And God said,
"Let us make man in our image,
After our likeness."
It is a wonder-filled experience to deliver a baby. At first there is a limp, seemingly lifeless form. Then, with the first breath, comes animation! What happens in that moment? What is the nature of this sudden change? From where did this life energy come? Our human minds are quite incapable of comprehending the source of life or life as a whole. Of necessity we look at its various dimensions from different perspectives, depending very much upon our background and training.
According to Albert Einstein, every energy system in the universe is a localized condensation of energy of specific form, linked to every other by the psi factor in a unified field.
Even a human being is made up of an extremely complex series of interrelating energies. This is indeed an energy universe. As we establish a living, daily relationship with it, it becomes a constant source for renewing our own energies.
It has been estimated that there are approximately five octillion atoms in the human body and approximately a quadrillion cells. These figures boggle the imagination. To make them a little more comprehensible, imagine each atom to be the size of a pea. Five octillion peas would stand four feet deep over the entire face of the earth, and over 1,250,000 other planets of equal size.1 A calculation shows that if the cells in one body also were the size of peas, they would fill all the buildings in the city of Philadelphia from cellar to roof.
There are certain things we must take on faith if we truly want to progress along the path of life. The most important of these things cannot be written; they can only be experienced. I know that a perfect sunset drives deeply into my soul, but anything I might say about it cannot possibly convey completely to anyone what I feel.
I have never composed a piece of music in my life, but my life is richer for my exposure to the inspiration of such musicians as Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. I know I have gathered a certain strength after listening and entering into the musical experience of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor or Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Many psychiatrists are of the opinion that they must be quite uninvolved with the consciousness of their patient. The effectiveness of this approach is open to question.
A retired musician came into my office quite irate that on the top of the medical history questionnaire, he had been asked to specify his religious faith. He informed my secretary that it was none of my business, that his chief complaint was insomnia-and what did that have to do with religion? He told me that as soon as his head hit the pillow at night he would be wide awake.
It seemed very possible to me that, unconsciously, he identified sleep with death. Now retired, and with no real outlets, he was frightened. I asked him if, in his career as a violinist, he had any favorite composers.
"Most assuredly," he said. "Mozart and Brahms have a special meaning to me."
"Isn't that something of a religion to you?" I asked.
"Oh, yes," was the reply.
With this as an opening we had meaningful discussions about ways to get back into his creative life. He clearly had great need to reestablish his roots in the universe, and it is doubtful that the prescription of a sleeping pill would have done the same thing for him.
When we limit ourselves to the outer shell of life and its processes, we miss the very center where these processes originate. There is much evidence that science now is attempting to penetrate these depths, and let us hope that medicine will follow.
Man is a product of the evolutionary process. It is an interesting fact that the growth of every embryo mirrors each stage of the evolutionary development of man.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the great Jesuit priest-paleontologist, posits the presence of two distinctive types of energy involved in the process of evolution.
We shall assume that, essentially, all energy is physical in nature but add that in each particular element this fundamental energy is divided into two distinct components: a tangential energy which links the element with all others of the same order (that is to say of the same complexity and the same centricity) as itself in the universe; and a radial energy which draws it towards ever-greater complexity and centricity-in other words forwards.
Radial energies relate to consciousness and very possibly, in the subtler forms, they may well relate to the various levels of "love energy." The late Harvard sociologist Pitrim Sorokin referred to this powerful energy in the following way:
Everywhere in the organic, inorganic, and psychosocial worlds the integrating and uniting role of love functions incessantly. Untiringly, it counteracts the dividing and separating forces of chaos and strife. Without the operation of love energy, the physical, the biological, and sociocultural cosmos would have fallen.. apart. No harmony, unity or order would have been possible. Universal disorder and enmity would have reigned supreme. As a creative energy, love unites what is separated, elevates what is base, purifies what is impure, ennobles what is ignoble, creates harmony in the world of enmity and peace in war. Love raises man as a biological organism to the level of divinity.3
Through the centuries the great philosophers, seers, prophets, and poets have caught glimpses of this man who is created in the divine image. Before Christ, Pythagoras was conscious of the harmony of the universe and described its inherent music. The seventeenth-century poet John Dryden writes, "From harmony, from heavenly harmony this universal form began...."4
Several years ago I stood in front of Tintoretto's Madonna amazed at the master's understanding of the inner light that shines out of the human soul. Tintoretto must have been conscious of Mary's supporting light and perceived the heavenly host that accompanied her.
The Light was again present about the Christ in Tintoretto's Deposition.6 This "light" was not the stylized aura of an earlier period of painting, but a scintillating light, portraying a power and strength that supported and surrounded the figures as only he could have observed it. This seems to me to be the actual "force field" that supports the human body.
Neurologist Shafica Karagulla has made a study of energy fields as observed by "sensitives" and comes to the conclusion that there are three or more such fields. When observed, they reveal different color patterns depending on the individual's consciousness and state of physical, emotional, and mental health. She says,
Many of the more intelligent and integrated sensitives with whom I have worked describe interpenetrating fields of energy around the human being. One of these is the vital field or energy body closely related to the physical. Much of my experimental work so far has dealt with this field in its relationship to physical conditions. The emotional field, extending a foot to eighteen inches beyond the body, and the mental field, extending an average of two feet or more beyond the periphery of the body, are a part of the unified field surrounding the human body.7
Dr. Kargulla goes on to describe the nature and characteristics of these auras, showing that their intensity and color vary with the intensity and nature of the emotions and thoughts as well as with the general state of physical health. Enthusiasm brightens and intensifies the aural color, while depression shows up as a muddy color.
I have never personally experienced these colors or auras, yet I have met many who have and would not wish to deny their experiences. My understanding of life processes is more complete because I have shared with others-and thus have made more valid for myself-certain related phenomena that I have come upon in the course of my studies.
The Aim of Yoga
The body is the reflecting mirror of the whole cosmic process. This fact has long been known in India, where meditation has been an essential part of life through the centuries. Much benefit can be derived from a sharing of insights derived from the Western study of endocrinology and the science of yoga, since the aim of both is integration of the individual. The former approaches integration from the physical and emotional perspective; the latter from the spiritual perspective.
Yoga has been defined as the mystic reunion of man's spirit with the one Eternal Soul of the universe. The yogi is the practitioner of yoga. There are many diverse systems of yoga. The form most commonly practiced in the United States is hatha yoga, which concentrates on attuning the body through physical postures and breathing. Raja yoga the yoga of right action; jnana yoga takes the intellectual pathway. And bhakti yoga moves to God through love and devotion.
The aim of all forms of yoga is to make man the master of his body rather than its servant and to arouse recognition of his true spiritual nature. Its study is very demanding and necessitates great discipline and the guidance of an experienced guru (teacher). The disciplines include such practices as the following: the avoidance of all stimulants, a largely vegetarian diet, moderation of sex life, expecting much from oneself but little from others, truthfulness, noninjury to others, and simplicity of living on a small and often shared income.
The various systems of yoga are staged to unfold step by step the basic sources of man's energy-physical, mental, and spiritual.
Today the great majority of people are quite unaware of their potentials and live life in a rather routine and unimaginative way. The student of yoga sees himself in relationship to great reservoirs of energy that are all about him. If he is to avail himself of these energies, he must tune his body instrument. This means developing the control of certain energy valves, referred to as chakras (see figure). Seven of these are of major importance, and it is to these alone we refer. These vortices of energy selectively suck in cosmic energy and relate it directly to one of the endocrine glands. These latter, which are guardians of health, exert a strong regulatory control, through hormones and the involuntary nervous system, on the body organs.
There is a latent source of power, figuratively pictured as a
coiled serpent, located at the base of the spine, which is referred to as the kundalini. When the kundalini is fully awakened, the power ascends and activates, one after another, the chakras and thus brings about progressive enlightenment.
If the centers are opened before the student is prepared, the energy release may be so great as to cause a psychotic break with reality. Through the practice of yoga the sleeping serpent is aroused and starts the ascent toward the thorax and brain as visualized in the caduceus.8
The serpents in this symbol are seen to cross at five points, which are the five chakras of the abdomen and the chest. In their center is the spine and at the upper end are a pair of wings, symbolizing the ascent of the forces: the male (positive) referred to as Pingala, and the female (negative) termed Ida. In yoga these forces are aroused by breathing through the left and right nostril with a deep concentration on the power of the inflowing breath.
Speaking in the terminology of psychosynthesis, the arousing of the lower centers is the personal synthesis that must precede the spiritual synthesis. This is accomplished through self-discovery, through recognizing our ego and accepting ourselves just as we are. Having recognized our sensual life and given it expression, there follows a period of raising the consciousness through character-building, clean living, and controlled emotional life so that we become masters of our emotions rather than servants. The solar plexus, with its close connection to the adrenals, is the master center in this area of building and purification as it is a center of strength. The adrenal hormones are our primary source of body defense.
As this stage of life nears completion, personal desires are raised to the heart chakra in the chest area, and, through sublimation, they are transmuted into a higher form of love energy directed away from personal concerns and toward humanity in general. Meditation then becomes a vital part of everyday life, and one's life takes on an organized purpose. Through further meditation, the forces rise eventually to the highest head center of the pituitary and pineals. At this point one no longer lives for himself but finds his life is live through grace. Saint Paul describes this state as:
I (the ego) am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me....9
N.L. relates the story of her own kundalini experience: