Dreams, Music and the Many Faces of the Soul - my 'Memoir of Metaphysical Experiences' - now available from Amazon
What the philosopher is, is hard to learn, because it cannot be taught: one has to ‘know’ it from experience.
A philosopher: that is a human being who constantly experiences, sees, hears … dreams extraordinary things..
A philosopher: that is a human being who constantly experiences, sees, hears … dreams extraordinary things..
It is not often that an Oxford philosophy student spends his spare time flying over carefully tended college lawns. In this volume of selected memoirs, Peter Wilberg reveals himself as a philosopher in the Nietzschean spirit: one who has indeed experienced “extraordinary things”. In it, he offers us a glimpse into the lifetime of ‘metaphysical experiences’ which lie behind his numerous philosophical books and writings. Though many of these experiences would be considered ‘paranormal’, Peter Wilberg shows us how through them, he came to his own unique metaphysical or ‘paraphilosophical’ insights - for example into the nature and relation of ‘self’ and ‘soul’; the body and ‘out of body’ states; dreaming and music; language and sound; ‘mantra’, ‘yoga’ and ‘tantra’. In doing so, he also describes the origin and evolution of the extraordinary form of joint, face-to-face ‘pair meditation’ which became so central to his life and work as both a philosopher and yogin. His memoirs therefore include accounts of some of the extraordinary dimensions of shared metaphysical knowledge and experiencing - both interpersonal and trans-personal, mystical and musical, esoteric and scientific, erotic and religious - into which this can lead.
Metaphysical Meditations on Bodyhood 134
Further Experiences of Sensuous Awareness Bliss
On Art and Aesthetic Experiencing . 141
On Art and Aesthetic Experiencing . 141
his work is very far from being a detailed autobiography. Nor is it in any way a comprehensive and thorough-going philosophical account of the development of my work – whether as thinker, author, therapist, ‘scientist of the soul’ or ‘spiritual teacher’. Instead it is, as the sub-title suggests, a memoir of some of a number of metaphysical experiences that played an important role in this development - albeit a highly selective memoir - and also one that in no way does justice either to countless other experiences I have had with my partner, my oldest friends, and my individual students. For it was written with the principal intent of just giving at least some glimpse to my readers and students of the story of my work, i.e. the many and varied personal – and transpersonal - experiences that lie behind the metaphysical insights and principles that I elaborate in my books and writings, as well as the numerous meditational practices I describe in them and teach to others.
It is through these self-discovered practices or ‘yogas’ (none of which I learned in or through association with any spiritual group or community) that I have sought to bring what might otherwise appear as new but merely abstract metaphysical principles to life for my readers and students - not just as living ‘metaphysical experiences’ of their own but also as joint experiences. For it is also my aim in these memoirs to offer some account of the decades-long experience and evolution of those pair-meditational practices which have long been so central to my work, and the multiple dimensions of shared metaphysical experiencing into which they can lead.
There may be some who will wonder what is meant by the term ‘metaphysical experiences’ in the first place. I hope they will gather what is meant in the course of reading some of the accounts of them that follow. For it is also beyond the scope of this book to present a dense philosophical treatise of how I understand even the single word ‘metaphysics’ itself. Suffice it to say then, that for me the use of term ‘metaphysical experiences’ has, in the context of these memoirs, two very simple reasons.
One reason is to avoid having to use the expression ‘spiritual experiences’ – one so overused that is has become a cliché. Secondly, but no less importantly, I speak of ‘metaphysical experiences’ in order to show - in the form of an experiential memoir - the way in which different metaphysical frameworks of thought not only allow us to conceptualise and comprehend particular experiences in quite different ways but also play an important role in the seeding and evolution of those experiences themselves – not least through offering a progressively more many-sided and differentiated comprehension of their many aspects and dimensions. On the other hand, I may disappoint those readers looking for a work consisting purely of easily readable and interesting personal narratives or stories – for just to describe many of the experiences I do would have been impossible without at times having to first elaborate - in ways which some might find too philosophically abstract or dense - the metaphysical terms through which alone I first found a language by which to do so.
Finally, this work is also designed to fulfil a further purpose: namely to emphasise wherever possible and as strongly as possible the essentially musical dimension of many of experiences it describes - and in this way offer the beginnings of a new ‘metaphysics of music’ - understood as something arising from those silent tones of feeling awareness or ‘soul tones’ which together constitute that ‘the music of the soul’. This is a music which manifests itself, not just in our dreams or in music itself, but in all that we experience, both in this life and in the afterlife, i.e. the world of soul with its multiple metaphysical planes and dimensions of awareness.
“In music, man feels the echoes of the element that weaves and lives in the innermost core of things … All objects have a spiritual tone at the foundation of their being, and, in his deepest nature, the human being is such a spiritual tone.”
he three witches hover over me as I lie in my cot in my parent’s bedroom, looking down at me. Me looking up, terrified, at them. Something starts to tug the blanket and eiderdown off me. Terror intensified. I decide, after what seems like an eternity, to get out of bed. Once on my feet I leave the room, go downstairs and, almost in tears, enter the unusually large living room where my parents are still sitting together. In fact, I don’t recall if I even entered the lounge or just heard my parents’ voices from it. At any rate, reassured, I don’t linger but return to the stairs. Half way up however, on a small landing where the steep staircase turns at a right angle I stop. Facing upwards I am amazed to see a luminous globe hovering, in perfect stillness, some distance above and in front of me. It is about the size of a football, except that it is nothing like a football but rather a radiant sphere, more like some sort of sphere-shaped lamp - or rather like a small sun - but not as blindingly bright as the Sun. And yet the sphere does radiate a type of intense light, a light that feels imbued with a message of total safety. In retrospect, though it lacked any type of human form, and had a wholly impersonal character, its presence could best be described as angelic. For I also know - just know - that this luminous sphere is in fact conscious and aware - and that despite its seemingly impersonal character and form it is there for me. Gazing at it, all my nightmarish fears and terrors simple dissipate in its presence and light. Instead, I feel totally becalmed by the presence of this hovering luminous sphere floating above and before me, as if blessed by its mere presence, which I felt as a profoundly knowing and well-meaning presence – meant for me.
his hit single of the Everly Brothers (1958) was definitely a hit for me too. Borrowing my elder sister’s tiny but compact record player I would play it every night in bed before going to sleep. Except that going to sleep was precisely what I did not do. Instead I used it employ a capacity I seemed to find myself naturally gifted with - the capacity to enter the dream state with full awareness or ‘lucidity’ - a capacity I exercised every night in my early childhood. This was long before I even knew of the term ‘lucid dreaming’ – the nature and practice of which I was to make into the theme of my MA dissertation. ‘Lucid dreaming’ means becoming aware that you are dreaming within a dream – something that not only adds far greater vividness, colour and lucidity to the dream but also allows the dreamer to make aware choices – for example to fly somewhere. What I practiced as a 6-year old ychild – the capacity to enter the dream state with full awareness or ‘lucidity’ directly from the waking state – is something I have still not read about, even in all the literature on lucid dreaming that I later studied, nor in the literature on Nidra Yoga, the yoga of sleep and dreams.
Yet in retrospect what I practiced with great skill and discipline was most certainly a ‘yoga’ of dreaming. I would begin by painting in my mind’s eye, slowly and in painstaking detail, a perfect picture of my primary school playground. To use today’s technical terminology, it was as if I were able to construct this perfect 2-dimensional picture in ‘High Definition’ – doing so almost pixel by pixel. Once the ‘HD’ image was complete and stable, the next stage in this yoga would commence: one that I can only describe as ‘climbing into’ the picture, which then became a 3-dimensional dream environment with a no less vivid and tangibly experienced reality – visual and tactile - than the physical environment it recreated.
When I speak of ‘climbing into’ the mental picture, and thereby creating a dream environment, I use the word ‘climbing’ in what was for me a quite literal or tangible sense. For my experience was one of seeking, by slow degrees, to enter the mental picture I had created ‘limb by limb’. This went on until a final stage was reached when I not only felt my hands, arms, head and trunk in the dream but eventually my whole body – with both my legs and feet now also planted firmly ‘in’ in the dream. Of course it was not with the so-called physical body that I practised this accomplishment (an accomplishment of the sort I would only decades later discovered was called a siddhi in the yoga tradition). Instead I did it with what many people would still call the ‘astral body’ - but which I prefer to understand simply as the lived essence of the body or ‘lived body’ – the body as subjectively lived and experienced from within. What drove me to exercise this gift, psychic ability or ‘siddhi’? Well, to be perfectly honest my motivation was the same as that described in the lyrics of Everly Brothers’ song – to be close to a girl in my school, one I had a crush on at the time. Hence the meaning for me of its lyrics and title: ‘All I have to do is dream…’.
y mother being a German-Jewess, albeit having married a non-Jewish German (as much a case of ‘race-shame’ for Anglo-Jewry as it was for the Nazis) the first religious education class I was put into was a Jewish one run by a strict-faced old Rabbi. When he learned that I knew absolutely nothing about Judaism (good thing he didn’t also know that, following my father’s wish, I hadn’t even been circumcised) he looked at me as if I were something the cat had dragged in. It was as if, in his eyes, my very existence brought shame to the Chosen People. On another occasion however, having been moved to a conventional Religious Education class we were, in an unusually open-minded way, offered the opportunity to write an essay on any subject of our choice.
The result was my first essay on metaphysics (of which I then knew and had read nothing about). Its title: ‘Time as a Form of Energy’. Only now do I realise that this essay, was, unknowingly at the time, the precursor of a fully-fledged treatise I would only come to write and publish 50 years later - on the concept of spanda central to the unique tantric school of metaphysics known as ‘Kashmir Shaivism’. For in both the essay and the later treatise, there is an understanding of what is called ‘energy’ as essentially potential energy - a ‘potential difference’ spanning past and future. Conversely there is an understanding of ‘time’ itself as this ‘energy’ or ‘potential difference’, one which in the later essay is seen as an oscillating relation spanning two primordial metaphysical realms: the realms of potentiality as such on the one hand and that of actuality on the other.
How on earth did a six-year old boy come write an essay on such an exotic metaphysical theme, knowing as yet nothing of the tantric metaphysical studies it prefigured and one of the particular treatise these gave rise to - entitled The New Spanda Karikas? Only now can I see that the answer to this question is something explained by the actual theses of both the childhood essay and adult treatise. For the childhood essay was that adult treatise in potentia. It therefore carried with it an energy of potentiality all the more charged by the 50 year-long span of time separating the two pieces. This span of time however, also constituted an oscillating relation – like that of a single vibrating musical string or wire strung between two nodes in time. As such it not only separated but united both pieces of writing across time, and united their authors too - the younger and the older self. I believe this relation allowed the child author to write from a place of deep inner attunement to that time-spanning vibration, and through it, receive insights from the self and thinker he would become - or already was both in essence and potential.
oming out of the hall rented by the 'Free German League of Culture' in Belsize Park, North London – where refugees and survivors from Nazi Germany would regularly gather to enjoy a social evening of music and dance (with my father as bandleader), my parents came across a woman who had tripped and whom they found lying in the rainy gutter. Her name was Ilse Wolf, herself a Jewish refugee and later to become the first ever post-ward performer of Lieder (poetic song) at the annual Promenade Concerts in London. Taking her under their wing my parents gave her their spacious upstairs bedroom to lodge in – though how the grand piano she needed to give her singing lessons was got into the room remains a mystery to this day. But the arrangement also suited my parents well, allowing them to deposit me for long periods in what was now Ilse’s room as she gave her lessons (to Janet Baker among many other future luminaries). Amongst my earliest memories are crawling as an infant underneath Ilse’s piano, with her Persian grey cat, who went by the name of Figaro, as my companion.
Now the reader of these memoirs will eventually get used to me repeating phrases such as ‘Only now…’, ‘Only later…’ , ‘Only much later…’ or ‘Only in retrospect…’ to preface the retrospective understanding I gained of almost all the earliest experiences I describe in these memoirs. In this case I write less of an experience than a simple memory, albeit – in retrospect – a not insignificant one. For in later life I came not only to attend Ilse’s public recitals but also to develop a deep love and appreciation for German Romantic Lieder – Schubert’s songs in particular – which invariably and within seconds still bring streaming tears to my eyes if sung and accompanied on the piano with the supreme sensitivity and depth of pathos they demand. To which I should add that singing Lieder is something I see as a musical accomplishment requiring more skill and sensitivity than any other, for despite its often deceptive simplicity, it is a vocal, poetic and pianistic art form of the highest order – perhaps the highest of all. For in performing it, everything depends on the singer’s breadth and depth of inner silence and inner listening - and the range of silent inner tones of feeling that he or she is capable of attuning to and letting resound or 'resonate' through their voice.
Perhaps then, the time I spent as an infant under Ilse’s piano, hearing her voice and those of her students, was an induction or initiation into both a concept and an experience that would later prove central, not just to my understanding of the nature of music, but of reality as such. This was the concept of ‘feeling tone’ – by which I mean neither any mere audible vocal or instrumental tone nor just emotional feelings, but rather the quintessential nature of ‘feelings’ as such - which, to begin with, have the character of silent inner tonalities of awareness. These feeling tones are capable of being heard only by the ‘inner ear’. And to be given birth vocally or instrumentally, they must first be embodied through the entire inner bearing and bodily comportment of the musician - and in the case of the singer through her silent ‘inner voice’. If behind the audible sounds of a singer or orchestra, no fundamental mood can be silently heard – in the form of a silent tone or chord of feeling – then no matter how lush or beautiful the sound produced it will lack soul, for feelings tones are essentially soul tones – tones of that inner feeling awareness which is the very essence of ‘soul’.
Nowadays classical music buffs talk constantly of ‘tone colours’ – as if use of the term ‘tone feeling’ or ‘feeling tone’ would imply some sort of far too crudely populist, emotional, sentimental, or old-fashioned ‘romantic’ relation to music for any self-respecting modern musician or musicologist. Yet the term ‘tone colour’ is actually one that would become wholly redundant with the recognition that music does not merely ‘affect’ our ‘feelings’ or ‘emotions’ in some way that brain science and neurophysiology will eventually come to figure out, but rather that music – all music - actually has its source in silently heard tones and chords of feeling with a range and variation of subtlety, intensity and complexity that is indeed infinitely greater than that of any ‘emotional’ feeling nameable in words.
Watching Ilse Wolf perform, one could see and hear in the silence before a single sound issued from her voice, a subtle adjustment and attunement of her inner bearing going on, one that would find expression in her whole bodily comportment. It was as if to sing the song she first needed to find a place within herself in perfect attunement with the soul of the poet whose words she was about to sing – and in attunement too, with the soul of those words and their sounds – their wordless tones of feeling. She clearly understood also that without doing so she could not convey these silent soul tones through the sound of her voice – and nor could she do so without first silently yet fully embodying those tones of feeling. To sing the words of a Lied - or to hear or perform music of any true calibre - one must first learn to silently listen, attune to and embody those tones of feeling that constitute not only the soul-source of all music but the essentially musical nature of the soul as such - and its 'inner voice'.
f the first yoga I practiced, without the word ‘yoga’ even being a part of my vocabulary at the time, could be called the ‘yoga of dreaming’ – one I would engage in for many, many years to come – then the second was one I did come to call a yoga – specifically what I called ‘the yoga of the face’. In a sense, the story of this yoga has been the story of my life. But let me begin at the beginning. Among the vinyl record collection that my parents had were some famous classical works belonging to my father such as Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ and Beethoven’s 5. Ilse Wolf later bequeathed to me a large boxed set of vinyl LPs including countless popular or light-classical favourites such as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, Beethoven’s Egmont, Rossini’s William Tell and many other short but well-known pieces.
So what has this to do with ‘yoga’ or the face? In fact it has to do with both - and with a lot more. For my self-initiation into classical music (my parents as far as I knew, never listened to these LPs) was at the same time an initiation into what I would later come to call my ‘multi-personhood’ and sum up in a single aphorism: ‘for every sound there is a self’. As for the connection between music, sound and the face I would spend years writing about the words ‘person’ and ‘persona’ – the latter being a name given by the Romans to the masks worn by Greek actors - and through which they both looked out with their eyes and spoke forth or ‘sounded through’. The root of the words ‘person’ and ‘persona’ is the verb per-sonare (literally ‘to through sound’ or ‘to sound through’). So language itself hints at a connection between the face and sound.
Then again, those who have watched and observed conductors of classical music, may be aware of how some of them maintain a largely impassive face, whereas others seem to possess a degree of facial expressiveness and motility enabling them to appear as if they were literally personifying the music they are conducting through the changing looks in their face and in their eyes. To what degree any conductor is able to truly enter into resonance with the piece they are performing is not just a question of their musical skills and familiarity with a score – instead it depends above all on the range or scale of feelings tones they have access to in their souls, and their capacity in particular to attune to and personify the basic mood or ‘fundamental tone’ of any given piece – a capacity that sadly finds no place in musical training and that seems, unfortunately, to diminish with each new generation of conductors.
As for the specific issue of facial expressiveness and its relation to feeling tone, and as I have often repeated in my writings, if a letter can be seen as the silent face of a sound or sounds, then, conversely, a particular facial expression can be seen and heard as a silent sound - part of an entire alphabet or language of such sounds. One need only ask oneself what a person’s facial expression and the mood or feeling tone it reveals would sound like if they gave voice to it as a sound to understand that every look on a person’s face is a silent or potential sound, one imbued with a particular feeling tone that could find vocal expression - even if only as a trembling tearful cry, an exclamation of joy, a growl of anger or a groan of despair.
The looks in our faces and eyes give form to the way we feel – or rather to what I have already described as tones of feeling or feeling tones. A look not in resonance with our inner mood or feeling tone however, will not only ‘mask’ but diminish our sense of that feeling tone. In contrast, a look in our eyes in perfect expressive resonance with it will immediately and automatically amplify and intensify our sense of that feeling tone.
My discovery then - and the foundation of ‘the yoga of the face’ - was that in listening to classical music, and by seeking, in tune with every audible phrase or phase of the music, to give form to the feelings tones it expressed through my face and eyes, those feeling tones were indeed amplified and intensified – to the point where I experienced each tone or chord of feeling as a distinct self in its own right, a unique personification of my soul. This then was the first stage in my new ‘yoga of the face’, a yoga I practiced every single night after school – giving facial form to musical feeling tones. In practice this meant simply putting on a record of classical music, and then making use of my parents’ capacious living room to walk round in a continuous circle as I listened to it - whilst at the same time seeking and finding every way possible to allow my face and eyes to ‘morph’ in total resonance with the music and its moods or feeling tones – however dark or bright, heavy or light, subtle or intense, harmonious or dissonant, agonised or ecstatic, morbid or vital.
