Jordan B. Peterson’s finest moment (from my point of view) came in his answer to the last question of the lecture’s Q & A session. He came very close to touching on the tradition which explains his mystical experience as well as Jacob’s dream. Almost.
People who are interested in grand narratives have pointed out that there’s a set of common mythological themes across many cultures. They can be the same on one level, different on another. But humanity coalesces on what’s the same over a reasonable period of time.
. . . there’s this constant force [literally, energy structure] that makes our ethical presuppositions converge. And then that’s automatically expressed in those stories.
In one way, he is correct. But in another, significant way, not. Stories take on the images of each specific culture. In that way they are different. What they share in common, however, is not myth or archetype but SCIENCE, meaning “with knowledge.” Jacob’s ladder is certainly a striking example.
Lacking this universal, underlying science, humanity cannot be properly, completely understood. Psychologies remain incomplete and inaccurate. They have grievous blind spots.
Put another way, Huston Smith, premier comparative religion teacher and advocate of what he calls “timeless wisdom,” wrote:
Twenty years ago I wrote a book, The Religions of Man, which presented the world’s enduring traditions in their individuality and variety. It has taken me until now to see how they converge. . . .
What then emerges is a remarkable unity underlying the surface variety. When we look at human bodies, what we normally notice is their surface features, which of course differ markedly. Meanwhile on the insides, the spines that support these motley physiognomies are structurally very much alike.
It is the same with human outlooks. Outwardly they differ, but inwardly it is as if an “invisible geometry” has everywhere been working to shape them to a single truth.
This “invisible geometry” is literally the snake-like intersections of energy pathways crisscrossing and intersecting along the spine. They link the seven centers in a pattern strikingly similar to the DNA double-helix represented in the Caduceus, the healing staff of the winged-messenger god Mercury, familiar now as the symbol of modern medicine.
Ancient Himalayan sages mapped the internal energy transformers knows as chakras (“wheels).” Know how to activate them, they taught. You’ll experience enlightenment.
. . . Though recorded in ancient scripture, sages experienced vibrant spinning wheels of energy in deep meditative states as a fact of inner reality. Their reports are not the same as poetic symbolism, mythology or parable. Chakras exist as literal fact, integral to quantum inner life as an experience which can and has been replicated by countless practitioners over time.
Chakras are key to personal growth and psycho-spiritual evolution.
Genuine transformation can’t be accomplished by mental speculation or acts of sheer will power. It occurs in the deeper layers of the Life Wheel which have, disastrously, been made taboo in Western civilizations.
Einstein called this blind spot “the fateful fear of metaphysics.” The fateful-fear of self-awareness comes in its train, sometimes justified, most often times NOT.
Descriptions of heaven’s gates opening and unfolding lotus flowers which Dr. Peterson experienced in dream state come straight out of the ancient Vedas. The seventh chakra located above the head is described as a Thousand Petaled Lotus. To mystic vision, it looks something like this:
Seven basic chakras are aligned along the human spine and within the skull. In ascending order, each is associated with an increasingly more sophisticated state of consciousness and related emotional/psychological issues. Musicians correlate them with the tones of the scale; artists with geometrical shapes and colors of the spectrum.
The 7th or crown chakra is located at the top of the head and is related to the induction of spiritual energy into the body. Said to control every aspect of the body and mind, it is associated with full enlightenment and union with God. This chakra is normally not fully opened in most humans, although pictures of saints and other spiritual beings with”halos” are depictions of activated crown chakras.
Here’s a picture of all seven, putting the heavenly ruling seventh center in context:
In the creative process, the non-physical precedes and drives the physical. Western physicians psychologists greatly would benefit from understanding the correlations of each subtle energetic center with equivalent mental and biological conditions.
Put the other way, lacking this foundation, their understanding of human nature is incomplete. Seriously skewed.
The other six are briefly described:
- The 1st or root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is involved with the physical process of elimination and the organs that work involved in that function. It is the chakra associated with the emotional energy of survival, as well as with grounding to the physical plane.
- The 2nd or sacral chakra is located about three inches below the navel. This chakra corresponds to sexual energy and the reproductive organs. It is also associated with creativity and intrinsic life force.
- The 3rd or solar-plexus chakra is located at the navel and several inches above. Its energy is associated to digestion and the digestive organs, personal power, and self mastery.
- The 4th or heart chakra it located in the center of the chest. On the physical level, it corresponds with the lungs and heart. On the emotional level, it expresses as the energy of compassion.
- The 5th or throat chakra is located in the throat area, at the base of the neck. It is the center with communication, speech, and hearing. The ears are associated with this chakra, as well as the vocal apparatus.
- The 6th or brow chakra is located in the center of the forehead, between and slightly above the eyes. Often called “the third eye,” it is associated with imagination and psychic abilities, along with mental activity and brain function.
Each center represents a stage in human evolution. As consciousness grows and ascends to higher levels of awareness, human potentials expand. In an equitable world, people are allowed to live and serve according to their level of consciousness. Qualifications for leadership roles rightfully depend more upon inner awareness than IQ.
A lateral view of chakras aligned along the spinal column reflects the qualitative differences in focus of awareness amongst well-known psychologists.
From Quantum Paradigm perspective, the chakras align with the levels of the Life Wheel like this:
As written earlier:
. . the Western way of ignoring the reality and influence of chakras makes life’s journey far more difficult than need be. But it doesn’t cause them to cease to exist. Despite scientific prohibitions, most of us still have glimpses of transcendent experience, whether in dream state or through the arts.
For example, music moves us because its resonant sound sets the chakras in sympathetic vibration. Inspired music has a healing, uplifting affect on the nervous system, the emotions, and the soul. It is not coincidence that the seven notes of the Western chromatic scale correspond with the vibratory rates of the seven major chakras. Indian ragas intentionally draw on chakra correlations to soothe emotions or uplift the spirit. In the West, similar effects of inspired music have been described as The Mozart Effect.
In addition, the (albeit too-often unconscious) effect of the chakras on human experience is particularly strong in the symbolic, visual arts –the full spectrum from fashion and home-making to interior design, architecture and fine arts. This in due in large part to the fact that the chakras are associated with geometric shapes, as well as with the rainbow colors of the light spectrum.
Patricia West is author of The Common Sense Book of Change and Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change. She’s currently working on The Phoenix Response: Dying To Be Reborn – in the Same Lifetime.