by Thomas Joseph Brown
“True esoteric methods are not complicated.” … Mantak Chia
THE INNER FLOWS
The origin of our lives is in the fusion of two cosmic polarities, a microcosmic reflection of the origin of the physical universe in the fusing of darkness and light.
When we are gestating in the womb there is a basic energetic and nutritional flow from our mother through the umbilical cord into the navel. One belief attributed to the Taoist sages of the Orient is that the primary energy flow in the foetus goes in a line around the body from navel towards the perineum up through where the spine is forming, over the crown of the head and down the front of the body, through the palate and tongue (which are usually pressed together in the foetus to connect the energy meridians) to the navel where the cycle is renewed. This is the primal energy flow, antecedent to the nervous system, which our body emerges from. It is called both the Small Heavenly Cycle and the Microcosmic Circulation (or Orbit).
Dr. Rudolf Steiner stated that in order to understand the realities of the starry heavens one must also comprehend the complement, human gestation in the womb.1 This reality was well known to the Taoist, though their teachings were kept secret for many thousands of years. This is one profound aspect of the ancient Hermetic maxim: As Above, So Below.
When we are born into this world we begin absorbing vital energy through our eyes and nose and nutrition through our mouths, and for the most part people lose touch with the original energy center in the navel. Our consciousness becomes centered in the head and the inner organs are left to fend for themselves amidst the ‘pressure’ of reality. This is the current world condition.
In the West our exercise programs generally focus on the strengthening of muscle tissue and we wonder why someone who eats well and exercises can drop dead of a heart attack or other organic disorder. In the East specific teachings have survived which allow one to reconnect with and increase their original energy, to circulate it in the microcosmic orbit and thence move it outward through the entire acupuncture meridian system. But to work into this one must be able to first clear and focus the mind.
THE TOTAL MIND
The function of consciousness is generally relegated to the cranial grey cells but those are really part of a greater whole. Our brain is the nexus of the central nervous system and is the seat of our discursive—onlooker—consciousness, but not that of the total human consciousness. Our entire body encompasses that. The heart, nexus of the vascular system, has been acknowledged as a seat of consciousness by many diverse cultures worldwide, and the solar plexus has been termed the ‘abdominal brain’.
We have a special consciousness for each organ of the body. Moods and emotions well up from our entire being and directly impinge upon the conscious action of the individual. When we lose touch with our total consciousness there can arise a wide range of degenerate health conditions related to organic dysfunction. Western medicine replies by providing specialists in particular parts of the body, mistaking the symptoms for the cause – as though the ailments are merely physical in nature.
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF AWARENESS
A characteristic feature of the most ancient of philosophies of which we have any knowledge is the belief in the creative influences, æons or gods in relation to the measurement of time. It was understood that every man contains within his nature elements which directly correspond to each one of the gods, the proportions depending on the time and place of his birth. The same notion was extended to human societies, which have a life cycle like that of an individual, and time itself was seen as a procession of gods or cosmic forces, regulating the course of events both throughout the day and over long periods of time. – John Michell2
Rudolf Steiner indicated that as the sun moved through various stages of the zodiac in the past, the focus of consciousness moved through different parts of the body.3 In what he termed the First Post-Atlantean Epoch the sun rose in Cancer in the spring and this related to the thorax. Humans sensed and reacted through their breathing and were in direct touch with the elemental world. Perception depended on breathing changes – as one met various people, or observed diverse objects, their breathing would change accordingly and awareness arose from these perceptions.
In the Second Post-Atlantean Epoch, when the sun arose in Gemini in the spring, the symmetrical aspect of consciousness developed and humans gained an awareness of the cosmic aspect. The inward (symmetrical) complement to this was perception in the abdomen – contact with the deep atavistic forces.
In the Third Post-Atlantean Epoch the sun rose in Taurus in spring and this related to the larynx forces. Thus developed the connection between the spoken word and objective reality. These words were not abstract concepts, but words of power which connected one to the cosmos. Our abstract languages of today are but a pale shadow of this directly communicative speech.
The Fourth Post-Atlantean Epoch dawned when the sun began to rise in Aries in spring and this related to the upper head region. The Cosmic Mysteries were the thought patterns of this age and the great temples of Greece and Rome describe this original connection which gradually degenerated into the materialism preceding the fall of those great civilizations.
The Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch, which Steiner claims began in the 15th Century, was brought on when the sun rose in Pisces in the spring and this represented the foot forces, the binding of humans to the earthly forces. But those incarnating within this, our present period have the greatest potential for spiritual advancement of their human souls. In Dr. Steiner’s conception as the physical body (individually and planetary) grows old the etheric body grows young.