Everything passes

plant-and-sun

If we do not make an effort, how can we change? The most important thing is not to identify ourselves with external circumstances. Life is like a movie that in fact has a beginning and an end. Different scenes are constantly passing through the screen of the mind. The most serious error within us is to identify ourselves with these scenes. Why? Simply because they pass. They are just scenes of a great movie and in the end they always pass. ~ Samael Aun Weor

Not long ago I have read a transcript of a talk of Samael Aun Weor in which he, among other things, writes about the passing of things in this world. Even though I already have a certain undertanding of how we shouldn’t react to things when we find ourselves in situations that seems endless, I was still touched by his childhood story:

“Our father forbade us from visiting our earthly mother. Nevertheless we were not so ungrateful as to forget her. I used to always escape from my house with a younger brother who would always follow me. We would go for a short visit, then return back home, but my little brother suffered a lot because when we returned he would be very tired and I would have to carry him on my back. While crying he said, ‘when we get home Dad is going to whip us.’ I would say back, ‘Why do you cry? Remember that everything passes.’ Continue reading

Myths about astral travel

There are many myths about astral travel and astral projection which I have encountered. All of them mention some sort of “danger” of astral travel, which makes poor seekers weary as to whether they should continue with the spiritual search or not. What I’ve noticed is that most of the misinformation comes from people who don’t have any substantial astral experience. There are also people who deliberately spread misleading information, while knowing that what they spread is misleading. Such people do not want others to search for the truth for various reasons. Often they are just jealous that someone actually has enough courage to search for the important answers of life.

What is sad is that such lies, myths and misinformation can have a detrimental effect on a person who has only just started questioning things and gathering information on astral travel and spirituality in general. Such “newbies” are an easy target because they have no experience of non-physical realities so they are easy to mislead and become diverted from their goal, making them believe that it’s better to drop this entire non-physical venture and to return to the comfort zone of mundane life.

I will mention here some of the myths about astral projection which I have encountered so far, and will explain briefly about each:

The “silver cord” can be cut and you can get lost while far away from the physical body.

This is a classic one. No, it cannot happen. The “silver cord” is a connection between your physical and astral body. It is cut only at the moment of your physical death. That connection can stretch to infinity. You cannot get lost or get stranded from your body. Each time you experience a heightened emotion like fear, elation, anger etc., you return back to the body. Because of this time limit of astral experience, there is the problem of acquiring substantial knowledge. Another way to return back is simply by intending to return.

One needs to be a vegetarian in order to astral project.

I’ve heard a lot of comments about various prerequisites for astral projection, one of them being the above mentioned. This is false. You don’t have to be a vegetarian in order to astral project. Eating quality food is definitely important and beneficial, but it’s not a requirement for astral travel, even though it may yield beneficial, long term results in this field. Generally, the only thing needed for astral projection is to be concentrated on one thing at the moment your physical body falls asleep.

You can astral project only during spring and summer.

This is false too. There are no seasonal restrictions related to astral travel. We actually astral travel every night we go to sleep (unconsciously), and we do that regardless of the seasons.

You can get possessed.

That’s completely untrue. There is a special connection between you and your physical body which makes it impossible for anyone to possess it. Also, astral beings do not really go around looking for other people’s bodies – not even negative entities. Possession is only possible if you deliberately invite an entity into your body and consciously allowing them to use it. That’s a form of channeling, and personally I wouldn’t recommend it.

You could die..

False! Your astral body cannot be destroyed, nor can you (the consciousness/soul) be destroyed. You can, for example, have your leg bitten by a sea creature, but it will be replaced by a new one. Astral body is of totally different substance than the physical body and astral plane has different laws than the physical dimension. In the astral you can fly through hot objects (like the sun) or you can pass through walls etc. without being even slightly harmed.

Astral projection is anti-religious/satanic, and if you do it you will end up in hell.

Religious dogmas and conditionings have left a big psychological imprint on people’s personalities, making them feel fearful to even thought about any other form of spirituality that is outside of orthodox religious thinking. If you want to get to the answers about life and realities beyond this mundane life, you will have to be brave enough to question things, regardless of if you are religious person or not.

