The very first phenomenon concerning the Neophyte is the body. The Neophyte is indeed the vehicle of his star, as much as the body is the instrument of his Angel. His body is a body precisely because it is His, thus finalizing a circle in the Universe. Only the shallowness of our narrow understanding of that circle creates an illusion of incarnation, or life after death, or life and death in general. It is futile to talk about the beginning or the end of something like a circle. It is even more futile to say such things at the sphere level, and it is utterly devastating to mention them at the planes or dimensions level. The perception of reality changes reality, but it is the understanding of reality that reshapes it completely, just as understanding a magician’s trick in the circus devalues the ticket purchased entirely. This elaborate move is so precious to the Neophyte that his entire grade can be filled with bewilderment at this insight.
The Neophyte must be of a healthy and robust physicality, the way his constructed Pentacle is steady and strong. His best sketch and depth of understanding of this cosmos, which he would be able to portray on it, is utterly meaningless unless he is in good health. However, let us address the notion concerning both health and the body. There are so many trivial instructions that have been written for a healthy body that any individual would get seriously ill if they were taken into account seriously. Nevertheless, all of them are equally valuable to one Neophyte, for he must really understand the difference in all these frantic approaches, he must see that spark of nonsense in the search for something as natural and effortless as human health and a vigorous body, and understand the Universe as a concept of space-time, as much as his existence is the wholeness of body-spirit, and that all his physical turmoil rest in the existence of a zero patient of his contagion – human neurosis.
To be able to restore his health completely, the Aspirant must understand his own twisted position and accept it as part of his tangible unreality; not reality, but unreality indeed – which is based on pain and a spasm of slipping into neurosis, when we lose things, gifts and people in our lives, for instance, while we actually lose what we just think is ours. Every illness of the body is a disease of the soul, and each of them brings a sense of contamination. But all of our focus is on how to remove sludge from water – by letting it settle. It is precisely the action and efforts to purify water which stir the sludge lifting it from the surface and muddying that very water. So great is the wisdom to learn to be calm, especially in the days of putting your apparatus to probes, which has a wide and deep dimension within the A∴A∴.
Despite the existence on the inner plane, our neurosis finds its way in our walk and gestures, so each move that the Neophyte makes should be subtle, imagining that he is in a play, as a part of some cosmic cabaret or a divine carousel. Let him rejoice in every move he makes; let everything be gentle and smooth. Even with everyday movements, let him be like a ballet dancer, walking with a scent of royal nobility. Let him breathe the same way, with full lungs and actively inhaling, and then let him end his lung movements indulging in passive exhaling. Let him pay attention to his breathing in moments of disorder, let him stop the striving of his mind to funnel his breathing to the shallow throbbing of his lungs. Let him enter the deep and wide amplitude of the breath actively and eagerly, sensitizing both physical and psychic moves which have been brought on by his neurosis inflicting spasms upon his physical lungs.
There is such a divine thing of doing nothing but breathing slowly and consciously in all stressful situations because by doing nothing, we do best for ourselves. It is the very action that creates spasms, each action contributing to contractions, stretching, or spasms, and each such action aims at a more derogatory reaction, which has always been directed toward us and within ourselves. Every breath has already been exhaled; every step to the left has already anticipated the right one. Only he who stands is at peace indeed. Let the Neophyte meditate upon these observations during his unrest; his Binah so cleverly urges him to move, but most of all, he drives him to that neurotic spasm leading to the wrong conclusion that it is Karma, which is nothing but what we long for deep down inside ourselves, which is but love and acceptance. Each move of ourselves is a child moving; each step is a step of a child striving for the light. The Neophyte must feel this well and, above all, find that child within himself.
Every Neophyte must take care of his Binah in advance, which can always turn into fear-ridden aggression in an instant. He must shy away from pursuing justice because he is not in a position to fight anyone other than himself, nor to win and fight someone else’s battles as much as his own ones. He is obliged to pay back neither his nor anyone else’s debts – these are all but well-prepared positions of his neurosis tightening the siege around him. There is no debt, just as there is no merit. There is only one debt in the entire Universe, and that is the debt to Buddhahood, as the Bodhisattva vow, which is but the last name of love.
Pranayama and Asana are just a bunch of circus warm-up exercises unless they engulf the pure and living energy of the soul. Indeed, they are presented ventures for the next grade of Zelator, but this must not be the reason for the Aspirant to start stretching, warming up, and resorting to that kind of flexibility that is so desperately needed for all variants of the lotus pose. But this stretching has to show affection in its nature and be followed by love, as her majesty cat does. Watching this magnificent creature for a few minutes, the Aspirant can profit more than from a decade long lesson of listening to a fakir, only if he is eager to see.
We have to think differently and find the term for what is dormant and lost in our bodies; like with other notions in our lives, everything that goes without saying is pure rubbish. What often slips away from the notion is a decree of immunity; we can understand that the relationship between immunity and the body is like the one between Yesod and Malkuth; the relationship between a subtle force and a form, which we are going to deal with in more details later though. Both things are supporting pillars of our temple, and understanding both concepts is a prerequisite for many spiritual systems. Within Raja Yoga, the body is dealt with before the Aspirant is subjected to Dharana; even a one whole type of Yoga is dedicated to the body – as it is the case in Hatha Yoga. We could debate whether Pranayama is a natural offspring of Asana or whether it is an entirely different class; nevertheless, both things nourish the body in a unique way – be it physical or subtle. Of course, both Asana and Pranayama affect the preservation and culture of the physical vehicle in their own unique way: Asana is mostly found in bone structures, the spine, ligaments, and tendons, while Pranayama correlates to the purity of Nadis, Chakras, and the human energy system, including the immune system. In fact, almost all of our quest for health begins and ends with work on the immune system; this area is so broad, yet our knowledge of the field is very narrow – partly because it involves knowledge of psychotherapeutic mechanisms that would simply have to interfere with other branches of medicine in a living and self-contained way. Unfortunately, it will take a long time before these branches start working together for the benefit of mankind. The very names “health house” or “health center” are entirely wrong. It is the home and center to sickness and unawareness, first and foremost. The health center should be the center to learn about the vitality and co-operation of energy and the body, about life and the Universe, where a doctor’s office shall always be – Love.
If we were able to comprehend our own immunity, we would be closer to the Knowledge and Conversation than we could ever imagine. All of our spiritual aspirations are, in fact, an astonishing mixture of biological and physiological elements, those which we so often reject in disdain, thinking that they are not worthy of our aspiration.
The proper approach to immunity is in close encounters with particles and the experience of illness but in small quantities. Health is therefore not safeguarded in isolation but, on the contrary, while being exposed to the broadest possible but carefully balanced doses of impurity. Encountering illnesses is the way to find our health, not in looking for shelter. Sterility is the worst thing we can pursue in developing immunity; avoiding diseases at all costs is a sure strategy to ruin human health. How questionable is our approach to Abramelin operation! True Abramelin does not last for six months, for these months are actually the time of incubation. Real Abramelin operation lasts a lifetime; we have to relate continuously to the ultimate experience of the Angel, in all aspects of life, in spiritual and occult practices the least. In heavy traffic, the first snow in the season, or when paying bills. Always and in the same way, we have to remain healthy with healthy thoughts of the Angel at all times, even in the filthiest statements of insults, masochism, aggression, stress, and suffering.
The purity that is related to human health is of transcendent attribution; it really has nothing to do with purity in the physical or moral sense of the word. The Pure Will is the more straightforward and much purer idea than the True Will is. Understanding the term purity naturally implies the notion of Will and vice versa; realization of that Will fulfills the key to complete Purity. The naming mechanism of the ultimate substances in our Great Work is very interesting, and we often witness that the most natural things have such dull and clumsy names. Yet, those completely straight experiences in our lives have no names at all, which does not prevent us from implementing such nameless experiences into our own lives. Sometimes, a single human life can result from an utterly inexplicable urge experienced in childhood, which can be transmitted later on to the entire life of an individual. But are we not all victims of such actions? Isn’t this illogical and unspeakable urge what we strive to declare as the Will? Also, let us remember the definition of Adept Minor’s great Oath embodying the attainment of the Great Work – he undertakes “to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel,” – an utterly complicated mumbling presentation of quite a simple and natural thing.
Much of this has already been said, as is the case in Therion’s book Moonchild, chapter IV, 1917, but also Magick in Theory and Practice, cap. XIII, 1929, Magick Without Tears, Letter A, March 19, 1943:
“In an Abbey of Thelema we say “Will” before a meal. The formula is as follows. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” “What is thy Will?” “It is my will to eat and drink” “To what end?” “That my body may be fortified thereby.” “To what end?” “That I may accomplish the Great Work.” “Love is the law, love under will.” “Fall to!” This may be adapted as a monologue. One may also add the inquiry “What is the Great Work?” and answer appropriately, when it seems useful to specify the nature of the Operation in progress at the time.”
This hides quite clearly what we are striving for and the role of a healthy body in the Great Work concept. It is certain that Nigredo is pointing at the body, but that body has nothing of the Osirian afterlife stiffness. It is the bearer of light and bringer of joy; it delivers amusement, nervous pleasures, and experiences, in which the ultimate experience resides. The body itself is an orgasm of the Sphinx, every sensation hides the phenomenon from which the entire cosmos originated. Each and every moment, we receive the same information about the Knowledge and Conversation. However, our perception refuses to process that wisdom.
The Aspirants of our Order do not have a strong and penetrating Will. Their Will is, if anything, Pure and free. Their bodies are strong and penetrating, but also supple and, above all, they are conscious and aware. It is precisely here where our Great Work begins – not in libraries browsing through pages of written truth deep into the night, but the truth that is alive and residing within us. Awareness begins with the awareness of our body as well as our sexuality. The fact that we all know we have bodies does not make us aware of them. Every day we cover and rediscover our genitals in the morning and evening, but are we really pure carrying them around? Would we really be pure while standing naked in front of our boss or our parents? Is purity a biological term being defined as a certain quantity of germs per cubic milligram, or is it a peculiarity of Pan’s goat to skip the paths of ordinariness in insane decisions of our will, which should always and at every step be accompanied by our flexible body? To what extent is our final leap into the Abyss a leap into complete chaos when we have transcended the purity itself and fell over into a state of complete nothingness? How paradoxical it is to jump into the unknown completely free, without any hesitation or doubts, without reflection, without any zeal or passion. Is such a leap in itself the Abyss, touching the bottom the very moment when we dare to make such a leap? With all this in mind, the Neophyte should approach his body, like a bird of paradise, slowly enough not to chase it away, but bold and straightforward enough not to let it fly away. For the body is always and in every place influenced by that horrid betrayer Binah, with his time and blight. For his body is becoming old and heavily, by each second of his limited time on this plane. Even so, one Neophyte will not be detoured from the path of light, for he knows that it is exactly this time and understanding of this phenomenon where the most precious jewel that the Great Mother could give her child lies. No matter how conscientious and passionate her threat is, he always knows that the very threat is the path to salvation at the same time, which she will always strive to conceal and hide with symbols, words, oaths and experiments, intellect, temptations, phenomena, and fascinations – everything to keep her child forever with his mother, not to take the long and unknown path, but to stay home with the mother who loves him most and cares for him most and knows what is the best for her child. The body, time, and death – the close and horrible sisters of the Great Mother are her best strategy to keep the child by her side.
