt of the Pharaohs. ‘EL’ is ‘EL’. ‘EL’ is (Chesed) the interior, profound God within each one of us. In sequence and correct etymological corollary, the people of Israel are constituted by the various parts of the Being. All of the multiple Self-conscious and independent parts of our own individual Being constitute the people of Israel.” – Pistis Sophia Unveiled, by Samael Aun Weor

We are trapped in suffering, in slavery, thus the parts of God that we have within are in Mitzrahim, enslaved by a tyrant, who is the ego, our desire, who wants to feed itself, to build itself, to become big and rich and fat, and we allow it, because we allow ourselves to have pride, anger, lust, and envy and jealousy, and all of those defects that we have within. Moshe represents an additional degree of development of the essence.

We are trapped in suffering, in slavery, thus the parts of God that we have within are in Mitzrahim, enslaved by a tyrant, who is the ego, our desire, who wants to feed itself, to build itself, to become big and rich and fat, and we allow it, because we allow ourselves to have pride, anger, lust, and envy and jealousy, and all of those defects that we have within. Moshe represents an additional degree of development of the essence.

Each of these symbols—Noah, Joseph, Moses-Moshe—represent stages in the development of the human soul. On the Tree of Life (Kabbalah), the human soul is related with Tiphereth, which is in the very center of the Tree of Life, whether you look at it vertically or horizontally, it is the middle. This image of the Tree of Life represents us; it also represents nature, the universe, how nature is constructed and how it functions. But for us the main thing we need to know is that it represents the very structure of who we are.

In order for us to come out of suffering, to develop Moshe within, who can lead all the parts of God through the wilderness, out of Egypt, and to the Promised Land (Heaven, Nirvana), we need to know how to build the ark (aron). Moses was given instructions to the build the ark (aron), and he had to do it in order to save the nation of God. These stories represent a work that we have to perform spiritually and psychologically within ourselves.

We are not really interested in the past, in terms of whether Moses was a real guy or not; it is completely irrelevant to our suffering. We need to deal with facts, the reality that we face day to day. Our day to day reality must change, our day-to-day facts, our existence.

In order for us to understand how to build the aron, we need to know the science, the language. We need to be able to receive the commands, the instructions of how to do it. In the Hebrew language those instructions are called Kabbalah. In Sanskrit they are called Dharma, which means the Law, the Truth, the Way. The Fourth Noble Truth is the eightfold path, the Dharma, the instructions to build the ark. Likewise, there are many names for this science, which does not belong to one group or another, but has been given to humanity many times.

When you really enter into the full practice of Kabbalah, the eightfold path, or Dharma—whatever you call it—your true purpose must be to develop the capacity to receive instructions from the Divine, not merely to imitate others, not merely to mechanically follow certain rules or behaviors, but to develop oneself, to stand up on ones own feet, to look inside of yourself and see the light of God for oneself and to know the truth from experience. Gnosis means that: conscious knowledge of the truth. And the word Kabbalah comes from Kabel, “to receive.” It does not mean to memorize, it does not mean to intellectualize or believe, it means to receive from within. This is something that comes from outside of our mind and in to our soul. By outside, I mean outside of the mind that we have now. Kabbalah does not come from memorization or beliefs. Rather than stuffing the mind with theories and books and ideas, we should open our mind, so that the Divine, God, Allah, Christ, can speak to us.

If you read the book of Exodus, the Most Holy explains to Moshe that he will give guidance to the people of Israel through the aron, and then he gives the instructions how to build it, and they are very precise (we explained them in the previous lecture). Those instructions of how to build the aron are the first step that we must perform. Once we have built it, we can receive divine guidance personally, for ourselves.

“All of us have the Elder of Days within our depths, mentions the great Kabbalist Schimeon Ben Jochai, but few are those who know how to obey the Elder of Days.”
— Samael Aun Weor

That guidance is not intellectual, it is intuitive. The language of God, the language of the internal worlds, the language of Kabbalah, is intuitive, it is not intellectual. We can compare this to how we learn a language. As I am speaking to you now, especially if you are a native English speaker, you do not think about the words that I am saying, you just hear the meaning. Once you have learned Kabbalah, scripture will be the same to you: you will no longer have to analyze the words, or try to memorize the meanings of things; the meaning will be clear, immediate, because you speak the language. Kabbalah is the same. So, in these lectures, when we present to you all the sephiroth of the Tree of Life, or talk about the twenty-two Hebrew letters, and it seems so difficult and complicated (and you might say, “too intellectual”), you need to stop right there, and remember that when you were trying to learn your native language, it was not easy, it took time. You had to grow and develop patiently, and learn each of the letters of your language with patience, until the day arrived when, without realizing, you no longer had to think about the letters or the words, or what is a verb and noun and a pronoun, it all just flowed together naturally. Kabbalah is the same.

Little by little you will come to a place where you no longer have to think, “What does Tiphereth mean? What does Da’ath mean?” Because you will know.

What I am trying to express to you is that Kabbalah is not intellectual unless we make it so. But to learn Kabbalah, we need to memorize it. In the same way that we memorized our language, that we learned how to speak and express ourselves, we need to memorize Kabbalah. We need to memorize these ten spheres and we need to memorize the twenty-two Hebrew letters, because they are a language, and that language is the language of the superior worlds. I am not saying that Hebrew is the language of the internal worlds: Kabbalah is, and Hebrew is Kabbalistic. Yet, so is Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Mayan, and many other sacred languages. All of them contain knowledge.

Whether we are a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Christian, it does not matter, these archetypes apply and deliver knowledge of our tradition. When you study, memorize, and learn, and become very familiar with the Kabbalistic archetypes, when you dive deep into these archetypes, you can immediately comprehend the significance of any religious story, because every religion comes from the one light; every myth comes from the same source. Thus, the science of Kabbalah explains them. That is why in this tradition we talk about Shiva, Buddha, Krishna, Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, and Odin, because they are all different names for the same thing.

(Continued in part 2.)

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