As the vehicle of self expression, or in other words the mental apparatus of individuation, the metastate forms for consciousness its living body. This metastatic body, because it is simply pure psychic energy - the mental movement of consciousness in its dynamic, or thought mode - I have termed, in its individual and personal sense, the energy body.
The concept of a psychological energy body introduces a significant point into our discussion. We need to examine it carefully. This is a very subtle issue. For it is quite easy to slip into the false notion that the energy body is a mere tangible thing. The energy body is not a body in the ordinary sense that we understand the word body. It is an energetic event.
We must make a subtle and important distinction here between what we normally think of as matter and as energy. We commonly think of matter and energy as two distinct things. This distinction makes sense in our daily lives. After all a ball point pen and electricity are very different things and serve very different functions.
Yet, even though at a practical level such a distinction has some merit, we err if we think it is literally true. For as modern science has demonstrated in fact it is not literally true at all.
The metaphysic of ecstasy views matter and energy as simply different perceptions of an underlying psychic reality. The two are considered not to be different in nature, but only different in perspective or point of view. The two perspectives manifest contrasting and complementary aspects of the underlying pneuma.
Interestingly, science has come to a nearly identical understanding of matter and energy. No longer can the classical duality of matter and energy be maintained. Not in the age of Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. The classical duality of Newton and Descartes that reached its height in nineteenth century mechanism has been shattered irrevocably by the discoveries of relativity theory and quantum physics. It has been totally demolished and rendered untenable for nearly ninety years.
According to the metaphysic of ecstasy, the energy body serves as the specific expression of the creative energy of consciousness manifesting as each individual human being. The energy body represents the metastate as it becomes individualized in the process of life.
As such, the energy body forms an interconnected web, or matrix, of psychic interactions. This complex matrix of interrelated activities appears on a superficial level to exhibit the structure and solidity of an object. Just as the particle interactions of an atom give it the appearance of structure and solidity. But, like the atom, the energy body is really not an object or a thing at all. An atom is an interconnected pattern of particle interactions, or an extended event. Likewise, the energy body is a psychological event, and not a mere entity moving about in time and space.
Remember that the metastate is the expression of consciousness in the universal sense. Its complex interactions, too, seem on the surface to give it the appearance of an objective thing, namely the space/time universe. But in reality, the space/time universe, or the metastate, is a cosmic event of interconnected relationships and not a mere object.
This fact becomes ever more clear with each stride made by physicists towards a deeper understanding of the fundamental nature of reality. The researches of quantum physics in the twentieth century have demonstrated consistently and convincingly that matter and energy are connected in a dance of mutual interactions. The closer and more finely physicists examine matter and energy, the more obviously they reveal their true nature as events and not objects.
The interactions of matter and energy are characterized by a mutual exchange of subatomic "particles." When first observed, these various particles were mistaken to be solid objects, like very tiny electrically charged marbles. But it has become firmly established that they are in fact the momentary traces of ongoing events.
The subatomic particle exchanges and the many interactions that they represent produce the appearance of what we know as matter and energy in all their various forms. But modern science approaches ever closer to the view expressed by the metaphysic of ecstasy that this is an appearance only. What the world appears to be is not really what it is.
This remains a far cry from saying that the world is illusion. Science has discovered that the world is not what it appears to be. But it is still very real none the less.
The metaphysic of ecstasy has said virtually the same. It has said that our perception determines what our personal reality appears to be. What we look for and how we look for it determines what we see and what we experience.
The metaphysic of ecstasy claims that the underlying creative energy of consciousness, pneuma, unfolds itself into a myriad varying forms. Depending upon our point of view and perception, we may experience pneuma in any of various states of energy and matter. Our perception affects everything.
For instance, if we aim a beam of electrons at a blind with two small holes in it spaced a certain distance apart, a diffraction pattern will form on a screen behind the blind. The diffraction pattern that appears on the screen indicates that the electrons behave like a series of waves expanding uniformly from the two openings provided by the holes in the blind.
If we cover one of the holes, the diffraction pattern will immediately change. The diffraction pattern that appears on the screen indicates that electrons now behave like a continuous stream of separate and independent particles, each one appearing as a point on the screen. Just as if we were shooting little machine gun bullets.
Two holes in the blind and we see electron waves. One hole and we see electron particles. They are all the same electrons but they are behaving in mutually exclusive ways. Particles can not be waves. Waves can not be particles. The only difference is how many holes there are in the blind.
Do the electrons suddenly change their nature in accordance with our selection of one or two holes? That seems hardly likely. What has really changed is simply our perception of the electrons. The electrons remain the same as before. We have changed the perceptual parameters of the experiment and produced very different apparent results. We have not changed the nature of electrons. What have we learned about the nature of electrons by these two experiments? Only that an electron can exhibit mutually exclusive phenomena depending on how we look at it.
I use here the example of electron diffraction because, as a constituent part of atoms, the electron in most instances is considered to be matter in the literal sense of a classical particle with measurable mass and size. Yet, in a very simple experiment, electrons can be perceived to behave in a quite nonparticle way.
Conversely, light is generally considered to be energy. Yet light can be perceived to behave like a series of minute particles, called photons, in a simple experiment. If you have ever seen those little black and white foil patches spinning round in a sealed glass bulb in a toy shop window, you have seen light behaving like a stream of photons. Little photons of light strike the foil pads and cause them to rotate around their axle. Just like throwing tennis balls at a paddlewheel.
Does light change its nature in accordance with how we look at it? No more so than electrons. What really changes is our perception. We set up different perceptual conditions and perceive light accordingly.
Scientists have, at times, and in all earnestness, hypothesized that light and electrons do actually alter their natures to suit our experimental viewpoint. Some have suggested, again seriously, that some form of quantum mechanical communication occurs to enable light and electrons to know whether or not to behave like particles or waves to suit the given experimental condition at hand. This amounts to suggesting that the light or electrons know when they start out what conditions will exist at their target when they get there a few nanoseconds later. And this even if the experimental conditions are changed after the light or electrons leave their source.
A few scientists have suggested that our observations of light and electrons cause them to behave in whatever way we expect them to because we possess unconscious psychic power that forces them to behave as we expect. A very few have guessed that in some manner as yet unknown our own consciousness takes part in shaping the outcome of every experiment since our consciousness is a necessary constituent of the experiment. Some have suggested that since our own consciousness is a constituent of every experiment that "objectivity" is merely self-delusion, and that everything is really subjective.
By the way, a faster than the speed of light form of communication as suggested by some physicists would prove extraordinarily useful. With it we could know the future, for one thing. Since the universe appears to obey the speed of light limit, with a faster than light speed method of communication we could zip ahead of events and transmit their outcomes back in time. In addition to winning horse races some interesting time paradoxes could also result.
What can we make of this experimental quandary, the apparent duality of light and electrons (energy and matter) and the role consciousness plays? In fact, modern science has discovered the metaphysical matrix. Sooner or later, scientists will learn how to quantify it and measure its transformations with mathematical precision. Just as the practitioners of the science of kabala learned millennia ago.
Kabala forms the topic of the next chapter. So for now let us discuss in some detail the energy body.
In the very fanciful and symbolic terminology of the Apocalypse, the energy body is depicted in a metaphor as a throne.101 Sitting upon this throne is a mysterious monarch who is referred to simply as "one."
This mysterious and undescribed monarch reveals his identity with but little detective work. If the throne symbolizes the energy body, which is the expression of consciousness, then that which sits enthroned represents that aspect of consciousness which expresses. He is self consciousness. Specifically he is ecstasy, the first logos, the supreme identity.
The first logos forms the eternal pattern or form, of which everything manifested in reality is but the extension and limited image. Recall that Plato mistook this pattern to be something existing in its own right. He named it the eidos. But in the Apocalypse the logos is depicted as seated upon, or rooted in, its vehicle of expression. In the metaphysic of ecstasy, self consciousness can not be separated from self expression. To be self conscious is to be expressing and experiencing self awareness.
In a manner analogous to self consciousness sitting enthroned upon its vehicle of expression, the human spinal column and appended physical body form the throne upon which sits the brain. The analogy is so close that it can hardly be coincidental.
Indeed, the physical body is the extension and limited expression of the brain. The brain is itself the main physical organ and the primary vehicle of self consciousness. It is the monarch of the body.
For self consciousness, the energy body forms the vehicle of expression and perception as well as all that is perceived and experienced. The energy body is the effective means by which consciousness becomes equally the observer, the observed and the act of observation. The energy body represents the activity and movement of consciousness in its dynamic mode.
The Apocalypse describes the energy body metaphorically as a throne and details its construction quite literally. Meanwhile, the New Testament enumerates three other bodies specifically. These are the spirit body (soma pneumatikon), the psychic body (soma psychikon) and the physical body (soma or sarx) also called the flesh.102 How are these other three bodies, which are not described in detail, related to the energy body?
In the west these three bodies are popularly called the "spirit," the "soul" and the "body" respectively. In Sanskrit these three are termed karana sharira (the causal body), sukshma sharira (the subtle body) and sthula sharira (the gross body). These three are really just another way of describing the energy body.
The three-fold system of "bodies" represents the simplification of a more comprehensive five-fold system. The five-fold system consists of five "sheaths," namely the physical, the etheric, the mental, the intellectual and lastly the integral. The Sanskrit literature describes each of these sheaths (kosas) at length.103
The five sheaths correspond to the five faculties as follows.
Vedanta considers that the five sheaths surround and conceal the inner atman, or self. And they are described as layered, one inside the other. The physical sheath is the outermost and the integral sheath the innermost. What is meant by this, is that the inner sheaths consist of a finer substance than the outer. The "substance," however, of the inner sheaths is considered to be of a nonphysical nature but capable of interacting with the physical.
In this manner, Indian metaphysics describes a finer sheath as within and permeating a grosser. The Atman is considered to be the finest of all substance and to permeate all of the surrounding sheaths. According to Vedanta, the sheaths are described as follows.
The physical sheath constitutes the physical body of flesh, bones, blood and water, etc. Depending upon the ingestion of living food for its survival, it lives only as long as it can assimilate such food.
The mental sheath consists of the capacity to discriminate between the experiencing self and the experienced other. It further associates and recognizes specific and differing characteristics of ideas, objects and observations. The mental sheath can function only as long as it remains fluid and adaptable. When it begins to solidify ideas and attitudes into unchangeable opinions, it begins to die. Humans usually die first of hardening of the attitudes long before hardening of the arteries.
The etheric sheath comprises the field of vital energy which animates the human being and all other living "entities." It becomes active at conception and inactive at physical death. It provides the connection between the physical and non-physical aspects of the human being, forming an energy web of interconnected activity.
