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Stress Chemistry and Whole Bodily Enlightenment (ADAPTED)
A talk by Da Free John
DA FREE JOHN: We live under stress, in a subhuman culture whose populace is completely confused even in the most elemental levels of existence. We are all involved in an animal-like struggle for survival, without much intelligence even at the level of the verbal mind. Such a circumstance tends to stimulate a chemical profusion in the body that enables it to function and survive under stress, but that chemical design does not allow the higher psychic and subtle centers of the body-mind to awaken. On the contrary, this stress chemistry triggers the degenerative processes of aging as well as all other forms of bodily degeneration, and this same stress chemistry is generally empty of the profound genetic signals that can trigger the higher evolutionary functions of Man.
Until we have created a human order that is fundamentally free of mutual threat, it will not be common for people to live in a truly awakened and peaceful state, not only of mind, but of body (or the total body-mind). The body-mind must receive the signals that the stressful world has been overcome, that we need not fear, that we presently have a peaceful human society, not a society full of bombs and benighted craziness. The evolutionary mechanism of the bodily being is programmed to awaken its next higher centers of function only when the chronic problems of its lower functional centers have been solved and when the being can live without chronically creating degenerative stress chemistry. You can perhaps make yourself more comfortable by becoming free of some of the anxiety of your ordinary daily life, but you cannot thus become so peaceful that the right hemisphere of the brain and the higher evolutionary mechanisms of the body-mind as a whole are stimulated. To enter into your higher human destiny, you must be altogether “cured” in your deep psychic heart.
Basically, the human race is yet functioning within the realm of the threatened existence of beings who are eaten by other beings. We stressfully and chronically continue to animate the urge to reproduce, because we feel that everybody is in danger of being eaten! We feel, bodily, that everyone is prey to someone else. In fact, we continually witness the drama of hunter and prey all over the world. Listen to the daily news! People are being killed all over the Earth every day-simply murdered in weird personal and social or political conflicts. Such a dreadful circumstance is a natural part of the unevolved and lower state of Man. Everybody asks, “Why are we doing this?” But no broad social and political agency has come up with any reason to stop doing it! We could just as easily change our circumstances. Why dont we just change them then? It is because the animal still lives in our hormones, you see. Our bodily chemistry is yet stimulating us to live like the vital-elemental creature. Thus, we must have conflicts and opponents. We must eat and be devoured ourselves.
Certainly, we would like the quality of our existence to be different. But people in general are not yet moving toward anything significantly different. Thus, the would-be human world is yet a lower-adapted, subhuman world. Perhaps some people are more highly evolved-people who can live an apparently moral, ecstatic, or spiritually devoted life but they are not common. Most people are fixed in their adaptation to living under stress, and they do not know enough to create human and spiritual sanctuary for themselves.
To create a human sanctuary for higher adaptation and the ultimate transcendence of Man is a true urge, even the primal human urge. We inherently desire a human and natural environment in which we can live without the chronic production of stress chemistry. We want to be cured at the heart of our mind and thereby transformed bodily. And we know, deeply, psychically, that we cannot realize that transformation until we can create a culture in which people can live without degenerative stress. Thus, sanctuary, or spiritual community, is the motive in Man that contains the genetic secret of the next stage in human evolution.
This consideration of chronic stress, or confinement to lower adaptation, is not simply a negative criticism of the way we tend to live; it is also, unfortunately, a description of the way most of us must live at the present time. We must be stressful, politically and socially, to protect the world and our own lives and families and communities from the profoundly chaotic madness of this subhuman global society. We are all struggling. We all have our eyes on what happens in the daily world, in the news. Thus, we cannot exist in anything like a blissful condition all the time-and, truly, except in the case of profoundly creative spiritual practice, we cannot enjoy the higher bliss of Man even some of the time.
“We are threatened!” is the message of the news. It reminds us of our chronic situation. The theatre of the news is all about people who are threatening one another, either with terrible violence or with just plain social nastiness, exploiting one another to death. We constantly reinforce loveless society in our associations with one another. We teach each other and we pass on to our children all the techniques for living as a stressful personality. We believe bodily, stressfully, that our life cannot, even should not, be long, that it is not good to be alive in the body, that we are only supposed to go elsewhere. We have all these ideas that are Life-negative in bodily terms, but the ultimate way of Enlightenment is to become Life-positive in bodily terms, which is just the reverse of what we are tending to do. Human beings are living way down at the bottom of their evolutionary potential. Nevertheless, if you can personally, and with a few others, grasp the higher realities of the mechanisms in which you live, then you can practice a Way of life that stimulates and develops those higher factors. You must have sanctuary, a relatively protected world, in which to do that, because, if you are going to rise above the civilization of the daily news, you must live in a way that is superior to the way that people in general tend to live.
How, then, will you come to that point of feeling totally without anxiety, without fear, without any of the ordinary mortal consciousness in the midst of your daily life? How will you transcend that fear so that you can truly develop the mystical and ultimate spiritual phenomena that I have described, and that are effects of the stimulation of the right side of the brain and the deep totality of the body-mind? You can have a taste of those phenomena through suspension of attention in the lower psycho-physical centers while you are still under stress. But you cannot generate such phenomena to the point that they become the principal forms of your consciousness until you overcome the lower evolutionary dimension of the body-mind, which is oriented to a life of physical distress and the struggle to survive bodily without higher consciousness. You cannot rest naturally in a higher realm of consciousness until you are able to manage the stresses of your daily life-including the stress of feeling that you are mortal, that perhaps when you die you are just plain dead. Until you enjoy a greater consciousness, you can never be certain about the matter of your death, you see.
When we first become involved in the possibility of spiritual life, we tend to want to “turn within,” because, physically, we are under stress. The first dimension of higher human realization is indeed mental, subtle, subjective, astral; it is realized to be “within” in a certain sense. But there is a higher or greater level of Realization, or true Enlightenment. Such is whole bodily Enlightenment, in which the mind is transcended and the body is realized to be simply Energy and Consciousness.
Can you feel that the body is only free energy right now? You can feel a tension, an urge to want to hold something in at your heart. But that is just your stress, you see, your reluctance to relax, your suppression of radiance, of love, of profuse happiness. Let that contraction go, and you will feel the whole body radiate. The body is energy. An aspect of it appears to be solid, but it is only a certain frequency of vibration. There exist many higher and many lower vibrations of the being. Beyond a certain point in this great spectrum of vibrations we lose the visibility of God, we lose track of the depth of Infinity, because our physical stress attunes us only to this limited vibration of apparent matter. But if we relax the stress, then we can feel that energy and the physical body are the same.
The question is, how do you learn to persist as energy all the time? You must develop the capacity to stimulate the blissful sensation that the right side of the brain feels in its conventional transcendence of the physical dimension of existence. Why should you not exist with such good feeling? Why should not that bliss be what human life is all about? You certainly should be in at least such a state, but you must learn how to adapt to it physically. The body must naturally produce the higher chemistry of blissful radiance.
The play of energy that appears in our daily world is a play on the threat of death. The ordinary games of energy force the body to retain a subhuman level of chemical awareness, the lower-adapting chemistry that is expressed in the left side of the brain. The right side of the brain remains, for the most part, negative, inert, not consciously active. Thus, until you learn how to transcend the stress of this world, you cannot seem to be blissful without using some artificial and degenerative means. Even yoga, mysticism, and all the rest of the methodology of esoteric self-effort are just as artificial to the body as drugs. They are simply ways of “tricking” or deliberately stimulating parts of the brain-mind. The only difference between taking a drug and performing yogic disciplines is that the blissful bodily and psychic state attained through yoga is realized through the native capacity of the body-mind itself. Thus, such bliss can eventually become natural and permanent, making all effort obsolete.
At present, however, you do not know how to function in the world and to be blissful at the same time. You are distracted from bliss by stressful attitudes and games of survival. Your creative being is asleep-not only mentally, but also physically. You can still feel yourself tightening up your chest and solar plexus, cant you? You have learned to live with that constriction. What do you think that constriction is doing? It is turning off the more subtle chemistry and turning on the gross chemistry that keeps you fastened in stressful survival games, such as chronic sex obsession. What do you think generates this intense sex drive? A hormonal signal in the body constantly urges you to reproduce, because human bodily life is so profoundly threatened. In other words, stress chemistry keeps us profoundly attached to self. That stress chemistry maintains the urge of the body to reproduce without fail, independent of our consciousness or intention, and that chemistry is being stimulated all the time.
Besides sex, there is also the stressful chemistry of digestion and the entire obsessive ritual of food-the threat that you will not get enough to eat, that you will not be fed, that you will not be permitted to breathe, that you will be snuffed out. There is the stress of all the games of worldly life-of money, food, and sex. This stressful, threatened consciousness is the frenzy in which you always tend to function. You cannot afford to be blissful. That is the truth of it. That is what this evolutionary trigger in the brain is revealing to you under stress. You may feel good for a moment now and then, but you have not learned how to adapt to the point of enjoying the highest level of feeling in the body-mind and at the same time functioning effectively and sanely in ordinary life. There are too many things that you must take into account in your daily life. You must be under stress. You must protect yourself. Survival is your impulse. That is the reason you feel depressed, and that is the reason you are struggling for life. And you will continue struggling until you have conquered the game of the world at this ordinary level of money, food, and sex.
Presently, most people can enjoy a relatively blissful condition of experience only in extreme circumstances, such as when under the influence of an intoxicating stimulant or some profound outward success. But if you were literally dying at this moment, you would become a mystic so fast it would amaze you.
The whole affair of birth and experience and death is primarily a matter of the evolutionary physiological transformation of the body. It is not principally an affair of the soul, or the inwardly conscious being, separate from the body. The soul is the body at this moment. When you lose this body, you will immediately attain another one of some kind. You always have a body, until you dissolve in God. The body, not the soul apart from the body, is the mechanism of evolution. The soul simply becomes more and more conscious and ecstatic via various kinds of embodiment. The soul is gradually transformed, eventually becoming Radiant to Infinity. The soul acquires all the faculties of God through ecstatic surrender, and it acquires a more and more Divine body. Such a Divine body is a body of Light, created from the transformation of the physical into Light, or Radiant Consciousness. That transformation is like an atomic explosion. It is not a matter of abandoning the physical, but of disintegrating the physical through the identification of the physical (or “matter”) with Energy and Consciousness. Such disintegration or dissolution of the body-mind in Transcendental Light and Consciousness is the secret of Enlightenment.
How are you going to become aligned to that ultimate process? In order to realize the degree of freedom from fear that it requires, you must conquer the little fear that is causing stress in your daily life. Like everyone else, you are afraid of death, and you are obsessed with food and sex and every kind of self-fulfillment. You are aligned only to the physical level of survival, so you do not have the bodily sensation and subtlety necessary for higher consciousness. You cannot become Divinely intoxicated, you cannot become Enlightened, until you can simply live a happy, ordinary, human life, free of these obsessions-the fear obsession, the food obsession, the sex obsession. Therefore, we must transcend our subhuman adaptation to food and sex as stressful mechanisms of survival. We must signal the body that it need not constantly gorge itself nor reproduce in thousands or in millions in order for the species to survive. The body must feel that it is alive with Divine Life itself, with basically no inherent problems, or obstructions to Life. That is why it is also important that we learn all about health and longevity. We must turn off the stress mechanisms that are threatened by death. We must overcome the fear of death.
We must discover all the ways whereby we can minimize and eliminate the stress factors in the bodys chemistry. Our spiritual task must be understood in just these physiological terms. You must understand that the processes involved in the ultimate affair of esoteric religion and spirituality are fundamentally a physiological, biological, and evolutionary matter. True religious life is not devoted to all the cosmological and mythological nonsense through which popular religion is communicated in the world in general. Religion is a psycho-physical matter, fundamentally.
Therefore, we must judge our religion in psycho-physiological terms, in factual terms, real, actual, living, human terms. That is how you tell the difference between true teachers or prophets or practitioners and mere believers. What is their quality of existence? What do they do? If you see people practicing some religious path and they look happy, and they are healthy, and they are sane, and they are also intelligent, and their experience is real and also extraordinary, then naturally they are attractive and there is value in listening to them and talking to them. They must be doing something appropriate at some level if they are in such a good state. But if you see a group of crazy fanatical people, who call themselves true believers but who have no clarity, no humanity, no love, no ability to inspect and transcend themselves, then you can know that, whatever they are doing, they are not practicing anything more profound than mechanically feeling their own insides or mumbling the usual belief in the Myth of Jesus. They are performing a very modest physiological trick with their religion, whereas we must associate with people who are performing extraordinary physiological tricks with their religion!
Anatomists can now identify many of the key physiological factors in this affair of converting the degenerative pattern of stress chemistry into the regenerative, transformative, blissful chemistry of spiritual ecstasy. For instance, the thymus gland, in the upper center of the chest, is directly related to the subtle or astral heart, or what has traditionally been called the “heart chakra.” The thymus gland is a primary key to the whole bodys response to stress. If the thymus is weak and contracted, we feel a physical contraction in the heart and the solar plexus, even throughout the entire body, and we are afraid. The depressed thymus gland secretes a chemical message that triggers all the rest of the glands of the body into a Life-negative, contractive pattern. It triggers the total body to react to stress, to attempt to survive, to reproduce endlessly, to struggle for food, to continue to kill, and to animate the distress of all the rest of our vital and elemental motives.
This stress mechanism in the heart equips us with negative, reactive emotions. Conventionally, therefore, we associate the heart with emotion. Heart-stress triggers the limbic system-the structures in the brain concerned with emotion and visceral responses-and the other mechanisms of the brain core that relate to stress. Then the body itself receives all the signals that call for stressful reactions. Thus, under stress, we are always ready with anger for self-defense and attack, lust for reproduction, and cravings of all kinds, and we are continually subject to sorrow and fear and guilt and shame.
Since all of this is so, the thymus gland must become the generative center of a new and Life-positive response to the conditions of existence. You must get your heart to function differently. You must awaken to the fourth or psychically awakened stage of life, wherein the heart or deep psyche is naturally free of the reactive patterns that cause the stress-signalling biochemical secretions of the thymus gland and all the other parts of the endocrine system. You must realize the disposition of the heart that is in its native state, free of the chronic tendency toward reactive emotions. Then you can live in the Life-positive emotion of love, or natural, whole bodily radiance. You accomplish or realize this transformation in the fourth stage of life, so that you can then enter into the fifth stage of life equipped with a higher chemical advantage that stimulates bodily blissfulness, interior or astral forms of perception, psychic capabilities, extrasensory perception, and the like.
We must create the conditions wherein to realize our potential and stop fretting, wasting our lives in stress. We are doing nothing but getting older. Even if we are staying essentially healthy, we are still just getting older. In other words, we are not evolving. But if we are ever to Realize the Ultimate Divine Enlightenment that is our true Destiny, then we must change our lives, evolve, and become capable of the Translation of the very body into the Light beyond all knowing.
Stress Chemistry and Whole Bodily Enlightenment (ADAPTED) – Read full talk.