What follows is the irrefutable answer to bogus post-modernist views. Psychologists’ tool boxes are incomplete without it. Political theorists’ speculations are void.
Here’s the plan: I’ll give you the remedy up front, then paint with a broad brush its applications and implications. As a wrap up, I’ll ask why the answer has been overlooked, listing and dismissing arguments (prejudices) that have blinded us to this answer. A P.S. suggests why this post is longer than most.
The key I’m referring to is embedded in Asian teachings that predate Christ’s incarnation by thousands of years. (Mind you, this remedy in no way conflicts with his teachings. Quite the contrary. I’ll get back to this important point in good time.)
Interestingly, Jordan Peterson opened the door to acceptance of this investigation. In describing the classic Tai Chi Tu, the Chinese yin-yang symbol, he refuted the familiar objection that the idea is too abstract. It’s “not real” in the sense that it can’t be quantified or measured. He fired back, it’s hyper-real. It is the substratum which underlies and supports physical reality.
So too are the chakras. Ancient Hindus mapped the internal energy transformers knows as chakras (“wheels).” Know how to activate them, they taught. You’ll experience enlightenment. (This opens up the subjects of Einstein, the science of human energy transformation, and psychologists as agents of positive change – all of which I’ll also get back to briefly later on.)
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 inner life as an experience which can and has been replicated by countless practitioners over time.
Here’s the basic picture of seven subtle energy centers aligned along the spine. It sums up the evolutionary stages of human development from base to crown. Increasingly more sophisticated psychological states are assigned to each of the centers, as are specific emotions, endocrine glands, internal organs and life issues.
Albeit subtle (which is different from “abstract”), this image, like the DNA imprinting of cells, is intrinsic to the very structure of our souls. It includes both the vertical alignment of centers and their interdependence. Its hierarchal nature can no more be debated than can the importance of breathing. Further, the vital structure of inner organization naturally reflects outwardly, mirrored in analogous family and extended social relationships.
So. Arguments that hierarchical relationships are invalid or that value systems have been negated, however apparently seductive to some, are WRONG! FALSE! The image of chakra organization supports the conclusion drawn in Be an Instrument of Light:
God is not
and could not possibly be
Being made in the image of God,
YOU are the living proof
of God’s existence.
Before you reflexively dismiss this imagery as foreign to Western thinking, let me remind you that, though overlooked, it is intrinsic to Western civilization’s deepest roots. The caduceus is associated with both Greek mythology and the Western medical profession. It serves as a vestigial reminder of the medical sciences which are shared in common by the Western and Asian healing arts, dating even further back to ancient Egypt’s Hermetic tradition.
In Greek mythology, the caduceus is the healing staff of Mercury, messenger of the gods. It links heaven and earth. The axis of the staff represents the human spine. The pair of snakes winding around the axis represent alternating, cyclical patterns of negative and positive (yin and yang) energy currents.
(These twin currents regulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which explains why focusing the eyes where they intersect at the nostrils evens the breath, calms the mind and heals the body.)
The six chakras are the intersecting points where the curving snake-like energy forces meet and cross at the axis. These are the major centers of transformation and evolution. The wings atop the axis represent its integrating ruler: the crown chakra.
Another view brings it closer to home. Dr. Peterson also opened the door to this picture, which explains the different orientations (he calls them temperaments) amongst the psychologist’s approaches in his “tool box,” each applied at discretion according to individual client needs:
This suggestive picture could be unpacked at length. For those familiar with psychological traditions, however, it speaks volumes unto itself.
The concept of Invisible Geometry, by the way, comes from comparative religion teacher Huston Smith, who 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.
Much is available on the web for those interested in researching the details. What’s relevant to the forward movement of this particular discussion is that this picture shows the innate hierarchal nature of human development and social organization. Not coincidentally, the highest center, associated with Christ consciousness, is called the crown center. It rules over all lesser states of being.
Next in line is the Ajna or Command Center, usually referred to as the “third eye.” It receives messages from above and coordinates functions of the lower centers.
