Level 1, Lesson 11A, Audio Assignment, The Etiquette and decorum for initiates – How to act in the presence of the Preceptor, The Deity, and each other.
1. What are the main teachings brought out in the audio lecture recording? Explain in your own words.
(a) When coming to the spiritual hall or Temple an aspirant must be cleansed physically, in their speech, and in their mind. An Aspirant must show respect for their spiritual hall or temple by cleaning the body as they would before they start their day in the practical world. There is also cleansing of the speech so that the aspirant makes sure not to speak harshly or disrespectfully while in the spiritual hall or temple. This also extends to the aspirants thoughts. Any resentment, anger, hatred, unkind thoughts, etc., must be released before entering the spiritual hall or temple. At the temple or spiritual hall an aspirant is communing with the gods and goddesses and must raise their vibration and show respect for the communion to benefit them. Hygiene is of the upmost importance for one’s physical, mental and spiritual health because it brings disease and will distract the spiritual practice. Shower for your mouth is uttering the divine singing/chants. Shower for your mind is meditation. Both should be done daily.
(b) They must leave their worldly possessions, cellphones, beepers, etc., outside of the Temple. Either do not bring them or have a locker to place them in before entering the Temple. No sex or eating of meat before coming to the Temple, these activities have worldly vibrations. You leave the world outside of the Temple and do not distract yourself or others.
(c) Several sitting postures (1) cross legged; (2) lotus posture or half lotus posture; (3) sitting in a chair with legs together and both hands on thighs; (4) sitting on the ground with the legs together to the side or as if you are sitting on a chair; (5) sitting on your knees and your heals. Do not sit with your feet facing forward especially towards the divinity or the sage. Do not slump or lay down it will tend to impair the reasoning and mental understanding and lead one to slumber. Spine must be straight up. These postures will lead you to attentiveness. Sitting postures usually last less than an hour. Preferable not to have a back on the chair.
(d) The shrine is kept closed except during the times the program is being instructed, only open to initiates. Only initiates are allowed to see or handle the image of the divinity because people with impure hands may carry worldly vibrations of ignorance. The secrecy of the divinity is to develop awe and admiration from the masses. When the initiates are finally allowed to see the image they are instructed about the image and what the significance of the image of the divinity such as the clothing, ankhs, etc.
(e) Special white or light colored clothes are to be worn in the Temple, worldly clothes are not to be worn in the temple. Clothing is specially made at a reasonable price and although not absolutely necessary it sets a “tone” for the practice.
(f) Initiates are expected to play the morning worship tape and study and take the initiative to study during the week in addition to attending the Temple. An aspirant must learn how to “walk” with the mind. Sometimes the mind wants silence, sometimes it wants music, sometimes it wants study. The mind must be trained in a relaxed manner to seek the higher teachings and an aspirant must train the mind so that the mind will cooperate with the goal of enlightenment. The goal is to turn the mind to the divine so the mind is directed by the divine and the ego will come into alignment also. The body must also be brought into alignment with your spiritual consciousness, with diet and also the postures.
(g) An aspirant’s home should be like a shrine to the divine. For instance posters, proverbs, images, items to point your mind to the divine at all times.
(h) The teachings have been structured in a way that assists the aspirant in managing the mind by the practice of chanting, listening to the music, meditation, listening to lectures, postures, etc. The mind cannot be enlightened by reading only, reading books only will lead to failure. In addition to reading books an aspirant must also have a spiritual discipline which includes the postures, chanting, devotion, meditation and more. The system of integral yoga takes the entire personality into consideration and brings the body into alignment with the spiritual personality instead of the ego personality. The mind has to be constantly turned towards the divine in a balanced, insightful and relaxed way. The movement/practice has to be ordered and balanced so the divine power can grow slowly and steadily. Enlightenment is developed through the Shedy practice. The process is called Shemsu. Shedy means study of the mysteries.
(i) Prostrate yourself with the heels together, toes curled in, hands in front of you resting on your elbows, forehead on the ground. It is called your face is kissing the ground. Even if the shrine is closed you will prostrate in front of the shrine and then take a seat.
(j) The spiritual preceptor, Seba (preceptor, means singing star or illuminating preceptor) or Sehu (means spiritual counselor) is greeted with “Hotep or Hetep”) with both hands out facing upward (the Dua “adoration” posture). For greeting each other “Hotep” and a bow.
(k) Seba means shining star or illuminating preceptor. The preceptor is “male” (Seba) and the initiates are “female” (Sebat). The preceptor, acting in the male aspect, shines illumination on the student who is receptive therefore they are acting in the female aspect. The student will receive illumination from the teacher. The student allows themselves to become “pregnant” with the teachings and achieve enlightenment.
(l) The artifact “Sebai Ur” means the great illuminator. In the beginning a student will shift, sometimes they are focused, diligent, etc. and other days they have challenges with emotions, thoughts, worldly situations, they are changeable. As a student progresses they will begin to become more steady and less changeable. Seba Ur” represents that steadiness and unchangeability, cleansing and control over the mind.