Here it comes: ‘Only later’ did I realise just how unusually aware I became through this musical circle walk, this circular dance of the face (although gestures of the arms and hands formed a strong element too) of the expressive range of the human face and the motility of its astonishing range of muscles – which together constitute something like a musical instrument or organon in their own right. It is this facial instrument I learned to master to such a high degree that I found I could ‘play’ it even without listening to music. By this I mean that I learned through this first discipline or ‘yoga’ of the face that I could alter and transform my mood or tone of feeling, indeed my entire bodily sense of self – through just the subtlest muscular alteration of just one feature my facial expression.
I am speaking of a yoga then, which is in some ways the very opposite of the stereotyped image of a yoga practitioner - seated in the lotus position, their body still, their face maybe expressive of a calm meditative state but otherwise impassive, unmoving - and unmoved. To this day I know of no one – besides some long-deceased conductors or else highly trained actors – who have achieved such intimacy with the motile musculature of their face and eyes and such a range of facial expressiveness as I myself came to achieve through this first ‘yoga of the face’. This was a yoga I discovered and practiced first in my secondary school years, but have gone on to practice ever since - albeit now without any need to walk around in circles, yet still able to discover, experience and reveal ever more faces of my soul - ever more dimensions of my own ‘multi-personhood’, whether through resonance with musical feeling tones, or through evoking them through a change in my eyes and facial expression.
More fundamentally still, through this first phase in practicing the ‘yoga of the face’, I underwent a fundamental ‘spiritual’ transformation. For now there was no longer a single ‘self’, ‘I’ or ‘person’ who simply ‘had’ or experienced particular feelings. Instead I had learned and mastered what I still see as the key to experiencing the innate ‘multi-personhood’ of the soul – its many faces and many selves. The key lies in letting what you feel or experience to pervade and find expression in your face and eyes to such a degree that it transforms your entire bodily sense of who you are. You cease to be ‘a’ self that just ‘has’ a given feeling at a given time, but become, with even the subtlest shift of mood or feeling - the self – one among many others – which embodies just this particular tone or feeling and no other. In simple terms: the self that feels one way is no longer experienced as the same self that feels another way. Whereas before you experienced yourself as a single ‘ego’ or ‘I’, now you know yourself as a multiplicity of selves or persons, each a valid part of that larger identity which constitutes your self as a whole – your ‘soul’ – and with each face or personification of that soul not only revealing itself through a particular ‘look’ in the face and eyes but also looking out at and experiencing the world through quite different eyes – and as a quite distinct self or ‘I’.
he word ‘idea’ has its roots in the Greek eidos – which, far from referring to some sort of mental concept or representation of something meant rather a directly perceived face or ‘aspect’ of that thing. An ‘idea’ in the original Greek sense therefore, meant essentially the form in which things appear to us.
In the esoteric traditions of many religions on the other hand, the many forms of nature are understood also as the living ‘word’ or ‘speech’ of the divine - given form by being uttered into being in the same way that words are. That is why great mystery was attached to the very sounds of speech - which were understood as a divine alphabet of creation.
When we utter words we do so by giving a particular shape and form to our vocal tones – the speech sounds are thus essentially vocal tones given a particular shape or form. Conversely however, the perceived forms of all things in their different aspects – whether their shape, density, texture or colour – can themselves be ‘heard’ as silent sounds, like letters on a page or looks on a person’s face.
The truth of this understanding of things first came to me through trees – each so individual in their form – and through the subtle motions of their leaves in a breeze. Taking walks in the expansive grounds and wonderful gardens of the Golders Green crematorium in North West London, I would often spend hours gazing first at one tree and then another. I would begin by looking at an individual tree as one would at an abstract sculptural form, noting the unique individual shape, angles and directions of its multiple branches, which felt to me as if, through them, the tree was making a sort of multi-limbed gesture, albeit one frozen in time. “Speech is invisible gesture. Gesture is visible speech.” (Rudolf Steiner). It was as if the shapes of different trees were for me type of gesture or ‘visible speech’ – not any form of human speech but one which I could nevertheless hear with my inner ear as a type of ‘silent sound’ or ‘inner sound’. Similarly, I not only saw but heard the movements of each tree’s leaves as sounds – not audible sound like those of leaves rustling in a breeze but the ‘inner sound’ of their motion as such. Then again, each tree was something I felt as giving form to an overall inner ‘tone’ - one corresponding to the overall form of the tree and also varying from one tree or type of tree to another according to its many features - whether the texture of its bark, the height, breadth and density of its trunk, the gestural sweep or sway of its branches, the size, shape, colour and delicacy of its leaves etc.
Even more so today, the shape and form of any tree, or even any bush or shrub, has as much a unique soul or personality for me as does the face or body of any human being. Whether tree or human being, the body of both reveal the face of a sound embodied and a soul per-sonified – and are therefore also audible to me as inner sounds. But then so is everything I perceive visually in all its sensory qualities, all of which I also sense as silent sounds. Thus the matt or shiny, glassy or metallic, wooden, leathery or smoothly plastic surface or texture of any object around me is something I hear as a matt, glassy, metallic, leathery or smooth and plasticky sound.
And what goes for trees also goes for water and seas. I ‘hear’ as a silent sound the most delicate ripples of water on a still pond or lake, just as I hear the multiple moving wavelets on the surface of the sea, no matter how calm or still. What I sense myself hearing is the motion of the water as such rather than any audible sounds coming from it. Indeed the less audible sound these motions are, the easier it becomes to hear them as silent sounds. Yet we are not talking here of any sort of ‘synaesthesia’ in the ordinary sense – as exemplified, for example, by some people’s ability to ‘see’ a sound or tone as a colour. I myself do not ‘see’ tones or sounds as ‘colours’. And yet I can feel the tone of an object’s colour – as well as that of its density, weight, texture etc. – sensing both these feeling tones and the silent inner sounds which give form to those feeling tones through the many and varied sensory features of things.
To help the reader understand the type of experiencing of trees, seas and other ‘things’ that I have been describing I have often used the analogy of the vocal or instrumental tones – for example qualities of the human voice. A person’s voice may have qualities we describe, metaphorically, in terms of the sensory qualities of things – as being rough or smooth, hard or soft, warm or cold, heavy or light, dark or bright, fiery or airy. Of course, when we speak of a voice having a ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ tone to it we are not speaking of its temperature but of a quality of feeling tone - a ‘soul quality’. And yet it is my belief – and my experience – that what we perceive as the sensory qualities of seemingly inanimate things are also manifestations of such soul qualities, i.e. of innate sensual qualities of feeling tone.
racticing the yoga of the face through listening to music is something I have continued to do throughout my life. Yet quite what prompted the next form of facial yoga I practiced is something I cannot recall to this day. What I do remember is spending days in North West London wandering the streets and then sitting in public places - whether cafes or railway station cafeterias (Euston comes to mind) not just to read and meditate but also to deliberately engage in what could be called a type of soul tourism. The practice I engaged in was simple but extraordinary in its results. Aware of the space around me and the other people in it – all complete strangers – I would let my gaze rest on a particular individual. In particular the focus of my gaze was on the face of the other. By ‘face’ I mean not just their face but their entire ‘look’, including their clothing, their whole bodily shape and comportment, the way they sat, the tilt of their heads, and any small movements they would make. Yet above all it was indeed their gaze – the look on their faces and in their eyes – that was the focus of my gaze, even though no eye-contact was ever made.
What captivated my interest in particular was the way in which the expression on a person’s face and the look in - and of - a person’s eyes (whether more or less alive or dead, bright or dull, outwardly or inwardly turned) revealed something absolutely unique not just about their overall mood but, inseparable from this - their gaze – their way of looking into and feeling themselves and their way of looking out on the world, tuned as I would invariably find it to be by a unique mood or feeling tone that could not be forced into any labelled emotional pigeon-hole. Yet is was not as if people’s faces remained stuck with one expression or look. Instead there was more or less mobility in them. A person’s brow or eyelids for example might suddenly rise and their eyes widen and brighten in the course of conversing with a friend.
I have already referred to the Greek word eidos – meaning a particular face or aspect of something, or in this case someone. Observing a particular individual for some length of time I would at particular moments, however fleeting, notice a subtle but distinct shift in the look on their face or in their eyes – one which seemed to reveal to me a whole new face or aspect of them. To capture something in motion is not easy. So I carried in my mind’s eye a type of mental camera (hence my talk of soul ‘tourism’) from which I would take one or more mental snapshots of a person’s look. By this I mean that having observed this look with my eyes – or a mere fleeting change of expression in the face and eyes of the other – I would immediately close my own eyes and hold before my mind’s eye the clear image I had captured or ‘snapped’ with my mental camera.
All this was but a first step in this new yoga of the face. The decisive step came next. I had already taught myself through many years of letting my face give form to musical feelings - to be unusually aware of the muscles of my own face and of my eyes themselves. Having also achieved through this ‘yoga of the face’ an extraordinary capacity for ‘shape shifting’ my own facial expression – I would seek to ever more precisely mirror with my own face and eyes both the facial expression of the other and the precise look in their eyes (something which indeed requires a very high degree of awareness of the subtle musculature not just of one’s own face but of one’s eyes themselves). I came in this way to an inner experience, not just of crudely mimicking but of inwardly ‘wearing’ or adopting the face of the other and the look in their eyes.
What resulted was an intimate bodily sense of being the other – by which I mean what is generally thought of as something quite impossible in principle, i.e. feeling what it felt like to be the other, at just this moment in time, wearing just this look on their face – and both seeing and feeling themselves and the world within and around them in the way they did. I should emphasise that this practice and its results was no mere exercise in ‘interpreting’ the emotional ‘body language’ of another person, but rather of experiencing the uniquely mooded tones, textures and qualities of feeling awareness that constituted the very ‘soul’ of another person - as something not merely mirrored in my face and eyes but also as something completely pervading my body from within - and in doing so transforming my entire bodily self-experience in tune with that of the other.
Allow me to recapitulate this second stage in my practice of a new yoga of the face. First take a mental snapshot of a person’s face and the look in their eyes at a particular moment in time. Secondly, hold an exact image of their ‘look’ in your mind’s eye (something one can learn to do even without having to close one’s eyes) and do so for however long it takes to achieve a sense of total feeling identification – both inwardly and bodily – with the face and eyes of the other and with what they reveal, i.e. the very soul of the other – coming to sense within oneself and one’s own body as their own unique tone and quality of feeling awareness – whether of themselves, other people or the world around them.
had spent a night out – not a frequent habit - with the very few friends I had at my secondary school, Hendon County Grammar. Around that time I had already starting reading esoteric literature and, in particular, books on techniques for achieving ‘Out of Body Experiences’. On returning from this particular night out it soon turned into what was truly a night ‘out’ – ‘out of the body’. Lying face down in my bed, I felt ‘my head spinning’ from the single pint or so of tepidly warm English bitter that I had drunk that evening. I chose to allow the sensation of spinning in my head to intensify and accelerate, which it did – to the point where it was as if my entire awareness felt as if it were being sucked into an inwardly spirally vortex with a black hole at its centre - located at a point between my eyes and behind my forehead. I knew a point was coming when, as I let go even further, I would have to risk being totally drawn into the back hole. I took the risk. The sensation was electric, but in an instant, and hey presto, I felt as if my entire body was literally being turned inside ‘out’ – leaving me standing beside my bed, still feeling an inner sense of my body but at the same time seeing it from the outside still lying in bed. I recall nothing dramatic happening beyond this point, but it left me with a sense of ‘gnosis recalled’ – as if through this single experience a bodily knowing awareness long dormant had re-awakened within me – confirming all I had read about the soul surviving death. I felt both immensely relieved by this re-awakened knowledge – but also like a fool for ever having forgotten ‘the eternal reality of the soul’. Only much later however (here we go again…) would I come to the understanding that the individual soul is never anything disembodied – but rather always possesses its own body – one capable of shifting shape and taking on any form, and that what we perceive and think of as an objectively ‘real’ or ‘physical’ body is but a sensory image of the soul and of its body. By this I mean the body as the bodily shape and form taken by our subjective self-experience – and by all the tones and qualities of feeling of which it is composed.
1. The Sky at Night
In my later years at school and university, as well as in the following decades, I would have countless experiences of both lucid dreaming (becoming aware, within a dream, that one is dreaming) and also of so-called ‘out of body’ experiences. In fact ‘lucid dreaming’ would become my chief ‘launch pad’ for these experiences, which were always characterised by the same intense, electric sensation. Two lucid dream experiences in particular would repeat themselves time and time again. One I call ‘The Sky at Night’. The other I name using the Sanksrit term Vimana.
I find myself – aware that I am dreaming – in the large front living room of my home. I float through the windows and come to stand on the street directly in front of my house. It is night in the dream, and I invariably look upwards at the night sky - where my gaze invariably becomes fixated on a single shining star. The first occasion when this occurred was the most dramatic. Looking at the star I noticed the night sky changing. First one and then another spiralling whorl of colours would appear until – as in a far more colourful version of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ - the entire canopy of the night sky, far from being black or blue, now consisted of nothing but intensively vivid full-spectrum whorls or vortices of colours. On other occasions fixing my awareness on the star, I would simply levitate and then fly towards it – as I did so experiencing the same ‘electric sensation’ throughout my whole subjectively sensed body, as I had done in my first ‘out of body’ experience – a term I continue to place in inverted commas, because, as you will see, I came to understand the nature of such experiences in a way quite different from how it is usually understood.
I am on a downward sloping mountain-side road which I think of as somewhere in Austria. On the other side of the road an awesome vista opens up of an immensely deep and long valley – stretching right to the horizon. The edge of the road is almost like a cliff edge - plunging down deeply into this valley and at the same time revealing its vast length and breath. Sometimes I simply leap with excitement off the cliff-edge bank of the valley and delight in flying into its spacious depths or circling above and around them. On other occasions however, something attracts my attention in the vast expanse of sky visible above the valley and from the road. I look up to the sky and both sense and see something gradually taking shape in it – not something initially moving ‘in space’ like a plane - but rather manifesting in ever-clearer form from the seeming emptiness of the sky and of space itself. What eventually appears then, now fully formed, almost defies description. Were I to speak of ‘spaceships’ – a ship or ships emerging from and within space would be right in a literal sense but carry the danger of giving totally the wrong impression, making one think either of metallic science fiction film type spaceships or vehicles. The word ‘ship’ gives a somewhat closer but by no means adequate idea – but only if one thinks of sea ships of the past with their elaborate constructions of rigging and sails. Except that these ‘skyships’ were not ship-shape at all. Closer still to a fitting description of them would be to imagine some huge and utterly fantastic flying machine of the sort that might have been dreamed up and sketched by a Leonardo da Vinci – but without anything of the nature of wings or propellers, and each undreamt of in both its utterly bizarre and complex construction and its vivid yet strangely etheric colours. To give a further impression I can only take recourse to legend, in particular to the mythological vimana - the ‘flying palaces’ referred in the Sanskrit epics – though here again, the image of a palace - or of ‘chariots’ of the gods - does not do justice to the phantasmagoric nature of the vimana I so frequently beheld in these dreams, each utterly different from the other and from any archetypal image, ancient or modern, of an airship, spaceship, palace, chariot or UFO. That said, the image of a vimana below, though too conventional in its palatial structure, might give the reader some idea of what it might be like to behold anything even remotely like it, even in a dream sky.
t was 1975, a momentous year for me throughout and right from the start - as you will see later on. On one particular day I was walking with Mary, a close friend of mine, in our favourite haunt – Golders Hill Park in North West London, having just come from the adjacent area of Hampstead Heath. We began musing on the unusual sense of deep and wordless inner communication with each other that we often experienced on these walks. Mary came up with a name for it – ‘Modulation’ – one that was to be followed in time by many others, such as ‘Inner Voice Communication’, ‘Morphic Resonation’ and, much later, ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’. Yet the word ‘modulation’ felt absolutely right at the time, even though I didn’t know what its scientific meaning was –– the modulation of a basic ‘carrier wave’ to convey signals through a signal wave. This, in retrospect is how I came to understand what was occurring and why the word ‘modulation’ was so meaningful. We were indeed each in deep inner contact with one another through something like a basic ‘carrier wave’ of feeling tone with a particular quality that linked us in resonance – a carrier wave which in turn we subtly ‘modulated’ so that it served as a medium of subtle and wordless inner communication. Shortly after this word had given name to it, something else occurred. From out of the blue I experienced an inexplicable impulse to suggest to Mary that we go to her room in Swiss Cottage. Upon getting there, and without any discussion or idea of a what or why, I suggest we both sit on the floor in close proximity – just facing each other in silence and making nothing but silent eye contact. My sense of inner communion took on an highly sensuous and erotic quality, and I began to feel a sense of sexual arousal. But rather than acting on this I simply stayed with it. In doing so realised that it was centred at the base of my spine and, staying with it even longer, felt it as a delicious and erotically blissful tingling rising up my spine.
It was only many decades later that I recognised this experience, once again in retrospect, as resembling traditional descriptions of what is called ‘Kundalini’ or, more crudely, what today is called ‘Tantric sex’. By that time however – both my understanding and my experience of what ‘Kundalini’ essentially is had radically transformed into something quite new, no longer to do with some form of sexual ‘energy’ rising up a channel from a so-called ‘chakra’ at the base of the spine but rather with something quite different – more akin to an erotic intensification of what Mary had called ‘Modulation’. For I am certainly not speaking of ‘tantric sex’ as it is practiced in New Age circles, but of a whole-body experience of erotic intimacy and intercourse of soul – one experienced not through sensations in the physical body but rather entirely through a sensuality of the soul and its body. This body is one I have since come to understand and experience as a body of feeling awareness shaped by qualities of feeling tone. It allows the exercise of another psychic power or ‘Siddhi’ – that of not just feeling one’s own soul directly entering and inhabiting the body of another, but also enjoying a mutual experience of melding or merging one’s soul with that of the other. This is an experience no less erotically sensually and tangible – and that in an intense bodily way - than sex. Yet in contrast to what passes as ‘tantric sex’ today it does not require any physical touch or skin contact whatsoever – let alone genital intercourse. It was only in 2003 that I came to experience this practice in a new way and give it a new name – not ‘Modulation’ but ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’ – though the essential principle at work is indeed the same.
That is not to say that my first, more ‘traditional’ experience of ‘Kundalini’ with Mary does and did not remain valid and important in its own right. But its relevance for me today lies in its connection with genital sex – and in particular a man’s capacity to sustain a peak of sexual excitement and experience a type of continuous or repeated ‘orgasm’ - but without either ‘coming’ or even any thrusting movements of his penis. The key to this is the practice of ‘seminal retention’ recognised in many traditions –based on the strengthening and use of particular muscles to sustain sexual excitement at its highest possible peak without ejaculation or ‘seminal release’.
n 1963, the American novelist and poetess Jane Roberts began a series of psychic experiments with her husband Robert Butts that led her into trance states in which her whole personality was visibly and audibly transformed. In these trance states she spoke as a being called Seth, who described himself as an “energy-personality-essence no longer focused in physical form”. Over many years Seth dictated through Jane a whole series of books which presented an highly original new understanding of the human soul or psyche and of its innate multi-personhood. In 1975 I had a particularly powerful, if not overwhelming experience of my own multi-personhood - one which my particular way of listening to music and the ‘Yoga of the Face’ which evolved from it had no doubt, prepared me for - but which transcended anything I had hitherto experienced. According to Seth, just as the body is a multiplicity of cells, so is what we call ‘the soul’ – our larger identity – a multiplicity of selves. These include not just past or future selves, so-called ‘sub-personalities’ and even re-incarnational selves but also potential selves and also parallel selves - inhabiting parallel realities in parallel lives and worlds.
In my case, in the course of less than an hour, sitting in total silence with Mary, I experienced literally hundreds of different ‘selves or ‘personalities’, not just ‘within’ me but finding outer expression in my physiognomy – each completely transforming the look on my face and in eyes – and too such a degree that I found myself quite literally ‘looking out’ at and experiencing world through their eyes, just as I also experienced my own body and sense of self as they did. Each of these selves or personalities was characterised above all by a particular and unique quality of feeling tone – as if were the formed facial expression of that tone of feeling - which was also what itself lent each self its unique coloured or ‘toned’ way of experiencing itself and looking out on the world.
Wave after wave of distinct feeling tones welled up within my soul, each pervading and transforming my entire bodily sense of self, and each also giving form to itself in my face and eyes. As the intensity or amplitude of one tone or wavelength of feeling would begin to fall – like a sinus wave – from its peak, so would its face gradually dissolve. Or rather, instead of simply dissolving that face would begin to ‘metamorphose’ or ‘morph’ into another face - giving form in turn to another, newly emergent tone or wavelength of feeling or rising amplitude. In this way whole series of faces would take shape – each gradually, almost imperceptibly morphing into another through the subtlest, most incremental change in my facial and ocular musculature.
After manifesting a particular series of faces and selves, each imbued with and giving form to a distinct feeling tone - there arose in addition an awareness of an underlying tone or ‘chord’ of feeling ‘uniting’ this entire series or group of selves - and constituting its source and soul. Following this there gradually arose an awareness of yet another deeper tone or wavelength of feeling tone – each rising ‘wave’ of which however, also embraced and found expression not in a single self or face of the soul or even in a series of such faces - but instead revealed itself directly as the face of a larger self whose soul embraced yet another entire group of selves, being their unitary ‘soul’ and feeling tone. And so it went on … each stage of this process revealing the face of ever-deeper and larger identities or ‘selves’ - selves whose awareness or ‘soul’ itself embraced ever more numerous groups of selves.
Ultimately, it was as if through this process, an awareness finally emerged of tones of feeling so deep and dimensions of soul so vast that the number of selves or personalities they embraced was uncountable. Seth himself speaks not only of the multi-personhood of the soul – and with it of the unimaginable dimensions of individuality or identity that remain for each of us to discover – but also of a ‘fundamental tone’ unique to each individual - and corresponding to the soul of an ultimate ‘source self’ which he calls our ‘Entity’ – corresponding also to that ‘Great Self’ or Mahatma in the Indian Hindu tradition, or to our Buddha-essence – or rather Buddha-field - in the Buddhist tradition. To summarise – through an awareness of ever deeper and more ‘fundamental’ tones of feeling I became aware of deeper levels of my soul, and of the true nature of my inner being as something like a fundamental tone of feeling awareness or soul of which every other tone or group of tones could be pictured and conceived as a musical harmonic.
Thus arose in my mind an essentially musical image of the nature of individual identity, one not just conceived or pictured but directly felt and experienced as a pattern of many levels and layers of multi-personhood - corresponding to every deeper, larger and longer wavelengths of feeling tone and comparable to ever larger and longer sinusoidal wavelengths of sound - each with their multiple internal harmonics or overtones, every wave crest of which would constitute a distinct self in its own right. Unfortunately, conventional diagrams of numbered ‘harmonic series’ such as that below do not quite do justice to this image, since the harmonics they show embraced by the longest wavelength or ‘fundamental’ tone do not allow for an indefinite number of wave crests or ‘overtones’ within each of the shorter-wavelength or ‘higher’ harmonics.
The reader may ask what Mary’s place and role in this experience was – and what her experience was. I’m afraid to say that it was more an experience of quite frightening overwhelm – as might be expected seeing someone’s face go through so many dramatic transfigurations and metamorphoses. And each of the selves that showed themselves as changes in my face and eyes also peered out through my eyes and make intent contact with Mary through her eyes – contact that was often of a very intense sort. Later however, as the reader will discover, Mary and I would become very comfortable with both perceiving and showing each other different faces of our soul in our faces and eyes – and actively using mutual eye-contact and the mutual gaze as medium of a rich inner communication between these aspects of our soul. Indeed it became a sort of spiritual hobby – as well as a powerful form of psychic research, to engage in ‘the yoga of the face’ in this new way, through close-up face to face eye-contact, firstly within an informal group including our partners, and then later on virtually every occasion at which we and our partners met socially.
y first meeting and later experiences with Mary followed my time studying philosophy and politics at the University of Oxford. During this time (1970-74) my experiences were many and varied, leading ultimately to my discovery of and later encounters in America with my most important mentor – Dr. Michael Kosok, a professor of physics and mathematics at a university in New Jersey. To begin with however, let me describe just a few aspects of my life at Oxford – the significance of each of which would take a lifetime to unfold and become fully clear.
uring this first year however, I already encountered the man whose works would become a lifelong source of teaching and healing – not in the form of a thinker or philosopher but the symphonies of a composer – Anton Bruckner. It was out of pure intuition that, rifling one day, through the long-player vinyl records in a classical music shop in Oxford I picked out Bruckner’s 7th symphony with its idyllic-romantic cover sleeve painting – as if it were calling to me. Only after listening to it patiently and repeatedly in my room did its unutterable philosophical, religious and mystical depths begin to sink into my soul. For first I had to learn how to listen to it – from what places in my soul and from what fundamental tones of feeling or ‘soul tones’ I could attune to it. From that time on however, it was as if Bruckner became a lifelong friend, teacher and healer – as well as an on-going source of profound inner knowing and self-transformation. Within years and for decades since, I reached the point where rarely would a day, let alone a week, pass by without me re-immersing myself in one of his nine symphonies – each time using it to musically metamorphose my own inner feelings and state of being at the time – with the result that entirely new personal and metaphysical meanings were heard and learned with every listening to the same symphony.
So extraordinarily intense, wisdom-filled, soul nourishing and metaphysically and personally meaning-full have my experiences of listening to Bruckner’s symphonies been for me since my time at Oxford that I can quite honestly say that, had I come to this life to experience nothing but the deep message of Bruckner’s music this would have been ample reward and learning for one life – indeed many lifetimes.
My every listening to a Bruckner symphony can be likened to a slowly building and repeated orgasm of my spiritual body or soul ‘organism’ (a word itself rooted in the Greek organon and, like the word ‘organ’, referring both to a part of the body and to a musical instrument - Bruckner’s most important one). Each of my countless listenings to his symphonies have indeed been organismic, ‘whole body’ experiences of my soul – and thereby also a deepening of my experience of the soul as a body in itself – an organism or ‘organon’ literally ‘composed’ of tones and chords of feeling awareness. In the music of no other composer save Bruckner however, have I ever heard and felt such an enormous range – such a breadth and depth - of tones and chords of feeling, from the most vulnerably humble and human to the most awesomely powerful and God-like. Bruckner, a religiously devout and utterly humble man, through whose deep humility as a human being - and through whose own awe of and reverence for God - was able not only to derive spiritual succour and healing for his own life’s all-too human conflicts and struggles but also and in this way to become ‘God’s composer’ – a healer and teacher for all with ‘ears to hear’. It is as if his symphonies span vast arches not just of lived experience in time, but thereby also of time itself, as well as often starting with a tremulous orchestral echo of that most fundamental metaphysical tone or vibration out of which all of creation emerges - and which remains its deepest, most abyssal source and ground.
ow I am not a composer or musician, indeed I cannot read a note of music let alone play an instrument. But that all music, not least great music, is essentially a music of the soul - arising from the soul and not simply constructed through the musicological skills of the composer, was amply confirmed to me through many wonderful experiences of hearing music in my dreams. On at least half a dozen occasions I have heard the music of Anton Bruckner in particular – by which I do not mean any part of one of his nine known symphonies but new symphonic music of his – bearing all the same characteristic of his known music – and of his soul. Yet given my depth of attunement to him and his soul and through resonance to his music I do not find these experiences surprising in any way. For the souls of great composers, like those of all individuals, live on in the soul world – wherein ever new music continues to take shape and resound – in and from their souls.
Anton Bruckner – portrait by Karin Heinitz
t Oxford I was one of the very few students from an ordinary grammar school, since most came from elite private schools like Eton. As a result I had few friends. In all my years there I only attended a single lecture, but the famous Oxford tutorial system provided me with enough work – having to read a huge amount and then write two essays a week and discuss them with my tutors. My main interest was in dialectical logic – not just Hegelian and Marxist but also Buddhist and Taoist. My studies on the other hand were firmly focussed on English philosophy – in particular Locke, Berkeley and Hume – studies of any continental philosopher after Kant being looked down on. Indeed I was warned not to even mention the name Hegel in my philosophy exams.
Nevertheless these studies - in particular of the debate between John Locke and Bishop George Berkeley, were in retrospect highly important. Many decades later they were to lay the basis of my own writings on science, since it was the philosophy of John Locke which laid the basis of science as we know it today, a science which, far from being ‘empirical’ is actually radically ‘idealistic’ - seeing its own purely quantitative and mathematical concepts as more fundamentally real than any actually experienced phenomena and qualities whatsoever - such as the colours of a sunset or the beauty of a flower.
George Berkeley, on the other hand, dismissed the concept of matter as an unprovable and unnecessary hypothesis. We may subjectively experience qualitative phenomena such as hardness or softness, weight or lightness but we do not experience anything of the nature of ‘matter’ as such. What today I call ‘The Awareness Principle’, I therefore can now see in retrospect as a refinement of Berkeley’s so-called ‘immaterialist’ philosophy. This is a philosophy which recognises the essentially subjective character of all experiencing and indeed of reality as such – which in Berkeley’s view consists of nothing but subjectively experienced qualities of phenomena - and behind which lies no other reality but God.
It is really quite remarkable that already in the early 18th century there was a philosopher who not only anticipated but also demolished – and that with supreme grace and logical simplicity - all the myths we see propagated today in the name of so-called ‘empirical’ or ‘evidence-based’ science, not least the myth of the brain being the source of consciousness. Dimensions of my own subjective experiencing at the time were in their own way a confirmation of Berkeley’s ‘phenomenalism’ or ‘absolute subjectivism’. For whilst resting in my small bedroom in Madgalen College, I would regularly ‘leave my body’, exiting through a small window and becoming a ‘frequent flyer’ over the lawns of the College quadrangle. Still today however, I have a deep philosophical problem with the concept of ‘Out of Body Experiences’ or OOBEs - implying as it does that our ‘real’ body is our so-called ‘physical’ or ‘material’ body.
For me this raises a big question as to which ‘body’ is actually more fundamentally real – the one we experience ourselves inhabiting in ordinary waking consciousness or the body we experience in dreams and in so-called ‘Out of Body’ experiences? It would take me many years to solve this riddle, though the answer to it was, (even though unrecognised by me at the time) already suggested by the philosophy of Bishop George Berkeley – namely that bodyhood too is, nothing objective, but rather a particular dimension of subjective experiencing, one that can take on very different qualities and modes. From this point of view there simply is no body that one ‘leaves’ in ‘Out of Body Experiences’ and nor is there any necessity either to posit, as much esoteric and spiritual literature does, a number of different bodies – for example an ‘astral body’ or ‘subtle body’. For to come up with a schema of different bodies, each with their own esoteric name or label, is merely to by-pass the far deeper question of what ‘the body’ or ‘bodyhood’ as such essentially is.
The renowned 20th century German thinker Martin Heidegger addressed this question when he asked. “Where is the boundary of the body?” recognising that “When I direct someone towards a windowsill with a gesture of my right hand, my bodily existence as a human being does not end at the tip of my index finger. While perceiving the windowsill … I extend myself bodily far beyond this fingertip to that windowsill.” The body then, is not some “encapsulated mass” of the sort it appears to be from the outside, but is actually inseparable from the space around it. Hence a further comment of Heidegger in which he writes that he could not possibly go towards the door of the lecture hall were he not in some sense already there and not just here. In other words, far from being ‘in’ some encapsulated or spatially bounded body that is only ‘here’, our bodyhood itself pervades the space around it - extending in every direction, to every extent and to any and every ‘there’ that our awareness itself extends to. “In reality you extend over the horizon you survey.” (Rudolf Steiner). In this sense we have already ‘left our body’ (in the ordinary sense) every time we even anticipate a movement from a here to a there. Our experience of bodily movement in space merely embodies a movement of awareness itself. It was in this way that I eventually arrived at an understanding of the body as such – and of every body - as essentially a body of awareness - an awareness which does not end at its apparent boundaries, for example the boundaries of the flesh, but embraces the entire space around it and in this way also our entire experiential world.
What actually happens when we experience ourselves ‘leaving’ our bodies in so-called ‘Out of Body Experiences’ then, is simply that we return to a more primordial experience of the body or bodyhood as such. This is something we do also in our dreams, where the moment we anticipate being somewhere else we are already there - and in which we experience the entire space and environment of our dreams as a larger body – a body of awareness - within which we move. In this deeper sense we never leave and are never ‘out of’ our bodies at all. We only think we are, because we are so used to narrowly experiencing our bodies (and perceiving those of others) as bounded or encapsulated entities that are merely ‘in’ the space around them - rather than as pervading and embracing that space, which is not merely a space we are ‘aware of’ but a spacious field of awareness. ‘Out of Body Experiences’ then, are not an experience of leaving one body with another – whatever it might be called - but of passing from one experience of bodyhood as such to another, broader and more encompassing experience. It is in this way that, in Tantric terms, we can also come to the experience that is expressed in the words “I am Shiva … and the entire universe is my body” – an experience that I learned, several decades later, to be able evoke at any time.
My Oxford ‘flying’ quad (Madgalen College)
rahmacharya (/ˌbrɑːməˈtʃɑrjə/; Devanagari: ब्रह्मचर्य behavior that leads to Brahman) is one of the four stages of life in an age-based social system as laid out in the Manu Smrti and later Classical Sanskrit texts in Hinduism. It refers to an educational period of 14–20 years which starts before the age of puberty. During this time the traditional vedic sciences are studied, along with the religious texts contained within the Vedas and Upanishads. This stage of life was characterized by the practice of strict celibacy.’ Among the Hindu monastic as well as sramanic traditions, Brahmacharya is the term used for the practice of self-imposed celibacy that is generally considered an essential prerequisite for spiritual practice. These characteristics correspond to Western notions of the religious life as practiced in monastic settings. Wikipedia
My 21st year, and second year at Oxford, marked the end of my own life-stage as ‘Brahmacharya’, one characterised less by self-imposed celibacy than, despite a strong awareness of sexual sensations, by total and naive ignorance of what it meant to engage in sexual intercourse - or even masturbation (a practice which was only explained to me after I was initiated into sexual intercourse by my first lover).
On the other hand my studies of both Indian and Oriental thought had begun in earnest – the latter not just through my interest in dialectical logic but through being part of the first group of young people to be invited on a 4-week subsidised trip to China during the time of ‘The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’. Having discovered the genius of Marx through reading The Communist Manifesto at age 13, I became a fanatical Maoist - both at school (where I distributed the ‘Little Red Book of Chairman Mao) and in my first years at Oxford.
Then again, for me, as for many, I believe the attraction of Maoism and of the Cultural Revolution – which I came to experience and learn about first hand - was due to it having a strongly spiritual dimension to it.
As for Indian culture, this was already part of my upbringing. The strains following the partition of India were something I experienced in my parental home - which was populated by lodgers from Pakistan and India. These included an entire young Hindu Brahmin family from Pakistan - though the Brahmin’s wife was Austrian - occupying two ground-floor rooms room, and upstairs, a learned Brahmin called Mr Rao in one room and a Muslim Pakistani called Shamsi in another just across the landing. Things came to a head, when, in a fit of rage towards Mr Shamsi, Mr Rao attempted to tear up a thick telephone directory. But then there was also a dream that occurred much later when all these lodgers had long since left. In it I witnessed an entire procession of colourfully dressed Indian Hindus occurring in the main road close to our home – a sight not to be expected in what at that time was still a largely Jewish area of London. I also recall a thick blue paperback history of Indian philosophy which became in time something like a secret ‘Bible’ for me in addition to the works of Marx and Mao, recognising in it as I came to do a style of thinking that I felt no less at home in. But I digress, though it has to be said also that the first friend I made at Oxford was an Indian tabla player – and no radical political figure was more prominent in Oxford during my time there time than Tariq Ali - himself both a Pakistani and a Trotskyist Marxist. It was on my return from China that I was seduced by the woman who was to become my first love and first lover. She herself had been brought up in Hong Kong, daughter of an English father whom she despised, and an Egyptian Jewess. It was through a friend of hers that I also came to meet my first teacher in esoteric matters – a Jewish accountant, Cambridge educated, who, together with his witch-like partner, ran a small Kabbalistic circle in a slum in East London, practicing ritual magic.
