Level1 – Lesson 7
A) About the main teachings brought out in the audio
The audio lesson is an introduction about what is necessary for success in spiritual life.
The evolution of the mind brought with it the possibility of self-awareness leading to the notion of separateness or the existence of the Self apart from the rest of objects of creation. That illusory perception is further reinforced by the Intellect capable only to perceive reality under the acceptation of separateness. Another aspect that feeds the awareness of duality is the reliance of the mind on physical senses as channel for perceiving reality without considering at the same time their limitations hence the illusory aspect of the phenomenon they are impressing upon us. It results from the awareness of duality and the attachment to it as an abiding reality, continuous pain and suffering because there is a conflict between the Nature of human being and the experience one has of that nature. Underlying this conflict is a search for a state of permanent bliss, free of pain and suffering. The mind is striving to find this abiding happiness in time and space reinforcing the illusion that leads to more suffering. In the process, the mind has imprisoned itself in the structure of delusion that he has created until realization of the futility of pursuing happiness in time and space. There are two paths toward that realization: one that is driven by natural forces that will compel human to realize the transcendental unity that sustains apparent duality but, that requires multiple cycles of reincarnation; the second one is based on a conscious transformation process where awareness of duality is dissolved progressively until realization of cosmic oneness, leading to abiding happiness and enlightenment. The second path is called spiritual practice and until a human decides to follow that path, one can be considered to act in a constrained way, like an animal limiting the inherent potentiality of human for consciousness expansion to reach cosmic awareness.
Spiritual practice in the context of Kemetic philosophy is called Shedy, meaning to penetrate the mysteries. It relates essentially to the activities that we do in order to be able to deepen our knowledge of the teachings and develop Saa understanding. It is about what the aspirant is doing to transform present consciousness of duality to realization of the underlining unity sustaining all objects of creation. When we elevate our awareness to that level, we become enlightened; we escape from the evil chamber of our illusion and reach Maakeru.
What are then the qualities to develop in order to be successful in the spiritual path?
There are three essential principles one needs to abide to in order to progress in the spiritual path. On top of them, we have misconceptions to avoid as well as additional mental attitudes that will help sustaining our development.
About Principles that will guide us to success in the spiritual path
1. Cultivating virtues
The first one relates to the cultivation of virtues. The Arius accumulated in the pursuit of happiness in time and space has created a cloud that hides the perception of our true nature as being one with the entire creation. This cloud needs to be dissolved in order for us to perceive and realize the truth about our true nature. The purpose of learning about the virtues is to provide us with the understanding that will help us purifying our personality in order to elevate ourselves to the realization of the transcendental reality. Essential qualities to cultivate that help us removing gross impurities within our personality include right thinking, right actions, self-control, sex sublimation, nonviolence, etc. Among the virtues to cultivate, there is one that stands the most and represents the final goal of all our practices, the striving for understanding truthfulness. In the context of the teaching, truth is not an absolute concept and is based on our current level of understanding; in that sense, our truth of today may be totally different from the one we will have in the future as we evolve in the path. The point is to be able to transcend previous truth and not hold on to it as absolute reality: doing so will limit our ability to progress in the path.
In the context of Neterianism, the highest virtues one should aspire to develop within our personality are those of the Neterus, the gods and goddesses. As we are developing those virtues, we are getting closer to Neberdjer, the all-encompassing divinity. The teaching tells us to not close our ears to the words of truth and in that sense, we should be open and humble as the truth may originate from someone we perceive as being lower than us.
2. Bring the virtues into our ordinary day to day life with MAAT philosophy
One important aspect of spiritual life if not the essential is to be able to apply the qualities promoted by the teaching in our practical life and that refers to application of Maat philosophy. The cultivation of the virtues as stated in the first principle is not an end in itself as we should also apply them in our daily lives. Ordinarily, most people have acted in ways contrary to the order of nature and, developing the virtuous qualities within our personality will help reversing the trend and will lead to new Arius that will sustain progressively the conformity of our actions to the natural order. Another aspect of the application of the virtues relates to purification of our personalities in order to be able to better understand the teaching.
3. Continuous spiritual practice of the virtues
Continuous practice relates to perseverance: the aspirant needs to be persistent up to a point where the practices become an integral part of life. One aspect is to be patient in regards to our perception of progress. Quite often, one may be discouraged about possible lack of progress without realizing it is related to the need to dissolve effect of past actions. Patience and continuous practice are necessary in order to create new Arius to overcome our deeds in the past.
