The Web of Life - cover


John Davidson


A Mystical Synopsis

All the mystics, in all the ages, have expressed the same truth. Man is a soul. In his inner being, in his essence, man is a drop of the Divine Ocean, the Supreme Being, Universal Consciousness. Traveling outward from this Source outward, not in terms of space, but rather in the quality and complexity of vibration and manifestation the soul becomes clothed in bodies or vehicles of increasingly complex and dense energy patterns, his attention becoming more and more outward. In the human condition, this outward direction of mental attention has become habitual to such an extent that at this far pole of the creation, the physical universe, he is so encumbered and entrapped in the outworking of the attributes of Universal Mind and matter that he is quite unable to know who or what he is. Indeed, in the majority of cases, he is hardly aware, in a real sense, that he is alive. The central, burning question as to what he is and what he is doing in this world is smothered by the incessant demands of his senses and his involvement with the outward show of motion and activity.

More specifically, in its descent, the soul first encounters the Universal Mind, where the qualities and attributes of energy and matter as they appear in our familiar physical world are first manifested. Sanskrit, as well as modern mystical understanding, talks of three sets of energy-plexi related to qualities within the vibrational fields of existence. These qualities are also known as the tattwas, roughly translatable as the elements.

They are, in descending vibrational fineness: akash, air, fire, water and earth. These five tattwas first arise in the Causal region of the Universal Mind, where they are the highly subtle essence or blueprint of those found in the true Astral region or region of Sahans Dal Kanwal. This is the Thousand Petalled Lotus or Sahasra, the glittering and entrancing powerhouse from which all creation below takes its existence and form. These five states then reflect once again within the physical form with which we are familiar, though indeed I would say that we are only partially aware of its real constitution. Man's physical form is thus constructed of the five tattwas in both their gross and subtle aspects.

The naming of these tattwas by their material, outwardly physical manifestation though common practice can be misleading. So let it be said right away that all energy substance is of the tattwas. This we experience, through our physical form, not only as the material phases of matter, but also as the energetic substrate of our emotions, our sensory perceptions and our motor responses. This will be discussed more fully, as we progress.

As in all coherent energy systems, order and organization is required for its maintenance and existence, and this we see most clearly in the superbly structured, yet adaptable, nature of living organisms, where these tattwas are merged one with another into the highly intricate matrix of interconnections that is observed from without by western biological science. One should not, however, make the mistake of discounting these eastern ideas as quaint; but possessing no practical application, for reasons we shall discover in the ensuing chapters. They represent a fundamental and essential understanding of energy interchanges within both inert matter and living organisms.  

Indeed, while western science has no fundamental answer as to how a body holds together and why it should suddenly die and its processes almost immediately cease, the eastern wisdom is replete with understanding that is in no way incompatible with scientific descriptions. Eastern wisdom, does in fact provide an underlying conceptual framework, without which much of western science appears haphazard and almost meaningless. Certainly, the intense analysis characteristic of our western idiom holds out very little hope of providing answers to the fundamental questions of life, consciousness and what happens before and after death. 


Pranas, Chakras & Tattwas

Our living human form, then, is constituted of an intricately woven fabric of the five tattwas in gross and subtle state. The weaver and integrator of this fabric is ultimately our soul, our consciousness or real life, deep within, but in physical manifestation its cohering and life-giving power flows out as the vibration that patterns and organizes these tattwas. The Sanskrit term for this subtle, vibrational pattern-maker is prana, roughly translated as life energy or life breath.

Flowing like a complex wave through water, prana flows through the tattwas in their subtle state, creating the energetic blueprint out of which the gross physical body is formed. This subtle blueprint has been called the etheric body and contains within it six major centres of resonance, organizational plexi, five of which relate to the energetic density and quality of the five tattwas in their subtle form, plus one higher control point.

These six plexi are known as the chakras and the pranic vibration, being modulated by the quality of the tattwa within which it is vibrating, also takes on the appearance of possessing five states. The pranas are therefore also stated to be five in number.

Because of the life-giving qualities of the pranas, related to the higher intelligence or consciousness within, these chakras are more than just the primary nodes in a wave-form, but are spinning wheels of organizational power.

