Mara tempts Siddhartha, just as the Genesis serpent tempts Adam and Eve. Like the serpent, Mara uses subtlety. He lists the earthly riches that Siddhartha is about to foolishly renounce. The lesson of this episode is in its timing: Mara appears only when Siddhartha renounces earthly riches. The serpent appears only when God commands to avoid the forbidden fruit. This subtle deceiving element appears only when our higher part formulates an aim, teaching us that the efforts of the Higher Self evoke resistance from the lower self; aims attract deviation.



      I quote András:After successfully stopping daydreaming for a longer period of time, all hell breaks loose. Additionally,the emocional center reacts as well. When we focus on stop thinking some emotions from the past strike Back. It is really an effort to Be.

    2. Alen

      A wish to Be is always a declaration of War for Me. My lies and justifications make arms immediately. Remembering that this for is not against someone, but for something helps Me in the struggle necessary. It gives a direction.
      With persistence, I acquire the possibility of “inner taste”. With it, now I can distinguish quality of subjective states. This gives a possibility of a New place with a New Memory and a new conception of Myself.
      Now I am closer to Observing Myself as a Whole, not fragmented and always contradictory Right. This, as I understand it, is a step closer to awakening of Conscience. In this state every Work saying, thought or phrase has a flavor of familiarity and understanding. Dry words become full of Life. How could I read or hear about this so many times, not seeing and Feeling what it means?
      Some small and trivial thing happens in Life, but It takes control and I loose this state. But with Observation and Work Memory I remember. I will regain what is lost, and I will catch in one more time.

  1. András V

    After successfully stopping daydreaming for a longer period of time, all hell breaks loose. I usually keep daydreaming all day long and it is only the end of the day when I realize that I was doing it. On such occasions, I often loose those short moments of consciousness when I could photograph my state. But even if I am realizing my daydreaming, I am helpless and cannot stop it.

    1. Jill M.

      Andras, I notice this too! I might have a short time of what feels like success against some particular form of mechanicality – but then there comes a time of what feels like an even deeper sleep. And yes, there is still something in me that notices the negativity/daydreaming, etc., but it is not in the ‘driver’s seat’! It is just a helpless passenger in the back seat of a car that is out of control.

      While reading your post and trying to respond, I remember something from Rodney Collin, in “The Theory of Conscious Harmony” – he wrote of a cycle – sincerity, pretension, remorse. I see this in myself a lot. Any period of self-remembering (sincerity) gets stolen by false personality as justification for ‘pretension’. Only when the higher in me can wake up and see this is there the possibility for ‘remorse’.

  2. Hicham B.

    The answer is simple in my case: “Not now” prevents me from not expressing negativity. Some I’s say: “Well release this energy now and we will see what we can do about it in the next occasion”
    It’s funny, isn’t it?

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Hicham, are there other ‘I’s that have understood the consequences of expressing negativity? If so, this understanding must be brought to the effort of not expressing of negativity.

      Apart from the benefit of releasing pressure, are there consequences for expressing negativity?

  3. Michael Prochazka

    Yes, I’ve verified that. The opposition to my conscious efforts to Divide Attention, for example, always attract resistance from my lower self. But I may not always notice it at that very moment it is happening. However, knowing about it beforehand (as I now know thanks to Asaf’s brilliant exposition of this matter), that it will inevitably and predictably occur once a definite aim has been formulated, enables me to anticipate it and thus embrace myself for it.

  4. Melissa Sweet

    I’ve identified my large Aim as Freedom. I realize that the means to this is thru a series of small aims. There are so many. Mara wants to undercut all of them. I’m noticing, lately, how she subtly tempts me to distract myself from what is most important. I’m observing, in particular, how often I check my email. While doing this, time passes which then causes me to hurry thru the remainder of my day since I’ve wasted valuable time. Before I purchased my iPad, about four years ago, I spent my time more productively. George Orwell, in his book 1984, wrote that in the 21st C, people will “amuse themselves to death”. I see this everywhere I look. Being pulled to my iPad is not Freedom. Beginning now, I’m going to experiment with checking my email only twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. No small effort.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Melissa, I have found the very same temptation and have looked for similar ways to curb it. Since I spend much of my day in front of the computer and work from home, one additional discipline has been to formulate a strict cut-off time for the the work-day. Beyond that time, no checking email or texts. If I have spare time, I can read a book, go for a walk, play with my son. It is a useful observation to realize that Mara wishes to keep us occupied, engaged, and obliged. It is curious that it actually takes effort to relax!

  5. Dean Whittingham

    Yes, I most certainly can verify this opposition. It always seems to come with a sense of ‘time is short’ and if I don’t use this time for the needs of the lower self I will be losing something.

    However, I have also verified something else in the way in which I make the aim, one brings opposition, the other seems to avoid it. Making an aim seems to come in one of two ways.

    One is where my mind formulates the aim, for example, in my mind I will express the aim in clear words – for example “I set an aim to relax all muscles and not be in any haste when this person approaches me to talk to me” – this way of setting an aim always seems to attract opposition.

    The other way, is where I ‘know’ the aim in my heart, but do not need to formulate it into words in my mind – I just know and feel the aim. It seems much faster to set because it appears to be coming from the heart possibly and is not overloaded with the necessity to use the slower center of the intellect to formulate it. This way of setting an aim only seems possible once I have used the former method and gone through the process of tugging against opposition for a lengthy period of time; however once at this point, this way of setting an aim seems to get passed Mara.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Dean, in some way, this observation resembles the one you posted two weeks ago about an aim losing its effectiveness by being expressed outwardly (see here: The only difference is that previously you saw the danger of informing someone else of your aim, whereas now you see the same danger by informing yourself! This lends practical meaning to the saying:

      “When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.”

      This is the reason why prayers (or mantras) are generally concise. The aim is to encapsulate as much meaning as possible into as few words as possible, so as to prevent the very opposition you describe. We will dedicate one of the coming workshops to this topic.

  6. Evgueni Z

    Whenever I catch myself daydreaming, my Mara readily offers a justification – “you are not daydreaming Evgueni, you are actually thinking about very useful things such as Work, exercises, important plans, etc.” It tries to prove that I’m in control of my thoughts and my attention is intentionally directed. It’s very easy and convenient to just agree with that and keep daydreaming (which happens very often). However, if I try to resist and observe myself further, it becomes clear that this daydreaming is nothing more than just another act of my continuous imaginary play.

  7. philippe bitton

    Doubt seem to oppose my “moment”. As if when conscious (aware) and “realizing” it (it is photographed), a doubt, “are you just not imagining?”
    For why do I name that “sensation”? is this not a demonstration that maybe I am still daydreaming, and very nicely fooling myself.
    I think I am yet uncertain if indeed Work, one is doing.
    Peace and Love

  8. Jack

    When I set my aim to observe and stop daydreaming, it was like I sent a request to send me more.That or I had been asleep to them more than I thought. When I observe them now, I physically look upwards and say this is not me but my lower self. I want the Work to raise my consciousness. This physical alarm is helping me to resist daydreaming and to work, by resisting it. I will keep using this alarm until I feel it has become mechanical. I have seen and known for a while that we you set a goal or an aim, second force will always rise to resist that goal or aim at some point. The struggle is for me to always remember that and use it for my advantage, which I don’t. The weird thing is I have been aware of that law on some big issues in my life, but tend to forget on things on a lower scale. This is area I need to observe and be more aware of going forward.

  9. Jill M.

    What I have noticed about trying to stop ‘haste’ is that I am not successful, and there is justification for haste. More specifically, I have taken on an aim of putting things back where they belong, finishing up after tasks, etc., so as to try to lessen the ‘chaos’ in my home. But then there is justification of putting this off until ‘later in the evening’, when, I imagine, I can spend an hour just putting things away, straightening up, etc. – however for a weeks already that hour in the evening has not ‘happened’ – I am ‘too tired’ – there’s always tomorrow!

    Also I notice that in speaking with friends, there are feelings in me of impatience and criticism, even though I am not, at least knowingly, expressing it. It seems like if I could be externally considerate, there would be more possibilities. I would like to value ‘external consideration’, value ‘presence’ a lot more than I do.

  10. MarisaM

    This morning I listened to the recording of Deviation. Then had my day’s activities.
    My mind returns to the comments of resistance from the lower centres. I observe parts of me know about imagination and there are i’s that don’t want to see imagination at all. How can it be that the moment I set an aim is the very moment I go to sleep.

    This week I sent an aim to do some writing. My focus was to put all my time available towards the writing. I finally got flowing and needed a few more hours to finish. On this day I also had an appoint to go to a museum. Usually I would stop my writing to go out and see friends. This time I decided to stay with the aim of finishing my paper. I now see that the outing at this particular moment was mara coming. One resistance that came up for me was not wanting to disappoint a friend. The 2nd resistance was that initially I said I was going. Still my aim to finish writing became more important in this case.

    I would like to know more on how deviation can be anticipated by the higher centres?
    Is the answer to keep observing the deviations?

    Wonderful tutorial.

  11. Asaf Braverman Post author

    Marisa, I have made similar observations of how Mara crowds the day with responsibilities that prevent me from going through it calmly and deliberately. I have observed that if I seem to be crossing off items in my “to-do” list successfully, it will add new items to keep the list crowded and prevent me from settling into the moment. Being present requires being aware of this, which requires being constantly vigilant.

    For now, it is more practical to think in terms of how observing ‘I’ can learn to anticipate deviation. Higher centers are an eventual growth of observing’I’ (which becomes deputy steward, then steward, and then higher centers or Master). You already possess the realization of Mara in your own cosmos. The challenge now is to bring that realization to the moment of aim, as you did in your task of writing a paper. The more frequently you are able to do this, and stronger will your ability to keep aim become.

    So, yes, the answer is to keep observing deviations and do whatever you can to disallow them.

  12. Tim

    The intellectual and emotional centers are somewhat, in a relative way, in front of me in the sense that they are projections on the outer world. The instinctive center is inside, and the most cunning of the centers.

    To help me work with this challenge I am using a metaphor. I imagine a fresh water spring. At its bottom is a crevice that allows water to flow in from a nearby mountain. It thinks that it is the source of the water, that it IS the water. The water is inside its shape after all, so how could it be otherwise? But the reality is that it is only a shape, a vessel that happens to contain the water.

    The moving and instinctive center run from the gonads, through the spine, to the brain stem (pleasure). These things are inside me. I am hungry, so I become hunger. I am thirsty; I am thirst. What happens if I let go?

  13. Leighton Bonner

    I have also noticed that there is some “power” that takes me back to the “path” of trying to become aware of myself whenever I decide to “Throw in the towel” with these kinds of studies. Can that be possible or am I just imagining it?
    Thank you to all for your guidance.

  14. Leighton Bonner

    I do have noticed that the feeling of giving it all up goes away whenever during my morning meditation when I try to focus my attention on the feeling, but after sometime, it comes back in a depressing matter. This “limited amount of energy-I” sure feels quite strong sometimes.
    Thank you for your insight.

    1. Asaf Braverman Post author

      Take it as a “low fuel” signal. Whenever it appears, use it as an indication to change whatever it is you are doing and do something nice for yourself. Take a walk. Listen to some inspiring music. Read a few passages from a favorite author.

      You see, fighting an ‘I’ oftentimes strengthens it. We gain experience working with our own machines.