Tag Archives: consciousness

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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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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Love is Divine Magic: the Heart Rules

Mother and Child

LOVE in its most unselfish form was described by H. P. Blavatsky as the “absence of every ill-feeling, selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings.”

The alchemy of such enlightened ethics unleashes the power of an un-stoppable universal force.

“The powers and forces of spirit,” Blavatsky declared in her article Practical Occultism, “lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart — and this is DIVINE MAGIC.”

Kamadeva, a Sanskrit word, is defined in The Theosophical Glossary as “the first conscious, all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and the first feeling of infinite compassion and mercy for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness. Only later did kama become the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.”

“Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind,” (Secret Doctrine 2:176) — “and which sages, searching with their intellect, discovered to be the bond which connects Entity with Non-Entity.” 

That power arose,” Blavatsky said, “in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute.” It was also she who, in the article Love with an Object, fervently declared:

Love can exist without form, but no form can exist without Love.

Reincarnation

Devotion arose out of a feeling she wrote, “and became the first and foremost motor in man’s nature — for it is the only one which is natural in our heart, which is innate in us.”

In her first Letter to a Theosophical Convention in 1888, she wrote: “He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of goodwill, and the converse of this is true also — he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy.”

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All One Being: The Conscious Earth

Greek Goddess Demeter

The Greek Goddess Demeter

MOLECULAR biologist Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria “talk” to each other, and is studying how they communicate with one another (How bacteria “talk”).

But there is nothing new in this “scientific revelation” for Theosophy to learn.

“The organs and the whole body of man are composed of cells,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in Kosmic Mind, “and these cells are now being recognised as individual organisms and – quien sabe – will come perhaps to be recognized someday

as an independent race of thinkers inhabiting the globe, called man! It really looks like it.

The Summing Up section (The Secret Doctrine 1:269) had this fundamental covered declaring that “everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious, is endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.”

Stones, minerals, rocks, and even chemical ‘atoms’ are simply organic units in profound lethargy.

The Secret Doctrine also summarizes an underlying principle declaring how: “foremost of all, [is] the postulate that there is no such thing in Nature as inorganic substances or bodies.”

“We men must remember,” H. P. Blavatsky said plainly challenging modern materialistic science, “that because we do not perceive any signs — which we can recognize of consciousness, say, in stones — we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there.” (The Secret Doctrine 1:274 No.5).

The human soul “acquires individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). 

[The Secret Doctrine Vol. 1, Page  17]

healing_stones

Healing Stones

“There is no such thing as either ‘dead’ or ‘blind’ matter — these find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy,” she wrote. “The latter never stops at surface appearances, and for it, the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts.”

“There exists a body of research poised to rend apart our modern paradigms — revealing consciousness in places we might not have expected it, and connections between life forms that seem startling and impossible.” So wrote Ben Bendig in an interview with Cleve Backster, of “The Secret Life of Plants” fame, (July 22, 2013, The Epoch Times), echoing H. P. Blavatsky’s Fundamental axiom universal mind. 

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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