The Founder / Conferences

Dario Salas Sommer

Read one of over 2,000 conferences given by Dario Salas Sommer for the members of the Institute for Hermetic Philosophy throughout the world.

Darío Salas Sommer
(Conference Transcription)

Main Theme: Spiritual Progress

Other topics mentioned in this talk:

  • Effort
  • Goals
  • Analyzing and understanding one's life

I have often spoken about one of the human being’s most shocking characteristics, that of knowing something, but not incorporating it; knowing something, but not acting as a consequence of what you know. In other words, people assume certain truths in theory and say: “ Yes, I agree with that, I believe in that, I know that things are like that, yet they live as if what they just said is false, and act as if it is false, and their ordinary feelings correspond to the falsehood of what they say they accept. It is like knowing something and not knowing that you know it.

Do you remember when we previously spoke about the difference between knowing that we are on the outside of a sphere that is spinning in space and incorporating what this means?I went on to say that if people really incorporate that truth, they might feel sick right there and then! They will feel sick at the precise moment that they realize that perhaps we really are upside down… well, in space you don’t know what is up and what is down. We could say that everything is down, right? In other words, perhaps we are upside down, with our feet on the earth, and our head on a sphere that is in space. Shocking isn’t it? We know it, but we don’t think about it. We know it, but we ignore it at the same time.

To make matters more shocking we are monkeys, we are all monkeys. Remember the book I have often referred to, and which is worth rereading once in a while: “The Naked Ape” by Desmond Morris to remind yourself of what we are. Does anyone really acknowledge that we are monkeys?... No one. Movies have been made about it, like The Planet of the Apes, where this fact is shown quite clearly. But who bears this in mind? No one.

Often, people lose heart on the spiritual path and about the work they must do because they find it difficult to evaluate their own progress, to see the changes they have made. In the beginning, the changes are not very noteworhty, although, on the contrary, it would seem that in the beginning changes take place very quickly. But, at the beginning, what happens it that there is a great deal of contrast. The person has spent all of their life prior to this subject in inertia, and all of a sudden, they start to move by themselves, they start to have a greater capacity for self-control, a greater capacity to do new things; the person becomes freer, more creative, more autonomous which is far from their previous experience and seems to be a noteworthy and important change. Afterwards, a person becomes more sophisticated, but because he/she lacks clarity in his/her goals.

It’s very important for the student of Hermeticism to have short-term goals because the definitive goal, or the most important goal can be so far away that the person will never be able to see clearly to what extent they are getting closer or not to that goal. To help one measure one’s own change at the beginning, one must have modest, but concrete goals. These must be things we can do at the time, things one does not do already but decides to be able to do in the future. In fact, it would be healthy for each person who enters this School to analyze the problems of that moment, what one is lacking, what one feels, what one would like to achieve, etc.

Because if a person says: “O.K. I want to perfect myself spiritually,” this is clearly the final goal, the general goal, the path. But, what does it entail? What is spiritual perfection made up of for that person? Someone might want to overcome certain things they lack, for example, a person might be shy or a bit too narcissistic, another might be irresponsible, or lazy ... these are all important things. So the person must write this down and make it their long-term or short-term goal to stop being lazy, or irresponsible, or narcissistic, for example.

Moreover, if a person writes down the short-term provisional goal to stop being narcissistic, he/she must write down how it affects him/her at that moment in his/her life, what damage it brings him/her, what the extent of the problem is, what it stops him/her from doing, emotional feelings that remain with that person, how much time does it makes the person waste, how much energy is lost, because, it might be a while before he/she is able to overcome it totally. That’s when the person might say: “I’ve failed, because I have not overcome my narcissism.” But if a person analyzes this calmly, he/she will realize that half of the negative symptoms they had before because of their narcissism has disappeared, and therefore there has been progress.

People tend to forget the way that they were before very quickly; this is a problem psychiatrists and psychologists have with their patients constantly. People go to see them in bad shape and after a while say: “I’ve made no progress, I feel that I haven’t progressed at all.” That’s because the feeling of ‘no progress’ is very simple; everything that is slow gives the impression that change is not happening precisely because it is very, very slow; but if that change were to take place abruptly, it’s possible for that person to feel like they were in the middle of an earthquake.

It is similar to lowering the temperature abruptly. Just imagine if this talk lasted for ten hours and we started to lower the temperature half a degree each hour. By the time this talk was over, we would probably not have noticed that the temperature had gone down since we would be used to it. But if we lowered it five degrees at a time, we would all notice it right away. So I would like to ask all of the people who have been in this School for years to remember the way they were before, to remember that some of you were like little birds when you first came here, meaning that you were terribly naïve, little birds living in a word of fantasy, in “la-la land.” That was the reality at that time.

So then, you must write down the changes you have achieved, that have taken place within you, incorporate them and be grateful… Be grateful for your own work, and be grateful to God, because in the end he permits human beings to obtain these kinds of achievements. It is important to feel that you have done important things and that these things belong to you, that they are capacities you have developed and that you will never lose. Spiritual work then takes on a different dimension. When a person bears in mind what he/she has attained, by nature such a person will be more harmonious and more positive than those who always see what they are lacking and are unhappy. This reminds me of the difference between an optimist and a pessimist and a glass of water. When asked to describe what a person sees, the person may answer either that he/she sees “a glass that is half-full, or a glass that is half-empty.” This is an instinctive thing that indicates peoples’ different points of view.

When you realize and incorporate the advances you have made, and when you understand that this entails developing capacities that are within you, available within you, from that point on, you cannot become negative. You cannot complain about not being able to do things as everything is in your own hands.

I believe that what people like least all over the world is to be told that if they do not do something it’s because they don’t want to since everything is in their own hands. I think people feel terribly angry because they go back to their childhood, and it is as if they are asking their dad for money to go and buy candy, and the dad says: “Fine, but you have to earn it. Go out and work to get it. What do I care? Find a way to make the money to buy the candy.” People don’t like that; it makes them angry. People like to have an excuse to justify their lack of effort, lack of commitment, and lack of dedication toward their goals. When the economic situation is difficult in a country, then naturally a person has no reason to feel ashamed or lose self-esteem if things go badly for him/her. Under these circumstances, a person calms down, but in all truth, that very same person could be successful if he/she really decided to do so. But people do not have this kind of “can do” vision. It is possible to get the things you want if you work hard enough, if your commitment is big enough, and if you do whatever you have to do impeccably.

There is a really silly zombi-type TV show which contains, however, an interresting lesson. The show is called something like “Traveling With the Rich and Famous,” or “The Life of the Rich and Famous,” something like that. The other day I was watching this show and there were some interesting cases. One of the cases had to do with a guy in Guatemala who was a drunk, a poor drunk not a rich drunk, like any drunk we find in any old bar anywhere, and somehow, out of despair or whatever, he got to thinking about earning money and it dawned on him to make rum. In time, he became the “rum king” and one of the richest men in Guatemala. They showed how he had forty Andalucien horses and each was worth $350,000. He had one of the biggest and most beautiful houses in Guatemala; his family lived in another four mansions in a mountainside neighborhood.

So, there are people who at some point believe in something, and somehow go beyond their own limits, for some reason.

Another case is that of Oleg Cassini, the famous designer, originally from Russia, son of a wealthy family in Russia, but who lost everything at a certain point in time and moved to the United States without a dime. He started to make connections and ended up marrying a contemporary artist who was really famous, Jean Tierney. After this relationship, he became the boyfriend of Grace Kelly and he was Jaqueline Kennedy ‘s designer. He started to move in very high circles. Well, he has a mansión with 35 rooms, marble floors and decorations brought all the way from Italy and France. Amazing! People who had nothing, not a cent! So, it is possible.

But what do those people have that others do not? Oleg Cassini, among other things, is 80 years old today. I don’t know if the documentary was filmed a while ago or not - it could have been 10 years ago - but at the time, he was 80 years old and he also still competed in horse races. He competed and won those races. When he was asked what the reason of his success was, he would say: “I believe the secret to my success is the energy that I put into everything. Always. Even when I didn’t know something, I have tried to put all my energy into it and to do the best I possibly can with the greatest amount of enthusiasm.”

So, I ask you, “Are you doing that?” If you are not and if you are a Hermeticist, then a person who does not belong to this School is doing a much better job than you are, or has done a better job than you have. If someone outside can do it, that’s all the more reason for you to be able to do so.

Also, it is interesting to see how in other countries there are people who are very rich and they are not entrepreneurs or anything. Just like the case of a comedian, for example - I can’t remember his name - but he was highlighted in the same series, a well-known person who is important in the United States. All the politicians want to remain on his good side so that he will not make nasty jokes about them on his show. He is just an imitator, an impersonator and a joke teller. He lives alone in a wonderful mansion with 16 rooms and several acres of land. It’s fabulous! He has earned this through imitating others, their voices, being funny. And how did he do it? He gives himself wholeheartedly over to whatever he does. On the program, they showed how he prepared for his TV sketches, how he watches movies of the people he wants to imitate, and he has a wonderful room in his house with a home theater, with one of those really big plasma flat-screeen TVs, where he views these people, listens to them, and repeats what they say, over and over again, until he is able to imitate them well.

Therefore, the commitment of such people and the way they give themselves wholeheartedly over to what they do, is clear. But in the Latin countries, we are not used to that; it is as if the reigning concept is “o.k. work for a certain number of hours and then rest, and, after you rest, go on vacation, then take Monday off, then continue on but without making too many sacrifices! In other words, trying but, not really...

In Chile it is quite hard for someone to starve to death, not even among the most modest people, there is always someone who will take you in. A relative. You might be on the street, but someone will always take you in. In other countries, no one will take you in. No one. In other countries, you do not get invited in to dinner or to eat at their home. No one. Taking people in is a very Chilean custom. It is rare that in other countries, someone invites you to have dinner in their home. If they do invite you, it is to a restaurant. Well, there is a saying in other countries that if a bus runs over a dog, ten people will rush to pick it up and save it, but if an old lady gets run over, no one will help her up!

In the time of the hippies - because there are not too many hippies today - there was a big difference between the hippies of the U.S. and the Latin ones: The Latin hippies were all chubby, the American hippies were skinny. How can you explain a chubby hippy? There was always an aunt, a grandmother, a relative, or a friend to support them, always someone. But in other countries things don’t work like that.. Think about it, what do Chilean parents do? Latin parents overprotect their little boys and girls; they take care of them; make sure they do not go out late, so that this or that will not happen to them, always keep them protected: “Baby girl, if you get married and things don’t work out, don’t worry, even if you are 40, come back home, this is always your home.” In any event, it’s always something along those lines.

In the U.S., most university students have left home years before and pay for their classes by working, whether as a waiter at a restaurant, or working a night shift and studying during the day. And somehow, they get by, but they do both things, and they support themselves. There are young people or children rather that leave home at 14 in the U.S. and sometimes see their parents again only when they are 25, if at all. This seems shocking to us, there is so much overprotection here that logically when there is overprotection towards your children, the children feel very special, and so they are going to demand from the world to give them the same as their parents did, with a similar attitude. In fact, spoiled children are also called “grandma’s boy” meaning that the child is spoilt by their grandfather or grandmother. Right? But I think that this expression is valid for anyone who is spoiled, whether it is by the grandparents or parents, or by the system or whatever. So this spoiled person is going to ask the world to treat him/her exactly how his/her parents or grandparents treated him/her. The spoiled individual is going to feel privileged, special, different and won’t know what going out into the world and working hard means, working hard in the market place, and producing something with market value that can be traded in the market place.

Why do you have another black hole in your head? A blind spot perhaps? About producing something of market value? Pay attention: there are doctors, for example that are simply doctors and they earn under $1,000 a month alter having studied for so many years; and, there are other doctors who produce something with market value, something that is really in demand and they earn $20,000 at least a month. But people don’t like to go out into the marketplace. People want the state to protect them without going out into the market. Let me repeat this: going out into the market means that you produce some kind of value that people need, and for which they are willing to pay the price. The fact that people are willing to pay for something means that it can be bought or sold, which means in fact that it has value.

This is not only done by an industrialist or an entrepreneur, but every professional person, everyone who works at a profitable activity. When someone does not earn much, it is because the value he/she produces is not very much in demand; there is an abundance of what he produces. If I expect to make money by carrying sacs, like a truck loader, for example, of course I’ll make very little because there is not enough demand for the supply - there are many truck loaders, so they make very little. However, if I could discover a system to load a truck in a third of the time that it normally takes, perhaps I could charge quite a lot for that service. Why? Because my new method would save the truck owners a significant amount of time.

The same thing is true about spirituality. Compare your progress to the example of what a person earns. In fact, the primitive rituals of the masons of Iran, which originally was a real hermetic masonry (it is said that they used an expression that still exists today in some masonic rituals), contained talk of “a salary,” and those who make up a lodge were called workers, because the Masons started as a builder’s construction company. So, in ancient times, when a masonic meeting would come to an end, they would speak of the workers receiving a salary. A very hermetic expression, very interesting, because this is also what happens in this Institute.

Everyone receives a salary. You receive a salary from Nature for the internal work you have done, and if you simply pretend to work, your salary may be nothing at all. Moreover, Nature might not only not pay you something, she may even charge you on top of it. If you misbehave, or act incorrectly, the same thing is true. Therefore, if you wish to progress spiritually, you also have to place yourself within the market. It is the same thing as producing value anywhere else, the only difference is that these values are those that traditionally identify what a spiritual person should have, self-control (to what extent do you control yourself?), modesty, (to what extent have you overcome your personal importance?), a state of vigilance, (to what extent are you dreaming your life away?), etc.

I think that a great deal of dreaming and fantasizing takes place before talks like the one I’m giving you now. If you could see yourselves chatting outside, just before the talk, it is quite a sight to see sometimes. You forget where you are; you all get so enthusiastic about your conversation that it is entertaining to look at you from the outside. I sometimes come and “spy” on you before the talk without you realizing it, but you get totally carried away. So I ask you, “to what extent do you control your emotions? To what extent have you cleansed yourself?” All these are spiritual values. “To what extent are you able to overcome your own passions?” All these things make up the values for which Nature gives you a salary. This salary is equal to progress, recognition, and a person’s spiritual progress is that person’s spiritual hierarchy. I am speaking of very concrete things, right?... There are no flights of fancy in what I am saying, really only concrete things such as a person’s level of vigilance.

As far as I know there is no instrument to measure a person’s level of vigilance, yet it is not difficult to do. What happens is that for someone to be interested in making an instrument of this kind, that person would have to wake up first (those who are awake are not interested in making such an instrument since they are involved in other things), but I do not believe that too much science or research is needed to make an instrument to measure a person’s level of vigilance. It is not done also because it is not profitable. In any event, what can be more concrete than a person’s level of awareness?

We spoke of this before. It is easy to realize that most of the time, people are sort of flat all day long, sort of “down,” kind of inside a mental marmalade, don’t you think? It’s as if their heads were inside a giant piece of bubble gum, like those afternoons in the tropics where people have a siesta after a big lunch and a few pina colada cocktails... Then, naturally, a person’s mind is foggy under these conditions, and a person does not have the ability to perceive reality.

With regard to understanding reality, our instrument of knowledge has to function in such a way as to avoid projections. Projections can be avoided by what we call “being impersonal.” You can experiment to prove to yourself that this is possible; it is not so much something to do, but rather something to feel. You will get a glimpse of what I’m saying. Before you fall asleep at night, imagine that you are not a person, not a human being , but that you turn into pure energy... [The speaker is laughing] You have no idea why I am laughing, do you? It’s really silly, it doesn’t really matter but the truth is that I have a really good time here because really funny things happen here .... When I say pure energy, some of you start to yawn at exactly that moment! Anyway, before you go to sleep, imagine that you are pure energy, that you have no physical body, that you are pure gaseous energy, like a cloud of energy, and that this cloud of energy starts to move away from planet Earth, and go higher and higher, and remain in space. From space, you look at Earth, at the world without any human interest, completely impersonally, as pure energy, intelligent energy, look at the world and watch what is happening, then give your opinion. Try this tonight.

This is why ascetic practices are so important, that is, the sacrifices through which a person disassociates from the physical body, what we call “Hermetic separation.” Hermetic separation is authentic. The other kind, astral traveling, where you fly about in your etheric double is simply a child’s story. It is possible to do, but it has no use except to go and spy on your neighbor, and whoever is able to do so will be punished later on, so, there is no point to it anyway.

Hermetic separation consists of becoming disassociated from your body. When a man, for example, is not disassociated from his body, and a very sexy woman walks by, the man will feel certain things. If he were disasociated from his body, he could say: “Wow! What a pretty woman,” and feel nothing more. If a person is disassociated from his/her body, even if they haven’t eaten for three days, they could smell or see exquisite food and feel nothing. To be disassociated from your body means to be above the body. When a person is disassociated from his/her body, they also become disassociated from the personality; they exist as pure energy and can therefore think, meditate, or reflect on things without letting themselves be influenced by the body’s appetites, without letting themselves be influenced by personal interests because at that time, that person is well beyond the body, has no name, no identity at that moment, and to a certain extent, has become united to the universe and is a part of everything.

Very well, getting back to spiritual goals, a lot of people ask me: “When do we reach that goal?” The most naïve ones ask: “How many years does it take to reach the goal?”... “Well, about 4,860,” I would say. No, you never reach the goal, never. That is why Carlos Castaneda wrote a book called “Journey to Ixtlan” where no one understands why they never reach Ixtlan, and they speak of never getting there. Ixtlan is a symbol of the goal, of perfection… You reach a relative perfection. And people are always raising their goal, so its logical to never reach it. Imagine that the goal is at a certain height, and when the person gets close to it, his/her level is raised immediately because his/her conceptual capacity becomes enhanced. And so, a person finds that the goal they had before was too modest, the roof is then raised and please - wake up right now so that you will be able to comprehend this [the speaker says to the audience], if a person raises the limit they have every so often, it makes the person feel they are not progressing. They feel that they are always at the same distance from the goal. But what they do not realize is that their goal has been moved several times, and that it is always moving. Such a person might feel that he/she is still very far away and that they have progressed very little. But this is not true. What has happened is that the goal has been moved several times.

We live in an infinite universe, therefore absolute perfection does not exist, or if it does, we cannot define it. We can only aspire to have a relative kind of perfection. This relative perfection has no end; it will always constitute a process of perfection that is greater and greater until one day the individual can become one with God, and be a part of God, going back to his/her origin, or perhaps if we speculate from the point of view of physics, not from Hermeticism, one can become like a god of another Universe, perhaps, the equivalent of God in another parallel universe.

I think it is very important to define as concretely as possible what spiritual progress is. It should not be something confusing or abstract, like saying: “Spiritual progress, great, great!... Of course, I want spiritual progress!” But, a person imagines spiritual progress like someone who imagines heaven, like being seated next to God, don’t you think? God is an old man with a beard sitting on a throne, and the person sits next to him and plays a harp for all eternity. How boring!! So it is important to define what spiritual progress is, to have key words to define it, key phrases, short definitions, deep one’s.

Don’t try to copy what I say word for word, meditate on what spiritual progress is, become aware of how important certain achievements are. For example, think about dominating yourself, being able to dominate your impulses, imagine what this means - you feel an instinctive impulse for something, to insult someone, to hit someone, or to do something. You would need to have the presence to count to a hundred first, or to thirty six thousand, or whatever in order to have the self-control to inhibit the impulse. And, I’m not talking about repressing it. Inhibit the impulse until you analyze it, think about it, reflect upon whether it is good, or bad. This is what acting consciously means. Imagine that you could do that with everything. Perhaps, if you had enough time for everything in life, you would make less mistakes... if your life lasted five-hundred years, or if you had five hundred years to do what you usually do in fifty. Logically, we would have more time so that our decisions would be more down-to-earth, more profound, with fewer possibilities of making mistakes, as I just said. Even the most ignorant or stupid person in the world, if they lived for five-hundred years, could fool anyone after that!

Why is it so important to define what spirituality is in concrete terms? Because a person has to know what to bear in mind about what they are aspiring to, to a certain extent, that is, to know what they want, concretely, because to say: “I want to be spiritual,” you have to know what it is.

Imagine a guy who doesn’t speak Spanish and we say to them that an important goal is to eat a steak “a lo pobre.” This is a Chilean expression which translated literally into English means “a poor beef steak.” Perhaps that person will live under the illusion of calling that steak, “poor beaf steak,” for years, and he doesn’t even know what it means.

Be careful! Because for many, spirituality is just like the expression “a lo pobre.” Many people haven’t even thought about what spirituality is, concretely speaking, what one will achieve, what the advantages of it are. Obviously, when you understand the importance of something, when you value it, when you discover the value of something… it’s not that you are going to place your expectations on something that is not valuable ... you see there are two possibilities: there are those who place their beliefs and superstition in something or someone, like in Yamilet, for example, the Chilean girl who supposedly made miracles and who so many people in Chile spoke about, placing their faith in her. But this is not the value of an object in itself, it is the value that people have given it. As we are able to discover the value of something, we will find the strength to continue along the path we are on; it will be like a continuous discovery or a prize.

For example: how many hours would you wait to talk to… I think his name is Brad Pitt? Or how many hours would the men wait to speak to Claudia Schiffer, for example? In any case, the hours are not important, but let’s suppose that you knew, from a very good source that you would certainly meet Jesus here on earth because he had come back again and will be somewhere for a day at a certain time. You might make yourself wait for sixty hours or even two-hundred. But lets say you can’t move from that place, how many hours would you be willing to wait? Whatever it takes, right? If you knew beyond a doubt that Jesus was coming, you might even wait until you starve to death, without moving from your place.

This is why it is so important to discover the importance of Hermeticism, to discover its values, what it can give us and also to understand what our options are without the spiritual path, off the spiritual path, what our destiny will be like without it, and that is what people do not integrate into their understanding. The fantasies, the expectations that people have, serve only one purpose: To believe that their lives can be different from the lives of others.The truth is that without the spiritual path, our life is almost a useless sacrifice, almost like living for no reason at all…

What do you live for? To procreate, make money, eat, consume, have fun, and that’s all? All of this with a thousand variations; you might have more or less money, or accumulate more or less of material goods, be more or less happy in a relationship with your partner, have a family with many children or few. You might be healthy or sickly, but your life is going to be the same, predictable, or to put it another way, each day is one day less. Spiritually, on the other hand, each day is one day more; it’s logical. Physically each day is one day less, spiritually, each day is one day more, because it is another day of work that we have credited to our spiritual capacity. When a person is clear about this, they are motivated and strong. One needs to be clear about this, like the clarity of someone who is dying of thirst about what a drink of water means, a bottle of ice cold water on a hot day, when a person is dying of thirst.

But what happens is that there are moments of lucidity, moments when a person does have that certitude that I am speaking of, moments where a person sees things clearly and appreciates and says: “This, is everything, there is nothing more, this is the path.” But the world is like a merry-go-round, this “feeling” lasts for as long as the person remains quiet and still inside, but, afterwards, the merry-go-round starts to spin again and then, the TV, entertainment, holidays, this and that, the home, all the concerns that we have to deal with from day to day, children, family, money issues and all of a person’s obligations, start up. Then a person gets dizzy and drunk, and logically that certitude that he/she had, becomes dull, it goes down, it becomes flat, and that person remains hooked on his/her fantasies.

Think about it. Perhaps someone was thinking about coming to one of these talks, but then didn’t show up. “So what?” … you might say, “they missed one talk,” but I would like to know if what that person did that day instead of coming to a talk, will take him/her closer to the spiritual path or further away?

But someone might not come, because they got all caught up in something that they thought was fun at a certain point in time, that they thought was interesting and gets caught on another chain of events ... and we go through life due to chains of events, one thing gets tied up with the next...

The Law of Cause and Effect is a chain of circumstances and if we get caught up at a certain point in time with this chain of circumstances that’s different, it can lead the person in a different direction to the one they want. Let’s say someone says: “O.K. I’m going to take a course,” of whatever, cooking, for example, of course, it can be useful, but if the person is not careful it may be part of a chain of circumstances that takes him/her in another direction.

People who find that the spiritual path is very difficult should say, “I’m so lucky! I am glad it is difficult,” because, for those who have stopped being so naïve, our world is characterized by or divided into two types of things: those that are difficult and those that are easy, things that are expensive and things that are cheap. Difficult things are always valuable,; everything that is difficult is valuable;nothing that is easy is valuable. Everything that is easy is worthless.

Go out on the street and pick things up… What are you going to find? All kinds of garbage that has been thrown away, right? Why was it thrown away? Because no one wanted it.. Do you think you will find a wallet that someone dropped? Of course, there is a slight possibility, one in I don’t know how many. But are you going to find a hundred dollar bill just lying around? Are you going to find a bar of gold in the street? No. What will you find? We know the streets are full of garbage and there is no need to make a list. Go anywhere, what is the most likely thing you will find, a good smell or a bad smell? Bad smells are everywhere much more than good smells. We know that whatever needs a greater amount of organization, a higher level of organization, or more work in order to exist is obviously more valuable, more expensive.

There are these Chinese figurines, ivory balls that fit one into another, - I can’t remember how many there are, maybe thirty six - starting from the outer piece to the smallest one that goes inside. A single craftsman works on these from three to five years to make only one of these puzzles. It can’t be cheap, can it? Five years of his life. You can find imitations, something that looks like ivory, where you can see the outer ball, and it may look like there are others inside, but that is a different matter, nothing like the real thing. It’s like gold and golden. And this is one of the problems in life, people cannot tell the difference between real gold and a fool’s gold. Often people see something and they think they have found gold, but in reality it was only a golden color, and that golden color after it has been used for a while, wears away quickly, and then you can see the rusty metal that lies beneath. This is the same with people, of course, people who are golden on the outside. In fact, that is what narcissism is, a wish to look golden, for what? So that the little pigs will applaud you - the way we all know they will? I have never been able to understand human beings and why they like applause so much? I find this strange, people are definitely strange. I know that people think that I am strange, but I think people are stranger; if the applause came from someone important, the applause from someone wise, someone who really is significant, but not even... The only thing we should care about is the approval of Nature; if Nature approves us, we are on the other side, we can feel fulfilled and Nature will always approve everything we do honestly, if we are honest and transparent.

People get muddled up in life with things that are easy, easy promises, easy money, easy love, easy things. They go after goals that are very short-term. We have lost the sense of what it means to go after something no matter how long it takes because it is truly important.

The same thing happens with Hermeticism, for example. There are those who ask: “How long will these studies last?” This is not a study, it is a life-style, and it is about living spiritually with all of what that entails. Naturally, if someone is able to live spiritually they will not ask: “Hey, how many years will I have to live spiritually?” On the contrary, the person will say, “I wish I could live like this all the time.” And their fear would be to not be able to continue living like that, not the contrary.

I was saying regarding spiritual progress, that one of the important things is also to be able to decode one’s life, and one’s vital circumstances. One’s life is different from one’s vital circumstances: life, has to do with everything in your life as a whole, and the vital circumstances are the episodes that we have to go through in our everyday existence ... that sometimes last a long time, situations that can last months or years, and others that are brief, that last an hour, five minutes or one day. We have to observe both of these elements and comprehend them, because they have a meaning.

People can’t find the meaning, because they become blinded by their own actions. Because what a person does in their everyday life seems so familiar, they stop seeing it; if a person starts to steal, for example, after a while, stealing is so natural that it doesn’t seem strange, it seems logical. What will seem strange is why others who could steal, don’t.

