Category Archives: Health, Healing, & Wholeness

Psychic or Noëtic: Choosing the Mind We Want

Alex Ross, ‘Beauty and the Beast’

WHEN acting through the physical filter of our human brains and bodies, our minds clearly manifest a complex double nature.

This idea is a critical and pivotal tenet of Theosophical psychology.

Mind’s higher aspect gravitates toward its home spirit-self, while the tendency of its astral and physical projection on this plane is an almost irresistible attraction to materialism and desires.

Broadly considered, what is called ‘higher mind’ in Theosophy is a really soul faculty, our intuitional power source — it is the ‘god’ in us.

“The inner man is the only God we can have cognizance of. And how can this be otherwise? Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity?

“We call our ‘Father in heaven’ that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy.”

“Yet, let no man anthropomorphise that essence in us … if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this ‘God in secret’ listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence — for all are one.”

This is also Plato’s teaching about the ‘Nous.’ In her remarkable article Psychic and Noetic Action, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

Occult physiology and psychology postulate within mortal man an immortal entity, ‘divine Mind,’ or Nous, whose pale and too often distorted reflection is that which we call ‘Mind’ and intellect in men.

Vulcan Mind Meld 🙂

“No physiologist, not even the cleverest, will ever be able to solve the mystery of the human mind, in its highest spiritual manifestation. Nor will they be able to understand the duality of the psychic and the noetic — or even to comprehend the intricacies of the former on the purely material plane.”

“Concerning the nous that is the source of understanding of individuals, Plato argued that relying on sense perception can never lead to true knowledge, only opinion. Plato’s more philosophical characters argue that nous must somehow perceive truth directly.” [Wikipedia]

The soul is the Perceiver is assuredly vision itself pure and simple, unmodified, and looks directly upon ideas.

(William Q. Judge, The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, Book 2.)

Plato from Raphael’s The School of Athens

These two we distinguish as the Higher Manas (Mind or Ego), and the Kama-Manas, i.e., the rational, but earthly or physical intellect of man, encased in, and bound by matter.

Harvard trained neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor, following her life-altering stroke, had a direct knowing of this powerful duality; what is known in Theosophy as our ‘personal’ and ‘impersonal’ selves.

The enigma is dramatized by Dr. Taylor in her New York Times bestselling book My Stroke of Insight. As a brain researcher Dr. Taylor’s focus is neuroanatomical, i.e. the brain’s left and right hemispheres. Below is an excerpt from the TED Talk about the details of her life-changing experience:

Psychic vs Noëtic 

“The all-conscious SELF, that which reincarnates periodically, [is] verily the WORD made flesh, and is always the same! Its reflected “Double,” changing with every new incarnation and personality, is conscious but for a life-period. The Lower Self manifesting through our organic system, acting on this plane of illusion, imagines itself the Ego Sum, and thus falls into the ‘heresy of separateness’.

“The former, we term INDIVIDUALITY, the latter PERSONALITY. From the first proceeds all the noetic element, from the second, the psychic, i.e., ‘terrestrial wisdom’ at best, as it is influenced by all the chaotic stimuli of the human or rather animal passions of the living body.

Jill Bolte Taylor

“The seat of memory is everywhere throughout the human body. To locate it in the brain is to limit and dwarf the Universal Mind and its countless Rays (the Manasaputra) — which inform every rational mortal. Materialists sniff contemptuously at the mention of ‘Universal Mind’ and the Higher noetic souls of men.”

“The assumption that the mind is a real being, which can be acted upon by the brain, and which can act on the body through the brain, is the only one compatible with all the facts of experience.”

George T. Ladd,in the Elements of Physiological Psychology.

(Quoted by H. P. Blavatsky in her Article, Psychic and Noetic Action)

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‘Dying To Be Me’: The Near-Death Experience of Anita Moorjani

near-death-experience

Immortal Individuality

THE New Age Movement heralded by Theosophy in the late 19th century is gradually bearing practical influence here in the 21st.

Theosophical ideas and ethics are literally life-changing to those who contact its influence, directly or indirectly.

Helena Blavatsky, the Movement’s inspired original spokesperson wrote an inspiring Letter to the Third American Convention, noting that “Theosophy is indeed the life, the indwelling spirit which makes every true reform a vital reality.”

Theosophy is Universal Brotherhood, the very foundation as well as the keystone of all movements toward the amelioration of our condition.

“The Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man — the reincarnating Ego.

“We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races.”

Rassouli-Joyriders

Rassouli, “Joyriders”

What might be the practical value of these ancient doctrines today? Perhaps the primary importance lies in the assertion of our duality, i.e. the co-existence of awakened material (or psychic) and spiritual (noetic) entities in us. H. P. Blavatsky wrote: “We [assert] the existence of a higher or permanent Ego in us.”

In the thoughts of [this Ego] or the immortal ‘Individuality,’ the pictures and visions of the Past and Future are as the Present.

Further, she wrote, (in stenographically preserved dialogues with her students), “nor are his thoughts like ours, subjective pictures in our cerebration, but living acts and deeds, present actualities. … they are realities.”

Salvador Dali, ‘Melting Watch’

Quantum leap hardly begins to adequately measure the inner life of spiritual beings having a human experience, a transcendence that advanced adepts directly understand, because they live it consciously.

Spiritual states of consciousness, quantum states, altered time and space were often hinted at in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept Teachers, but few direct examples were offered. The illusion of time and descriptions of elevated states of consciousness were the most powerful and interesting of these.

Such are confirmed now when near-death, out of body and psychic experiences are finally being acknowledged and studied.

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Mother’s Love, a Shoreless Universal Essence

Mother and Child

WHENEVER there is separateness and selfishness, Theosophy teaches, there will always be suffering.

This is why we need to continually try to practice Divine Compassion, “the law of laws,” as urged in The Voice of the Silence, and all that implies about our daily actions.

“Compassion is no attribute, it is the LAW of LAWS — eternal Harmony —

“… a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things — the law of love eternal.”

(The Voice of the Silence)

A feeling of true, universal compassion and caring for others can never dissolve into either separateness or selfish pride. Says the Voice of the Silence of The Buddha: “The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is such a Nirmânakâya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known.”

Dalai Lama xlv

According to the H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, “compassion is something really worthwhile.”

It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

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Easter: An Ancient Tradition To Celebrate Rebirth

“Ostara” by Helena Nelson-Reed

THERE would be no glorious bursting forth of nature at Easter-time without the cyclic journey of the Sun.

The Sun-cycle ushers springtime into the world above the equator, and the ancients regarded this as the reincarnation season of the year.

The celebration of Ēoestre or Ostara is an old pagan festival, and is the origin of the word Easter.

She is the goddess who symbolized the dawn, the warm Spring sun, the resurrection of Spirit in Earth, and much more.

“Just as there is a real Christmas—the time of winter solstice, explains the Theosophy School text, The Eternal Verities, The Easter Lesson (251):

“there is a real Easter, a Sun-cycle, the time of the Vernal Equinox.”

Illumination of Earth by the Sun on the day of an equinox.

In the legend, when the beautiful Goddess Ēoestre saw all this wonderful work of hers, she said: “Hereafter, every year I will have one day called Easter, after me. That day, all shall celebrate the awakening of Life from its winter sleep. Then shall all people be joyous and glad, and give each other eggs as gifts,

for the Egg shall be my symbol. So it is fitting, for all Life is first within the egg.”

Ö

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Life on Spaceship Earth and the Overview Effect

NASA Astronaut Tracy Caldwell

DURING the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, the Theosophical Society participated in the first World’s Parliament of Religions.

Pioneer theosophist and co-founder of the Theosophical Society William Q. Judge served as permanent chairman of the Theosophical Congress, whose presentation of its ideals and principles drew increasingly larger audiences.

“I have been requested to speak on the subject of universal brotherhood,” he explained, “not as a theory, not as a Utopian dream which can never be realized; not as a fact in society, not as a fact in government — but as a fact in nature:

that universal brotherhood is an actual thing, whether it is recognized or whether it is not.

“Every nation, every civilization has brought forward this doctrine, and the facts of history show us that, more than at any other time … have seen this doctrine violated in society, in government, and in nations. So that at last men have come to say, ‘Universal brotherhood is very beautiful; it is something that we all desire, but it is impossible to realize.’ With one word they declare the noble doctrine, and with the other they deny the possibility of its ever being realized.”

 – W. Q. Judge, Universal Brotherhood a Fact in Nature

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Evidence of an Immortal Mind in Man and Nature

In the Matrix

MAINSTREAM science looking for the source of consciousness insists its origin has to be generated in the physical brain.

Most neuroscientists agree that all cognition arises from the activity of neurons attached to specific structures, which have fixed brain locations.

Yet many credible scientific researchers today are unconvinced and dispute these biased mainstream materialistic assumptions.

Open-minded investigators are willing to pursue truth wherever it leads, even exploring evidence that mind and its corresponding consciousness is a living entity independent of the physical structures through which it manifests.

But because research findings on this question upset established assumptions, it is frequently ignored by mainstream science. H. P. Blavatsky found the same evidence in her own era declaring:

We live in an age of prejudice, dissimulation and paradox, wherein, like dry leaves caught in a whirlpool, we are tossed helpless, hither and thither, ever struggling between our honest convictions and fear of that cruelest of tyrants—PUBLIC OPINION.

-H. P. Blavatsky, A Paradoxical World

Caught in a whirlpool of dry leaves. (Flickr)

Yet, poised fearlessly at the cutting edge of psi research are scientific organizations such as the respected Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in Petaluma, California, and the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek. These researchers, and others, like NES energy medicine, are willing to take a leap in pursuit of the fast-moving “soul of things.”

Many frontier investigators risk being minimized and shunned by their peers—their careers stalled as funding dries up.

Such investigations were formerly the exclusive precinct of canny ancient intuitives and seers. Today there are many qualified, sincere scientific investigators on the hunt for answers to the puzzling questions of consciousness that stymie mainstream science.

Buddha meditating under the Bo Tree

“The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system,” Mme. Blavatsky wrote.

“The facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs.”

The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there.

“The genuine texts of the Upanishads treat of and expound the secret and mystic meaning of the Vedic texts. They speak of the origin of the Universe, the nature of Deity, and of Spirit and Soul, as also of the metaphysical connection of mind and matter. In a few words: They contain the beginning and the end of all human knowledgebut they have now ceased to reveal it, since the day of Buddha. . . . One thing in them — and this in all the Upanishads — invariably and constantly points to their ancient origin.”

“But modern science believes not in the ‘soul of things,’ and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony.” 

The Secret Doctrine 1:272 

Now all this may be changing . . .

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Where Are We Going? -The Law of Love Eternal

Kwan-Yin (Chinese: 觀音, Guānyīn) is the female bodhisattva of compassion.

Kwan-Yin (Chinese: 觀音, Guānyīn) is the female Bodhisattva of compassion.

COMPASSION has been compared to the innocent act of helping someone you don’t know. It cannot be forced.

When absent, like the power of love, life can not go on. “Love can exist without form,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote, “but no form can exist without Love. The same for Compassion, the ‘Law of Laws’.

(Love With an Object)

Love is an immortal power which is beyond mere human creation. Nor can it be compared to one of the dogmas invented by religion, nor is it merely a causal neuronal attribute of thinking or emotion as in materialism.

As with Universal Compassion, Love is an inherent core force, a Universal Spiritual Law of Life as declared in the ancient scripture Book of the Golden Precepts, on which The Voice of the Silence is based — transcendent and beyond any man-made scientific or religious dogmas.

The phrase used in Theosophy to define Universal Compassion is found in The Voice of the Silence: “the Law of Laws.” It is the primary and most compelling of its spiritual Precepts. (Fragment III, The Seven Portals):

Canst thou destroy divine compassion? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of laws — eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.

“The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become Compassion Absolute.”

Buddha of Compassion

When exercised purely and impersonally this power lies beyond the partisan beliefs of either atheist or religionist, and always exhibits itself by emanating “The light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things—the law of love eternal.” Is this Law not something we most need today? 

Without love and compassion, the soul is missing. In the first volume of Isis Unveiled, p. 318, H. P. Blavatsky declared: “When one falls into a love of self [narcissism] and love of the world, with its pleasures, losing the divine love of God and of the neighbor, he falls from life to death.”

The higher principles which constitute the essential elements of his humanity perish, and he lives only on the natural plane of his faculties. Physically he exists, spiritually he is dead.

“To all that pertain to the higher and the only enduring phase of existence he is as much dead as his body becomes dead to all the activities, delights, and sensations of the world when the spirit has left it. This spiritual death results from disobedience of the laws of spiritual life, which is followed by the same penalty as the disobedience of the laws of the natural life.”

The opposite pole is represented by the great compassionate Adepts such as Buddha and Kwan-Yin. The Buddha in The Voice of the Silence, Fragment III as Mme. Blavatsky explained “The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is … higher than whom … on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind, there is none known.”

Kwan-Yin seated on a lotus flower.

The Kwan-Yin Pledge

Never will I seek nor receive private, individual salvation; never will I enter into final peace alone; but forever and everywhere will I live and strive for the redemption of every creature throughout the world.

The universal power of Compassion is also described as a “shoreless universal essence.” The idea refers to a spiritual substance called in Sanskrit the Ākāśa, defined as “The subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space; the primordial substance.”

Such is the understanding of modern theosophical students who study The Voice of the Silence, based on the ancient Golden Precepts as translated and arranged by H. P. Blavatsky.

The Charter for Compassion

Our higher mind or Higher Ego, H. P. Blavatsky wrote in her article Psychic and Noetic Action:

is part of the essence of the UNIVERSAL MIND, is unconditionally omniscient on its own plane, and only potentially so in our terrestrial sphere, as it has to act solely through its alter ego – the Personal Self.

The Charter for Compassion (Wikipedia) is a document that urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion. The charter currently is available in more than 30 languages and has been endorsed by more than two million individuals around the globe. (Author: Karen Armstrong)

Divine Compassion

As such, divine consciousness has “to be regarded as activity of our mind on another and a higher plane, working through something less substantial than the moving molecules of the brain. It cannot be explained as the simple resultant of the cerebral physiological process [which] only condition them or give them a final form for purposes of concrete manifestation.”

No physiologist, not even the cleverest, will ever be able to solve the mystery of the human mind, in its highest spiritual manifestation.

(Psychic and Noëtic Action)

Atlantic Theater Company, “Through a Glass Darkly”

Nor will they be able to understand the duality “of the psychic and the noetic,” says Blavatsky, “or even comprehend the intricacies of the psychic on the purely material plane…

unless they know something of and are prepared to admit, the presence of this dual element.

This means, she asserts, that psychologists will have to accept “a lower (animal), and a higher (or divine) mind in man, or what is known in Occultism as the ‘personal’ and the ‘impersonal’ Egos.”

“There is no such thing as ‘righteous anger'”, wrote William Q. Judge in (Culture of Concentration Part 1). “Whether your ‘rights’ have been unjustly and flagrantly invaded or not does not matter.  Anger must be strictly avoided, and it cannot be avoided unless charity and love – absolute toleration – are cultivated.” 

No More Blame

“The personal element is one that ever has a tendency to delude us as it hides behind various walls and clothes itself in the faults, real or imaginary, of others.” (Letters That Have Helped Me, W. Q. Judge)

To Think, or Not

“Self-consciousness, which from the animal plane looking upward is the beginning of perfection, from the divine plane looking downward is the perfection of selfishness and the curse of separateness. It is the ‘world of illusion’ that man has created for himself.”

La Belle Sauvage

“The faculty of every Ego which considers itself a Unit, separate from and independent of the One Infinite and Eternal Sat or ‘be-ness,’ is an illusion. The ‘eternal pilgrim’ must, therefore, mount higher, and flee from the plane of self-consciousness it has struggled so hard to reach.”

– William Q. Judge, The Synthesis of Occult Science I

Taking Sides

The right hemisphere of the brain is the organ to express compassion and feelings. It is “big picture” oriented and where imagination rules, symbols and images, present and future, philosophy and religion—can “get it” (i.e. meaning).

Beliefs, appreciation, spatial perception, knowing an object’s function, also find activity in the right side of the brain.

Duality Rules

Based on fantasy, the right hemisphere also reflects possibilities and is active during impetuous, risk-taking.

The left hemisphere activates with the use of logic, is detail oriented and facts, words, and language, present and past, math and science rule. It is activated when reasoned knowing is present.

Arjuna

It allows for the acknowledgment of order and patterns, knows object names, is reality-based, and forms practical strategies.

A Parable of Sowing and Reaping 

Sow a Thought
Reap an Act,
Sow an Act
Reap a Habit,
Sow a Habit
Reap a Character,
Sow a Character
Reap a Destiny.

On the significance of Karma and Reincarnation In The Key to Theosophy, we are warned that “Karma, with its army of Skandhas [personal tendencies], waits at the threshold of Devachan [Heaven], whence the Ego [Soul] re-emerges to assume a new incarnation. It is at this moment that the future destiny of the now-rested Ego trembles in the scales of just Retribution, as it now falls once again under the sway of active Karmic law.”

Psychic and Noetic

“Between the psychic and the noetic,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

between the personality and the individuality, there exists the same abyss as between a ‘Jack the Ripper,’ and a holy Buddha.

Macbeth

“Unless the physiologist accepts all this, we say, he will ever be led into a quagmire,” she writes. “We intend to prove it.”

(Psychic and Noëtic Action)

The Network of Destiny

“Yes; ‘our destiny is written in the stars!’, Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine 1:639. “Only, the closer the union between the mortal reflection man and his celestial prototype [Higher Self], the less dangerous the external conditions and subsequent reincarnations — which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape.”

And in Her Five Messages to American Theosophists, she delivered a stern warning the everyone would do well to heed: 

Ethics sink into and take hold of the real person—the reincarnating Ego. We are outwardly creatures of but a day—within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races.

Dueling Minds

W. Q. Judge, The Ocean Of Theosophy, Ch VII.

“Manas [Sanskrit], or the Thinker, is the reincarnating being, the immortal who carries the results and values of all the different lives lived on earth or elsewhere.

“Its nature becomes dual
as soon as it is attached to a body.”

“For the human brain is a superior organism and Manas [Sk. the mind] uses it to reason from premises to conclusions.”

Many Faces

“The lower, and purely intellectual, is nearest to the principle of Desire,” writes Judge, “and is thus distinguished from its other side which has affinity for the spiritual principles above.”

“If the Thinker, then, becomes wholly intellectual, the entire nature begins to tend downward — for intellect alone is cold, heartless, selfish …”

The Three Faces of Eve

The intellect, W. Q. Judge says, “is the lower aspect of the Thinker or Manas, and not, as some have supposed, the highest and best gift belonging to man.”

Its other, and in theosophy higher, aspect is the intuitional, which knows, and does not depend on reason.

Chapter 7, The Ocean of Theosophy
by William Q. Judge

Life in Stages

by H. P. Blavatsky

“One night the actor, or ‘Ego,’ appears as ‘Macbeth,’ the next as ‘Shylock,’ the third as ‘Romeo,’ the fourth as ‘Hamlet’ or ‘King Lear,’ and so on, until he has run through the whole cycle of incarnations.

King Lear

“The Ego begins his life-pilgrimage as a sprite, an ‘Ariel,’ or a ‘Puck’— he plays the part of a super, is a soldier, a servant, one of the chorus — rises then to ‘speaking parts,’ plays leading roles, interspersed with insignificant parts — till he finally retires from the stage as ‘Prospero,’ the magician.” 

The Personas

The physical body and brain are new in each life, and can have no memory of the past life of the True Ego.

Personas

In Theosophy, one’s True Ego or permanent individuality can be also thought of as one’s ‘character’…

The character is a continuous, collective reminiscence, often unconscious, the fruit of numberless and varied experiences over many lifetimes.

Character, the “Master Soul,” may have thousands of struggling apprentices over as many lifetimes.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

“All is impermanent in man except the pure bright essence of Alaya [Master Soul],” says the Book of the Golden Precepts.

Man is its crystal ray; a beam of light immaculate within, a form of clay material upon the lower surface.

“That beam is thy life-guide and thy true Self, the Watcher and the silent Thinker, the victim of thy lower Self. Thy Soul cannot be hurt but through thy erring body; control and master both, and thou art safe when crossing to the nearing ‘Gate of Balance.'”

The Voice of the Silence, Fragment III

Who Are We?

Buddha’s favorite disciple, Ananda, and Krishna’s Arjuna were exceptional, in that they were able to assimilate their essence to the Master. Thus they added to the powers of the Master, and by that means strengthened their own immortality. That would be a win-win for humanity and the planet if were achieved.

The Buddha-Nature