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Lesson 13 – Lesson 1
A) How should an aspirant think about their spiritual checklist and how diligent should they try to be with it?
An aspirant should think about their spiritual checklist as a guiding and measuring tool to ensure the Shedy disciplines are practiced rightly and in an organized manner. As the aspirant is maturing in the spiritual process, the obstacles are not necessarily decreasing and more and more he or she will be facing greater challenges based on past negative Arius. Between worldly related activities and the growing desire to intensify the practices, there can be tension and the aspirant may feel overwhelmed. At that stage of spiritual evolution, perhaps the aspirant is involved in life duties that may not align with the philosophical principles of Maat. Until every activity is founded on Maat principles, there will persist to some degree, perception of opposition between worldly activities and spiritual ones. As an example, the aspirant is in a context where he or she considers going to work as worldly activity to sustain a living and the morning worship as a spiritual practice. Until the Arius allow development of a context and intuitional understanding whereby all activities are aiming consciously towards achieving enlightenment, tensions will potentially arise as well as scheduling conflict. The spiritual checklist will help organizing the practices in order that emphasis remains on the purification process that leads the mind to gradual awareness of highest Self.
Another aspect relates to the level of intensity that the aspirant is trying to achieve while progressing and from that standpoint, practices augment not only in nature but also more times are required to practice all. For example, aspirant may think about practicing daily worship, Tjef neteru in the morning, meditation during the day and night, selfless service and may feel overwhelmed considering as well the current living pattern and unpredictability of certain aspects of life. In that context, he or she may lose track of what was done and not. The spiritual checklist will provide the organization required to ensure all practices are done in a regular manner. If we practice for example Uashu and neglect Maat or Uaa, there will be minimum evolution and frustration may result from insufficient lack of progress. The spiritual checklist can thus help ensuring adequate time and dedication be attributed to each and every practice. A final aspect relates to the necessity to have a proper context to evaluate our practices and measure progress. In every undertaking in life, evaluation helps ensuring we are advancing towards established goal and at the same time identifying potential gaps in the process. If it is true in worldly activities, it is also more valuable in our spiritual practices when one consider the many obstacles we face as aspirant in the enlightenment path. It will help to assess how we go about the chiseling process of our mind and measure the development and acquisition of spiritual strength and qualities.
How diligent an aspirant should try to be about using the spiritual check list? Essentially, I would say the level of diligence must be to such a degree that the aspirant considers utilization of the spiritual checklist as a discipline in itself. Same way the Shedy disciplines are. In that context, regularity is essential as one may feel it important to practice the disciplines but, not feel compelling to evaluate. Evaluation will keep us organized so that our practice does not become haphazard. To be able to progress in the path, the aspirant needs to practice not in a bad way and using diligence in reviewing the spiritual checklist creating thus a context to ensure at least, we are on the right path. In that sense, it is to have the right foundation in place that will continuously sustain the effectiveness of our Shedy.
B) An aspirant should keep a spiritual diary.
This is necessary to make effective, the auto-evaluation process as well as to note changes in the personality. It is a way of being mindful of our progress in the path. One of the key aspects I observed studying the panel of the temple in Kmt is the presence of Djehuty in aspects of the rituals as a reckoning principle of the offering being done by royal personality. If we are making progress and not be able to qualify, it is not being brought to consciousness and, in that sense, the transformation may not be complete. In ordinary aspects of life, human mind interacts through experiences and feedback from others and these are the ways to know about nature and qualities of activities being done. In the same line being able to identify and acknowledge transformational aspects of our personality as they occur, we are invoking the reckoning principle within us that would make the transformation complete.
C) All of life’s activities are rituals to some degree.
In practical life, there are activities that we do on a regular basis, which leave lasting impressions on our mind. In the case we do not perform them, it is noticeable and, we feel compelled to find a way to practice them. There are several contexts of such activities: for example, those aiming to support our survival including eating, bathing, etc.; there are also those aiming at supporting cultural practices and a certain view of the world. In general, in order to transmit a concept in the mind and sustain it in a way that is transforming, there are regular activities setup in order to make the new concept like a natural habit for the person. Viewed in that way, such activities may be called rituals even though traditionally, that term has been reserved to religious practices. In a wider sense thus, all life’s activities become rituals to the degree that they support development and sustainment of habits or behavioral patterns within the mind. One example of practice of rituals in modern society relates to consumerism which includes a set of regular activities to support the capitalist economic and political system as well as sustaining valorization of human beings based on wealth, dressing code, social discrimination, etc.
Spiritual path also considered as an alchemy process, aims at transforming the mind from perception of duality in time and space as abiding to awareness of unity of consciousness; in that sense, there is a philosophy and a set of rituals to invoke gradually the awareness of unity until final enlightenment, representing the stage of mysticism. The rituals represent then a set of practices that we do in order to enact within us better understanding of the teaching in a way that will lead in a later stage to intuitional understanding. Overall, it is important for aspirant to be conscious of the fact that current living patterns and the Arius that support it has been sustained through rituals in time and space and that elevating our consciousness toward higher mysteries of life means adoption of new rituals. That is the aim of the Shedy disciplines to be able to provide new rituals that will gradually replace the old ones which until then have supported ignorance about our true nature. Stated in other ways, actions called Ari impact our unconscious mind and leave impressions called Arius that help sustain related behavioral patterns. As an example, philosophy of capitalism is supported by rituals of consumerism including regular shopping to the mall, over production supported by constant innovations with aggressive marketing, watching TVs as well as events gathering people with likeminded to further reinforce adherence to the system.
In thinking about rituals, there is one that is of particular importance as it includes series of activities, which formalize our conviction to live by a particular philosophy. It is a way for us to formally acknowledge adherence to a style of living, a religious system, etc. While in worldly activities, one is not necessarily conscious of that fact but, at some point in ordinary life, one has decided to live in a certain way although this can be done also through act of fear or through manipulation of the mind. Such rituals are usually called initiation and in the spiritual path, the initiation relates to a formalized way of consciously saying we have decided to follow a mystical philosophical system and its related set of practice in our quest for enlightenment. The more conscious the process in a sense that it excludes fear, and negative influences of peer pressure etc., the better it will impact our mind and subconscious aspect of oneself in an abiding way. Usually, the formal process follows a step of self-initiation when the aspirant decided within himself or herself to follow a teaching. The step of partaking in a formal initiation is to create the association and subtle connection with a preceptor that is required to continue to progress in an initiatic type of teaching.
Rituals in time and space have a twofold aspect: one that promotes awareness of duality as an abiding reality; the other one aims at enlightenment, mystical union with the divine Self. The main difference is that when our awareness is turned toward Set, rituals are constantly necessary and have to be adapted to the need and dynamism of the moment; when we decide consciously to elevate our consciousness and turn towards Aset, rituals become a mean to an end and not an end for themselves: they will be transcended once the ultimate goal of Nehast is reached. One aspect also to mention is as we are evolving in spirituality and be more and more aware of our subtle connection with higher Self, there is intuitional understanding that the individual Soul is the sustainer of the rituals.
D) Whatever you discover is to be understood as a relative reality because it is being perceived through the mind and senses which are limited.
This statement is made in the context of experiences within the spiritual path and relate to ability to discern the real from the unreal. Essentially, whatever is being perceived through senses and mind has a relative meaning and is not real from different perspectives. At first, there is the accuracy of the senses themselves as quite a few times, we are deluded in mistakenly taking something for what it is not. It is for example a situation of someone perceiving a cord at a distance and believe it to be a snake. Another aspect attesting such limit relates to phenomena in time and space, as for example electricity that are not perceivable directly by the senses but only through their manifestation. Other consideration relates to the state of our consciousness during the perception process itself. There have been situations for example where one is convinced of reading a word whereas what was written in reality is totally different: perhaps the mind was thinking about something else at that moment and in that sense, it is said we were not mindful during the reading. The principle of relativism of our perception is also valid in science as one scientist had to say that Science is a good as the measuring tools available; that is why, for that discipline there is a need to develop better tools to support the theories and related understanding.