Too often, our body is everything but ours; it is governed by an unconscious mechanism which we often wish to be at war with, condemning it while being ashamed of our own shadow, putting it in Osirian curses. However, one Aspirant makes plans for mastering the Universe while being unable to influence his own pulse. Just think for a moment about the fact that one cannot control the beating of one’s heart. Although we all know that our reactive mind is at stake, let us really ask ourselves what it is. As long as you are reading these words, your heart is everything but yours. And even now, it is beating in the rhythm that some other “you” has set, upon which you do not have the slightest power. How aware can you be of your own Pure Will when you are unable to control something as simple as your heartbeat? You expect terrifying Ra-Hoor-Khuit to strike upon your enemies, but you are not influential enough to control your own breathing or pulse in the rhythm you want. Halt the heart, slow down the heart, speed up the heart. We are powerless in relation to ourselves – how do we expect to have an influence on some major events in the Universe when we are not capable of having an influence on such personal occurrences? We expect to perform the Great Work, to realize the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and we are not even capable of asking ourselves what these nonsense terms really mean? Do we perhaps see a trap within them, or maybe a riddle? Indeed, we expect the Great Work, and we cannot influence our own heart, and even now, as you are reading these words, it is beating in its own way regardless of you. Each of our organs is separate from ourselves, yet we declare it ours. What is “ours” at all? And in the end, what is “other”? Our body is just a border between the two, our skin is the last stop of our Universe, or, better said, the only Universe, while everything else is just a mirage and an illusion. Anything outside that membrane no longer belongs to any truth, except the truth of lies and deception, which is based on our senses and the mechanism of how those senses are classified and connected in a network of knowledge about the world around us. An average person does not know the exact location of their organs. Do we really know what the lungs look like? Where exactly is the pancreas, or where is the liver? If I were to give you a single needle, would you know to puncture through the exact center of all organs, or would something like that be done in a completely arbitrary way? When we hear our own voice recorded on the phone, we feel utterly gutted, and it seems so distant to us. Even when we see ourselves in a video, we often notice some movements or the way we walk which we have not been aware of. Our whole body is home to a number of unconscious things; many young and immature children reside in that home. We must bring them up and make them aware. Our body is everything but ours, and it is much more than mere physicality.
Try a simple experiment; try to stop breathing until you die. It is very simple, try not to breathe till the end. We will not be able to because our organism itself triggers mechanisms at the unconscious level that prevent something like this by putting our automatic and reactive mind ahead of what we delightfully call the Will. Yet, is it a sign of weakness of that Will? Alternatively, is this an indication of life’s greatness, as if our isolated will is just part of the same, unchanged mechanism of the same vitality and the same unchanged life? Does this indicate that the True Will is a sublimation of all our organism processes however contradictory they might be? It always decides the symbiosis of all factors, proudly calling themselves the Will. A true Neophyte must be the body – a true Neophyte hast to live. Indeed, the Neophyte’s body is a cogwheel of his Will. Is not the whole Universe the body of God, with its limbs, star flocks, suns and cells, molecules and consciousnesses, voids known and unknown, each having a particular function in only one body? After all, what kind of mind is in that body? Is it not a single mind, illuminated by the illusion that there are different ones in it, making every created mind of man only one of his neurons, of one great ultimate mind?
Still, can that body grow further, beyond the infinite? Isn’t it always the same? The change in physicality is a basic event showing us success in Asana and Pranayama. By working on Asana, the Aspirant will get a different feeling of the body; concentrating on the body, one loses the feeling of the body. It is distorted; you can completely lose your knowledge of the position at some point; even though you know that you are sitting in a Dragon, you will have the impression of sitting in a God Asana. This sweet confusion tends to grow into a trance of incomprehensible proportions, which may but may not be a detour from an expected end. A decently performed Pranayama pours such miraculous sweat that it will leave an equally astonishing effect on the body – of vigor and strength, that, for some time, the Aspirant will have an impression of having a decade’s younger body. Working with the body changes the body. But most of all, it changes the awareness of the body – expanding it in the direction of suppleness, strength, and fitness. There is nothing as refining as well-done Pranayama under effectual Asana; nothing brings pleasure to the body like such an occasion.
Yet, it is often the case that after apparent success in Asana and Pranayama, the very next day a completely opposite effect occurs – the body aches, the spine hurts, no strength and zeal is radiating from the Aspirant, and as time passes, instead of being energized, he feels nervousness, boredom, and pain. All of this is undoubtedly a significant step forward, and things are going just well. These two opposite experiences, sometimes alternating at shorter and sometimes at exceptionally longer intervals, indicate the same progress. In general, working with the body always has clearly set amplitudes and shifts between positive and negative transfers, and we will witness this mechanism having its foundation in the furthest corners of the Golden Dawn. Too often, pain in Asana is due to a mental attitude alone, which in no way diminishes the amount of neurological pain caused by stretched ligaments. Thus, there is a shift of such positive and negative days in our work. One day, we can sit feeling well, and the other day sitting is burdened with pain. On the third day, we have already achieved automatic stiffness with sweating. Still, tomorrow immediately, we can no longer sit still for a few minutes due to unbearable itching. In fact, every day is the same, but we cannot perceive that constant, like the difference between thunder and lightning, which are part of the same phenomenon – only thunder occurs later because the sound is simply slower than light. So our suffering is hindsight of success that our being wants to portray as pain to justify the appearance of LVX, the presence of success, merging with the body that is one with the soul. Still, we are neither the soul nor that body; we are an objection to that action rejecting both to understand and perceive it in the right way. Even that pain is always just an electrical impulse in your brain, and the moment you feel it, you will know that the real danger has already passed and that it is just an impulse of your flesh that reaches your brain too late. Every time you feel pain, it has already gone. Grab the moment of the onset of pain, and you will see that there is unity with the body as much as Oneness with the Will itself. To transcend this sense is the condition for the ultimate experience. Therefore, the Aspirant’s attention is torn apart by pain, which simply ceases to hurt, losing its purpose when not perceived. What remains is the pure sensation of the pure body – which is always the Oneness and a symbiosis of all the feelings the body endows to the soul. It is an advanced form of orgasm, which has no contractions but presence. The feeling about that body is what contractions and spasms are for an orgasm, which also makes it so pleasing. In this case, there are no contractions in the usual sense of that word. It is just a straight line of ultimate pleasure in the body, in its complete experience of an alive, bright, and constant mechanism.
The Neophyte will certainly undertake trials and experiments on his own body in the way that his Superior proposes. Still, above all, since it is his body, he should show his initiative, intuition, and inventiveness in this work. Lagging about ideas about your own body is a significant brake which always has its clues at deeper, psychological level. Every thought and meditation on this is precious to the Neophyte. One can say that exploration of astral visions and planes is as important as the exploration of one’s body, immunity, endurance, suppleness, and strength, and the Aspirant shall notice that the mere observation of these attributes enhances those attributes. Awareness and desire to extend one’s own inhale increases that inhale. Every action and success of the body is primarily a success of focusing the Will; the Body-Soul apparatus is connected with all aspects of the grade at subtle levels. It is impossible to remain in the astral vision for long unless it is preceded by fruitful and long Asana; indeed, the Aspirant can guess by now the direction which this friendly remark aims at. During his work, the Neophyte will have perhaps the most striking experiences in his life so far, which, above all, requires a stable psyche and a strong body to stabilize them – above all, thinking about lucid dreaming experiments and experience gathered while working with visions.
There are many different clues to working with the body, and we are going to discuss some of the ideas that the Aspirant himself needs to develop and utilize in further work. The first thing is the idea of starvation, which should be freed of all moral and ethical implications. It is a beneficial discovery that hunger is such a different sensation if one decides to go starving the night before. It is an entirely different type of hunger when you are starving than when you know you will eat. It is the very first observation, and even then, we can notice how the aspiration of the body goes hand in hand with the aspiration of the Will. There is an entirely endless series of positive and extremely negative logical conclusions from nutritive experts, but what we really need to experiment with is exactly what we got on the first day of fasting – the effect changes the way we express our opinion about that effect. If we want the effect to be positive and direct ourselves slightly toward fasting – not with zeal and passion, then we are witnessing it exactly that way. I have often resorted to starvation regardless of any form or advice, completely free to improvise and adapt the idea to a given moment, but always keeping one thought in my mind, which was to make that starvation comfortable. Also, I stayed awake for days, and as long as I was determined to work, as long as my nature was occupied with such relevant research, the need to sleep was defeated entirely, without a single negative connotation. In today’s world, we are almost completely deprived of opportunities to get objectively solid and reliable information; it has become fashionable to render a fact meaningless to the very end, with completely fake news being marketed as the ultimate truth. It almost seems that what is true ain’t new and what’s new ain’t true. Therefore, let our only guideline in all of this be our own body and sensations which that body give us – that secure harbor which we have set off on this journey from. The feeling of hunger per se actually comprises much less hunger than neurosis when felt, which cunning always takes on the form of a vessel in which it resides; therefore, neurosis during fasting leads to hunger. If we dissect this neurosis or do something creative, we may notice that hours can pass without the slightest manifestation of hunger. It is when we focus on hunger that we suddenly become hungry. This is such a worthwhile observation for all the starvation experiments, especially during the first 2 or 3 days, after which things unfold much easier. Crises that pop up from time to time are always overcome in the best way by creative action, taking a walk, or, even better, by walking meditation. There should be no slightest aversion to hunger inside our thinking apparatus, but on the contrary, in accepting that feeling of hunger, focusing on it, caressing that feeling, actively breathing through it, we creatively transform it and pass through that feeling consciously; we can make that sense go away with simple satiation.
Drinking water is so magnificent and noble that once the Aspirant has realized how holy this action actually is, he will turn every sip of water into the highest-ranking meditation. Drinking water is Dhyana as much as Bhakti Yoga. As we are drinking, we need to be grateful to water as we create a magical link in that act of strengthening because the pleasant feeling of quenching thirst introduces a new reality, a new feeling of pleasure. Let our being talk to that benevolent water; let us welcome it, as we are largely made up of fluid. May it be welcome in the world where it is already well-known and let it blend in with its element bringing gentleness and, above all, pleasure. Let the Aspirant feel its flow well, let him follow it from when he feels it in his throat, let him smell it, gently and slowly intake it, let a sip resemble inhaling in Pranayama. Let water reflect our meditation and joy; let it carry around that joy we feel drinking it so fresh, on and on into our abdominal region. We feel its energy expanding. We feel gratitude for that circle of consciousness, from the very moment of drinking to the moment our need for water has been satiated. It is an act of holiness, with ourselves as priests of that sublime and pure nature. Enjoy feeling your own life being filled with water, as it is actually filling with the Self, not with water. Water flows into the body, as much as the body flows into our Will in the same movement; this is the actual circulation of water, not that one which involves evaporation, rain, and water circling along rivers and seas. Water circulation is an entirely different concept, like circling the corners of our minds. Both phenomena should have a very special place in our understanding of things. Focus solely on the feeling of quenching your thirst when thirsty, with thirst fading out with each sip. When you find yourself suddenly in a state without any thirst, stay there enjoying something that was thirst a few moments ago, and now it has been quenched, satiated – the Pure Will. Enjoy this sequence of events that are not aligned by time but by aspects of the Will.
We should point to a very simple but truly effective exercise that helps in cases of painful spots and injuries but can be used at any place on the body that we want to improve or revive. All we have to do is push an irritating and tiny, sharp pebble against a painful spot. The pressure on the body is completely irrelevant here; what is important is the pressure on the attention that introduces the conscious channel to that part of the body. No matter if you are going to use magnets, crystals, or rice grains, really. It is not the material used that matters, but the material of your mind, which is that of stars. For the most part, I found myself bewildered while offering people all sorts of nonsense things to put on painful places – the greater the nonsense, the quicker the relief – we would not have enough space here to dwell on miracles with spinal problems. Simply stick something you think is interesting and mystical to where it hurts. Be it some magical acorn you have found in a special place; you can put a sharp needle from a pine tree where you have seen a passionate love couple, or maybe stick your own nail that you have cut; the more inventive you are, the more effective you will be. Once you put such an item on a painful spot, just forget about the whole thing. Forgetting is the main fuel, while the passive attention paid to the mechanics of the action which leads to success is the vehicle! You have to want to forget, and that pebble or a needle has to attack that oblivion – focusing the attention back with the help of its discomfort and its touch. That is really where all the magic is.
Starting from the very basic things of our daily life, we genuinely believe that the highest secrets are in the most apparent corners, beyond the shadows of speculation and mystification. What has really been forgotten and lost is ourselves, and as long as we are planning a journey around the world, we are not really going to set our foot anywhere. The moment we take a break and look around, we shall see a handful of the most wonderful spells, from drinking tea to aimless walking around the forest. For the Neophyte, the idea of the body must be of paramount importance – he has to transcend that idea; he must abolish the significance of the subject to the same extent he has previously elevated it – the most incomprehensible heights of his mind. He must explore all possible aspects and paraphrases of this matter; let the body be an obsession of his thinking apparatus for the entire duration of his grade. There are so many diverse and individual phenomena related to him that we will mention only a few that can unveil the Aspirant a chance to meditate.
Asana represents a posture, but it requires details. The nature of this posture is reflected in stamina, firmness, and lightness; in fact, understand Asana as attainment, which contains two components – not as a method. The first component is purely physiological, so Asana is a perfect reflection of a stone statue. But, as a living body is necessarily conditioned by movements of lungs, or the heart, or that, no matter how minor – they always exist, so Asana cannot exist entirely in its real sense. Therefore, let us define Asana more flexibly so that every soul can comprehend it. Now, look at the second component that can shed light on the choice of an appropriate definition that is the component of the mental state. It may seem quite inappropriate to discuss this here, in a place reserved for a strictly physical phenomenon. Practice says the following: in a perfectly “calm” body, a perfectly “calm” mind. But vice versa too; these factors complement each other. You can deal with the disorders caused by your body in two ways: by killing the body or by killing the attention that defines and maintains the relationship with the body. The ultimate attainment is the same.
The definition follows from this: Asana is a bodily position that abolishes the consciousness of the existence of the body, but not the existence of consciousness. This is a perfectly appropriate definition that has an exclusively practical analogy. Having removed the attention that brings bodily impulses, consciousness is now directed toward goals that are in line with the nature of work. Think about this: success in Asana is success in changing consciousness, not the body, although the change in understanding the body is quite obvious. As in Pranayama, the essence lies in the control of an automatic process that represents an eternal burden to attention.
The practice has shown that with intense attention and complete dedication to one thing, that one thing vanishes. In short, it is a naive school account of Samadhi, but a comparison certainly fits here. If attention is paid to one bodily position, it will soon cease to exist. The condition for that is the continuity of that position; if it changes, the mind will automatically register it as another position, no matter how much logic dictates that it is one. A millimeter of unconscious leaning leads to the definition of movement, so there are no conditions that lead to cessation of attention. This is about conscious statics. The nature of Asana is actually any position, as long as it is one. Pragmatism leads us to supported positions that do not depend on limiting factors, such as muscles or bones. Asana must be one, both spatially and temporally, and it is but one of the steps toward Samadhi. It makes the mind more attentive in a specific way in order to deal more seriously with the problem of one’s own wakefulness.
But there is such a sublime thing in all this, which is far from speculation, based on something so human and pastoral, so fine and convenient. And that is to sit in Asana and deep meditation together with the people you love and see their faces when you come back from those depths, which is such a rare, beautiful, and lovely feeling. In fact, it is inconvenient to so say that we return from drowsiness; quite contrary, we return from true wakefulness, and we become sleepy by returning to ordinary consciousness – such a wonderful feeling indeed.
Everything I told you about Asana applies to Pranayama, too. It is about controlling an automatic process; what is important is complete awareness of every act, even the one that is performed unconsciously.
Pranayama is the control of Prana, but it is necessary to define what this concept means since, without that, it would be just a speculation. Prana is what may be called force, but not like fuel, rather as nourishment for the spirit. It has many aspects and, what is called, Rupas, so it can be found in food as in blood. But neither food nor the blood is Prana, just as the body is not the spirit. An abstract idea enshrines Prana, and it is necessary to utilize a specific model of thinking in order to understand its true nature. Prana is the prime representative of the magical link. Ingenious Aspirants can see Prana in each thing and pour Prana into any object.
However, Prana is usually associated with a common living factor for all things alive. It is not blood, though it can be, because blood is limited by its color, warmth, and confinement in blood vessels, but the magical link par excellence is the breath. Therefore, Pranayama is breath control, full awareness of the entire apparatus, which is used for breathing. The breath is continuously inhaled, to an extent at which is exhaled. Its field of action is within, as much as without. Life breathes in, death breaths out. Everything inhales, nothing exhales. That one sequence is everything about all, and all about everything, the whole Universe visible and invisible are just modifications of that single sequence – the sequence of inhaling and exhaling.
As in the explanation of Asana, control is also essential for Pranayama, not with burdened attention but with automatic awareness, which you will achieve with statics. With Asana, it is easier, while with Pranayama, it is impossible, as long as there is a biological tendency to breathe. What applies here is static tempo, not the structure. The inhalation pace must be balanced until the attention diminished, and control and a stable rhythm turn into automatic consciousness. Therefore, awareness should be focused on the uniformity of the pace of breathing. Work will give you the best definitions.
There are few experiments with Pranayama that I want you to perform: rapid and deep. Rapid breathing can lead to Royal Pranayama and introduce energy quickly and sharply. Deep breathing is something for which it is hard to believe that there are no enough detailed reports. It is a simple fact: even if you inhale deeply, there will still be enough room for some more air. It is as if we have been taught never to fill that space with air, and as if we had an apparatus of automatism that gives a comfortable feeling of our lungs being full, even though we may fit some more air there.
Furthermore, try one very simple thing: to prolong inhalation for more than one and a half minutes. It will be very unpleasant in the beginning, but very soon, you will get what is described at the beginning of the Liber HHH – a very specific kind of sweat as well as the appearance of tingling on the surface of the skin. Take your breath so slowly that you almost do not move your lungs, as if you make your lungs spread just by thinking about inhaling.
