© Antonov V.V., 2008
People who are still at the preliminary stage of mastering their religiosity believe that the faith in the ideological concept and rituals of the organization of their choice is a sufficient condition for their “salvation”. These people are not yet capable of comprehending words of God, not even those of them that are written in the Holy Scriptures. Opinions and orders of their earthly “pastors” are much dearer and more valuable to them.
For example, despite the fact that God told people not to kill but to love and forgive — “Christians” “became famous” for so many terrifying atrocities throughout the history of Christianity on the Earth! So many wars, murders, tortures and other crimes they have committed!
As for killing of animals — scarcely 0.001% of “Christians” obey the Will of God in this respect. Where is the place for Christian love?! There is no sight of you among “Christians”! This is because these “Christians” are not true ones!
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The initial stage of spiritual advancement implies making real efforts on self-transformation. God expects from us not prayers and kowtowing: He does not need them! He needs us to become better!
And the first thing that the aspirant has to do is to accept the principle of LOVE — accept it not as a nice phrase, acknowledging the beauty of it, but as a strict rule of conduct. And no practical methods — be they exercises of Hatha Yoga, work with the chakras and meridians, winter swimming, etc. — will bring us closer to God (in fact, they can even lead us astray, sometimes) if we do not follow the commandments of God regarding LOVE.
Let us look at the nutrition, for example. If we contaminate our bodies with coarse energies of dead bodies of animals, this will not allow us to attain the required degree of refinement of the consciousness for getting closer to the Abode of the Creator; on the contrary, it will drag us towards hell and create for us bad karma, which will have to be redeemed in our next incarnations.
But health and karma considerations are not a principal issue here. The main point is that God is Love. And He allows us to get close to Him only if we become Love.
But material substances are not the only food that we consume. As “food” we, as souls, also use impressions (Russian religious psychologist George Gurdjieff was among those who talked about it in these terms in the beginning of the 20th century ).
And if we want to “turn away from what is evil and cling to what is good”, we need to take all opportunities to use “food” of this kind — in nature, art, communicating with spiritual people, etc. and attuning to the subtle and harmonious phenomena. At the same time we need to keep away from coarse impressions, which are primarily created by people of the tamas guna.
Avoiding outer coarseness is just one of the methods. But the main task for us is to eliminate inner coarseness, including that which comes out of us. This can be attained by controlling emotions, which are states of us as consciousnesses.
Each emotion emanates beyond the body, affecting surrounding people and other living beings. And the more intensive it is the further from the body it emanates.
Solving the task of controlling the emotions radically will be possible only at the next, higher stages of work. But if we do not set this goal right now and start to accustom ourselves to self-control, we can hardly expect ourselves to achieve any success in the future.
For now, an effective method of struggling with bursts of coarse emotions and various manifestations of egotism is penitential work, which we have discussed in detail.
Let me note that a superficial and shallow attitude towards ethic issues can sometimes produce an opposite effect compared to what is expected.
For example, we discussed acceptance of the COMPASSION principle as one of the first steps towards LOVE. But does everyone clearly realize that compassion does not have anything to do with plunging into unpleasant emotional states of “worrying about” someone?… People who fall into states like that become unbearable for others, especially for those whom they “worry about”. The bioenergetic impact of the fields with such characteristics sometimes can be the “final blow” for those wounded or sick people who become the subject to such “worrying”. The victims may feel a desperate need to get rid of this “compassionate” monster who overwhelms them with such a state — to get rid by all means, at the level of the deepest instinct of self-preservation, which is beyond the control of the intellect…
Such “compassion”, just like bioenergetic vampirism , ruins loving relationships between people, destroys families…
No, compassion does not mean “heavy” emotions, but overall pure and careful attitude towards all manifestations of life, avoiding causing any unnecessary harm to anyone, as well as willingness to help everyone in everything good.
The initial stage of spiritual work is not sattva yet. It is rajas. And among the most important factors that determine success at this stage are energy and self-discipline, cultivating the ability to make efforts and super-efforts on the spiritual Path.
One can develop these qualities well by engaging in various dynamic sport activities, of which especially great are those that connect us with living nature (hiking, mountain climbing, etc.). Practicing oriental martial arts would also be very good for that purpose. But it is important to emphasize, that this practice should in no way lead to growth of aggressiveness, brutality and rudeness. Another important thing to understand is that the techniques of martial arts per se cannot conduct the seeker to spiritual heights: this can be achieved only by working with the chakras and through mastering the art of meditation, which are integral parts of the training in the best schools of this orientation.
In any specific kind of classes at this stage — be it karate, hiking, or something else — both instructors and students must pay their principal attention to increasing the level of their morality, which is based on causing no unnecessary harm to any living beings.
It would be appropriate for everyone to start thinking about and to make right decisions regarding their service according to Karma Yoga principles and change professional occupation, if necessary, or start studying in order to acquire a new profession.
People with unstable emotions as well as those who cannot concentrate or have unpleasant obsessive thoughts will benefit from taking a course of Hatha Yoga lessons. Exercises of this stage were developed in ancient India, and their performance teaches one concentration of the consciousness in various parts of the body, as well as relaxation of the body and mind; they also contribute to elimination of many bioenergetic defects within the body and can heal one of some chronic diseases.
The mechanism that is at work here is as follows: maintaining postures of Hatha Yoga for a long time causes accumulation and redistribution of energy in the energy structures of the organism, which results in their development. The following dynamics of sensations is typical when mastering new asanas. For the first few days of practice, one may not feel anything out of the ordinary, only a regular adaptation of the body takes place. During the next few days, there appears absolutely new “mysterious” and pleasant sensation of energies “flowing” inside the body, which “flow” in meridians like streams of liquid; one may even hear a babbling sound at times. But in one or two weeks they suddenly disappear, to one’s regret, which in fact means that the asana has fulfilled its role at the current stage. But what was taking place is the following. As a result of doing the asana, the corresponding meridian started to function. While its conductivity was still low, one had interesting murmur-like sensations. When the meridian had opened fully, the energy started to move freely inside it and the “murmuring” stopped.
At the initial stages of mastering the exercises of Hatha Yoga, the necessary condition for doing asanas is performing shavasana after the whole set or after particular asanas, which are performed separately (except for relaxation ones). This is needed for the leveling of energetic strains that may develop due to the low conductivity of meridians. If this condition is not fulfilled, neurotic symptoms (liability of mood, sleep disturbances, and many others) and even visual impairments or disorders of other systems of the organism may develop.
Description of relaxation asanas will be given in the next chapters. Other exercises are described in specialized literature.
Practicing Hatha Yoga without switching to the killing-free diet always results in the coarsening of the consciousness of the students. Subjectively it may be perceived as attainment of power. But it turns out to be a terrible trap: by possessing coarse power of the consciousness we program ourselves for living in hell.
Apart from exercises of Indian Hatha Yoga some systems of Chinese dynamic gymnastics can be used for the same purpose. For example, those, where the development of the meridians with images of light (small “sun”, etc.) is performed during smooth and slow “roll-overs” from one foot to another.
Hatha Yoga practice (or other trainings) can be supplemented by exercises, which develop the ability to create visual images. This will prepare one for mastering the highest forms of meditation as well as create prerequisites for attainment of clairvoyance.
We can start with simple things: let us imagine a tomato, an apple, a juicy pear, then let us imagine that we examine them, smell them, bite them, enjoy their flavor and swallow them with great pleasure…
Let us get carried to the morning silence of a lake: in a boat, surrounded by reed… Small tender dewdrops are hanging from every leaflet… Fish splashing, sound of duck's wings… Reed warblers start singing their songs…
Or we may imagine that we are lying on a beach in the morning sunlight… Warm and tender light pervades our bodies and souls, saturating them with bliss…
Or let us visualize ourselves picking mushrooms: cutting and plucking slimy black milk-cups out of wet autumn foliage…, admiring a big and solid cep…
We may visualize numerous similar images. They must attune us to subtlety, beauty and bliss. They must teach us sattva.
Later on we may make the training more complex in the following way: we may imagine ourselves to be some imaginary sattvic object — a sweet juicy pear, a strawberry, a tender fragrant flower, or a caressing sun. We may learn to place these images filled with our own consciousness, with our self-awareness, into the chest — into the anahata chakra.
When this ability is well developed, it will be easy for us to invite into anahata a Divine Teacher, Whose Image we know very well from photographs. And He will “come alive” there: He will start smiling and speaking…
But it will become possible only if we deserve it: if we keep an impeccable life, become established in sattva, study the Teachings of God intensively, and transform ourselves in accordance with them.
Work with images has another name — visualization, which was borrowed from Buddhism. But it is important to warn the reader against having a non-critical attitude towards specific recommendations for visualization that one may find in literature or lectures of some ignorant Buddhist specialists.
Some authors recommend surrounding the body with images of “wrathful gods”, i.e. devils and demons, for “guard magic” purposes. Such images also “come alive” by getting filled with corresponding hell beings…
A famous mystic and doctor from Saint Petersburg, who was not “overburdened with intellect” and possessed grossest ethic vices while being a good extrasensory diagnostician, started to study these “black magic” methods with a group of his students.
The effect was that people were getting sick having just talked with him.
And when that entire gang visited other esoteric groups to stare at people practicing — students were fainting there.
Coarsening of him as a consciousness reached a tremendous level, and he turned into a devil in the flesh, but he continued to teach extrasensory healing and to “heal”. Although it is clear that people like this cannot heal anyone; they can only do harm by “putting an evil eye” on people.
He ended up becoming a knife-victim, murdered in his own bathroom. It was most likely one of the victims of his “healing” or one of a victim’s friends.
But hell is not what we need! We prepare ourselves to becoming God, not devils! Therefore, seeing this sad example of spiritual degradation as someone else’s tragic experience, let us turn away from it and go to the abodes of Purity, Light, Tenderness, and Love — in order to attune to them and to become one with them.
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If you already possess some skills, which could be of use to other people, — gather some of your friends and teach them what you know. Your knowledge, abilities, and efforts will combine, and you all will grow together, preparing yourselves to the next stages of spiritual growth.