The limitation in the context of the statement also can be taken in relation to the ability of objects of perception in time and space to lead us to happiness in an abiding way. Some people may possess psychic abilities, which most of the time, may be attributed to measure the degree of advancement in spiritual path. But, these abilities are still confined within the realm of time and space and are not necessarily a sign of awareness of higher nature. One may wonder about the difference for example of having great psychic related skills with brilliant scientist or a brilliant mathematician: it is perhaps related to different realms of perception.
If then whatever is perceived in time and space is limited because of limitation of mind and senses, how should an aspirant go about that situation in its quest? It is essential for any aspirant to be able to use discriminative aspect of the mind to distinguish the real from the unreal, the effects from the causes, what is abiding from what is not. The realm of time and space is the realm of manifestations of higher principles, Gods and Goddesses, which are themselves emanations of the only reality that exists, Neberdjer, Pa Neter. In usual perception based on ignorance, these manifestations are considered to have existence within themselves and therefore separated from their source and other manifestations. This duality born out of ignorance of our true nature is further reinforced in our belief that they can promote happiness or bliss in a permanent fashion. As the aspirant progresses, the attachment to that illusion dissolves with practices of Maat with the rest of the Shedy disciplines that lead to better understanding of the Wisdom teaching; he or she is gradually able to show dispassion about objects in time and space in their ability to provide abiding happiness; but rather, he or she is able to use them as learning opportunities and potential Arius dissolver leading ways to gradual awareness of higher Self, until attainment of Nehast. Essentially, the Akhu, the shining spirit within us, is the sustainer of our actions in time and space and is in our innermost essence, our true nature, our reality.
E) When you approach a teacher, bring an offering.
The offering expresses the aspirant’s inner desire to grow spiritually as well as his or her respect for the teaching as well as a commitment to show patience and spirit of joy that will allow him or her to penetrate the true meaning of the philosophy. Being fanatical is a characteristic to be avoided as it is hindrance to spiritual evolution. One needs to be conscious of the fact that true spiritual evolution occurs in degrees and then, one can only advance in the path through humility and total devotion.
An offering is a ritual aiming at creating a subtle connection between the one doing it and the object, person or principle receiving it. In ordinary life, people make offers to find gratitude in return expressed by egoistic expectation usually in a context that reinforces the illusory attempt to find true happiness in time and space.
A teacher represents the illuminator for the mind during our quest to move away from the darkness originating from ignorance of our true identity. In that context, an offering to the preceptor should not be considered in the same way as in ordinary situations but rather as an evocation principle or a way to create a communion with the teacher so one be able to follow properly the teaching provided. Without that communion, there will potentially be misunderstanding as well as emphasis to negative situations in time and space as opposed to concentration on the essence of the teaching imparted. The offering is then a way to formalize the process of initiatic teaching; the more sincere it is, the better it will be to promote and sustain the learning opportunities.
F) Reply to post 6554 by Anthony Alibi
I like the practical reference to the regularity with which we need to apply the shedy disciplines and the highest importance of reviewing the check list. There is an understanding about the need not to neglect any aspect of the Semai Tawi otherwise, our practice becomes haphazard. There is also a clear understanding that practice needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly and also on a yearly basis.
Conclusion notes about the book:
I would like to say DUA to Sebai Maa and Seba Dja for their great act of compassion with the writing of that book full of insights about what it takes to be a true spiritual aspirant and the way to properly apply such principles when one decides to follow the Neterian path. It is a reference book for anyone contemplating entering the formal quest of enlightenment as it provides the needed foundation one can build on to be successful on the path.