Udja Sebai Maa and Seba Dja,
Please see below my video assignment for Lesson 5 – Level 1
Lesson 5 – Level 1: Video Assignment
1) Meditation system
The mind usually acts like a monkey in a forest, jumping from one subject to the next. In that sense, it goes astray leaving the individual with no control over his or her thoughts. Doing so, the mind loses ability to focus or to concentrate at single objects. This wondering of the mind is a key obstacle to spiritual progress and is the result of a leaving habit based on ignorance of the true self where reality is perceived as fragmented with objects existing separately and independently. From that same perspective of ignorance, the mind perceives the objects of thoughts as being separate from the thinker. However, according to the essence of the teaching, every object of reflection of the mind is the mind itself: the relationship is like a person and his shadow. There is no separation between the subject and object of knowledge and thinking differently leads to a delusion. The teaching is telling us about the One and only reality, Neberdjer, expressing itself in the forms of a trinity of Amun- Ra- Ptah. Ptah represents the physical world, and in the context of an individual, the body; RA represents our feelings, perceptions and related mental activities; Amun is our consciousness which includes all. The higher purpose of meditation is then to allow us to be conscious of the unity of objects of creation moving from a perception based on separateness and discrimination to intuitional realization of that unity. The individual is an aggregation of thinking, feelings and mental processes in a body with all related to his or her consciousness and when these aggregates dissolve or return to the source, there remains only one ultimately reality. In that sense, meditation is about returning to the source of those aggregates in order to realize the unity or the essence of that reality and becomes one with it. It is like the river after wandering through so many paths returns to the ocean and merges with it. Similar to the river that always returns to the source, the mind in its wondering is also looking for the source but except falsely believes that the source can be found in objects of the world it has created. Although started initially with the purpose of controlling the mind, meditation leads us ultimately to a state of Anrutef or the state of no mind. In that sense, the sages are telling us meditation reveals and heals. It reveals the true and abiding reality to us and heals us from a state of suffering based on ignorance where we initially perceive reality as separate and independent and become attached to that perception. The individual SOUL initially sees reality in a clouding context with objects being the results of imagination; with practice of meditation, the SOUL gradually dissolves the cloud until realization of transcendence of all concepts and reaches a state of non-discrimination between object and subject. When that realization occurs, the teaching tells us the SOUL has reached NEHAST or is resurrected and becomes one with the rest of the creation.
In Shetaut Neter, there exist several meditation systems with similar purpose. There is the Arat Sekhem Ua or meditation on the subtle life force; the Ari Sma Maat Uaa or meditation on the righteous actions; Nuk Po-Ushet Ua, meditation on the I am; Nuk Ra Akhu Ua, meditation on the glorious light; Rekh Ammu Ua, meditation on the wisdom teaching; Rekh Ankh Ua: meditation on the tree of life. No one system is better than the other and the essential point is to practice with perseverance and great effort and not to jump from one to the other.
In the practice of meditation, the aspirant should gradually strive to intellectually grasp the concept of interdependence between the mind and objects of reflection so that in his or her approach, he or she is not deluded thinking about trying to control something outside of himself or herself. With that recognition and the help of the shedy disciplines,one will gradually move to higher spiritual steps until final realization. But, without that first effort of recognizing that oneness and mentally acting through it, it will be difficult to reach higher spiritual stages. The aspirant needs to realize that he or she is always in a state of meditation and not only when one formally sits to do it. The difference is that ordinarily, one only meditates unconsciously on discrimination, fragmentation between objects generating Ariu that reinforce the suffering of the SOUL. By sitting formally on meditation and if done properly, the mind is gradually directing himself to unity of all things generating Arius that would gradually counter balance the previous ones associated with ignorance. In fact, sitting in formal meditation is the first acknowledgement of our constant state of meditation and in that sense we create new vibrations by concentrating on the ultimate reality. Creating that vibration persistently will attire the like vibration until final merge with universal mind, a process that is done consciously. When meditation is done consistently and with serious effort, there is a gradual revelation of the SELF until final realization when the aspirant becomes one with the unity of everything and ultimately is the expression of that reality. Ultimately, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are always one with the objects of our meditation whether it is towards separation and independence of objects of the world which leads to a state of suffering or towards the unity of all things, which is Neberdjer that leads to eternal bliss.
In summary, the purpose of meditation is three folds depending on the levels of the practitioner: provide ability to control the activities of the mind and be able to concentrate; use conscious concentration capabilities to direct the mind to higher realms; ultimately transcend objects of meditation and become one with them. The meditation system of Kemetic philosophy with the varieties, guides us to transcend duality of the mind in order to attain a state of oneness with the divinity and attain NEHAST.
2) Postures in Egyptian Yoga
The state of spiritual ignorance corresponds to having and living by a limited perception of the SELF to worldly objects confined within the aggregate of body, minds and senses in time and space. It is similar to trying an impossible task to fill the entire Ocean in a cup. The identification with body, mind and senses blocks the free flow of the life force Sekhem leading to disease in the body and mind that is the source of mental distresses, anger, fear, depression and all related complexes. Usually, the mind does not accept the entirety of the worldly experiences and constructs a limited image to fit the perception of others and feel accepted by society and family thus, creating a shadow where the true Self is further hidden. When we finally let go of our desire for bodily identification and allow the true SELF to experience life in its totality, we lead ourselves to transcend suffering in order to find true healing.
Yoga in its deepest essence provides the way to heal body and mind through a set of physical and mental exercises that lead to union with cosmic consciousness. Although generally reduced only to physical aspects, yoga provides essentially an integral and balanced approach to healing that leads to a state of spiritual enlightenment where there is conscious awareness of universal oneness. The goal of yoga is to allow for full integration of body, mind and spirit aggregates that allows for free flow of life subtle energy, the Sekhem. To attain such state, it is important to promote a healthy life style through proper nutrition and exercises.
Egyptian Yoga among other practice, includes exercises that can help purifying the body while affecting the mental activities by directing it to higher reflections. Practicing the exercises not only promotes healthy body but the effect also impacts the mind by allowing the energy or life force to flow in a balanced way. The exercise system in Egyptian Yoga also called Tjef Neteru or the movement of the Neteru, is based on pictures and hieroglyphs of the gods and goddesses who represent metaphors to learn about our personality. The movements of The Neterus are exercises for the physical, for the mind and soul and therefore have psycho-spiritual and psycho-physical benefits. The exercises relate to the journey of spiritual evolution and its relation to the development and integration of aspects of the personality through the concept of multiples phases associated with a set of postures.
First of all, there is the creation phase that includes following poses: Nefertem Lotus, Nun, SHu, Warm and journey of Ra. This phase emulates how the SOUL projects itself in time and space through the process of creation. We have the Earth phase emulating the living on earth and the attachment to worldly objects and it includes the following poses: Shoulder-stand, the weel, fish, forward bend and spinal twist. The transition phase emulates the acknowledgment while on earth of a higher reality leading to the birth of Heru, the spiritual aspiration and it includes the following poses: Selket or scorpion; Sebek the crocodile; Arat Cobra; the Horumaket, Sphinx; the Heru and variations. We have the higher self poses, referring to qualities that need to be acquired in order to reach the state of enlightenment and include poses such as: Nut, Maat, Aset winged, Aset sitting, Aset embracing. The ultimate phase corresponds to the enlightenment phase and include poses like the Djed, meditation, Khepri and Shu. Through this set of practices, the yogini is emulating the spiritual life starting from creation, identification with body and worldly objects, the transition stage leading to the affirmation of the higher SELF until the realization of the SELF which is enlightenment. It results that practicing the exercises with the right mental attitude helps in fact emulating within our body, the path toward enlightenment; as opposed to practicing only for the purpose of promoting physical health. While physical health is important, it is not an end in itself; the ultimate goal is through purification of the body and mind complexes, we provide the means for the SELF to reflect and expand and be conscious of its oneness with eternal truth, Neberdjer.