The intellectual sheath consists of the capability of discernment, the perception and insight into ideas, objects and observations where too little information is available for logical processes. Vedanta considers that the intellectual sheath survives personal death and is subject to the cause and effect laws of karma, reincarnating according to its desires and actions in previous lifetimes.
The notion that some part of the human psychic vehicle survives death underlies all monistic and dualistic metaphysical systems. Which part survives and in what form it does so varies according to which metaphysical system you examine. It is just this notion of personal survival in some form or other that justifies endeavours to emancipate the incarnating entity from the karmic necessity of repeated incarnations.
The metaphysic of ecstasy denies that any part of the psychic vehicle of consciousness survives death. It does so because according to its doctrine it is consciousness itself that is incarnating, not autonomous entities. Individual human personalities are simply the roles of consciousness played in the drama of its own self realization. Consciousness itself is subject to karma and the psychic necessity to integrate unconscious elements of itself into awareness.
The metaphysic of ecstasy teaches that once the human psyche serves its purpose it disintegrates. But this does not mean that it is lost or that its experiences passed for nothing. Consciousness retains within itself all of the experiences and insights gained by every individual life that is lived. Those lives and their experiences which pass in the limited and personal sphere of phenomena remain within the universal and impersonal awareness as part of the process of self awakening.
Even those lives that are lived in ignorance and immaturity serve the purpose of bringing consciousness nearer to self realization. In the grand view of the process of self realization every single life is absolutely necessary, unique and unrepeatable. Each is a necessary part of the whole.
Human ignorance and immaturity manifest unconscious elements that need to be accepted into conscious awareness. Just as all the painful feelings and repressed memories that may be dredged up during psychotherapy are necessary for the patient's recovery, so too all the painful and repressed material of which consciousness remains unaware must be brought into active awareness in the process of coming to conscious self realization.
Only the simple minded and naive think that growth in self awareness brings only peace and equanimity. Because of our place in the evolutionary scale of events, growth also brings pain. We are shedding the skin of old life to make way for a new life. It hurts sometimes.
The integral sheath constitutes the immediate knowing of the intimate interconnectedness of all things and experiences. It connects, that is to say integrates, all psychic activity.
In the Apocalypse the five sheaths are termed "horses." Four of them appear at the opening of the seven seals.104 The fifth horse appears at the final psychic objectification.105
The apocalyptic white horse represents the physical sheath. The red horse stands for the etheric sheath. The black horse depicts the mental sheath. The pale horse denotes the intellectual sheath. And the white horse of the conqueror represents the integral sheath. This duplication of the white horse has much significance and I shall detail this significance in its proper place.
The first four apocalyptic horses also correspond to the four domains of phenomenal expression. These are termed an "eagle flying"106 (which is a substitute for the zodiacal sign of Scorpio), a "man"107 (the sign Aquarius), a "lion"108 (the sign Leo) and a "calf"109 (the sign Taurus). The four refer to sensation, feeling, intuition and thinking respectively.
Much of the language of the New Testament, and of the Apocalypse in particular, is borrowed directly from astrology and the zodiac. The eagle, which is the constellation Aquila, often substitutes for the scorpion, which is the constellation and the astrological sign Scorpio. The eagle in its own right also represents another faculty.
Metaphysically, Aquila symbolizes love (amor) while Scorpio symbolizes lust (eros). In chapter 8 of the Apocalypse it is the eagle which announces the three final transformations (the "woes"). For in the metaphysic of ecstasy, it is through love only, that realization comes about. Again, in chapter 12, it is the eagle, whose two wings symbolize ida and pingala, which protects the matrix (sushumna) and the nascent self realization to which the matrix is about to "give birth."
Where the eagle substitutes for the scorpion, the faculty of memory is referred to and also the domain of sensation. Where the eagle stands for itself rather than substituting for the scorpion, it refers instead to the faculty of inspiration. This convergence of symbols is yet another clue to the underlying truth of the metaphysic of ecstasy: that love and sex together represent the method of self realization.
The four horses of the Apocalypse also correspond to the four somatic divisions of the physical body: the genitals, abdomen, thoracic cavity and head, and as well to their four corresponding faculties. These you will remember are memory, action, reason and apprehension.
The fifth horse, that is, the white horse of the conqueror, corresponds to the aura and the nonphenomenal realm of expression. It corresponds as well to the faculty of inspiration. That the horse of the conqueror happens to be white is singularly significant, for it confirms the truth of the efficacy of love and sex together to bring about realization.
From this description it is clear that the various expressions and their correspondences represent the specialized operations of the five faculties. As I noted earlier, the five faculties enable the human personality to internalize psychic reality into subjective observations and experiences. Hence, this five fold description of the energy body represents the subjective mode of the expression of consciousness in its various aspects, observations and experiences. We may summarize all of these various correlations as follows.
1. All five sheaths and their various correspondences considered together as a unified whole constitute the New Testament "spirit" (soma pneumatikon) and the causal body (karana sharira) of Sanskrit literature. Thus, the term "spirit" does not refer to some immaterial rarefied form divorced in essence from matter and the physical world. It denotes rather wholeness and psychic integration.
2. The physical, mental, etheric and intellectual sheaths, considered as a group constitute the "soul," or the psychic body (soma psychikon), and the Sanskrit subtle body (sukshma sharira). I refer to this group as the psyche, following in the manner of Carl Jung.
The psyche encompasses the psychic functions named by Jung as sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition. They each operate essentially as he has described them.
3. The physical sheath and its sundry correspondences considered separately constitute the physical body, (soma or sarx) the "flesh." This refers to the Sanskrit literature's gross body (sthula sharira).
In Vedanta the relationship of the various sheaths is described as many layers within one another, like the layers of an onion, obscuring the atman within. Contrarily, the Apocalypse instead utilizes a quadrant description to accord with the zodiacal imagery used throughout the work.
A significant difference between these two ways of describing the relationship of the various sheaths and self consciousness is quickly apparent. This difference in point of view helps to illustrate clearly the metaphysical error of ideal monism.
In the concentric or many layered description, the various sheaths are described as covering over and thus obscuring the essential self within. Consequently, to attain the knowledge and realization of that essential self within you must first strip away one after another the five obscuring sheaths until only the "true" self, or atman, remains.
In this view, the various sheaths serve only to hinder the realization of self. They must finally disappear as that realization matures.
Here, then, is the metaphysical rationale for all idealistic monism. That is the concept that only the absolute possesses ontological being and all else is illusion. This is the concept prevalent throughout all Indian metaphysics, aside from the Samkhya and Yoga schools, both of which are dualistic.
In the mistaken view of monism, the self, rather than consciousness, is accorded absolute ontological status. Yet the expressions and experiences of self consciousness are labelled as imaginary and illusory. Hence arises the common misconception that the relative world, which is called maya in its universal sense and samsara in its personal sense, is just an illusion in the literal meaning that it does not really exist except as an hallucination.
Ideal monism thus reveals its internal inconsistency. Self consciousness is not self conscious unless it is aware of itself, for that is the very definition and experience of self consciousness. Yet ideal monism claims that such awareness is merely an illusion, a self induced mental abberation that only impedes the realization of self by itself!
The point of view expressed by the Apocalypse, on the other hand, varies markedly. Rather than depicting the five sheaths as obscuring layers to be stripped away one by one to reveal the hidden truth of an ontological self, the Apocalypse describes the various sheaths as coequal and thus complementary to one another.
Furthermore, far from obscuring the self, the Apocalypse pictures the sheaths as the very throne upon which sits self consciousness in all the glory and munificence of its varied phenomenal expressions. Whether inadvertently or not, the apocalyptic description of self consciousness and its vehicle of expression and experience graphically affirms the nondual and holistic metaphysic of ecstasy upon which it has been grafted.
The relative and contingent world of self expression is acknowledged as complementing the absolute hyperstate of consciousness. The two are not placed in opposition to each other. The relative is not presented as an obstacle to the realization of the absolute, but part and parcel of the whole. The absolute is seen as permeating and manifesting by means of the relative, not in spite of it. The experience of absolute being is not presented as the ultimate goal of relative existence. Nor does absolute experience, when it is realized, then obliterate the relative.
Thus in a stroke and by a relatively simple and very ingenious word puzzle both dualism and monism are demolished! What remains is a clear and concise statement of the reality of consciousness and its awareness.
In addition to the three bodies we have already discussed above, the New Testament alludes to a fourth. This fourth body the New Testament writers do not specifically name. In the Sanskrit this fourth body is termed kama rupa, "desire form." The Apocalypse refers to this fourth body by the anagram "Armageddon" (or "Armagedon").
Christian literalists, of course, have misunderstood Armageddon, seeing in its meaning the final cataclysmic end of the world. It is hardly much of a surprise that the literalists have failed to comprehend that the word is an anagram.
In the Apocalypse Unsealed, James Pryse resolves this anagram into the words Rhea 'dagmon, which he then translates as "Rhea of the prurient itchings, or desires." Pryse uses this epigram to denigrate sex yet one more time, obviously referring to the power of sexual attraction.
Rhea was one of the many names for the ancient Goddess, whose worship included sexual intercourse. Unlike Pryse, we ought not find this fact of religious practice either surprising or scandalous. Its inclusion within the goddess religion was necessary and ennobling.
The metaphysic of ecstasy after all deemed sexual intimacy to be the most sublime of sacramental acts. Far more efficacious to spiritual growth than the self destructive practices and deprivations advocated by its detractors.
Given Pryse's metaphysical bias, upon which I have already commented sufficiently, we need not wonder at his negative interpretation of the anagram Armageddon. For him, the mere suggestion of sexuality combined with religion or metaphysics would smack of the greatest of evil.
We need not sidetrack ourselves by expending here a great deal of time and effort in the attempt to decipher this anagram. Pryse may very well be correct, and it may represent simply the work of the authors who adulterated the metaphysic of ecstasy to produce the Apocalypse. If so, they undoubtedly did intend to condemn sexual attraction. But I would like simply to offer some alternative suggestions or directions for interpreting the word on the chance that it originated much earlier.
From the Greek perspective, the word in part resembles daimon or even rhadiourgia enough to suggest some reference to harmful or mischievous power. From this perspective, Pryse's interpretation finds some support. Since the word, however, is referred to specifically as Hebrew, we might find fruitful avenues there.
Conventional scholars, of course, cite the words har and megiddow to arrive at Mt. Megiddo, the supposed site of the final battle between good and evil. The precise location of this important hill top in Palestine remains in doubt. Furthermore, given the nature of the Apocalypse such a simple solution to the anagram is highly unlikely.
The words har and megiddow could lead to a more subtle interpretation, however. Armown or harmown means a citadel or castle. As a metaphor, rather than as a literal mountaintop fortress, Mt. Megiddo has some interesting possibilities.
Meged (meaning eminent, valuable or distinguished) and gadad or gedad (both expressing variant meanings of cut or cut down) suggest the harvest or gathering and reaping of something valuable. Mag, the shortened form of rabmag, was the official title of the chief magician of the Babylonians. Here we see many possibilities for imaginative interpretation. Any of these various words, and many others, could be construed as the meaning or meanings of the anagram armageddon.
The ultimate fate of this fourth body, like that of the psyche as a whole, is total dissolution.110 Yet its fate is different since, unlike the other parts of the psyche, it has in fact no real substance at all, but is only an image. Hence, I call it the illusory body.
In the average individual this illusory body comes into a quasi existence only after the death of the physical body. The illusory body is produced by the image making power of the etheric and mental sheaths of the psyche and generated by the desire for continued personal existence.
The illusory body is simply the phantasm or shade of the physical body. It is a subtle materialization of the desire for individual survival and phenomenal existence that lingers on within the metastate of self consciousness after the disintegration of the specific ego conscious personality to which it corresponded.
You could describe the illusory body as analogous to the recollection of and desire to continue a pleasant dream after awakening. You are awake and the dream is gone, yet it lives on for a time in your imagination and desire as you carry out your daily activities.
In the individual person maturing in self realization, the illusory body appears with the beginning of the process of the objectification of the psyche. The objectification of the psyche "appears" to the personality as a kind of death and thus gives the illusory body its premature birth. This process of objectification does not occur finally and immediately but over a period of time, sometimes extended over many months or years. During this entire period of time there remains the recurring tendency of the personality to slip back into the familiar identification with the psyche. This tendency and the necessary will to resist it engage in constant struggle, the apocalyptic "battle of Armageddon."
It is with such illusory bodies that most so called "contacts" with a hypothetical world beyond death are established. Illusory bodies survive physical death, since they disintegrate more slowly than the other elements of the psyche. They persist in the metastate where they may become perceptible to living personalities, either due to extreme sensitivity or to great emotional duress.
Misguided individuals who present themselves as mediums offer up inadvertently the psychic elements of their own personalities as food for these psychic parasites to feed upon. By attempting to communicate with such entities these sensitive persons risk grave emotional and psychological harm to themselves. Their efforts are usually justified by the assumption that they are attempting to communicate with entities from a "higher" level of consciousness or state of greater mental power.
To put the matter straight, no personality exhibiting a more expansive degree of consciousness than that possessed by the human race as a whole requires mediums, trances or any other paranormal phenomena to communicate. And just such mental pyrotechnics are good evidence of the real nature of such entities.
I am not referring to the outright fraud and deceit perpetrated upon the gullible by unscrupulous hucksters. I refer to the actual contacts with illusory bodies that can and do occur through the mediumship of sensitive individuals. Such contacts can occur inadvertently or intentionally.
The entities so contacted are well left alone. They can give absolutely nothing worthwhile to those who so ardently seek them out. Further, they exact from those who offer themselves purposely or accidentally as mediums of exchange a terrible emotional and psychological price.
When contacted these psychic entities are purely parasitical. They only prolong their period of decay by feeding upon the emotional and mental energy of still living personalities. To encourage such psychic parasitism endangers all who participate, the unfortunates who act as mediums and those who engage their services.
Some individuals, whether due to their emotional make up or some other cause as yet undiscovered, in whom a relatively large amount of psychic material still remains unconscious or repressed, sometimes experience what are often called paranormal events. These may be "revelations," "voices," "automatic writing" and other forms of alleged communications.
Again, I do not here refer to the frauds inflicted upon the gullible by con artists. Many individuals really do experience psychological events whose source seems outside themselves or at best unknown.
These psychic "communications" are often credited to supposedly higher forms of intelligence or immaterial beings or entities from other planes of existence or consciousness. Dramatic changes in physiology and/or tones of voice of the mediums which frequently accompany such occurrences are generally cited as irrefutable verification of their objective actuality.
Such events, however, are nothing more than mental projections of the individual or individuals concerned. Even though frequently produced in quite spectacular manner, their real nature is usually clear. In people who are under very obvious mental or emotional stress such occurrences are rightly considered hallucinations and little or no credence is accorded them. With the relatively normal individual or someone who is not under any overt mental or emotional stress, these events are often given more credence than they warrant.
The problem is not that material so disclosed is totally valueless. It may possess some value or even some degree of importance as information. Even in the case of outright insanity valuable insights can, and do, occur. The problem lies in misinterpreting the real source of such material and thence failing to react appropriately in response. Crediting an hallucination, for instance, with objective validity can lead to totally inappropriate actions.
Further, the projection of psychic material onto the screen of external events is simply the psyche's way of avoiding the process of psychological integration. No matter how valuable or insightful such material may be, it impedes personal growth. This is one of the ways that we manage to get in the way of the process of self realization.
Real higher intelligences do not require peculiar or paranormal modes of communication. There simply is no separation between "them" and "us" to be overcome. If we accept the view of the metaphysic of ecstasy regarding the nature of consciousness then we see immediately that we are already connected intimately. "They" have but to think or feel and we experience it as our own.
There exists, in fact, a communion of saints, to put it fancifully. Not in the orthodox sense, of course, but rather a psychological communion or mental unity of human personalities who have realized a higher degree of self consciousness than the average of the race. These individuals, as a consequence of their expansiveness of consciousness, constitute a sort of collective overall mind for the human race as a whole.
The personalities so enlightened, or rather aware, require no strange, spectacular or extraordinary methods of communication. In particular they do not have to control anyone's body during trance to channel information to those of us who are less aware.
We ego conscious personalities who make up the living race of humanity constitute the limited and hence the restricted expression of that overall mind. In other words, our individual minds are the phenomenal expression of the overall human mind. The many individual expressions are simply manifesting the contents, conscious and unconscious, of that human mind. But we need not digress in this matter here. When one is ready to be aware of this connection, one then becomes aware of it.
In our investigation of the energy body we need also to examine the seven chakras and their many nadis, or transformations. The seven chakras correspond to the seven abilities.
As was proclaimed by all ancient philosophies, the human physical body is itself a microcosm of the entire metastate. To every phenomenon of the metastate the body's organs and functions correspond and exist in a direct relationship.
The creative energy of parakletos (kundalini shakti) and its various transformations (nadis) are myriad. According to Vedic tradition there are 72,000 nadis, of which fourteen possess significant importance for our consideration. Of these fourteen, ida, pingala and sushumna111 require specific elaboration. The others we have already encountered in the form of the five faculties and the seven abilities.
According to Sanskrit literature, sushumna represents a channel or pathway that passes from the base of the spinal cord in a direct route up the nerve core of the spine to the center of the brain. Pingala represents a channel or pathway commencing in the left ovary or testicle, and running parallel to the spine through the sympathetic nervous system up to the brow ridge where it then exits through the right nostril. Ida duplicates the course of pingala, but running instead in a pathway from the right testicle or ovary to the left nostril.
The current of energy that flows through the right nostril, pingala, represents the active or positive polarization of vital force. Hence, pingala has been considered masculine traditionally and called the sun breath. The sun is, in fact, the active principle of life on earth. Western science is beginning to understand the more subtle effects of the sun upon biological systems. The gross effects, of course, have long been known. These gross effects include photosynthesis, the changing rhythm of the seasons and solar radiation.
The energy that flows through the left nostril, ida, represents the receptive or negative polarization of the vital force. Hence, ida has been considered traditionally as feminine and nourishing, and hence called the moon breath. The moon has long been recognised as having an effect upon biological systems. The approximate correlation of the menstrual cycle with the lunar month presents the prime example.
When the breath flows through both nostrils evenly, sushumna represents the full and unpolarized energy of the vital force. Such equal breathing normally occurs only briefly during the course of the day.
Usually, the breath does not flow through both nostrils evenly, but concentrates first in one and then the other. The breath alternates at fairly regular intervals between the left and right nostrils unless some illness or injury prevents it.
You can demonstrate the fact of alternate breathing for yourself at any time by paying attention to your breathing. Once you become accustomed to being aware of your breath, by the way, you will soon find it incredible that you ever were not aware of it. Normally, only during the crossover from one dominant nostril to the other does equal breathing occur, and then for a brief period of time.
The energy of ida differentiates or refracts itself into the seven main states of consciousness, the chakras. These may be described most easily as the seven abilities corresponding to them: loving, thinking, willing, knowing, inspiring, expressing and forming.
Further, ida thereby energizes the sympathetic nervous system which in turn sustains the elementary, the autonomous and instinctual operations of the physical body. In the sense that the physical body is the "world" of the ego conscious personality, ida is known as the world mother, a term that no doubt originated during the ages of the metaphysic of ecstasy.
Ida further manifests itself in the seven psychic modalities. These may be most simply described as representing elementary relationships. These elementary relationships are fixed, fluid, expanding, penetrating, enveloping, balanced and causative.
Pingala differentiates or refracts itself into the five states of self consciousness that correspond to the five psychic faculties. As you may recall, these are memory, reason, action, apprehension and inspiration.
Pingala thereby energizes the cerebrospinal nervous system. This activity sustains the sense of I-ness and self conscious awareness.
Furthermore, the energies of pingala correspond to the five sheaths, the five degrees of absorption (samadhi) and the four somatic divisions of the physical body and encompassing aura.
As I explained earlier the twelve energies of ida and pingala actualize in each of the four psychic domains of phenomenal existence. The seven differentiations of ida manifest the objective mode of experience. They sustain the specific thought forms of self consciousness as the objects of experience and perception. The five differentiations of pingala manifest the subjective mode of experience. They sustain the intellectual and the intuitive faculties of perceiving and expressing.
The union of these twelve energies in sushumna represents transcendence of the subject/object duality. It further underscores the reality that phenomenal existence is permeated and penetrated by the identity and the presence of the nonphenomenal realm of existence.
The specialized activities of the vital energies of ida and pingala operate largely involuntarily in the average person. That is to say they are still predominantly unconscious in their operations.
Both the intensity and strength, however, of the action of these vital energies can be greatly enhanced by voluntary effort. This entails merely becoming consciously aware of them and maintaining that awareness throughout the waking state.
Each cycle of respiration reacts dynamically with the creative energy of consciousness. This energy rests symbolically in near inactivity near the base of the spine, in the male and female genitals.
You might think of this creative force as a great dynamo which in the predominately unconscious person is just ticking over but not yet in active power generation. In such a person respiration is generally very shallow and rapid, and confined to only a small portion of the upper lungs. Consequently, the stimulation available to the reposing, creative force remains weak and feeble. Such stimulation remains insufficient to rouse the creative force into active and conscious movement.
Proper breathing, on the other hand, drives a potent stimulus down into the lower somatic center, the genitals. It there manifests as a heating of the lower abdomen. The generation of this heat within the abdomen helps stimulate the creative force into conscious activity.
To carry on with our metaphor: the great dynamo is thereby thrown into gear. It sends an active current of intense energy ascending the sushumna nadi to the brain. In passing, this intense current floods the several states of consciousness (the chakras) with revitalizing force. In this manner the activities of the various chakras are made conscious.
Incidently, the closest that most people get to this condition occurs during prolonged sexual intercourse. This, of course, is precisely what the metaphysic of ecstasy predicts will occur. The emotional intimacy and intensified breathing brought on by sexual passion, although for many still relatively shallow, manages to raise the temperature of the body significantly. The increased heat indicates that the creative force is receiving stimulation.
The process, however, is usually short circuited by genital orgasm, especially in the male. In genital orgasm the energy being roused by the combination of breathing and emotional intimacy is merely discharged explosively outward. The genital organs thus serve only to diffuse the energy rather than concentrate it and drive it inward to energize the several chakras and make it available for exchange and sharing with the partner.
During an uncontrolled ejaculation, the man's sexual energy literally floods the woman. Although women can absorb a portion of this inundation, few manage to absorb more than a small fraction as it passes through them. Certain techniques have been devised to enable women to absorb a greater amount of this force.
Indeed, certain sexual techniques have been devised both in the orient and in the west to enable one sexual partner to draw off relatively large amounts of energy from the other. When such techniques are practised either in the absence of or against the informed will of the partner and to both the physical and psychological harm of the victim, we have in effect sexual vampirism.
At the elementary levels of sexual intimacy energy is both exchanged and shared largely unconsciously between men and women. Neither partner possesses the knowledge or the ability to do serious harm to the other or to engage in sexual vampirism. At these levels of experience energy losses result primarily from ignorance and not from malevolent intent. This is especially so in the case of males, whose dogged insistence upon ejaculation can lead to marked loss of energy. The rolling over and falling asleep syndrome exemplifies this problem.
At more profound levels of sexual intimacy couples can learn to share and exchange energy consciously. This ability enhances their relationship enormously. The conscious exchange and sharing of sexual energy is the method of self realization taught by the metaphysic of ecstasy. Its true efficacy may be judged by the vehemence of the attacks by its detractors, who have spent the better part of three thousand years trying to convince the human race of the perniciousness of sex.
Given the context of the sanctity of sexual intimacy as understood by the metaphysic of ecstasy, sexual vampirism amounts to monumental evil. Such behaviour never was nor ever could be condoned. And those who try to make a case for celibacy and sexual abstinence on these grounds are sorely mistaken.
In rousing the creative force into conscious activity, pingala and ida are first intensified by proper breathing. The science of proper breathing is termed in the Sanskrit pranayama. I must note here that pranayama was devised originally as a method for attempting to rouse the creative force without resorting to sexual intercourse. We must keep in mind that the Indian Vedas are perhaps the best surviving representatives of the Indo-European metaphysic that overthrew the metaphysic of ecstasy. One of the recurring motifs of this patriarchal metaphysic is, of course, doing without women, which is precisely why it has reduced the role of women to the only thing, in its view, that men can not do without them. In reality, however, men can do nothing without women, and vice versa. We were made for each other. This fact forms the fundamental basis for the metaphysic of ecstasy. Women and men are the complementary halves of consciousness seeking itself.
The preliminary result of intensified breathing and emotional intimacy is a pronounced heating of the abdomen. This in turn arouses the creative force into conscious activity. When conscious energy begins the ascent of the sushumna nadi through the spinal column, pingala and ida are suspended altogether.
Hence, after the abdominal heating caused by the intensification of the action of pingala and ida succeeds in arousing sushumna all external signs of breathing appear to be suspended completely. This simply means that the breath is being held or retained.
Breathing then becomes centered within the spine. The practitioner is then said to be "in the breath," or "in the spirit." It is in this condition that the action of the Apocalypse commences. "I was in the breath (en pneumati) on the Lord's day..."112
Incidently, the occult expression en pneumati, which may be equally translated as "in the spirit," refers also to the metaphysical state of wholeness, or integration. This state of wholeness makes the understanding of all that follows in the narration possible. It is thus both a statement of method and of attitude.
Yoga and Psychotherapy describes the chakras as representing regions of connection between the sheaths. The sheaths do not simply function independently but in a more or less coordinated manner. For instance, the mental sheath, the etheric sheath and the physical sheath interact in an intimate manner. If you focus your thoughts on the solar plexus, your focus increases the concentration of energy.
The concentration of energy at the solar plexus increases the action of the digestive organs and enhances their activity. Focusing on the solar plexus improves the ability of the digestive organs to secrete enzymes and process food. The solar plexus functions as a focal point for interaction between the three sheaths.
The solar plexus is a nervous center in the physical body. It also corresponds to a point in the etheric sheath and in the mental sheath. This particular point represents a center of activity in each of these sheaths. It constitutes a sort of nodal point, or point of intimate connection through which the three sheaths can interact energetically with one another.
According to Yoga and Psychotherapy the solar plexus represents one of the "centers of consciousness," or chakras, which connect the various sheaths. "The correspondences and interactions among the sheaths is best understood by studying the centers of consciousness that provide the points of connection between them.
"The centers are seven in number and called chakras. Their approximate positions correspond in the physical body to specific points along and/or adjacent to the spinal cord.
"The first, known as the root, is located near the base of the spine in the prostate of the male and the uterus of the female. The second, known as the genitals, is located in the testicles of the male and the ovaries of the female. The third center, which is called the navel, is associated with the solar plexus. The fourth center is near the heart in the thymus gland. These four centers form a vertical line when one sits erectly.
"The fifth center is at the base of the throat in the parathyroid and the thyroid glands. The sixth center is located at the point between the two eyebrows at the center of the brain. It corresponds to the pineal gland. The seventh and last center is at the topmost point of the skull, at the 'crown' of the head. It is associated with the pituitary gland."113
Although the chakras and their nadis can be localized approximately within the physical body it would be a mistake to think of them simply as specific locations or energy centers within the body. They are commonly so depicted, especially by oriental commentators, who, as I noted before, make less a distinction between mind and body than we in the west.
Due to the less formal distinction between the mind and body in general in oriental writings, quite a few misunderstandings have arisen on this matter. Frequently in the west the chakras are mistakenly thought to be actually located, as some sort of psychic and subtle force centers, within the nervous ganglia and organs that are their physical correlates.
The word chakra, which literally means a "wheel," adds somewhat to this confusion. All of the physical descriptions of the chakras can be misleading if taken too literally. Remember that even in a traditional description, such as that given in Yoga and Psychotherapy the chakras are defined as "centers of consciousness."
A rather large and simplistic literature has sprung up describing the various chakras in a much too
literal fashion. Many of these books mislead by their simplicity. This has only added fuel to the
western confusion about this topic. I can not emphasize too strongly that the chakras represent
states of consciousness and different, but complementary, orientations of conscious activity. They
are analogous to the focal point of a lens. The focal point is not simply a physical location where
the concentration of light is directed by the action of the lens, it is also a locus of concentration
and acuity. It is in effect, an event which has been focused, or caused to happen, in a specific
location by the curvature of the lens material.
I think it is more accurate and certainly much less confusing, especially for western readers, to understand the chakras as states of energy.114 rather than as "psychic" centers or any other term that suggests a physical or quasi physical nature. Corollary to describing the chakras as states of energy, their numerous nadis are more clearly defined as transformations of state, rather than as the "channels" or "tubes" of a literal translation of the Sanskrit word.
Of course, the chakras and nadis do exhibit physical correspondences, many of which I have enumerated in the accompanying table. Each of them also exhibits etheric, mental, intellectual and integral correspondences as well. Because they exhibit these other nonphysical correspondences in addition to their physical correspondences, it is very misleading to think of them simply and literally as quasi physical energy centers, as is too frequently done. The chakras function in a much more extensive manner. To think of them in such limited fashion is to misunderstand their full significance.
Understood as states of energy, each chakra exhibits certain qualities peculiar to itself. Since we are here talking about human consciousness, it follows that the chakras symbolize various states of consciousness.
The specific qualities of each chakra are best described by each of the seven abilities. The chakras, as a consequence, represent the specific activities of the various abilities. They represent an attempt to describe approximately the range of conscious action involved in each of the seven abilities.
The states of consciousness that are typified by the various chakras are described at considerable length in the Sanskrit literature. For a more thorough discussion of the chakras, simple but not simplistic, see Yoga and Psychotherapy.
The chakras are most commonly identified and enumerated by means of their physical correlates. Merely for the sake of convention and easy comparison I shall enumerate them in like manner. But please remember that the chakras are not simply psychic energy centers within the physical body, subtle or otherwise.
The chakras represent specific states of consciousness with etheric, mental, intellectual and
integral correlations in addition to their physical correlations. It is all too easy to think of them
literally, but misleading to do so. In the Apocalypse the chakras are called the "seven churches
which are in Asia."115 Ephesus represents the muladhara chakra. Smyrna typifies the
adhishthana chakra. Pergamos depicts the manipuraka chakra. Thyateira symbolizes the
anahata chakra. Sardis is the vishuddhi chakra. Philadelphia is the ajna chakra. Lastly,
Laodikeia represents the sahasrara chakra.116 The nadis are called the "tribes of the children of
Israel."117 They are numbered 144,000 to accord with the zodiacal imagery used throughout the
The constant and uniform flow of creative energy throughout the main chakras and their channels or energy transformations (nadis), and other numerous subsidiary ones as well, sustains phenomenal existence and the various human forms. Consequently, any obstructions or blockages to that flow of energy have a devitalizing effect and can lead eventually to physical and psychological disease and even death.
Indeed, the slow accumulation of such obstructions leads to eventual death and psychic disintegration. The physical body and other aspects of the psyche become so blocked that they ultimately can no longer serve as a cohesive and functioning vehicle for self consciousness and consequently must be abandoned. Blocks and obstructions to cohesive functioning can be physical, etheric, mental and intellectual.
Since the various sheaths interact with one another, blockages of energy flow in any one affect all the others as well. Physical injuries affect the emotions and attitudes. Emotional traumas affect attitudes and manifest in the body. The most debilitating and far reaching blockages, however, are intellectual and mental. Opinions and attitudes filter throughout the emotional field of the etheric and the physical body. Inflexibility of attitudes and ideas produces rigidity of the body and emotional fixations.
The Chinese system of acupuncture that developed from Taoist medicine is based upon maintaining a uniform flow of vital energy through the chakras and their nadis. In Taoist medicine the chakras and their nadis are termed meridians. Accordingly, stimulating certain key points along the many meridians is viewed as assisting the maintenance of a healthy flow of vital energy. Further, the physical stimulation of the meridians helps to break up and disperse the blockages that manifest as disease and pain.
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