In an article to be published in Prabuddha Bharata, I expanded:
Now, the Western way of ignoring and denying the reality and influence of chakras makes life’s journey far more difficult than need be. But it can’t and doesn’t cause them to cease to exist. Despite scientific prohibitions, most of us still have glimpses of transcendent experience, most often through the arts.
For example, music moves us because its 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 lift 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 visual arts, including 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 specific colors of rainbow spectrum.
The Yes, AND was originally a response to a JBP video: “Bravo, JBP – But there’s more!”
Yes. This is necessary, but not sufficient. My work compliments and completes yours. Knowledge, as written elsewhere, is a two-way street.
Make no mistake. I’m a great fan.
But there’s more. I MUST hope and trust that, as the declared truth-seeker and teller that he is, he’ll welcome the opportunity to learn and grow.
In one video, JBP says he’s deliberately working to improve himself, taking advice from friends who advise when he comes on too angry, too this or that. But these comments are at the level of presentation. What I’m addressing is deeper and directional. One approach starts from the outside and works inwards. The other starts from the inside and radiates outwards.
As the medieval Great Debate detailed in The Highway to Heaven is a Two-Way Street concluded, there is no contradiction. Truth travels in an infinite loop, joining surface with center, highest to lowest. So, no matter where you start, you’ll eventually cover all the bases and arrive at the same destination.
I’m guessing that limits on his approach might be intentional — strategic and necessary. His options are restricted by the professional hats he wears as clinical psychologist and teaching professor at an established university.
Whatever the case, I am free to take the next steps.
Here’s a good example of what I mean. The Youtube video How To Transform is packed with statements that beg to be unpacked – taken the logical next step that leads outside the domains of empirical science.
What got my immediate attention was his mention of the phoenix. That happens to be the subject of a book on my drawing board, The Phoenix Response.
Referring to sorting oneself out, Dr. Peterson says:
. . . you have to allow yourself to shake off those things about you that you might be pathologically attached to – habits and people, for that matter, ways of thinking . . .
Immediately I thought, Aha! Because Rethinking Survival is premised on an Einstein quote: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”
You have to allow yourself to shake those off. That’s more like a burning. That’s why the phoenix is the symbol. It’s old and it deteriorates, bursts into flame and then it’s reborn.
Well, do you want to be reborn? Do you want to burst into flame?
The answer to that generally is NO. But that’s the wrong answer. The right answer is, You let all that nonsense burn away.
Agreed. This is the hero’s journey, facing the challenges of Chapel Perilous, knowing that “the only way out is through.” Facing fears is part of the hero’s territory.
Here’s my summary or the phoenix book:
The phoenix is a mythical, magical fiery bird that recreates itself, repeatedly rising from its own ashes to begin life anew. An inspiration to self-healers, The Phoenix Response details the ultimate survival option that always remains open, even in a dangerous world which too often compels suicide.
Using time-tested methods, we can continue to repair and rejuvenate, even in the face of overwhelming stress. Yielding before life threats, we can die to the old – to be reborn IN THIS LIFETIME, over and over, each time better than before.
The Phoenix Response draws on universal wisdom written in every human heart, sought after as if lost, and esteemed as a priceless treasure by those who succeed in actualizing the hope of self-renewal.. . . anyone who deeply desires positive personal change can activate the archetypal Life Wheel, going deep within and returning to daily life again, transformed and renewed.
Just one sobering caution, however, before moving on. Ancient practices regarded each day as the microcosm of a life complete. They began and ended the day’s cycle with book-ends of prayer and preparation. Thus made themselves ready to meet the closings of larger-scale cycles whenever they should come, as prelude to the next day’s awakening.
Similarly, we can no more forestall the cyclical downturn we’re now engaged in than we could stop the sun and moon from making their rounds. Though the phoenix can usher in new beginnings, it knows better than to resist the call to transformation.
Politics and Unnatural Change
For a lighter angle, I’ll share the famous Upanishad story about blind men and an elephant as it applies to atheism. I refer to it in part to lay the groundwork for another application. I’m quoting from “The Ant and the Elephant,” a section in the “Atheism Answered” chapter of Rethinking Survival.