Being open for knowledge is a prerequisite for receiving it. As a matter of fact, astral travel is directly and/or indirectly mentioned in many sacred texts, such as Mahabharata, Bible, Nag Hamadi scriptures and many others. Also, all sacred texts describe the process to spiritual awakening, which in a major way consists of destroying inferior inner energies such as fear, anger, jealousy, lust etc., and by doing that you are increasing your consciousness which is trapped within those energies. Increased consciousness further results in spontaneous astral projections and waking up within dreams. The person then eventually stops dreaming altogether and is conscious the entire time their physical body is asleep. Therefore as you can logically deduct, astral travel is a completely natural ability and it occurs spontaneously in the process of spiritual awakening.

So these were just some of the many myths that exist. I may update this post with some more myths. Just bear in mind that nothing can happen to you on your astral travels, you can only gain much.

Potentials of Astral Travel

Astral travel, the ability to travel outside of the physical body, is an amazing thing to experience and develop. It is said that every person experience this at least once in a lifetime. It seems it is very common for children to experience it, some of them even frequently. Unfortunately, this natural ability for children is lost as we get older. The reason for this is that as children we still do not have all the layers of psychological energies which develop and/or become active as we grow up. Those energies are the multiple inner subjective states, and also the formation of the personality with its conditioned behavioral patterns which then cloud our perception even more. I don’t remember having a conscious out of body experience as a child, but I do know that my dreams were extremely vivid and meaningful.

There are several terms related to astral travel. I will start with astral projection, which is commonly known as projection of our astral body (with our consciousness inside it) out of the physical body and into the 5th dimension, also known as the astral plane. Once out of the physical body in this conscious manner, we can explore this higher dimension, which is referred to as the astral travel.

The astral plane has many levels, separated from one another by their vibrational frequency. All of these levels occupy the same space, just as all dimensions occupy the same space. So for example, our three dimensional world is actually occupying the same space as the 5th dimension. The reason why we don’t see the 5th dimension is because we are on a lower frequency vibration. When we are outside of our physical body and in our astral bodies, we are automatically in the 5th dimension because the frequency of our astral body corresponds to the frequency of the astral plane. There are also higher types of spiritual bodies with which we can travel higher up, like the mental and causal bodies.

Our astral body is part of our spiritual make up; it’s a body which we can use and which we do use every night when we go to sleep. Each night when we fall asleep, our consciousness leaves the physical body and enters the lower astral levels where the dreamers from all around the planet go every night. The subconscious projects images in front of dreamers minds and they see it as a 3D reality. However, it’s not really a 3D reality but a mask of hallucinations projected by our subconscious. If we would become aware that we are dreaming, this mask would dissolve and we would see the reality of the astral world. The difference between usual falling asleep and astral projection is in being conscious/unconscious at the moment when the astral body is detaching from the physical.

The process of astral projection is very simple. One basically needs to lie down in a comfortable position and thoroughly relax the body, which is followed by concentration on one single thing, like for example a heartbeat, third eye, breathing etc. If one manages to maintain concentration at the time when the physical body falls asleep, then one will astral project because that is the moment when astral body detaches from the physical body. The astral and physical body are connected by the so-called silver cord, so there is no need to worry that you will not be able to find your way back. As we always get back after unconsciously venturing the astral world every night, so too we get back when we are out there consciously.

The astral body, as well as our consciousness/soul in it, is indestructible. Physical laws do not apply to it because the astral world has different dimensional laws. You cannot be harmed by falling on the ground from a great height or by flying through the sun etc. The astral world has much fewer laws than the physical world, and because of that we can fly, we can pass the solid objects, we can teleport and much more. Besides, we (the consciousness/soul) are immortal.

