This is a transcription of an audio lecture you can download for free:

. It has been edited and enhanced for additional clarity by the original author. There is also an accompanying pdf:  Machinery of the Soul 08 The Elements of Ordeals PDF .

In the last few lectures we have given we spoke about the Path of Initiation, the Path of Liberation, the Path of Self-Realization. There are different ways we can name the path. The Path we are talking about begins right here, in our own present state of mind.

The Path doesn’t begin because we read a book or because we listen to a lecture. It begins when we make the choice to start turning our attention, our Consciousness, within, towards our own state of mind.  It begins right here, right now, in a very practical sense.  It doesn’t begin in a far off mystical place.

mots 08 top Denis van Alsloot and Hendrick de Clerck Paradise with the Four Elements

That being said, the Path goes all the way to the very end point of existence and crosses that threshold of existence itself. The traversers of the Path transcend even this mode of being called ‘existence’.  We can go into what is called the Abstract Space.  We, on this Path, are developing all the capacities and potentialities of our own Being, of our own Consciousness, so that we become cognizant of our own nature. 

At the very end point of the Path, there exists types of Beings entering into The Absolute, and they possess complete cognizance of their entire Being, so they have the right to enter into the Absolute.  That type of Being has to work very hard and sacrifice itself for many humanities, for Cosmic Days, in order to enter into that Absolute.

In order to reach that point, that Being has to go through progressive levels of Ascension and in order to reach that, they have to Resurrect in all the parts of their Being.  This is a teaching we read about in the Bible, the Resurrection of Christ, so it is not something that just happened in the past, it is something that happens within us.

In order to reach Resurrection you have to complete the whole development of becoming a Human Being.  In order to become a Human Being we have to go through the process of Initiation of what we call the Major Mysteries, principally the Five Initiations of Major Mysteries.

Before we can get to that stage we have to complete the Minor Mysteries, and before we go there we have to complete some other probationary types of ordeals.  Some of those have to do with the Ordeals of the elements.  But before we even talk about the ordeals of the elements there is something called The Guardian of the Threshold. 

The Guardian of the Threshold is an ornate name, or a technical term, for what is really just the ego.  Our ego is our own personal devil, Satan, but we don’t view ourselves as Satan very often. We may not like that idea.  Really the truth about what Satan is, it is our own self, but it is that self that doesn’t recognize its own nature.  It is that self which is deluded, it is polluted, and it doesn’t recognize that essential Being that emanated from The Absolute.

We have talked about how we emerge as an innocent elemental type of Consciousness and we go through a large process in order to reach this current state of being in a physical body right now.  We have a physical body which has all these beautiful, wonderful capabilities and capacities, but if you look at society we are making a lot of mess, making a lot of problems in the world.  When someone really begins to look within themselves and they start to reflect, and they want to know what their own real nature is, this is a person who is looking, whether consciously or not, really looking for the Path of Self-Realization, the Path of Liberation.

The very first thing we need to understand is that we need to not be afraid of our own mind, to not be afraid of our impulses, of our own emotions, of the mental afflictions and apparitions.  Apparitions which come up in our mind, our own nightmares.  Often the nightmares that we have are a reflection of our own inner monsters, and we have to learn how to recognize those reflections of ourselves even though it looks monstrous.  Actually within that is our own Nature but instead of recognizing our own self, we run away from it. 

We have to begin to understand the difference between the Being, and the sense of self that we have now in a very unexamined, naïve sense - this self that we seem to carry around that has just arrived through some accident or some mechanical means. We think we know who we are but actually we do not.  We need to begin to inquire, because one thing is the ego and another thing is the Being. If we don’t have a sense of that, then we are afraid of our own annihilation.  We are afraid that we could be annihilated, that we could cease to exist in some fundamental form.

Due to ignorance, we are afraid, and from that we want to protect ourselves, we want to feel secure, and from that, we can say, we end up creating a lot more problems in our lives.  We feel the need to defend ourselves or we feel hurt by others.

That which feels hurt is not the Being.  That which feels hurt is not the Consciousness.  That which needs to defend itself, that needs to assert itself, that needs to make itself known or needs to hide from something, is not the Consciousness.  It is not the Being.  It is not our true, fundamental nature, but we forget that from moment-to-moment.

We forget, or, we don’t recognize, our own qualities of Consciousness in the marketplace of the world.  All of those impressions that arrive, we forget ourselves, and because we forget our own real nature we end up fighting for things, or being afraid of things which have no true, intrinsic basis.  And if you spend a lot of time on something that does not have a true nature or a true basis, you end up suffering more. 

In the Major Mysteries, Samael Aun Weor writes about the Being and the Guardian of the Threshold:

The Being is pure, yet the human “I” is a horrible larva. The Being is transparent like crystal, yet the human “I” is monstrous like Satan. The Being is never offended by anything, yet the human “I” is offended by everything. The Being is indifferent before pleasure and suffering, before praise and insult, before victory and defeat, yet the human “I” is offended by everything; it suffers and cries, enjoys and seeks pleasures.

The human “I” always seeks for security, yet the Being is never afraid, and this is why he never seeks for securities. The human “I” is afraid of life, afraid of death, afraid of hunger, afraid of misery, etc. The “I” of humans exploit each other because of fear. They go to war because of fear. They steal and accumulate because of fear. They kill because of fear. They arm themselves because of fear.

The Being is beyond desire, beyond attachment, beyond yearning and fears, beyond death and the intellect, beyond human will, beyond intelligence. The Being is the Tree of Life.

Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries

What the Being is, is difficult to describe using any words or concepts, because it defies all of them, but we try, we try to have good concepts and clear concepts to point us in the right direction. 

People come into these studies for a diverse number of reasons, one of them being that they just want to stop suffering so much.  The primary impulse to start searching for something more is very simple, it is very humble and noble to want to stop suffering so much.  Sometimes what people are looking for, or what seems to be more attractive, is to find some type of doctrine that puffs us up, that makes us feel good, that gives a very inspirational message.  In and of itself, an inspirational message is fine, but if there is no content behind it, or if it is based upon something that is not real, then it always falls apart in the end.

We should be inspired to work, but we need to question our own state of mind. Sometimes we get deluded, we start going after things like wanting some type of experience, wanting to get outside of the physical body, or have a beautiful Samadhi type of experience, right?  All that is good too, and even at times necessary, but the reason to walk on the Path is to discover your own real nature.  This is the superior reason to have in these studies, because you discover that nature, in some sense, is no different to anyone else’s, and this is how we begin to really be able to help others and how we subsequently begin to help ourselves.

However, there comes a point when someone really wants to enter onto the Path, they must look directly at their own inner monster that they have created.  It is easier, maybe, to think that you want to do it, or that you can do it, but sometimes it is very frightening in reality.  If we are serious about the Path, we should pray to our Inner Being to help us, to guide us towards a superior type of Consciousness, to a superior Level of Being and to give us the ordeals – to “show me the ordeals, to give them to me” – and sometimes you will have an experience in the internal worlds, in the superior worlds, and you might have some of these types of ordeals given to you. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

The Guardian of the Threshold

We have to face our own ego.  We have to overcome what is called The Ordeal of the Guardian of the Threshold.  The Guardian of the Threshold is called as such because it guards the threshold of mystery, the threshold of what is not our self.  What is ‘not our self’ is something beyond our self.  We have the idea that we want to take our self into Heaven, but our self is the very weight, the heaviness, the pollution which is preventing our real nature from going into that space, into Heaven or Nirvana, or whatever you want to call it. 

We have to find a ground within ourselves and not be afraid to face ourselves, to look into our self through Meditation, through any little choice in life.  When you are talking to someone and someone brings up something uncomfortable, and you have an instinct to hide from something based on fear, this means you are not ready to face your self. Uou are not ready to face what is coming up within your self.  You are hiding from someone else, or some situation or some scenario, thinking that it is the external thing you want to get away from, but it is actually what that external thing will bring up inside of ourselves that is being avoided.  Because, it will rise up inside of ourselves and we will have a nervousness or a fear.  You might be afraid of becoming too angry, becoming too anxious, etc. etc.

We really do need to know how to walk with balance.  It does not mean we have to walk into situations we are not prepared for, and it doesn’t mean that we don’t know how to skillfully traverse the world.  We don’t need to be an open book to everyone (showing everyone every little emotion), but to retract out of fear afraid is another thing.  To know how to deal with someone because they are in a certain mood, to be skillful with that person is one thing, but to cower or avoid something based on fear, based on a mechanical impulse, is something else.  We need to delineate and know what is what. Avoiding situations based on fear, based on not being able to handle such situations, indicates that we are unable to face our mind in all situations in life. Thus, such a person is unable to progress even on the probationary level of the Path.

We must face the Guardian of the Threshold. There are actually three levels of that related to (1) our passions or desires and (2) of the group mind and group thinking on the Mental Plane because we have this mind that is connected to wanting to be in a herd, in a group.  We need to know how to begin to think individually, not necessarily egotistically, but to know how to use our mind.  Then finally, (3) related to the world of the Will, to have a true will to want to do the work.

Those ordeals occur in relationship to experiences within the internal worlds, although sometimes we may not always remember exactly what has occurred.  If we are able to pass through those ordeals with a lot of sincerity and love, a lot of serene qualities, then we will progress forward into what are called The Four Ordeals, and that is the main topic of this lecture.

We have a lot of different qualities of our own Being.  We have a lot of qualities of the Soul and if you look into any tradition, any religion, particularly the mystical side of any religion, you will find a lot of talk about the elements.  We could talk ad nauseum about how these elements are related to certain alchemical procedures and psychological things, how they are related to Buddhism or how they are related to Christianity, the alchemical mysteries, etc. etc., and this is because we have these elements within ourselves.

To say that we have four elements is a reduction, really it is just four principal types of elements or qualities that we have.  You see the number four is again a number that is everywhere.  Even the name of God, the four lettered name of God, the Tetragrammaton, is related to those four elements.

In Tarot & Kabbalah, Samael Aun Weor writes:

In the solitude of these mysterious sanctuaries, the neophytes were submitted to the four Initiatic ordeals. The ordeals of fire, air, water and earth always defined the diverse purifications of the neophytes. The neophytes are submitted to the four Initiatic ordeals which are verified in the Internal Worlds. The human being still is not a king or queen of nature, but the human being is called to be a king in accordance to Melchizedeck. Disciples must be tested by the four elements in order to examine them. They are submitted to ordeals in the forty-nine regions of thought. These ordeals are for everyone, man and woman. One can help oneself by having pure thoughts, but this is not enough; Meditation is necessary.

- Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah

These ordeals are related to the internal worlds, certain types of experiences, but they are also related with our physical circumstances. There is an interplay here.  Things manifest even physically in relationship to these Four Ordeals.

We like to say that anything that is transpiring in the internal worlds has some relationship to our physical, external world. Things that are happening also in the external world, therefore, have some relationship with what is happening in the internal worlds.  Sometimes it is not so obvious what that is, but we should understand that there is a relationship there.  We might have some sort of scenario in our physical life that is providing some difficulty, and then we have a dream or an experience in the internal worlds that relates to that, and in those experiences we might have a certain element such as these four elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth.  There is a certain type of element related to that inner experience and sometimes those inner experiences give us some information, an understanding of how we are mismanaging, how we might be failing, or how we might be triumphing over some physical relationship, some physical ordeal.

Ordeal of Fire

So the First Ordeal that arrives it is called the Ordeal of Fire.  In The Perfect Matrimony it is written:

The candidate is exposed to this ordeal in order to examine his serenity and sweetness. The wrathful and choleric inevitably fail this ordeal. The candidate experiences being persecuted, insulted, wronged etc. Many are they who react violently and return to the physical body having failed completely. However, the victorious ones are received in the Children’s Chamber and are welcomed with delightful music, the music of the spheres. The flames horrify the weak.”

Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

This element of Fire is related to what, we can say, is the temperature of the Soul.

Fire Alchemik Sedziwoj Matejko

This is a sort of nomenclature related to having a heated argument, to being in a boiling rage, to having a lot of Fire. It is related very much to our blood and the way our heart pumps.  If we are getting very angry, our blood pressure goes up, because there is a lot of Fire, there is a lot of energy, and people feel sometimes empowered through anger and through yelling.

Sometimes people say, “I can’t get anything done unless I yell at my family member or so and so, at my co-workers, then we can get things done.” Why? We feel that power, that force coming out and it seems like people respond to it.  People do respond to it, but of course, that type of thinking is short sighted.  The need to yell to get a situation completed means there is something missing there, obviously, in that dynamic because serenity and sweetness, kindness and love, is a thousand times more powerful than yelling and being angry.

When we tend to get fired up, we tend to sort of lock on to something and then we have this, what we can call, “a clarity”.  When it is anger - or any type of attachment - it is “a clarity” in that we know we have this mental or emotional force moving through us.

For instance, with anger it is clear that we are, in fact, angry with that person.  It is not good, it is not a positive thing, but it is clear that we have anger towards them.  Of course, we can sort of go through machinations in our mind and argue that we are not really angry at a person, that we really care about them, we really love them, etc. etc. or some other situation, but that is like another layer of mechanicity.  If we are honest with ourselves, in that moment of anger there was hatred.  In that moment, it was clear – and if it was not clear to us, it was clear to everyone else – that we have that, we have that force.  So, there is this sort of “clarity” element. 

Now if we look at the opposite of anger we also see “a clarity” element which is that serenity, that sweetness.  When you see a situation coming in front of you, when that person has that serenity, you can see they are clear.  Their thoughts are clear, they know how to traverse that situation very skillfully, very well.  There is this clarity that comes with Fire.  If we don’t know how to deal with that then we boil over in rage, and we cause a lot of pain for ourselves and others.  We destroy things.  We destroy our state of mind and we destroy other people’s state of mind. We create suffering.

