Tag Archives: brain

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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The Non-Local Mind: Your Brain on God

The Lucid Zone

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

The reason for the contrast is quite simple: the entire manifested universe is pervaded by duality. We are mere copies. “As above, so below,” is the old Hermetic axiom.

“Everything in the Universe follows analogy. ‘As above, so below’; Man is the microcosm of the Universe. That which takes place on the spiritual plane repeats itself on the Cosmic plane. Concretion follows the lines of abstraction; corresponding to the highest must be the lowest; the material to the spiritual.” (The Secret Doctrine I:177)

“Parabrahm (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness,” but when manifested as a material universe “duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object.

(The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 15)

“As Above, So Below”

“Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.”

Not being separate from the universe, we experience the manifested physical (to us) universe as ruled by the contrasts of day and night, sleeping and waking, hot and cold, evil and good. This construct, says Theffffff Secret Doctrine 1:15, is “necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity.”

Sun Rays

“’Universal Mind,’ must not be regarded as even vaguely shadowing forth an intellectual process akin to that exhibited by man. The ‘Unconscious,’ according to von Hartmann, arrived at the vast creative, or rather Evolutionary Plan, ‘by a clairvoyant wisdom superior to all consciousness,’ which in the Vedantic language would mean absolute Wisdom.

Only those who realise how far Intuition soars above the tardy processes of ratiocinative thought can form the faintest conception of that absolute Wisdom which transcends the ideas of Time and Space.

(The Secret Doctrine 1:2) 

Cosmic Substance

“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. The solution has been taught by advanced masters of life such as Lao-tse, Patanjali, Krishna and Buddha. Each assured us that self-awakening is entirely possible — but a daily meditation, raja yoga practice, and above all else, altruistic service to family and humanity is required.

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 feature of our god-soul, our intuitional base: the manifestation all-knowingness in human beings.

Hamlet’s Soliloquy

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.

Or as H. P. Blavatsky puts it (The Secret Doctrine 1:638):

“The closer the approach to one’s Prototype, ‘in Heaven,’ the better for the mortal whose personality was chosen, by his own personal deity (the seventh principle), as its terrestrial abode.”

For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with that ‘Self-god,’ one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that supersedes the first.

Taking his clue from Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, William Q. Judge wrote about this internecine war in his article: “The Self is the friend of SELF and also its enemy.”

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 and intuitional, the relationship between the brain’s left and right hemispheres. (See Video below)

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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

Waking Our Inner God, the Divine Imprisoned Spirit

Jennifer Stuczynski and Pole

HAVING the right tools for a job is essential, just ask any electrician, plumber or carpenter.

Equally important, is that the tools being used are dependable and in good working condition.

Just ask any parachutist, race car driver, mountain climber, or a pole vaulter.

On the spiritual level, the purity or impurity of our bodily instrument and senses determine, for better or worse, our soul’s ability to express its unique genius.

Krishna explains this very simply to his disciple, the soul warrior Arjuna, in the 2nd Chapter of The Bhagavad-Gita saying: “he who hath his senses and organs in control possesses spiritual knowledge.”

Likewise, the quality and adequacy of “the brain and body to transmit and give expression,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in her article Genius, “is the result of Karma.” And offered an analogy:

… the physical is the musical instrument, and the Ego, the performing artist.

No skill of the soul she wrote, “can awaken faultless harmony out of a broken or badly made instrument.”  The physical “may be a priceless Stradivarius or a cheap and cracked fiddle.”

Zoe Bloomfield with her cracked $7000 violin. Photo: Nick Moir

But sometimes physical limitations can be successfully overridden. The genius of Paganini, for instance, even burdened by a “cracked fiddle,” would still produce more perfect music from a damaged instrument than could a lesser musician.

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Floating Reminiscences: Amazing Discoveries in Mysterious Dreams

Floating in Dream

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often the best time to kick off our shoes and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, researchers have discovered that sleeping or napping on them often lead to a right direction or decision.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children:

“Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults, the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain brook, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of the poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected emotions and reminiscences.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives, the realization he had lived before.

§

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar.

§

There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

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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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Kangaroo Care and The Healing Heart

Kangaroo Care

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 the horse guided by the rider — 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 wrote. “Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a great measure.”

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