Monday, August 14, 2006

Where is the self? Rosicrucian Wisdom.

The duality of man is perhaps the oldest of mystical doctrines. Nearly every system of metaphysics, philosophy, and religion - even some of the most primitive - recognizes it. From that point on, however, there begins a divergence of thought.

Some religions and schools of thought do no more than recognize it. Others attempt an explanation of the interaction or relationship between the two, and a very few, go to the extent not only of conceiving the existence of an inner self, but of explaining how to apply its attributes, which they contend are the reason for its existence in man. It is far more difficult, but also far more beneficial, to learn to utilize the inner self than to find proof of its existence. We aren’t the first to be talking and arguing about what the self consists of.

“The question is often asked: Where is the self? does it reside in the head, or in the heart, or perhaps in the liver? Is it an aural halo pervading and surrounding the body, or is it a single microscopic cell far hidden in the interior, or is it an invisible atom? Here apparently is the answer. It animates every cell. It pervades the whole body, and seeks expression in every part of it. Some cells, as we have said before, are differentiated so as to express especially this faculty, others to express especially that; but the human soul or self stands behind them all. Look at a baby's face, and its growing sparkling expression - an individual being coming newly into the world, obviously seeking, feeling, tentatively finding its way forward - every morning a thinnest veil falling from its features! Playing through the whole body, is an intelligence, seeking expression”.

MANY NAMES FOR Now, we take up the first point bearing
INNER CONSCIOUSNESS on the part of man that has been given
different names in various philosophies. By using all the terms known to us, each may select the term which means the most to him. Reference is made to that inner consciousness that is called by some the Astral Body, the Psychic Body, the Soul Consciousness, or the God Within. Each term is very expressive and has a direct bearing upon the condition within the human body which we are to study. Perhaps the most fitting term is Pschic Body. If you have not adopted any term for it, this is the best one; however, if it helps you to think of this condition as the Astral Body or the Soul Consciousness, use that term in preference to all others. We are mostly concerned with the nature of the condition and its place in the work we wish to do.

It has been impressed the idea that there is in each of us, unexpressed to its fullest degree, a consciousness which is called the Master Within. We were also told that this Master Within has certain functions such as seeing, hearing, feeling, and so on, which are unexpressed to some degree, and that this Master also has a personality. In our early lessons we studied the Master Within from purely psychologi­cal viewpoints--the mental attributes, the personality; now we are about to study the body.

It must have been perfectly plain to us that in speaking of the Master Within and its seeing, hearing, feeling, and the like, we were not speaking of physical eyes, physical ears, or any physi­cal or material faculties and attributes; for the Master Within is not a material being like the physical self--the outer self which we know so well from the materialistic viewpoint..

We studied the brain and mind of man's being; we became familiar with the objective facul­ties and their possibilities and limitations. We also learned of the existence of a subconscious mind--a mind which functions on a different plane or in a different manner from the objective mind with its physical organ, the brain. Then, we analyzed man's physical body and its organs, the nervous system, and the relation of the physical energy in man to life itself. We learned through our lessons and from the charts in the Manual how man digests food, how food is made into blood, how blood makes nerve energy, and so on. All this, as was explained to us, was for the purpose of making us thoroughly ac­quainted with the physical or material man.

Now we come to the inner man. Should we know less of this inner man than we know of our outer man? If we have come to know so much about the physical body, we should know as much, if not more, of the psychic body.

We are through with the physical man, the material body; the remainder of our work in these higher Degrees is the study of the psychic body, the inner man, the Master Within.

Let us look at the psychic or inner man, broadly. Let us try to visualize that inner being. Man is dual, body and soul; the soul is closely related to the subconscious mind and the Vital Life Force. The psychic man has, therefore, to do with the soul, the subconscious mind, the life force, and the other psychic attributes or qualities of man. A Lower Degree revealed to us, in the mass of material facts, the one paramount fact that there is a connec­tion of some kind between the material body and the psychic body. Through the teachings of another Degree we learned that there is some very wonderful cord or silver thread which links the physical organism of man to the psychic organism so that the two, the inner man and the outer man, may work cooperatively. The cord may be in the connection existing between the two minds--objective and sub­conscious; it may be in that condition between the two minds which we call borderline, or it may be otherwise. We shall soon dis­cover the true relation, however.

The first great fact that stands out above all others is that the PSYCHIC BODY WITHIN US HAS ITS ORGANIZATION, or its organism, just as has the material body of man. This makes us realize the necessity of studying the inner man as much as the outer man. We shall learn that when the psychic body is separated from the phys­ical body--as in projection--there always remains a connection that is severed only when complete transition, or so-called death, occurs. Therefore, let us proceed to find and study this connec­tion.

If we consider the spinal nervous system in man as the medium for the objective mind of the physical body to carry out the com­mands of the brain, we shall have to consider the autonomic nerv­ous system as the medium for the subconscious mind, or the psychic mind, to carry out the commands in the psychic body. In other words, in the material body we have the objective
mind, or the brain. In the psychic body there is the sub­conscious mind. In the material body the spinal nervous system works for the brain.

In the psychic body the autonomic nervous system works for the subconscious or Cosmic Mind. In the material body the spinal nervous system goes to the organs, tissues, flesh, and the blood. In the psychic body the autonomic nervous system likewise touches the organs, tissues, flesh, and the blood. The spinal nervous system carries material energy to the organs, tissues, and blood, while the autonomic nervous system carries psychic energy. Yet these two systems are related: They touch each other, make important connections, and there is communi­cation between them. In the illustration (an enlargement of Chart 4 of the Rosicrucian Manual) B is the spinal cord; C is a vertebra of the spinal column; D the connecting rami; and A the ganglionated chain of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.

At every vertebra of the spine the sympa­thetic ganglia are in contact with the spinal nervous system by means of short rami. These rami, then, establish that slender, delicate, and important connection between the material man and the material organism, and the psy­chic man and the psychic organism. In other words, the relation between the objective mind or brain and the subconscious mind is maintained through these delicate rami. This connection is slender and is of a nature and condition to permit the wonderful psychic and occult manifestations which we seek in the Cosmic and occult planes. Just as the spinal nervous system transmits a material nervous energy to the body so the autonomic nervous system transmits to the body a psychic energy. This means that all organs in the body, as well as all the flesh, soft tissues, bones, and blood are infused with a psychic condition or with psychic energy.

Therefore, it is true, as the old mystics claimed, that there can be psychic as well as material conditions in the various organs of the body or, in other words, that in all organs of the body there can be psychic disease, psychic disorder, psychic abnormal­ity, as well as physical disease, physical disorder, physical abnormality. Consequently, man is completely normal, completely well, only when he is both physically and psychically normal, or when there is a combination of perfect conditions which we, in Rosicrucian terms, call HARMONIUM.

This makes plain, also, the great principles of astrological or planetary influences. The mystics claimed that they had observed and detected the influence of the planets upon the human body and that many of the abnormal or unnatural con­ditions were due to the influence of the planets.

This was believed until man began to study himself merely as a material being and ignored the inner man. From a purely materialistic viewpoint it would be difficult to see how the planets could affect the heart, lungs, bowels, kidneys, nervous system, blood, and so on. But from the viewpoint that there is also a psychic or inner man closely related to the Cosmic, it is understandable how the subtle influences of the planets, affecting the cosmic vibrations, would affect the psychic conditions or the organs and nervous system of man. Even now, scientific research is considering the gravitational influence upon the human organism and its systems.
But more important than this realization is the other--that man's psychic body can function and manifest independently. Man's psychic body can even be separated from the physical body, as far as its entity is concerned, and yet maintain that relationship of mental and nervous association with the physical, unaffected by distance.

We are approaching the subject of projections, where the psy­chic body and mind of man reach out into space independent of the physical body. In our next lesson we will take the first steps in this work through some simple experiments, but before that we must have some understanding of what projection is.

Consider, therefore, the principles involved in the moving pictures projected upon a screen. Before our eyes may be shown--in natural colors, with all the motion of nature, even the atmospheric effects--first, a scene from China, then one from America, in a few seconds another from Australia, and then another from England. Those views may be antipodean--from the very antipodes of the Earth. While concentrating upon them we are mentally carried to the place where the pictures were taken. We enter into the envi­ronment, the atmosphere, the gaiety or gloominess of the scene we are viewing, and lose consciousness of where we are--simply in a darkened room somewhere.

Now while we are in that condition where worldly and material consciousness of our objective presence is lost, feeling for the time being that WE ARE WHERE THE VIEW IS, tell me, is your mind projected to the place, or is the picture projected to you, as far as your mental realization is concerned? To make it clearer: In a dream, you may see a high mountain in a far-off country, climb that mountain, perspire in the hot sun, sit down to rest, drink some cool water from a spring nearby, and then after a long period of travel, return home. Tell me if in such a dream you mentally or psychically projected the mind and psychic body to the mountain, or were the mountain, the Sun, and the spring water projected to you? Spend the remainder of the evening considering these two hypotheti­cal questions and others which may be related to them, and
you will be ready for the Rosicrucian explanation in a future lesson.


Summary of This Lesson

Below is a summary of the important principles of this monograph. It contains the essential statements which you should not forget. After you have carefully read the complete monograph, try to recall as many as you can of the important points you read. Then read this summary and see if you have forgotten any. Also refer to this summary during the ensuing week to refresh your memory.
¶ The psychic man has to do with the soul, subconscious mind, the life force and psychic attributes or qualities of man.

¶ The psychic body has its organization, or its organism, just as has the material body of man.

¶ The autonomic nervous system is the medium for the subconscious mind or the psychic mind to carry out the commands in the psychic body.

¶ The relation between the objective mind or brain and the subconscious mind is maintained through the delicate nerve fibres or rami.

¶ Consequently, every physical part of man can be affected by psychic or cosmic influences.

Man's psychic body and the mind can reach out into space, independent of the physical body.
The Weekly Application
Whatsoever thou resoluest to do, do it quickly. Defer not till the evening what the morning may accomplish.-UNTO THEE I GRANT

Psychic projection is mainly concerned with consciousness, so we will augment the contents of the monograph by considering consciousness separately and briefly.
Epicurus, ancient philosopher, once said: "Where we are, death is not yet; and where death comes, there we are not." He meant by this that when we have self-awareness, we know that we are not dead, and when we are dead, we do not have self-awareness, so we cannot realize that we are dead and consequently should not fear death. The importance of his saying is not concerned with death, but with the fact that where our consciousness dwells, there we are.
The thing or place that you perceive and realize for the moment, is all that actually exists to you, and it is where you are. For example, if you can concentrate perfectly enough to recall every detail of a childhood home, several thousands of miles distant, until you again feel the warm rays of the sun, see the lazily floating clouds overhead, smell the sweet grasses and wild flowers, hear lowing cattle in the fields, and see the white porch with the honeysuckle vine entwined about its posts, and perceive your old dog dozing on the steps and twitching his ears to rid himself of persistent flies, you will in mind be there again, will you not? If you were physically carried back to that home as described above, could your sensations and perceptions be any more real? In other words, if you can have the sensations of a thing or place equally as well without the body being brought in contact with it, then you realize that as far as your self is concerned, you are wherever your consciousness is.

Let us look at it this way. Suppose you were physically taken back to this cherished childhood home, but, unfortunately, while there you were devoid of your objective consciousness. The trip would be of no avail so far as your experiences of your surroundings were concerned, for the attribute that gives you awareness of yourself and your surroundings, in other words, consciousness, was absent. So you see, it is not bodily contact with the world that gives us an appreciation of things and places, but consciousness.

A person who has an excellent retentive memory and a good imagination can really have a greater awareness in mind, that is, a clearer mental picture of a place or thing than some person who actually perceives it. Some writers have more vividly portrayed, in articles, scenes of foreign countries which they have actually never visited, than tourists who have visited them and whose powers of observation and perception were not very highly developed. Such writers, because of their highly developed faculty of consciousness, were really more in those foreign lands as far as their mental picture of them was concerned, than the casual tourist who actually rode or walked about in the lands. Remember, consciousness is composed of sensations. We are conscious of something because its vibratory impulses produce sensations and feelings within us. It is only by these sensations that we know of things. Therefore, for example, there is no distinction between the sensations produced by actually seeing and hearing a thing and an image perfectly reconstructed from memory or by the process of imagination. In either case, whether in imagination or by actual perception, you experience the thing or place, it has existence TO YOU.

During the ensuing week, mentally practice drawing yourself into old surroundings, places where you have been or lived, until as far as feeling is concerned, you are actually there. Get accustomed to disassociating your body from the ideas of consciousness - that is, come to realize that your conception of environment is as you think it and are conscious of it, regardless of whether your body is physically in the environment or not. This is an important psychological exercise in preparation for the mystical practices of projection.

NOTE: The above is just a small sample of a weekly AMORC lesson.

Marked Elect

No comments: