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Level 1 – Lesson 12
A) Sdjm means heeding the teaching
That means to listen to and follow the teaching. The listening aspect involves reading the books, taking part in lectures, hearing audio tapes, watching videos, and take any given opportunity to be immersed with Ancient Egyptian philosophy…. We need to do as much as we can to create a context where the teaching is always visible to us so as to impregnate ourselves with it. There are two complementary aspects related to the listening process including reflection and meditation. The reflection will help reinforce the learning and to lead to the last stage of meditation whereby, the teaching is impacting our subconscious mind and reveals its deeper aspects unknown to us up to that point.
In order for the teaching to fully integrate our personality, we need to follow the instructions provided. However, the proper integration depends on the level of purity of our mind, which augments gradually as with increase in freedom from worldly agitation. Increasing level of purity positively impacts our understanding. So, we start with the listening then we reflect on what we’ve learned and practice in parallel. The practice at that level will bestow higher degree of purity that will in turn expand our understanding. It is like a cycle in the form of a spiral where each step augments the level below it. That is why, it is recommended to have several iterations when when one reads a book for exqmple, as new understanding may be revealed in subsequent round in a way that we could not imagine before and that is linked to the purity we have gained from the practice of the teaching. The concept sdjm really illustrates how an aspirant needs to relate to the teaching not only from an intellectual standpoint but also in a practical way. It is important to understand that the purpose of the teaching is to lead us to knowing or experiencing our higher self and in that sense, they will eventually need to be transcended as well, once the goal has been reached.
Listening to the teaching involves also more subtle aspect particularly when one is in the presence of the preceptor or Sage so as to be opened to learn from their behaviors, state of being, the way they carry themselves, etc. This is also part of the learning methodology of the mystery teaching.
The teaching is purposely trying to provide symbolism that helps invoking divine qualities within us in order to bring them to our awareness. That process in order to bear fruit needs to impact our unconscious mind or illuminate the darkest side of ourselves. In that sense, the practice is necessary first to dissolve the clouds that blocks the awareness of our higher Self until final illumination or enlightenment.
B) After practicing for many years and not becoming enlightened, the recourse an aspirant should take is:
a. Repeated Effort
b. Dispassion (becoming free from delusion about the world and desire and hatred) which clouds the intellect
c. Devotion with form: this secures the divine grace
Repeated effort relates to intensifying the practice of the shedy disciplines. At this point for example, if one practices listening to the teaching without engaging in the process of reflection and meditation there will not be progress in intuitional understanding. Many times, difficulties in day to day life may lead to cycle of disconnections with the teaching and consequently, there can be stagnation or regress in the spiritual path. Once there is realization of difficulties in the path, it is a time to be more meticulous, fastidious and strict in our practice. One should avoid salad bar spirituality consisting in picking up practices here and there from diverse philosophies: it is similar to a person who run after two rabbits and will not catch any one of them at the end. It is important to emphasize one spiritual practice and be fully engaged otherwise, we will have very little success. Immersing in spiritual life is not about neglecting worldly responsibilities but rather pursue them with balance and not expand material pursuits beyond what is necessary to support life. In a higher context, the responsibilities in time and space are to be done progressively in a selfless context and not from an egoistic standpoint where one is looking to have personal gains. It implies that one needs to strive for simplicity in life and not try to run after material gains beyond necessity and learn to live within one’s means. It is necessary to create a context to address our duties in the world and at the same time, one must be devoted to the teaching only; the best approach would be to consider all activities for the sake of the Divine self and not to satisfy worldly related desires. In summary, at that stage of reflection about our stagnation in the path, one needs to resolve to intensify the practice through repeated effort.
Dispassion will help us gradually dissolving our attachment to the realities derived from the physical senses as being abiding. Such attachment is illusory as phenomenon in time and space is only a projection of higher cause hidden to our awareness due to ignorance. It is similar to one looking at a gold bracelet with no knowledge about the encompassing element that is gold and thinking it is a reality in itself. Lack of dispassion will not allow us to assimilate the teaching at the second stage nor to reach the third level of integration; a stage that is necessary for intuitional experience. Our attachment and the desires coming forth from it constitute a cloud obstructing awareness of our higher self. In that context, dispassion will help dissolving such cloud so we can be conscious of the light of spirit that was always shining. The dispassion by turning our attachment away from objects in time and space as permanent realities, creates a void in the mind that will be gradually filled, by the practice of the Shedy disciplines, with increasing level of awareness of higher self.
