Tag Archives: brain

Taming the Beast: Choosing the Mind We Want

“Avatar”

WHEN acting through the physical filter of our human brains and bodies, our minds clearly manifest a complex double nature — and this 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 soul faculty, our intuitional power source — it is the “god” in man. This is Plato’s teaching about ‘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.”

– H. P. Blavatsky,Psychic and Noetic Action

“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.”

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.” 

– H. P. Blavatsky,Psychic and Noetic Action

Harvard trained brain scientist, 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 experience:

The Psychic and Noetic

“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.

– H. P. Blavatsky, Psychic and Noetic Action

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This is Your Brain on God: The Lucid Zone

The Lucid Zone

WHEN acting through our physical human brain and body, the mind displays a simple yet complex duality—a pivotal tenet of Theosophical psychology.

The reason for the contrast is quite simple: we are not separate from the universe. The manifested physical (to us) universe is ruled by duality: day and night, sleeping and waking, hot and cold.

Such physicality, says The Secret Doctrine (1:15), is “necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity.”

“Apart from Cosmic Substance, Cosmic Ideation could not manifest as individual consciousness, since 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.

“Again, apart from Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance would remain an empty abstraction, and no emergence of consciousness could ensue and “the manifested universe is pervaded by duality, which is, as it were, the very essence of its ex-istence as ‘manifestation.'”

The every intense struggle between the dual channels of our mind is a challenge that few of us are able to successfully navigate and reconcile in one short lifetime. But help is on the way.

For centuries the solution had been taught by advanced masters of life such as Lao-tse, Patanjali, Krishna and Buddha. Each assured us that self-awakening is entirely possible—by a daily ‘now’ meditation, raja yoga practice, and, above all else, by altruistic service to family and humanity.

Clairvoyance

The struggle for control in meditation is caused by our split dual consciousness. The mind’s higher spiritual aspect gravitates toward altruism, says Theosophy, while the tides of its companion personal side is attached to outer forms, desires, survival and other material concerns.

The result is that all human minds are often blown by the winds of sense into the low lying eddies and currents of material thought. Like a balloon losing helium, we drift down from the god within us, and away from our kinship with the soul of things.

Broadly considered, what is called higher mind is really a fault of our god-soul, our intuitional power base — the manifestation all-knowingness in human beings.

True God vs Demigod

Our all-seeing self and personal self are caught in a Hamlet-like to-be-or-not-to-be, we are alternately pitted by the gut and brain consciousness, against the knowing heart consciousness. This sets up an confusing conflict between the true god and the demigod in us. Yet, “peace is just a thought away” according to brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor.

This struggle of selves is dramatized by neuroanatomist Bolte-Taylor in her New York Times bestseller “My Stroke of Insight.” As a brain researcher Dr. Taylor’s professional focus is both anatomical, the relationship between the brain’s left and right hemispheres, and intuitional. 

 

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Our Heart’s Field Effect: Spiritual, Psychic and Physical

The Heart Field

THE Cheyenne say that “our first teacher is our own heart,” but mainstream science offers few apples to that master teacher.

To our Western medical mainstream the heart is no more than a mechanical blood pumping device.

That view is beginning to change. The medical community is being challenged to expand its thinking holistically to incorporate human spirituality, biology, health, and wellness.

Leading-edge research in holistic medicine, biophysics, bioenergetics, and biocentrism all point in the same direction — showing that our bodies are more than physical molecules and chemicals.

Explaining why and how we are more, H. P. Blavatsky asserted in The Secret Doctrine (2:149) 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.”

H. P. Blavatsky

“Apart from Cosmic Substance, Cosmic Ideation could not manifest as individual consciousness,” Blavatsky wrote, “since 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 physical candle would never be confused for the light, nor for the flame which energizes it — but clearly, without the physical candle no light would happen!]

One candle lighting another.

“Again, apart from Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance would remain an empty abstraction, and no emergence of consciousness could ensue. The ‘Manifested Universe,’ therefore, is pervaded by duality, which is, as it were, the very essence of its ex-istence as ‘manifestation.'”

“The Hindus say that the Universe is Brahma and Brahma, for Brahma is in every atom of the universe, the six principles in Nature being all the outcome — the variously differentiated aspects — of the seventh and one, the only reality in the Universe whether Cosmical or micro-cosmical.”

Individual and Cosmic

“And also why the permutations (psychic, spiritual and physical), on the plane of manifestation and form, are viewed by metaphysical antiphrasis as illusive and Mayavic. For although the root of every atom individually and of every form collectively, is that seventh principle, or the one Reality, still, in its manifested phenomenal and temporary appearance, it is no better than an evanescent illusion of our senses.”

The Secret Doctrine 1:15-21

The Astral Body

A comparable concept to the occult teaching is explained by today’s frontier science in the ‘biofield’ concept – a human body-field that is described as a structured web of information and energy that underlies and informs our physical body, and rules our state of health and well-being.

“The astral body is made of matter of very fine texture as compared with the visible body, and has a great tensile strength, so that it changes but little during a lifetime, while the physical alters every moment.”

“And not only has it this immense strength, but at the same time possesses an elasticity permitting its extension to a considerable distance. It is flexible, plastic, extensible, and strong. The matter of which it is composed is electrical and magnetic in its essence.”

The surrounding astral matrix.

“The astral body has in it the real organs of the outer sense organs. In it are the sight, hearing, power to smell, and the sense of touch. It has a complete system of nerves and arteries of its own for the conveyance of the astral fluid which is to that body as our blood is to the physical. It is the real personal man.”

“There are located the subconscious perception and the latent memory, which the hypnotizers of the day are dealing with and being baffled by.

The astral body is the guiding model for the physical one, and all the other kingdoms have the same astral model.” 

“This term comes near to the real fact, since the substance of this form is derived from cosmic matter or star matter, roughly speaking. But the old Sanskrit word describes it exactly — Linga Sarira, the design body — because it is the design or model for the physical body.”

William Q. Judge, The Ocean of Theosophy, Ch. 5

Astral Projection

Mainstream Science is still myopic to the emerging cognitive evidence that consciousness may not be dependent solely on the physical brain.

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Opening the Spiritual Eye: Piercing the Illusion of Reality

Fortune Teller

STUDENTS of Theosophy are sometimes called to task by some for being overly metaphysical or ‘intellectual.’

It may be true that some students of Theosophy prefer to use the force of their intellect to hammer out meanings, and have a purely intellectual discussion.

That means not  consulting their feelings or emotions which are deemed lesser powers from the human ‘lower nature’ and therefore unreliable.

But W. Q. Judge was not of that opinion. He wrote in the Ocean of Theosophy that “intellect alone is cold, heartless and selfish.” The truth of this is shown today by studies of neurological correlates in the physical brain. Similarly, Mr. Judge, back in the day, insisted that if we can live “according to the dictates of the soul

the brain may at least be made porous to the soul’s recollections — if the contrary sort of a life is led, then more and more will clouds obscure that reminiscence.”

Materialistic  and intellectual data are stored in the lower mind and desire body, and such grosser data does not stimulate higher areas as the pineal gland in the brain. The mysterious ‘third eye’ whose vehicle is the pineal gland, is known by occultists to transmit spiritual powers including intuition and compassion.

Pituitary and Pineal Glands

Our Dual Nature

We are spiritual beings at our core, but our behaviors on this physical plane — just like the actions of rider and horse — are determined solely by how we have entrained our psychic and physical instruments.

“No physiologist, not even the cleverest,” Blavatsky wrote, “will ever be able to solve the mystery of the human mind, in its highest spiritual manifestation, or in its dual aspect of the psychic and the noëtic or the manasic, or even to comprehend the intricacies of the former on the purely material plane – unless he knows something of, and is prepared to admit the presence of this dual element.” 

– H. P. Blavatsky, Psychic and Noëtic Action

Horse and Rider

“There are persons,” H. P. Blavatsky writes, “who never think with the higher faculties of their minds at all.” (Studies in Occultism)

“This is why it is so very difficult for a materialist — the metaphysical portion of whose brain is almost atrophied — to raise himself,”

“Or for one who is naturally spiritually-minded to descend to the level of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought,” she says. “Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a great measure.”

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An Independent Race of Thinkers: How Microbes Defend and Define Us

Microbiology Lab

NEUROSCIENTISTS  have been busy for years attempting to establish and finalize the proposed “neuronal correlates of consciousness” originating in the brain.

Modern science seems determined to prove that consciousness, our thoughts and awareness, must somehow originate in the gray matter between our ears.

This mechanistic view was assumed as fact by the Human Genome Project, established to catalog the complete human DNA and identify specific cures for all diseases, yet has failed to do so.

It is held that genes carry information about how we look, how well our bodies metabolize food or fight infection, and can determine even how we behave.

It was thought, therefore, that researchers would easily be able to identify specific genes underlying specific diseases, and then all diseases could be eliminated by manipulating the related genes.

But it was discovered that the seemingly simple concept was much more complex than expected.

Ö

Just as the origin of consciousness cannot be tagged to specific neurons in the brain, genes are not easily pigeonholed to one disorder. It was found that they function in complex, and frequently changing teams.

Now science is edging nearer to Theosophy, looking closer at a long-neglected area called the microbiome — researching how hundreds of different species of living microbes, inhabiting the human body and outside, are responsible for our health and behaviors. They even discovered a second brain, in our gut, known as the enteric nervous system!

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Synesthesia: The Boy with the Incredible Brain

Daniel_Tammet_

Daniel Tammet

THERE is an incredible story of an out of the ordinary human being Daniel Tammet.  A thirty-something with extraordinary mental abilities!

Tammet is one of fewer than a hundred “prodigious savants” according to Dr. Darold Treffert, the world’s leading researcher in the study of savant syndrome. (See:Wikipedia)

He can do calculations to 100 decimal places in his head, and learn a language in a week. Tammet holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes on 14 March 2004.

Tammet has reportedly learned ten languages, including Romanian, Gaelic, Welsh, and Icelandic that he learned in a week for a TV documentary.

He also met with the world famous  “megasavant,” Kim Peek (November 11, 1951 – December 19, 2009), the man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar winning film “Rain Man”.

Below is the complete original 47 min. documentary which follows Daniel Tammet as he travels to America to meet the scientists who are convinced he may hold the key to unlocking similar abilities in others.

“The brain is only the focus through which the forces and thoughts are centralised that are continually coming in through the solar plexus of the heart. Many such thoughts, therefore, are lost, just as millions of seeds in nature are lost. It behooves to study them and to guard them when there…”

 – William Q. Judge
Letters That Have Helped Me II, Letter 8.

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Occult Science vs the Top 10 Dogmas of Modern Science

Photograph: Alamy

“THREE decades ago, few scientists were courageous enough to break ranks and question their own belief system,” Deepak Chopra writes.

“Even calling science a belief system sounded outrageous – religion is a matter of belief, science a matter of facts.”

What follows are excerpts from Deepak Chopra’s recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle SFGate – Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s top 10 list on Scientific Ideology – and H. P. Blavatsky’s “Ten Items” of natural law in Isis Unveiled (Vol. 2:588), called “the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy.”

“The most far-seeing scientist who was willing to break ranks then, as now, was Rupert Sheldrake, who risked his impeccable credentials as a Cambridge biochemist with real joy, like a man suddenly able to breathe.

“Thirty years after his first heretical books, Sheldrake’s new one, ‘Science Set Free’ is a landmark achievement. No science writing has inspired me more.”

“Sheldrake’s essential point is that science needs setting free from ten blind dogmas. These dogmas embrace a true belief system as much as Roman Catholicism or any other faith. Behind the daily activity of gathering data, science assumes certain things about reality that, according to Sheldrake, are unsupportable.

Science vs Religion

“The first dogma, for example, holds that the universe is mechanical,” he reasons. “If that is so, then everything in the universe is also mechanical, including human beings — or to use a phrase from the noted atheist Richard Dawkins, we are ‘lumbering robots.’

“From a scientist’s perspective, to understand everything that you need to know about human beings, you only have to tinker with all the mechanical parts of genes and the brain until there are no more secrets left.”

Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor

“The phenomena of divine consciousness have to be regarded as activities of our mind on another and a higher plane,” Mme. Blavatsky concurs, “working through something less substantial than the moving molecules of the brain.

“They cannot be explained as the simple resultant of the cerebral physiological processes, as indeed the latter only condition them or give them a final form for purposes of concrete manifestation.”

i Robot

“The seat of memory is assuredly neither here nor there, but everywhere throughout the human body. To locate its organ in the brain is to limit and dwarf the Universal Mind and its countless Rays which inform every rational mortal. As we write for Theosophists, first of all, we care little for the psychophobian prejudices of the Materialists who may read this and sniff contemptuously at the mention of ‘Universal Mind’ and the Higher noetic souls of men.”

(H. P. Blavatsky: Psychic and Noetic Action II)

The Non-Local Brain Field

No Place for The ‘I’

“Clearly such a view leaves no room for the soul,” Sheldrake agrees, “which becomes a wispy illusion that needs to be swept away. But then, so does the self, because there is no region of the brain that contains ‘I,’ a person.

“As long as ‘I’ is a hallucination formed by complex neural circuitry, one can throw out – or reduce to mechanical operations – love, beauty, truth, compassion, honor, devotion, faith, and so on, the whole apparatus that makes a person’s life feel valuable. A random universe has no purpose; therefore, giving lumbering robots a purpose is dubious.”

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