Also, you do not need a lack of oxygen, but more of it. If you do hyperventilate and learn how to overcome its unpleasant feeling, you will feel very interesting phenomena. It is very biological when your body changes its ph as you take more oxygen than you need. This experiment consists of breathing as fast and deep as possible, with active and conscious inhale and passive and relaxed exhale. Try this for about half an hour, and you will get a magnificent experience.
About Hatha Yoga
The branch of Yoga that closely adheres to the notion of Asana as the essential instrument is Hatha Yoga. The emphasis is on the primacy of physical position. It is quite apparent that it is more about the physical aspect, and not about Asana as we take it. As you know, the essence of Asana directs us to the loss and abolition of our attention to the corporeality, to gaining awareness of the limitlessness of the mind-body. As such, it is only one of the steps or branches of Raja Yoga. Hatha Yoga, however, does not primarily require success in such attainment, but rather in the suppleness of bodily characteristics, in order for Asana itself to be adorned with success, and the being of the Aspirant to undergo such shaping up to let each form of energy flow unhindered. Like Asana, it has its aspects – the physical is just one of them. The essence is actually in the purification of “Rupa” where you reside, from the essence your being is made of, which is always a pure light. It can be a method, but also a goal, depending on what you want.
About the use of a Mantra
I want to mention to you right from the start that the Mantra is just one of the steps. What I really want is to understand its parallel in Asana and Pranayama, as well as in all the objects that contribute to Samadhi. As I explained to you in the section on Asana and Pranayama, the same goes for Mantra. The essence lies in binding the mind and increasing the attention. Mantra is a deliberate distraction to all perceptions, except, of course, the perception of Mantra; it is the initiator of the ultimate Yoga which is realized in the Aspirant’s mind in the “moment” of Samadhi. The meaning of Mantra alone is irrelevant, though it can sometimes be important – as long as the meaning serves a single purpose – attentive focus.
The use of a Mantra is a risky process. There is twofold danger: the danger of monotony and the danger of intrigue. The proper use of the Mantra will never result in anything interesting, and then again, it will not be anything ordinary. Now you can become aware that Mantra is a deception. It acts on the mind, not with its meaning but with pure mechanics. This may be strange to those who think that Yoga is a goal worthy only of sublime minds who shrewdly interpret dark symbols and understand the speech of unconscious nature. This is not about that at all. The realization of Yoga with the Mantra is a thousand times closer to the most basic physics than to mysticism. Therefore, let us be pragmatic. In its essential form, a Mantra is a signal that disturbs the mind and makes it work differently than usual. Suppose a steady mind is regulated to work at a specific frequency. In that case, a mantra is a tool that will stop oscillations, not by resting but by accelerating the pace until the “wire” that oscillates simply breaks. Silence is not achieved here by turning down the sound but by destroying its sound apparatus. Suppose the mind is a string, then you will tighten the string with a mantra, raising the tone until the string snaps. At that moment, a condition for Yoga has been set. But you should think mainly that the object of enlightenment does not make enlightenment an object.
You can ask me what it looks like in practice. Everything is very peculiar and needs some time to master. Once learned, one understands not only the method of a Mantra but the whole of Yoga. Once you have chosen a Mantra, impartially, you will sit down in your favorite position, the way you have learned and in the way your own experience tells you. When you have abolished the conscious occupation toward your corporeality after a certain time, you can move on, although this can also be skipped if you can focus firmly on what follows. Say a Mantra as slowly as possible. Then repeat in the same way, without any variability in mood or accent; what is required is rough monotony. Now speed up the pace a bit, but just enough to have a clear hunch of acceleration. At the same time, lower the volume of your voice as much as you have accelerated. What happens is a specific feeling about the compression of time that affects the change of consciousness. You will continue like this until you can pronounce a Mantra so quickly that your lips will not be able to follow it with clarity so that you will repeat a Mantra in your mind only. Practice shows that this is much simpler than it may have seemed at first. Also, the volume decreases until it fades into silence. This must be spontaneous, without accent or excessive formality; otherwise, the effect of a Mantra will be diminished or will disappear completely. If this is done correctly, at one point, there seems to be a snap, a mental oversaturation of the whole act. Within that moment, your mind will reach Oneness or the precondition of Oneness, or the precondition of the precondition of Oneness. This is enough because Oneness is only one; a Mantra will remain far behind it. Practical work explains these difficult and incomprehensible instructions.
About the meaning of Ojas
There seems to be a certain kind of subtle energy that contains the identity of the bearer of that force; this kind of force exists within every conscious organism, at least, and its characteristic is in the way it manifests itself. Therefore, it is not Prana, although you can now object to significant similarities. It is wisest not to compare similar things at all, but to be aware of the difference. Ojas can be viewed as a superorganic binder. It is not a force by action but by nature. It brings health and psychophysical balance to the being.
But, like any kind of force, it can be directed and channeled according to the Will. You can get the impression that the entire Kundalini and Kriya section of Yoga is based on this. Ojas wakes up and climbs from the Aspirant’s foundation and rushes upwards, waking up all the centers it touches. Much nonsense and many fairy tales have been written on this topic, but practical experiences say that something is definitely happening. If anything can be concluded, it is that the change of consciousness is closely connected with the change and raising of this force. Therefore, both force and consciousness are only carriers, and they can equally be both the consequence and the cause of change.
About cleansing by Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga stresses the great importance of body cleansing exercises and lists six types of cleansing accordingly. It is not a bad idea to mention them; you might find it useful.
- Dhauti is the cleansing of the upper abdominal tract, which also includes cleaning the teeth.
- Basti is the cleansing of the colon and rectum by enema.
- Neti is nasal cavity cleaning.
- Nauli is a massage and control of abdominal muscles.
- Kapalabhati or purifying breathing carried out with powerful exhalations.
- Trataka or staring without blinking – used for cleaning and strengthening tear ducts, as well as the whole eye apparatus.
About some hints that Nadis have been purified
There are some very clear indications of this. The whole thing is the question of the subtle vascular nature of Prana. The obstruction of Nadis causes a weak inflow of Prana into a particular part of the subtle body, resulting in loss of vitality. The purity of Nadis is the exact opposite of the above mentioned: Prana flows equally, the body receives as much energy as it needs to, so it is a sure sign of vitality in the furthest capillary cells. Also, on subtle planes, the above-mentioned works to strengthen the Body of Light; thus, its nature is also filled with vitality. Endurance, lightness, complete integrity of the apparatus – from subtle to rough, it is a feature of pure Nadis indeed.
About the Atman
I can tell you little about the Atman; the whole problem lies in the awareness of the term. The concept and essence of the Atman lie in defining reality. Looking directly, everything can be reduced to three things. The first is the subject, the second which is all “around” the subject, and the third, “that” which is in between, which enables them to be understood and defined. The third thing is the distance, without which there would be no relationship or possibility of distinction, but think of distance as a specific expression of Sunyata, or Emptiness. The nature of the Atman is the nature of one of the essential states of the Universe. It is one of the most refined conceptions of the Gunas. Its nature is closely connected with the nature of Brahman. On the one hand, these are pure opposites; therefore, if you understand only one, you will understand the other by the pure negation of the idea. On the other hand, these are exactly the same things.
The Atman is a representation of the Selfness in its essential form, the form of pure existence. However, the insight of Atman indicates its non-Selfness nature. The whole idea of Mahayana Buddhism is reflected in this: Atman is Brahman by realization, Brahman is Atman by expression. Therefore, the notion of Atman can be most closely related to Hadith or the core of manifested existence. Indeed, Atman is Brahman by realization, Brahman is Atman by its expression, as I have already said.
The concept of Chakras stems from the very idea of Prana. Rarely can anyone give a logical, reasonable answer and explanation of what Prana is. Since the nature of Chakras is closely related to the concept of Prana, we encounter difficulties in defining those terms here, but some general observations and conclusions can be drawn. A Chakra is a hub, the crossroads of the Prana flow. The best comparison is a light bulb. Prana is the electricity inside and around. It seems to be looking for a place of manifestation. There is a resistor provoking a conflict of power with its resistance, but under the Will, where the Will for light allows for a possibility to be perceived and seen. But it should be borne in mind that a bulb is not Prana. It only indicates the place where the concentration and charge of force are increased, which is in endless directions everywhere “around.” In other words, it is a Chakra – a coagulated concentration of Prana that has the purpose of looking like a rougher skeleton in relation to its shapeless nature, as it is found in nature and outside the body. Prana, on the other hand, is the multiplicity of strings in space. Where several strings intertwine, a lump is formed, which is a Chakra. It is simply a higher order of density and definition of consciousness. The denser the lump, the more concrete its manifestation and function are, with a tendency to increasing and getting more complex on a physiological level. You may think that the densest and largest Chakra is consciousness. This is but a theory; energy phenomena are nothing but ideal tests of Ruach.
Being an aspect of our work, we have to say something about the death of the body. A proper thought of such an experience is as valuable as the thought of Pranayama and Asana; but how wrong the concept of life itself is, because we do not pursue it consciously, but furiously, automatically, as if somebody told us to, like waking up in the morning for an appointment that we hate from the bottom of our soul. This seems to be the last standing general of Binah’s defense, but it can also be his traitor, for those who know how to put things right. For a Neophyte, the near-death experience is not such a distant notion, and there are many records and cases of rather brilliant coincidences where Neophytes have had a close encounter with the great adventure of death. That event leads to the awakening of an individual to such an extent that it leaves a mark on all following grades. One might say that it was part of the great architect’s plan who triggered by such an act all that the Aspirant experienced later, or it made him quit, though. It is difficult to discern what is the cause and what is the consequence in this great sea of chaos, whether there is such a thing as giving up at all, or is it all just another way of naming the same thing: “love” – in a million different languages and dialects of the Universe. Death, the body, and the immune system are just chapters of one book called life, and living that life is up to us solely, whether living with others or living with ourselves – it has always been one and the same life. The one we have and the one we do not have is always the same life in the same way. The philosophical discussion of life and living is the relationship between the Neophyte and the Zelator, but practical results of all these conclusions must undoubtedly be found in work related to the grade; they will thus form the basis upon which the Zelator will establish himself, and embark on his work on Asana and Pranayama. Thinking about life and death is always thinking about life. Thinking about death is all too often a distraction aiming at not thinking about it, and as long as we have a sadness transfer when our loved ones leave, it is, in fact, always about us. And if we pay attention to the atmosphere of death coming to our neighborhood or our home, we will always have an opportunity to encounter the highest form of consciousness that lies hidden there. But how disguised and cunning is Binah on that magnificent occasion; just as one obtains an object of meditation that can elevate the mind to unprecedented heights – usually death is not talked about in a grieving house, but rather some completely irrelevant things, diverting skillfully from the subject where the same Binah might see his own defeat. For the grave and the shroud of Binah is the cradle of the star soul at the same time. This is all part of nature’s play, but we are certainly free to think about all the possibilities and the exploitation of every moment of life – even when it physically ceases. Both sadness and fear are manifestations of Binah, each in its own way and ideally manifested in its own time – just as much as we would have missed an ideal moment of knowing. Both of these things are just a form of his royal majesty – neurosis, but we are free to welcome it with a sign of liberation and joy. Because in that fear and in that sadness, even anger, we see just one way in which the child within, in an utterly non-verbal, awkward, and illogical way, always says the same thing to all the Æons together – “I love you.” When a man is born to this world, everyone around him smiles – it is only he who cries. And when a man dies, everyone cries – only he is smiling. A Neophyte must not be brave in this, nor timid, angry, nor even calm. He must dissect all the experiences and observations of this outstanding venture, repeatedly returning as a boomerang thought to himself and about himself. It is all about oneself because all of this hides whispering and teasing the one who projects all these events and happenings, clumsily, continually having a dialogue with our dormant attention that does not respond to him – the Angel.