An ancient parable from India captures the dilemma of human inadequacy in the face of Truth. Five blind men were introduced to a gigantic elephant. After touching only one part, each reported his experience.
The one who embraced a leg said elephants are round and rough, like the trunk of a tree. The next, who felt a tusk, said elephants are hard and sharp, like a sword. The one who felt an ear described elephants as thin, flat and flexible like a fan. The next, who grabbed hold of the tail, was certain elephants are like ropes, perhaps even whips. The last, who felt its belly concluded that elephants are thick and heavy, like walls.
Now add to the mix a contemporary riddle which captures the humor of human gropings. Question: “What is the height of ambition?” Answer: “An ant climbing up an elephant’s leg with sex on its mind.”
Next question: “What’s the height of fulfillment?” Answer: “The ant climbing back down the elephant’s leg with a smile on its face.”
Just so, we’re like blind beggars, groping towards fulfillment and comprehension of universal Truth. We mistakenly generalize our partial perceptions of a reality which none can see in entirety. We’re like ants who aspire far beyond our limits, sometimes fortunate enough to enjoy a taste of satisfaction.
Heated arguments between religionists and atheists are equally noisy, short-sighted and futile. Each disputant has a partial piece of the larger puzzle. But only that. Their antics — posturings and posings — would be comical, were it not for the extraordinary waste of time and energy lost to creative endeavors.
Atheists who deny the existence of God are equally ignorant and silly. They might as well argue that atoms have no nucleus, or that the solar system has no sun. It’s like ants presuming to deny the existence of elephants.
Their superficial (often angry, self-pitying and self-serving) arguments have no affect whatsoever on the eternal center which always was, IS, and always will be.
Have authority-cloaked religionists, for thousands of years, abused the name of God to excuse abuse of power, claiming divine rights for human rulers — be it European kings, Chinese emperors, Russian tzars, Arabian caliphs, or whomever? Certainly.
Have their enemies repeatedly wrested temporal power away from its holders, only to abuse it in even worse ways themselves? Definitely.
Have humans suffered unspeakable cruelties and injustices at the hands of fellow humans from time immemorial? Sadly so. Continuous upheavals on the surface of the wheel are part of life. It’s nothing new.
But the existence of the unchanging silent center continues into infinity, regardless of what’s happening at the surface. Whether you honor it with awe in simple silence or choose a particular name for it makes no difference. It remains the same.
If you’re totally disillusioned by bad luck or the particular version of religion enforced by your elders, your quarrel is with the ways of the world and its human institutions. Your misfortunes don’t reflect on the Creator’s existence, which is a different subject. God continues to broadcast. Whether you listen remains your choice, the exercise of God-given Free Will.
Here’s a quick summary critique of Saul Alinsky’s concept of “change.” It’s literally antithetical to the Natural Law embodied in the Chinese Book of Change.
It would seem that Edward Bernays — the so-called “father of spin” — was a foremost henchman of the invading aliens. If so, Saul Alinsky was their number one point man. The “coach” was a self-proclaimed radical.
In a twist of our poor abused language, Christ was rightly regarded as “radical” in his day. He would be today as well (in the original meaning) were he to walk among us now, because “radical” originally meant “going to the foundation or source of something; fundamental.”
That’s a far cry from Alinsky’s extremist meaning of “radical.” He was intentionally the antithesis of Christ, going so far as to acknowledge Lucifer in the dedication to Rules for Radicals: ‘the very first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.’
His logic is so twisted that a critique would have to move line-by-line to unravel his spiderweb of tangled assumptions. The attempt would be like wading in quicksand. A Jesuit-trained logician would be hard-pressed to come out clean. Yet Rules for Radicals is sometimes made required reading for impressionable teenagers.
In the first chapter, Alinsky stated his exact purpose, namely to coach those who “want to change the world” from what it is “to what they believe it should be.”
‘In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people. . . We are talking about a mass power organization which will change the world . . [emphasis added.]
Here’s part of my analysis:
Note the use of the “royal we.” This is a megalomaniac talking. He wants to change the entire world. His attitude is towards power holders is openly aggressive. He doesn’t just want to take what they hold. He wants to seize it. To violently “change the world” by means of a “mass power organization” makes no positive sense. History tells us that repeatedly, when power is seized from one set of Haves, it merely passes to another set of worse ones. Never, ever has it been “given” to “the people.” This assumption-packed premise is an extraordinary feat of tragedy-fraught hubris.
First off, what blind, ant-like mortal would dare to think that he can comprehend what, in its entirety, the world — the elephant — really is? What human could possibly be so foolish as to think she is qualified — on the basis of one puny view — to judge what it should be? Alinksy’s rules extended an invitation for blind mortals to jump in feet first where good angels know far better than to tread.
Second, who really understands change? Many bandy the word about. But it’s a profound science of which few have in-depth knowledge. Confucius dedicated a lifetime to understanding the dynamics of Natural Law encoded in the perennial Book of Change.
So, for starters, the “belief” that anyone can change the world from what he assumes it is to what he assumes it should be is unspeakably misguided. Building on this false premise, Alinsky then fueled the undermining alien arsenal with a full battery of destructive tactics. In essence, political radicals should feel “free” to violate the ten commandments. The ends (getting what you want) justify any means.
His version of social change is engineered by stirring up conflict. Use fabricated information to bear false witness against inconvenient neighbors. Alinsky advocates scapegoating, not unlike the dynamic which propelled Nazis to power. Create the illusion of an outside enemy as the way to unify your base. (How is that for the ultimate double-speak? Conflict is the opposite of unity.)
Transformation and Psychologists
Looking back on the story of blind men and the elephant, I now recognize that the seers who told this story were alluding to the chakras, telling us that the world looks very different, depending upon which set of filters you’re seeing through.
That’s why, for example, the world seen through the first chakra makes sense to a behaviorist like Skinner. Whereas, seen through a more evolved lens, human potentials look quite different. Thus, in The Carl Rogers Reader we find this prophetic comparison:
Skinner argued for the intelligent and hopefully humane use of reinforcement theory to direct the course of the individual’s and the society’s development. . . freedom and choice are mere illusions. . . Rogers argued that freedom and choice were not illusory but real phenomena, and that a science that dehumanizes the individual and attempts to control human development paves the way for dictators and despots to move society inexorably toward a totalitarian, Orwellian future.
Now, it’s important that Jordan Peterson holds Rogers in high regard. The video called A Psychotherapist Is An Engineer Of The Soul is well worth quoting:
. . . read the damn therapists, man. Those people were smart. It’s like each of them gives you a different tool box. They’re not scientific theories, exactly.
But as a clinician, you’re not a scientist. You’re an engineer of the soul. That’s a better way of thinking about it. Because it’s applied. It’s like engineering. It’s an applied science. So that makes it not a science exactly. You can use scientific knowledge. But you’re still aiming at the good. Right? That’s what you are doing as a therapist.
You say, Look. You already know that things aren’t as good as they need to be. We’re going to work on that. We’re here to make things better. And I’m going to help you figure out how to make things better. Then I’ll listen to you. And we’ll move towards some place that’s lighter and better.
Then you have tools you can use. Those great psychotherapists, man. Those people had their 10,000 hours. They all come at it from slightly different temperamental perspectives. [chakra filters!] Like Jung’s work is really useful for dealing with people who are high in openness. You have an open client? Jung works. If you have a conservative client, forget it. It’s a whole different thing.
His attitude reaffirms the conclusion drawn in Therapists as Positive Change Agents. Given Alinsky’s nefarious influence on politicians and governments, you don’t dare look to them for positive change. Nor to religionists with their scripture-defying double-talk about “social justice.”
Filling a glaring need, therapists have been obliged to take on that important role:
In the past, those in psychological pain, suffering from self-doubt and looking for a better way to live, would have turned to sages or kings for guidance. At this stage in history, however, therapists as healers (meaning “to make whole”) are often the best secular refuge.
Just imagine, if you will, how even more effective they’d be if they added chakras and the Natural Law of Change to their tool chests.
Why Asian Sciences Are Overlooked and Undervalued
Many in the West devalue Asian teachings, though in some ways, they are more sophisticated than our own. Their sages obtained knowledge from the inside, in prayer and meditation. Unfortunately, this inward focus, taken to yin extremes, explains the material poverty of the masses, which materialist Westerners find abhorrent.
But extreme-yang Westerners swing to the opposite and equal mistake. Making a deity of empirical science, they acknowledge only the “reality” of that which can be quantified and measured. As a result, generally speaking, the vast majority enjoy a relatively high standard of living, but suffer terribly from spiritual poverty.
Here’s a picture of the way each approach fractures the Life Wheel. Extreme yin religionists value the center of the Life Wheel to the exclusion of the material surface. Extreme yang materialists go the other way, valuing material wealth while denying, if not defying, the existence of its Creator.
Reminiscent of the Hindu parable, extremists are blind to the whole, mistaking a limited experience of a part for all there is. Asians, atheists, theists all have partial understandings of reality.
Now, Christ did not make this mistake, though Western religionists who call themselves Christians often do. Nor could he possibly have sanctioned the out-of-hand rejection of Asian wisdom as if pagan and therefore “unChristian.”
I’ve been told by one who knows, OA, that few people actually understood what Christ was about during his lifetime. Even fewer can claim to completely fathom the vastness of his essence now. But surely, to the extent ancient teachings contain part of universal Truth, they partake of Christ’s essence. For Christ Consciousness pervades the entire field of creation, the full chakra spectrum of potential experience.
Since, as he told us, he existed before and will endure after this Earth, permeating the entire world, how could the truth teachings of distant times and civilizations not be part of Christ? I love this cartoon, in which the Christ corrects the blind men. He gets it! (Now it’s up to the rest of us to take the hint!)
So let’s drop bogus excuses for overlooking the validity of Asian teaching. They speak to fatal blind spots in Western knowledge banks. They are no more foreign or outdated than are the teachings held up to us as the foundations of Western civilization. To reject them is to forfeit the immeasurable benefits to be gained from restoring that yin part of the metaphorical elephant to our yang arsenal.
It’s the abuse of the teachings, the corruption that has occurred in every time and place, the overlay of dross and foolishness which we must shed. Do this to let pristine Truth rise once more out of the ashes of outworn customs, ignorant prejudices and greedy exploitation.
Wheels within wheels within wheels. Got the picture? : )
Now, here’s what I’ve been trying to get across to JBP in one form or another. Christ, like many before and after him – from ancient Hindus to Mayans – spoke about end times. However detestable, like Judas, today’s postmodernist neo-Marxists have role to play. Crossing swords with them isn’t the Phoenix way of redemption.
The irrefutable answer to bogus postmodernist views is helpful only in so far as it used to prevent deceivers from confusing those who serve truth. It’s not going to “change” the course of history as it has long been foretold.
Resigning oneself to the inevitable crash and burn of civilization is a sad but necessary preliminary step which must be endured as the prelude to its rebirth. Titanic-like victims have chosen to take a joy ride on an ill-equipped, fated ship. Squandering regretful attention on their fate is fruitless. The wiser to choice is to devote limited resources of time and attention to what can be redeemed.
Christ compared today’s end times to the fate of Noah’s civilization. The wise heeded warnings and survived. Fools partied on, oblivious to danger until the flood waters rose up to carry them off. Now as then, those deaf to calling and hardened against Truth will choose to party on, oblivious. It’s their choice. And their consequences.
Let us, instead, choose to follow Noah’s example. Prepare for what coming. Preserve the timeless teachings and protect those willing to listen and follow Truth. The process necessarily begins one person at a the time, living according to a complete and accurate reality paradigm in which yin and yang ways of knowing complete each other, bringing the music of life once again into harmony.
There’s necessity to the length of this post. It’s the last for now, so I’ve reduced the content of what might otherwise have been four separate pieces, to include everything that wanted to be said. As it stands, writing takes too much out of me, for too little in return. I’ll consolidate past work into a book, whose whole may be greater than the sum of its parts. But unless balance is restored in terms of feedback, the rest must remain unsaid.