If we don’t recognize that the impulse of anger is not one’s true Being, is not one’s state of pristine Consciousness, if we don’t recognize it, then we go into that anger.  Because the impulse for anger seems to already be there, it seems like it just arrives spontaneously and out of nowhere.

At any particular moment, we are not trying to be angry, but it may arrive anyway.

We are saying anger because it is easier to talk about. Actually, there is anger related to all our attachments. Anything that we want to attach ourselves to or avert ourselves from, we define our self in relationship to that. Then when that relationship is not what we want it to be, we become angry about that relationship.  We want something, or we don’t want something to be in a certain way - that is the attachment or aversion - and then when that is not manifesting in our world we become angry because that relationship is not so.  This is how anger and hatred is related to attachment and aversion. 

What becomes clear in that moment is that we have frustration, and we don’t want that frustration, so we become angry.  We externalize it and hate others, or we could internalize it and hate ourselves, or hate our own situation and become defeatist.  However, if we know how to transform that element, then what becomes clear is our real state of mind – that we have an attachment - that is what becomes clear, and then instead of placing our destructive force into the world, we can destroy our attachment instead.

This is what Fire is about. Are you able to handle that power? It is an element that is so easy to use against others and against the world.  We must know how to handle it, and then that Fire becomes very clear and focused. Then we have great serenity. Powerful serenity. Love.

With this type of experience in the internal world, you can have an experience where you are approached by a group of people. Perhaps you don’t even know who these people are, but they start slandering you.  They start talking against you.  They back you into a corner and they might make fun of you.  They might humiliate you, in your dream, and how will you respond to that?  It is very easy to say “Oh! I’ll be humble, I’ll be meek” but in that experience, especially in a dream, there is less ability to hide from our impulsive nature.  In the physical world we would just think about being angry, but we prevent ourselves from externalizing it.  In the internal worlds you have already done it, because what you thought here (physically) was in the internal worlds already, you just didn’t bring it into the physical world.  But if you have those thoughts here physically, well then in the internal worlds you would be failing those tests.

Ordeal of Air

The Ordeal of Air is the next ordeal.  Samael Aun Weor writes that:

Those who despair because they lose something or someone, those who fear poverty, those who are not willing to lose what they love the most, fail in the ordeal of air. The candidate is thrown into the depths of a precipice. The weak ones cry out and return terrified to the physical body. However, the victorious ones are received in the Children’s Chamber with festivities and greetings.

Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

We write on this slide that Air is the mobility of the Soul.  Our attachments are tested, and there is a real temptation in this type of ordeal to catastrophize.

mots 08 air icarus

The word “catastrophize” means to make a catastrophe out of something that really isn’t.  To blow things out of proportion. When some little thing happens, it often feels as if the ground is taken away from us.  When something happens, and we feel that we have nothing to stand on, we have no basis, we feel like we are falling.  This is the type of dream where you feel that you are falling.

It is called the Ordeal of Air, because to isolate the element of Air you take out the ground. If you don’t have the ground, then you fall, because the ground is what we are attaching ourselves to.  Because we attach our self in that ground (Earth) element, when it goes away, it feels as if we are falling.

In a dream, to have calmness, to remember ourselves in a dream, is difficult because we don’t want to hit the ground, we don’t want to die in the dream.  However, if we can remember ourselves then we won’t be so afraid of what death might bring. To receive that experience in a dream with serenity means that you are okay with finding some new sense of self. In death, something new is born.

It says, “… those who fear poverty, those who are not willing to lose what they love the most …”.  When we think about all the possibilities that our life could give us, sometimes we cannot even bear to think about what would happen if so-and-so were to die, or what would happen if we lost our job, or what would happen if we got a really terrible disease, etc.

Sometimes we cannot even think about it, and this represents that type of attachment.  That fear which is coming up represents that we lack cognizance of our true nature. We are attaching ourselves to all these other things.  A way to work with that is to go into Meditation and reflect, and even visualize what it would be like to lose all of the things, and what would be left?  What would happen?  For some that might be too difficult to even think about or conceptualize, so don’t do that if it is going to make you very unbalanced or unstable, but at the same time recognize that that type of intense fear represents something about yourself.  It represents something that you are not willing to look into. Eventually, you must do it.

In a dream you can remember your self, and either you will stop falling or you won’t be afraid of hitting the ground.  You can have an experience of hitting the ground, and then waking up into a different type of experience. What lies on the other side of hitting the ground is death. You cross that threshold of death into a different level of Being.

We want to always ascend with our current state of mind into a new Level of Being, but what really needs to happen is a death of our ego.  We cannot be afraid to die psychologically.  This is not a physical thing.  I am not talking about physical death.  We should not be afraid to physically die either, but in the dream we should be able to recognize that what lies on the other side of death is a new birth.

Ordeal of Water

Following the Ordeal of Air is the Ordeal of Water and it is written in The Perfect Matrimony:

The great ordeal of water is really terrible. The candidate is thrown into the ocean and believes himself to be drowning. Those who do not know how to adapt themselves to the various social conditions of life, those who do not know how to live among the poor, those who after being shipwrecked in the ocean of life reject the struggle and prefer to die, they, the weak ones, inevitably fail in the ordeal of water. However, the victorious ones are received in the Children’s Chamber with cosmic festivities.

– Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

Water is related to adaptability. Water is the adaptability of the Soul.  Water works in contrast or against the rigidity of the Earth and the mobility of the Air.  We must shape the mind to fit the circumstances and this tests our altruism and our philanthropy.

mots 08 water Steck Paul Albert Ophelia

We must shape our mind in the same way that Water always shapes itself in the element that it is in.  Water always fills the cup or the cavern or whatever – it always fills the area that it is given.  We need to know how to adapt ourselves.  We all have a certain way of wanting to approach life.

You know sometimes we can say we can be unbalanced in wanting to approach everything intellectually.  We want to approach everything only emotionally.  If our emotions feel good or bad, then we will base everything on that.  Then other people are really basing things on a certain type of impulse or instinct.  That is one way of knowing that sometimes we cannot overcome some ordeal in the world by doing it the way we like to do it.  Some people think way too much, right?  Other people don’t think at all and they just act without thinking.

We need to know how to adapt ourselves.  We need to know how to be alone when it is okay to be alone, when it is good to be alone, and how to be part of a group when it is good to be part of a group.  Some people cannot face one or the other, right?  Sometimes we want the security of feeling one thing or the other. 

The Water element is the fear of drowning, right?  Because, we can’t breathe in the water, we are drowning.  Once again the paradox there in the internal worlds is learning how to breathe a new substance.  Learning how to behave in a new environment, in a new way: adapting ourselves.  It is a lot of reflection that is necessary, because when we are stressed out or when a situation occurs that stresses us out, we tend to retreat into dealing with that situation in the way we have always dealt with it in the past.  We just want to deal with it the way we did it in the past.  That’s what we like.

The adaptability is recognizing that we cannot deal with our present moment just by doing it the way we did it in the past.  We get ourselves into more problems when we are always doing everything in just the limited ways that we prefer.

It is also written here that it is also about knowing how to struggle, to not just give up based on a simple struggle.  Going back to an individual who begins to get into these teachings because they want to reduce their suffering. In the beginning, if they are really applying the teachings, they almost always will start to find this out very soon (a reduction of suffering).  Everybody has different karma because it comes in different ways.  But that refreshing experience of being happier will at some point fade away, because nothing is totally permanent, and we still have ego and we still have a lot of karma.

We may find ourselves doing better in life, having more success, things are going well and then some ordeal appears and then it is taken away. If we are so attached to those little things we have gained that we reject the doctrine, we can reject all the ideas that  got us to the point where we have.  Some say, “this is no good” and they just leave.  People leave all the time because of that type of experience.  People want 100% assurance that “I will always just be going in a straight line to Heaven”.  However, it doesn’t work like that!

We get our positive qualities, we get better qualities, but everything is paid with a price.  There is compassion that gives us some reprieves, so we have better experiences and we are happier, but sometimes in order to test us, and as well to pay our karma, that karma is applied, that karma is given to us and then something happens that is not pleasant.  So at that moment, some people just reject the struggle and they would rather just give up. They are unable to swim against the current of mechanical life.

Ordeal of Earth

Finally, the Ordeal of Earth.  Samael Aun Weor writes:

We must learn how to take advantage of the worst adversities. The worst adversities bring us the best opportunities. We must learn to smile before all adversities. This is the Law.

Those who succumb to pain before the adversities of existence cannot victoriously pass the ordeal of Earth.

In the Superior Worlds the candidate finds himself between two enormous mountains that menacingly close in upon him. If the candidate screams with horror, he then returns as a failure into his physical body. However, if he is serene, he becomes victorious and is received in the Children’s Chamber with great festivity and immense happiness.

– Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

Earth is the solidity and grounding of the soul.  The Air and the Water leave us.  We have to work where we are at and become as hard as diamonds.

mots 08 earth Juran Seeking the Tao in Autumn Mountains

Sometimes when we think about the situation that we find ourselves in it seems as if it is impossible, it seems like it is too much work, it is too difficult.  It seems as if there is an entire mountain on top of us. How are we going to dig ourselves out of this situation?

From that perspective it can seem futile.  But we need to become like those gnomes of the earth that are very diligently and humbly working, just working every day.  We need to have a certain aspect of our Soul that is not looking for immediate gratification, that is not looking for an easy way out.  We need to discipline ourselves to a certain extent.  Not to be just mechanical, but to find a daily lifestyle that we are sort of chipping away at all our situations in life, internal and external.  To work hard.  A lot of people have that, but they don’t work hard on themselves.  They work hard in the external world.  If we work very hard on ourselves psychologically, then we develop a great solidity that is not phased easily. We are grounded and firm in our life and choices.  We are also looking for those little nuggets of gold in our daily life.

In all of these ordeals, Samael Aun Weor writes that the one who is tested is received in the Children’s Chamber. This is because at this level of Being the one who is being tested like this for the first time is still very young on the Path, is still a child in that respect.  The children are received in the Children’s Chamber while the Masters officiate in the Temple – in the other layers to the Temple - which we need to understand in different ways.  Symbolically, we need to understand that our Inner Being is the one who is receiving all of the results of our work.  We are part of our Inner Being, we have those qualities, but we are the one here in this world facing these elements. Eventually the child develops all the capacities, and merges, becomes one with the Being.  But in the beginning the child is very innocent like that.  The child, through all the Initiations, becomes wise.

These Four Ordeals are not something that occurs just one time.  Sometimes students think that you get these Four Ordeals, and then you move on to what is called the Minor Initiations and the Major Initiations, etc.  In reality, everything that happens afterwards is some application of these Four elements again and again.  Every initiation, every ordeal, is some combination of these elements coming together. How do we respond to that?  In deeper and deeper levels of our Being.  In deeper and deeper levels of our own mind.  Every initiation is some type of ordeal that we can synthesize into one of these four and, of course, every type of combination therein.

Balance of the Four Elements in Daily Life

Another way to look at the elements is: how are they playing out in our everyday life?  I have been talking a bit about that in each part, but in order to truly walk on the Path we have to have balance, right?  If you want to walk forward, you first must have balance.  If you are constantly going out of balance then you can’t really walk forward, you can’t really have direction.

We can think of these elements not just in terms of these ordeals in the superior worlds, but as tendencies that are related to how we respond to the world.  As we have said in other lectures, we have a constant stream of energy: our Consciousness is always present?  At any time, we can remember ourselves and be conscious.  It is never not there.  With that sense of being conscious here and now is where we begin to go into the ground of our Being.  It is always present.  It is always in the present so it is always there.

The question is, what do we do with it?  The impressions of life are constant.  We become aware of ourselves, but the world is moving outside of ourselves and impressions are constantly happening.  Certain desires, impulses, moods, emotions, are constantly changing within ourselves.  One day we feel very content at our job, for example, and then the next day we don’t feel content at all and want everything to change.  One day we are feeling very good about situation “X” and the next day we feel not so good, right?  All these things are moving in our mind all the time.  How do we respond to that? In what ways do we respond to that? 

One way is to look at these qualities as elements, and whether or not we are trying to, what we can say, externalize or internalize the energy.

Sometimes people say, “Oh! You have too much fire element, or too much water element…” or something like that.  Certainly, in terms of what we eat, there needs to be a balance of our elements. We need to know how to have a good diet, to have a variation of our diet.  Red meat, for example, has a lot of Fire and that Fire produces a response physiologically and psychologically. In that respect what we bring in from the outside world, we need a balance of those elements.

We should have a balance of impressions as well.  We shouldn’t just always, for example, watch all the negative things that are going on in the world, on the News, and just saturate our mind with all of that type of negativity. It does not mean that we ignore reality, however, we must not expose ourselves to people always speaking fanatically and with anger. We could be studying these teachings or listening to spiritually minded music or things like that to balance our mind in that sense. 

From another perspective though, we already have all of these elements within ourselves.  We already have them because they are part of our Soul itself.  From that perspective it is not about getting more or having less.  It is about how we balance it, how we take what we have and find ourselves in the center.

Balancing the Elements

Starting with the Earth element. The Earth element has to do with accumulating things, substance, solidity.  One misuse of the Earth element is wanting to accumulate wealth. Its opposite is not making any effort to accumulate anything.  If we look at Earth, it amasses itself, it builds itself.