You can really understand Kundalini as a form of force; still, I think it will sooner or later cause confusion. It seems that there is a type of action in a person that wakes up in certain and quite specific circumstances and changes the things it encounters. Sometimes abruptly, sometimes mildly, but change is its essence; its energy and nature serve no other purpose but change. Any extension of this view is a matter of speculation, so we will stop here, at least when it comes to mere definitions. You must understand the term, but you must not limit it to anything that is not a certain truth. When it comes to force, it is very easy to stray to the side because your sensors are the least involved here, and that force resides on a very subtle plane.
You need to experience Kundalini as it is in the realm of your own senses and leave its action to a personal experience that can vary and be completely different from mine. Feel free to think about this: Kundalini is a projection of the Middle Path, or better, the Middle Way since you do not yet have a defined relationship toward Paths within your being. It can be said that Kundalini is either a consequence of a change of consciousness that occurs at a certain moment of work or the cause that creates that change. Either way, it is closely tied to the concept of change, and you definitely need to make an effort to understand it and awaken it within yourself. It lies curled up inside your Muladhara and aspires to the heights of your Crown. It seems to be a simple channeling of its action. You should understand this aspiration as directed by Sushumna and all Nadis. That aspiration is not a subjective reaction to the supreme God up there. In fact, the opposite is true; our idea of God above is a consequence, not a cause, of the natural flow of awakening consciousness, and the movement of that experience through some channels, upward. It is entirely irrelevant what of this is before and what is after. The emphasis is on change, and you can think of it as the essence of existence, of that force, and your consciousness. If you behave like that, there is very little chance that you will go astray. Force is not dangerous, but rather, it is a matter of the economy of consumption, by no means in fear of charge; awareness of the proper economy of force creates the freedom to use it properly and without fear. Perhaps we can say that fear is the only thing that prevents control.
About the meaning of two Mudras
Dharmachakra Mudra – Mudra of turning of the Great Wheel – with the thumb and the index finger gently touching themselves at fingertips while the other three fingers being free and upwards – that is to say, the Aspirant’s mind and his being finding refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. But one has to think about this – at first glance, the nature of this Mudra is not static. The hands move as if the Great Wheel is spinning; however, it is about coordinating movement and the right direction of reality; in fact, the hands do not push the Wheel but rather stimulate its own motion, which is unconditioned by inertia or the Aspirant’s movement. If taken from the position of the Wheel axis, the hands are standing perfectly still, and everything “else” is moving, in fact. This is the gesticulated nature of correct Dharana. Therefore, paradoxically, this is the most passive of all Mudras.
Dhyani Mudra. This Mudra imitates holding an oval stone or a shell. It is actually wrapping a being around an oval egg of the spirit, like a Serpent wrapping itself around the Heart. Thumbs are attributed to the spirit, and their union establishes an endless flow and circulation of consciousness; the only constant is the constant of change.
Exactly as much nonsense has been written about Karma as it has been written about the nature of the human being, just because both things are conditioned by the same principles and actually point to the same thing. Karma is a system of connecting gears; if one does not work, the whole thing stops. But that never happens because there is not just one axis, like one Wheel of Samsara. Man is burdened with the isolation of his own actions. Karma is the law of transmission of force, and in the most direct and precise context, Karma is the law of spreading awareness. Not consciousness, but awareness, and there is as much difference as between Karma and Destiny. Awareness of cause and consequence is an consequence, or a cause, of the isolated Ego structure of the human mind. When the Aspirant transforms his awareness into a pure effect and agreement of great cause, when he understands his being as an unchangeable law and the resultant of the action of all forces outside him and within him, when he realizes that every action is cause and effect in itself, he goes beyond change. That relationship is Karma.
Speaking about Samsara is speaking about the Wheel of Samsara. It means acting by the Wheel of Samsara. It means turning around the Wheel of Samsara. But besides everything, you are not on it, nor do you turn or spin, yet again, you act. Understanding Samsara necessarily implies neither exiting nor not-exiting from the Wheel. The whole wisdom is in aligning your rotation with the rotation of the axis, not in spending the effort on turning the Wheel. You have to understand that the nature of the Wheel is to rotate by itself, so your effort is indeed redundant. Synchronize yourself with the rotation of the axis. By doing so, you will see that the whole reality turns, not the Wheel. The Wheel is proportionally opposite to this conclusion; therefore, its nature is static. This is a paradox itself, as a term and as an experience. Do not turn the Wheel for anything in the world; you should not touch it in any circumstances; therefore, the key of initiation is in the harmony of one movement. The movement of the Wheel and the movement of yourself, which is still One thing. The movement of the Wheel.
“The Great Wheel of Samsara.
The Wheel of the Law [Dhamma].
The Wheel of the Taro.
The Wheel of the Heavens.
The Wheel of Life.
All these Wheels be one; yet of all these the Wheel of the TARO alone avails thee consciously.
Meditate long and broad and deep, O man, upon this Wheel, revolving it in thy mind
Be this thy task, to see how each card springs necessarily from each other card, even in due order from The Fool unto The Ten of Coins.
Then, when thou know’st the Wheel of Destiny complete, mayst thou perceive THAT Will which moved it first. [There is no first or last.]
And lo! thou art past through the Abyss.”
[Book of the Lies, Aleister Crowley]
“Therefore, O Sariputra, here in this emptiness there is no body, no feeling, no thought, no will, no consciousness. There are no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind. There is no seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no imagining. There is nothing seen, nor heard, nor smelled, nor tasted, nor touched, nor imagined. There is no ignorance, and no end to ignorance. There is no old age and death, and no end to old age and death. There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no end to suffering, no path of ending to suffering. There is no attainment of Nirvana, and no Nirvana to attain.”
[Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra]