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THE CHAKRAS & ESOTERIC HEALING
By Zachary F. Lansdowne
Samuel Weiser, Inc.Copyright © 1986 Zachary F. Lansdowne
All rights reserved.
A fundamental teaching of theosophy is that the solar system is sevenfold in its constitution. Whereas only the physical world can be perceived with the ordinary senses, it is said that there are also six higher worlds, of progressively subtler matter, that interpenetrate the physical. These worlds, called planes, have been given definite names. It is also said that a person has a "vehicle of consciousness" or a "body" on all of the planes. This chapter will introduce briefly certain terms and relationships regarding a person's inner constitution as understood by various theosophical writers, with the purpose of providing the background material needed for later chapters on chakras, consciousness, and healing.
Figure 1 on page 2 illustrates the human constitution according to theosophy. This diagram gives the following names for the seven planes in the solar system: physical, emotional, mental, buddhic, atmic, monadic, and adi; the physical plane is the lowest, and the adi is the highest. Although other terms are sometimes used to designate the seven planes, the foregoing are the names that will be employed in this presentation.
Figure 1 also indicates that each plane is further divided into seven subplanes. For example, the physical is the seventh or lowest plane, and it consists of the following subplanes:
1. First ether
2. Second ether
3. Third ether
4. Fourth ether
The three lowest subplanes—gaseous, liquid, and solid—compose the dense world of matter and are perceptible with the five physical senses. The four highest subplanes represent the etheric region. Although imperceptible with normal faculties, these four ethers nevertheless do consist of matter from the physical realm. Table 1 on page 4 gives the functions of the four etheric subplanes according to several authors.
Corresponding to the division of the physical plane into dense and etheric portions, a person's physical body has two portions:
The dense physical body is composed of solids, liquids, and gases, including such parts as the bones, blood system, nervous system, brain, and endocrine glands.
The etheric body, sometimes called the vital body, is composed of the four ethers. It is referred to in the Bible as the "golden bowl" (Eccles. 12:6).
The etheric body has the following functions: Although of a tenuous nature, it is the framework or foundation underlying every part of the dense physical body; it vitalizes or energizes the dense physical cells; it is a clearinghouse for all forces coming to the physical from higher dimensions, transmitting them through the nervous, endocrine, and blood systems; it is the transmitter and receiver of telepathic impulses of an intuitive, mental, or emotional nature; and it provides the channel for the physically focused consciousness to register the subtler worlds. The etheric body is below the threshold of consciousness and is generally recognized only in terms of vitality or lack of vitality. Its seven major force centers, called chakras, will be considered in Chapter 2.
The planet also has both a dense physical body and an etheric body. The planetary dense body is the familiar tangible world of sense perceptions. Even though the planetary etheric body is not normally perceptible, it plays a key role in understanding the healing process because it is an important medium for the transmission of energies from the healer to patient. As will be discussed in Chapters 4, 5, and 6, the planetary etheric body can be used as a medium for sending pranic, telepathic, and radiatory energies.
The sixth plane illustrated in Figure 1 is the emotional, which also consists of seven subplanes. A person's emotional body is said to be constructed from the matter of all seven subplanes. The emotional body has the following functions:
To make sensation possible. The emotional body converts the vibrations received from the physical plane into sensations, which are then passed on to the mental body (which will be discussed in the next section) where they appear as perceptions. The emotional body can add to a sensation the quality of "pleasant" or "unpleasant," so that it is registered by the mind as a pleasant or unpleasant perception. The emotional body also can give to a sensation any feeling, such as desire, fear, or envy.
To serve as a bridge between mind and physical matter. Conversely, thinking sets in motion mental matter, which causes the emotional body to vibrate, thus affecting etheric matter, which then acts on the dense matter of the physical brain. All thinking requires the coordination of the mental body with the dense physical brain.
To act as an independent vehicle of consciousness and action. There are several ways that this independence could be achieved: During ordinary waking consciousness, the powers of the emotional senses (including clairvoyance and clairaudience) could be brought into action; during sleep or trance, the emotional body can separate itself from the physical and then function independently; and after physical death, the consciousness can withdraw into the emotional body and reside on the emotional plane.
Knowledge of the subtle bodies is necessary in order to identify the cause of a physical illness. Several conditions in the etheric and emotional bodies that can lead to disease are listed in Table 2, such as congestion in the etheric body or criticism in the emotional body. Illness also can originate in the mental body, but this case is less frequent. However, there can be external causes for illness, including accidents, epidemics, malnutrition, and heredity.
A person has three focal points of perception on the fifth or mental plane. The first focal point of perception is the mental body, sometimes called the lower concrete mind, and it is built of particles from the lowest four divisions of the mental plane. The mental body deals with knowledge, particulars, or what are called concrete thoughts: for instance, a particular tree, car, or triangle. In contrast, the causal body (see below) is concerned with principles or abstract thoughts: trees or cars in general, or the principle of triangularity common to all triangles. The mental body has the following functions: to serve as the vehicle for concrete thinking; to express concrete thoughts through the emotional body, etheric brain, and dense physical brain; to develop the faculties of memory and imagination; and to function, as evolution proceeds, as a separate vehicle of consciousness on the mental plane. Figure 1 defines the personality as consisting of the physical body (both dense and etheric), emotional body, and mental body, in which the mental body is the highest aspect of the personality.
The causal body, sometimes called the egoic lotus or soul, is the storehouse for the abstracted essence, or wisdom, gained from a person's experiences, and so it gradually evolves over time. It is referred to in the Bible as the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor. 5:1). Only matter of the third subplane is vivified in the causal body of an undeveloped person, as indicated in Figure 1, but matter from the second subplane is brought into activity as evolution proceeds, so that the causal body can eventually extend over the second and third mental subplanes. Because the causal body is the vehicle for abstract thinking, an unevolved person is capable of only a limited amount of such thinking; whereas a great philosopher, who has higher matter active in his causal body, is capable of profound thought involving loftiness, subtlety, and wisdom. Another function of the causal body is sending to the upper brain the consciousness stream, which enables a person to be aware of himself, his thoughts, and his feelings. And when the causal body is sufficiently evolved, it can transmit qualities from higher planes to the personality.
The spiritual mind, sometimes called the higher abstract mind, consists of matter from only the highest mental subplane. The spiritual mind reflects the innate divine nature with clarity, synthesis, and inclusiveness. When this mind is evoked, the person is able to perceive all forms in their correct perspective, and to apprehend reality with a clarity that is undistorted by illusions and glamours. The spiritual mind has two functions: to have intuitive insights, which are clear and direct perceptions of truths; and to convey clarity to abstract thinking by the causal body and to concrete thinking by the mental body.
To summarize, the mental body is concerned with knowledge or concrete thinking; the causal body is concerned with wisdom, which is the abstracted result of long experience; and the spiritual mind is concerned with insights, which are the clear and direct perceptions of truths.
According to theosophy, the real self is the monad, which is sometimes called the spirit, and it is a unit of consciousness, a spark of the Supreme Fire. The world of the monad is the second or monadic plane, but the roots of its life are in the first or adi plane. It may seem that the monad is far away; and yet according to this theory it is a person's self, the innermost source of his being, the wellspring of his life.
The expression "consciousness on a plane" means the power of responding to the vibrations of that particular plane. It must be remembered that all seven planes interpenetrate. A person who is conscious on the physical plane often is totally unconscious on higher planes because he has not sufficiently organized his higher bodies to receive and transmit higher vibrations. Similarly, a monad, prior to its evolutionary cycle, is conscious on the second plane but is totally unconscious on the five lower planes.
In order to develop its consciousness on the lower five planes, a monad may choose to initiate its evolutionary cycle, which begins as unconscious involution into these lower planes, followed by conscious evolution out of these planes. Because a monad has free choice, it is self-moved and self-directed in its entry into the lower planes of matter, which is the field of manifestation or the fivefold universe.
As illustrated in Figure 1, a monad possesses three qualities of consciousness: will, love-wisdom, and active intelligence. At the beginning of the evolutionary cycle, these qualities create vibratory waves that cause matter to vibrate on the third, fourth, and fifth planes. The matter that vibrates on the third, or atmic, plane is called the "atmic permanent atom" and represents the spiritual will; the matter that vibrates on the fourth or buddhic plane is called the "buddhic permanent atom" and represents spiritual love; and the matter that vibrates on the fifth or mental plane is called the "mental permanent atom" and represents the spiritual mind.
Spiritual will, spiritual love, and spiritual mind taken together form what is called the "spiritual triad," which is also sometimes called the individuality or transpersonality:
The spiritual will expresses the will quality from the monad, and it should be contrasted with desire, which expresses the self-centered motivation for the personality. When evoked, the spiritual will becomes an immanent, propulsive, clarifying, and driving force concerned with establishing right human relations and destroying whatever is hindering the free flow of life.
The spiritual love expresses the love-wisdom quality from the monad, and it is neither sentiment nor affection. When evoked, the spiritual love eliminates the sense of separateness, allows the divine germ to be seen in all forms, enables the fact of group inclusiveness (or the essential unity of all beings) to be perceived, and results in true compassion.
The spiritual mind expresses the active intelligence quality from the monad, and it was described in the previous section. When evoked, the spiritual mind conveys clarity to abstract thinking by the causal body and concrete thinking by the mental body.
The word reflection is used when a force manifested on a higher plane is passed down to a lower level, where it is conditioned by a grosser kind of matter, so that some of the effective power is lost in the reflected force. The spiritual triad reflects the nature of the monad and is the channel through which the monad functions in the field of manifestation. The spiritual triad could be viewed as a germ of divine life, containing the potentialities that later will be unfolded into powers during the course of evolution. At the beginning of the evolutionary cycle, the spiritual triad has the latency of a newly planted seed; but at the end, this seed will become a beautiful flower fully expressing its form, color, and perfume. There are several stages to this evolutionary cycle, which might be designated as pre-human, human, and post-human.
Figure 1 illustrates the relationships that exist during the human stage of evolution. This diagram indicates that the spiritual triad (spiritual will, spiritual love, and spiritual mind) embraces the atmic plane, buddhic plane, and highest mental subplane. On the other hand, the personality (mental body, emotional body, etheric body, and dense physical body) embraces the four lowest mental subplanes, emotional plane, and physical plane. Thus, there exists a gap, extending over two mental subplanes, between the spiritual triad and personality. Two different "bridges" spanning this gap have been described:
The sutratma is the direct stream of life flowing from the monad, through the spiritual triad and causal body, to the personality, where it finds its anchor in the etheric heart. This life stream controls the circulation of blood throughout the physical body. The sutratma is defined in Sanskrit as "the thread that binds all the selves in the human being with the divine," and it is referred to in the Bible as the "silver cord" (Eccles. 12:6).
The causal body, in an evolved condition, enables the personality to evoke the spiritual will, spiritual love, and spiritual mind. The causal body can be thought of as being an "illumined bridge" that is built through meditation, service, and constant efforts to draw forth insights.
To summarize, man is in essence the monad (or spirit), reflecting as the spiritual triad in the field of manifestation, demonstrating through the gradually evolving causal body (or soul), and utilizing the personality as a means to contact the lower three planes for gaining experience. Thus, the person on the physical plane is the monad but expresses himself with his spiritual triad, causal body, and personality. Because the monad has free choice, the person on the physical plane also has free choice, which is his spiritual heritage. The person evolves by making decisions and learning from the effects (either good or bad) of those decisions.
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of evolution is to develop consciousness. In the case of the human stage of evolution, the purpose is to evolve the causal body, which means to gain wisdom from experiences. Whereas the monad, spiritual triad, and causal body are all free from internal conflict, it is obvious that the personality is often full of wickedness, disease, and despair; but this situation occurs only because of a gap, or lack of evolution, in the causal body. In other words, the potential nature of a person is divinity; but because of ignorance about his true nature, he may create for himself many difficulties. The purpose of evolution is to face these problems and to grow in wisdom by overcoming them. Thus, according to this perspective, all problems eventually have a beneficent effect and play a positive role. As the Bible puts it, a man is made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10).
Although this discussion concerning evolution of monads may seem abstruse, the process of unconscious involution followed by conscious evolution occurs every day, with any addiction, indulgence, or negative emotion. A man begins an addiction to gain experience, completely ignorant about the harm he is doing to himself; after he hits "rock bottom," his suffering forces him consciously to undo and retrace all of his previous steps; eventually he emerges free from his addiction, as he was prior to his descent, and his entire experience results in new wisdom. And so it is said that the monad is ignorant concerning the five lower planes of manifestation and chooses to in-volve into these lower planes, that the resulting suffering from limitation eventually leads to evolution out of these lower planes, and that the entire cycle produces an expansion of consciousness. This same theme is described in the Bible as the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
What implications does this philosophy have for healing?
Disease has a positive contribution or lesson to give to the patient. A person is able to grow in wisdom only by learning from his problems. Each problem is actually an ingredient for a future attainment. Consequently, there need be no antagonism toward a disease.
Excerpted from THE CHAKRAS & ESOTERIC HEALING by Zachary F. Lansdowne. Copyright © 1986 Zachary F. Lansdowne. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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