If we take that capacity that we have within ourselves, and we externalize it, this is the desire to accumulate external things.  The accumulation of wealth, accumulating more and more success, accumulating more respect, more prestige, and using that as the final goal of our life.  This is having as a final goal the biggest house that we could possibly have, with the most cars and with the most amount of money in our bank account, for example. Some people like to even accumulate lots of children, others, it is a basement or attic full of ‘stuff.’  It is a notion that, somehow the physical, external reality makes us more and more perfect, almost like a God.  Like a mythomaniac type of situation. 

Whereas on the other side, we have a type of defeatist attitude that one does not even want to try to do anything, because they already feel defeated.  They are not putting any effort into anything, or they put a lot of effort, but it is very wasteful.  It is the type of effort that is nonsensical.  Lots of effort just to have a sort of nonsensical lifestyle, you could say.

This is also related to just laziness and not doing things, but also its opposite which is hyperactivity.  Hyperactivity is a laziness of our attention. Hyperactivity such as ADHD is a very prevalent disorder diagnosed today, and there is always talk about how it is related to certain brain circuits and things like that.  Which it is, certainly it exists at that level, but we need to know how to train our attention, so we can form new patterns of thinking and new patterns of attention within ourselves.  Hyperactivity is a laziness of our attention, it is a laziness of our Consciousness.  Always wanting a different stimulus outside of ourselves. 

In the middle between those two things we have consistency and humility.  By consistency we mean, as I was saying before about the Earth element, just doing your work every day, which in this respect means your psychological work and Meditation.  Doing that practice every day, not because you are desiring some far off result or thinking “I am only going to do this if I am going to be promised a big result today”. Instead, we should think “I am just going to do it”, not totally disinterestedly, but you are doing it because you know it is the right thing to do.

The virtue of humility: to humble yourself is to be grounded.  There’s even the Latin word “humus” is earth and means humility.  We need to have that type of consistency and humility to have a basic, stable life, right?  You can’t really progress in these studies if your life is constantly overwhelmed with drama and craziness.  Sometimes we have that, as ordeals and we have to work through it, but fundamentally we need to have that consistency.

If we look at the Water element.  Water we always talk about it as related to birth and generation.  It is related to the birth of a new state of mind and the transformation of energy itself.  The Water, within ourselves is our creative energy. It flows through our nervous system. We need to know how to work with the creative, sexual energy.  Our creativity can form new states of mind within ourselves.  We need to know how to use transmutation.

On one extreme we have a mechanical repression of our desires, and a type of rigidity.  With this extreme of internalizing the Water element, it is where you are trying to conserve or retain, without transmuting or transforming that creativity.

This is like a conservative fanatic, conserving to an extreme, and this makes us rigid and brittle psychologically.  This makes for a type of person who uses ethics in a fanatical way.  A lot of religious, fanatical types of sects and teachings are overly conserving.  They are trying to use a very black and white over-exaggeration of ethical conduct, because they think, “if I could just follow all of these rules” in a very orthodox, fanatical way.

Such a person thinks, “if I could just follow all of these rules that God gave, then I am good.  That is all I have to do, is just follow the rules very rigidly”.  There are a lot of these traditions all over the world where they just read everything very literally, they just follow all the rules very, very literally but lacking any psychological work.  They just have that fanatical black and white type of thing.  The problem is, if you just try to conserve the sexual energy or the creative energy, and you are not working psychologically, you end up still creating the ego, but you create it in a more fanatical way and it is more internalized or repressed. 

Whereas the other extreme says, “Well, we have all these desires, and that is who we really are, so we should just express ourselves.  We should just express ourselves…”, yet again it is in a very mechanical way.  Again, there is no real psychological work, it is just the thought of “well, I have all this flowing energy, and I have these impulses, and therefore that’s who I truly am.”  It is a concept which, from an ethical standpoint is, “whatever your impulses are define what is good.”  This is why hedonism is ethically good from this perspective.  Hedonism just means “Well, it feels good so you should just do it and why on earth would you reject that?”  This becomes your only ethical goal in this type of person.  This is mechanically growing the ego as well, of course.  So this is wanting to “liberate the energy”, a very liberal type of energetic use, but they are not really liberating anything.  They are just entrapping their ego, they are entrapping their Consciousness in the ego

We need to again find that balance where we are not mechanically repressing our desires and we are not mechanically indulging in our desires either.  We have to recognize how every choice in life impacts our state of mind.  It is not ethics just because we have to follow the rules.  It is ethics because we need to know how to transform the energy.  It is not good because someone says it is good.  Ethical conduct from a Gnostic perspective, what we call Revolutionary Ethics, revolutionizes our energy.  The flow of our energy changes.  We develop new ways of thinking, new ways of perceiving, so it is something very conscious.  Water, when used correctly through sexual transmutation, gives birth, the birth of a new state of mind.

With the Fire element, as we talked about before, there is this type of clarity related to the Fire element. Its contrast is dullness.  How we apply the Fire element provides that dichotomy of what is becoming clear and what is becoming dull, if we apply it mechanically.

If we are, what you could say, internalizing the Fire element, this is a type of attitude or way of dealing with that Fire element which provides a lot of clarity of our miserable state of mind, our miserable existence.  We know very well that we are depressed, or that we are confused, or that we are suffering, but we don’t look at it psychologically, we don’t look at it through Meditation. There is this - what I’ve put here  - hatred or attachment (because attachment and hatred are linked).  This is the type of self-hatred that one can have.

As an aside, don’t read this chart as if, “Oh! I am only over here externalizing” or “I am only over there interalizing”.  It doesn’t mean that someone is exclusively internalizing or externalizing because we can have one ego which really hates our self and we can have another ego that really hates everyone else. These things can be happening and shifting simultaneously.  Moment-by-moment any particular ego is one way or the other.  We are constantly flipping back and forth on these.  This is a very dynamic type of thing. 

When we take that Fire element and we mechanically internalize it, we can develop a terrible type of self-hatred.  We don’t recognize our true Consciousness, our true Being, we just recognize the misery of our ego, and because we forget the real totality of our situation, we don’t recognize our true cognizance, our Consciousness, we just sit locked in our ego, we are very miserable.

The attachment side is that we actually love ourselves, it is a form of pride.  We might actually feel good about ourselves, we feel very, very good.  It is like we are super attached to ourselves.  The suffering appears later.  If we are very attached to who we are today, but situations change, then that same ego could be suffering tomorrow.  Again that same Fire element, if you go to the externalizing side, it means we stop really caring about what is inside of ourselves, and we just see the world as a set of obstacles that we need to manipulate, or get out of our way, in order for us to have some happiness in life. We have a really clear (but false) idea of who we don’t like, we have a really clear idea of what we need to do to get our life the way we want it to be, but we are not really looking inside at our own psychological nature.  These are clear ideas, but false ideas based on ignorance. Sometimes, we have that impulse that it is the other person who is causing a problem, and we need to fix it, that we need to say something to them telling them that they are the one is wrong.

Once again, finding ourselves in the middle – and we have already basically talked about this – that if we can die to out attachments, we find that clarity and instead of the hatred element, that element cracks open our encrusted mind and inside of this is our real nature which is love and compassion.

In relationship to the next element of Air, we can relate this to the mental and conceptual aspect of our Soul.  Here I have placed two subtle, but very poisonous attitudes that people tend to develop. Whether or not they are part of a spiritual teaching, we sometimes carry these concepts into these teachings, and at some point or another they will cause us to have an issue.  The basic two sides of this is related to karma.  It is not the only thing that is related to the Air element, there are other things, but I have placed here the two extremes of Nihilism and Eternalism. 

Nihilism is essentially the idea that nothing matters.  It doesn’t matter what you choose or what you do, in the end it is all equalized and there is no eternal element at all within ourselves.  This could be combined with physicalism and materialism in that nothing really matters.  It doesn’t matter what you do. That is why we say here that “choice is meaningless” because this type of theory talks about how eventually all the energy in the universe is going to fall into entropy, and there is just going to be inertness, nothingness.  From this notion, nothing matters in the long run.  Many, many people today fall into that.  They fall into that, and yet they try their best to have a positive outlook despite it. 

On the other side is eternalism. This states that everything inherently exists as it is already, that there is no real change.  For example, one way of thinking about this is that no matter what, because God is compassionate, after this life “I am going to go to Heaven, everybody goes to Heaven, everything is wonderful, everything is beautiful forever.”  It is interesting because there is no religion that actually says that.  Again, on this side there is the idea that choice is also meaningless, because in the end everybody is going to go to Heaven, or to the Pure Land forever.  It is a very naïve type of feeling that everybody is going to return to Heaven no matter what.

We talk about the fact that everybody will return to the Absolute, and that is the case, but the method and the process to get there is vastly different depending on our choices.  So, choices do matter and whether or not we develop Wisdom definitely matters.  Our ego tends to want to avoid doing the work on ourselves.  It tends to want to find an excuse not to do any psychological work.  One way is to say “well nothing matters because everything is going to be reduced to entropy anyway” and the other side says “well it doesn’t because we are all returning to the Absolute in the end anyway”. 

Another aspect of that is what is called fatalism which is “everything that is happening, is happening in the only possible way that it could happen, it is what necessarily must happen; there is no possibility it could happen in other possible way.”  In other words, there is a pre-destiny of everything that your life is and the whole future.  This is also a way to avoid doing the work.  You just say, “Well God has a plan and everything is going to happen exactly the way it needs to and it is all going to unfold that way.” Materialists say that everything is determined by the laws of physics and therefore we don’t actually have Consciousness or freewill. 

This is not what our teaching states at all, of course, and this is not what the doctrine of karma teaches at all.  We have a karma, so we have certain debts and we have certain merits as well, but we still have a choice as to what we do with it and we can transform all of those debts and we can waste all of those merits.  You could be given a great gift in your life, but if you don’t use it then that’s on you.  If someone gives you $1,000 and you go and throw it in the fire, you are not owed another $1,000.  You will not receive it again just because you didn’t know how to use it in the right way.  We have a lot of benefits for being in a life, in a place where we can listen or hear this doctrine and some amount of freedom and capacity to do the work. We have the merit, so we should take advantage of it.

We need to use concepts, but we need to continuously refine them by going into Meditation and strike this balance between these fatalistic or nihilistic tendencies that some people fall into. 

Finally, The Space element.  We talk about the Four, or in this case, the Five elements.  There really a lot more levels of unfolding and extracting that we could do with this, but if we jump all the way to the highest aspect of these elements, the Space element itself is that which manifests the Universe.

Space occurs and then everything happens inside Space.  All of our Consciousness is experiencing Space and all of the unfoldments of Space.  When we don’t have perfect cognizance of our own root nature, we become expelled into Space when the Cosmic Day occurs. Then when the Space element is retracting itself into the Abstract Space, we also return for some period.  When the next Cosmic Day occurs, only if we have perfect cognizance can we remain in the Abstract Space. Otherwise we become externalized into the Universe, into Creation itself.

The only way to avoid manifestation or existence is to have that Paramartha - Absolute Reality or Absolute Truth – to become a vessel of that Absolute Reality, a Paramarthasatya.  This is related to the Illuminating Void, the Abstract Space, the Tality – different concepts with slightly different meanings, but they are all related to a very Abstract type of Space element.  That is more towards what the goal of our whole work is for.  It is realizing that, to have cognizance of that.

We shouldn’t read this chart as a great summation of everything that has to do with these elements.  These are just some things that came up in my mind when I was reflecting on these elements and how we seem to fall into extremes in relationship to these elements.  There is so much more that can be said about all of them, but I think we will end there.

Questions and Answers

Student:  Related with the element of Water, since we have 70% water, we have more water than anything, and all that is written there in the Bible emphasizes the Water, so what is the relationship?

Instructor:  Well, the Water element is everywhere in the Bible. Definitely related to the Book of Genesis and we know, of course, Genesis means “Creation” so the Waters are always related to birth and we need to give birth to successively new states of Being or give birth to our Soul, we could say, but we need to know how to work with the Waters.  There is a lot about Waters in the Bible.  Jesus walks on the Waters and Moses parts the Waters.  What that means is something psychological within ourselves and we want to sometimes become something different and transform ourselves, but we don’t want to work with the Waters.  Because to work with the Waters is to work with your own creativity, which is within our sexual nature.  So inside of our sexual nature we have to “separate the Waters”.  We have to know how to separate them because we have desire, and, we have our creativity or our sexuality (which is not desire).  But if we don’t know how to do that, then we just fall into desires, or we just repress our desires. To walk on the Waters represents extreme balance in all the elements. If we want “birth”, if we want to create something new, then we have to know how to work with Water because if we separate the Waters, only when we know how to separate the Earth properly can the Earth dry out and create a solidity. Some people are too soft, their actions lack definition because they have not made any dried land, psychologically speaking.

There is a lot about the Waters creating our “forms”, even though they are subtle bodies.  We need to create these type of forms in the Superior worlds called the Solar Bodies.  These are subtle bodies created of the Earth element.  They are a type of Rupa or form, but they are not in the physical world.  They are in the other dimensions.  When we know how to work with the Waters in the right way then different things happen.  One of those things is that we create new vehicles of our Consciousness.

Student:  In regards to the elements, how do they all interact with each other?

Instructor:  Yes, they are always interacting.  For example, with Earth and Air there obviously is a relationship between the two.  Sometimes we need to know how to ground ourselves and other times we need to know how to get unstuck from the mire, of being bogged down in the mud.

We can have an experience in the internal worlds of trying to walk up a hill, or something like that. It is so heavy, just put one foot in front of the other, because our feet are stuck in the mud.

In Meditation, even though here physically we could be suffering a lot, but if we know how to meditate we are working with other elements that can elevate our Consciousness, at least temporarily, right?  That is a superior use of the elements in mediation. The space of awareness in Meditation liberates us. The fire of our heart draws the humidity from the ground, we cry with joy or with pain, and those tears cause the mud to dry, and we become strong with the earth element, which is now dry.

The Air element, which it is uncontrolled, tends to fly away attempting to escape these practical affairs.  We could be overwhelmed by the Earth element, and then we compensate that by having fantasies, thoughts, using our mind to fly away, but it is a mechanical process.  When this occurs, we are using those elements in a mechanical way, we just want to escape.  We often have a narrative that we tell ourselves.  We tell ourselves we are such a martyr, or we are disrespected, or if people only knew, that no one understands us, etc.  We tell ourselves these stories, and that is one way of escaping in the mind. 

That is the Air element spinning the wheels, spinning the chakras and using imagination negatively, but, there is no traction there. Nothing changes. You could do it all day and you are not moving anywhere.  There are all types of ruminations where we are just thinking, over and over again, just spinning our wheels, but the wheels are not hitting the Earth.

There is a way to work practically and to face the difficulty.  We must learn how use our mind, to know how to work practically.  What is the practical effort that we can do?  Sometimes when facing a great difficulty, we don’t want to become practical about it.  We don’t even want to think about what we could do to solve it.

Water and Fire – these all inter-relate – but Water and Fire, we can say, relate because the Fire boils the Water.  If we know how to have stability with Earth that helps the Water element stabilize so that we can apply Fire so the Fire can boil the Water and the Water can rise into the Air.

Student:  It is difficult to work with the elements correctly...

Instructor:  Every difficulty challenges us to stay balanced and stable.  So, yes,  sometimes we need to have that humility, and the humility can help us to find a new way to deal with the situation.  When we have humility we are able to simply face the situation as it is.  To have the facts, to be practical.  When we have that consistency of the Earth element ,it allows the Water, so to speak, to stop being turbulent so much.  We can have the clarity there, and then we put our sense of love or compassion, related to the Fire element, which transforms the Water element and the steam rises.  There is an alchemical relationship there.  What does that mean practically?  It means something different for every one of us.  To know how to act, moment-to-moment, is a puzzle that only we can solve for ourselves.  We can talk about it in generic ways.  Yes, in every moment we are being challenged by all of these elements in different ways and even more than that, one of our egos wants to act in one way and then another part of ourselves wants to act in a different way.  We have conflict within ourselves we must resolve.

Student:  So to synthesize, it seems the goal is to transform the elements into something more subtle?

Instructor:  Well, yes, that’s the transformation into the higher states of Consciousness.  We need to liberate the energy into more subtle forms. We liberate it in a very course way in the beginning and then later more and more subtle ways.  When we say “liberating energy” there are elements of our Consciousness that become more clear, active, certainly we could say there is a wisdom that rises to the top.

All the beauty of the rose starts with the mud of the earth.  The rose transmutes into a beautiful fragrance that permeates the Air and the Space and this is the analogy for our Soul.  This is what it means, this is what a true Rosicrucian means.  That element, which is called the musk or the fragrance, rises into the Being. We have to have the sapience of sin.

We make mistakes, we already know that.  But we need to extract the wisdom in the same way that our body extracts the vitamins from the food that we eat in order to nourish the physical body.  We need to extract the wisdom from our experiences to nourish our psyche, our Consciousness and our Being.  So, yes, it is like a rising of elements. 

Student:  When we are suffering, whether it is emotional or mental suffering, how can we differentiate necessary suffering that produces virtue and pays off Karma rather than the suffering that is just spinning the wheels and creating more suffering and creating more obsessions here?  Does all suffering produce virtue eventually or does some suffering just keep us where we are?  How can we differentiate between the two?

Instructor:  That is a good question, it’s a good question, because we will suffer on the Path because we have our Karma.  Karma cannot just be automatically neutralized, but we can transform our situation through superior action.  We also have created our own Karma. Everything is tied to something else because we made mistakes in the past which caused our present karma. And our actions based in ignorance will be the fruit of suffering in the future.  The suffering we have today is related to the seeds of suffering we sowed in a previous life, or maybe yesterday.  It is not always a previous life.  Sometimes we just messed up 20 minutes ago and we must face the consequences now. 

Sometimes though it is not clear, in fact, it is often not clear, as to why we suffer in any particular situation.  In terms of spinning our wheels specifically there is the saying, that if we feel as if a situation is impossible and there is nothing that we can do about it, then we shouldn’t worry about it because there is nothing we can do about it.  If there is something we can do about, we should not worry about it because we should just do that.

The spinning of the wheels is usually just the rumination of worrying. To solve this, you must discover what things you have some influence on, and what is out of your control.  If there is something I can do practically to help me with that situation, then do it.  Then sometimes you are left with not having any more you can do, with the other half.  We cannot worry about it.  We have to recognize that the worry is related to fear so we work with it psychologically, right?   The worry is related to some element inside of myself and we have to try to go into that itself. 

The solution is not always that the external world turns out to be the way we want it to be.  The solution is that we comprehend our mind more.  This is always what we are going towards.  Basically, the only way to really know, is to be constantly reflecting and meditating.  It is the only way to know whether or not we need to be silent and sometimes we need to speak.  Sometimes we need to not get involved in a situation, sometimes we should get involved in a situation.  It is not that we just get involved, but that we know how to skillfully navigate the situation.  Sometimes, you know, we go from the extreme of “I am not going to deal with that person” and then we say “Oh! Okay, I need to deal with that person” and then we go and scream at them, or we say something hurtful, because we do not know how to skillfully navigate our own mind, and the things appear when we start dialoguing with that person.  That represents all of this unbalance inside of our mind.  It all returns to the practice of Meditation.

Student:  So with suffering, should we tell ourselves okay I am burning off Karma, I am paying off Karma, this is a good thing, I can push through this, or should we try hard to fix the external circumstance?

Instructor:  One of our previous lecturers stated once that two people could try to start a business, both could be very well qualified and work very hard at it.  One person has success and the other one fails repeatedly.  The difference wasn’t their effort, and the difference wasn’t their knowledge, the difference was one had the karma and the other one didn’t.  They had the karma of having to experience that failure, and we have that in any particular situation.  It doesn’t mean that we have to give up having some enterprise.  Maybe we can work through it.  But the only way to really, clearly, definitely know, is to go into Meditation and have an experience that clarifies it for you.  Until then we just have to keep moving forward and know how to receive suffering with gladness.

Our default mode should know how to receive suffering with gladness, patience and humility and not lash out at the world and not be angry with God, etc. etc.  And, don’t leave the teachings because we suffer. Instead keep moving forward.  We work with Meditation to find some more clarity and sometimes it’s later on, its years later, when we find clarity about that situation of why we were suffering so much.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  It’s really about the work that you do on yourself.  There is no simple, easy way.

Another Instructor:  Just to touch on that, sometimes just labelling it defeats the purpose of why it is happening.  Just to say that something is karma what good does it do? It can still avoid what is important, which is to ask:  Who is suffering inside of you through this ordeal?  Maybe it’s your pride, maybe it’s your lust, whatever aspects of yourself are suffering that is what you have to observe.  That’s the whole purpose of it.  So not to say, “This because of this life or that life, or did we have some relationship in a past life…”  Sometimes, trying to put all these labels defeats the purpose of what is happening. The whole purpose is just to know yourself better and to liberate yourself.

Instructor:  Yes, that is very true and thank you for saying that.  I meant to say that in my lecture.  Sometimes we will say, “Oh! it is from a previous lifetime and it’s just my karma” but we haven’t understood anything about it so what’s the point?

Audience:  Based on the psychological idiosyncrasy of the aspirant will each person have a principal element maybe to work with over the others in a given lifetime?  Do you notice if there is a difficulty one element has especially over the others?

Instructor:  Yes, everybody has an idiosyncrasy.  There is something called the Personal Characteristic Psychological Feature.  It’s in “The Revolution of the Dialectic”.  We all have a certain constellation of egos that tend a certain way, that are more strong in us versus someone else. Samael always says that we always need to be working with our lust because that is primary, it is always there.  But then for everybody there is something else, something different in everyone, which permeates our life and the way we mechanically react.  For everyone that is something different.  If you are working hard on yourself, at some point you will begin to realize there are certain themes of your egos and certain things seem to play out more.  So you know we all have our certain idiosyncrasies. 

Sometimes we discover certain ways that we always act. Then we think everyone else doing the work acts in the same way, but actually everybody has certain tendencies that are different.  Like some people have a lot of self-hatred.  They tend to always put the situation on themselves.  If there is a problem, it is thought: it must be me, I am terrible.  Other people have the tendency to do the opposite.  They tend to always see everyone else as the problem and they don’t really question whether they are at fault.  There is an exaggeration on both of those sides.  Just because we have a tendency doesn’t mean we don’t also flip other times.  It is something really deep.

Master Samael Aun Weor says that his physical body is worth less than the ashes at the end of a cigarette.  He talks about the worthlessness of himself, right?  We have that worthlessness sort of aspect, but that is not the Being, that is not the Consciousness, and when we only say, “I am worthless, I am terrible, I am just all egos” we are over-exaggerating if we don’t recognize that there is a Consciousness there as well.  We need to know how to understand that.  Some students lose all their joy in the work and they just lose that inner Light, that Inner Star and they are just rolling in the mud of their own misery, and it could be a great ordeal for some people.  There is always that inner joy, there is always that inner bliss inside of ourselves and we have to learn how to tap into it. 

Audience:  Can the ordeals be passed in the physical world?

Instructor: Yes. Sometimes physically we have been tested in such a way that you pass the ordeal physically. You still may have an experience in the internal worlds, but you pass that very simply because you have already been tested very well.  Things like that can definitely happen. 

When we walk on the Path, one of the more beautiful things is the way Karma is applied. Certain karmas that would have otherwise come more to afflict us now, and could really destroy our lives, might be put off to the end of our life because we are doing the work, and we are deserving of that reprieve. There is a Guarding Wall holding back the huge floodgates of our karma coming to obliterate us, because it allows us to work.

The Karma still has to be applied, and it cannot be put off forever, but when we walk on the Path it is our Inner Being that is managing the karma to apply it in different ways.  Some of that is related to the ordeals.  Karma is applied to us in certain ways to test us, and also to grow us in certain ways.  Like someone who is tending to a plant, and taking care of it so that it grows up very beautifully.  The Being wants the whole Tree of Life to be expressed, and it knows how to work Its soul.  Sometimes it applies more heat, sometimes it applies less heat, sometimes it puts more Earth element, etc.  How we respond grows us in that sense. 

We have the ability to actually be a part of that negotiation of Karma as well.  We can ask for help and if we can become conscious in the internal worlds we can go to the Temple of Anubis and manage to negotiate with those Masters.  Karma is related to Cause and Effect, but it is not just mechanical.  Everything doesn’t just happen mechanically.  It is managed by a whole host of Beings who are called the Masters of Karma, or whatever you want to call them, it doesn’t matter.  But they manage that because they have that type of cognizance to manage whole civilizations and whole world systems and things like that.

Justice has to be done, always, because no individual Being is greater than any other one. So why do we deserve to get a reprieve or to have our Karma transformed, or negotiated, or reduced, or something placed in exchange for it?  We can say, “I don’t want to suffer this, I will do a certain effort” and if you get that, and you don’t do the effort, then you pay double the Karma.  This is because the energy has to be moved in some way. Karma you can say is some type of energy.  So, if it is not applied towards us, where does it go?  How does it get managed?  Because that karma is a consequence that has to get played out in some way, so, the Lords of Karma can transform it in certain ways that provide positive results for someone else. Only when we deserve it, of course. Some karma cannot be negotiated.

They know how to manage that, but in the same sense we need to be doing the work in order to have the merit.  In the internal worlds, if you look in your wallet or in your purse and you have some money in there, that means you have some merit to be able to pay.  But if you look in there and it is just dust, that means you don’t have a lot of merit right now, so you need to work on yourself.  Do good deeds.  If you do a lot of good deeds you are at least acquiring some capital, so that when things get applied it is not so terrible.  You still get applied the karma, but you might have some more freedom in that karma.  The negotiation of karma is a huge topic, but that is just a summary.

Audience:  If we are going through an ordeal that involves a lot of fear or anxiety.  To pass that ordeal do we need to express serenity?  Is that the right antidote to apply for that type of ordeal?

Instructor:  Well, yes, serenity and we need to remember our Being.  If we are faced with some ordeal, we need to know where that fear is coming from.  We have to know, at least conceptually right now, that fear and anger and all of these types of negative emotions are afflictions.  They afflict our Consciousness.  If fear and anger and hatred are an affliction, they are not our root nature.  They are a modification or an affliction of our root nature which is Consciousness. In Meditation we can comprehend this.

Any time that we find ourselves afflicted, we have to know that cannot be my real nature.  In the beginning, we only know that conceptually because we may not have the experience.  Through Dream Yoga , through Meditation, we begin to have those little, tiny tastes of experiences of what that unfiltered or natural state of Consciousness is.  From there it grows.  If something presents itself outside of you, and this feeling of fear comes up, what usually happens is we get hypnotized.  We fall asleep, we forget our true nature, and we express ourselves inside of that fear.  If we can spontaneously recognize that that fear is actually an affliction, some conditioning factor on top of our Consciousness, or wrapping our Consciousness up, then we can spontaneously transform it.

Audience:  So it is comprehension?

Instructor:  Yes, it is comprehension, exactly!

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