New Renaissance Art: Alchemical Psychophysics
Electromagnetism, Neurology and Neurotransmitters Affect Spiritual Experience Core Template of Meaning
"It becomes apparent that if certain facts about our common experience of perception, or what we might call the inside world, can be revealed by an extended study of what we call, in contrast, the outside world, then an equally extended study of this inside world will reveal, in turn, the facts first met with in the world outside: for what we approach, in either case, from one side or the other, is the common boundary between them" p xxv Spencer-Brown. G., (1972) "Laws of Form" EP Dutton
"Ontology : An ontology consists of a set of concepts, axioms, and relationships that describe a domain of interest. An upper ontology is limited to concepts that are meta, generic, abstract and philosophical, and therefore are general enough to address (at a high level) a broad range of domain areas. Concepts specific to given domains will not be included; however, this standard will provide a structure and a set of general concepts upon which domain ontologies (e.g.medical, physics, engineering, culture, theology, etc.) could be constructed. " -- IEEE (http://suo.ieee. org)
"[T]he human psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and
consciousness. I have called thus substratum the collective unconscious. This unconscious psyche, common to all mankind, does not consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent predispositions towards identical reactions. The collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity of brain structure irrespective of all racial differences. This explains the analogy, sometimes even identity, between the various myth motifs and symbols, and the possibility of human communication in general. The various lines of psychic development start from one common stock whose roots reach back into the most distant past." --C.G. Jung, "Commentary on 'Secret of the Golden Flower'" CW 13 par. 11
"It is very difficult to explain this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it. The individual feels the nothingness of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and the world of thought. He [the experiencer] looks upon individual existence as a sort of prison and wants to experience the universe as a single, significant whole" --Albert Einstein
Global Manifold / Operational Dynamics
Alchemy is a deeply personal esoteric search for exotic matter and energy, which arguably has been found by science. It is an experimental attempt to consciously mirror, resonate with and even, perhaps, influence the universe. Alchemy sought to release the divine power in matter much like energy wizards of today seek overunity devices that tap zero point energy (ZPE).
Though short of Grand Unification, whether we look toward the antimatter of the vacuum fluctuation or dark energy or dark matter (gravitational scaffolding of cosmos), or (ZPE) or the God-Particle (Higgs-Boson Field), we speak of invisible agents. Electromagnetism is also a normally unobservable quality of matter and energy flow.
Massless observable radiant energy is often confused with nonobservable virtual vacuum fluctuation. According to Tom Bearden, “Passage of an electromagnetic wave through the vacuum leaves an invisible trace. The vacuum "imprints" everything that happens in it. This imprint is electrogravitational; i.e., the imprinting process structures the substructure of vacuum spacetime [the artificial potential of vacuum].” We need to know how EM interacts with the nonobservable vacuum and what that could possibly mean in spiritual terms. Primordial LightLight is composed of photons, that carry an electric and magnetic field. When many photons travel together, they blend together into a large scale electromagnetic wave and we don't see individual photons.
The secret life of subspace reveals an unseen radiant potential living in the resonating gaps of existence. Probability is highest at resonance. The buffeting of the vacuum fluctuation knocks out an observable photon, shifting the quantum gearbox from virtual energy up to quantal level energy. The mystic threshold has been crossed.
The microcosm of the living vacuum is a coherent organization of spacetime structure. Time itself is compressed energy. “Free energy” emerges from a strong gradient, a negentropic scalar pump, an eternal fountain of cosmic creative energy. Vacuum fluctuation means observable emissions of light rapidly decay back into their zeropoint and then infinitely repeat the photon emission process. This relentless process is almost hypnotic in its appeal.
When is a wave not a wave? When it’s a scalar or energy precursor, point intensity. A scalar potential, like ripples in a pond, either increases or decreases at each and every focal point throughout spacetime, including inside our bodies. Zero-Point Energy (ZPE) is observable; virtual vacuum fluctuation is nonobservable.
Matter boils into and out of existence. In this reiterative process the virtual becomes the observable. Subquantal disordered virtual state fluctuations of the vacuum is the groundstate of existence. Vacuum fluctuation of virtual photons is the universal hum, the OM of the cosmological constant.
“Let there be Light.” Potentials in the vacuum are primordial causal agents creating force fields as effects of their interference during virtual photon flux. Charge emits measurable photon energy. ZPE charge becomes observable emission. Real EM photons (quanta of light) are emitted from that charge and spread into 3-space at light speed.
Coherent integration implies continuous creation from virtual state energy input. Harmonic sets or series of wave/antiwave pairs form the scalar potential. Internally dynamic scalars essentially pump negentropy or increased order and information into existence as energy and/or mass.
In Synergetics, Buckminster Fuller called this cosmic pumping energy Cosmic Zero, described as the nexus of quantum jitterbugging of the Vector Equilibrium Matrix. Forces are enfolded in the vacuum that can be unzipped into manifestation. Artificially produced scalars can affect everything from our minds to the weather. This physics has even been used as a model of paranormal phenomena, healing and clandestine warfare.
The flow of mass, and our own mass, through time is generated by the ubiquitous interaction of photons with the mass. This is so for both virtual and observable photons. Mass moves through time by integrating virtual photons, and absorption/emission of observable photons/biophotons. The internal dynamic flow of time has infolded sublevels and engines that pump up the quantum field effects to breech the mystic threshold of observability.
Scalars exist only in the vacuum of empty space, including that between our own atoms. Tesla called this form of negative energy, radiant energy. This new physics has been called ether physics, scalar physics, virtual physics, plenum physics, scalar electromagnetics, energetics and psychotronics.
Mythical Matter is Obsolete
Paracelsus proposed a genuine philosophy culminating in the elimination (“pneumatisation”) of matter. If we take a top-down view of finer and finer matter, from molecular to atomic, it essentially evaporates before our eyes at the quantal and subquantal level. From the bottom-up, it appears to come out of nowhere. This describes the big Mystery behind alchemy, as a myth of a vast cosmic/spiritual drama in a laboratory setting. Neither the alchemists' gold nor their wisdom is ordinary.
Alchemist Gerhard Dorn saw the prima materia as a substance inside us. The observer is the observed. And when the observer-sensation stops, the flow continues. In the meditatio gaps appear, grow longer, and widen into a state free of thought. Since universal consciousness emerges from the ground, this activity is affecting all mankind from the groundstate.
Alchemists still engage in mystical and non-scientific mythopoetic searches for the key to order alongside their chemical experiments, which are pursued with philosophical zeal. The Stone moves across categorical boundaries, therefore, it can be described with a multidisciplinary approach. Accelerating nature's process is alchemy's mandate, so alchemists by mission need to remain in the vanguard of cultural pioneers -- the transdisciplinary leading edge.
In "Structure of the Psyche" Jung says, "the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious" echoing the alchemical mytheme that the Stone can be projected onto anything. Projection is the technical term for the final stage in making of the seed of perfection. Jung saw the individuation process in alchemy, but it also describes a cosmological process. Even if the projections are psychological, they certainly have identifiable physical analogs. The operations of alchemical art influences the whole field.
The Philosopher's Stone signifies the life force and the universal binding power which unites minds and souls. The redemption of spirit and matter exteriorizes the human soul and interiorizes the human body as an imaginal image. A mythical Stone or Elixir, its essential secret is the direct knowledge of immortality. Therefore, the Stone perfects anything it touches. It is an experiential process, a transphysical stabilized state of consciousness hamonizing all opposites (thoughts and feelings). Soul, spirit and body are transformed by connecting with primordial awareness.
Science projects the best theories and models it can formulate onto the phenomena of reality. The Philosopher's Stone of physics is the long-sought Grand Unified Theory (GUT). We are getting closer to penetrating the veil of Nature's final mysteries. Chaos is the raw material we are told to refine into gold. Alchemy says 'the virginal mother gives birth to the lapis.'