The potentials of the astral world are great, some even say “infinite”. You can travel to wherever you wish. You can explore far away places on Earth, our solar system and beyond. It’s a spiritual ability, so it is best to use it for spiritual purposes and ones own spiritual progress. It’s sad to see how many people are keen to use it to fulfill their own selfish desires, such as spying on people, having astral sex, creating ones own fantasy world etc. It is much better to use it to discover your own spiritual purpose, to know why you are here on Earth, where were you before you were born, and where you are going after your physical body dies. You can talk to beings of light, visit sacred temples and advanced extraterrestrial cities and receiving knowledge about things you have never dreamt of. To use it for the purpose of  spiritual awakening is the most productive use of it. You can be guided in this manner by Higher beings who want that you liberate your potential and get to know the Truth about Life.

Esoteric retreat centre in Scotland

(EDIT: This retreat centre is now closed. I will post if there will be more events in Scotland organized by the same group). I haven’t been on many spiritual retreats, but each time I attended I always gained a great deal of learning. Mostly this learning is related to knowledge of some of my psychological processes and subconscious states.  In general, spiritual retreats are a great way to meet like minded people, start new friendships, get practical insights on practices such as astral projection, meditation etc., and most importantly to gain knowledge about oneself.

Esoteric retreat centre in Scotland is located in Edinburgh’s country side. I have been there around a year ago and have received many benefits by making that journey to Scotland.  The centre is located in an old castle which is being transformed into truly sacred place. There are several rooms dedicated to practices, with the main one on the ground level. A lounge room has a fireplace, and a very nice view on the garden.

It feels like each of those rooms and passageways are charged with superior type of energy. I remember on the first night when we did an astral practice I felt genuine happiness due to high energy of that room. The main meditation room is particularly uplifting room which I find can be of a great help to achieve mystical and meditational states of consciousness. Inspiring spiritual art and nice incense scents are also a big part of the centre.

As the centre is located in the countryside there is a lot of natural areas where retreat attendees can go for walks or just sit outside and enjoy the present moment. Lounge room is a great place to relax, to read some spiritual text or to have some nice dialogues. Overall this description does not do it justice because the retreat centre is a place that can only be properly valued when personally experienced. It’s a spiritual sanctuary that can give strength, learning, understanding and mystical experiences to everyone searching for spiritual change.

Retreats are being held there almost every month. They are free of charge – including food and accommodation. Donations are welcome so that many more people can experience the value of such retreats. For more information about this location and next retreat dates visit http://www.esoteric-retreat-centre.com

Memories from Slovakian retreat

It is now over a year since the retreat in Slovakia took place. It was my first big spiritual retreat which had about 50 participants from different places around the world, such as Canada, Australia, Greece, UK etc. We were accommodated in chalets in the middle of the Carpathian mountain. Close to us flowed a big stream which added a lot to the atmosphere of the place. As we arrived a teacher gave us a room schedule, and after we were accommodated the retreat has officially started. We set our main subject of practical investigation for the duration of the retreat. That subject was astral travel and the goal was to investigate astral projection and to increase chances of having it through methods such as waking up in astral from dreams and projecting directly to the astral.

The next day we went for an awareness walk in the morning in an amazing natural area. We soon arrived at a big meadow surrounded by mountains full of trees, with a stream flowing close to us. After sitting in a circle we commenced with a meditative practice followed by a discussion about some practical aspects of the esoteric teachings. The walk continued and we set a goal to do at least fifty reality checks. (Reality checks are checks where one questions the reality in which one is in, with the purpose of waking up in a dream.)

I have found this particular walk to be very strong. I was uplifted by the group strength and group effort to be aware of the present moment, which made it easier for me to be aware. I felt peaceful and in tune with the nature around me. After that we had practical discussions and practices such as mantras, concentration and astral projection.

On a third day a teacher who organized the retreat surprised us when he arrived to the retreat with Edith Pritchard. She is the wife of Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub) and has many years of experience of teaching and practicing esoteric teachings. Edith started by giving us an inspirational talk about astral projection and how to achieve it. At that time we were in the main hall of our accommodation centre where we gathered throughout the retreat for talks and some practices.

The next morning at breakfast Edith told us some insightful things about awareness and its relation to spiritual work and astral projection. After that we met in our meeting hall that I previously mentioned. This was a very interesting moment. All fifty of us were there, sitting in silence and doing our best to be aware. Soon Edith came and commented how the energy of the room is now much better. I found this interesting because there really is a lot to our internal state and its influence on environment.

That day we dedicated our entire focus to increasing chances of astral projection, whether through regular practices, reality checks, awareness etc. At the evening we gathered around a bon fire. Teachers that came all the way from Australia guided practices and gave us some insights about astral projection. At one point during that evening we vocalized a mantra which helped me enormously to overcome some negative internal state that I was experiencing. Mantras can be really powerful and can clear our internal emotional and mental mess so that we can see things clearly and objectively.

The fifth and the last day was the most powerful day for me. It was a sunny and pleasantly warm day. We started by having an awareness walk in nature, guided by Edith. Before lunch Edith guided a practice which entailed visualizing ourselves flying out of the planet Earth, into space, flying out of our solar system, through our galaxy and out of it, and then trying to fly beyond all galaxies, with intention to see what is there. We did that while laying down in a meadow. Even though I didn’t have any substantial results from it, I felt something very nice by doing this practice.

Throughout that day we did various practices and had discussions and talks. Edith explained to us some important thing about spiritual path, and those who had questions about it asked her. After dinner she guided a practice which entailed laying in a meadow and looking at the stars. She told us that when we feel down or overwhelmed by our inner negativity, we can look at the stars on a clear night, which can give us strength to move on along the path.

After that we went back to our hall where she gave the last official talk for the retreat. The talk was about the spiritual journey and our spiritual potential, and some other things related to it. After that we all gathered around the bon fire, and just contemplated the fire and reflected on this retreat experience. I cannot put into words how positive was the effect that this evening had on me. Positive is not an adequate word, but I don’t know any word which would describe how I felt then. I noticed that everyone was spiritually affected. There was silence around the fire. It seemed like words were unnecessary at that moment, the moment which I believe was for all of us so alive and filled with deep mystery.

On the next morning we went back to Vienna and Bratislava, from which people caught their airplanes, trains and buses back home. The retreat was over, but the feeling of it stays. Hopefully we can all use what we have gained from that retreat so that we can get closer to that which is real. I’m very grateful to everyone who participated in this retreat, without whom this retreat wouldn’t be what it was, and also to Edith for her precious talks and guidance.

Self-observation for knoweldge of the self

This exercise is a continuation of the awareness of the present moment exercise which you can find here. Once you are aware of your external world, you gently and in a relaxed way bring your attention to your internal world. You observe emotions, thoughts and any other sensations that manifest within you. If you do that consistently, you will not only notice that those thoughts, emotions, sensations etc. are separate energies from who you really are, but you will also see how they are affecting and controlling your life.

Those inner states are in esoteric terminology known as “egos” (and more and more contemporary psychologists are using this term too). Egos are the inferior part of us – energies such as anger, pride, fear, lust, greed, gluttony, jealousy etc. They manifest in what is known as the five inferior centers of the body – intellectual, emotional, motor, instinctual and sexual center. These energies are part of the subconscious, and the spiritual work deals with transforming the subconscious into consciousness.

In the intellectual center they manifest as subconscious thoughts, which are thoughts not consciously conjured. The majority of the time it is these kinds of thoughts that go through our mind.

In the emotional center they manifest as emotions, and it is easy to notice them there. Emotions which we can feel can vary greatly. There is an enormous range of them, much more then those most commonly known. Usually it’s easy to notice big outbursts of emotions, but there are also subtle ones which can eventually snowball into outbursts or just keep us in low states without us realizing why we feel so low. Emotional center is covering big part of torso.

The motor center is located on the upper part of the back. Egos manifesting in the motor center can take control over our entire body. For example, a person is walking down the street and they hear some unusual sound in the distance. The person might suddenly turn around to see what is happening. This action will happen without the person really consciously deciding to do it. Another example is tapping your foot when waiting.