(m) Relationships with each other should be cordial and friendly from the perspective of the temple etiquette and not sentimental or “friendly” from a worldly sense. Interacting with fellow aspirants in a cordial, detached manner. Again, the main focus is learning the teachings. In the temple silence is appropriate rather than talking, keep your attention on yourself and the divine in you as you experience the teachings in the temple, introspection.
(n) It is appropriate and necessary to read the books and listen to the lectures more than one time, even more than 3-4 times. Each time you do this you will understand more than you did the last time. As we purify the mind we open the mind to understanding at deeper and deeper levels.
(o) It is not enjoined to isolate yourself from the world. A dispassion and detachment from the world is needed, however, it is unhealthy and it blocks your spiritual movement to become a fanatic regarding the teachings.
(p) If a conflict develops between aspirants it should be discussed between them. If resolution is not achieved based on the teachings that are understood then it should be brought to the Sebai and the resolution from the Sebai should be followed and accepted without question, the wisdom of the resolution will reveal itself. The etiquette of the temple is prescribed so that these occurrences will be minimal.
(q) An aspirant must realize that the body is not “real” it is illusory. The attention to the body such as special oils, clothing, jewelry, etc. is not encouraged in the teachings. Giving the body such attention actually goes against the teaching. Things that are focused on the body’s natural health are enjoined.
(r) It is expected that negative things will happen in the world and as an initiate it is important how you handle those negative situations. In a body this is expected, as an initiate the teachings will assist you to have a detachment to these occurrences. On a practical nature the occurrences must be handled, however, the outcome does not determine the quality of an initiate. Everything happens for a reason. Following the teachings is a difficult journey, however, the difficulties are tools for the initiate to gain strength. The Maatian way is to quietly handle the obstacles. The quality of an initiate is determined by how the initiate handles the world.
(s) Chanting is designed to elevate your feeling and meet the divine with it. Chanting raises your vibration, directs the mind in a positive way, purifies the mind and more. Chants should be memorized and learned by heart, the same with the drumming and cistern playing
(t) Devotion without wisdom is blind faith. How can you love when you do not know the divinity? Develop a connection and a feeling towards the divine. The more you know the divinity the more the feeling of love will grow because it is being nurtured and fed.
(u) Kemetic Diet and the Initiation books are foundational books. Egyptian Yoga Volume 1 should be read and understood so that you can be proper ambassadors for the teachings so that you can answer questions correctly.
(v) Practicing patience and perseverance is important with the meditation practice. Slowly increase the time you are sitting in meditation do not over estimate yourself. Working with the mind in the area of postures is also important. The postures assist in quieting the mined and the releases the energy to allow the body to sit quietly. Chanting in meditation is beneficial at times so that there will not be fighting with the mind because fighting with the mind is a waste of time.
(w) Action-less Actor: Allow your thoughts to flow to the divine as you perform the action. You are releasing egoism because the divine is performing the action. You are maintaining that calm and peace because the divine is doing it all!
(x) Taking a proverb a day to reflect on the teachings. Reflect on that proverb throughout the day.
(y) When you deal with others serve them as seeing them as the divine self, seeing the divine in others. This creates a sense of unity.
2. Are you currently implementing the teaching given in the book and the lecture? If so which one?
Yes. The more I learn regarding the teachings and how to practice I am amazed at how my life moved in this direction even before I heard about Egyptian Yoga. I lost a great deal of vision in 11/2000 and adjusting to the loss of my eyesight pulled my attention away from the world, it changed my priorities. Not being able to see more than a foot in front of you with any acuity will do that for you. I have been moving towards being vegan since 2009 when I was diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. My life experience has taught me that relationships do not bring happiness. Over the last couple of years I have been feeling “detached” from family and friends. After moving to Austin, TX about 18 months ago (knowing no one) although I have met people, they think me being detached is who I am and they are accepting of it, whereby longtime friends and family would not be and it would be difficult for them. Seba Dja’s poem “God’s Divine Plan” I have experienced and have a knowledge from that experience.
(1) Three fold daily worship weekdays. I get up at 4:00 am to practice my devotional ritual, postures, chant and meditation. I only get 30 minutes for lunch so I follow along with the tape for the Noon Day Worship and then eat my lunch. In the evening I perform my devotional ritual, study the teachings and practice meditation and silence.
(2) On weekends I devote more time to my Shedy practice and study of the teachings.
(3) At work we are allowed to listen to books on tape or music so I listen to lectures as I work. My mind is constantly on the teachings and reflecting and applying them as I interact with others at work and commuting.
(4) Selfless service: I joined a blind/visually impaired diabetic group and volunteer as secretary and assist where I can.
(5) I use public/special transportation that is shared so sometimes I can ride for 1 1/2 hours before I get to work and another 1 1/2 before I arrive home. I listen to lecture tapes at this time also. I am exposed to mentally challenged, elderly, and disabled people on a regular basis which can be challenging. I have developed compassion, patience, and detachment.
(6) I am totally vegan now and about 75% raw. I am taking supplements and no longer have any health conditions other than being visually impaired.
(7) I am naturally an introvert, however, being criticized for this over the years I began to talk more. It is a relief to have permission to be quiet and reflective again.