Category Archives: Brain, Mind, Consciousness, & Beyond

The Rise and Fall of the Third Eye

New Universe Awakening

THEOSOPHY teaches the progressive development of everything, “worlds as well as atoms,” according to The Secret Doctrine.

This “stupendous development,” say the ancient sages, “has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end.”

To them, our ‘Universe’ is “only one of an infinite number of Universes, all links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes.”

In this view, each individual cosmos, or single human life, is the effect of its predecessor. Under karmic law, “a cause as regards its successor.” 

(The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 43)

If lifetimes and universes are analogous to schools, then the classrooms are stages of consciousness, pushing us to ever greater self-awareness and self-development — only if we are wise enough to pursue the path offered.

Thus our lives are complex creations, a series of “progressive awakenings,” advanced or retarded drop by drop, by our individual, family, racial, national and global karma.

Everyone, in this view, settles into his or her own unique rhythm in which a lifetime meditation reflects a mixture of past karma, and present choices.

We all must be then at slightly differing points on an ascending evolutionary arc, paying off old debts, making new ones — pushing forward or slipping back, and the mind thus ever awakens to newer realities.

Drop by Drop

The choices that shape our character each lifetime, are self-chosen—compounded of physical, sensory, emotional, mental, psychic and spiritual energies.

The ancient Egyptian after death judgement, weighed symbolically a person’s heart against the “feather of truth.”

The challenges of life, the occult doctrine notes, are the result of our being grounded in a personal level of consciousness, a limited world view. The Secret Doctrine 1:39-40 teaches that “whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities.”

Progressive Awakenings

“Nothing is permanent except the one hidden absolute existence which contains in itself the noumena of all realities.” 

Weighing the Heart against the Feather of Truth

“Only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from delusions.”

“As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities.

… and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached ‘reality’—”

(The Secret Doctrine 1:40)

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My Three Brains

Hamlet

Laurence Olivier in “Hamlet”

THOUGHT and consciousness itself is assumed by most neuroanatomists to be created by and located entirely in the physical brain, neatly tucked away inside our skulls.

This insistent worldview is only reinforced by our body language when we always describe thinking by pointing to our heads.

But native cultures never engaged in such assumptions. The traditional Native American view always considered the heart to be the center of thought and motive, pointing to it when referring to thinking.

Then there are those familiar ‘gut-feelings’ we often have. Those compelling instincts, studies show, are more often than not, intuitional signals, even so far as foretelling of some future event. “Two brains may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but they make literal and evolutionary sense,” NY Times writer Harriet Brown says. But three brains? That does seem a stretch.

Yet in Theosophy brains can number into the billions. Every cell and organ has a consciousness of its own. The physical heart  also functions as a powerful “brain.”

As stated in The Secret Doctrine (1:274): “Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is consciousi.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.”

Universal Atom

And in her article “Kosmic Mind” H. P. Blavatsky wrote:  There is “consciousness in every universal atom . . . every atom is a little universe in itself; and every organ and cell in the human body is endowed with a brain of its own, with memory, therefore, experience and discriminative powers.”

“Groundbreaking research in the field of neurocardiology has established that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated information encoding and processing center, with an extensive intrinsic nervous system sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a “heart brain.” (Neurocardiology-Anatomical and Functional Principles, by J. Andrew Armour, M.D., Ph.D.)

“Heart-Brain”

Confirming this triune constitution Mme. Blavatsky explained “there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme . . . or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and inter-blended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. . . . Each of these three systems has its own laws.” [Corresponding to heart, brain and gut] (The Secret Doctrine 1:181).

[Like the heart], “the enteric nervous system [the gut] must assess conditions, decide on a course of action and initiate a reflex.  And does all this on its own, with little help from the central nervous system.”

Richard Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Undeterred, most neuroscientists continue to diligently barrel along cataloging what they insist are ‘the neural correlates of consciousness’ in the brain, and seem determined to prove that these neurons are the sole authors of our thoughts and feelings, isolated exclusively in the fatty workshop between our ears.

This consensus view dictates that when we die everything we are or learned disappears forever — including our soul and our individual ‘I am I’ consciousness. But this reductionist view of mind and consciousness is losing favor with many research scientists on the leading edge today, and may be about to radically change.

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Changing Lives from Selfishness to Altruism

“But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.” -Shakespeare

TRUTH springs eternal, unstoppable as hope, love, and the universal life force.

The life-loving truths taught many centuries ago by the great saviors and reformers of humanity are still with us, but still not consistently practiced.

What the Master Krishna taught Arjuna in The Bhagavad-Gita, 2,500 years before Buddha, is a cautionary teaching about the spiritual self-mastery our humanity today most needs.

“The Self is the friend of self,” is how Lord Krishna explains the dual force to his disciple Arjuna (who symbolizes every person as applied to their daily life), but adding: “and also its enemy.” 

It is the old story of the ongoing struggle between our higher spiritual vs personal material selves. “In a garden of sunflowers every flower turns towards the light,” but Mme. Blavatsky asks: “Why not so with us?” (Article 1888)

Referring to Lord Krishna’s teaching about the Self in its title, Blavatsky’s colleague W. Q. Judge explains how “this sentence in the Bhagavad-Gita has been often passed over as being either meaningless or mysterious.”

But it is only this uniquely human duality which explains why so many religious sects, while publicly espousing harmony and peace, are at the same time

…so ready and willing to denounce, terrorize and murder non-believers!


The medieval Christian Crusades were rife with atrocities, just as certain extremist religious sects are today—priests, prophets, popes and kings all willing to kill for their God. Religious murders, intrigues, assassinations and wars, have disgraced human kind through history, and tragically are still with us, as the briefest glance at the world’s daily news media confirms.

Our Two Selves

Krishna’s doctrine positions two selves, each an enemy and friend of the other. The “push-me-pull-you” character of many modern sectarian religions that foster ethical and moral inconsistencies, the soulless face of modern-day fundamentalism.

“The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real,” declares the Book of the Golden Precepts, “let the disciple slay [purify] the Slayer.”

δ

One wonders what kind of feeling is evoked when the lower personal mind is purified, figuratively and literally, and the Spirit within released—when the Higher Self (‘voice of the silence’)  is heard for the first time? Let’s allow the Polish music masters Anna and Arkadiusz Szafraniec help us enjoy a joyful answer to the question.

The Angel Organ: The largest glass harp in the world, its range covers nearly 5 octaves.

“What revolution is experienced by the ear, which attempts to find associations with those tones?” ask Anna and Arkadiusz Szafraniec, the glass music duo from Poland. “What we try to capture, wanders somewhere,” they say, “is at the verge of our ideas of angelic music, a mythical world–and instruments which sound only in our dreams.”

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The Sacred Animal Souls in Nature

A Light at The Center

HALLOWEEN is an annual holiday observed on October 31, primarily in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Known also as a harvest festival, called Samhain (“Summer’s End”), it is rooted in Celtic polytheism. The word is also the Irish and Scottish Gaelic name for November.

It was the beginning of a “darker” season on Earth, with less sunlight and shorter days. In place of the usual psychic horrors and scary costumes, we chose instead to consider the symbol of an inner spiritual sun, symbolized by a flaming candle placed inside the pumpkin.

The spiritual sun consciousness manifests, by degrees, and is the inheritance of all kingdoms of nature as befits the plan of their particular hierarchy — from an atom to a star — not humankind alone.

Samhain, origin of Halloween, is similar to the Gothic samana, and the Sanskrit sámana — the Hindu God Krishna, symbol of the Higher Self, who incarnates cyclically at mankind’s darkest times. The whole of nature, visible and invisible, benefits from these cyclic, wisely appointed spiritual impulses.

In the Bhagavad-Gita (IV:31), Krishna assures his disciple Arjuna that as a world benefactor he is reborn to nature and humanity. “I produce myself among creatures whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world,” says Krishna, “and thus

I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness.”

Krishna-Arjuna

It is only those who are called selfish Buddhas, the “Pratyekas,” who remain in the their selfish state desiring only personal salvation, and who decline to reach out to help suffering humanity.  The Voice of the Silence, Fragment II, The Two Paths explains:

“He who becomes Pratyeka-Buddha makes his obeisance but to his Self. The Bodhisattva who has won the battle, who holds the prize within his palm, yet says in his divine compassion: ‘For others’ sake this great reward I yield’ — accomplishes the greater Renunciation. A Saviour of the World is he.”

Our daily sleeping and waking cycles are strengthened by the universal impulse of the Spiritual Sun which nightly transports us to our true home, the Higher Self. This is during Dreamless Sleep, a state “in which even criminals commune through the higher nature with spiritual beings, and enter into the spiritual plane,” wrote W. Q. Judge in his article: Three Planes of Human Life.

Animals have many dream states too, and dreamless states where they commune consciously or unconsciously in varying degrees, depending on the kingdom to which they belong, with the spiritual hierarchies of their particular degree. For human beings, W. Q. Judge wrote:

“It is the great spiritual reservoir by means of which the tremendous momentum toward evil living is held in check. And because it is involuntary with them, it is constantly salutary in its effect.” 

In an ideal world, perfect harmony and balance between man and nature would be the norm. Thus, the keynote of Mme. Blavatsky’s worldview was the just and moral treatment of all the beings in nature, the First Object of the Theosophical Society, Universal Brotherhood. (Our Three Objects)

This universal unconditional Principle of Theosophy is expressed in The Secret Doctrine, Summing Up #5, which states that “everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious,” and is

“endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.”

Consequently, Mme. Blavatsky was adamant in opposing animal cruelty. She spoke out forcefully against sport hunting, foxes, birds and big game, and most strongly against vivisection — animals in biological experiments.

“If these humble lines could make a few readers seriously turn their thoughts to all the horrors of vivisection,” she declared, “the writer would be content.”

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Talking to Our Spiritual Dream Self

spirit-telepathy

Touching our dreams.

THERE is a kind of “conscious telegraphic communication going on incessantly, day and night,” between our physical brain and our ever-awake inner consciousness.

“The brain is such a complex thing, both physically and metaphysically, that it is like a tree whose bark you can remove layer by layer.”

“Each layer is different from all the others,” H. P. Blavatsky explains, “and each having its own special work, function, and properties.”

All real dreams that are remembered, and “present a sequence of events,” she maintained, “are due to the vision of our higher [mind] Ego.”

“At a time when an apple was something Steve Jobs gave to his first grade teacher, Clancy McKenzie, M.D. happened upon a discovery that would forever change not just his life, but his patients’ as well,” writes a reviewer of Babies Need Mothers, McKenzie’s groundbreaking book. This would be the proof of principle of Blavatsky’s teaching.

“It hit him like a bolt of lightening,” the reviewer notes: “Without so much as a hand-held calculator, McKenzie unearthed the origin and mechanism of serious mental and emotional disorders.”

“Many of Dr. McKenzie’s most powerful insights were directed to him during his dreams, and experienced later as voices on awakening, and during the day at unexpected moments.”

Clancy_D.McKenzie_M.D.

Clancy D. McKenzie, M.D.

The Brihand Aranyaka Upanishad [p. 12], describes of this inner dream god: “Leaving the bodily world through the door of dream, the sleepless Spirit views the sleeping powers.”

Then clothed in radiance, returns to his own home, the gold-gleaming Genius, swan of everlasting.”

swan-babies

“You do not have to be a yogi and meditate for years in a cave to receive an enlightened answer,” says Dr. McKenzie. “When you fall asleep you reach just as deep a level of consciousness.

“All you must do is take one minute at bedtime to formulate your question, and one minute when you awaken to retrieve the answer.

“Practically anyone can do this the very first night.”

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The Invisible Physical: Proved by Seven Scientific Experiments

helena-blavatsky-c-1875

Helena Blavatsky

ALWAYS ready to argue for the existence of an invisible physical world, within the visible matter, the writer of The Secret Doctrine, Helena Blavatsky, was ever adamant.

She continually challenged the scientific materialistic beliefs of her day. About her monumental work, The Secret Doctrine, she wrote an introduction which included the following declaration:

“The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not ‘a fortuitous concurrence of atoms,’ and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe — to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring.

Finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization.”
(SD 1:vii Preface)

Madam Blavatsky frequently took up the cause of a universal, invisible and intelligent medium supporting the visible physical universe. This “invisible physical” was critical to understanding Occult Science as presented in The Secret Doctrine.

Establishing this occult doctrine in her seminal work,  Mme. Blavatsky asserted that: “The whole issue of the quarrel between the profane and the esoteric sciences

“depends upon the belief in, and demonstration of, the existence of an astral body within the physical, the former independent of the latter.” (The Secret Doctrine Vol 2, p. 149)

“The astral body is itself an aspect of the real inner body,” wrote Robert Crosbie, the Founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists, “which has lasted through the vast period of the past and must continue through the far distant future.”

“This astral body is the prototype, or design, around which the physical body is built, and which, considered from the point of view of the powers, is the real physical body. Without it the physical body would be nothing but a mass of matter — an aggregation of smaller lives.” 

astralbody

Our Real Senses

“It is the astral body which contains the organs, or centers, from which the organs have been evolved in accord with the needs of the thinker within,” he continued. “The real senses of man are not in the physical but in the astral body. The astral body lasts a little over one lifetime. It does not die when the physical body dies, but is used as a body in the immediate after-death states.” -Robert Crosbie, (Universal Theosophy)

After The Secret Doctrine was published it would not take long before modern frontier scientists would begin to take up Mme. Blavatsky’s assertions in earnest using established scientific methods of inquiry. Seven important experiments suggesting the existence of an invisible astral matrix were initiated during the initial decades of the 20th and 21st century.

Even Mme. Blavatsky admitted in the 19th century: “It is gratifying to see how scientific imagination approaches every year more closely to the borderland of our occult teachings.” (Secret Doctrine 2:137 fn)

Hence the subtitle of this blog Theosophy Watch, i.e. “Ancient Thought in Modern Dress,” is the same title used by Mme. Blavatsky in the presentation found in Volume 1, page 572 of The Secret Doctrine.

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The Lucid Zone: Everyone Has Their Own

LORD Krishna the famed deity of Hinduism, pegged the complex duality of our human minds more than five thousand years ago.

In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna instructs his disciple Arjuna on the paradoxical nature of the mind and senses — all while the pair were in the middle of a battlefield with arrows flying.

The “Self is the friend of self, and in like manner, self is its own enemy” Krishna cautions the reluctant warrior Arjuna in Chapter Six.

The ancient wisdom-teaching of dueling human selves was much more than a symbolic morality play. And the unavoidable reality is preserved in our own living flesh, dynamically channeling through the dual hemispheres of our physical brain.

One of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in The World,” neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, describes the phenomenon in what she calls her “Stroke of Genius,” her book with that title. The story of her life-and-death ordeal dramatizes the paradoxical psycho-physiological puzzle of spirit, mind and physical brain.

As Jill recounts her experience, in a brief interview, we get a picture of the two physical halves of the brain, and how each is called to be a unique vehicle  expressing the Yin-Yang of “self.”

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