Devotion to the gods and the goddesses with form is a way to allow the mind to reduce gradually attachment to forms in time and space. The gods and goddesses although in time and space have a more subtle or higher vibration and will help revealing metaphysical aspects of ourselves and will lead us closer to our divine self; in that sense, they constitute doorways toward intuitional revelation of our higher self.
C) When does maturity in the teaching occur? Until there is sufficient frustration with pursuing of worldly desires.
Due to ignorance of our higher self, one is falsely pursuing happiness in time and space. That pursuit is an illusion because the perception of the senses is incomplete inasmuch they are not able to go beyond physical awareness and allow to discover the cause behind regular perceptions. We need to develop inner qualities dormant in us that can help us transcending awareness of ordinary human experiences. That incapacity of correctly identifying the root cause of our suffering, which is the longing of the soul for that transcendental awareness, sustains a cycle of disappointments until a time where there is realization of the illusoriness of such type of pursuit in itself. It results from that frustration the recognition about the impossibility of finding bliss in time and space and that, there must be another path that can lead us toward that goal. Once that happens and if the level of frustration is sufficient enough, one has now reached the level of maturity that can promote spiritual advancement. Until that realization, the aspirant may toggle between a life directed towards worldly satisfactions and spiritual path until eventually being able to remain steady in the conscious course of enlightenment. With that realization also, one has engaged in the leading step towards developing non attachment to the objects in time and space as abiding reality. The dispassion may be egoistic in the beginning and will fade if remained at that level. With the practice of the Shedy disciplines in an integral fashion, it will evolve and become more conscious with progress in our understanding of the mysteries.
D) Divine love towards God allows the depth of the teaching to be revealed.
Divine love is attained through the practice of devotion to the divine and practice of the remaining Shedy disciplines. Devotion can be seen in a context of an invocation to qualities of the object of worship not as an external entity but as qualities that are within us and that need to be brought forth to our conscious awareness. The object of worship becomes thus a symbol that attracts the qualities represented within us based on the law of compensation. In that context, it is a conscious direction of our feelings towards the divinity and, when this is done long enough along with the practice of the shedy disciplines in an integral way, it will lead to mystical union with the divinity; a union that is expressed in the form of divine love not to be confused with egoistic attachment but an intuitional experience of unity with the divine. Devotion also acts in a way to balance and limit the wandering of the intellect in its tendency to perceive concepts in an analytic way. The worship aspect of the practice helps augment the intellectual knowledge and allows the teaching to also be felt. When we are able to have the proper feeling about the teaching along with correct understanding, our subconscious mind is impacted and this fact will bring about the desired experience of mystical union we are striving for.
E) The desire for worldly attainments must be replaced with desire for spiritual enlightenments in the form of increasing divine love, increasing dispassion, and increasing peace and desire to study the teachings and be in company of those who espouse it.
Desire for worldly attainments is based on negative Arius that we have generated over time based on ignorance of our true nature; they are counterproductive in a direct way towards finding enlightenment. But, indirectly, inasmuch that they are leading to frustration towards the ability of events in time and space to provide bliss, they have a contribution to drive us out of dispassion and then, to become a conscious seeker for spiritual enlightenment. To the extent we entertain our desire for worldly attainments, we can reach a level of frustration that will eventually convince us to alter the direction of our pursuit of bliss. Another aspect is that being attached to human experiences as abiding, diminishes our spiritual strength and lead our mind to continuously be fettered between present, past and future. That fettering results from disappointment in finding complete happiness in a particular object; it contributes as well to leave residual feeling of non satisfaction in our subconscious mind which in turn will create desire to find happiness using another object in time and space and the cycle goes on and on in an endless manner that leads us to gradual increase of frustration and despair.
In order to get out of the cycle of illusions, it is necessary to replace worldly desires with the ones for spiritual enlightenment. That process can be initiated consciously or by the normal course of evolution of the Soul which is called trial and error and can take many reincarnations in time and space. Consciously turning oneself away from worldly concerns in an abiding way, implies having the resolution to gradually develop spiritual qualities and doing the required effort that can be intensified with our level of practice and understanding. It will result from that increasing divine love, increasing dispassion and increasing peace and desire to study the teaching. There will be as well a tendency to meet with likeminded people leading to good association that will support our advancement. In other words, being attached to worldly attainments reinforce Setian characters that sustain egoism and attachment to duality. One needs to direct desires towards Aset, the embodiment of wisdom in order to gradually dissolve negative Arius that blocks intuitional revelation of the divine Self.
In essence, desire in itself is not something to be avoided but rather be directed towards the divine Self instead of worldly pursuits that are temporary in time and space and not able to fulfill the inherent desire of the Soul towards awareness of its unity with rest of creation.
F) Those who want to practice salad bar spirituality or seek the advice of oracles or create their own independent classes should do so on their own.
Each type of mystery teaching carries a certain set of vibrations. Enough exposure is required in order for the essence of the teaching to be assimilated and then integrated within the personality. Therefore, by practicing salad bar spirituality which is a tendency to mix practice of philosophical teaching here and there, the aspirant is not giving himself the ability for that assimilation and mystical experience to occur. He or she is in fact creating more disturbances for the mind already affected by agitations due to perception of duality in time and space. In order to reduce mental agitation, the mind needs one pointed flow of energy and that is what the philosophical teaching is trying to bestow. Another issue associated with the practice of salad bar relates to the delusion of the mind looking for instant gratification in the spiritual practice, a tendency acquired from the pursuit of happiness in time and space as well as the non-understanding of the impact of negative Arius in our current conditioning. So, usually at the beginning of a spiritual practice, there is a moment of awe that can be dissolved almost immediately as the mind takes over and starts to find flaws on the teaching based on ignorance of what spiritual life means. The aspirant may falsely interpret that moment and starts looking in other philosophical teaching for answers thinking that the current one is not correct whereas he or she is being deluded by the mind and lack of understanding. A good approach for the aspirant is to make sure he or she has all the elements before deciding to abandon the practice; a discriminative quality that is necessary for all aspirants in the path prior to any selection of mystical philosophy of adoption as to be able to know exactly what is it that one is pursuing in the spiritual quest.
Very often, we find individuals in their practice who like to look for Oracle’s advice and predictions, in other to tell them about the future not realizing that what will happen in their lives is based on current state of Arius and that he or she has a determinative role about occurrences of these future experiences. In a particular context, abusing Oracle negatively clouds our understanding regarding our role in generating negative Arius. Aspirant should reflect on recommandation regarding use of Oracle which needs to be considered in cases where the outcome has great determination for a community but, not to be abused from an egoistic standpoint with the risk of diminishing own ability to elevate ourselves beyond ordinary consciousness.
A true aspirant in that context should avoid following such personalities who may create independent classes on their own. He or she should rather learn how to identify true spiritual path and authentic teacher with a philosophy that reinforces the aspect that spiritual evolution is a movement that aims at the transformation of consciousness for awareness of higher self with emphasis on practices and study that lead to dissolving the clouds that obstructed that awareness, which have originated from generation of negative Arius in time and space over long period of time. That will be a proof of humility, a determinative quality to advance in the path.
G) How should an aspirant think about their spiritual path when they encounter failure to meet the instructions of the teaching or they fail to execute their own desired level of practice?
It is advised that an aspirant does auto-evaluation in regards to the practice of the teaching and to weight his or her own ability to meet the intermediary goals provided by the instructions. In doing so, one may have a sense of failure that the instructions are not being executed up to satisfaction. When aspirant finds himself in that situation, what should be the thinking pattern?
First of all, I would advise to have a deep reflection on the meaning of the word failure in that context which would perhaps mean we have not developed enough spiritual strength or internal capability to apply the teaching and attain the expected goals. It certainly does not relate to absolute failure in the path as one can redress the state of practice and raise oneself up to the desired level of practice. There are psychological attitudes one needs to avoid in order not to fall completely down in the path.
Indeed, some people, when facing difficulties may question the truth about the essence of the teaching and along with that thinking, the aspirant may suddenly start to question if enlightenment is attainable and therefore may resolve to quit. Some other may believe in their incapacity to follow instructions or they were not predestined to achieve enlightenment, etc. I would advise not to fall into above patterns of doubts: one related to the teaching itself or the spiritual preceptor and the other, related to a perception that one is inherently unable to achieve the goal of awareness of the divine self. Having avoided the doubts as described above, the aspirant needs to look within himself and reflect on what brings success in spiritual life and how he or she is positioned in that regard.
There can be a tendency to look outward, at the circumstances in time and space, a process of rationalization so someone may feel good about himself in saying I have done my best but, the circumstances did not permit and that, perhaps when circumstances permit, I will progress. Reflecting that way shows our ignorance about the process of Ariu generation and consequently about the fact that the circumstances being positive or negative result from our awareness of them in such a way and therefore, we do not have a passive role in their occurrences. By understanding our active role in the circumstances, although it will not give instant capacity to practice however, it will help develop proper understanding about the need to generate positive Arius that will support our progress in the path. With that, the aspirant will be able to think about failure to meet instructions or inability to execute own desired level or practice, in the line of not having developed enough capability or spiritual strength to perform adequately. In that context, an aspirant will be able to evaluate oneself more objectively and not give ways to the issues of the mind that may make one to feel helpless, shameful or diminished.