The Indian yogis and mystics, therefore, describing these centers in the way attuned to their own nature and according to the understanding and idiom of their culture have ascribed a named, controlling deity or deva to each chakra and it is from here that the thousand lesser 'gods' of Hinduism have come into being. Brahma, for example, is the deity of the watery quality or state of matter, expressing itself in the physical body at the sacral or sex center, responsible for the creation of physical bodies and the control of the watery 'humours' within the body. The embryo, for example, develops in the amniotic fluid, while the kidneys part of the water controlling system of the body are also partly under its influence.

The pranas, flowing out from the level of the physical mind, just above the sixth chakra at the eye level, provide the energy and organizational qualities required to weave these tattwas into a functioning living body. Impressed from within by the energy of our karmas, the effects of previous actions, thoughts and desires etched into the fabric of the Antashkarans or organ of physical mind and thought, and enlivened by the higher mind and soul, the pranas are the life-giving vibration that intricately moulds the tattwas into the form of our physical body, familiar to our senses.  

(1) Andrew Rawlinson Ph.D., writing in a 1986 edition of Religion, provides an excellent appreciation of these devas and subtle tattwas when he writes, "The physical world is a coagulation of subtle or essential elements. All physical forms are as they are because they exist within, and are held together by, these subtle energies. 'Physical forms' here means not only the properties of individual things (for example, the shape of a tree or the behavioural pattern of an animal) but also the characteristics of physical locations (eg. a pool and its banks, a forest on a hillside). There are in fact no individual entities as such; they only appear individual when the field of which they are a part is ignored.

"This worldview, however, is not quasi-scientific. That is, it does not attempt to relate individual things to their environment as if all the factors that are being related are on the same level. On the contrary, it is a hierarchical worldview. The elements or energies which imbue, or give rise to, physical forms exist at a higher level. And more than that, they are both living and intelligent in a word, they are conscious. Or, in the terminology of Indian religion, they are devas.

"Let us restate this principle and then extend it somewhat. The physical universe cannot be understood apart from the living, conscious forces the devas that have given rise to it. A deva is therefore both a being and a principle. The word 'being' implies a personal force and the word 'principle' implies an impersonal force, but there is no real distinction between the two. A deva expresses itself (both consciously, which is the 'being' side, and automatically and lawfully, which is the 'principle' side) according to its place in the hierarchy of devas. Thus a 'high' deva has a large range of influence and a 'low' deva has a more restricted range. Whatever exists within a deva's range is in effect under its protection and control.

"Now we must link this hierarchical model of devas with the idea of the elements that make up the world. Different devas have different qualities. When they 'express' themselves, so to speak, they naturally give rise to different physical forms (in both the senses that we mentioned earlier) that embody these qualities. The Indian religious tradition has a number of terms for these subtle qualities: guna, dhatu, bhuta, tattwa, rasa."

This physical mind (antashkarans), the subtle organ of thought, is found in a sub-astral chakra, the lowest of the astral set, located above the six physical chakras.

In this respect, it is easy to see how, at death, in the absence of the complex, vibrational pranic patterning, containing a reflection of the higher creative life principle of Shabda, the subtle and gross tattwas that once constituted a living body, degenerate into a far simpler form of manifestation. Complex molecules break down, integrated biochemical networks lose vitality and coherence, electro-biological activity ceases and given time the five basic elements or constituents merge back and separate out into the relatively still and simple tattvic reservoirs of inert matter.

Just look about you at the non-living substance of the physical world. See how, in the absence of an inner life force, its molecular structure has simplified and become, comparatively speaking, still. How earth, water and air have largely separated out. Perceive the sharp demarcation in vibrational and energetic quality between your living body and the dead matter surrounding it. Being aware of your own being, mind and consciousness, expand your understanding of how life is not just a fortuitous and temporarily self-sustaining conglomeration of molecules and electricity, but has inner dimensions beyond the most powerful of microscopes. And how that inner life force is the most important aspect of your being.

Prana, however, is not consciousness itself, but a step-down or derivative, thereof. In addition, consciousness or soul is entangled in the human being with the physical mind or organ of thought. Mystics describe the soul and mind as being "knotted together at the eye centre" the two-petalled lotus of the ajna chakra. Consciousness, in its pure form, does not descend below this eye centre. We experience this mixture of mind and soul as our attention and without deep meditation and mystic experience, it is not possible for us to know easily which is which, with the exception that it is the mind which pulls us out to the senses and the physical world and it is the soul, together with the higher aspects of the more inward mind beyond thought processes which draws us within.

In subsequent chapters we embark upon a specific description of these chakras and tattwas, but firstly let us continue with certain fundamentals of universal philosophy.

A considerably fuller description of the higher mystic energy patterns is given in the book, Subtle Energy, as well as other literature. I am attempting here simply to introduce the concepts of the tattwas, the pranas, the chakras and the antashkarans, as the primary energy patterns covering the soul and higher mind in the human constitution, so that we may later see how they reveal themselves in the discoveries of modern physiology.

But first we need to examine some fundamentals.


Polarity & Duality

The great, essential principle underlying all energy manifestation in the universe, both within and without, is that of duality or separation. Every aspect of life, every pattern of creation, every particle of matter, every movement of energy is held in existence by duality or polarity by fundamental and opposing forces. There cannot be an 'up' without a 'down', a 'yes' without a 'no', 'a left' without a 'right', a 'positive' without a 'negative'.

In nature, we have a continuous panorama of patterns, of ebb and flow. Growth gives way to decay as spring and summer move into autumn and winter. Energy turns from the outward to the inward. Who has not experienced the sweet in-drawing nostalgia of the first autumn days?

Wet and dry, heat and cold, light and darkness all alternate and while nature is able to adapt itself, the changes become the basis for continued life cycles amongst the species.

In science, we have electrons and protons, acceleration and deceleration, anabolism and catabolism. Whenever a force is found either in physics or the life sciences that performs one function, scientists know that there has to be another equal and opposite force for the maintenance of balance and equilibrium. And this is true at the more outward grosser levels, just as it is true in molecular, atomic and subatomic levels. There is acid (H+) balanced by alkaline (OH-), which together form the balance in H+OH or H20, water, the universal substrate of organic life on earth.

There are molecules which are the mirror image of each other, left and right-handed molecules so to speak. In nature, for example, almost all amino acids (of which all proteins are made) are laevorotatory, while artificially produced, laboratory amino acids are both dextro- and laevo-rotatory. The DNA helical molecule, the genetic encoder itself, is only found in a right-handed form, though there is no known scientific reason why this should be so. In many instances, the two kinds of otherwise apparently identical molecule have different properties, even experienced as sweet and bitter, in flavor. The exact role played by this aspect of polarity is not by any means understood, but their effect on electromagnetic radiation, such as light, is to rotate its plane of vibration hence the terms laevo- (left) and dextro- (right) rotatory.

Male and female aspects are polarized, sometimes into separate bodies, as we find in humans and mammals, while some of the lower species are either hermaphrodite or can even change sex according to the needs of their community. Certain fish, for example, are led as females by one dominant male. But when the male dies, one of the females becomes male, complete with a change to the brightly colored, outward male characteristics and social role. The social factors here stimulate, via endocrine secretions, or hormones, a change in basic sexual polarity.

Psychological traits amongst humans are also understandable in terms of their essential polarity, which is usually complex. Thus the characterization of all aspects of male and female as opposing polarities is incorrect. The man may not be the positive, outgoing, expressive partner in a male-female relationship, nor may the woman play the passive, receptive, indrawn role. But what is required for harmony is balance.

In Indian thinking, the polarity or dualism inherent in nature is expressed as the gunas or attributes of mind and matter. In Chinese Taoist philosophy they are thought of as the balance of yin and yang. Rajas guna or yang is the positive, outgoing, expanding polarity while tamas guna or yin is the negative, receptive, in-drawing, cohesive quality. The balance is the sattvas guna, also known as truth or harmony. It is the zero point of origin from which arise the plus and minus of rajas and tamas. In place of the sattvas guna, the Chinese simply talk of the balance of yin and yang. This zero balance point is, however, a real state, with the constituents of the substructure which result in the zero or balanced condition being of great importance in influencing the nature of that balance. In more general terms, the same harmony can be achieved in many ways.

In any rajas or yang activity there comes a point where the outward energy is expended and an in-drawing must occur. Thus the tamas or yin state is a time of consolidation, of building up of resources, of apparent inertia and decay. After which the energy is reversed in action and flows outward once again.