The eternally morphing root of both matter and consciousness is located everywhere. The fields radiating harmonically from every zero-point within overall spacetime obey all known laws of electrodynamics. Alchemy was correct in assuming that equilibrium or the balance of opposites (+ and -) as stabilized wholeness is the key to the process. Fractal involution downshifts frequencies through the entire EM spectrum.
Earth has a natural frequency for electromagnetic radiation called the Schumann resonances. The human brain also has resonant natural frequencies for EM radiation "in tune" with the planetary cycles. Schumann Resonances are actually observed by experiment occurring at several harmonic frequencies between 6 and 50 cycles per second. A cycle equals a Hz. Specifically they are found at 7.8, 14, 20, 26, 33, 39, and 45 Hertz, allowing a daily variation of around +/- 0.5Hz.
The brain is a massive source of Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) signals that get transmitted throughout the body through the nervous system, which is sensitive to magnetic fields. Brainwaves and natural biorhythms can be entrained by strong external ELF signals, such as stationary waves at Schumann resonance. Entrainment, synchronization, and amplification leads toward coherent large-scale activity, rather than typical flurries of transient brainwaves.
Thus, resonant standing waves emerge from the brain, which under the right conditions facilitates internal and external bioinformation transfer, via ELF electromagnetic waves. These SR waves, exhibit non-local character and nearly-instant global communication and are implicated as informational carriers of telepathic signals.
Brainwave frequencies correlate with states of consciousness. The EEG (electroencephalograph) measures brainwaves of different frequencies. Rhythmicity in the EEG is a key variable in the coordination of cortical activity. Electrodes on specific sites on the scalp detect and record the electrical impulses within the brain. Frequency is the number of times a wave repeats itself within a second. It can be compared to the frequencies on a radio. Amplitude represents the power of electrical impulses generated by the brain. Volume or intensity of brain wave activity is measured in microvolts.
Raw EEG frequency bands include Gamma (higher than 30Hz); Beta (14-30Hz); Alpha (7.5-13Hz); Theta (3.5-7.5Hz); and Delta (less than 4Hz). Their ranges overlap one another along the frequency spectrum by 0.5Hz or more. These frequencies are linked to behaviors, subjective feeling states, physiological correlates, etc.
Beta is a 'fast' activity, present when we are alert or even anxious; problem-solving, judgment, decision making, processing information, mental activity, focus. Gamma appears to relate to simultaneously processing information from different brain areas: memory, learning abilities, integrated thoughts, information-rich task processing. Gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness, which disappears with anesthesia.
Synchronous activity at about 40Hz appears involved in binding sensory inputs into the single, unitary objects we perceive. The forty hertz (40Hz) component is essential to our experience of self. We cannot experience our sense of individuality without it. When the forty hertz component is suppressed, the sense of individuality is likewise suppressed.
Schumann's resonance, an earthsignal, forms a natural feedback loop with the human mind/body. Our brains and bodies developed in the biosphere, the EM environment conditioned by this cyclic pulse. Conversely, this pulse acts as a "driver" of our brains, and can also potentially carry information as well. Functional processes may be altered and new patterns of behavior facilitated through the brain's web of inhibitory and excitatory feedback networks.
Like sound waves, the brain has its own set of vibrations it uses to communicate with itself and the rest of the body; EEG equipment distinguishes these waves by measuring the speed with which neurons fire in cycles per second. At their boundaries these waves can overlap somewhat, merging seamlessly into one another, so different researchers may give slightly different readings for the range of cycles per second. Rate of cycling determines the type of activity, kindling wave after wave over the whole surface of the brain, by igniting more neurons.
BETA waves (14 cycles per second and above) dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta waves range between 13-40 Hz. Gamma (above 30 Hz) represents hyperarousal. The Beta wave is associated with peak concentration, heightened alertness and visual acuity. Nobel Prize winner, Sir Francis Crick and other scientists believe that the 40Hz beta frequency is the key to cognition.