Another aspect for the aspirant to reflect on is the fact that the failures are temporary and use them as opportunities to better apprehend the teaching, identify key blocking aspects and seek counseling in order to overcome them. It can be also a moment to have the practice evaluated by the preceptor or a more advanced aspirant to identify areas of misunderstanding so that they can be fixed in order to ensure that the practice is done the proper way moving forward.
All and all, the aspirant must avoid the delusion of the mind and not succumb to egoistic desires or incapacities. He or she needs to reflect more on the issue of Arius and what exactly is affecting his or her ability to practice. It is important to meditate on the fact that the spiritual path requires effort or movement and therefore, one needs to have the capacity to move meaning developing the ability to practice the right way based on current level of understanding and conditioning. The difficulties are also part of the path and I would say the fact that one is aware of them may also be a positive sign as it shows perhaps an understanding of where the teaching needs to lead us and our current distance from that goal. But, rather to doubt or quit which will lead to more suffering, a true aspirant needs to look into oneself, evaluates earnestly his or her practice with guidance. Having done that, he or she will be able to continue with repeated effort, raise level of dispassion and devotion with form which will help progressing. One does not really know for sure where one is in the path, as one needs to be cautious about habit of evaluating with tools in time and space; in facing difficulties, one should take that as an opportunity to look into himself and perhaps does the changes that are required. It is important to strive despite the difficulties (a statement uneasy to apply), and not to blame external circumstances. In the end, the aspirant may turn the difficulties into a spiritual practice that can help progress instead of letting doubts and helpless feelings to guide him or her. In order to be a qualified and determined aspirant, one must see the endeavor of spiritual awakening to its end and avoid being on and off. We need to remember practitioners like Pythagoras, Plato who spent multiple decades in the temple going over the teaching alone; therefore, one may not expect with a relatively limited level of intensity to attain enlightenment in a very short time. One must try as much as possible to continue the effort with the mindset that there is no better way but to remain in the path and resolve to earnestly practice the Shedy disciplines.
One aspect I would like to raise awareness upon is the fact that the understanding of the Egyptian mysteries requires a different type of reasoning. In modern times and particularly in Western cultures and those grandly influenced by it through assimilation or domination, people are giving predominance to analytical thinking instead of analogical or symbolic. In the analytical reasoning, a meaning is linked to a particular object and that relationship does not evolve to the level of intuitional experience over time but sustains a split between objects, observer, emotions, and so forth. In analogical or symbolic thinking patterns, the object is a starting point and from there, one with proper training can expound and be aware of abstract notions not with the purpose of intellectual understanding but with the purpose of experiencing or arriving at intuitional knowledge. The expanded understanding can become more and more complex inasmuch the level of intuitional experience intensifies. In the symbolic language, there is emphasis of the necessity of experiencing the qualities of the object in our subconscious mind in order to reveal higher knowledge about our higher Self. So, an aspirant needs to be conscious not to try to apprehend the teaching analytically but, to think in terms of symbol and more what they represent as qualities that are within us that need to be experienced intuitively. In other words, the teaching and the disciplines are purposely attempting to transform our mind for openness to intuitional knowledge based on experience instead of pure intellectual understanding that would lead to reasoning at infinitum cycle. A point of blockage can result from inability to understand the teaching from that perspective. As Sebai Maa pointed out in the lecture on hieroglyphs, one needs to be able to think in terms of the perspective of a language in order to be able to fully grasp the essence of the symbolism included.
It takes great courage to become an aspirant and it requires much more courage and determination to remain steady in the path. Along the way, we will be facing adversities and among all, uncertainties in the form of question such as: am I doing the practice the right way? Am I studying the right way? And many more…But, bear in mind these questions reflecting uncertainties are necessary to balance the mind, to raise our humility and awareness that we are engaged in an undertaking that is bigger than the mind, bigger than time and space itself. Our greatest adversaries will not be the external circumstances as we tend to see them based on ignorance but, ourselves, our mind and the cloud in the form of spider web that we constructed through long time of developing negative Arius. Only the Soul knows how to return to enlightenment and with that, the path of truth becomes in fact one of surrendering, of recognizing we are more than the physical aspect and that we need to bow in front of that higher reality within us for complete revelation and awareness.
Dua Sebai MAA / Dua Seba Dja