Category Archives: body

The Body of Teachers and Teachings

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We make much of the bodily aspect and it may even seem to us that the spirit is less real than the physical, so a “real” encounter comes to equal a physical one. Yet, only the spiritual component of each encounter is real. Without spiritual consciousness, a physical encounter is unconvincing and with spiritual consciousness the physical encounter may not be required. The external is, at best, an attractive adornment to a real meeting. Our ability to tie an encounter to a certain incarnate body is incidental. It is the energy component of any meeting that is essential.

And what of the bodies of the books and talks? Everywhere the mediators of great thoughts show both grandeur and flaws—the best are like magnificent stained glass windows, but with occasional cracks, splotches of dust, or missing pieces. One must find enough greatness of spirit to love the grandeur while not remaining blind to the flaws.

I do not see total validity or total authenticity in any book or person. I see that spirit pertains to the essence of things, to the rainbow of spirituality that is the foundation of the universe. But all verbal formulas provide a picture that is “through a glass darkly.” The texts we have, like our personalities, are never entirely satisfactory.

There are limits to be considered in every verbal formulation as well as in those of us who draw on the formulas. The value of a good teachings is it’s merit as general guideline and stimulus to thought and reflection. In the details and specifics, and their application to any time and space, there is often much ambiguity and vagueness. So, in a sense, we are still on our own—otherwise put—the intent of a great teaching is not to turn people into “wind up toys.” Teachings are not the truth, but a catalyst to aid us in our approach to the truth.

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Deeper Causes

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Modern observation, by intense attention to externals, finds causes and relative facts. Useful though these may be, there are superficial and deeper causes for everything. So genes do not ultimately cause or determine anything, rather they are in the realm of secondary causes and effects. Behind and through them are undiscovered dimensions.

It is the same with brain and body. There are causes that run far deeper than genes and brain patterns. The light bulb in our ceiling may be considered the source of the light, or one may look to the generator, the waterfall, the Sun, or a “big bang.” But then science cannot truly define gravity or thought and the origin of the universe is not contained in the pages of books.

Fiery Personality

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The physical body is fiery–its atoms are bits of fiery energy, so our body can develop in special ways along a fiery path. Desire is also fiery; we burn with it, and the mind is often represented as fiery energy. All these are personal fires, and in way all are, as mythology has it, “fires stolen from heaven.”

Ideally, our life would be directed by spiritual fire, by subtle fires transcendent to personality. Then the beautiful fire of heaven and the external fires of body, emotion, and mind might meet and blend in magical harmony. This would be meditation or mediation.

We might say that true meditation is the union of spiritual fires with more external ones. But what if we engage in a process in which we experiment, as a personality, with the fires of our external nature, and while doing so we call it “meditation” or some other methodological name? Then, mistaking personal fires for spiritual ones, we might become an inflamed personality.

How then to define a path leading to union with spiritual fire as distinct from an inflamed personality? I’m thinking that it comes down to the question of whether we emphasize form or spirit. Form has its place as a vehicle for the spiritual, but often the form dominates, eclipsing the spiritual. Let us count some ways this occurs:

  • Emphasizing rituals and set forms of all kinds instead placing our life in order.
  • Emphasizing physical postures instead of spiritual orientation.
  • Focusing on a center within the physical or etheric body instead of the radiant spiritual energies behind and through our psychology (Love, spiritual will, harmony, beauty, etc.).
  • Emphasis on breathing exercises instead of the spiritual “breathing in” and giving forth that is, or should be, a healthy daily life.
  • Emphasizing finding a physical guru instead of attunement to our inner teacher.
  • Desire for psychic powers instead of desire to use our existing powers for the benefit of others.
  • Emphasis on physical methods using sound, color, technology, or body manipulation.
  • Emphasizing symbol instead of meaning.

The Veil Between Worlds

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Externally or physically, the things we know are those that reach the brain. And for most of us, there is a mechanism that keeps us largely focused on things physical, on experiences coming through the five senses. But the threads of our lives run deep into psychic and spiritual worlds, and there is a part of us with other senses, a higher or deeper part of which we, ensconced as we are in the physical brain, remain largely unconscious.

We live our life, so speak, in parallel worlds and in addition to our ordinary waking consciousness, have also a vast and mostly hidden life. It is a life of which we, in our physical brain consciousness, remain mostly ignorant. For most of us that is the design of nature and the way, for the time being, that it should be.

It is as if a one-way mirror stands between our ordinary consciousness and the heights and depths of our life in the psychic and spiritual worlds. Our brain lives on the reflective side of the mirror, and our higher self lives on the transparent side. Usually we are unconscious—at the brain level–of our larger identity and it’s life on the inner planes, and we do not realize to what extent we live this higher life, and do we realize that our “I” is but a small part of a larger deeper consciousness. At all times, the deeper part is an active participants in our life, but while the material world engages most of our attention, our brain registers little of this deeper nature. Most of what we are in our higher nature is hidden behind the one-way mirror so that when we look inward we see only the usual physical and emotional awareness. But there is another part of us that lives on the far side of the mirror, and in that space sees not only down toward physical personality, but outward to the psychic worlds and up to the world of spiritual.

Each of us is structured differently according to our needs and karmic conditions, so not all mirrors are the same. And the matter-energy barrier, of which our “mirror” is symbolic, is not a static veil but a dynamic one, being part of the living etheric-biological structure of our bodies. And sometimes, our mirror, or part of it, becomes more like translucent glass or a transparent window. Then for a time the mirror may no longer act as a barrier between worlds, so that we register part of our inner life in the brain. Then, to some degree, we experience “continuity of consciousness” where our brain registers not only the usual physical existence, but also aspects of spiritual or psychic life.

Brief or tenuous connection between worlds can be disorienting and radical thinning of the veil can be especially difficult, for most of us have trouble enough with the problems of a single level. There are many cautionary stories about magicians who evoke energies they are not yet ready to handle, a theme applicable to meditation practices. There are natural and forced developments that thin the veil between worlds, of which meditation is often cited. There are dangers associated with the premature development of anything, and this is especially true of psychic and spiritual experiences. If a strong energy is poured suddenly, prematurely, and persistently into an unready personality, then we may have a rending of the veil between worlds, with chaotic or pathological effects.

Awakening energies often proves confusing, and in seeking to understand them, a meditator may adopt one of the many schools of metaphysics or seek some teacher or guru to guide them. Unfortunately, the current wave of humanity hasn’t produced many spiritual midwifes who have the knowledge to lead people through such an energy crisis. Nor has it produced large numbers of sane, balanced and healthy souls who are ready for the difficulties of sudden awakenings. Instead, we have many half-right teachers in the world, and sad to say, some will make matters worse rather than better. In some cases crisis is actually precipitated in the first place by dangerous meditation practices taught by a pseudo-guru or drawn from a metaphysical book.

Gopi Krishna, in his book “Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy in Man.” aptly describes the state of the world in this respect. He writes:

“I consulted other holy men and sought for guidance from many reputed quarters without coming across a single individual who could boldly assert that he actually possessed intimate personal knowledge of the condition and could con­fidently answer my questions. Those who talked with dignified reserve, looking very wise and deep, ultimately turned out to be as wanting in accurate information about the mysterious power rampant in me as those of a more unassuming nature who un­bosomed themselves completely on the very first occasion without in the least pretending to know any more than they really did. And thus in the great country which had given birth to the lofty science of Kundalini thousands of years ago and whose very soil is permeated with its fragrance and whose rich religious lore is full of references to it from cover to cover, I found no one able to help me.”

 

Art by ihave3kids (modified)