What does a person need to decode in their life? First of all, what they do everyday and why do they do it. Obviously, if a person goes to work, it is because they need to eat, right? But why did they choose that kind of work? How did they get into that source of income? Maybe they have a profession, or they are entrepreneurs, or have a job, some profitable source of revenue, why did that person choose that particular kind of work and not another? What is life trying to teach that person through this choice?

Sometimes, all those things that seem to be advantages might be disadvantages. Why did a person become a doctor, for example? There was a man in Chile who was very well- known - a lot has been written about him - his name was Jaime Daltes, he was a “medium” doctor; it is said that the spirit of a German doctor would manifest through him or something like that, and Jaime Daltes cured people. So, why did that happen? How can a person live through such strange vital circumstances? What kind of karma did he have to have to lend his body to someone else, so that an entity could act through him, to pay off another karma, by carrying the problems of other people? Why is someone a modest employee somewhere and will be an employee all throughout life? There is nothing wrong with being an employee, work is good for one, but that person could be something else other than just an employee ... they could work freelance or be a brilliant professional, for example, so, why one circumstance and not another? What does life wish to teach you?

People must understand when they get stuck in a situation in life. Please listen carefully. When a person gets stuck in a situation it is because he/she does not want to understand the lesson. When you get stuck in a situation it is the same as repeating a grade at school - you have to repeat the grade for the lesson you haven’t learned. So, you do the same thing over and over and over again. Analyze what you have gotten stuck on in your life, what you repeat, what have you not been able to change, and that is the lesson you have to understand; that is what you have to work on, and you will know you are successful when you understand what life is trying to teach you. You will know that you have been successful because the situation will change immediately, and you will get out of that situation.

For example, why are there men and women who have not done well in their relationships, or in love, and they look for someone else. For example, a woman who is with a man, to put it some way, let say that man is an “ABX” man, and with an “ABX-type” man, that woman has not done well at all, and doesn’t want anything to do with that kind of man. So, she searches and searches and all of a sudden she finds another man… What is he like? Another “ABX-type” man. He will have a different disguise, but he will be the same, nonetheless. So, she breaks up with him because things don’t work out, some time goes by, let’s say five years, and she meets another “ABX-type” man. What does all this mean? Is it a coincidence? No… Perhaps she has been dealing with “ABX-type” men for her last five incarnations because she doesn’t want to learn the lesson. If a person learns the lesson, if he/she understand what life wants to teach them through this, they will be able to change that circumstance; if not, a person must resign himself/herself to living with that situation, and say: “Very well… I have not been able to comprehend; I’m going to resign myself to this situation, and just suffer with resignation, like something inevitable,” but not like little children who blame the teacher, or the system, or that the teaching method is bad that the teacher doesn’t like them. No it is not like that, you can’t assume that God doesn’t like you, can you?

And then, on this spiritual path it is very important to remember what life is, give it a name, classifyit. I have always said that for many this life is like living in a brothel. Let’s speak about men; we would have to invent a name of something equivalent for women, but what is really true is that this life is a school, this life is just a stop on the road, an opportunity to perfect ourselves. Our life is very short; it is merely a sigh along our path, and the object is to perfect ourselves. If a person does not do this, then, they will have to reincarnate, time and time again, for ten thousand years and be stuck on the same things over and over again, until perhaps life becomes extinct. According to Hermetic tradition, life has ended before on planet Earth - human life as we know it - and in the sacred Hindu books, the most ancient ones speak of circles of life, that every so many years there is a circle of life, that there is a timeframe in which humanity can evolve, and those who do not evolve within that time are left behind, dissolved, and cease to exist, or go back to Earth, meaning, they either move along or they repeat the grade. Right?

From a material point of view who are the most powerful people in the world, materialistically speaking? Those who repeat the grade, obviously, the ones who repeat in any school or university are the ones who know what’s going on, who the teachers are, what the subject is; they know what they need to study, they are in their own element. Imagine someone who is repeating the same grade for the third time, he/she knows it all. So there are students who repeat the year on this planet, those who did not evolve in the last circle of life, and perhaps are not going to evolve in this one either.

Students must decode the real cause of their everyday feelings: why do they experience the emotions they usually experience? What is their purpose, the cause of these emotions? What is one trying to attain with them? What things trigger these emotions and what is their purpose? I always insist on the need to have a list of your emotions. For example, speaking of the most elemental ones: anger, happiness, frustration, deception, ambition, greed, clarity, friendship, whatever. Those things the person realizes that they feel. It might be envy, anger, depression, sadness, melancholy. Make a list of those that affect you the most, and then find out what triggers them, why do these emotions become active, to realize how mechanical they are. Sadness will always be triggered by the same elements, the same things, usually because one’s self-esteem went down. Sadness is sort of joined with depression. Why does a person become happy? Supposedly, these moods, as they are called, are related to the humors of the body. It is said that those that are melancholic are bilious, for example – this has to do with bile, with the influence of certain internal organs. But in any case, this is not what we are interested in, what we want to know is why a person is sad, or a non-conformist, why someone is always complaining, why someone does not accept the good things they have and searches for an explanation, not just “because.” For example, take the case of a man who does not understand a woman, and who might come home and see his wife with a long face and think “but I have behaved myself so well… and everything has been so nice.” There is a reason, and he needs to try and understand why she has such a long face, see the logic behind it, because there is probably a reason, and not just say that she is a pain in the neck, as some might say.

Analyze the areas where you have been failing, why you haven’t been successful in a certain area; be clear about what you decided to do and try to describe it in the most complete way possible. Look, someone might say: “I decided to make more money.” And might think that having said that they have said it all. “To make more money” is too vague. How did you decide to make more money? How did you expect to make more money? How much money and in how much time? What sacrifices were you going to make for that? What training were you going to get for that? What was your work schedule going to be? How were you going to organize your life? What were you willing to give in order to achieve it? In other words, make an extensive and profound analysis of that situation in order to realize how people often decide not go into depth on certain subjects.

For example, a woman might say: “O.K then, I want to find the man of my life!” And that is all, and she’s happy with what she’s said; she might specify: “I mean I want to find the man of my life and I am working within to achieve that.” Period, that’s all, that’s fantastic. So, how does she want that man to be? What are the qualities that she has to have within herself so that he will be interested in her? What does she have to offer? What is she willing to give? What is going to happen when she finds that man? Will she give him his space or will she start to tighten her grip? We know that a woman feels anguish if she fears losing a man, because these situations are incongruent. A person feels anguish because they lack something, and when they have it, they feel anguish out of fear of losing what they have. This happens to people who have a lot of money; they feel anguish when they have no money, and when they have many material things, they feel anguish as well, because they fear losing them, especially those who have invested their money in stocks and bonds, for example;they spend all day looking at the stock market fluctuations, and their stomachs churn when the stock prices start to drop. So a woman wants to have a man, at a certain point in time, and when she has him, she starts to feel the anguish of losing him. Why?... because there is a certain level of dependence, which is logical. But that anguish makes her become more domineering, what I have lightly referred to as “tightening her grip.” It’s like making conditions, right? Like being more controlling with the man, and naturally this bothers him, even if he doesn’t realize it; he perceives something and becomes annoyed. A woman must bear all these things in mind when she decides to go ahead with this. Things can’t be so full of fantasy as all that, like: “I want that, period.” No, you must ask yourself: “What merit do I have to achieve that?”

Imagine if one of you were to say: “I want to be the president of my country.” Ah, perfect, that’s all very well. Why not? But let’s see, what merit do you have to be president? Tell me… Are you a good public speaker? Can you address a crowd and inspire them in a way that people understand? What do you know about organizing a country? That’s when the same person starts to analyze and in reality doesn’t fulfill the conditions of being president. The position is too big for them perhaps. Most likely. And it’s not that being president of a nation takes special abilities. In fact, I would say that the most important thing is to have criteria, because the president of a nation doesn’t need to be an expert in everything. The president must surround himself/herself with the right team. What the president does need is common sense and personal criteria.

Each person, therefore, must analyze their own failures and their achievements. This is very important; to know why they achieved something; what they did to attain what they achieved;why have they achieved that and not the other thing. And always ask yourself: “What does life want to teach me? What is life showing me?” This question is key. If someone came to this Institute, why did they get here? Life brought them here; it is giving them a prize for something; life is saying: “the time has come for you to do such and such a thing.” Each person will know how to handle that. Remember that we are speaking of decoding your own vital circumstances, it doesn’t matter what happens to you since each day a lot of different things are happening. The question is why. Why? Analyze them, everything has an explanation ... always ...everything has a logical cause, something concrete. Through this decoding a person becomes more flexible. A person can see then the importance of understanding a lesson, of accepting it, and incorporating it, and when they do, they do it with all their heart, and integrate that lesson fully. Their lives change. I mean, they go on to something else, and so on.

This is spiritual progress, always understanding the situations that affect us, and knowing that we don’t see them, that we are blind, that there are things that we are blind to. I was commenting, for example, about what happens when we call someone’s attention to something they are doing wrong, someone from this School even, about a problem they have, about certain things that they are doing incorrectly, and that person instead of opening up, defends himself/herself, and raises his/her shield. That person becomes blinder and remains stuck in that situation instead of advancing.

So, I would like to remind you to do the exercise I gave you tonight. Think that you leave your physical body, and that you stop being a person, that you are pure energy, gaseous energy or electric energy, or however you wish, that this energy stems from you and goes into space, and that from space you observe Earth without any individual or personal interest.

This is all for today.

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