3) Shemshu Udja Shedy
The term relates to burning aspiration to obtain Nehast through the practice of the shedy disciplines. Having been deluded by spiritual ignorance, the aspirant took a resolute decision to move toward light. The shedy disciplines are the vehicles that will take him or her in the place where ASAR lives, Anrutef. Due to past Arius and related identifications, the aspirant will face many difficulties within himself that will need to be overtaken. Among the difficulties, impatience and doubts about the capacity to attain NEHAST stand as perhaps the most powerful. It is so because the aspirant is evolving in a world where speed can be a measure of success as well as the necessity of showing up his or her efforts for everyone to see. Dissolving aspects of personality associated with current perception of the world takes times because they have been built over a long time and through many reincarnations. That is why, patience and perseverance are essential during the journey of the aspirant and this implies constant contact with Temples, the teaching, the Sebai. In that sense, regularity in the beginning as opposed to intensity in the practice is essential as the aspirant is contemplating to integrate new habits, new ways of thinking in accordance to sacred teachings. The regularity in the long run will lead to intensification because of gradual integration of the spiritual qualities until the practices reach an irreversible path. In the myth of ASAR, it is said that Heru, representing the spiritual aspiration has to be hidden away from SET who represents worldly and egoistic attachments. There, he grew under the protection of ASET, the goddess of intuitional wisdom until such time he will be able to confront SET. In a similar way, the aspirant needs through constant practices to develop enough qualities and intuitional knowledge giving him or her enough strength to successfully dissolve negative Arius as opposed to facing them directly at first. Several factors may affect the progression of the aspirants in their practice of Shedy depending on local environment: the association with non-aspirants, the negative perception about his new ways of life; the battle within himself or herself when facing rejection or incomprehension of others. The sincere devotion and practice of rituals will help replacing gradually the need for self-affirmation with worldly objects with the surrendering to higher realities. Without devotion as an integral part of the practice, the aspirant can get easily distracted along the path and will not be able to develop qualities needed to overcome obstacles associated with the fetters.
In general, if there is no Shemsu Udja or burning desire for practice, the higher purpose of Shemsu will not be realized. Instead, the aspirant will be creating a different movement that leads to wandering and the loss of the path. It will be a contraction movement for the SOUL instead of expansion that leads to suffering and pain. Overcoming the fetters of Set which are a creation of the mind require cleverness, dedication, patience, calmness, self-compassion, strength and perseverance otherwise, the aspirant will get trapped and deluded by his or her own mental negative constructions. For above qualities to be developed and sustained, regular and sincere practice of the shedy disciplines are required. The road to spiritual realization of one SELF is an expansion movement whereby devotion to the divine will increase as well as progressive turning away from worldly egoistic desires and goals. The final objective of the mystery is to guide the aspirant in such a way that at the end of the road he or she will be able to affirm with heart, body and SOUL “Nuk pu Nuk ASAR Neter” or I am that I am, Asar the divinity.
4) A glorious legacy for humanity
The economic expansion of Europe during the renaissance and so-called enlightenment periods was based on enslavement of people from Africa as man power for the production system has affected negatively the ability of generation of men and women to know about who they are. This identity crisis not only affects them in time and space but, the research for reclaiming the lost identity is also part of the same delusion that leads to the crisis to start with. One needs to know that the identity crisis not only is an effect of brutal separation of families and people but, it also has been sustained over time with a deconstruction and denigration of any positive reference about the culture of Africa. The perpetuation of the identity crisis is necessary to maintain the current global system of economic inequalities and childhood type of dependencies among Nations with on one part the so called civilized and developed ones and the rest identified as third world. Despite all the efforts to degrade the culture of Africa, the teachings of African Kemetic people remain alive based on work of valiant Scholars, and the ingenuity of Kemetic people to write about their philosophy of life in a way that can’t be totally destroyed. This provides to African a glorious legacy they can build on in their quest for resolving the identity crisis. More importantly, it will help providing a new direction to the quest: instead of simply creating new identification in time and space, the final goal becomes a quest to affirm the higher self which is the true and abiding identity. From that perspective, there will be an elevation of the awareness of the individual beyond physical identity of races, color that will lead to attain NEHAST or Resurrection of the SOUL in Kemetic philosophy. That is the legacy left by the ancestors for people from Africa to work with not essentially as elements of pride but for sources of living. From that perspective, they will impact their lives in a higher possible way but as well generate a new global movement transcending limited concepts of race, color. In that sense, it is our hope that qualities like compassion, genuine solidarity among nations will prime over greed, egoistic competition, oppression, racism, etc… This legacy of the ancestors is not only for us as African but can globally give new directions for genuine transformation of human consciousness that a world of peace
and harmony is possible.