Chapter 4: The Culture of Eternal Life
The Whole Bodily Synthesis of Evolutionary Love
The traditional “oriental” (or universal mystical) method of spiritual esotericism is to withdraw attention from the functions of the autonomic nervous system and fix attention in the central nervous system, via methods of prayer, internal concentration, or direct stimulation of the Life-Current in the nervous system (via manipulation of breath, feeling, and so forth). This particularly involves relaxation of the “outer ego,” or the expansive mental and physical activity that is generated via the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, the principal method is to place attention into the mechanisms of the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, and thereby force attention to ascend, via the sensory currents, to the brain.
This universal and “oriental” spiritual method produces monistic states of consciousness (free of the verbal mind and all subject-object entanglements with the “body,” or the dynamic physical and mental being), and, as the process progresses towards the monistic consciousness, it also produces conventional mystical knowledge about the interior or subjective dimensions of the body-mind of Man.
The fault in this traditional mystical process is that it tends to objectify the internal phenomena of mind and to attribute independent reality to subjective states. Thus, the “oriental” men of knowledge imagine they can escape the body of Man through inwardness, and they forget that Man is a psycho-physical being, and, therefore, that mental states are themselves only dependent reflections of physical states. Just so, the “oriental” world-view is essentially amoral, or nonmoral, since it is not founded in fundamental acceptance of the human relational and bodily condition, and the “oriental” Way thus tends to be ascetic, other-worldly, and static.
The traditional “occidental” method of ordinary living is based on natural acceptance of the body and the natural world as an irreducible situation of existence. The “occidental” tendency is anchored in the functional body-mind, or the “navel” (not floating out through the brain). It is individualistic (or naturally egoic) in its point of view, and thus it is verbal, or discursive and analytical, in its mentality and physically expansive or vitally active in its cultural and environmental adaptation.
This “occidental” method of ordinary living produces bodily and concrete mental activity of all kinds, ultimately directed toward positive practical changes in the physical dimension of the body-mind and the world of Man. And it also produces practical knowledge about the exterior or relational dimension of the body-mind of Man.
The fault in this conventional exercise is that it tends to absolutize the exclusive reality of non-subjective or “material” conditions. Thus, the “occidental” men of knowledge imagine they can conquer or master the realm of physical experience, and they forget that physical or “material” conditions are only dependent reflections or simultaneous companions of subtle forces of mind and energy. Just so, the “occidental” world view is always tending toward immorality, since it accepts the human relational and bodily condition, but it generally fails to submit that condition, via literal psycho-physical processes, to the higher or Living Transcendental Reality. Thus, the “occidental” Way tends to be self-indulgent, worldly, and hyperactive.
Neither the Occident nor the Orient is sufficient in and of itself. The central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system (and the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system in itself) depend on one another as do body and breath-and they are necessarily at play with one another, like man and woman.
Therefore, if we understand Man as a whole, we may understand the cultural disposition and necessary characteristics of the ultimate or right future of mankind. Occident and Orient, West and East, are not mutually exclusive opposites, like Evil and Good. Rather, they are a Couple, a Pair of Lovers, a Cycle, a Cooperative Process. The function of the two limbs of human motion (introverted and extroverted) is to produce a Play, a Dynamic Unity, a Total Culture of Man.
The central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system are two dimensions of one body . The mind and the gross physical body are one psycho-physical body, or body-mind . The experiences we may attain by exploitation of either half or any part of our psycho-physical being are not in themselves sufficient, true, or absolute. And Reality Itself is not rightly Realized by either point of view-East or West. Neither body nor mind is the best symbol for the Truth. Only the total body-mind is intimate with the Living Truth.
The East and the West, in their separate modes, are deluded by the kinds of knowledge-intuitive, rational, and sensual. The Eastern view is like a soul without a body, and the Western view is like a body without a soul. The Eastern view imagines the mind is disembodied and that inward experience is sufficient and real in itself. And the Western view imagines that “salvation” or ultimate evolution can come without inner and higher evolutionary practice.
The Truth is that which gives Life to body and mind. The Truth is Life Itself, which is not separable from the Play of the World-Process. The Truth is the Living God, with Whom the total body-mind must Commune, and toward which the body-mind must grow, through transcendence of every kind of knowledge (subjective and objective), and through surrender of the total self as love.
The higher evolutionary and transcendental Way of Man is not in itself a matter of objective knowledge about natural processes, nor is it in itself identical to internal, mystical, and self-saving knowledge about the internal being. Rather, it is a matter of total psycho-physical sacrifice of self, which is self-transcendence, or Ecstasy, in literal functional Communion with the Living Reality.
This consideration has implications for the esoteric spiritual process itself, which I have described in The Enlightenment of the Whole Body . Thus, the radical spiritual and higher cultural Way of Man is that of neither East nor West, but it is a matter of the Whole. It is a matter of submission of the total body-mind into the evolutionary Cycle that is native to the nervous system as a whole. There must be the gesture of absorption in the disposition of the central nervous system (in the “oriental” manner) but this must alternate or coincide with the Radiation of Life in the autonomic nervous system, and the truly moral discipline or practice of personal, relational, truly emotional, sensuous (or bodily), and cultural adaptation.
And Man is ultimately suited only to the intimate culture of concrete and cooperative community, not isolation or the illusion of relationless independence. If human beings are bereft of community, they grow wild, and they do not tend to grow high and true, but in a self-divided manner. Therefore, our independence must be a matter of natural privacy and responsibility within a true and higher human community. And only the cultural solidarity of true community makes it possible for mankind also to create a representative State that serves mankind and does not Parent or enslave mankind.
We contain and create our own negative forces. The world is overrun with us. Therefore, the prophetic demand of this time is for a new reformation, a new understanding, and a new discipline. But the method whereby all of this will be achieved is self-understanding and love.
The brain and the navel contain the two principles at play in the body-mind and in the world of Man. But these two principles must be directed into a dynamic Cycle, a Circle around the heart, for it is from the feeling heart of Man that the Transcendental Divine Radiance Shines into the higher and lower parts of Man and even the world of Man.
Scientific Proof – Table of Contents