It is an inevitable fact that everyone will die. Cognizance of that fact is the very basis of a true spiritual practice: to truly be aware of it on a daily basis, to never forget the inevitability of death.
To be a really serious spiritual practitioner, this kind of cognizance is a necessity, because death—being inevitable—is an opportunity also for a great transformation, if our death is managed by all of the force of our Being, of all of the force of our heart and mind.
In other words, death is inevitable, but its outcome is susceptible to many modifications and influences.
The notion that modern society supports and emphasizes—that death is the end—is patently false. Death is not an end, it is just a change. We do not cease to exist after death; we just begin to exist in a different way. Someone who is very serious about their spiritual practice knows that, and works on that, so the change of death can be beneficial rather than detrimental.
The Six Betweens
For that reason, the great Indian master Padmasambhava gave a profound teaching about the six betweens or six intermediate states through which every organism passes many, many times. The six betweens or bardos are states of consciousness through which we all pass and have passed many times.
The first is what we call the “vigil state.” The second is related to the dream state. The third is related with meditation. These three states of being relate to functions of consciousness. They are states of consciousness we can only access if we have the training. In other words, most of humanity has not experienced these states consciously, but passes through them unconsciously. When we talk about how all beings pass through the bardos, we all pass through them, but without knowledge, without realizing it, without knowing it, without controlling it.
So the first three betweens—as we have being explaining in all these lectures—are utilized as training that we need in order to access the next three betweens, which happen after death. The six betweens are two groups of three. Serious spiritual training teaches you how the harness the power of these first three bardos, how to take advantage of them, how to transform yourself and your experience of life, so that when the experience of death arrives you can transform it.
The Vigil State: The Importance of Presence
The beginning, the basis of all spiritual work, is to be present, to be here and now, to not be distracted, to not allow the mind, the heart or the body to take our attention away from being here and now in the body—seeing, experiencing, hearing, taking in data from the senses. This is the basis of all real spiritual work: presence, self-awareness, self-observation, self-remembering. There are many names for this function of consciousness, but it does not happen automatically. It does not happen just because you are in a humanoid body. Presence, attention, has to be managed consciously and continuously. There is no autopilot for awakened consciousness. Awakening does not happen on its own, it takes willpower.
This willpower is to take the vigil state and make it vigilant, as opposed to the way most of us live, which is in the “vigil state” with quotation marks around it. We normally have our so called “vigil state” as our state of dreaming. Our so-called “vigil state” is generally a state of utter distraction, never remembering that we are here in the body, never remembering what we are doing, where we are, who we are, and so we are unable to maintain a continuity of conscious action. It takes training to develop that. It takes a lot of training. This is training that you have to give yourself, to be present, to be here and now.
That cognizance is divided into a continual observation of two essential aspects: internal states and external events. In other words, our attention needs to be cultivated and developed so that it is capable of being aware of our internal state—thoughts, feelings and sensations—at the same time that it is maintaining awareness of what is happening in the external event, and furthermore, is capable of seeing the relationship between the two.
It sounds easy when you give a technical explanation, but I guarantee you that when you are in a conversation with your friends, co-workers or family, you will forget this, because you forget yourself. You get so engaged in conversation, so engaged in the debate, so engaged in emotion, in sensations, in longings and desires, or fears and anxieties, that you forget yourself. This is why we suffer. It is this basic identification with false concepts, with fleeting emotions, and with sensations in the body. We become hypnotized.
So, the basis of the training is to become aware of that, and to become fully vigilant all the time, continually. This takes a lot of willpower. That training deepens when we apply it when we are also out of the body, in the dream state, which is the second bardo (between).
The Dream State
A person who is fully trained does not forget themselves when they are in the dream world. They are aware that they are dreaming. They are aware that they are out of the body. They do not become identified with anything in the dream world. They remain conscious of themselves. This has been made possible by rigorous training in continual presence while they were in their physical body.
Everybody wants the ability to go out of the body consciously, to have an astral projection, to have an out of body experience, a lucid dream. Nobody realizes that the ability to have that experience begins here and now, in the physical body, by developing a continual awareness of oneself, never forgetting oneself, never forgetting that you are in the body, always aware of inner states and external events and the relationship between them.
Why is that important? Because when you are in the dream world (the astral and mental world), asleep, unconscious, you are not aware of your inner state and you are not aware of the external event, you are not aware that you are in your astral body.You dream, unconscious, because you dream unconsciously during your physical life, during the day in your physical body. If you train during the day, in your physical body, to question everything that you perceive, to always be aware of yourself, you will naturally start to do that in dreams in the astral body, naturally, spontaneously.
The Key of SOL
To develop this skill we use an exercise called S-O-L, which means subject, object, location. Part of that exercise—apart from the self awareness that I have been describing—is to test the external event, to see: “What is this place that I am in? Where am I? Am I in my physical body or my astral body?”
So, during the day, you learn to start testing things, to pull your finger, to really make it stretch, to fully expect that it will stretch, to test yourself, “If I am really in my astral body, if I am dreaming, my finger will stretch.” If you do that physically—and really mean it and really test it—you will start to do it while you are dreaming too, and one day, you will be testing it and all of a sudden your finger will stretch, and you will realize you are in the astral plane, you are not in your physical body, and you will start to awaken.
A similar tests can be to push on things. Push your finger through a wall, bend your pen or pencil or your book, and it will be flexible in the dream world. Test things around you. That only works if you have the cognizance, the presence of attention that drives it. If you do this exercise mechanically, without all of your consciousness present, it will not work.
This training is essential because it starts to prepare the consciousness to become continuously observant of everything that is happening to it inside and outside, and to always be questioning, “Where am I, what is happening to me, what is going on…”
I cannot emphasize enough how critical this is, because when you die, you need this skill. Without it, you will die unconsciously, and you will be reborn unconsciously.
The third between (bardo) is the phase of meditation, which in Sanskrit is called dhyana. This does not refer to mere concentration; dhyana is a state of consciousness that has complete serenity, and is very bright, very clear, very perceptive. It is not a state of day dreaming, of fantasizing; it is a state of beautiful clarity of consciousness. It is the most beautiful expansive clarity of consciousness and inner perception that you can imagine, that you have ever experienced. It is not a state of conscious such as you felt when you ate your first chocolate ice cream and you felt so good. It is not like any kind of sensation, like a sensation in the body; it has nothing to do with an “orgasmic” state like many claim. It is not like that.
Dhyana is a bright, perceptive, penetrating awareness, a clarity of perception, a kind of calmness of mind, a kind of inner serenity that is deeply profound. Why is that important? In that state, the ego can be seen for what it is. A state of dhyana is a state in which the consciousness is free of the cage of ego—free of pride, free of lust, free of envy, free of fear—and this is the important point.
The skill of meditation (dhyana) is based on developing skill in the dream state, which is developed through skill in the vigil state. Sequentially, the skill of meditation (dhyana) strengthens the consciousness to be stable and serene, no matter what happens in any context. It strengthens the consciousness, it solidifies it, it grows it, but most of all, it helps it access its true nature, which is serenity, insight, and understanding: peace. That is what you want when you die. You need that state of consciousness (dhyana), because when you die, you pass through a great transformation, a doorway, and what happens after that depends on you.
What Happens After We Die
This lecture is called After We Die. So what happens after we die? I cannot tell you, because it is up to you. The subject or explanation of what happens after we die is incredibly complicated, because it depends on your state of consciousness.
I know everybody wants an easy answer. “We all go to heaven or hell,” or “we all go to this place were there is a great bright light and all our loved ones are there waiting for us,” or “we just simply cease to exist.” We all want these kindergarten, simple, Sunday school stories to make us feel better, but the facts are not like that.
Death is complicated and inevitable, but what happens with it is in your hands: no one else’s. Yours.
The outcome of your death will depend on your state of consciousness. It depends on how skilled you are at managing your consciousness. Your state of consciousness will determine what happens to you after you die.
So, we need to study these bardos, and understand them very well.
After death. there are three becomings or betweens. They are death, reality, and rebirth. This second set of three states relates to what happens after the physical body has been discarded. What happens in these three stages depends one hundred percent on how you use your attention.
So, let us be realistic. I know everybody would like to die peacefully in bed at night and not have any pain, but that is a daydream, a fantasy. The odds are that the majority of us will die suffering. It is just a simple fact. Come to terms with it, and prepare for it now. If we go to the morgue and look at the people who are dead there, the majority of them suffered in some way. It very rare to find someone who had a peaceful, serene death. Most people suffered violence, illness, they suffered emotionally or mentally. So chances are, so will we. We need to be serious about that, and realize it, and prepare for it.
If we were to die now, today, with the level of training that we have today, how would we manage the process of death? If we are very sick, weak, suffering a lot physically but also suffering a lot because of having to leave our family, our loved ones, our children, our possessions, all of our attachments, how would our state of consciousness be?
The anguish that we will experience while dying is usually quite extreme. The time of dying will probably be the time we will experience the most extreme anguish of our life. How strong is our training in self-observation, in self-remembering, in meditation? Are we strong enough to face that degree of suffering and be serene, and not have attachment and not be afraid?
It is likely that we are not prepared, because we have the ego very alive. We have too much pride, too much shame, to much attachment, too much envy, to much fear, or we are too lazy in our spiritual practice. We are not serious about managing our attention daily. We are only serious about making money or managing our social image, how others perceive us. Our spiritual work is very low on the list. We might mean well, but when we look at how we really spend our time and energy, we really do not invest much time and energy in our spiritual work. This is going to be a real problem for us when we die.
When we die, most of what we right now think as “ourselves” will be taken away from us.
We have shown you this diagram a few times in this course: two sets of circles. On the left we see an illustration of what a living person has and on the right what a dead person has.
It is obvious that when we die, the physical body is taken from us. We know that. What is also taken is the vital body which is the energy of the physical body. What is also taken is our personality, our name, our language, our cultural tastes, what we like as music, what we like as food, our clothing tastes. All of those behavioral characteristics that we think are our identity. All of that is abandoned. What goes into the other world is the raw content of our mind and heart, and trapped inside of that is the consciousness.
If we have never properly trained our consciousness to be aware of itself, we will pass through the phase of death in the exact same way that we dream now at night: with zero cognizance of ourselves, with zero awareness. Due to this, we will pass through the three bardos of the after death state completely without consciousness, completely asleep, the same way that we dream now.
In order for us to have cognizance of ourselves in the three bardos that occur between lives, we would have needed to have developed during life cognizance of our true identity: a continual awareness of what we are, which is not the body, which is not energy in the body, and it is not the personality.
Real spiritual training
Unfortunately, some of us learn spirituality only to strengthen the personality. Many of us learn spirituality that is focused only in the body, and only in the vital body as well. For many of us, our spiritual training as been all about, for example, hatha yoga, Sufism, or any other type of exercise in which we focus on the body and do different types of exercises and stretches related mainly to the body. Or we may have learned techniques to work with energy in the vital body, like reiki, pranayama, different forms of Tantra—so called “energy work”—where we become very identified with energy. Or, in the vast majority of cases, our spirituality is focused completely on our personality, our tradition, our religion, and how we appear in it, looking like “a good Christian” or “a good Buddhist” or “a good Gnostic,” always at church or school on time, in a nice outfit, doing what is expected of us from the spiritual community, always looking like the role model or trying to be or playing humble. That is all personality. It is not real; it is not spirituality.
The person who is seriously training in spirituality does not identify themselves with the physical body at all. They take care of it, they feed it well, they keep it relaxed, but they do not over expend energy on the body. Likewise, they work with the vital body conserving energy and using energy wisely, but are not overly identified with energy or the vital body. Finally, they do not become identified with the personality, with politics, with schools, movements, groups, and religions, with who is the greatest latest teacher, or the latest greatest book or trend, or what we are supposed to wear when we go to this or that event. They do not care at all about these sorts of things, but instead their attention is completely focused on analyzing and studying the relationship between the mind-heart and the consciousness, because in that relationship is access to the Absolute, which is deep inside.
This is important, because when we pass through death, the physical body is destroyed, the vital body is destroyed.
If all of a sudden we find ourselves at the doorway of death still thinking we have our name, our culture, our religion, our habits, our tastes in food, in music, in places we like to go, but none of that is with us anymore, we will not know we are dead, we will not realize it. In 99.9% of the cases that is what happens.
Anyone here who awakens their consciousness and goes out of their body or in meditation can perceive the world of the dead, and can talk with any person there, and will discover that the dead do not know they are dead. That will also be our destiny unless we awaken consciousness seriously.
This happens because we do not even know we are alive. We are in a day dream all day long and all night long, fantasizing, distracted, not even aware that we are here in the body, not remembering who we really are. So when we die, we continue in that state, but without the physical body, vital body, and personality.
By training in the vigil state, training in the dream state, and training in the meditation state, we train ourselves to be conscious in the death, reality and rebirth states, to be aware and to not sleep like an animal.
Death and the Tree of Life
When we study this on the Tree of Life, we discover why this is so important. On the lower half of the Tree of Life we see five sephiroth. The lowest is Malkuth, which is the physical body. Obviously, with death the physical body is taken from us, we lose our connection to it. With the physical body goes the vital body, Yesod, which is the energy of the physical body; we also lose that. We also lose the personality.
What remains are these three sephiroth: Tiphereth, Netzach and Hod; consciousness, intellect, and heart. If in our physical life we never learned to use attention, it means that we never learned to use our consciousness, which is related with Tiphereth. That means that when our physical body is destroyed, when the vital body is destroyed, when the personality is destroyed, we end up in the fifth dimension in our protoplasmic, lunar bodies, we will have no cognizance of ourselves, because we never learned to use our essence, which is rooted in Tiphereth. Tiphereth is above Hod and Netzach. It is on a higher level than the mind and the heart.
Tiphereth is the source of our essence. The essence is the consciousness, our Buddha nature; it is the source of attention, how we pay attention. That is the same thing as willpower.
If in our physical body in life we never learned to use this willpower, consciousness, then we will not have access to it when we are dead, because we never learned how to use it. We will be asleep, not knowing we are dead, and will pass through those experiences pushed by karma.
If we have learned to use it and have awakened consciousness—and even better, created the soul, meaning we have raised the serpents of the kundalini, either in the first degree in the physical body, in the second degree in the vital body, in the third degree in the astral body, the fourth in the mental body, and the fifth in the casual body—we will have a huge advantage, because we will be awake after death. Rather, it is more likely we will be awake, lets put it that way. We can still fall asleep, but we will have some advantage because we will have awakened some consciousness by achieving those degrees of initiation.
Tiphereth, the casual body, is in the sixth dimension. The mind heart or the mental-astral bodies are in the fifth dimension.
The fifth dimension is the world of dreams. It is the world of the mind and emotion. On this planet, in our psyche, the fifth dimension is completely corrupted by our ego. Because we are so deeply asleep and because we have so many desires, the fifth dimension is a very tricky place; you all know that because you remember your dreams. Dreams are very different to what happens in the physical world. Everything there works very differently; everything behaves differently, and for us it is very hard to see what is real in the fifth dimension. We are very easily fooled there because of so much desire in our minds, so much pride and so much lust. If we want clarity, to be able to see what we are experiencing, to be able to discriminate what we see and experience, we have to develop that skill in the physical body, now, because after we die we will be in the fifth dimension, exactly the same as the world of dreams that we enter into every night, but the difference is our connection to the physical body is severed.
How are you dreaming now: with cognizance or without? Do you remember everything that happened to you for those six, eight, or ten hours that you were lying in the bed? How much of that do you remember? How much of that were you cognizant of yourself? How much of that time were you aware of where you were and what you were doing? The answer to that question will tell you what is going to happen to you after you die. If you do not like the answer, then you should start training.
The full Tree of Life shows us all of the dimensions of nature. The physical body Malkuth is a point of departure from which you can access lower worlds or higher worlds. On this Tree of Life, we can understand a statement that was explained by Samael Aun Weor in many of his books and lectures.
The person who dies faces three potential outcomes. The ones who have earned it achieve a vacation of sorts in the superior worlds, in which they experience the pleasures, happiness, and serenity of the heavens, those dimensions that are not corrupted by desire.
The second path is to be reborn immediately with no break, but instead come immediately come back into a physical body to continue suffering their karma, the results of their actions.
The third outcome is where the person is unable to pay their debts or earn the ticket to have a vacation, so they descend into the lower worlds, what we call “hell,” in order to start paying what they owe.
So here on this map we see these options. In the middle is Malkuth, the physical body. When the physical body is dead, when it dies, our karma and state of consciousness determine if we get reborn immediately, do we earn a vacation in the superior worlds, or do we descend into the lower worlds. It depends: it depends on us.
Let us examine exactly how this happens—as close as we can get to “exactly,” because really, there are too many factors at play in this scenario. In general terms, what happens is this: you die, the connection to your physical body is severed. At that point you enter the fifth dimension, which is the same world of dreams that you enter into now when you sleep. You will enter into that world exactly the same way you fall asleep now. If you fall asleep without any cognizance of that transition between the vigil and the dream state, you will die in the same way: without any cognizance.
Some people, because of the strong experience of death, can receive a shock to the consciousness and can be aware; that happens, but you cannot expect it to happen to you, those shocks are accidental. They are not produced by will. We have all heard stories of “near death experiences” or “after death experiences,” which are produced by precisely this kind of shock; they are accidental, or sometimes happen as a gift or wake-up call from God. They happen because the consciousness suddenly realizes what is happening, or it receives a jolt of energy from the Being in order to produce the cognizance that is needed, but that is rare. Most of the time people die the same way they fall asleep at night: they just fall asleep, and float into the dream world, without any awareness of what is happening to them.
Because of that, when we die we will not know where we are going or what we are doing. We will be in a dream, with no cognizance, no awareness, not even knowing we are dead. We will perceive in the same way we perceive our dreams. What do you see in your dreams? Things that make no sense; you at work every night because you are at work everyday, or visiting places from your childhood, or places that you fantasize about; dreaming in the movie that you watched or the book that you have been reading. Those are the same places that you will see after you are dead.
There is a related state of consciousness which in Sanskrit is called devachan. Many people—especially in modern spiritual groups—talk about devachan as if it is something good, as a kind of heaven in which you are reunited with all your loved ones, but let me explain something very clearly. Devachan is a projection of the mind; it does not exist. It is an illusion. Many people who have a “near-death experience” and come back report seeing all their loved ones and being welcomed by all the people who died before them. Most of the time, that was a projection of their mind. That kind of experience can happen in reality also, but one has to earn that. It does not just happen to everybody, it has to be earned. In most cases, it isn’t, so when most people die, they project images to themselves in their minds. They are projecting their desires, because they are afraid, because they have attachments, so they see what they want to see.
Retrospection after death
After death, we review the life that we just finished; we relive it in a retrospective manner, by means of the intelligence and the heart. After such a retrospection has concluded, we then must appear before the Courts of God. The Angels of the Law are called amongst the Eastern people the Lords of Karma; they judge us according to our deeds. The outcome of such a judgment could be that we may return again into a new womb in order to appear again immediately in this physical world, or we may enter into a kind of vacation within the worlds of the light and happiness, or finally—regrettably—we could be obligated to enter into the interior of the Earth, within its infradimensions, with all of its pains and displeasures. – Samael Aun Weor, Beyond Death
After an experience of death, when the soul, the consciousness, is liberated from the body, at a certain point the consciousness begins to receive a test. This happens to every disincarnated person. The disincarnated one is suddenly where they were right before they died, seeing whatever they were seeing and experiencing, whatever they were experiencing right before they died. If they were at home having a meal, suddenly they are there having a meal at home, enjoying the food, enjoying the company of their family and friends. They start to go backwards, event to event, experiencing everything to the smallest degree that they experienced in their physical life while they were alive; the problem is that nobody realizes that they are dead. So they are living out their life, and without realizing it, they are living it out in reverse. In other words, they are replaying every instant of their entire lifetime. Everyone has heard about that experience, that when you die your life plays back before you.
Let me explain something clearly so that you understand this. Time in the physical world is only in the physical world. The fifth dimension does not have time like here. That is why when you fall asleep and have a nap, you can dream and it feels like you are dreaming for hours and hours and hours, and then you wake up and it has only been fifteen minutes, and you are astonished, “I thought I was asleep for hours.” That is because in other dimensions, time functions differently; it has a different vibration, a different rate. We call the fifth dimension “eternity” because time there is circular; time is not linear. Anyhow, that is another subject.
The point is: the process of reviewing ones life is relative. Sometimes you may hear that this review happens in “three days”; that number is symbolic, not literal. The actual expanse of time is your lifetime; you relive it, but will you be conscious of it, will you be aware of it? What will happen when you replay the events of your life and you revisit your mundane, dull job? Will you respond to it they same way you respond to it now, with boredom and seeking distraction? What about those moments when you suffered, when you where rejected, betrayed or lied to? Will you identify again with the pain, anger, and resentment? What about those moments you indulged in lust? What about those years you spent identified with pornography, identified with lust for another person or persons? What will happen to you when you replay those scenes? When you are dead will you be identified with them again? Will you demonstrate though this ordeal that you have not changed?
In other words, after you die, you will relive every experience you have had in your life to the finest detail. It will all repeat again. Why? It is not a joke or the cruelty of God. It is a function of nature that is necessary in order to evaluate how the soul changed during its lifetime in the most recent physical body: did the consciousness change, and if so, how? Did it get worse or better? How does it respond to its karma?
Some of you who have studied this material for some time I hope have realized something extremely significant, and that is the importance of the practice of retrospection. We teach retrospection on every retreat, and we practice it on every retreat, because it is so important.
The practice of retrospection is a practice of meditation in which we consciously review the day. In the evening when you sit to meditate, and you put the body in a state of rest, you deepen your self-awareness that you have been cultivating all day long, you deepen that self-presence and self-awareness. You close your eyes and rest your body and start to play back in your mind everything that happened during the day, not to change it, but to learn from it, to find those things that you should not have done or should not have felt or should not have thought, and you analyze them to learn how to change.
If you have spent your lifetime in your physical body training in that way, I am sure you can see that your experience of the revival of your life’s experience after death will be very different from someone who never trained in retrospection, because you have spent your whole lifetime reviewing your life, looking over all the things that you thought and felt and did, not identifying, not getting sucked into the thoughts, the emotions, the attachments. The person who has training and dies and is cognizant and begins to revive and relive their life’s experience will be aware of it, will know “I am dead and now I am reviewing all of my experiences but I will not be distracted, I will not react with my pride, with my fear, with my shame, with my lust, with my envy, my regret” but instead you will know how to be serene, to call up that state of dhyana that you have cultivated in meditation, to be serene, at peace and very cognizant, very conscious. So as those scenes play, you watch them, you learn from them. You will not identify and react. You will have more understanding of your life from that experience. That definitive moment is what we are training for.
Are you paying attention?
We talk a lot in this tradition about initiations, creating the bodies, sexual transmutation, astral experiences, jinn state, awakening chakras, pranayamas, breathing exercises, Tibetan exercises—all kinds of different techniques and tools and experiences, but none of them matter as much as what happens after you die. Whether you have the solar bodies or not, if you pass through that state asleep, those solar bodies cannot do you any good. Do not think that solar bodies or initiations will guarantee that you will be awake: they do not. You cannot use the tool if you do not remember you have it.
There are many people who have solar bodies and they are completely asleep. The solar bodies do not awaken your consciousness. They are just vessels, vehicles; they do not guarantee you anything. Masters fall, Buddha’s fall, because they become identified.
What matters is our state of attention. That matters more than anything. I say that because it is easy for the single people to feel a lot of anxiety because they do not have a spouse and they feel so upset, “I am not going to create the bodies and raise my kundalini. I will never make it.” Then the married people think, “I am married, I cannot do it with this burden. My spouse makes my life too hard. I am suffering too much.” These are excuses.
What matters is the state of our consciousness. When you die, your marital state does not matter. Whether you have the bodies or not, you are in the situation you are in. Take advantage of your circumstances. Do not be distracted by theories or beliefs. Pay attention to what is. Be present. Learn to be present and serene in every experience of life.
The transformation of impressions
From moment to moment our mind is surging, our heart is surging; it is never still, it is never at rest, because we are always having new impressions enter into us, and those impressions come into the senses and create reactions because we do not transform them consciously. We might half way do it sometimes when we remember to do it, but most of the time we do not remember. The mind is constantly surging with new impressions, new sensations, new thoughts and feelings. What are those reactions churned up in the mind during our daily life? If we are not managing them, if we are not conscious of them and transforming them, we are asleep.
When we go to sleep at night, the same thing happens. We have a lot of perceptions that happen to us in the internal worlds, but we are not cognizant of that. Those impressions flow into us and the mind reacts, we become identified with all our desires. That is why we dream about expressing our anger, feeding our lust, feeding our envy. Our dreams are a reflection of the contents of our mind.
If we die without learning how to transform those impressions, we will pass through these three bardos of death, reality, and rebirth in the same way. We will pass through the recitation of our life experience in the same way. Just as today when someone criticizes us and we feel pain in our heart and we feel anger, resentment, or shame or a blossoming of pride, the same thing will happen after death.
Judgment after death
If when after death we relive our life experience and the same reactions emerge in us and we become identified with it all again, it proves that we have not changed. The danger of this experience is that after the review our life’s experience, we are judged, but not by a judge who is sitting up on a throne to condemn us. We tend to think of judgment as a person of authority with a very cruel face sitting up on a high chair eager to send us to hell. That is not what judgment is. Judgment is simply an acknowledgment of the facts. Judgment is the exposure and examination of the facts. Your good intentions do not fit into the equation. What are judged are the actions of the soul.
We have all seen the ancient Egyptian illustrations of Anubis with his hand on the scale. On the scale are balanced two trays. On one is a feather and on the other a jar. That symbol is very deep. Facing Anubis is Ani, the soul, the disincarnated person who is there to face Anubis and have his soul weighed. Anubis does not do this out of cruelty; he does it out of love.
Many people have the impressions of Anubis as a tyrant god because he is the god of the dead. He is not a tyrant. Anubis is a Buddha of compassion, a great compassionate angel, a great master with enormous love for humanity. His job is to balance two columns, to keep the temple standing: severity and mercy. These two columns always have to be in balance with one another. He is the god of the scale, who balances the good versus the bad, the harm we did versus the good we did.
The other meaning there is that the feather is the mind and the jar is the heart. He checks the balance of our heart and mind. You see on that diagram I showed you, heart-mind is what goes into the internal worlds after death, not the personality and not the body, the heart and mind is what Anubis measures.
This judgment happens in the sixth dimension, which is a world of objectivity; there is no ego there, there is no partiality, there is no tyranny. There we find only objective, clear facts.
When the disincarnated soul has passed through the review of their life’s experience, the soul is brought into the courts of the law in the sixth dimension in the temple of Maat. Maat is an Egyptian word that means truth-justice.
If you are honest with yourself, you should be squirming in your seat right now, because what it means is that all the things that nobody else knows about you are laid out before the court: every detail, everything that no one as ever known is visible to the courts of the law, visible to you, visible to your Innermost, to your Divine Mother and to all the judges that sit in that divine court. All of your actions are weighed on the scale. Based on the result of that precise mathematical analysis of your karma (cause and effect), it is determined what will happen to you next.
“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” – Luke 12
The three possibilities after death
Have we earned entrance into the heavens to have a vacation? Do we have any initiations? Did we do any serious spiritual work on tourselves? Are we even aware of being in the court, of being dead? Or are we, the dead person, in such a bad situation karmically but with just enough good deeds and just enough will to change that we can be given one more body, one more chance to try and work on ourselves? Or third, is there no hope? Have we demonstrated absolutely no intention of changing and we are only getting worse, only making people suffer? Should we be sent into the lower realms to be purified? These are the three options of the court.
The only one who can answer what can happen after you die is you. It all comes down to what you have done with your time, done with your energy, done with your life. In this, there is no use for fantasies. There is no use for affirmations or believing that we are a good person so God will forgive us. God forgives every soul once the possibility of the crime has been removed from that soul. In other words, forgiveness is earned through action.
“I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.” – Luke 12
Those souls who earn a vacation enter into the heavens. Their experience there is determined by how much they earned. If someone did a lot of sacrifice for humanity, really helped people a lot—I am talking about on the level of Gandhi who sacrificed his entire life to help his fellow countrymen, and suffered a lot to help people. A soul like that can earn a vacation in nirvana; they can earn a break from suffering. That break is a break from their own ego. The ego still exists, the ego is still in hell, but the soul, the essence, the consciousness is taken out and given a vacation.
Those who walk and the Nirvanic, spiral path (shravakayanas, pratekabuddhas) can also earn some minor vacations, because they have spent time purifying themselves. They have not helped others that much, but they have eliminated some ego, and through that they earn small vacations.
Those are the only ways we can earn them; vacations in Nirvana (Heaven) are not just given out for free. Nothing is free. Everything is earned.
As I explained, those souls receive that experience in relation to what they have earned. It is not permanent liberation; it is temporary liberation, because the ego is still alive. The only souls that can enter into the heavenly realms, the nirvanic realms, and remain there, are those who have earned it. In other words, they have elevated their consciousness so that it belongs in that level. In other words, they are angels or buddhas. They may still have a percentage of ego, and because of that they will have to descend back in order to eliminate that ego, but the consciousness can stay at a certain level according to what they have earned, and only for a given period of time; eventually karma will pull them back.
Opposing that are those who did not earn a vacation at all—which, to be frank, is pretty much all of us, unless we have done some very serious work, and some very rigorous sacrifice for others. Unless we work on our ego and sacrifice for others, we cannot expect a vacation in heaven; our karma is too strong. We should expect hell, and do everything we can to avoid it, but do not assume that because you are “a Gnostic student” or belong to whatever religion that you are automatically getting a ticket to heaven; it is not going to happen, I promise you. Nothing is given for free. You can belong to any group you want; that does not give you anything internally. You can have all the religious books in your house, you can have a beautiful altar and to go to church, temple, or school every week. Good for you! But that does not prevent you from going to hell. Hell is related to the contents of your mind, the contents of your heart. Listen: in hell there are millions of souls who still go to church. They do not know they are dead, but they still read the scripture and pray and go to church. It is sad to see.
The infernal worlds
If we have to pay karma by processing through the infernal worlds (hell), then that will be our experience after death, but that does not last forever. This is a great misconception propagated by many religions nowadays: that heaven and hell are “forever.” They are not eternal. The places exist forever, but the souls do not stay there forever. It would make no sense to have to pay forever for a mistaken action. God is not a tyrant who wants people to suffer for eternity. God is a god of love. Christ is pure love. Hell was established by Christ as an act of love, to purify those souls who are not able to purify themselves.
Thus, a trip through hell will be an experience sustained as long as it is needed to clean the soul of its crimes. Do not think, “I didn’t do much that was bad, so I will only be there for a couple of days.” I wish it was like that, but it is not. We have had many bodies, many lifetimes. For all of us it is more than one hundred lives in humanoid bodies, and we have a lot of karma to answer for: a lot of pride, a lot of envy, a lot of anger, a lot of lust, and that has to be purified from our consciousness. So we will enter into those worlds and gradually descend from level to level into deeper and deeper and more and more intense applications of pressure and heat, which pulverize the defects that we have. It is not pleasant. If you have ever had a nightmare, you have tasted it. Hell is extremely unpleasant. Many people ask, “Are the souls conscious of being in hell, are they aware of the suffering?” and the question is absolutely yes. The worst suffering on Earth is still far easier than any suffering in hell. Believe me, you do not want to end up there.
The consciousness has to be freed from its bondage. If we do not free it on our own, nature will do it for us, but it is very painful.
The nature of the consciousness is to perceive, it is to be aware, that is its nature but we have trapped it in defects, in vices, so when that consciousness passes through hell, and hell is pulverizing those vices to free the soul, the soul is aware of that and suffers; it is painful, and it lasts as long as it takes to destroy those defects, hundreds of years, thousands of years.
Look into your own mind. What defects do you have and how hard are they, how deep, how strong? That will give you an indication of what you have to look forward to if you do not eliminate them now on your own. It is a very serious business.
Gradually, all the souls who enter into the hell realms are brought through that recycling machine of nature, and all of the forces of nature work the pulverize the defects until the end. Depending on the karma of that soul, it is projected out of hell clean and able to start again in a new cycle of evolution, in another age.
Remember also, that time is relative. The experience of time in hell is extremely slow. You will not have your ipod so you can pass the time. You won’t have a good book to read or a TV to watch. You will be revisiting and replaying the causes of your crimes, so you learn about the suffering they cause.
When all of our debts are paid, the soul is freed from that realm in order to begin a new cycle, having gained nothing but a lot of suffering.
Some people mistakenly believe that they can take the path through hell as a spiritual path. This is a very popular concept even if you haven’t heard of it now; it is very popular amongst many groups. In Kabbalah, Jewish groups, Buddhist Tantra and Hindu Tantra, this is a popular notion. You may not be introduced to it in the introductory levels of those schools, but as you start to awaken your consciousness negatively, they will start to reveal to you their intention, which is to indulge in the ego, to fatten the ego, to make it as heavy and dense as possible, in order to “propel themselves” through hell. Unfortunately, their logic is all backwards. They ignore karma: cause and effect. They think that by making a big fat ego that by means of its density they can project themselves out the other side more rapidly and acquire more knowledge, but they are ignoring that everything you do has a consequence. Every time they deepen an ego, they acquire consequences that must be paid, so actually their suffering is deepened, they are delaying their progress and just acquiring more and more debts. So, be aware of what you study and get involved with.
The different levels of nature
What you see on this chart are levels of nature. The heavens correspond to regions of light that we cannot perceive with our physical senses. The hells correspond to opposed regions of light that we cannot see with our physical senses. In other words, the heavens relate to ultraviolet levels of light, and the hells to infrared. Another thing to clarify to you is that these forms of light, these levels of existence, are not in some other place, they are right here, we just do not see them. Your consciousness can develop the ability to see them, if you awaken.
When a soul is disincarnated it enters into the fifth dimension, which is a region of light that is not physically perceptible but is clairvoyantly perceptible. In other words, the fifth dimension is here and now, we just do not see it. That is why, occasionally, due to atmospheric effects or energetic effects, you can sometimes see the dead. Usually when we see someone who is dead, it is the disincarnated personality, it is the old personality that has not yet decayed and is just wandering around.
I had an experience with this a few years ago. I was laying doing to sleep, doing my dream yoga practice, maintaining cognizance of myself. I then saw an old woman come in the room very angry, yelling, “What are you doing here.” She had a Polish accent. She said, “What are you doing here, you shouldn’t be here, get out!” I just looked at her calmly and said a little prayer and she dissolved. It was an old personality of a woman who used to live in that apartment who still has not been decayed by nature. It was not her soul, it was her personality.
So if you are falling asleep or you are having a drowsy state or there are atmospheric effects, that level of nature can become visible. Most of what people report as ghosts are just that: disincarnated personalities. Graveyards are filled with them.
Graveyards, cemeteries, and tombs are filled with decaying corpses, which are filthy and disgusting. Also there are disincarnated personalities who dissolve in proportion to the decay of the body, slowly, especially if the body has been filled with embalming fluid or other chemicals to preserve it. The body can be there for hundreds of years. That creates an obstacle for the persona that died. The matter and energy there creates an obstacle, a problem. It is compassionate to cremate as it frees the soul from those bonds.
Treatment of the body after death
It is a tradition in most western religions nowadays to bury the dead. This is a very unfortunate tradition as it harms the dead and it harms the living. The belief arose because of a misinterpretation of Jewish and Christian scripture, in which it is said that in a future age the messiah is going to come and raise the dead from their graves. People mistakenly took that literally and thought they had to prepare the physical body in a nice suit, ready to go to heaven. This is a misinterpretation. Unfortunately, it is the origin of many illnesses and sicknesses and a lot of black magic.
If you have a choice and you are serious in these types of studies, do not be buried, have your body cremated. Cremation annihilates and completely destroys all that physical matter, liberates all the energy from that matter, and quickly severs the connection to the personality so that the soul, the consciousness, becomes free of those attachments and those bonds that draw the dead back to earth, to the physical level. This is important.
If you are a member of Second Chamber, there are rituals that can be done after you die, but it is necessary that your body is present for the ritual if possible. So if you are someone who is in Second Chamber and wants to have that ritual done, you might want to include that in your will or any statement to your family, that you want your body to be present at a ritual for the good of your soul.
In some traditions like in Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism, the body is kept at a certain location for a certain period of time in order to allow rituals to be performed and also to allow the soul to gradually realize they are dead. It gives them an opportunity to come face to face with their corpse, and see it, and know they are dead. This can be helpful especially for someone who does not have a lot of training.
So in certain traditions the body can be kept on hand for three days or as much as forty days, and there are special techniques for keeping the body for that length of time. Generally, the forty days are for trained practitioners. That can help them move onto a new birth.
The dimensional experience after death
This diagram represents levels of light in nature. You probably already know that with our physical senses we only perceive a very narrow band of the light that is being radiated in space around us. We only see an extremely small range of light. All around us is a huge range of light, which is solar light, and it illuminates many other dimensions of nature that we do not see physically. In other words, the dead are all around us, but we do not see them. There are other races, other life forms all around us about which we have no knowledge.
When we die and are freed of the physical limitations, the consciousness is projected into the fifth dimension. In that dimension we see a much broader range of light. The fifth dimension is under the influence of a lunar energy, the energy of the moon. This level is called limbo; it is like an antechamber, a place from which we go to other places. In that region we find many many dead people, and they are not aware that they are dead. After we pass through the process of judgment where we relive our existence and we receive our path to go forward, we will experience either the higher or lower aspects of these ranges of light.
In his book The Book of the Dead, Samael Aun Weor explained the path of a disincarnated soul who earned an experience in nirvana. He explained in detail what the soul perceives as it gradually has its vacation descending up through these levels influenced by the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and finally Saturn. That type of vacation is a small mirror image, a reflection of the experiences that a soul passes though in the advanced stages of initiation or full awakening.
I am going to explain this clearly because I do not want you to misunderstand this: after you have died, if you have earned a vacation, you can have a brief experience of what it is like to be fully awake, fully enlightened: an experience in nirvana, but in levels. The soul can traverse trough the different planes, the different regions of the superior worlds. If that soul does not have training, if it doesn’t have cognizance of its self or religion, it could come back into the world and think that it is liberated, that it is a Buddha, when really it is not.
The same type of experience can be had in mediation, where people can earn a trip through these elevated regions and then come back and think, “I was in nirvana, I must be a great master.” This is a very naive mistake, but a common one, and there are many who claim to be the incarnation of such and such a person, a great master come back to earth and such and such and so on, when they are really not different from anyone else. They just have a fat ego of pride.
On the obverse side, those who have a trip through the infernal worlds also pass through regions influenced by the planets, but these are the infernal aspects. So, the dead travel in the regions of the Moon, in the regions of Mercury, in the regions of Venus, and these regions are well described by Dante in his book The Divine Comedy.
In each level, there are different psychological influences. Different aspects of the psyche become more readily apparent because they are under the influence of those planets. So if you study the Klipoth or the books or scriptures about hell, you will understand why the planets are related to those spheres and why the dead pass through them.
It is important that we grasp this polarity in nature: superior worlds and inferior worlds. They reflect each other. There is a Tree of Life in the heavens, and a Tree of Death in the hells. Where we go depends on the content of our mind.
I encourage you to train very rigorously in the first three bardos. Learn to never forget yourself. Be here and now at all times and in all things. Learn to be always watching what is happening in your inner state psychologically in your three brains, what is happening in the external event in the world around you, and what is the relationship between the two. Be constantly watching. It is not a matter of intellectually analyzing, “I see that is my intellectual brain.” The training is not that. Rather, it is to be constantly watching, never stopping: watching and watching and watching.
Then, after you have done that the whole day, at night retrospect that day. Continue your self-observation, but sit down or lie down, and let your body come to a complete rest. Review everything that you can remember of the day. Review it, just play it back. Do not go into any deep intellectual analysis. Just listen to your heart. Your heart will tell you, “I shouldn’t have done that, how could I have reacted that way, I felt pain there; why did I feel pain.” In the heart you ask these questions, not the intellect.
Then after that, when you are going to go to sleep, go deeper in that self-observation and self-remembrance, and let the body fall asleep, but do not forget yourself. This is the moment where you train to die.
We have many techniques where we work with dream yoga or astral projection, including the SOL technique I taught you. We also have the many mantras, many prayers, many visualizations we work with, many techniques like, for example, let the body become very drowsy and relax, and as soon as you realize you are about to fall asleep, you jump out of the bed in order to float in the dream world. These are very effective techniques, but you cannot do them when you are dying. At the moment of death, you may not have arms or legs, you may not have a body that can move at all. It is too late to train at that point. You will be facing the great moment, so you need your consciousness to be ready.
Every night when you fall asleep, fall asleep consciously. Let the body fall asleep, but remain aware of your consciousness. You probably won’t succeed immediately, so be prepared for that. It will probably to take you some training for days, months, years, but try it every single time you are going to go to sleep, including when for a nap. You can learn it. If you have a cat, they do it every time they have a nap; they are experts and they can teach you how to do it. You can do this, because it is part of your inner nature; it is the nature of any organism on this planet.
When your body is asleep, your consciousness goes into the fifth dimension, you just do not realize it, so learn to know it. That skill needs to be developed now when we have a life that is relatively free of suffering and affliction, when you can have a peaceful evening. Even if your life is chaotic and painful, you do sleep every night. So when you lie down to sleep, take advantage of having at least some degree of quietude and silence when you can really concentrate.
You need to remember something that is really important here. The ability to do this is more important than a couple of hours of sleep unconscious. A couple of hours of trying to do this is much more important than passing out like an animal without any cognizance. I have heard so many students say, “I cannot do this training because I have to sleep well for work or school the next day, I have too many things to do and I will wake up tired and miserable.” Ok, so you might lost some sleep, but you might have learned something, too. What if you started learning this technique? Would that be more valuable than those couple of hours of lost sleep? You have already slept how many hours out of your life? We have already slept years away. We can give up a little time here and there to learn these techniques.
If you are a very serious practitioner and you do not care if people make fun of you the next day at work because you look sleepy, then do not sleep at all. Do not allow yourself to fall asleep completely as a consciousness. Work with this technique throughout the night. You can, and many serious students do this; they let the body rest, but do not let their consciousness sleep. It just takes willpower. Most of us do not have the willpower. We love to fall asleep. If you have sufficient willpower and you lie down and seriously start working to fall asleep cognizantly, gradually with sustained effort you will figure it out; it is not hard. It takes relaxation and concentration, and the thing that will accelerate your progress in this the most rapidly is to remember yourself all day long.
I have heard some students say, “Is there some technique I can do before this technique that will give me a lot of energy and help me awaken in the internal worlds?” Yes: it is to remember yourself all day. That is the most powerful thing that you can do: sustain a continued observation of yourself. A little extra help can be to do some pranayama or do your transmutation practice with your spouse; that will also give energy to the consciousness, if you do it properly; it will energize the consciousness for these types of exercises. You can also use any of the mantras or exercises that are taught in the many books.
The important thing is fall asleep consciously. It is easier to go out of the body this way than any other way. The technique of SOL where you pull your finger or test matter is a kind of practice relying on accidents, because it depends on you just happening to remember every once in a while. You might not remember. But you fall asleep every day. Imagine if you could do that everyday consciously, then you could be going out of your body every night consciously. Then from there, you can learn to navigate from the fifth dimension consciously. Then when you die you are ready, especially if you have meditated and learned to access dhyana, real serenity.
This is what is needed if your death is painful or traumatic. The ability to go out of the body consciously is important, and we need that, but it is only a first step. What if your body is painful? What if your heart is in pain, your mind is in pain, if you have a lot of anguish and attachment? At the moment you die will you have sufficient concentration to go out of your body consciously? Probably not, because the mind will be so agitated and the body suffering so much.
The way you can do it then, is to be able to meditate deeply. In a state of dhyana, you can be in a body that is filled with suffering but not suffer. The consciousness can be in that body aware of the suffering, but not suffering, and that is the technique that you will need if you have a very painful death; the chances are many of us will.
So these are the very basic fundamental techniques to prepare for a good death. There are more advanced techniques, many of them, but those we have to work towards, and anyone who is very serious and learns these introductory techniques can go on and learn more, can go on and learn to do things that are really truly amazing, but it is useless for us to study them now. We cannot even maintain cognizance of ourselves for a few minutes at a time. Until we have continuity of consciousness, advanced techniques cannot help us.
Questions and answers
Audience: When you talk about when we die and we can do like practices for our body and soul. Can you do that, does it have to be done on people who have studied or people who have been preparing themselves for it or you can do it on family members, somebody who is in the family and you want there soul to be relieved of the physical body and (inaudible)… Can you apply that on them or do they also have to be prepared.
Instructor: There are rituals appropriate for every level of person. So it depends on the degree of training of the person, what they will be affected by or helped by. The technique I was mentioning specifically related with Second Chamber is for people who have had training; it would only benefit them. They have to have enough skill so that when they are dead, they know they are dead, then that ritual can help them. It is similar to many of the techniques in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, and also in Daoist practice; there are techniques for helping the dead. Yet if they do not know they are dead, the rituals are of little value.
For those who do not have training, there are also techniques that we can do, and some of them are detailed in the books of Samael Aun Weor. They are quite simple. Basically, they are to pray and to send a lot of positive energy to that person and to encourage them to go on, to be aware of themselves, to not be attached to the family, and let go of the material world.
That brings up an important point. When attending to the side of a person who is dying, it is absolutely essential that you provide a positive environment for that person. If there are relatives who are crying and sobbing, have them leave, because that kind of intense emotional energy can cultivate a lot of attachment in the person who is dying, and it can really interfere with their process of leaving. It is very important that the dying person is provided an environment of serenity, as best as we can give them, where they can accept that they are going to die, and look forward to it, and take advantage of it. Even without training, it is possible that this perspective can have an impact on their death.
In different traditions there are various tools that are used to help the dying. In Christianity there is a book called The Art of Dying that can help them; there are a lot of prayers that can help them. If someone is from a Buddhist background, there are sections of The Book of the Dead that are designed specifically for a person who has no training, and those sections are read aloud, along with prayers that are done to help them. So it depends on the tradition; there are many techniques.
Audience: How important is the death of the ego for preparing us to astral project consciously, and to prepare ourselves for the death of the physical body, and everything connected with it?
Instructor: The death of the ego is the most important factor in all of our spiritual work, and that cannot be emphasized enough. It should be our central, ultimate focus daily: to be working on the ego, precisely because of its karmic weight that keeps us suffering, but having said that, you cannot work on the ego if you are asleep. So, in order to get to a point where you can work effectively on the ego, you have to awaken consciousness, and that includes physically and in the other dimensions.
You need a practice that is well rounded, that has these different aspects, and that is why we analyze these first three bardos. All three of these—vigil, dream and meditation—are about awakening consciousness and getting the consciousness to be stable and serene, so that it can work on the ego without getting identified.
There is a danger for people who learn about this doctrine and the importance of working on the ego and they work very diligently on it, but they never awaken. So that work becomes the ego working against the ego, which will be fruitless, and you find that in many schools and traditions the students become fanatical. They are hurting themselves and they are hurting other people. They talk a lot about working on the ego, but in fact they are building it, because they do not have consciousness active, awake, aware, and able to serenely work on the ego without identification. These types of people remain the same as they were before. They are easily identified, reactive, passionate, emotional, intellectual, attached, but rarely serene. This happens in all traditions, but I especially addressing the Gnostic tradition. There is a lot of focus on working on defects on aggregates, sins, but your pride and your shame cannot eliminate your lust. Your Gnostic pride cannot eliminate your envy. So to work on the ego effectively, you need consciousness that is unmodified by ego. The same happens with the process of dying.
Someone may have built a big fat spiritual ego, and that ego can be awake, it can have perception. Remember that every ego has within it consciousness trapped. It is the consciousness that gives the ego its power, its energy. Consciousness is perception, it is clairvoyance, it is the power of astral travel, and if that consciousness is trapped in pride it can go into the astral plane. So there are many students who learn to awaken an ego or a set of egos and have experiences in meditation, in astral projection, going to different places in the lower realms, thinking it is heaven, thinking they are working on the ego, when they are really making it fat. You see, none of us thinks we are bad, nobody thinks they are doing wrong, nobody thinks they are doing evil, and as soon as they start having spiritual experiences they think, “I am succeeding, I’m doing it the right way and everybody else is doing it wrong” and that is what you hear everywhere, “I am right, you are wrong.” That is pride.
Among different groups, they all say, “We have the only true method and everybody else is mistaken,” and “Everybody else is going to hell but us.” That is pride.
So it is really important to learn to awaken free of any ego. To know the taste of that is not an easy thing. The ego is extremely subtle, and extremely clever. That is why I constantly recommend that constant inner awareness, questioning what you experience both inside and outside, always doubting, “Am I really experiencing that? Who is experiencing that? Am I building pride because of these experiences? Am I building envy?” We always have to be questioning and doubting ourselves, and that is one way of staying aware of the ego.
Audience: Maybe it is a play on words but when we talk about; subject, object, location. Then in The Revolution of the Dialectic I guess in the fallacy of the ego he talks about how we shouldn’t separate ourselves from subject object, perceiver, perceived and all that. Is this a play on words, what is it really?
Instructor: It is difficult to understand because the intellect gets in the way with the terminology. It is very hard to resolve what appears to be a contradiction. The answer to that comes out of practice. What I would suggest to you is to not avoid the contradiction; allow it to be contradictory, and work with it, and what emerges out of practice in my experience is that you start to see that there is not a contradiction at all; it is a matter of perspective. It is just a perspective; it is how you see things, that is what makes the difference.
So in certain books, in The Revolution of the Dialectic, The Great Rebellion and Revolutionary Psychology, Samael Aun Weor explains that it is necessary to separate between states and events, observer and observed, etc. which sounds like a division, and he calls it a division of attention in those three books, and as you mention, in The Revolution of the Dialectic he also says “don’t separate” and it sounds contradictory. I remember I mentioned in a previous lecture a few months ago that he also said in two different places “You are not the I, you are not the ego” but then in another book he says “Never say you are not the ego.” These are contradictory instructions! How do we understand that? We have to go deep into the meaning. The advice I would give you is this: work intensely on the cognizance of everything. In the full cognizance of everything, there is no separation, but in order to learn that, you have to separate. It is a way of training consciousness to become aware of observer and observed, and once you have established that awareness, the differences between them vanishes, because there is no real difference. But you first have to establish the awareness of it.
Audience: Is it possible to do work on the consciousness while in the heavenly realm, and if not, then it seems that those heavenly vacations are a bit of a waste. Will you be expending new karma just to receive some pleasurable perceptions but cannot utilize this in any way for a spiritual passage? And if you can make progress in those realms why would masters ever want to fall? A more relevant questions for our current situation might be can we …..
Instructor: It is very important that at some point—in our practice either during or physical life or if we didn’t have it then after death—we experience what it is like in the superior worlds. It is extremely important that we have that experience. This is one of the reasons why we emphasize mediation and astral travel so much.
The reason for that is when we say “work on ourselves” we need to understand what that means. When we talk about it physically, we are generally talking about working on the ego and eliminating the ego, and generally we want to work on the ego because we want to stop suffering, we are tired of being in pain, we are tired of having karma, we are tired of having no influence or control over our lives. So that is usually why we want to work on the ego, and we also have that longing to know God, and to know what is real about spirituality and heaven.
The honest truth is: you can never comprehend what an ego truly is until you understand what we should be. What that means is this, if you are experiencing lust, that is a certain type of light that has been modified by desire and become lust, but when the modification of that light has been eliminated—either through hell or through cognizant work on ourselves—that light is revealed to be chastity, which is very pure and very beautiful. You cannot understand lust until you understand chastity.
Likewise, if you are trying to work on pride, if you are trying to work on envy, you cannot really understand those defects until you really understand that pride is modified humility, it is humility that became an ego, an I. When the I is removed, humility is revealed as the light, which is beautiful, and envy is revealed to be happiness for others.
In some schools there is an intense focus on ego, and they talk a lot about the ego and working on the ego, and this is good, but it cannot succeed unless you also understand the virtue (what you should have done instead of what you did).
So, the experiences a person can have in the superior worlds show the true nature of consciousness in those levels, as opposed to hell, and you need that experience. Why?
We only know the cage we are in. We think this is happiness. We think that getting a new car or getting a diploma or getting a house or paying off the mortgage is happiness. That has northing to do with real happiness. Genuine happiness has to do with how the soul vibrates when it is free of ego, and that is a vibration in the superior worlds. Those experiences teach you a lot; whether you have them during life or after death, they teach you a lot, they teach you lot about suffering and how bad suffering really is.
When we are working on the ego we need to understand its opposite. If we do not, we will never want to abandon the ego.
We are so accustomed to the ego that we cannot imagine not having it—especially lust, This is the biggest obstacle people have with this teaching: they do not understand that lust is the inferior aspect of the sexual energy. Chastity is what it should be, and chastity (free, unmodified sexual energy) is far superior to lust in every way. People think that through lust they get satisfaction and they get happiness, but they are wrong. Through lust only comes discontentment and an increase of desire, which in turn is the basic cause of suffering.
“And what, O brethren, is the origin of suffering? It is lust, passion, and the thirst for existence that yearns for pleasure everywhere, leading to a continual rebirth. It is sensuality, desire, selfishness; all these things, O brethren, are the origin of suffering.
“And what is the annihilation of suffering? The radical and total annihilation of this thirst and the abandonment, the liberation, the deliverance from passion, that, O brethren, is the annihilation of suffering.” – Buddha Shakyamuni
Through chastity comes true contentment, happiness, and love. You see, lust is animal sexuality, while chastity is divine sexuality. Chastity is not an absence of sexuality, it is divine, the ultimate for of sexuality, and when pure, has no ego, no lust, no pride, no anger, no envy, no resentment, no fighting, no jealousy, no fear, no doubt about the spouse but love and contentment: perfect.
This is true for every ego. Inside every ego is the trapped consciousness. When freed, the consciousness shines with perfection.
We only think pride can make us happy because we only know pride, and we do not realize how much suffering pride creates. When we have our meditation practice focused on pride, we need to also be studying, “What is humility?” Only when you see that humility is better will you truly renounce pride. If you never see that humility is better, you will never renounce the defect pride.
This is an obstacle that many students get caught in relative to whichever egos trap them. They may think they are working on their ego a lot, but do not really believe in it, because they have never experienced anything other than their ego. This can be a cause for a lack of enthusiasm in the work. If you suffer a lack of enthusiasm, focus on understanding the free consciousness, in a variety of psychological scenarios.
For this reason, experiences in the superior worlds are important. Such experiences show us what we can and should experience normally, not just occasionally. If we did not have ego, we would be a heavenly humanity, knowing the Divine continually.
This is why people who are new in this tradition are sometimes given beautiful spiritual experiences. You will hear of many beginners who arrive here in this teaching and start having experiences with angels, Buddha’s, and masters, and they become inspired because that is the Being showing them that we can have something more than just pornography, money, and suffering. There is something more available to us, if we earn it.
The second part of that question was: why do masters fall? If we can work on ourselves on those superior levels, why do they fall? They fall because they fall victim to desire just like anyone, but more subtle forms of desire. The truth is that whatever world we are in, wherever we are, we can work on ourselves, because the work is about the consciousness developing itself, knowing itself. Whether we are in hell, the physical world, or in heaven, our focus should be on learning about the true nature of the consciousness. That true nature is the Absolute. It is not an I, a superior I, or a being. That is not its true nature. In any place and time, we can turn our inquiry into that nature, and learn about it. There is never validity to the excuse, “I cannot work on myself.” That is a lie. In every moment of every day and night, you can work and learn, just by inquiring back to where that attention is coming from. Where is your attention coming from?
Audience: If we find ourselves in hell, is there anything that we can do there, or is there nothing we can do but go through the purification?
Instructor: The answer depends on whether you are already dead or not. The reality is that we are in hell already, we just have not realized it. This physical world is sinking into hell. Hell is defined by a complication of energy where the laws become more and more complicated, in order to reduce matter down to its simplest forms. That is what hell does; it applies more and more laws to break down matter and energy. That is happening all around us. The proof of it is to visit any big city and see how complicated suffering is becoming, how difficult. It is the sinking of matter and energy into deeper and deeper laws to start the process of purification. We can also see nature reflecting that change. Nature is starting to implement that process of breaking things down, and if you do not believe me, just watch the news. It has been happening and building for a century, and it is going to continue strengthening.
If you awaken consciousness in hell, good, become aware of it. Learn about it, try and find out why you are where you are. If you are there, it is because you belong there, so what brought you there? Change that. If you still have a physical body, then take advantage of that experience so that you do not have to go back there when you lose the physical body.
I would suggest you pray to your Divine Mother and ask her to teach you why you are there and how to change it. If you awaken consciousness in hell after you have lost your physical body, you can do the same thing, but it is going to be very difficult for you; you are going to have to make some serious negations to change your situation. It won’t be easy, nut it can be done; the door to repentance is always open.
On that note, I should mention something: I explained today about what happens after death when we review our life experience and appear in the courts. In that there is an opportunity to make a negotiation. You can negotiate your path, but not if you are unaware that you are there. If you are not aware of being in that court when you are dead, how can you negotiate? You need to be awake. So if you awaken consciousness and die and you are awake when your case is presented to the court, you can make an appeal. They have lawyers in that court—it sounds weird, but there are beings who will intercede on your behalf, and who will help you make deals and arrangements so that you can continue working on yourself in a new physical body, with the circumstances necessary to do so, but you will have to pay for it; everything costs something. If you are willing to make that kind of exchange, it can be done. You can even make that arrangement now, but to do it you need cognizance, you need to be awake.
Audience: Even if you are on your one hundred and eighth life, is this a cut of time for reincarnation, how does this relate to this lecture?
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor told all of us that humanity moves in waves, and when the souls, the essences, turn to humanoid bodies, they are given a limited window or time span in which to escape mechanical nature and enter into conscious evolution—in other words to start moving upwards into the superior worlds. That does not happen mechanically or come as a present from God, we have to earn it; we have to become real human beings. Nature is a system of laws, and one of those laws is that or time in between heaven and hell in a physical humanoid body is limited to one hundred and eight existences. That number of one hundred and eight is deeply symbolic, but it also has a literal meaning. So it may be that we are on our one hundred and eighth life, and since humanity moves in waves, we are all on our last lives, which means that if we do not in this life gain a foothold in the superior worlds, our opportunity to take a new physical body is lost and we will start descending into the inferior worlds.
Now, naturally, this is subject to karma: cause and effect. Naturally, there are souls who are really bad who do not receive one hundred and eight lives, and there are a few souls who are really good and earn a few more lives in order to keep working on themselves. So, we have to define ourselves, which is done through our actions. If we have done a lot of good for humanity, really helped humanity in a really significant way, then we can earn an extra life, but that phrase “very significant” needs to be understood. You will not gain that chance just by attending a school, wearing the right spiritual clothing, you will not even gain it by giving five or ten dollars a week to a spiritual group. You need to make a “significant contribution” to the needs of humanity, and that can come in any number of forms. I mentioned Gandhi earlier, who made a significant contribution to the well being of millions of people. It was not directly a spiritual act that he did, but it improved the livelihood of many millions of people. Thereafter, he received the benefit of that action. So, if you want to earn extra existences, you have to question yourself, “What can I do, how can I give of myself to others in a significant way according to my skills and talents? What can I do to help others?” That is what you have to ask. If you can learn to do everything for the benefit of others, and dedicate everything you do for others rather than for yourself, you will make progress.
I have told you before in other lectures that I know for a fact that I am on my last life. I know it. I do not care if anybody does not believe me. I have had too many experiences regarding it, so I know it is true. That is part of why I am doing what I can do to help others and in turn help myself. I do not have much to offer and have little skill, but I do as much as I can. The same has to be true of anyone else who wants another opportunity to work on themselves. I do not have the audacity or the arrogance to assume that I am going to succeed in this lifetime. I seriously doubt it. I am too weak. I am too lazy. Thus, it is likely that I need another life. So, I am working hard to try and earn that.
This is the entire focus of Tibetan Buddhism. Students of Buddhism learn to focus not on this life, but on the next one. They say, “Give up on this life.” This means that this life is already pretty much decided; there is not much about it you can change. Instead, they say, focus on doing as much good as you can, so that in your next life you can be born in much better circumstances. The next life is not set in stone yet. You might get one, you might not, it is not decided yet, it depends on what you do now. Your current life has limitations; at least you have the chance to practice spirituality, to practice Gnosis; that is a huge benefit, and if you take advantage of that, and really use it well, you can earn an even better opportunity in your next life.
Now that brings up an important memory; there is something coming into my mind about this. There are many prophesies and predictions about the end of this era, and I hinted at that a moment ago when I said nature is starting to consume things. It is true that most humanoids are on their one hundred and eighth lives and that most of the human beings that are dying now will not come back into new humanoid bodies; this is true. It is also true that this race is nearing its end, and over the next number of years it will be completely wiped from this planet. This is also true. No one knows the date and the hour, but it will happen.
That raises the question: if everything is going to end, why would I want to come back into a new body? The answer is that you do not have to come back here. To me, that is really enticing. I do not want to come back here. There are billions of planets—billions—where you can continue to work; we just do not know about them. There are also other levels of existence, other dimensions, where you can continue working. Samael Aun Weor mentioned this in his lecture The Mysteries of Life and Death. He said that if you earn it, you can take a new body in another world, in another place that will help you to keep working on yourself. So, do not feel scared and afraid about what is happening on this planet; we need to be concerned, we need to be aware of it, but we do not have to be limited by it. We need to take it as an inspiration to do better and to earn a better chance, to keep having our eye up toward the heavens.
Audience: So once you reach one hundred and eight and you die and you have no other body to be incarnated into, whatever state you are in at that point is permanent.
Instructor: No, not permanent; nothing is permanent. Whatever state you are in at that point just determines what happens with your evolution next, and you will go along according to the karmic current that you have established. So if that karmic current is weighed down by a lot of karma, you will be recycled by nature so you can be purified, but if that karmic current is more projected upwards because of good deeds, then you can earn another chance to try and ascend that current. Nothing is permanent. Everything is affected by what we do.
If you are in heaven and begin to commit crimes, you will hall into hell. If you are in hell and begin to purify yourself and do good, you will rise out of hell. Action determines our future.
Audience: So if you are going through the purification process would you incarnate into another body?
Instructor: The process of being recycled by nature is very complicated and painful because of how complicated and painful our mind is. Nature works in dimensions. To try and explain this briefly, we know that the physical world is between the heavens and the hells, and everything physical has a psychological aspect, because all the dimensions are interpenetrating. Right now, we have these physical bodies which are the vessel or representative of the ego and also of the consciousness. Everything that we are as a person both positive and negative is represented in the physical body. When that physical body dies, all that energy of the psyche has to be handled by nature, both good parts and the bad parts. The bad parts will be recycled in hell, and in some cases there are physical components that help to transmit that energy and manage the process of devolution, and generally they are in the bodies of animals: monkeys, pigs, dogs, rats. This is all explained in Hell, the Devil, and Karma.
I will give you my personal opinion. Please take this with a grain of salt, maybe a jar of salt. I have not confirmed this through any experience in the inner worlds, so please be aware of that; do not spread this around like it is the truth. It is my opinion, based on my perception thus far, that the way this humanity is processing animals for food—chicken, pigs, cows—is related to the process of hell. All of the animals that are being tortured through our food processing has some direct correlation to the karma of humanity and to how the consciousness is being processed through nature. It would not surprise me at all if those animal bodies are vehicles through which the egos are flowing as they get dissolved by hell, because whatever is in that animal is suffering a lot. It would not surprise me if in those suffering animals were our egos of pride and vanity and fear and envy; it is horrible, but according to the teachings, it would make sense. On other words, what is suffering in those animals are our egos. When we die, parts of ourselves will suffer in those bodies. Those animal bodies are the physical aspect of the purification that is happening in the other dimensions. This understanding has arisen as I have attempted to understand how the suffering of so many animals can exist on this planet, because it is a horrifying situation. If you have ever seen inside a meat plant or where they are raising these animals, it is utterly reprehensible, it should not be allowed, but it is happening, and it has been happening for decades, and it is getting worse. Why? There must be a reason in nature and in our karma for that to be happening, and to me, the two point to each other.
Audience: What about the animals that are well fed and they have things that are pretty?
Instructor: The point is that everything in nature has a function, nothing is accidental. Every animal, every physical body, is processing energy in some way, and we are seeing a lot of suffering on this planet, not just for the humanoids, but also in the animals, and there is a reason for that. I am just trying to put together two plus two. To me, they seem to relate.
Audience: You said a dog is a devolving animal, and cats. I know we use cats for for meditation purposes, and to be protective when you are going into the astral. So the cat is a more evolving animal.
Instructor: Firstly, we should not confuse the evolution of the bodies with the evolution of the souls in those bodies. The bodies of cats may be on an evolving trend, but that does not mean that the sous in those bodies are. Look for example at our bodies: clearly, humanoid bodies are changing, evolving over time. But the souls in those bodies can choose whether to improve or devolve.
For this reason, I do not believe we can say definitively that all cats are are evolving and all dogs are devolving. Nature is the Divine Mother, and she has an intelligence and power that we cannot comprehend. I think that in general, according to what the master Samael taught us, cats are evolving, but I think there are exceptions. Some cats are clearly suffering, and psychologically imbalanced.
Furthermore, I believe that it is possible for the Divine Mother to put an ego of a person in a cat so that ego can be processed through nature. Likewise with dogs; the consciousness of some dogs are evolving, and some dogs are devolving; it depends.
Nature is beautiful and complicated, and my puny little intellect cannot really grasp all of that. So, I think we have to speak in generalities, rather than absolutes.