Misconceptions about spirituality
The above principles are essential but, also the aspirant has to be aware of misconceptions about spiritual life that are limiting progress in the path. There are people who incorrectly believe we have to travel in special places to attain enlightenment and that is seriously limiting. Others think that enlightenment is for the ones with special spiritual power or great sages like Buddha, Jesus, Imhotep, etc… Another misconception to avoid relates to the tendency of delaying spiritual practice to later years of own life after we’ve taken care of our duties and responsibilities. The problem with that approach resides in the accumulation of negative Arius that lead to degradation in our personality up to a point where it will become impossible to overcome them at such late period in our life. It is necessary to find proper balance and strive to evolve our spirituality constantly. Another misconception one needs to be aware of and avoid relates to the association of spirituality with the possession of psychic powers or ability to perform miracles. A strong understanding of spirituality leads to being able to distinguish between what is real and not real in order not to get distracted in phenomenon that are perishable in time and space.
About the mental attitudes, we need to emphasize that the teaching may not be approached in egoistic ways that could lead to fanatical behaviors. The MEDU Neter commands us to not follow blindly in our search for truth and inspires us to go beyond faith, beyond philosophical concept in the process.
Spiritual practice should be balanced as we should strive to keep a virtuous outlook not only for ourselves but also being able to train others in acquiring similar manner. Flexibility is a determinant quality allowing us to develop our ability to adapt to situations in life and be able to overcome adversities and challenges with relentlessness to always making the best effort.
About criteria to practice
There are some misunderstandings to clarify as people may think that they need high University degree to succeed in the spiritual path. One important point is to be able to understand what enlightenment really means and be able to adjust our life accordingly. In the process, ability to forgive our trespasses and sins is necessary with the understanding that what is wrong today belongs to past actions. Our present actions based on righteousness will bring virtues for the future. We need to pay particular attention to the ego in its tendency to utilize our temporary downfall as proof of our incapacity to lead a spiritual life. We need to counteract and change our attention with positive thinking meaning being able to distinguish between real and not real. It is important to understand the transient aspect of our current personality hence the capacity to transform it in a way to sustain our development in the spiritual path.
Ultimately, a very important element is to not forget about the transient aspect of the teaching and their essential role of guidance toward realizing the divinity within us. We have to be able to spiritualize our life in bringing virtues in every aspect. We will consolidate our spiritual evolution when we are able to live a life where we see ourselves as servant of God or our higher Self with the perception that they are essentially acting through us. In that sense, selfless service is the greatest way to put down the ego and bring humility to our life: a quality that is essential to open up the way to spiritual heart. When we finally realize the transient aspect of our involvement in time and space and dedicate it to higher purpose, we have engaged rightfully in the spiritual practices that will lead us to knowledge of ourselves and the divine, leading to the attaining the state of Maakeru or being true of speech.
B) Are you currently implementing the teaching given in the book and in the lecture
I am applying the teaching to the best of my ability and the practice is expanding with the study. One thing I realize is that implementation of the teaching has been growing over time. As time passes, I am able to integrate new aspects with some of them becoming easier to implement as originally thought.
The listening to the Wisdom is the area I have been able to practice more intensely. Regarding devotion, I am able to practice fully in the morning. Practice related to the rest of the day is not as regular. Regarding MAAT application, I am currently in the stage where I can better control actions and thoughts not that It is fully at the desired level. However, ability to perceive upcoming emotions is present and I am using that to help addressing weaknesses of the personality. I also work along the 42 precepts of MAAT and try to develop awareness about when we need to reinforce the precepts. I also try to use them as guidance in life situations particularly in occasions where the course of actions is not evident. In times of stress, I try to meditate on what is truly abiding as opposed to transient and that helps bringing calmness. I practice the techniques of breathing every morning and quite a few times at night also before sleeping. I also practice the postures to the best of my ability as of now. Meditation in the morning is part of my normal routine and I am looking into making it as well a part of my evening spiritual routine.
How will I implement those I am not currently practicing?
I have realized there are practices we may not be able to perform due to timing and impact of Arius. However, as we develop more understanding, some of these practices automatically integrate our life and become part of our daily routines. The essential point for me in regards to practices I am not able to execute despite my willingness sometimes, is to deepen the study of the mysteries that will sustain development of new Arius that will in turn expand my capacity to practice more and more. The aspect I am contemplating the most to realize is being able to see myself as a servant of the higher self and more and more to experience life as an expression of the higher reality. Requisite for that includes selfless service and ability to spiritualize all activities; two essential virtues that I may understand for now but not yet to the level of feeling that would lead to complete personality integration. In that sense, continuous practice and learning constitute the basis of what I do to be able to implement the teachings i am not currently doing in order to progress in the path.