ALPHA waves (7-13 cycles per second) are present during dreaming and light meditation when the eyes are closed. As more and more neurons are requited to this frequency, alpha waves cycle globally across the whole cortex. This induces of deep relaxation, but not quite meditation. In Alpha, we begin to access the wealth of creativity that lies just below our conscious awareness. It is the gateway, the entry point that leads into deeper states of consciousness. Alpha is also the home of the window frequency known as the Schumann Resonance, which is the resonant frequency of the earth's electromagnetic field. SR waves propagate with little attenuation around the planet. When we intentionally generate alpha waves and go into resonance with that earthy frequency, we naturally feel better, refreshed, in tune, in synch. It is, in fact, environmental synchronization.
THETA waves (4-7 cycles per second) occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in the deepest state of mediation (body asleep/mind awake). The optimum level for deep thought is this realm of Theta. In Theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on the mindscape, internally originating signals. Theta waves are associated with mystery, an elusive and extraordinary realm we can explore. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we rise from the depths of delta upon waking, or drifting off to sleep. In theta we are in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind's eye and we are receptive to information beyond our normal conscious awareness. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory. Theta meditation increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces stress and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills.
DELTA waves range between 0-4 Hz. Delta is associated with deep sleep. In deepest meditation and dreamless sleep, Delta waves are generated. Each of these brainwave frequencies serves an important function. DELTA waves confer a suspension of external existence and provide the most profound feelings of peace. In addition, certain frequencies in the delta range trigger the release of growth hormone beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is why sleep, deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
In 1891, Tesla described how the aether “behaves as a fluid to solid bodies, and as a solid to light and heat."
Transmutations of Consciousness
We are on the threshold of a new structure of consciousness. It is our alchemical task to realize our latent future, our latent potential for luminous consciousness. Consciousness moves from latency to transparency. Self-luminous experience requires no explanation. Intensity is characteristic of integrating consciousness.
"Metaphysical" has meant "mythological" or "magical" and "speculative" But, like alchemy, post-metaphysical philosophy honors the soul as much as the senses, outer reality as much as inner reality. The realities of higher stages of nondual experience are spiritual potentials. Dogmatic religions are based in myth.
Some experiences have spiritual aspects best approached through image and metaphor; some through rational reasoning; and some through direct practice and realization. Spirituality shifts from an ultimate concern with the contents of the mind to an ultimate concern with the contents of transcendental consciousness.
We have a deep need to know what lies beyond our systems of consciousness. Meta-theories only arise from conceptual theories and their experiential / experimental testing. "As Above, So Below," is a reflection paradigm. But it may co-create reality, rather than describe it phenomenologically.
Once we know the truth of our reality, we don't grasp at symbolical representations, myths or theories or models to help us comprehend our Nature. Projection leads to transmutation. We don't need symbol systems nor arcane spiritual technologies to take the place of direct realization once we separate out the fallacious and mere fantasy.
Process is beyond system. We are in the process of truly integrating the nature of reality. Hyperspace has superseded our 3-dimensional perceptions. Our role in the process is being aware of the process. Thus, illumination is not knowing what has come before, but being-in-truth, which replaces philopshy and myth-making. It is more than a mere ontology or theory of existence.It is a way of being beyond subject and object -- liberation.
In "The Ever-Present Origin," philosopher Jean Gebser describes transmutations, or emerging surges of consciousness that permeate our history. These mutations are not just changes of perspective. They are not simple paradigm shifts but fundamentally different ways of experiencing reality.
These four mutations reflect five separate eras of development that are so interconnected that all previous stagesinterpenetrate and reiterate in subsequent ones. Each of these stages is associated with a dimensionality, beginning with the geometric origin of zero and progressing to the fourth, the transition which most are experiencing at this time. Gebser identifies these five phases as the Archaic, Magical, Mythical, Mental, and Integral stages.
If the Magic structure of consciousness is the emotional aspect, then the Mythical structure is the imaginative one. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras counteracted the mythic trend with a mental-rational philosophy. The mental structure coincides with the "discovery" of "causality." Abstraction describes mental activity and facilitates mental mastery of the environment. In the Renaissance, language, imagery and dominant metaphor takes on visual, spatial character. Space is finally overcome, in the true sense of the word.
Gebser's theory encompasses two fundamental concepts: latency and transparency. The former deals with what is concealed; latency is the demonstrable presence of the future. In this manner the seeds of all subsequent phases of evolution are contained in the current one. It is on the basis of this aspect that integration takes place. The second term transparency deals with what is revealed. According to Gebser, transparency (diaphaneity) is the form of manifestation (epiphany) of the spiritual.
Alchemy imagines the origin, the source from which all springs, as a spiritual one, and all phases of consciousness transformation are a testimony to the ever less latent and ever more transparent spirituality that is inherent in all that is. It is not just an intellectual development that is being described in his theory, but the ever more apparent manifestation of spiritual experience. The manifestation of these structures occurs in a quantum-like, discontinuous leap, not in a slowly developing and changing framework. It's like a bubble bursts granting access to an enlarged perceptual field.
Integral structure integrates those which have come before and enables the human mind to transcend the limitations of three- dimensionality. The fourth dimension of time is added. This integration is not simply a union of seemingly disparate opposites, rather it is the "irruption of qualitative time into our consciousness." Our internal metric system breaks down.
The supercession of time plays an extremely important role in Gebser's structure. In fact, the ideas of arationality (as opposed to the rationality of the current structure), aperspectivity (as opposed to the perspective, spatially determined mentation of the current structure), and diaphaneity (the transparent recognition of the whole, not just parts) are significant characteristics of this new structure. But is it structure or the dynamic process of information flow in the brain that marks qualitative distinctions in consciousness, particularly emergent or stabilized integral awareness?
We can now pinpoint what regions of the brain turn off and on during religious, visionary or extraordinary states of consciousness. Neurotheology describes the neurological and psychobiological roots of spiritual experience. Sense of time, space or being in the world is suppressed along with the activity in the superior parietal lobe, stimulating an "other-worldly" experience. Therefore, those who have this experience describe it as being in a "spiritual realm."
Cessation of the perception of time occurs when certain parts of the brain mediating spatial and temporal orientation go "offline." We suspend our orientation in 3-d spacetime. An area in the parietal lobe near the top rear of the brain goes dark with little activity. The limbic system adds a sense of awe and wonder, while the temporal lobes contribute to imagination and creativity. The temporal lobes are also responsible for the sense of God presence. The amygdala and hippocampus are involved in the experience of visions, profound experiences, memory, and meditation. The amygdala controls good/bad emotional valence.
Michael Persinger's research shows that the left superior parietal lobe creates the perception of the physical body's boundaries. The right superior parietal lobe creates the perception of the physical space outside of the body. Blocked from neuronal activity, the parietal lobe cannot create a sensation of boundary between the physical body and the outside world, suggesting a sense of "oneness" with the Universe. Without the parietal linear perception of time, meditators achieved a sensation of infinity and timelessness. Once this experience has happened, it is easier to re-kindle those neural patterns.
Thus, spirituality is described in terms of brain physiology -- an emotional feeling from the body, a sense of timelessness, a suspension of self and dissolution of personal boundaries. In unitive states -- feelings of peace, joy, unconditional love, timelessness, and spacelessness -- the insula activates along with modification of several other structures (the caudate nucleus, parietal lobe, and portions of the frontal cortex). The mind tends to interpret these psychophysical events and processes in terms of pre-programmed cultural beliefs and sociocultual memes.
As Gebser notes, the tensions and relations between things are sometimes more important than the things themselves. How the relationships develop over time takes precedence to the mere fact that a relationship exists. Certain structures and patterns in consciousness enable us to overcome the dualism of the mental structure and actually participate in the transparency of self and life.
This emergent structure is one of minimum latency and maximum transparency; diaphaneity is one of its hallmarks. Transparency is not ordinary sight but seeing through things perceiving their true nature. Statements about truth are superseded by statements as truth. Verition not description is what we experience and know. Philosophy is replaced by eteology; that is, the eteon, or being-in-truth.
Gebser describes five systems unfolding in human consciousness: the Archaic, Magical, Mythical, Mental, and Integral.
1) Archaic structure is fusion -- a zero- dimensional, non-perspectival world, likened to a state of deep sleep, characterized by non-differentiation and the total absence of any sense of separation from the environment. This was a world of identity between self and surroundings, not of personal consciousness in any terms that would be meaningful to our modern understanding.
2) Magical structure is characterized by a certain separateness, but not a total separation. It is one-dimensional; a pre-perspectival state of timelessness and spacelessness, likened to a state of sleep. Magic man is still fused with his environment, only feeling secure within his group, tribe or clan. Primal fusion is not the same as transcendent unification.
3) Knowledge is clothered in myth in the transition to the Mythical structure of consciousness. The two-dimensional, unperspectival state of consciousness is likened to a dream. Imagination and attunement with natural rhythms became important factors. The separation begun in the Magic structure reaches a tensional climax in the Mythical.
4) Mental structure's appearance coincides with the rise of Greek civilization. We trace our intellectual roots to the Greeks. Mental structure of consciousness is a three-dimensional, perspectival world, described as wakefulness. The polar tensions of mythology are replaced by the analytical separation of duality and opposition. Thinking is primary, and in its latter phase rational thinking is primary. This structure is currently yielding.
5) A final mutation is the Integral structure of consciousness. This is described as a four-dimensional, aperspectival world of transparency. This is a time-free, space-free, subject- and object-free world of verition.
Three fundamental notions are involved in this approach: systasis, synairesis, and eteology. The first term, systasis, best describes Gebser's approach. Systasis goes beyond mere synthesis, which is a mental-rational concept, to achieve a total integration of all parts simultaneously. Synairesis is a means of achieving the end just described -- total grasping, namely by the mind or spirit -- the Unio Mentalis of alchemy. Synairesis enables us to achieve the transparency that marks the Integral structure of consciousness.
Finally, eteology replaces philosophy as the way of knowing and acquiring knowledge. Eteology becomes the statement of truth in lieu of the philosophical statement about truth. This approach transcends the limitations of space- and time-perception to a complete and liberating understanding of the whole. Naturally, this transition is in process, not yet a completed act. It remains for each of us to complete the process in our own illumined embodiment -- Unus Mundus.
Transformation of Belief Paradigms
What makes 'spiritual' experience distinct? This is the realm of the phenomenology of consciousness and how we interpret it within our beliefs and paradigms. The sophistication of our beliefs about the way ourselves and the world works has evolved over time. But not everyone lives in the Present, with a belief system that is consistent with our current rational knowledge. Beliefs are influenced by emotional and psychosocial pressures.
Many people are firmly invested in the spiritual practices of by-gone eras, for good or not so good. Regardless, time and technology march on, impacting our psychophysical organism with challenges never faced by humanity before. The future-oriented are already living there. As has been pointed out: "The future is already here; it just isn't evenly distributed." To truly live mindfully in the Now, which is all we ever actually have, is to live at your Cosmic Zero Point http://myzeropoint.50megs.com
For thousands of years, tribes were so well adapted to their environments, they had little need to transform. Their worldviews and reality differed, but not so much that repressed cognitive dissonance drives them to higher-numbered stages.
Belief systems are like reality wormholes into the past. Part of us can live in the 14th, 17th, or 19th century, depending on eclectic spiritual ideas we have embraced or gotten stuck in. The same individual, such as a religious scientist, can embrace conflicting beliefs from different centuries. Compartmentalization is the only way to deny this cognitive dissonance.
Self-regulatory techniques can be adopted without this psychological baggage, with or without maintaining the spiritual or religious context. Somewhere on the planet, humans are living in every niche of the evolutionary belief spectrum. Which existential experience you perceive depends on the filters of your options (environment), beliefs and values.
Each stage represents a limited understanding and repressions until its liabilities force us into the next stage. Alternating stages are self-expressive and social. First new traits and states are emergent; then they stabilize. Our archetypal experiences can be regressions or expressions of our present highest state of development or emergent, then stabilized intuitions of still higher states.
Each stage is a worldview with its own needs, belief style and existential ground. Each is its own trance state, a lens through which the world is perceived with certain distortions. Each can be a trap of complacency as we enjoy its rewards. Our consciousness can range across the spectrum of ever-present paradigms.
Stage 1: Archaic: Survival, the Ground Zero of Existence. Self-preservation, isolation; antisocial. Paranoid or idiosyncratic beliefs.
Stage 2: Tribal: Truster/Trickster. Social; love, belonging. Self-sacrifice vs. selfishness. Transgression; taboo. Ethnocentric magical and superstitious beliefs.
Stage 3: Egocentric: Power; Esteem; Autonomy, heroic. Unscrupulous Competition/Hero. Shame vs. honor. Exploitation vs. Respect. Mythic beliefs.
Stage 4: Moral/Patriotic. Rules; Initiative. Shame and guilt vs. conformity and conventionality; purpose, virtue. Systematized truths. Emotional, nostalgic beliefs.
Stage 5: Materialist. Reasoning; mental analysis. Rational beliefs, truth; goodness; consumerism, greed. Head vs. heart. Progressive if rewarded, compulsive, workaholic. Perspective. Rational beliefs.
Stage 6: Wise Empath. Service, rapport, intimacy, empathy. Politically correct.. Inner wisdom, meaning. Self-actualization. Intuitive, mystical beliefs.
Stage 7: Distancer/Self. Paradoxical; individuated, reclusive; universalist. Deconstruction and Synthesis, gestalt, the big picture. Integral, synergetic beliefs.
Stage 8: Global Village. Complex Dynamic Beliefs. Post-Metaphysical Integrative Spirituality. “Express Self Now, but not at the expense of Others or the World, so that Life May Continue.” Integrative Sustainable beliefs.
States are fluid but ever-present or ever-accessible), which reinforces the association of states with the “timeless” dimension of being. Tart points out that states are not inherently unitary phenomena, but highly complex constructions. Further, learning is state-related. All states consist of multiple interacting elements, as fluidity suggests.
States are best seen as complex, dynamic (psychoneurophysiological) patterns, rather than pre-given, unitary constants. They also involve cognitive and affective elements, and are arguably as “constructed” and “emergent” (relative) as structure-stages. What we perceive, even the flow of our internally-generated perceptual information is contextual and interpreted. The eternal is not timeless but ever-present. “Embodied” contextualizations are more adequate, as the body-mind integration of Unus Mundus implies.
A more adequate post-metaphysical recontextualization of ancient spiritual practices cannot be state-bound. “Spiritual” states of consciousness probably arise in very early levels of consciousness, associated brain structures. Primordial awareness is thus ancient since it arises from these early brain structures. But it is not timeless or absolute, but grounded in our psychoneurophysiology. Consciousness is not unitary but has several levels of complexity. Our receptivity is related to information flow. States and stages are conceptual categories. So-called ultimate states are actually experiences.
The Alchemy of Spiritual Experience
Illumination has been described as being blinded by the manifestation of God’s presence. This brightness has no relation to any visible light. Visionary experience, which has symbolic or religious content, may give way to this dazzling light, which is reported in eastern and western religions. No wonder it is called illumination, and it can confer a palpable glow to the person that is perceptible after the return to ordinary awareness.
Imagine suggesting the body makes it own psychedelic drug! This is just what psychiatrist Rick Strassman contends in DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2001). He asserts it is an active agent in a variety of altered states, including mystical experience. This chemical messenger links body and spirit. Pineal activation may awaken normally latent synthetic pathways.
Meditation may modulate pineal activity, eliciting a standing wave through resonance effects that affects other brain centers with both chemical and electromagnetic coordination. Resonance can be induced in the pineal using electric, magnetic, or sound energy. Such harmonization resynchronizes both hemispheres of the brain. This may result in a chain of synergetic activity resulting in the production and release of naturally-produced hallucinogenic compounds.
NEUROTRANSMITTERS: Mindbody Chemisty
Neurotransmitters bridge the mindbody gap. They are the chemicals which account for the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across synapses. They can motivate or sedate, excite or calm us. Some brain chemicals are part of the key to our spirituality. Brain function is implicated in openness to spiritual experience from spiritual acceptance to the supernatural.
Still, this says nothing about the existence of the timeless, spaceless, formless Ground or unqualifiable Spirit as such. The existence of higher states of consciousness can be directly known, and thus the difference between the higher states and the lower states--a difference known as "involution"--can be seen based on direct phenomenological evidence and experience.
Cloninger (2004) claimed he found a God gene that spiritual people tend to share. Characteristics, such as feeling connected to the world and a willingness to accept things that cannot be objectively demonstrated are common. He then looked at the DNA samples of some of his subjects, hoping to find variants of genes that tended to turn up in self-transcendent people.
A gene known as VMAT2 has two different versions, differing only at a single position. People with one version of the gene tend to score a little higher on self-transcendence tests. Cloninger claims the God gene is, along with other faith-boosting genes, a product of natural selection. Self-transcendence makes people more optimistic, which makes them healthier.
There are fourtemperament dimensions: novelty seeking, harm avoidance, rewarddependence, and persistence. Three character dimensionsinclude self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence. Spiritual acceptance vs. material rationalism is mediated by serotonin. The brain produces its own natural stimulants (noradreneline) and downers, among other mind-altering compounds. Endorphins and enkephalines mimic opioids. Endorphins control pain reduction and pleasure. Dopamine is strongly associated with reward mechanisms in the brain.
Different chemical cocktails are released in different situations. Acetylcholine is the primary chemical carrier of thought and memory. This excitatory neurotransmitter is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partly responsible for concentration and focus. It also plays a significant role in muscular coordination. The 'cuddle hormone' oxytocin is produced during love-making, gestation and after childbirth. Dopamine stimulates the production of oxytocin. Fewer oxytocin receptors create less attachment in relationships.
PEA is implicated in driving us love-crazy. When we fall in love, we become sleepless and lose our appetites as if we were on stimulants. It is a rush of complex chemistry that changes to an opiate-like haze during bonding following the initial stages of euphoria. When abused, opiates highjack neural paths designed to promote love, attachment and spirituality. Phenylethylamine plays a critical role in the limbic system giving a feeling of bliss. It is a natural ingredient in chocolate.
The primary neurotransmitters are dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Dopamine is necessary for healthy assertiveness and sexual arousal, proper immune and autonomic nervous system function. Dopamine is important for motivation and a sense of readiness to meet life's challenges. Norepinephrine (noradrelalin) creates motivation, alertness and concentration. Central serotonergic neurons originate from the raphe nucleiin the brainstem and innervate major brain regions, such asthe hypothalamus, the limbic system, the striatum, and the neocortex.
Serotonin plays a role in calmness, contentment, mood stabilization, sleep and dreaming. Low serotonin levels are linked to anxiety, sleeplessness, increased pain, depression and poor impulse control. People are different in the way they perceive religion and spirituality. Low serotonin is also linked to openness to the supernatural and religiosity. Higher levels are linked with people who believe what they see with their eyes and are not so open to God or other aspects of religion.
Serotonin is intimately involved in emotion and mood and regulates memory and learning. Too little serotonin has been shown to lead to depression, problems with anger control, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suicide.
Serotonin/norephinephrine balance controls arousal. The richest concentration of serotonin in the body can be found in the pineal body which makes melatonin of it, even though this gland does not use serotonin as a transmitter. The serotonin system may serve as a biological basis for spiritual experiences and self-transcendence.
Perception of time-intervals is believed to be mediated by spiny neurons located in the basal ganglia. Timing begins with a burst of dopamine and ends with a recognized signal. Marijuana slows subjective time by lowering dopamine available, whereas cocaine and methamphetamine accelerates the sense of time by increasing dopamine availability.
Meditation for self-regulation can easily change the set-point for mood. You can recalibrate yourself anytime. Calming breathing and heartrate sends a different holistic signal to all the body's systems, immediately changing brain chemistry.