Category Archives: Psychology & Human Nature

Occult America: Through The Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

THE  surreal landscape of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass has Alice wondering what the world is like on the other side of a mirror.

To her surprise, Alice is able to pass into a fantastic astral world and experience an alternate existence.

A puzzled Alice discovers a book with looking-glass poetry called “Jabberwocky,” which she can read only by holding it up to a mirror.

To Theosophical students, Carroll’s imaginative invention is an unambiguous reminder of “the astral light” of occultism, a universal storage drive where original images of all things are seen in reverse of their visible projections on our terrestrial plane.

In 1871, mediumship and table-tipping were all the rage, detailed in Mitch Horowitz’s popular book Occult America. “Understandably, Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland was wildly popular at the time,” he writes:

Clairvoyance and psychic powers have always fascinated the public. But then, as now, they were considered nonsensical by mainstream scientists.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” the White Queen confides to Alice.

Alice through the looking glass.

Once of interest only to ghost-hunters, and the derided science of parapsychology, “The Big 5”: Precognition, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Psychokinesis and Healing (known collectively as “psi”), are now being noticed by the rank-and-file psychological and neuroscience community.

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A Miracle of Miracles —The Great Inscrutable Mystery

Botticelli: Primavera

Botticelli: Primavera

WE were repulsed by a report of a terrorist beheading. David Brooks wrote about it in a NY Times Opinion, “The Body and the Spirit” in which he concludes that “the body has a spiritual essence.”

“The human head and body don’t just live and pass along genes,” Brooks writes: “They paint, make ethical judgments, savor the beauty of a sunset and experience the transcendent.”

Sounding more like a student of Theosophy than a cultural and political commentator Brooks adds: “The body is material but surpasses the material. It’s spiritualized matter.”

This is very close to what H. P. Blavatsky declared in The Secret Doctrine: “Spirit is the first differentiation from That, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter. It is, as taught in the esoteric catechism, neither limitless void, nor conditioned fulness, but both. It was and ever will be. . . .

“It is not matter as we know it, but the spiritual essence of matter.”

Spirit-Matter

“Most of us, religious or secular,” Brooks wrote: “have some instinctive sense that there is a ghost infused in the machine. And because the human body is a transcendent temple it is worthy of respect. It is offensive to treat it the way you would treat an inanimate object.”

Even after a person is dead, the body still carries the residue of this presence and deserves dignified handling.

Similarly, H. P. Blavatsky quoted Thomas Carlyle: “‘we touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!'” … “How does our physical body come to the state of perfection it is found in now?,” she asks, and answers: “Through millions of years of evolution, of course, yet never through, or from, animals, as taught by materialism.”

Further quoting Carlyle: — ‘The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself  ‘I,’ — what words have we for such things? — it is a breath of Heaven, the highest Being reveals himself in man. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it not all as a vesture for the unnamed?'”

Botticelli, Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus

“The breath of heaven, or rather the breath of life is, as Novalis said, and no one since has said it better, as repeated by Carlyle: —

There is but one temple in the universe, and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than that high form . . . . We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!

‘If well meditated it will turn out to be a scientific fact — the expression of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles — the great inscrutable Mystery.’ 

(Blavatsky adds): “The breath of heaven, or rather the breath of life, called in the bible Nephesh, is in every animal, in every animate speck as in every mineral atom.”

(The Secret Doctrine 1:211-12)

human-anatomy-07

Intelligent Design

Quoting Thomas Carlyle:

“But none of these has, like man, the consciousness of the nature of that highest Being, as none has that divine harmony in its form which man possesses. There is but one temple in the universe, says the devout Novalis, and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than that high form.”

We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body! This sounds like a mere flourish of rhetoric but it is not so.

“If well meditated it will turn out to be a scientific fact; the expression in such words as can be had, of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles,— the great inscrutable Mystery of God. We cannot understand it, we know not how to speak of it; but we may feel and know, if we like, that it is verily so.”

(Thomas Carlyle, Ch. 1, Hero as Divinity)

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We Are All Connected, Bound Together for Good or Ill

© Lois Greenfield

THE uplifting adage ‘attitude is altitude’ pinpoints how the power of positive thinking can improve every aspect of our lives, using a simple but underutilized power we all possess.

“For decades, scientists have tried to test the power of prayer and positive thinking, with mixed results,” writes NPR National Desk religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty about a study on the science of spirituality.

“Now some scientists,” she writes, “are fording new, and controversial territory.” In an area of esoteric inquiry which is sometimes called Mental Alchemy and/or Metaphysics, a lot of thinkers over the ages have stated the idea in various ways.

The conviction that one’s thoughts are the great determiners of the content of one’s life, inspires  many to forge on despite difficult life circumstances.

Ancient wisdom traditions maintain that thoughts are actual things, and that one’s thoughts are the result of an unalterable universal law called “Cause and Effect,” and will manifest themselves at some point in one’s life.

Cause and Effect

“The lower world of effects is the sphere of … distorted Thoughts; of the most sensual conceptions, and pictures; of anthropomorphic deities, the out-creations of their creators, the sensual human minds of people who have never outgrown their brutehood on earth

Remembering thoughts are things — have tenacity, coherence, and life — that they are real entities — the rest will become plain.

“Disembodied — the creator is attracted naturally to its creation and creatures; sucked in — by the Maelstrom dug out by his own hands. . . . But I must pause, for volumes would hardly suffice to explain all that was said by me in this letter.”

Letter 9, The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

All Connected

The law of Cause and Effect can also be described as a law that says, “For every action, there is a reaction.”  Since thoughts are actual things, and since thoughts are also actions, it means that the thoughts will invariably cause a reaction that will result in the manifestation of those thoughts.

“No act is performed without a thought at its root either at the time of performance or as leading to it. These thoughts are lodged in that part of man which we have called Manas — the mind — and there remain as subtle but powerful links with magnetic threads that enmesh the solar system.” 

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Behind Your Brain, A Master Planner

Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor

BREAKING up is hard to do especially when it comes to ingrained scientific worldviews.

Even after they have betrayed us, dogmatic beliefs still cling like burrs to our psyche and brains, despite all logic.

Recall the insistent flat earth and geocentric crowd, and creationist belief that the Earth is only ten thousand years old.

The list is very long. Science is littered with the remains of once sacred cows.

Until only a few years ago, for example, it was asserted that the brain cannot grow new cells —

when they are gone they
are gone for good!

Challenging this cliché that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, science now confirms that in fact adult brain cells keep growing after all! H. P. Blavatsky made short work of the errors of science in explaining the occult teachings:

“The brain is the instrument of waking consciousness and every conscious mental picture formed means change and destruction of the atoms [neurons?] of the brain.” Yet, “in ordinary intellectual activity, moves on well beaten paths in the brain, and does not compel sudden adjustments and destructions in its substance.”

neurofeedback

Neurofeedback

She then noted that a “new kind of mental effort calls for something very different — the carving out of ‘new brain paths’, the ranking in different order of the little brain lives.”

“Memory has no seat, no special organ of its own in the human brain,” Blavatsky wrote in — it has seats in every organ of the body. The seat of memory, then, is assuredly neither here nor there, but “everywhere throughout the human body.”

Neuroplasticity

Modern studies in people recovering from stroke also provided support for neuroplasticity, as regions of the brain remained healthy could sometimes take over, at least in part, functions that had been destroyed.”

The ideas she presented were no less than a startling preview of our modern science’s newly understood doctrine of neuroplasticity.

Especially the “brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.” This fact in occult science began to be recognized by modern science thanks to the findings of Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita, called “the father of sensory substitution and brain plasticity.” These “now commonly accepted concepts, [were]  novel ideas when [he] first conceived of them [70 years after Blavatsky] in the 1960’s.”

“In the 1960s, Paul Bach-y-Rita invented a device that was tested on a small number of people, and involved a person sitting in a chair, in which were embedded nubs that were made to vibrate in ways that translated images received in a camera, allowing a form of vision via sensory substitution.

(Wikipedia – Neuroplasticity)

Tree Bark

A musician needs his instrument, a painter her canvas. This requirement of a physical material vehicle is explained in The Secret Doctrine‘s first Fundamental Proposition: “…it is only through a vehicle of matter that consciousness wells up as ‘I am I,’

a physical basis being necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity.

A central nervous system connected to a physical brain and body are indispensable to complete our human evolutionary experience. Just as the invisible “zeros and ones” of a digital software program, for example, must be connected to a physical computer or they cannot be read or used.

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 being different from all the others, and each having its own special work, function, and properties.

– H. P. Blavatsky
(Transactions, Appendix on Dreams)

Neurons

The world of brain science was forever changed. Yet, “the scale of change [in the brain] is much smaller than what goes on during the critical period of development,” said a study co-author Elly Nedivi, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) —

but the fact that it goes on at all,
is earth-shattering.

The truth is that neuroscientists today are completely baffled by how the brain is able to organize itself so perfectly.

Yet, the word “science” comes from the Latin word “scire” which means to know. “Science” is supposed to be a systematic, organized way of investigating the world. The catch is when specialized learning turns into a dogmatic worldview, it then becomes an end-in-itself — distorting what might have resulted in a more holistic truth.

With persistent reference to occult science Blavatsky insisted (The Secret Doctrine 1:14), that “consciousness is inconceivable to us apart from change,”  and, “motion best symbolises change, its essential characteristic.”

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Life Currents in Space: Surprising Secrets about The Sun

solargoddess

Solar Goddess

WINTER in the northern hemisphere marks the annual return of an ancient solar festival.

Indeed, “turnings of the sun” is an old phrase, used by both Hesiod and Homer.

The novelist Alan Furst has one of his characters nicely observe, “the day the sun is said to pause,” recalls the NY Times Op Ed:Pleasing, that idea…

… as though the universe stopped for a moment to reflect, took a day off from work. One could sense it, time slowing down.”

“The real substance of the concealed (Sun) is a nucleus of Mother substance,” H. P. Blavatsky writes in The Secret Doctrine. It is the heart and the matrix of all the living and existing Forces in our solar universe.

“It is the Kernel from which proceed to spread on their cyclic journeys all the Powers that set in action the atoms in their functional duties, and the focus within which they again meet in their SEVENTH ESSENCE every eleventh year.”

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Measuring the Immeasurable, the Intersection of Science and Spirit

levitation

Apparent Levitation of a Yogi

MAINSTREAM science looking for the source of our consciousness, argue its origin must be located in the neurons of our physical brains.

They are certain that all cognition arises from the activity of neurons attached to specific structures, which have fixed locations.

Yet many credible scientific minds today think otherwise and dispute the idea that our human consciousness arises solely from physical brain activity. 

Our brains are transmitters, just as TVs are, and not the creators of the programs and information they channel.

Open-minded science should always be willing to pursue truth wherever it leads, consider that consciousness may be an independent entity apart from the brain through which it manifests. This is only stating the obvious: automation takes us only so far – cars need drivers, and airplanes must have pilots who fly them. Television programs depend on writers, actors, and reporters.

But the standard model science insists the evidence pointing to an independent self is nothing but ‘junk science,’ no matter how rigorous the experiments. The results no matter how conclusive, are ignored. They are generally not accepted for publication in prestigious journals.

Parapsychologists risk being minimized and shunned — and their careers and livlihood can be stalled if funding is withdrawn.

“We live in an age of prejudice, dissimulation, and paradox,” Blavatsky opined in her article A Paradoxical World —”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.”

A contemporary scientist spoke to physics and electrical engineering professor Willis Harman, and upon being told of successful remote-viewing [formerly known as “clairvoyance”] experiments, Harman said: “I wouldn’t believe it even if it were true!” 

Dangerous Waters

Yet, poised fearlessly at the frontiers of Psi research are legitimate scientific groups 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 hidden soul that other scientists prefer ignoring. Looking to the future, Mme. Blavatsky boldly asserted in her The Secret Doctrine 1:272 that:

Modern science believes not
in the ‘soul of things.’

Fearless investigations were the exclusive precinct of ancient, uncanny intuitives and seers as taught in The Secret Doctrine. But today there are numerous professional scientific investigators on the hunt for answers to the puzzling problems of evolution and consciousness.

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Neuroplasticity: Carving Out New Brain Paths

Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor

BREAKING up is hard to do especially when it comes to ingrained scientific worldviews.

Even after they have betrayed us, dogmatic style beliefs still cling like burrs to our psyche, and our brains, despite all logic.

Recall the insistent flat earth and geocentric crowd, and creationist belief that the Earth is only ten thousand years old.

The list is very long. Science is littered with the remains of once sacred cows.

Until only a few years ago, for example, it was asserted that the brain cannot grow new cells —

when they are gone they
are gone for good!

Challenging this cliché that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, science now confirms that in fact adult brain cells keep growing after all!

H. P. Blavatsky explained: “The brain is the instrument of waking consciousness and every conscious mental picture formed means change and destruction of the atoms [neurons?] of the brain.” Yet, “in ordinary intellectual activity, moves on well beaten paths in the brain, and does not compel sudden adjustments and destructions in its substance.”

neurofeedback

She then noted that a “new kind of mental effort calls for something very different — the carving out of ‘new brain paths’, the ranking in different order of the little brain lives.”

Her idea was, unmistakably, a preemptive nod to our modern science’s newly understood doctrine of “neuroplasticity” —

“… the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.”(Wikipedia) This fact of occult science began to be recognized thanks to the findings of Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita, called “the father of sensory substitution and brain plasticity.”

These “now commonly accepted concepts, [were]  novel ideas when [he] first conceived of them [70 years after Blavatsky] in the 1960’s.” (Salus University)

Neurons

The world of brain science was forever changed. Yet, “the scale of change [in the brain] is much smaller than what goes on during the critical period of development,” said a study co-author Elly Nedivi, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) —

“but the fact that it goes on at all,
is earth-shattering.”

The truth is that neuroscientists today are completely baffled by how the brain is able to organize itself so perfectly.

Yet, the word “science” comes from the Latin word “scire” which means to know. “Science” is supposed to be a systematic, organized way of investigating the world. The catch is when specialized learning turns into a dogmatic worldview, it then becomes an end-in-itself — distorting what might have resulted in a more holistic truth.

With persistent reference to occult science Blavatsky insisted (SD 1:14), that “consciousness is inconceivable to us apart from change,”  and, “motion best symbolises change, its essential characteristic.”

Continue reading