The instinctual center is a very basic one and is located in the lower part of your back. Usually this center keeps us out of danger, but egos that use it can cause a lot of trouble. The instinctual center can react with fear when there is no danger around, like for example when walking through a dark forest and imagining scary scenarios. Crippling fear then enters into the instinctive center and causes paralyzing sensations. Another manifestation is when you burn your finger on a stove and suddenly pull the finger back. Even though this instinct is a useful thing to have, it is much better when egos in the instinctual center are replaced by consciousness.

The last center is the sexual center and the ego that manifest there is lust. Sensations of lust can be easily observed and noticed, especially when an attractive person of opposite sex is seen. However, lust in the sexual center can also be triggered by fantasizing.

To be aware of what is going on within you and outside of you is really the complete practice of awareness. If you will only practice awareness of the external world, then your inner states will eventually pull you back into a daydream. The consciousness that we are is still very small and undeveloped, and it is like a piece of driftwood in a stormy sea – it is just a matter of time until it will be overridden by the waves of egos. To not allow that to happen you have to guard it by being aware of your egos and in this way you prevent from taking control. Buddha said how consciousness is like a candle flame amidst fiery winds – we need to surround that flame with our hands (self-observation) so that it doesn’t extinguish.

Similarly, like the previous exercise of awareness of the present moment, this one is also simple and after a period of time it becomes a natural way of living. It is the second foundational step towards the First Key for Awakening – elimination of the egos and their transformation into consciousness.

Maya – The Source of Illusion

Maya is a well known concept in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, etc, and it is more and more known in New Age circles as well as in Esoteric traditions worldwide. The concept entails that the entire third dimension in which we live is a material dimension created for beings to learn through suffering and paying karma, and to eventually start removing animalistic and negative impulses which consequently leads to knowledge of oneself and the reality of existence. The substance used to create this third (material) dimension is illusionary in comparison to higher planes of existence. Some traditions go even deeper and say that all created dimensions are illusion and that only that which is uncreated (Absolute/Source/God consciousness), which always was, is and will be, is real.

However, Maya doesn’t relate only to external illusions, but also to internal ones. Internal illusions are thoughts, emotions, drives, impulses and sensations which we feel within ourselves. All those inner states are like colored glasses through which we see the world around us. Sometimes they make us see things in a positive and sometimes in a negative way, but nevertheless none of what they present in front of us is real.

Many people get scared and angry when hear that thoughts and emotions are part of Maya and not really us. Those who are able to go beyond this initial reaction of fear and anger, and are willing to apply spiritual techniques that enable them to remove those inner subjective elements, will eventually verify through direct experience that we are something far different from our thoughts and emotions. Those people will also learn about the nature of those subjective energies and the illusionary way they make us see.

Our inner illusion is very powerful. It keeps us in an almost constant state of daydream, controlling our life through mental and emotional images with which we identify and think that they are reality. I remember a situation where I was waiting for a tram on a square in a city where I used to live. There were many other people also waiting for the same. At one point I noticed a woman sitting a meter or so from me. She was staring at one point and it was clear that she is day dreaming, unaware of what is going on. She had unusually big insect on her face, from under an eye all across the cheek. I stretched my hand and waved in order to chase it off. The woman noticed me waving and confusedly leaned back, still not aware of what’s on her face and why I was waving. This experience showed me more clearly the state in which we are all in.

The more a person is practicing the spiritual teachings, the more one is able to see the nature of both inner and outer Maya, as well as the reality beyond it. Techniques such as being aware of the present moment, self-observation, elimination of animalistic drives and subjective elements, and some other techniques, transform our sleeping psyche and make us see the world around us as it really is. We awaken to the fact that the world is asleep and driven by negativity, yet capable of becoming better due to the Divine spark that each human being has within. This Divine spark (soul/consciousness) which is the real us beyond the veil of Maya, grows and increases our capacity for love and compassion if we do the spiritual work. We then gradually see the Maya more and more clearly, both within us and in the substance structure of this dimension. Getting free of it requires a lot of effort, dedication, persistence and truly knowing what we want out of life.