On the downswing of a pendulum, for instance, energy is being expended and the motion is rajas or yang. Then on the upswing, energy is conserved, condensed and stored. When the 'storage' is complete, then this potential energy is expressed outwardly once again and down falls the pendulum in its arc. These cycles may be long or short; and there will be cycles within cycles, within cycles, too, almost ad infinitum.

This duality and cyclic patterning is apparent in all the universe. The evolution of the Big Bang and the Expanding Universe concepts into one of an expanding and contracting universe would mirror exactly the ancient Sanskrit writings concerning pralaya or dissolution. Everything comes into being (rajas, yang) and goes out of being (tamas, yin) and in the process provides the framework or the energy for the next becoming. How avidly we gardeners spread the rotten, dead remains of plants onto the ground so that the new generation of plants may be strong, healthy and vibrant. But how does the dead give rise to life? Because energy is conserved and recoiled, ready for the next spring into existence. And so it is with universal activities our bodies, too, undergo pralaya or dissolution after their alloted span.

Planets and suns coalese, providing the warmth and nourishment necessary for life, and then expand and explode. Then, once again, they condense (it is said) even to the extent of becoming a black hole from which little, if anything, can escape. But ultimately, even the intense concentration of energy in a black hole must give rise to an instability and a need to move outward once again. That is unless a black hole ultimately becomes a point of suction or dematerialization of energy back into the subtle state, part of the mechanism of pralaya. Nothing in the universes of mind and matter is eternal. Ebb and flow are an intrinsic part of the pattern.

In the world of subatomic energies, we find the same principles at work. Within the atom, electrons are paired with protons, 'up-quarks' with 'down-quarks', and so on. Electrons, too are paired with each other in terms of their equal and opposing spin, making an effective zero or balance in their magnetic field. And all other characteristics are balanced, so that existence may continue.

At subtle levels of energy, in pranic, tattvic, emotional and mental energies, the patterning of polarity is also intrinsic and essential. There must be a point, therefore, where the subtle becomes the physical. And this point will lie in the movement, the charge, the mass, the electromagnetic force and other properties of both subatomic and subtle energy. The subatomic, being created out of the subtle, will carry the polarity aspects through the 'curtain' into physical manifestation. And the harmony or balance of these energy fields will be of great importance in the overall balance or harmony of the gross physical matter thus projected or manifested. In our environment therefore, we will perceive good and nourishing vibrations or atmospheres, whilst in our bodies we will experience them as good health and harmony.

The world of the subatomic, therefore, being so close to the subtle, carries within it the necessary seeds of energy which, when rearranged correctly, can bring about a cure of both simple and complex disorders.


Life Patterns & the Chinese Elements

The Chinese understanding of yin and yang is further expanded in their system of elements. Unlike the Sanskrit and tantric descriptions of the tattwas, which represent real energies, the Chinese elements are understood as the manner of expression or essential attributes of energies in manifestation. They represent the patterning and mode of activity of energy, like an analysis of waveform according to polarity. 

Thus their elements of water, wood, fire, metal and earth can best be understood through the example of the seasons, through the swing of a pendulum or through the process of purification of metals - a process known to Chinese chemists long before it was discovered by our European ancestors.

Water energy is winter, the extreme of the yin condition. It is full of stored, potential energy, the dampener of all activity, the receptive medium of all substances, the universal solvent. It is the resting phase of in-drawn tranquility, the meditation before action, the point of motionlessness at the highest level in the swing of the pendulum. It is the potential in a seed, the core of being, ready to expand into life.

Emotionally, and mentally, water energy is our center point, our inner potential, our will to continue in existence and to care for ourselves; it is our point of stillness and balance, of quiet self control.

Physiologically, it is the power inherent in the sperm and the ovum, the biochemical potential locked into the DNA genetic coding, significantly coiled, potential energy ready to spring.

It is physical strength and endurance, representing the solids and fluids of our body, where energy is condensed into material form. It is the strength of the spine that gives the body its focal point of energy distribution. Upon the spine, the head and major sense organs are situated; within the spine lies the bodily messenger system of the nervous system and subtle energy administration centers of the chakras. From the spine are articulated the arms and legs which permit us movement in the physical world, without which we are paralyzed. And from the spine are 'hung' all the major bodily organs, while along its length runs the aorta the conveyor belt through which blood and nutrients are passed to the vibrating tissues of our physical being.

When in balance and conserved, water energy provides the springboard for the next cycle of activity; when deficient, the next cycle lacks tone, quality or flair. It goes off with a fizz, not a bang. A hard, dry winter brings a vibrant and glorious spring, while a warm, wet winter allows rot and disease to penetrate. Low water energy results in physiological, emotional and mental insufficiency and weakness fear, suspicion, lack of resistance, premature aging and a general absence of vitality. Vitality itself is not of the water energy, but its expression requires the cyclic in-drawing and potential coiling of the full yin condition.

This potential for energy storage is dissipated by unbalanced activity in the yang phases excess in all its manifestations, emotional, mental and physical, such that it becomes difficult to withdraw into a resting or water condition. The key to health and happiness lies in balance and a control of the mind and senses by the inner essence of our soul or consciousness.

Water energy, then, represents the state of rest, the full height of the pendulum swing, the quiescence of winter. Quite suddenly, however, movement occurs. The inner potential seeks expression and a new cycle of being manifests. This is the energy of wood. Wood is new yang, the first flush of coming into being. It is Spring and Birth. It is the rapid development of the embryo and the newly-born, the first irrepressible growth of green shoots and leaves from root or branch.

It is the energy of the first movements from rest, the initial acceleration of the pendulum, the expansion into being. Life flourishes carrying all of nature with it. It is the energy behind the procreative urge, the vital power in the early period of creative thought or action; the elation of new growth, the bursting forth of potential, the reawakening of our inner beings. It is both vigorous and invigorating. Who has not felt the special joy of Spring, the energy of new ideas, the expansive expression of freshness? Even the birds sing as they do at no other time and the spring pageant of flowers seems to have a vibrancy of life and color that passes after the first buxom flourish of the early rise to life.

In desert climates, it is the rainy season when all of life, forced into quiescence by the heat and dryness of high summer, is suddenly released. Here we see that the term water can be misleading if taken literally, for it is absence of the watery substance that forces the withdrawal into the yin or resting state. Similarly, with all the other descriptions of the Chinese elements, one has to perceive the meaning through relation to one's own experience. Over-intellectualism and conceptualization will prevent the deeper understanding from breaking through.

Suppression of our woody nature leads to frustration, anger, and even violent emotion manifesting ultimately as dullness, lethargy, depression and toxic conditions within body tissues. Dammed water becomes stagnant. Energy needs to flow for its healthful expression in all the phases of life, or else it becomes destructive. This we see in sociological circumstances where a person's creative talents remain unutilized. One whose work does not permit their expression must find an outlet for them in other areas of their life if their emotional and physical well-being is to be nourished and remain truly healthy. This is the energy patterning and manifestation inherent in 'job satisfaction' and in feelings of fulfilment in one's daily life.

Different natures and personalities have tendencies at various points on the swing of the elemental forces of yin and yang. Some are more 'watery', stay-at-home, quiescent, receptive, sensitive, placid; some are more active, creative, 'woody' or 'fiery'. Each of us is endowed with all of the aspects, but we manifest more of some parts of this spectrum than others. And this is essential for the balanced expression of life: together we make one whole, and life continues. There are those who are meant to be the creators, those who sustain and those who take apart or condense, bringing activity to a state of rest once more, before its energies are dissipated and lost. Nature has places for all the fine divisions of activity within this spectrum, all of which are necessary for the continued well-being and balanced life of our planetary ecology. The diversity of species is, energetically speaking, quite essential, one of the reasons why destruction of natural habitats and species will sooner or later rebound back upon us with an equal and opposite force. It is inevitable, though it may be channeled, if action is not left until it is too late.

After spring, comes deep summer, full yang, fire energy, the on-going outward expression of growth and life. It is the summer garden of Delius with the constant and busy hum of insects, the vibrant flowering and growth of plants, the waving grasses, the joy of being alive, the fullness of being. It is cooperative and balanced interchange; the busy market place; the urge to give, to care and to love. It nourishes our beings, as well as our biochemistry; it is the full flood of life peaceful, flowing activity.

When inhibited or blocked it leads to tension, manifesting itself in emotional and bodily disorders. Energy is often blocked in the neck, shoulders and head leading to soreness; the mind is unquiet and runs riot. It is the tension and over-excitement of the creative person who either cannot give, or is blocked in his giving by a refusal to accept in those around him or her. It can be a direct personal selfishness or an obstruction in the need to give. More frequently it is a combination of both. Giving is thus its own reward, for we thereby nourish ourselves, in a very real and energetic sense. If the full and wholesome cycle of our fire energy does not find adequate expression, then hyperactivity and a tendency to overextend ourselves is the end result, with symptoms of sleeplessness, hysteria and emotional problems, with a feeling of the head about to burst. Physiologically it is 'living on adrenaline', a hyperactive metabolism, an acid system and much more besides.

The solution lies in balancing one's life, finding ways to give of oneself, of cooperative activity with one's family and associates, of finding points of harmony and expanding them across the structure of one's life. And physiologically one can give release to pent up energies by taking exercise, seeking appropriate therapy, careful adjustment of diet, modifying one's living patterns and, if one can, meditation.

The high speed and the pressures of our modern life have made imbalance in the outgoing expression of the 'fire' energy, a symptom of our times, something we all need to be aware of and bring into balance.

Metal energy is the time of fruitfulness, of harvest, of the achievement of objectives. In ancient Chinese chemistry, gold and other metals were first subjected to fire, to intense heat, in the process of their purification. Fire itself is created out of wood, which is burnt. As the metal runs out into ingots, it is cooled with water, thus stabilizing the metal energy. So this cycle, common to the ancient Chinese mind, may perhaps be the basis for the terms used to describe the changing flow of yin and yang.

Metal is the nostalgia of autumn, when energy is moving inwards once again. There is an automatic shedding of that which has served its purpose. The leaf has drawn the energy of sunlight into the heart of the plant and now dies. The seed and fruit come to fullness, potential energy for the next cycle. Frequently, seeds require the hard frost of winter before they can sprout: the cycle has reached completion, but the energy needs deep recoiling and maturation before it can burst forth once again into vigorous new growth. The time of metal energy allows us to draw in our resources, letting go of what is useless discarded autumn leaves before entering the water phase of deep stillness, receptivity and potential. If we are not nourished by our activities, we become tired and lacking in energy. Neither our mental, emotional nor physical life possess vibrancy or tone. We drift from day to day, feeling over-stretched by our creative, yang or busy phases and depressed or lethargic during the quiet times. If we better understood the patterns of our life, we would respond with greater awareness to the processes and live in harmony with the changing seasons of our being.

Similarly, would we better understand both nature and our fellow humans, allowing life the space it needs when called for and being on hand to provide support when our own input is required. Blind adherence to conditioned, sociological patterns and expectations leave us without the inner strength of adaptability to changing circumstances and moods, and lacking in intuition, finesse and timing in our most essential interactions and activities. Metal energy allows us to let go of emotional attachments that no longer carry meaning or relevance. Autumn, therefore, holds the pangs of nostalgia, even occasioning fits of grief or melancholy as we try to hold on to what is passing from us; but this mood, when correctly understood, can lead to inner sweetness as we follow the current within, without resistance, to peaceful receptivity and calm.

Often, we are afraid to enter within ourselves in meditative repose, but keep ourselves unnecessarily occupied, frittering away our precious life in trifles, failing to follow the call of our inner being as we follow the ingrained habits of a million or more lifetimes. Perhaps we think that life' will pass us by, if we take time out for achieving inward composure and letting go. Tensions develop as we hold onto what is gone and the frustrated emotion is stored as blocked energy patterns in the chest and upper thoracic areas of our body and spine, causing pain and respiratory difficulties. Over-release is exemplified by a flood of self-indulgent emotion, often accompanied by sobbing. These are the tears that are a part of the drama of the emotionally insecure, peeping through weeping fingers to gauge the effect of the scene.

Within all these four major phases, there lies a balance. Each one, when manifest in harmony with the others and in its due season, fulfils an essential role in the outworking of life's energies. This essence or balance is known to the Chinese as the earth element. It is akin to the sattvas guna of Indian thought. It is that which maintains all that is positive and healthful in each of the four phases. It is the center of being within /each, where energy in not wasted but used or conserved according to the best requirements of the moment. It is a pendulum in regular swing, not disturbed, wobbling or out of synchronization. Rigorously, it is the still point of suspension which permits the pendulum to swing in harmonious activity and without which tamas and rajas, or yin and yang, oscillating motion cannot arise.

