The Structure and Transformation of the Total Person - 2
To clarify the situation,
I refer the reader to the diagram
from Chapter Eight — "The Physical and the Psychic Bodies". But I must stress that any kind of listing is analytical and far too separative. All the factors listed interact and interpenetrate to some extent. Separating them is like dissecting a corpse and describing the different tissues one finds: the livingness of the body when alive inevitably escapes the analyst. Because he concentrates on parts, the wholeness of the whole eludes the searcher. Nevertheless, analytical procedures are necessary if experience and knowledge (or intuition) are to be communicated.
The physical body of a human being can be considered a trinity of factors. (1
) In its dense material aspect it is the aggregation of an immense number of cells, which in turn are made up of a myriad of molecules and atoms. (2
) A planetary life force (prana
) animates this body. (3
) The operations of the life force are structured by two factors: a generic-racial web of lines of force exteriorizing the archetype of Man as a biological species and subspecies, and a composite set of karmic factors. Some of the latter refer to the collective karma of a series of ancestors and the particular culture or cultures to which they belonged; others refer to what I have called an at least relatively individual past.
At the level of psychism and the "astral body" or "body of desires," three factors also are operative. (1
) The energy factor here is the power of desire, kama
, which like prana (the life force) to which it is related also has a nonindividual, planetary character. The energy of desire is given a more or less definite and concrete form by (2
) the "lower mind." The operations of this concretizing mind are directed by (3
) a set of karmic factors to which the skandhas
of Buddhist doctrine presumably refer. They are factors which constitute the remains of a previous personality (or a previous series of personalities).
The basic problem is how to define and interpret the interaction between the concretizing mind and these karmic factors. According to the prevailing popular interpretation, behind these karmic factors stands a definite psychospiritual entity, a "reincarnating soul." The generally accepted Buddhist teaching, on the other hand, is that what reappears in a new human being is only the "karmic deposits" once generated by a previous human being. This doctrine is called the anatma
doctrine, the term literally meaning "no atma," atma or atman in the tradition of India referring to the highest aspect of the spiritual entity in Man. While in one sense this universal principle, atman, pervades everything, it also is said to be nowhere in particular. Thus to speak of atman "reincarnating" makes no real sense.
For the modern theosophist following the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky, the "reincarnating principle" is not atman but an aspect of the "higher mind." "Something" within yet beyond this higher mind involves itself in a new attempt at uniting a spiritual Quality with a new personality
. This "something" is what I call the principle of individualization (the spiritual will). It seeks to exteriorize the spiritual Quality in answer to the pressure of the power of Compassion.
This periodic attempt of the principle of individualization may of course be interpreted
as "reincarnation," yet nothing actually "in-carnates," that is, becomes flesh. If one can speak of incarnation, one should refer to the karmic deposits of a past personality that give a particular form to physical matter. But "giving form to" material operations does not mean "becoming" matter (or flesh).
We have seen that karma operates in and through the lower level of the so-called "etheric body" of a human being (the "fourth ether") and from there precipitates into physical existence in various ways. At the level of psychism, it operates through the concretizing mind by giving a personal form to desire
. While desire always means a desire for relationship, it also can have a negative character. The avoidance or active refusal of relationship (especially if fear or hatred is involved) is as much a mode of relationship as love or devotion. The desire for relationship takes forms that are controlled (1
) partly by the culture and religion of the community and (2
) partly by personal karma. The formative agent is the concretizing mind. In part, the ego is a formation of the power of desire: "I" am what I desire and the manner in which these particular, desires for relationship are objectivized into thoughts and acts by "my" will — the ego-will.
The feeling of "being I" is the realization that desires presuppose a being that desires, the subject that wants an objective result. This subject is endowed with a degree of permanence by the concretizing mind, even though it changes and develops through the years and is affected by biological, sociocultural, intellectual, and spiritual factors. Among these are health and eating habits, fashion, schooling, personal and emotional crises, and the attempts which the spiritual trinity makes to contact, impress, inspire and transform the total being.
Eventually the desire-nature, centralized into an ego, at least partially frees itself from biological compulsions and an innate longing for material possessions, social professional success, and power over other beings. The concretizing mind also eventually ceases to be bound to its culture and tradition. Then this ego-mind is able to reflect the archetypal form of the higher mind. It fills the consciousness with new images and new (perhaps exotic) words. Simultaneously (or sometimes later) the spiritual will of the individualizing principle within the spiritual entity should begin to affect the ego-will directly. This is accomplished by "transposing," as it were, the ego's vibratory energy to a higher key. This is a spiritual "modulation" or mutation.
Then, as the lower concretizing mind increasingly reflects or mirrors the archetypal mind and, through the performance of dharma, the karma of the past is neutralized, a permanent and spirit-infused "body of individuality" gradually is built. It is developed by the mind functioning as an undivided whole; it is powered by the spiritual will (the individualizing principle), and it becomes a consecrated place — a shrine or Holy Place — within and from which the spiritual Quality can release its compassionate power through dharma-manifesting, creative and/or transformative acts.
What is transformed is not merely one person; more significantly, but only potentially, it is the culture and society to which the person belongs, and eventually even the matter of the physical body. The material transformation should operate through the third and second levels of the etheric force-field; these refer to higher forms of planetary life. The first and highest level represents (and when activated reflects in its fullness) the Image of planetary Man in this present cycle of being.
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