Earth, therefore, is the energy of healthful ease, the bodily harmony that manifests as well-being, at all levels. It is a well-toned musculature, a clear mind, a vibrant circulation of blood and body nutrients accompanied by the easy elimination of waste products. It is the steady inbreathing and out-breathing that accompanies a peaceful heart. The earth energy gives one a broad and tolerant outlook on all of life, a balanced perspective that sees one through the changing tides with an easy and understanding mind. Overabundance of apparent balance leads to nit-picking and obsessive concern over detail in an egocentric attempt to achieve equilibrium, while under-activity is manifested in an over-tolerance to that which is clearly unhealthy or incorrect.

It is quite clear, therefore, that these Chinese 'elements' represent very real states of life, a more intricate mapping of the ebb and flow of yin and yang than is expressed in simple terms of duality. Within all life and energetic processes, these patterns are inherent; the one is present within the other. All energy is movement and all life is energy and consciousness. Creation means activity and polarity, and these elemental patterns are found as the intrinsic, essential 'beingness' of motion, from the smallest particles of the subatomic realm, to the in-breathing and out-breathing of the universe; from the inner regions of the higher mental domains to the vagaries of our human thought and emotion; from the primal, first created energy to the subtle essences that maintain our bodies as expressions of that inner life force.  


Sattvas Guna The Zero Point of Balanced Potential

It may need to be emphasized that the nature of the sattvas guna is not exactly that of the harmonious sum of the rajas and tamas aspects. Rather, it is the point of balance that gives rise to these creative and inertial principles. It is not so much the product or result of the combination of the two, but more the balanced potential out of which tamas and rajas both manifest. The harmony of sattvas is therefore more real than the activity and inertia of rajas and tamas, though it is itself created and therefore ultimately unreal.

In the step-down process of creation from within, the sattvas guna is seen in the zero points of the inner skies, or akash, which we find as the physical vacuum giving rise to the grossly manifest physical world. It is also the point of suspension in a pendulum and the fulcrum of a balance or see-saw.

In mathematics, it means that the zero occupies a more primary point of reality than its expansion into those factors which arise from that zero. In science and electronics, it tells us that balanced potential energy of any kind occupies a point of creation for many possibilities and that if we can draw on that potential directly without the need to first express it in action then our system will provide us with cleaner and finer energy. It would be akin to extracting or transforming the potential energy present in a body of water because of its height and gravitational attraction, without adopting the grosser approach of pouring it down a hole to drive a turbine, (i.e., hydroelectric power stations). It also means that we could extract energy directly from the creative vacuum rather than naively wasting a difference in electrical potential to pump electrons along wires, (the flow of current electricity).

In this regard, one can see that the yin (tamas) and yang (rajas) of the Chinese must be understood within the context of Tao as the inward creative essence. Tao when expressed as the balance point in the world of duality also represents the same as the sattvas guna. It is only when balance exists as something underlying and relatively more real that the play of duality (yin-yang or tamas-rajas) can be manifest. The important presence of this balance is often forgotten or misunderstood in modern Western interpretations where yin and yang are seen in a more conceptual fashion. The three gunas are three real energy currents in creation, not as rivers of moving substance, but as patterners of the Divine, Uncreated potential into the worlds of form, both within and without. The primary creative principle being that of the Word, the Logos, the Name or the Shabda.

Thus, in the Chinese elemental model, the sattvas guna is also expressed as earth, the balanced potential within all states. Actually, Chinese mysticism is said to have been derived from Indian sources, just as Buddhism was adopted in China and modified according to their local idiom. This explains why the Indian manner of understanding is (generally speaking) more deeply mystical, because it relates directly to the inward energetic structure of things, while the Chinese manner of thinking is more conceptual.  


Karma, Energy & Reincarnation

Everything is created from within itself. The ancient Hermetic (2) axiom: "As above, so below", holds true under all circumstances.  'Within'  and  'above',  are equivalent, both meaning the same: vibrationally and in essence, closer to the Source. The Source, being one, is beyond duality. It is eternal, complete and self-existent. The idea of causality is totally absent, there being no differentiation. In all lower or outward manifestations, however, the prime law is of cause and effect both horizontally at the same level of energy vibration and vertically from within to without, and without to within.

(2)Hermes Trismegistus is a Greek name for the Egyptian god, Thoth, who is credited with various mystical works.

This law of cause and effect is known to Indian philosophy as karma. Karma means 'action' or 'doing'. Concomitant with duality and polarity is motion and difference, and in the causative links between all motion and action lies this law of karma. Karma is the 'interstitial' law governing all activity and inherent in the manifestations of all  matter and energy, which exist only because it is moving, causally, between opposites. Even apparently motionless matter around us is known by modern physics to consist of moving 'particles' and vibrating energy fields.

In our life, we perform actions, both physical and mental/emotional. All our actions make a groove or impression upon our organ of thought, or antashkarans. Severe actions make a strong groove; minute and inconsequential actions make a groove of a light nature. Our thoughts, emotions and desires fulfiled or unfulfiled make a similar mark upon our mental apparatus.

When we die, this record of our life impressed upon our mind remains with the soul. The body returns to the earth, the pranas and subtle energies 'evaporate' like waves from agitated water when it becomes still; but the record remains, a unique fingerprint of all our activities, thoughts and desires.

This 'black box', the energy plexus, then becomes the energy center out of which our next life is fabricated. It is the source of our destiny, our pralabdh karma, the inner design of our outer life. At our death, if there are too many seeds of actions from the past life to be accommodated in the next lifetime, then the resultant energy or karmic pattern is transposed to a higher level of energy within the higher mind structure. It becomes our store of karmas, our sinchit karma. Thus, in future lives, our destiny is drawn partially from the immediately preceding life and partially from the sinchit karmas, being the sum total of unworked-out karma from a multitude of previous lives.

As life succeeds life, the complexity of this energy patterning becomes so immense and so clouding to the higher energies of the Universal Mind and hence of the soul deeper still within, that we become slaves of our karma, our destiny. Contrary to much western thinking upon this subject, this does not imply a fatalistic approach to life; quite the reverse. Man is given arms and legs and is 'expected' has the capacity to act according to the highest ideals, but behind it all is a deterministic "order and patterning.

If man really had free-will, this world would be utter chaos. Every desire and whimsy would be fulfiled without delay. We would be masters of our lives. Nothing would be unexpected no illness, no unhappiness, no death at least not for ourselves! What we may wish upon other people would be another matter! We appear to have a free will because of our illusory sense of ego, of self, and as long as that sense of self-identity remains, then we have to make decisions according to our best discrimination. This world is the plane of action, and act we must, whether we like it or not. And somewhere within the plexus of action and reaction, we have enough conditioned free-will to be responsible for our actions and thoughts, which making new or kryaman karmas provides the mechanism for rebirth on this plane of existence, after our death.

This subject has innumerable ramifications, beyond the scope of this book, but the aspect which interests us here is that all our health and state of bodily harmony and disharmony is conditioned, through our mental apparatus, into our emotional and physical layers of being. It is destined. And we are also destined and meant to struggle with it. This is a part of the game of life.

So, all our illness or health, come in a very real sense from within ourselves. The vibrations of our karmas are reflected and molded into every cell of our body and every action we perform. Not only that, but everything that happens to us is a manifestation of what lies within our minds. We have created the pattern of our so-called outer lives. Our lives reflect our mind and personality in exact detail.

How often do we observe that the same patterns happen to ourselves, our friends and associates, time and time again? Some are born lucky, some contented, some are driven, some always attract misfortune. How? Psychologists are right when they say that it is the function of our personality and subconscious mind that makes things happen to us. But without an understanding of the inner processes of karma and its outworking through the energy fields of the physical plane, the picture is incomplete.

Our bodies and state of health, therefore, are vibrationally patterned by our inner karmas, or the energy patterning which provides the character of our life, from within. All understanding, therefore, of these processes must bear in mind that the underlying pattern which makes an individual unique cannot be totally changed (unless that is also destined, karmically!). It can only be brought into a greater or lesser degree of balance, also according to the destiny of that soul.

All approaches to health, therefore, are those of the philanthropist who attempts to make life better for the inhabitants of the prison. They are attempts to achieve balance. This effort is of great importance, to relieve suffering in the world and in one's own individual life. But the greatest philanthropist of all is the one with the key to, the prison, who lets all the prisoners escape from harsh justice. But this is the role of the deepest mystic and its discussion is, once again, beyond the scope of this small volume.


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