I call him ‘Jewish’, and yet the word is in one sense entirely inappropriate. For both his character and physiognomy were more like those of an ancient and brutal Assyrian king – and emanating as he did a sense of regal power so highly charged and intense, and at the same time self-contained, cold and ruthless that it was as if he was surrounded by a force field of a sort you could not fail to sense – and only induce a type of fear and terror. The term Assyrian’ however, did not initially occur to me until, one day before meeting him again in a pub in East London, I had a dream so vivid and realistic I will never forget it. What I beheld within it was the panoramic spectacle of a mighty battle, led on the one side by none other than the famed Assyrian king and military leader – Ashurbanipal.
When I spoke of this dream to him he responded with one of his usual ‘looks’ – a type of mixture of acknowledgement and disdain one might receive from a king, one to whom some underling has just presented some trifling gift in recognition of his supreme authority and power. The reader will of course make up his own mind here. I myself knew for certain then, not just what nature of man I was dealing with – but also how and when he came to assume this nature. My second ‘teacher’ was a gentle man with whom I had little acquaintance – save that one day he invited me to his rooms, and – even whilst knowing of my radical politics - suggested in the most gentle and tactful of way that I might consider reading the works of the Austrian seer and esoteric philosopher Rudolf Steiner – he who turned Blavasky’s ‘Theosophy’ – rooted in Indian thought – into what he called ‘Anthroposophy’, a version of Theosophy strongly influenced by German thinking. This I did – and not without considerable impact on my future life and thought. The third and by far most important teacher was one I encountered only at the end of my last year at Oxford in 1974 – and that to begin with only through an article in a volume of journal editions I was looking through in an Oxford library. The journal was called Telos, the article entitled ‘The Formalisation of Hegel’s Dialectical Logic’ and the name of its author was Michael Kosok – as already mentioned a Professor of Physics and Mathematics at a university in New Jersey. With the aid of my lover, who planned to study in the United States the following year, I forthwith arranged to go to meet and stay with him in the first months of 1975 in his New Jersey apartment.
Suffice it to say that not only was meeting Michal Kosok – Mike – an experience in itself. He himself was an experience, and a ‘larger than life’ one. To say he was not a conventional scientist, academic or thinker would be an understatement. He did not merely use his mind to conceptualise in a dry academic manner. Instead he himself experienced concepts as living realities filled with their own innate vitality – a vitality he himself embodied and radiated in sharing them.
It was also through Mike that I was introduced to the SETH books of Jane Roberts – with their wholly original concepts of a multi-dimensional universe consisting of infinite planes of awareness, of the eternal journey of the soul through this multiverse, one that only begins when we leave the physical plane; of the sensual nature of the afterlife and of the innate multi-personhood of the soul - all of whose incarnations occur simultaneously in a ‘spacious present’; of the reality of parallel worlds and parallel lives inhabited by selves just as real as the one we know - but whose lives took different paths or which inhabit different planes of awareness; of an individual ‘oversoul’ or ‘entity’ whose awareness both transcends and embraces them all – and of a ‘God’ that constantly fulfils all potentialities of all individuals, a God who in essence is constantly giving birth to all that is and can be from out of a primordial realm of infinite potential shapes and manifestation of consciousness - including all potential beings, individuals, selves, phenomena, worlds and universes. Such concepts were also to become living metaphysical experiences for me – some of which I have already described using a key term (‘feeling tones’) that I first found defined in the Seth books:
“Your emotional feelings are often transitory, but beneath there are certain qualities of feeling uniquely your own, that are like deep musical chords. While your day-to-day feelings may rise or fall, these characteristic feeling tones lie beneath. Sometimes they rise to the surface, but in great long rhythms. You cannot call these negative or positive. They are instead tones of your being … These feeling tones then, pervade your being … from them, from your core, your flesh arises. Everything that you experience has consciousness, and each consciousness is endowed with its own feeling-tone. Your flesh springs about you in response to these inner chords of your being, and the trees, rocks, seas and mountains spring up as the body of the earth from the deep inner chords within the atoms and molecules, which are also living.”
n my immediate return from my first visit to Michael Kosok in New Jersey, three things occurred. Firstly I immediately began, using an old-fashioned typewriter, my first book, entitled Psyche and Logos - and which today only exists in a single ring-bound edition. Secondly I put out an advertisement seeking other people in London with an interest in the Seth books of Jane Roberts. Thirdly I received a surprise call and then a visit from an Australian man – Andrew Gara – who had also discovered the work of Michael Kosok and asked him whether he knew of anyone else interested in his work. Andrew was to become one of my oldest and truest friends. Together we went on a trip to meet and stay with Mike. Before that however, I received a response to my advertisement from two women living in East London – one of whom was Mary, who was to became my second true and lifelong friend, the other being her friend Caroline. Andrew and I visited them at their home in Mile End – where we engaged in the first of what would later become many joint experiments in speaking a language of sound which Seth calls ‘Sumari’ Our initial meeting over, Andrew and I returned home through a long trip on the London Underground, sitting facing each other on opposite sides of the carriage. Having just effectively participated in a first meeting of a fledgling ‘Seth group’ and spoken Sumari in it, you can imagine my astonishment, when, under the very seat I happened to be sitting on, I found when I got up a small folded piece of paper. Opening it I found that on it was written nothing else than the name of the very first of the Seth books I had ever read - SETH SPEAKS.
everal years after my time at Oxford and with Andrew in New Jersey I took a post-graduate degree in Humanistic Psychology at what was called the ‘British Centre for Antioch Studies’ – Antioch referring to Antioch University, Ohio. The focus of my research dissertation was the experience of ‘lucid dreaming’ already referred to and practiced very early in my life - the capacity to come awake in a dream, realise that it is a dream, and use the dream-state as a springboard for so-called ‘out-of-body’ or ‘astral’ travel. For this purpose I ran a ‘dream group’ for six months. The dream experiences I had in the course of this group were marked out by one particular lucid dream in particular – what I could literally call ‘the dream of my life’ – for indeed it revealed to me the entire underlying purpose and meaning of my life.
In this dream all the other members of the dream group were also present, but in addition we were all surprised to receive a visit from a stranger - a man who had climbed up from a ladder and then through the window and into the L-shaped, second floor room in which we were gathered. He casually announced himself to me as someone with quite an ordinary and mundane job in his everyday waking life - an electrician or plumber as I recall - but whose nightly work and true ‘inner vocation’ consisted in serving as an experienced ‘dream guide’ to scores of other people. Halfway through the dream, when I was standing alone with this ‘guide’ in the other wing of the L-shaped room he communicated to me telepathically that he was having difficulty, as I interpreted his message in words, ‘maintaining his physical form’ in the human shape he had appeared to me so far in the dream. At this point, not only did he disappear, but the entire dream ended and collapsed. And yet I did not wake up from the dream but rather found myself fully aware in a state of imageless or ‘dreamless’ sleep - one that felt at the same time like an entirely a different ‘space’ of awareness, distinct from that experienced in both the waking and dream state.
This was a space with no visible dimensions, though it felt like a vast womb with me at its centre. From the vast yet invisible circumference of this womb I felt my dreamt body being filled and imbued with silent, quasi-musical waves or flows of meaning streaming into me from all directions. Indeed the very space in which I found myself was less akin to any waking or even dream space but more like the space in which music itself is ‘heard’ by being silently felt from the inside, rather than heard as audible sound surrounding or streaming into us from the outside. Or rather, paradoxically it was more as if what was usually this very silently felt insideness of music was what I now experienced as surrounding, flowing into and filling me from the ‘outside’.
Then again, there was not only a sense of being filled, as through music, with rich wordlessly felt tones of feeling each imbued with layers and textures of meaning, but also a sense of being filled with a type of wordlessly condensed but richly sophisticated knowing – one riding on the ‘carrier wave’ of these in-streaming tones and chords of feeling. Yet this was a ‘knowing’ exceeding my own or that of any other human being. Indeed almost right from the start there was a sense that the ‘womb’ I found myself in was that of a higher, trans-human being or ‘entity’ – and that the ‘space’ I found myself in was the inner soul-space of this higher, trans-human intelligence. It was as if a deep inner knowing and a whole symphony of philosophical comprehensions were silently streaming into me through its wordless and silent ‘music’ – an experience I have since become quite used to through listening to actual music – in particular the deeply philosophical music of Anton Bruckner.
What followed this experience of a dream ending – yet not waking up – but instead finding myself in the vast ‘soul womb or ‘soul space’ of a higher awareness or intelligence (what Seth would call my ‘Entity’) was no less remarkable.
What I have described so far is a state of what might be called ‘lucid sleep’ (i.e. being aware within a state of dreamless sleep – for despite a felt sense of being in a certain type of ‘space’ and of feeling something occurring within it, there was absolutely no dream imagery whatsoever, and even the ‘space’ was something felt rather than ‘seen’ as in dream).
Yet gradually I began to experience – with full awareness or lucidity – a process of dream creation occurring from out of this state of lucid, dreamless sleep – what Seth calls the ‘pre-dream state’. The dream that began to take shape however, was not one of higher soul beings or spaces but something so banal by contrast that, had I simply recalled the ‘dream’ that now formed itself, it might have appeared so lacking in any evident meaning or sense that I might simply have dismissed it. The dream image I began to witness consisted of nothing more than what appeared like a falling cascade of multi-coloured sugar-coated cornflakes. Again, had I woken at that point and merely remembered this, I would probably have dismissed this dream as a comical joke and been able to make no sense whatsoever of these cornflakes. Yet having experienced the emergence of this dream image from the ‘dreamless’ or ‘pre-dream’ state I had been in, I instead knew exactly what these cornflakes ‘meant’ – which, far from being anything banal symbolised nothing less than the meaning and purpose of my entire life and my role in this world and this life This was to find out whether – if I communicated my comprehensions as concepts – coating or couching them in as palatable and as varied a way as the multi-coloured and sugar-coated cornflakes – other human beings were ready to understand and take them in or not – in other words whether they were able to fully digest and make use of their significance.
In a word, a word which occurred to me at the same time as this comprehension of the ‘cornflakes’ did, my role in this life and in this world in its current era was to act as a scout, a scout with a mission to survey the territory and test the ground for others - though what we are speaking of in this context is a global cultural and intellectual ‘territory’ and its philosophical ground – or lack of it. This role of scout was one I was tasked to undertake by verbally conceptualising the wordless inner knowing and comprehensions that I had experienced as streaming into me like a form of silent music. How? By coating the new concepts arising from these comprehensions in as clear, varied and palatable a way as possible and, in an on-going process of crystallising, clarifying and communicating these concepts to others – to also find out and report back on whether, to what degree - and by whom - their importance would (or would not) be recognised by other human beings.
I have written here of the experience through which I learned of my life purpose as ‘scout’ and how I was to pursue it – though I should perhaps also add that in the process I was also led to comprehend that I was not merely acting as scout for others still to come but – in terms of words that resounded inwardly in the dream itself, for ‘THE ONE TO COME’. Today I no longer understand, as I once sought to do, this ‘ONE’ as a being of any sort – for example in the form of some sort of Messiah or Saviour about to come or return (thus making me into some sort of Biblical type prophet). Rather, and once again in retrospect, I now understand ‘THE ONE’ announced to me in a more philosophical yet no less historically significant way – namely as both a new concept of ‘oneness’ that does not exclude diversity or distinction, but also and above all the concept of a singular yet universal and divine awareness of which everything - all reality, all worlds and all beings – are an expression. For it is this concept of ‘The One’ – as a singular, all-embracing awareness which is the source of All That Is – that was indeed to become the one ultimate fruit and central concept of my life work, and the one I still am preoccupied with ‘coating’ in diverse colours, making as accessible, attractive and palatable as possible – in order to thereby scout out people’s comprehension of it and their ability to work with and apply it.
Postscript: 30 years later I learned that, in terms of the tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, the capacity for remaining aware and awake not just within the waking state but also within both the dream state and that of dreamless sleep – and thus also experiencing the transitions between them (for example the transition from the dream state to dreamless sleep and vice versa) is known as Turya – the ‘4th state’ beyond and behind the states of waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep.
n another very meaningful dream that occurred in the course of the dream group, the members of the group were once again together, this time in my living room. On a table in the centre of the room lay a single large book with a symbol of two overlapping circles – the vesica piscis or mandorla on its cover. Opening it, I found it to be written in many languages - some entirely unfamiliar in nature. This dream was to prove of immense future significance, for it pointed in the direction of what was to become a decisive transition in my work – from an individual and group focus on experiments in a yoga of dreaming to a focus on experiments with a sound of the sort that could be conducted directly in the waking state. What followed the dream group therefore, was thus initially called ‘the Sumari Group’. Besides myself and Mary, it included her partner, my erstwhile wife Gerlinde – and later my long-standing soul-mate and partner Karin.
Together we engaged in a whole variety of creative experiments I designed with the intent to explore more deeply not only the relation of sound to language – as expressed in the language called Sumari and which I understood as based on the innate meaningfulness of individual speech sounds, both vowels and consonants. We began with writing and translating each other’s Sumari ‘sound poetry’ into English and went on, among many other things, also to find and translate Sumari names for one another. In addition we also experimented with exploring the relation between individual sounds, both vowel and consonants and gestural movements. The meetings of this informal group went on for many, many years. They are conceptualised in many writings and books, still unpublished, on the nature and relation of sound and language – as well as in a record of the group experiments compiled by Mary, myself and Karin and entitled simply ‘Sumari – the Language of Sound’. This work with sounds also influenced and found expression in the experience of what we called ‘Inner Voice Communication’ – later to be called ‘Resonation’ or ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’, which I will describe in more detail later. It also played an immense role in bringing me to the entirely new understanding of the meaning of ‘mantra’ that I mentioned earlier, along with entirely new ways of both experiencing and embodying this meaning. It is these new understandings that have since undergone further evolution in the principles and practices of what today I call ‘The New Yoga’.
had been in France with Gerlinde and our young son Jonah to attend the wedding of a friend of ours. On our return, fatigued with driving, we stopped to spend the night at a small hotel – unaware that the bar and bistro beneath our room was also the location for a noisy, weekly disco. Though it always has been rare for me to have any difficulty sleeping, this noise was a serious obstacle, so I did what I always do under such circumstances – getting to sleep by a process of inwardly counting down from a number of proportion size to my difficulty in sleeping – in this case I believe it was 300. It has also been my experience however, that the more awake I feel, for whatever reason, before going to sleep - and particularly if I feel so awake that getting to sleep demanded a ‘countdown’ process – that this sense of awakeness persists in the dream state - resulting in a lucid dream. Something of the sort also occurred during the night in the hotel room. I say ‘of the sort’ because rather than coming awake in a dream I awoke in what seemed like the hotel bed itself and in a state of what is called ‘sleep paralysis’.
This is a state I am familiar with from both earlier and later experiences which can, at least initially, be quite frightening. Thus one may wake up in what seems to be one’s own bed and bedroom, yet feel as if one has been woken by a strange sound or sensation that may be accompanied also by a sense of menace – for example, thinking there is a burglar around or a sense of some invisible being touching’s one’s body or pressing on one’s chest. At the same time however, one feels one’s limbs completely paralysed. I believe it was also from such a state of sleep paralysis that the experience of witches hovering above me described in the very first memoir of this book - ‘The Luminous Sphere’ – arose. Since then however, I have come to recognise the sense of menace as simply a sign of this state, which is also accompanied by a strong sense of the both surface of one’s body and the air around it being charged with a type of electricity. It is my experience that by consciously enhancing this sensation of electrical charge – uniting one’s felt body with the air and space surrounding it – one can, with patience, ‘leave one’s body’ – or rather allow a sensed possibility of it levitating upwards to realise itself.
The result is that one does indeed find oneself in a type of ‘lucid dream’, albeit one characterised less by anything dreamlike and more by a very different way of experiencing the waking-life space one is in – in this case the hotel bed and bedroom. Recognising myself in such a state during the night in question I successfully levitated from the bed, and exiting through the window ‘flew’ back to my home in London – indeed to the same L-shaped room in which I had had the experience of ‘Dreaming the Meaning of My Life’ described earlier, albeit a different part of the room. What first caught my attention from the view of the room it gave me was a table – normally in the other wing of the room, on which was placed nothing more exotic than a small pot plant. This soon metamorphosed into a jade green Buddha figure – one seemingly as alive as the plant in the pot.
It was only on approaching the table more closely however, that, on turning round for some reason, I saw an unknown man in the room, reasonably tall (unlike myself) and with very specific narrow and sharp features to his head, nose and face. What this figure then did however, came as quite a surprise and quite a puzzle. As if with most casual ease he ‘materialised’ a wooden stand with a blackboard. Upon the blackboard itself he then began writing a name – not once but at least five or six times, but each time with a slight variation to the spelling of the name. After this ‘dream’ – or perhaps even during it – I recalled Seth having said that each of us has an ‘inner name’ - one more resonant with our inner soul nature or essence - in the same way that Sumari names give a more resonant expression to that which they name. I learned in this way that my inner name or ‘Sumari name’ was REMUS, though it was the pronunciation of it that the man in the dream sought to convey by writing it in several versions – for example as RAMUS, RAEMUS and RHEMUS. Nevertheless is was the name REMUS that stuck, which seemed in a strange way to fit the appearance of the man himself – as if he himself were the embodiment of my essence or inner self. Naturally I thought also of the mythical twin wolf-foundlings who founded Rome – or rather the one whose name did not come to form the basis of this city’s name, i.e. Remus as opposed to Romulus. The –MUS in this name seemed to me redolent of many words with this syllable embedded in it – such as muse and music for example – whilst the vowel ‘E’ (as in ‘red’ or ‘led’) connoted for me a sense of coming from a place of inward depth – in contrast say, to the upward, outward and expansive levity of the ‘A’ vowel (as in ‘far’). The spelling RAEMUS of course united both vowels, as well as recalling another syllable whose power I had felt so strongly – the syllable RA in AMON RA, and uttered (inwardly or outwardly) like a rising and ferocious ROAR – one given even further ‘bite’ by the ‘dental’ R sound it begins with and building to ever greater intensity and ‘size’ with a long Aaaaah.
“Each symbol in an alphabet stands for unutterable symbols beneath it ... Sound itself, even without recognisable words, carries meaning.” Seth
ord sounds seem able to ‘condense’ meanings or ‘senses’ in the same way that Freud described dream images as doing. The meanings or senses they condense however, have the nature of wordlessly felt senses. This explains also why it is that we find so many clusters of words beginning with or containing the same word sound seem to share a common dimension of meaning - albeit one which can in no way be defined or pinned down by given meaning or denotation of any one word in each cluster. On the contrary, it is as if the meaning of words as words is but one more or less resonant expression of the meaning condensed and evoked by their individual word sounds – such as the ‘m’ sound - which would explain why such word sounds form a hidden link between words containing or beginning with it.
‘m’ – OM, AUM, mother, warmth, womb, moon, mood, mind, milk, mammal, mam, woman, human, mix, mingle, merge, meld, melt, dream, magic, mystery, miracle, mind, memory, muse, music, melody, harmony, meditate, mouth, mime, mute, meaning, name, mantra, hum, drum, permeate, comfort, compose, commune, communion, comprehension.
‘r’ - rise, rouse, roar, growl, rant, rage, rave, rail, ruckus, ready, resolute, robust, strong, courageous, rough, rend, rip, break, crush, crunch, scrape, current, river, stream, torrent, rampant, erupt, interrupt, corrupt, roll, rotate, revolution, radical, rascal, rogue, rake, red, ruddy, RUDRA.
This does not apply to just English words, which anyway have their roots in other languages. The word ‘mystery’ for example, has its roots in the Greek word for ‘initiates’ (mustai) meaning ‘the close-mouthed ones’ – those who bore their inner knowing in silence, their lips sealed as if to make the ‘m’ sound. It also contains the syllable ‘mu’ – ‘MU’ also being the name given to a lost Pacific continent on which I have written. Hence also the possibility of so-called ‘onomatopoeic’ words (from the Greek onoma – ‘name’). For example, words like ‘boom’, ‘slush’, ‘whizz’, ‘croak’ or ‘crack’ whose very sounds gives expression to their meaning as words.
The innately felt sense or meaning of individual word sounds makes it possible to compose ‘sound words’ - and ‘sound poetry’. Often called ‘nonsense’ words and poetry, they are in fact only ‘non-sense’ if we reduce the meaning of meaning or ‘sense’ as such to the established or given meanings and senses of words. In the experiments we conducted in Sumari Group we understood ‘Sumari’ itself essentially as a ‘mother language’ built on the innate meaning of word sounds as such. Consequently we frequently used word sounds to create our own ‘sound words’, using them as new and more direct way of naming things, one based on our immediate experience or intuitive, feeling ‘sense’ of them. We even used sound words to find new, more resonant names for feelings as such (rather than labelling them with conventional emotion words) or even for the intuitively felt meaning of existing words or concepts. Translating these sound words back into English – in a way guided by their own felt meaning or sense of their sounds, we found, as Seth indicated that “The English itself … then becomes charged, freshened with new concepts.”
An example is a sound or ‘Sumari’ word for ‘wedding’ which Mary came up with: SEREMODEIAN, pronounced ‘Se-ray-mo-dy-aaan’. We all agreed that this word had in, her terms “a silvery quality, a feeling of grace, and embodies the sense of a long, flowing procession – perhaps emphasised by the equal emphasis given to the first four syllables and the long continuation of the last syllable.” What surprised us so often was how much in common there always was in the meaning of our respective English ‘translations’ of the many Sumari words – and also poems - that we created, even though we each couched those translations in our own different words. Clearly part of the evocative character of our sound words had to do with ordinary words or part words, embedded in them. For example the word ‘MONDRAGNA’ embeds words akin to ‘moon’ (‘Mon’ or German Mond), ‘dragon’, has resonances with the word ‘magma’ and also with the Indian fire god AGNI. I have spoken of how word sounds – and therefore also sound words – can condense senses in the same way that dream images can do. But the reverse is also the case. Thus we found that the resonances of sound words such a MONDRAGNA could also evoke dreamlike images – allowing us to picture and describe whole scenes and stories. Indeed we found we could unravel and describe whole ‘mythological’ worlds that we found condensed with the ‘suggestive sonorities’ of single sound word. Hence from the single sound word MONDRAGNA arose an entire narrative surrounding a nomadic fire-worshipping tribe which inhabited a volcanic landscape in which dragon-like creatures also dwelled.
Of no lesser significance were the experiments we conducted – some very simple – in using sound words to create new and deeper names for each other than our ‘Christian’ names. Conversely, we invariably found it useful to listen to a given sound word as if it were a name – not for a thing but for a being or person. Or, the other way round, to ask what sort of ‘things’ a sound word found as a new ‘Sumari’ name for a person suggested.
That is why, in workshops that I led in order to introduce people to the language of word sounds and sound words I would often begin by introducing a particular sound word – ‘ZANGO’ – and then asking the participants to answer a long series of simple questions around it, for example: If ZANGO was a person would they be male or female? Of what colour are they? What continent do you see this person living in? How do you see them dressed? Plainly or colourfully? What sort of abode and environment do you see this person dwelling in? What does this person enjoy doing most? What sort of temperament does this person have? Is he or she married or single? All such questions around this and other sound words would invariably receive similar if not identical answers. By naming natural or everyday objects with sound words and then interpreting these words as personal names, we also came to a very deep understanding and experience of how it was that in so-called ‘animistic’ cultures, plants and mountains and other natural phenomena came to have names as well as mere ‘words’ for them – names which quite literally per-sonified their in-dwelling consciousness, soul or spirit and its character.
Taking a given sound word as a name for a being or person allowed us to go even further and to bring its spirit to life in a bodily way. We did so through finding a bodily movement or gesture, either for the overall feeling tone of the sound word as a whole - or for each of the individual word sounds that made up the sound word – each of which had its own fitting gestural element as well as finding its own natural, fitting expression in a particular look in our face and eyes. Imagine then just one scene then in our Sumari Group as an experiment such as this proceeded. We might start by meditating on some particular object – for example a personally meaningful stone that someone had brought – and find a Sumari word for it. We end up by embodying and personifying – becoming - the inner ‘spirit’ of that stone, bringing it to life in our individual faces and movements – or even as a collective chant and dance! Then again, we would also use sound words - and their translation into both words and bodily comportments or gestures to give expression to and gain deeper insight into some deeply felt question - either in our lives of those of another person.
Seth on ‘Sumari’
“Rubert [Seth’s name for Jane Roberts] has been involved with what he calls the Sumari language.
You may not realise it, but your language actually structures your visual perception of objects. Sumari breaks down the usual patterning, therefore, but it also releases the nervous system from its structured response to any particular stimulus. The sounds, however, while spontaneous, are not unstructured. They will present a sound equivalent of the emotion or object perceived, an equivalent that is very direct and immediate. The fresh expression sets up a new kind of relationship between the so-called perceiver and the perceived.
The Sumari then becomes a bridge between two different kinds of consciousness; and returning to his usual state, Rubert can translate from the Sumari to English. The English itself, however, then becomes charged, freshened with new concepts, carrying a strangeness that itself alters the relationship of the words. This is a dream or trance language. It is as native to its level of consciousness as English is to your own - or Indian, or Chinese, or whatever.
Rubert has discovered that beneath Sumari there are deeper meanings. He has become aware of what he calls long and short sounds. Some come so quickly he cannot keep track, or speak them quickly enough. Others are so slow he feels a sentence would take a week to utter. These are the signatures of different focusses of consciousness as they are transposed in your space-time system.
Many people find themselves singing ‘gibberish’ when they are alone, and trying to free themselves from language structuring. Children often play by constructing their own languages; and speaking with tongues is a beautiful example of the attempt to express a reality that escapes the tyranny of overly structured words.
Music is a language. Painting is a language. The senses have a language of their own - one that seeps into structured words but dimly. Each symbol in an alphabet stands for unutterable symbols beneath it...Sound itself, even without recognisable words, carries meaning. Oddly enough, sometimes the given meaning of a word does battle with the psychic and physical meaning of the sounds that compose it...
The Sumari word ‘shambalina’ connotes the changing faces that the inner self adopts through its various experiences. Now this is a word that hints of relationships for which you have no word.”
The sounds used in the language have their own importance and will be in their own way suggestive of feelings that have been largely unconscious. The feelings, however, are the tail end of inner cognisance, and we will use the sounds to carry us further into inner landscapes where both objects and their representatives must finally desert us. We will be using the language so that we can finally cease using it … These will be the beginnings of somewhat more profound ways of working through the inner senses.”
Írmen per té ner
The openings between the heavens
I as ménu cam bái
Suck the traveller in
The transition needs no moment
El pér te qúerna
On the way through the endlessly
In cúma estréna
They eye can’t take in what it is seeing
Ach járm i
But the soul trembling with joy
Límia si carmína
All senses drunk with clarity
The mighty symphony touches my heart tenderly
I am dissolving
n the course of the Sumari Group we used a new name for what Mary and I had first experience and called ‘Modulation’. The name was ‘Inner Voice Communication’, for in my experience it was now through a type of facially exaggerated mouthing and miming of different vowel or consonant sounds that I transfigured my facial expression, the look in my eyes and with them my entire sense of self. These were not sounds that I uttered audibly however, but rather, with my ‘inner ear’, inwardly heard myself uttering with my ‘inner voice’. In particular I tended to start each exercise in ‘Inner Voice Communication’ with Mary by mouthing and miming the inner utterance of one particular sequence of sounds – the sequence represented by the Egyptian God-name ‘AMON RA’. The transfiguration of my facial expression and feelings in the course of passing, in the slowest way imaginable, from one single sound to the next – was immensely powerful. It was like the experience of one face of the soul slowly ‘morphing’ into another in the way described earlier, except in this case by forming those faces from silent sounds formed with the lips and uttered with the inner voice.
“If we follow the successive sounds as they occur in a single word … then we can experience all possible shades of feeling …”
Try it yourself – slowing down your utterance of a single word or name to such a degree that you might mouth and mime each of its sounds – with feeling - for up to a minute – and taking the same amount of time in miming the gradual transition from one word sound - along with its inner feeling tone and its outer face - to another. In this way you would come to an experience of what would become an important mantra of mine – and a central key to my understanding of ‘mantra’ as such – namely that: ‘For every sound there is a self’. You would also experience what I call a ‘journey of the soul through’ sound - quite literally per-sonifying the word or name as a whole as your face morphs in turn from one sound to another. In the case of a god-name, this has an exceptionally powerful and transfiguring effect, giving you and the other a sense of becoming that god whose name you so slowly and silently hear yourself sounding forth with your ‘inner voice’ and also per-sonifying through the look in your face and eyes.
Yet what for a long time I and those from the Sumari Group called ‘Inner Voice Communication’ was just one name for one stage in the journey of evolution of a new pair-meditational practice (later to be called ‘Morphic Resonation’, ‘Resonant Eye-Contact’ or simply ‘Resonation’) whose essence can be described in very simple and non-esoteric terms – even though it can result in a literally endless variety of different shared experience of the most profound nature. So perhaps it is time for me to describe this practice in its basics as I have now come to teach them, as well as offering some further examples of experiences of it. These experiences were often accompanied by hearing and/or ‘in-voicing’ Sumari – or gave rise to Sumari names.
The term ‘Morphic Resonation’ came about only when - after decades of experiencing this form of pair meditation, I finally found a language, derived from Rupert Sheldrake’s terms ‘Morphic Resonance’ by which to begin to articulate and conceptualise its essence. In the context of my own life – starting with my early experience of using my face and eyes to give form to the feelings tones of music, the term Morphic Resonation has a very specific meaning however, and represents a very specific principle that is at the same time a practice. Both principle and practice can be stated as follows: By using one’s face and eyes to give outer form to a particular inner mood or feeling tone, a state of resonance between form (Greek morphe) and feeling tone is established - one which in turn both amplifies our sense of that feeling tone and thereby allows us to give even clearer form to it.
The eyes are important in this process, because they are, quite literally, ‘windows of the soul’. For those who have learned to see with their inner eye, the eye of their inner feeling awareness, the eyes of another person can reveal countless different and even contradictory feeling tones, and faces of their soul. They can also be used to reveal different faces of our own soul, each with their own unique feeling tone. At its most basic therefore, the practice of ‘Resonation’ consists in both perceiving different sides or ‘aspects’ of another though their face and eyes and revealing different sides or aspects of our own soul through our own face and eyes. The word ‘aspect’ is significant here, suggesting as it does both a particular angle or ‘aspect’ from which we view some thing or person - and at the same time the particular side, face or ‘aspect’ of that thing or person that comes into view by viewing it from a given angle or aspect, i.e. through the eyes of a particular side or aspect of ourselves – what Jane Roberts called an ‘Aspect Self’. Yet there is a third and very important aspect to Morphic Resonation. This is the process of establishing resonant inner contact with another person through ‘mirroring’, i.e. by giving form in one’s own face and eyes to some particular tone of feeling perceived in theirs. If and only if one is precisely attuned enough to do so, the other person’s own sense of that tone of feeling within their soul will be amplified by seeing it given form in one’s own face and eyes. As a result, a state of mutual resonance with this tone of feeling will be established.
Let me give a simple example of how such mutual ‘morphic resonance’ can be established and experienced – in this case through sound. Let us suppose that two people sit upright facing each other both partners’ eyes at the same level (this can helped with different height stools) and at very close proximity (this can be aided by one partner having their legs wrapped around the other’s).
Let us suggest now that all they first do is to both open their mouths very wide – so wide it was as if they as if they were both about to utter a long ‘Aaaaah’ sound as in ‘far’ - and particularly that sound and no other vowel even slightly differing from it). Yet instead of uttering this long Aaaaah sound audibly, we ask them to both simply hear themselves uttering it with their ‘inner voice’ – if possible at the same inner pitch. (This is something they can check out by asking each each other, just for a few seconds, to make audible their inwardly sounded Aaaaah). Now let us go one step further and suggest that both partners in this pair meditation imbue the sound the Aaaah sound they are both inwardly hearing themselves voice with a very particular feeling tone – for example a feeling of ‘joyous wonder and delight’. Finally we shall suggest to them that whilst inwardly in-voicing or in-toning the Aaaah sound they both express and communicate to to each other the feeling of joyous wonder and delight they have ensouled the sound with to each other. It is at this point that they will, if their eyes can show it, experience a sense of mutual resonance with this feeling tone of joyous wonder and delight - one that at the same time will create a quite wondrous and delightful sense of resonance between our two partners - uniting them as one - and all that through a single silently shaped and inwardly voiced sound.
This simple exercise in invoicing single word sounds - at the same inner pitch and with the same feeling tone – as expressed through their eyes and communicated through their eye-contact – is what I call ‘resonating sounds’. It also offers a very tangible experience of the type of resonance experienced through the practice of ‘Inner Voice Communication’, ‘Morphic Resonation’ or, in short, ‘Resonation’. For in this practice we perceive every face of our partner as a silent sound, just as everything we perceive in their eyes reveals a particular tone of feeling. Yet Resonation is more like an intimate conversation than an exercise – a silent conversation based on using our face and eyes to simply and silently show others our own soul life with its different moods or tones of feeling (and that however painful or conflicted) rather than just talking or not talking ‘about’ them - or alternatively seeing, sensing and resonating with the soul life of another through the feeling tones revealed in their face and eyes.
Just as psychoanalysis was based on a single rule of expressing ones ‘free associations’ or rather whatever ‘falls into ones mind’ (the German expression was freier Einfall) so in Resonation there is one basic ‘threefold’ rule or instruction, which could be expressed as follows:
1. to feel in one’s body as a whole whatever one sees in the face and eyes of one’s partner
2. to show in one’s face and eyes whatever and however one feels in one’s own body and/or
3. to mirror in one’s face and eyes what one sees and feels in the face and eyes of the other.
These three aspects of ‘Resonation’ correspond, on a silent and wordless level, to three aspects of an ordinary free flowing verbal conversation - listening, speaking and echoing back or ‘resonating’.
y partner Karin and I had sensed each other as soul-mates from the very first time we met in a theatre foyer in London, 28 years ago, after a performance of one of my sister’s plays. During our first private meetings I introduced her to the practice of Resonation as I shall now call it. In our first resonation we experienced each other as brothers in a past life living on a ranch in America. In a second one I both wished and felt able to reveal to her my larger soul in all its depth and fullness of feeling tone. This she found herself able to not only to sense but to name in Sumari - and also get an inner soul picture of – one she then painted (see below). The name that came to her was RAJMU. This name embeds two significant words: RAJ and MU. RAJ suggest the Sanskrit for king or ruler – RAJA. MU names a lost pacific continent and civilisation on which I had written. Interestingly in this context, in the course of this resonation I sensed and ‘saw’ Karin herself in a new way – as a woman with a Polynesian physiognomy and appearance whom I also found a name for – THUVA.
Thuva is also the name of a well-known and extraordinarily beautiful creek in the South Pacific island of Fiji. Fiji itself is a main source of the principal psychoactive herb root consumed and produced in the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia.
Karin’s painting of her inner soul picture of me as RAJMU
hat is far more difficult to describe than any specifics is not just the altered state of consciousness but above all the type of space – or spaces – one experiences oneself in during extended sessions of pair meditation of the sort I have sought to give an account of in these pages. The key word here again is resonance. One might think of two lovers gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes and giving those watching them the sense of being in an entirely different space, if not world. Or else of someone not just listening to or hearing but intensely attuned to a piece of music. The space of their felt inner resonance - or rather their active ‘resonation’ - with that music, is by no means the same as that space in which measurable amplitudes and frequencies of sound are thought of as travelling through the air around them to strike the ear and thereby send signals to the brain.
Similarly the space that a reader immersed in a novel inhabits is a quite distinct space from that of the book as a mere object ‘in space’, but a space that opens up through their felt resonance with the images and characters of the novel. Yet this is no mere mental space of imagination, a mind space filled with mental images. For returning to the example of someone listening intently to a piece of music, their intense feeling resonance with the music requires no images at all to experience, even if such images may arise. On the other hand, if all a person experiences in listening to a piece of music is mental imagery then this indicates a lack of direct feeling resonance with it.
Where such resonance is experienced, the individual is not merely surrounded by sound vibrations impinging on their body, as in a cinema or through a home ‘surround sound’ system. Instead they are inside those sounds, experiencing them not as measurable wavelengths of tonal sound vibrations in the air, but rather as ‘wavelengths’ of silent feeling tone that cannot be measured at all. Thus when we speak of being on the same ‘wavelength’ as someone we are talking of something wholly different than, say, being on the same radio frequency of communication on a walkie talkie.
A space of resonant connection or communication is essentially not three-dimensional space as we know it at all, but a zero- or non-dimensional space. On the other hand, that non-dimensional space can at the same time be experienced as having a felt bodily dimension of its own. This too however, has nothing to do with the body as it is perceived from the outside - as a fleshly body bounded by the skin and filled with tissue, blood and organs. Instead it is an experience of what Deleuze called a body without organs (BwO), or, in the terms I came to understand it. This is the body as felt and experienced from within – as a ‘soul body’ or ‘body of feeling awareness’, one characterised by different tones and textures of awareness and containing different resonant spaces of awareness. These may be experienced in the felt inner space of head, chest, belly or lower abdomen respectively – but the experience of these spaces too, is quite distinct from what we would find if we opened up the different regions of the body referred to and peered inside them from the outside, as in an anatomy class.
So it is not just a different, zero- or non-dimensional space we inhabit through resonance but also quite different dimensional spaces – spaces of feeling awareness or ‘soul’ filled with different soul tones, i.e. are proto musical tones, textures, patterns and qualities of feeling awareness. In a nutshell, then, resonant contact and communication is soul contact and communication occurring in soul spaces and through soul tones and their qualities, i.e. silent tones of feeling awareness whose qualities are merely echoed in those of audible vocal or musical tones.
‘Feeling warm’ is something wholly different from a ‘warmth of feeling’ – which is a quality of soul or feeling awareness – albeit one which touches us in a no less tangible and bodily way than a warm hand, and may even result in us feeling warmer in the ordinary ‘physical’ sense. Hence when we speak of someone as ‘warm’, deep or expansive soul we are speaking of tangibly sensed qualities and dimensions of feeling tone of a sort that might be echoed, for example in a warm tone of voice. Such qualities of feeling tone or ‘soul qualities’ emanate from a person’s body of feeling awareness – their ‘soul body’.
long with my experience and increased understanding of the type of soul contact and soul qualities experienced through both music and resonant soul-contact with others came the birth of a very different understanding of the meaning and nature of what we call ‘soul’ – and with it a whole new ‘science of soul’. By this I do not simply mean a new ‘psychology’ but a new understanding of and approach to all fields of science and to scientific research methodology as such. For what if the intense ‘bi-personal field’ created through the amplification of resonant contact between the souls of two people could create a gateway or portal into an entire world of soul – allowing them to attune to and resonate, not just with each other’s souls but with the particular tones and qualities of feeling awareness or soul that lie behind any and all phenomena whatsoever – whether sounds or colours, atoms or molecules, cells and organs, planets and stars. This capacity for direct resonant attunement – and experience of - the ‘aware inwardness’ or soul of any and all phenomena of the sort investigated by the ‘physical’ sciences would of course constitute a scientific revolution. At the same time it would undermine the traditional objection levelled against seers or clairvoyants that their claims to possess ‘spiritual scientific’ knowledge of the universe are ‘unverifiable’, deriving as they do solely from their own meditational experiences rather than from types of experience that are shared with or can be verified by others – as indeed they can be using the practice of Resonation.
So it came to be that I embarked on my first ‘soul scientific’ experiments, using Resonation not just with one partner but with two in order to compare and verify the phenomena being explored, not just through my own subjective experience but through the subjective experiences of all involved. Yet it must nevertheless, be emphasised that what I term ‘soul science’ is revolutionary precisely by virtue of being subjective science – that is to say a science based on direct subjective experiences of phenomena. For experiencing of any sort is by nature essentially subjective – even the experiencing of scientists in their labs. The scientific revolution represented by ‘soul science’ therefore consists in rejecting the traditional identification of science and truth as such with ‘objectivity’ – by which what is actually meant is a set of theoretical concepts and constructs superimposed by scientists upon our immediate subjective and sensory experience of phenomena – and yet taken as more real than the evidence of our senses.
Soul science in other words, affirms the innate truth and validity of subjective experiencing which becomes ‘science’ when subjective experiences are inter-subjectively shared and confirmed. Its foundation is the recognition that the sensory qualities of phenomena are the outwardly experienced expression or manifestation of inner soul qualities – qualities which in turn are essentially tonal qualities – qualities of feeling tone comparable to and expressed in sensed qualities of vocal or musical tones such as their hardness or softness, coldness or warmth, distance or nearness, heaviness or lightness, harmony or dissonance, brightness or darkness, texture and density – not to mention what musicologists so often refer to using the visual metaphor of tone ‘colour’ – as if emotionally resistant to admitting that their experience of these tone ‘colours’ is in reality an experience of particular tonal feelings or ‘feeling tones’. For it is not so much that tones ‘have’ colours, but rather that colours as such are a visual expression of qualities of feeling tone. ‘Resonance’ in the physical sense is an ‘energetic’ oscillatory or vibratory state. ‘Resonation’ on the other hand, is not an ‘energetic state’ but a soul activity – the activity of letting our awareness resonate back and forth between two reciprocal poles: (1) an awareness of outwardly perceived sensory qualities of phenomena such as their shape and texture, colour or tone, and (2) sensual qualities of awareness as such, i.e. the inwardly sensed soul tones and soul qualities that manifest as sensory qualities.
loating in a blue sky, sinking into a blue ocean below, merging with its blue – or rather with its countless wonderful hues and intensities of blue – bliss.
sit facing my meditational partner. Before we commence our pair meditation or ‘Resonation’ we select an object with a particular colour – or rather with a very specific hue of this particular colour. With the object and its colour hue in mind, we alternate between looking at it and then, closing our eyes until we feel we can, with our eyes closed sustain, with our ‘mind’s eye’ an image of the exact hue of this colour in the region of our forehead. If we lose a sense of the exact colour hue we look again at the object. Otherwise we simply concentrate on the colour as we visualise it internally – as if were painted on the inside of our foreheads. As we do so we seek to get an ever stronger sense of the feeling of this colour hue, a feeling that comes from the colour but is not itself a colour. As the feeling of the colour intensifies, we let then let this feeling pervade our entire inwardly felt body. Through this process we reach a state when it is as if our bodies are filled and pervaded through and through by both the colour hue itself and the feeling tone it fills us with - its soul quality. When this point is reached we open our eyes, make eye-contact and use our eyes to impart and mirror back to each other the feeling tone or soul quality of the colour. By doing so our sense of this feeling is amplified and intensified through mutual resonance to the point where it is as if we are both fully pervaded with and embodying the very ‘soul’ of the colour – which is then experienced in the most powerful way as an ‘altered state of consciousness’ – indeed as a distinct mode or plane of consciousness in its own right - one which alters the entire way we feel both ourselves and our bodies. Thus a particular red hue imbues our bodies with a sense of ‘full-blooded’ strength, an orange hue with a sense of intense vital radiance, a somewhat greenish yellow hue with a sense of ease and fluidity, a particular strength and hue of lightish blue with a sense of airy lightness and spaciousness, a soft magenta hue with a sense of exquisite bliss etc. Yet such crude and rough descriptions do not in any way suffice to express the sheer degree of intense, bodily sensuality with which the (colourless) soul quality manifesting in any sensory colour hue can be experienced – and shared.
The philosopher Wittgenstein once remarked that “The colour white is far less interesting than being white”. The same can be said of yellow, red and the other colours. The colours that we see are an expression of the colours that we are, the colourations of awareness that give expression to our being.
hat follows is a summary of and partial extract from a first ever ‘Soul Scientific Research Paper’ also based on meditating a particular colour through, this time through Resonation with two partners. Records of ordinary scientific research usually take the form of precise measurements. The initial recording of soul-scientific research often takes the form of no less precise poetic or mytho-poetic descriptions of the participants experiences and ‘soul journeys’ - comparable to dream records. Placed in the larger context of knowledge embracing both traditional spiritual-religious terms and modern physical-scientific models of the phenomena investigated, the participants’ experiences provide the necessary raw material for an overall linguistic and philosophical analysis of the soul scientific research – one essential to distilling its true ‘findings’. I begin by contextualizing the experiment, describing my own experiences and the associations it brought up in the course of both Resonations, together with an analytic account of the findings I drew from them. What follows then are the poetic records written by each of my pair-meditational partners of their experience of these Resonations, both of which these findings also drew on – and which involved experiences of the soul qualities of three colours; a purplish red, indigo and black.
‘Black Sun’ - Extracts from a Soul Scientific Research Paper
B had sent me a dream involving underground caverns and a volcano, a powerful force and a dragon. During our pair resonation I felt my awareness reaching deeper underground than ever before - feeling my soul body entirely within the realm of the caverns she had dreamt. Then I found myself using the power of what Carlos Castaneda calls “unbending intent” to send down what felt like a single strong ‘tap root’ or ‘tail’ of feeling awareness from the base of my spine down to what felt like the very core of the Earth soul. Reaching this core I experienced it as a ‘black sun’ but also felt its force as volcanic – a molten fire. The word ‘VRIL’ spontaneously came to mind as I did so, though I had then no idea of its historic meaning. I later found out that it came from a 19th century novel by Bulwer Lytton: ‘VRIL: the Power of the Coming Race. This work was, and is still is taken very seriously by occultists - albeit (as usual) rather too literally. It begins by describing a descent into the bowels of the Earth, where dwells a peaceful, subterranean race (the VRIL-YA) with a matriarchal, socialist culture. The race were so-called because they draw on a vital force called VRIL, described as stemming from a ‘black sun’ at the earth’s core. The sounds of the word VRIL and VRIL-YA also associate with the Sanskrit VIRYA – meaning vital force.
The resonation with K.B. had begun with an intent to sense and resonate with the inner soul quality behind a specific ‘Earth; colour – a purplish red. I use this term ‘purple’ since it is actually a combination of the two ends of the colour spectrum (violet and red) and thus corresponds to no natural physical wavelength of light in the colour spectrum. My sense of the soul quality of this colour was that it was an attractor; that it literally sucked in the light of awareness that rays in from the cosmic circumference through the surface periphery of our physical soul body and can lead it down through its different centres to a centre of awareness at the base of the spine. During the resonation I myself felt the tap root of awareness I was sending down as coming from the muladhara chakra between the coccyx and the genitals, taking the form of a coiling tree root. At more than one time I enhanced my awareness of this centre by forcefully pressing down my coccyx onto the stool. This allowed me to focus my awareness on the tap root with which I bored down ever deeper into the bowels of the Earth to reach the ‘black sun’. Feeling the molten fire in this core, I also sensed heat in the region of the muladhara and pelvic kunda bowl and kundalini - otherwise known as the ‘serpent’ or ‘dragon’ power centre coiled up at the base of the spine. I also felt immense power from silently mouthing, miming and embodying each sound of the word V-R-I-L.
The soul can be understood and experienced as a warmth body, a breath body, a body of colour and sound, a light body and a gravitational body, a planetary body, a cosmic body, a divine body etc. I see the soul-scientific significance of this resonation as a ‘journey to the centre of the soul’ understood and experienced as a planetary body, the core of this body being a deeper ‘underground’ core of the soul. A centre of awareness is, as Seth puts it “a road you can follow inwards”. I understand this road as leading to the ‘core’ of the soul understood as a singularity or ‘black hole’ – in this case represented by an experience of the planetary core as a ‘black sun’. The use of the soul-quality of the purple red-brown as a wavelength of feeling tone by which to draw one’s awareness in, down and under was significant, this being an ‘Earth colour’.
In a second resonation, KH associated this colour with Mars and everything ‘martial’ – seeking through it to also explore more deeply the nature and the power of ‘will’. I proceeded by recapitulating the descent of a tap root of awareness that drew on the strong soul-core and strength of will I associated with VRIL. In resonance with Karin I also experienced an attunement to the soul-qualities of the colour indigo. I sensed this as the counterpart to red-brown Earth colours, the former being a soul-tone which takes one’s awareness to the cosmic circumference of our larger soul body. It is from this cosmic circumference that the light of awareness in turn radiates inward towards the planetary soul core. Reflection on both resonations brought together several inner connections of soul-scientific significance:
1) The significance of the colour ‘purple’ (understood as a purple red-brown or deep ‘plum’ colour), this being a sensory colour tone uniting violet and red, and the expression of a unique soul quality or wavelength of feeling tone - one that draws the light awareness inwards from the surface of one’s physical soul body towards the ‘black sun’ at the core of one’s planetary soul body.
2) The significance of the colour indigo as an expression of the cosmic circumference of space itself as represented in Sanskrit by the sound K - this being associated with the syllable kha (relating to space as such), the goddess name Kali, and also with caves, cavities, the pelvic Kunda bowl of glowing coals – and the source of coiled up ‘serpent power’ or Kundalini.
3) The significance of the sounds V, R, and L - invoicing and bodying which I found had the power to bring me into resonance with the vital force (VRIL/VIRYA) arising from the innermost core or belly of one’s planetary soul body.
Principal conclusions: The coccyx and its soul-body counterpart or awareness centre – the so-called muladhara or ‘root-support’ centre – is not only the source of a coiled-up vitality which can be ‘raised’ up the spinal column but also uncoiled to root downwards to the planetary soul core - there to draw up a pure vitality and will - ‘VRIL’. Through dual awareness of core and circumference, a strong vertical line of awareness is established between one’s underground ‘Earthly’ soul core and the circumference of the heavens above. In this connection the erect verticality of the spine embodies, in the physical soul body, the central line of awareness linking the soul-body to the planetary soul core. These conclusions are confirmed by the fact that all of us experienced (without prior suggestion) the following through resonating with the same purple, reddish-brown colour hue.
1) a coiling or vortex-like ‘tap root’ of awareness extending deep down beneath the ground. Seth has described the inward and outward movements of awareness to and from one soul centre as a coiling or “spiralling” in and out.
2) A black sphere or sun associated with a ‘mantle of fire’ or with molten magma and with Bulwer Lytton’s description of the black sun that is the source of VRIL.
The conclusions were further validated by semantic and sonic correspondences between the words VIRA/VIRYA (tantric terms for strength and seminal -vitality) and VRIL / VRIL-YA and VILJA (Old Norse for ‘will’ – the nature of which it was part of KH’s intent to explore. Notable in KH’s experience was her powerful sense of the black sphere or sun as the “the pupil in the eye of GOD” surrounded by a ‘mantle’ of fire.
This fitted with my new soul-scientific understanding of the eyeball as a microcosm of the soul body as a whole, its black pupil being quite literally, a ‘window of the soul’ – leading through the pupil deep into its black inner soul space. And yet it is through the pupil that we can also radiate the light and fire of awareness – revealing through our gaze inner qualities of soul. In my resonations I raised the VRIL force and revealed it as a burning fire in my eyes.
Resonation 1: KB and Peter Wilberg Nov.25, 2003
Filling my eyes with the colour of your shirt
A deep red, dark and purplish, like drying blood
Drinking my fill into my inner being
Becoming the tone I see before me
Making the connection, soul to soul
Linking and amplifying our awareness of its Earthly intensity
Internally connecting to my bleeding womb
Sending my awareness downwards
Intending a deeper descent
Reaching with our combined souls into the depths of being
Down and further down,
Deeper and deeper into the Earth
Exploring the lower tunnels of subterranean depths
Passing through the fires of molten rock
Travelling the passages to the planet’s heart
From the womb of my soul body there issued down
A spiralling snake of our conjoined souls
Mining for the liquid centre deep within
Tapping into the volcanic power of darkness
Feeling it rise up through my inner body
Its power pushing me up and forward
Consciously seating my tail back to ground my self
Awash with intense waves from the core of all souls
KB: “Peter and I had previously linked our souls through resonation to explore the colour indigo. The experience of that colour was a very concentrated expansion of awareness through the ever darkening reaches of sky blue to indigo and black. As a contrast Peter had suggested we work with a dark red, an Earthy colour. He had been wearing a shirt of the specific tone he suggested. It was a very powerful experience and I felt our contact as much deeper than our previous experiments, even those when we had worked with tantric mantra. I was reminded specifically of our work with a Kali mantra and certain elements had a similar felt sense to them. I thought this no coincidence, as I have experienced the black-red soul womb of Kali the Mother goddess.”
Resonation between KH and Peter Wilberg Nov. 29, 2003
KH: “The starting point after recollecting myself and entering the silent inner depths of my soul body was to go deep down to the Earth's core. Extending my awareness I experienced it as like a root boring down through red and brown into deepest blackness and beyond. From the innermost 'beyond' an image emerged, an image of a black sphere covered in a mantle of fire - a 'black sun'. (In a later meditation this 'black sun' became for me the pupil in the eye of 'GOD' seeing us, so that when we resonate with it we may know ourselves through God’s eye). As soon as I felt my connection to the Earth core I also then felt myself expanding until my awareness reached from this to the outer circumference of the planet. It was as if I was encompassing and holding the Earth, being anchored in its core but stretching out as a fibre which started as a white filament but became a dark indigo that spread out. It was the indigo that held the planet. Out of this firmly rooted expanse there came a sense of strength. In Peter's eyes I saw this strength gathered and focussed, directed with passion and determination, unbending, fierce and fiery. In gathering the strength into my eyes I was filled with joyful calm. From the feeling in my eyes an aspect grew and I felt my body as a warrior's, a figure of tremendous power. There was no fierceness but rather a bright light and a sense of invincibility, abandon and joy. The most important quality of this warrior was his voice. It was the voice of what Seth calls a ‘Speaker’, a teacher of a sort who incarnates in many ages.”
Karin Heinitz and Peter Wilberg Dec. 18, 2003
We sit at an angle to each other
Silent after meditative conversation,
Still resonating with what we said,
When I feel dark warmth rising
From the depth of my womb.
And from the dark warmth
Rising in me from below
there springs a fire - raying from the eyes
Of who I am becoming.
We move to sit opposite each other and
I sense: this is new.
I feel the power coming towards me
Touching my soul body from the front
Like two balloons pressed together.
Opening myself I sense my back
As a compact mass of darkness
That with increasing awareness
Of the space behind me
Disperses into that space
After asserting itself
For the last time
Through making my neck
Into a bull’s.
Opening myself even more
I feel my spine lengthening
And my left side
Lights up in yellow-orange flame.
As my soul body expands I see
From the corner of my eyes
That your arms are spread wide
Just as mine are beginning to do
Until I hold the soul body
That is you and the universe.
Holding on to you
I descend deeper and deeper.
Feeling your body pressed hard against mine
Our arms tightly around each other
Yet you are sitting in front of me
Your soul body leans into mine
A picture forms:
Tightly clasped to each other
We fly along a tunnel underground.
The walls are roughly hewn rock,
Wide, so that we seem small
In the bright flickering light
That illuminates the walls.
The source of the light.
A mantle of flames,
Magenta, orange, yellow
Emanating from the Black Sun.
From left to right
Into the flames
Of the Black Sun,
And the whole time
I feel soul our bodies
Then I’m back.
Quite some time before I began to recognise – and at the same time reframe – elements of the Indian tantric tradition in terms of both Soul Science and my experiences of Resonation, I experienced with Karin a whole series of most powerful and dramatic Resonation, among the most powerful of my life. In each and all of them I found myself looking out through the eyes – and through them revealing also to Karin what for her was the almost frighteningly intense and dark gaze of an African tribal shaman - one with the power to ‘see into darkness’. And indeed, the entire mood or feeling tone of this shaman, was among the darkest and most powerful I have ever felt in my soul body, so much so that even after the Resonations, I still was him – and found myself enacting movements he made with what appears to be an African fly swish - but for him was a powerful spiritual tool.
Becoming and looking out through the eyes of this self of mine revealed also the dark world it dwelled in and beheld. On recollecting this series of Resonations I was therefore able to write an account – in his own terms – of the world view of this shaman, known to himself as an Ungum-Buthu. The following piece, entitled The Eye of Ogumo – the World View of the Ungum-Buthu, was the result. The title itself brings back to mind Karin’s experience, referred to in the previous memoir, of the pupil of God’s eye being a ‘black sun’. The piece concludes with a glossary of words central to the mytho-poetic language of this world view (including also the word MU).
Many spiritual traditions – including the Indian tantric tradition - are now seen by scholars as having their roots in early shamanic cultures and communities. So too is ‘The World View of the Ungum-Buthu – which is clearly resonant with my own ‘Soul-Scientific’ world view, and yet for me is also highly expressive of it shamanic roots, and/or of an earlier or parallel self of mine whose understanding and experience of the nature and interrelation of ‘body, soul and spirit’ is shaped and coloured in very different cultural terms – and by a very different basic feeling tone.
Ungum-Buthu – sketch by Karin Heinitz
or the light, there is no light. Shafra and Ogum. Light and darkness. The darkness is the source of the light. Its formless substance is the source of the flesh. Ogumo is its lord. As beings we dwell in Ogumo’s darkness. His is the one eye that looks out through all eyes, that sees into the darkness of the night and into the blackness of all creatures’ eyes.
Light is the eye of darkness. The light of the eye is the light of a darkness deep within. Ogumo’s dark realm, Mu-umda, is the darkness of the eye, deep within the blackness of the pupil. All beings dwell and rest in Mu-umda. All beings seek eyes, seek the light of consciousness, Shafra.
Shafarak is the Lord of Light, he with numberless eyes, but he who is also blind to the darkness, lacking the one Eye of Ogumo, and ignorant of the source of light - Mu-umda. Numberless worlds are formed from the substance of darkness, through the light of consciousness. The light of each creature’s eyes creates what it sees, forming dark matter into light.
In the earth’s early beginnings, Ogumo created Targun, the great blind beast of the waters. The body of Targun was the womb of all bodies. Targun was crocodile and bird, cow and tiger, fish and snake, ape and man, all creatures united in one body.
Targun knew no Sun. Only Luma, the dim, milk light of the Moon, on which he fed. Once when he rose to drink of Luma, Shafarak, lord of light, rose over the horizon at the same time. He hurled spears from the sun which dismembered Targun into numberless creatures. Yet each of the creatures still remembers him, and in the darkness of the night they commune together and seek to recreate his spirit body. Targun was blind, bound to the darkness of the ocean’s depths, but he saw into the darkness with the Eye of Ogumo. The creatures too, each have their own eyes, source of myriad worlds. But they also look deep into Muthu - their soul-womb, and see into the darkness within themselves. In this way they know themselves as spirit-beings or Manga.
Hoya is the very stuff of life, the dark spirit-substance of Mu-umda. Manga are the numberless spirit-beings, formless but alive in the Hoya. Manga are the source of numberless Buthu or body-spirits. Manga know that their flesh, even though it glows in the light of the sun, is formed from Hoya. They feed not on flesh alone, but on the Hoya of their prey, imbued as it is with its own body spirits or Buthu. As prey these Buthu become part of the bodied spirit of their predators, alive with its Hoya.
Just as day is born from night and returns to night, so are all worlds, all the Manga, Muthu and Buthu of all creatures born from Mu-umda, the world-womb. When Manga meet and join in Mu-umda, the togetherness of their soul wombs of Muthu kindles Hu-ora – the warmth of spirit-fire, glowing in many-coloured hues. Shafarak’s light, and the light of all worlds and all the eyes that create them are all born from incandescences of Hu-ora. The light of sun and stars is the trace of this birth. But the blackness of the night is filled with the invisible glow of Hu-ora in all its hues, just as is the Hoyama, the spirit-body of all creatures.
For the flesh there is no flesh. The flesh knows no flesh. The flesh and its spirit-body or Hoyama knows only Hoya, Manga, Muthu and its numberless body-spirits or Buthu. Manga eternally seeks new eyes. As formless spirits they can take numberless forms or enter other bodies and dwell within the flesh as body-spirits. Finding new eyes, Manga shape themselves in new forms, making new spirit-bodies for themselves. Looking at each other, they can see themselves through other eyes, feel themselves into other bodies. With new their eyes they see new forms, forming new and colourful worlds of consciousness from light and darkness.
The creatures each remember Targun. Their untold forms were once united in his body. Only as Manga – formless spirit-beings – do they remember Targun’s creator, Ogumo. Within their soul-womb or Muthu, Ogumo dwells as a shadow-being. This shadow-being is the Orgram. The Mugram, is “he who walks with his shadow” - the human being who reveres his Orgram and, becoming it, can look into the darkness with the one Eye of Ogumo.
The most experienced and fearless Mugram can become an Ungum-buthu – a ‘master of body spirits’. As Ungum-buthu the Mugram can freely shape his spirit-body or Hoyama, giving it a new form and new eyes. He does this with the magic of his Balamas, the sound-shapes that give form to Hoya. But first the Mugram must descend into his dark soul-womb or Muthu. There he becomes not ‘enlightened’ but ‘endarkened’. Dunga is the ‘trans-descendence’ of the Mugram - his spirit descent into Muthu. Muthu is the birth canal that takes him back into the underworld of Mu-umda, the dark realm of Ogumo. Having descended in Mu-umda through his Muthu, the Mugram must enters the mystical state of Embogu - surrendering his body to his shadow or Orgram and seeing with the Eye of Ogumo. Then he can move in darkness like an invisible creature of the night, seeing deep within the darkness of human souls. Looking deep into their eyes, he knows them as spirit-beings or Manga. Reading their Moshe - the gleam in their eyes - he can perceive their spirit body, its soul womb or Muthu and the numberless creaturely body-spirits or Buthu within it.
For the light there is no light. Its source is Mu-umda, the dark realm of Ogumo. The light of all beings, including Shafarak, has its source in Mu-umda. But whereas Ogumo’s world is one world and Ogumo’s eye is a single eye of darkness, the eyes and worlds of the creatures, created through the light of their awareness, are numberless and ever-multiplying. New eyes, new bodies and new worlds of light are constantly created by the Manga who dwell in Mu-umda. The one eye and one world of Ogumo and the numberless eyes and worlds of Shafarak are themselves ever one and ever two. Ogumo and Shafarak are two, and yet they are one in the great mind of MU - the awesome, resplendent All, the One-who-is-Many - endless and eternal creator of new worlds, soul-womb of all Manga and Buthu, spirit-father and spirit-mother of Ogumo and Shafarak.
MU too, constantly seeks new eyes, seeks them through his creatures. It is he that impels them to seek for new eyes too - to see and feel his being in all other spirit-beings, and thus to thus to feel his great Being within them.
The Ungum-Buthu is teacher of the Mugram and healer for the empty ones - the Nabhas. These are people who fear the night, fear the darkness within them – fearing Ogumo instead of revering him. These are people without Targa - the dignity and power of their shadow or Orgram. These are people whose soul-womb is empty and barren, whose body-spirits are trapped in the flesh, who do not know what it means to seek out new eyes and look out through them, who cannot form new bodies with their Hoyama and who cannot see or draw sustenance from Hoya or feel the vitality of Hu-ora.
Unlike the Nabhas, a Mugram can become a wholly embodied spirit-being or Manga - a Haman. A Haman is neither blind like Targun, one-eyed like Ogumo or many-eyed and yet blinded by the light of Shafarak. The whole human being can be both one-eyed and many-eyed, but only by seeing both in darkness and in light. His spirit-body of Hoyama is threefold, consisting of a being of darkness, the Orgram; a being of light, the Shafrag, and a being of wisdom - uniting light and darkness. This is the Moon-being residing in the head of the Mugram. To become a Haman, the Mugram unites his body-spirits in this threefold but now also singular spirit-body or Haman – one that is permeated with Hoya and radiant with Hu-ora.
With his Haman the Mugram can learn to see, not only with the Eye of Ogumo but with seven eyes - the dark eye of Ogumo, the bright eye of Shafarak, and the four eyes of the Moon - full and new, waxing and waning. And yet the Mugram can look out with many eyes as all the creaturely and human body-spirits or Buthu that he has accumulated within his soul-womb or Muthu and its spirit-body or Haman. Able to take on the shape and eyes of any of his Buthu, the Mugram becomes a master of these spirits or Ungum-Buthu. Then, with his Haman or unified spirit-body, the Ungum-Buthu can attain the ultimate - embodying the formless spirit of the Naira.
The Naira are the makers of this world and the messengers of MU for mankind. They are great formless beings, vast constellations of Manga united as one. The Naira have never known bodies or fleshly eyes but they are the source of the sound-shapes or Balamas from which all worlds and all bodies are formed. It is their innermost vision which shapes all that can become visible to the eye. Sun and stars are born from Hu-ora of the Naira in great explosions. It is the Naira who wordlessly transmit the mysteries of MU - the wisdom of the darkness and its manifestation in light, the secrets of the one eye and of the many.
As exalted spirit-beings the Naira entered our world, carved themselves into stone for us, and spoke to us with Tora, the voice that utters the world. They commanded us with Tora, because we knew it as the voice that forms and sounds through all things. We knew that with their Tora, the Naira had sounded our flesh into being, that we were the tongues of their spirit. The eyes of the Naira, carved in stone, gave us new eyes to see into the darkness from whence we came and emanate its light. They gave us ears to listen to the darkness and hear its magic spirit-words. These are the Balamas. Each Balama can give new shape and new eyes to our spirit-body or Hoyama, make manifest our body-spirits or Buthu, heal and make whole our spirit-body or Hoyama, becoming Haman.
We built stone temples to the Naira, and through their wordless teachings, our Mugrams became famous as Ungum-Buthu. With the eyes of birds they spied out the land and found water for us. When our flesh became ill and deprived of Hoya, our spirit weak in Targa; when we became blind like Targun or mad with many eyes like Shafarak, they helped us to descend into our soul-womb, to give birth to the Buthu trapped or lost within us and drink once again of the nourishing moon-milk Luma - just as Targun once did.
They taught us to protect ourselves and hunt by sensing spirit beings or Manga in the darkness, to see with the eyes of the many creatures and shape our Hoyama in their form. They taught us to fight as warriors like Shafarak, hurling light spears into the darkness and dismembering or dislocating their Hoyama. They taught us to revere Ogumo, and become one with our Orgram, to walk with our shadows and enter others with them, joining them in Mu-umda. The Ungum-Buthu are therefore the kings - Kulu - of our tribe, the Barami.
When the flesh of an UNGUM-BUTHU dies, their Haman returns with them to Mu-umda, filled with Hoya, strong in Targa and fully imbued with their formless spirit-being or Manga. In Mu-umda the Buthu of the Ungum-Buthu become Thura. Their body-spirits unite as multiple spirit-bodies, each with their own eyes, yet each part of a united spirit-body or Haman. But even from within this world the Umgum-Buthu can enter Mu-umda and behold it with the eyes of his many Buthu. It is in Mu-umda that each human being creates new spirit-bodies from their Buthu, imbuing them with a part of their Manga or spirit-being. These new spirit-bodies are Bushos – the spirit-bodies of children to be. Seeded by the Manga of their creator and seeding the spirit-bodies of their earthly fathers, the Balamas and the Buthu of each Busho take on fleshly form within the womb of their mothers. The Bushos sound themselves alive in the very flesh of the foetus, in-forming its flesh with the dreams they still dream in Mu-umda. Each is a spirit-being or Manga, possessed of its own spirit body or Hoyama and body spirits or Buthu. Each is a child of MU, entrusted with the Tora and shaped by the Balamas of the Naira.
The sound-shapes that give form to Hoya
Spirit-body of a child to be
The Ungum-Buthu are the kings - Kulu - of our tribe, the Barami.
The trans-descendence of the Mugram
A mystical trance-state entered by the Mugram who surrenders his body to the Orgram and sees with the Eye of Ogumo
A fully embodied human being with a united spirit-body
The formless spirit-substance of the darkness
The spirit-body of the human being
The warmth of spirit-fire, glowing in many hues. Sun and stars are born from Hu-ora
The Ungum-Buthu who are the kings of our tribe, the Barami.
The milk light of the Moon
Formless spirit-beings of the darkness who eternally seek new eyes
The gleam in the eyes of all spirit beings
The awesome, resplendent All, the One-who-is-Many, endless and eternal creator of new worlds, soul-womb of all Manga and Buthu, spirit-parent of Ogumo and Shafarak.
Shaman - “he who walks with his shadow”
The soul-womb of all creatures and birth canal into Mu-umda
Ogumo’s dark realm, Mu-umda, is the darkness of the eye, deep within the blackness of the pupil. The dark world-womb which is the source of all light.
The empty ones who fear the darkness
The makers of the world and the messengers of MU for mankind
Lord of darkness
The dark shadow-spirit of Ogumo within us
t is night. I find myself walking alone along a deserted street in what I sense is a small town. At one point I notice an old, arched wooden door to my right, which has the appearance of an entrance to something like a Masonic temple or lodge. Opening the door I enter what seems like a large lobby but which might also be the meeting place for the members of this ‘lodge’ or ‘secret’ society. The lobby or meeting hall seems also to be deserted save for a single ‘caretaker’ or ‘guardian’. Then facing the door from inside the hall I notice a set of stairs leading to a second floor of the building. I become aware – perhaps through the caretaker or perhaps not - of a smaller room on this floor in which the ‘elders’ of this society are right now meeting - in the absence of the members. I also become aware of the name of the society, which is not a Masonic society at all but is called ‘The Ichtheus Society’. Soon I become intuitively aware of the reason why. The elders of the society are meeting in secret because the members themselves are not ready to learn of the true and secret purpose of this ‘Ichtheus Society’ – which is to prepare the very cells and molecules of the members’ bodies to become vessels for the human reincarnation of great spirits – specifically the spirits of great sea serpents which once inhabited the oceans of this planet.
Suddenly then, I am no longer in the darkly lit and sombre hall of the ‘Ichtheus Society’ but witnessing – in the bright light of a sunlit day - these sea serpents. Their appearance is like pythons – except many times longer and many times thicker. At the same time all are covered with the most beautifully glistening multi-coloured scales. I witness these playfully and indulgently rising from and plunging back down into the ocean, as well thrashing and coiling themselves in the waters – all this with a spirit of sheer exultation and exuberance in their own freedom, life and existence – indeed with a spirit of such glorious and powerful exultation in freedom, life and existence as such that I have never witnessed before or after. It is as if they are veritable gods of the seas. After the dream I confirmed that the name of the society – ‘Ichtheus’ – is in fact a combination of the Greek words for ‘fish’ or ‘sea-dwelling creature’ (Ichthus) and ‘god’ (theus). The fish (Ichthus/Ichthys) was also a symbol of early Christianity, but I can hardly think of a society further away from any type of ‘Christian’ theology than this ‘Ichtheus Society’ and the glorious creatures whose spirits it was created to serve and cultivate human vessels for. And these serpentine sea creatures I witnessed, serpents of splendour revelling so joyously in their thrashing and coiling, were indeed no mere ‘fish’ – rather they seemed like nothing less than ‘the power and the glory’ of the divine made manifest in living, creaturely form.
Note: The root meaning of ‘tantra’ is ‘loom’. In its original usage, however, it referred to any form of practical ‘know how’ – whether agricultural or architectural, alchemic or astrological. Yet much of this practical know-how seems to have sprung up literally ‘out of the blue’ with the creation of the earliest known cities and civilisations. This ‘blue’ may be more than just a metaphor – for it has been suggested that the ‘know-how’ in question was imparted to humanity by trans-human beings hailing from other planets and or trans-physical planes of consciousness, and that it was their knowledge that lay the basis of many early civilisations –in particular ‘Sumeria’ or ‘Sumaria’ – a civilisation connected with the nature and meaning of sound and its language – Sumari (see Seth on ‘The Sumari’ and ‘Sumaria’).
These beings from other planes were perceived as superhuman gods. They also inaugurated long-lasting lineages of human ruler-priests whose purpose was to guard both the practical and metaphysical knowledge granted to them. The beings themselves could not only communicate with human beings in dream and ‘out of body’ states, but also manifest themselves bodily – albeit in a non-human or only partly human form. In particular they are represented in almost every ancient culture and civilisation in the form of ‘serpents’ of some sort – whether underground or earthly, ocean-dwelling or air-born, swimming or winged, amphibious or reptilian. There is also much evidence to suggest that they sought to create genetic cross-breeds of themselves and human beings. The Hindu name for these serpent beings is ‘nagas’. The Hindu god ‘Shiva’ is also called ‘Naga Natha’ – Lord of the Nagas.
Herein lies a key to the tantric science of ‘kundalini’. For as that power that lies ‘coiled up’ - like a serpent in the human body - the term kundalini also points us back to the trans-human sources of tantric spiritual ‘know-how’ - to the nagas and to the deeper truth of global serpent symbolism.
The sense of uncoiling a serpent-like tail and extending it deep down into the core of the earth described earlier is also echoed in the words of Rudolf Steiner:
“[In olden times] a man felt earth … as though forces passed through his legs and feet and united him to the earth … the whole inner manner of experiencing altered when a man … prepared himself for knowledge … A man who in that olden time experienced what I have just described, would say: “The serpent has become active within me.” His being lengthened out into the earth; he no longer felt his physical body as the really active part of him; he felt as though he stretched out a serpent-like continuation of himself into the earth … To perceive was therefore in the olden time something like this: “I rouse the serpent within me to a state of activity; I feel my serpent-nature.”
From my experience the serpent or naga is essentially a symbol of ancient but still latent powers of the human being’s own true body, their soul body or body of awareness, with its innately snake-like and shape-shifting mobility. Yet was only many years after dreaming the ‘Ichtheus Society’ that I would find myself capable of becoming a naga – both shifting my soul body into the shape of a coiling serpent and also manifesting both its inner form and motions and strangely impersonal consciousness to others.
hat distinguishes what I later came to call ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’ - which the poem above is one of very many most vivid expressions of - from previous forms of pair meditation or ‘Resonation’ is both the way in which the experience of both was seeded and shaped by the tantric metaphysics known as Kashmir Shaivism - and in particular the divinely sensuous and erotic dimension which it lends to pair meditation. What I am certainly not speaking of in this context however, is what today is called ‘Tantric Sex’ – which is nothing but an eclectic set of techniques for the heightening and elongation of ordinary ‘physical’ sex in a way which is artificially imbued with a ‘spiritual’ aura simply by the use of exotic, quasi- or neo-tantric imagery, rituals and terminology. Instead what I am speaking of is something wholly different – namely the sensuality and sexuality of the soul and its body the ‘body of bliss’ - and with it, the experience of a type of an intense and blissfully sensual soul-body intimacy and intercourse - one that requires no physical touch or skin contact whatsoever.
To begin to understand what is meant here we need to come to an entirely new understanding and experience of the metaphysics of ‘tantra’– as a religious culture and world view in which ‘sex’ itself is no mere creaturely, biological or evolutionary phenomenon in need of elevation to some higher spiritual level or plane, but that which constitutes instead the essential and dynamic relation expressed in all that is. This is the relation between pure, quiescent awareness on the one hand (the divine masculine as symbolised by the god Shiva) and its autonomous power or potential for manifestation in all things – this being pure power as symbolised by the divine feminine - Shakti -and personified in particular by the Hindu goddess Kali. The idea of a particular god or goddess having his or her own ‘consort’ of the opposite sex is of course a very ancient one – one need only think of Osiris and Isis in the Egyptian tradition. Yet the idea of God as such being essentially androgynous in the metaphysical sense described above, i.e. a relation between two distinct but inseparable dimensions of awareness, is a revolutionary one. For behind it lies the fundamental religious and metaphysical understanding that God is not a being ‘with’ awareness but is awareness, awareness in its two distinct but inseparable dimensions – awareness as such (Shiva) and its innate power of manifestation (Shakti). On this I have written much in my books and writings on ‘The New Yoga of Awareness’. Here will I only seek to offer a glimpse into the difference that this metaphysical understanding makes to the experience of both pair meditation as I have described it so far - and also what in New Age circles is so casually termed ‘tantra’ or ‘tantric sex’.
In relation to pair meditation as described hitherto there is no formal difference – both members of the pair being seated at eye-level with one another, and with one partner wrapping his or her legs around the knees of his partner to achieve a close enough proximity without having to lean forward – this being the only element of physical contact involved.
In the case of Tantric Pair Meditation – and also what I call ‘Tantric Initiation’ the difference lies in what then proceeds, which is a wordless form of soul communion and communication through the face and eyes that can take as many different forms as a free flowing verbal conversation could but something with a much more specific character. Just as in pair meditation or ‘pair resonation’ as I have described it so far, the experience ceases to be one or two people simply making eye-contact and meditating together as who they are and under whatever their names they may be called in ordinary life. Instead they experience themselves ‘becoming other’ – showing the face and looking out at each other through the eyes of quite different selves or ‘I’s from the one’s they ordinarily identity (‘I’-dentify) with. The difference – and it is a big one – is that the ‘selves’ they become and embody are their ‘divine selves’ – in other words the most basic twin aspects of divinity as such – and of reality as such. This is the link to the first and most important sutra of that treatise or ‘tantra’ – known as the Shiva Sutras – on which the entire metaphysics of Kashmir Shaivism rests. The sutra takes the form of a single Sanskrit term – Chaitanyatman – which, properly translated, means simply that, like God, ‘the self’ (atman) IS awareness – and not simply a being that happens to have or possess awareness.
What happens then – and I speak, as intended through these memoirs, from experience here – is that the partner (usually but not necessarily male in terms of biological gender) who is to assume, embody and personify the role of Shiva simply becomes that pure, quiescent awareness symbolised by this god. At the same time he intends and allows that awareness, as I have done many times, to flow directly into the aware inwardness or soul of his partner’s body, both directly from his chest and heart region – and also from below, as if through an invisible vagina. As it does so his partner – usually but not necessarily female in terms of biological gender – experiences this penetrating in-flow of awareness as a rising surge and fullness of almost uncontainable vitality and power - Shakti. In doing so, she eventually comes finds herself wholly becoming and embodying the ‘goddess’ Kali – personifying and radiating that power through her gaze as well as emanating it from her entire body.
This is indeed the purpose of ‘Tantric Initiation’ when conducted by a male guru – to empower his female partner and transform her into a living embodiment of Shakti in the form of the goddess Kali. This is aided by the invoicing and embodiment of words sounds and sound words or mantra recognised as deeply significant in tantric metaphysics themselves – not least the ‘k’ sound as embodied through a straightened and upright back and experienced as an ‘ecstatic’ expansion of awareness (from the Greek ek-stasis) towards its cosmic circumference.
The soul body intercourse that takes place in the course of Tantric Pair Meditation can take any number of forms - all of which would be entirely invisible to an observer who would only see two people sitting facing one another fully clothed - for these are all forms of intercourse of their soul bodies (for example the embracing of the soul body of one partner by the other, the melding and merging of both their soul bodies – or their snake-like intertwining and inter-penetration.
What characterises all these forms of soul body intercourse however is an experience of a divinely sensual bliss (ananda) – what in Sanskrit goes by the name of awareness bliss or Chitananda. This compound noun is in turn part of a larger compound word central to Indian religious and metaphysical thought. This word is Satchitananda. ‘Sat’ refers to being or existence, and chit to awareness. Properly translated (i.e. translated on the basis of an actual experience of its meaning) this word says that ‘being awareness’ or ‘the being or awareness’ (sat-chit) is ‘bliss’ (ananda).
I conclude this part of my memoir with the introduction to my book ‘Tantra Reborn – on the sensuality and sexuality of our immortal soul body’, which both arose from and suggests the nature my metaphysical experiences of ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’ in a way that also embraces and includes those other dimensions of pair meditation already described - which I have explored over almost a lifetime:
“What would it be like to know that you are indeed immortal, that your physical body is but the outward form taken by your own eternal inner form or soul body? What would it be like to experience this soul body as an awareness field or field body unbounded in space and time - an awareness that can expand to embrace the entire cosmos as its body? What would it be like to experience your soul body as a feeling body with which you can dissolve the physical boundaries that seem to separate you from others, learning to feel your soul in their body and their soul in yours? What would it be like to turn your whole body into a sense organ of the soul, one that enables you to perceive the soul bodies of others, and to experience the sensual bliss of true tantra – of spiritual intimacy and intercourse with the soul body of another? What would it be like to be able to shamanically shape-shift your soul body with inner ‘soul sounds’, using the power of silently sounded mantra to take on the form of other beings, human and divine? What would it feel like to be able to transform the way your body feels from within, shifting its inner shape and feeling tone? What would it be like to feel again the many different selves or ‘spirits’ - animal, human and trans-human - that form part of your own soul, to once again embody these spirits and thereby feel yourself whole? What would it be like to behold the divine countenance of a god or goddess in the face of another human being? To see the beauty of their own soul being? To unite their eternal soul body with yours, as gods and goddesses in the bliss of divine union? What would it be like to experience sexual intercourse without any bodily contact – simply and purely through the innate sensuality and sexuality of your soul body? These are some of the many powerful, profound and life-transforming tantric powers and experiences that come from practicing The New Yoga – a yoga not of the physical body but of our body of feeling awareness – our soul body. The body as a whole is an organic grouping of cells. The whole self or soul is a grouping of selves. Not feeling our soul comes from living only in our heads and minds – not feeling our body as a whole. Yet awareness of our whole body is more than just awareness of our physical body. The whole body is essentially a ‘soul body’ unbounded by the flesh, one whose only boundaries are the boundaries of our feeling awareness. The focus of the Old Yoga was our outer physical body, its breathing and posture, and its inner fields and flows of energy. The focus of The New Yoga is our inwardly felt body or soul body. This body is not composed of ‘subtle energies’ but of sensuous fields and flows of feeling awareness – for it is these that link us most intimately with the aware inwardness or soul of everybody and everything around us.”
Yet no amount of words will, without their own experience of it, make the metaphysical experience of Tantric Pair Meditation described above tangible to readers. Thus I can only appeal to any reader to use what I might call their own bodily imagination – to imagine say, touching foreheads with a friend or partner of yours, or at least bringing your own forehead very close to theirs – and in doing experiencing the inner ‘mind’ space of you own head totally merged with theirs. Or to imagine the felt inwardness of your chest and heart region merging with that of another without any contact at all. To imagine also the deep and dark inner ‘soul space’ or ‘soul womb’ of your lower abdomen or hara (Japanese) as having a hidden centre of awareness (Japanse tanden) a few inches below and behind the navel – a centre from which you can make direct inner contact with the same soul centre in another. And finally, to imagine that you were the entire space around your body and that of any person or thing, thus embracing their body in a no less tangible – and indeed more all-embracing way – than as if you were hugging them with your body.
hat follows are two accounts my ‘soul body’ in the shape of a Naga or serpent as experienced by both myself and my partner Karin (albeit expressed in her words and from her perspective) during an experience of the new form of ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’ I evolved in the first decade of the 21st century.
This constituted an evolution of my earliest experiences of inner soul communication and kundalini with my friend Mary in the mid-seventies.
Please note however that the words that follow are not poetic metaphors or symbols but ‘literal’ description of directly felt and lived experiences - experiences of tantric soul-body intimacy and intercourse (‘Maithuna’) of the most tangible and sensuous nature imaginable, even though they involved no physical touch or skin-contact at all.
Behold him in his glorious joy:
Obsidian coils glistening against
The darkness of the Void
Where he frolics.
His mighty sinewy trunk
On the loom
Behold him in his cunning
When he draws his black body erect,
His lush velvet shadow
Languidly caressing your spine.
His eyes like dark and distant flames
Scorch what he sees
With a cold fire.
Behold him in his golden splendour
When he has shed his old skin
And become wise.
When he towers over you now
The fire in his eyes
Illuminates what is
With wry, loving
2. The Body of Bliss
You start meditating,
Entering your bliss body
With eyes almost closed
Your face enraptured.
I move into my bliss body
And begin to resonate with you.
Ahhh, shivers of pleasure
Flow through my body
As the tones of your being
Reverberate through me and
The instrument that is my soul
Resounds in harmony.
You respond with a sensuous smile
And the serpent begins
To uncoil her body.
At first my touch is tentative
Yet it reveals every time
A different face of yours, then
A different body is emerging.
In front of my eyes.
Shiva has entered you
And through your eyes
He addresses me
As his Goddess
With reverence and love.
And our souls dance
Gently caressing each other at first
Touching here and there
Fluid and flowing around each other.
Then faster yet without urgency.
Weaving a joyful pattern of love.
And the Goddess rejoices
In her sensuous bliss
As Shiva’s body writhes with pleasure
His gaze enchanting,
His soul taking me
Higher and higher
My soul responding
My bliss body merging with his
In a sea of sound and darkness,
Swirling heat that burns
Into my heart and heals it.
You have taken me, Shiva,
Taken me in my fullness
Saying yes to all of me,
Your soul singing our love
And every pore of my body breathes
Your light, my light and the divine light
In which we both have our abode.
Overflowing with bliss
I cry out and laugh with joy
And you join in the laughter
And for a moment we are
You move your chair
To sit in front of me -
Your knees touch mine,
Your eyes burning with intent.
I feel you entering me,
A different force now than before.
Warm waves of voluptuous fullness
Well up from my womb.
Your power deftly explores
Where it needs to go
Yet subtle, without agenda,
Following what it finds
Yet knowing what it wants to achieve.
We move closer together.
Our faces almost touching
We breathe in the fragrance of each other’s soul
Savouring the delicate sweetness
Emanating in a thousand tones
From the joy of our union.
And my soul finds in you
The places that need healing
And I breathe over you
What I took from your soul breath
After savouring it,
Wedding it to mine,
Transforming it through knowing
That heals us both.
And the fragrance of our souls
We give back to each other
As nectar. Our eyes
Are full of it and overflowing.
Our soul bodies take a backward step
To behold each other in this new found bliss.
Dark light in the darkness of my womb.
And then I see the movements of your hands.
Hands that grow out of, overlay
Your fleshly ones, as visible for me as them.
Hands that move and shape
A poem of Mudras.
One after the other
Like something you’ve learnt by heart
And practiced for lifetimes,
Fluid, fast, speaking without hesitation.
You move closer again,
Your exploring gets more urgent,
Mounting pleasure opens every cell
Ready to take in what ever
And what a gift it is
That takes me by surprise:
You speak to me.
The coils of your intent.
Teach me what you do
And how you do it
As you probe and move and give and take.
I am enraptured.
Can there be something so much more
Powerful and deep,
Exciting and exhilarating
Than the exquisite bliss that
made me swoon before?
Yes! And I feel you moving in me,
Being moved by what you are moving
To go further, and higher, and deeper
Seeking the boundary
But there is none.
Dark red hot waves pulse through me,
Bhairava[ rises in me hot and hard
Throwing me, carrying me
Illuminated by the dark radiant light
Of the Kula within my womb
He is splendid.
And I am one with him,
One with the waves,
I am the waves
Smashing against no shore,
I am the sea, the world,
The Goddess, I AM.
You teach me the wisdom
Of my soul body
As you know it,
Its width and breadth,
Its unfathomable depth and
Its heights that would make me dizzy
Did I not recognize them as myself.
You teach me the language of TANTRA
And I understand every word.
My responses come halting first
Repeating what I learned.
Then tentatively forming words
My active vocabulary still small, yet
Our two voices sing
A powerful song that
Fills the space around us
In which we dance,
Teach, learn, cleave to each other, love and heal.
Enough, learning a new language takes time.
I am full, I need to savour now,
Digest what I have taken in,
Take a step back
And see the gift before me.
I need to study your tantric words
Which are reverberating in my soul
And bring them
Into my flesh body, into my bones,
To make them mine.
I need to explore the new space
You have opened and filled.
I am no longer
Who I was before.
ften in my writings I have sought to metaphysically question what we understand by ‘bodies’ or ‘the body’. The questions themselves arise out of experiences of the sort described in this book – not least the experiences of ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’ described in the previous chapter, which make frequent references to touch and other bodily experiences – even though the body referred to is called ‘the bliss body’. In other works such as ‘Tantra Reborn’ and ‘Tantric Wisdom for Today’s World’, I have therefore begun by suggesting what the essence any ‘body’ essentially is in the form of the questions below:
Which body is it with which we feel ourselves – our self?
Which body is it through which we feel ourselves inwardly ‘closer’ or more ‘distant’ to others – or they from us - however near or far they are in physical space and time?
Which body is it with which we can feel ourselves to be inwardly ‘warmer’ or ‘cooler’ towards other people – or they towards us - irrespective of our physical temperature?
Which body is it with which we might feel a warming or ‘chill’ in the space or ‘atmosphere’ of a meeting or relationship with another.
Which body is it with which we can feel ourselves inwardly as ‘heavier’ or ‘lighter’, ‘fatter’ or ‘thinner’, yet without any change to our physical weight or size?
Which body is it whose ‘heart’ can be inwardly felt as ‘big’ or ‘small’, ‘warm’ or ‘cold’, with which we or others can feel ‘heartened’ or ‘disheartened’, ‘lose heart’ or suffer ‘heartache’, seem ‘heartless’ or ‘big hearted’ – independently of the size or functioning of ‘the heart’ as a physical organ?
Which body is it with which we can feel ourselves ‘expanding’ or ‘shrinking’, ‘uplifted’ or ‘carried away’, ‘sucked in’ or ‘trapped’, ‘open’ or ‘closed off’, ‘full’ or ‘empty’, ‘shapeless’ or ‘spineless’, ‘exploding’ or ‘imploding’ – yet without our physical body moving or changing shape in any way?
Which body is it with which we can feel inwardly ‘drawn into’, ‘drawn out of’ – or ‘withdrawn into’ ourselves – as if into some warm and nurturing womb or else some cold and solitary prison or tomb?
Which body is it with which we feel ‘high’ or ‘low’, ‘up’ or ‘down’, ‘uplifted’ or ‘let down’, ‘beside ourselves’, ‘spaced out’ or confined in our skins?
Which body is it whose ‘skin’ we feel more or less inwardly ‘at home’ in, which can make someone seem ‘thick- or thin-skinned’, that without any physical skin irritations can make us feel ‘prickly’, ‘edgy’ or ‘irritable’, ‘stretched’ or ‘frayed’, that can feel tight and constricting like a diving suit or straightjacket – or like a porous, comfortable and loose-fitting garment?
Which body is it that can be felt as more or less bounded, solid or earthy, ‘fluid’ or watery, light or ‘airy’ – or else as unboundedly spacious or ‘etheric’?
Which body is it that can be felt as more or less ‘hard’ or ‘soft’, ‘rounded’ or ‘angular’, rigid and fixed in form or capable of fluidly shape-shifting into infinite forms with infinite faces?
Which body is it with which we feel the inner ‘brightness’ or ‘darkness’, ‘levity’ or ‘gravity’, ‘lightness’ or ‘heaviness’ of our own and other peoples’ moods?
Which body is it whose inwardly felt mood or ‘feeling tone’ – like its audible voice tone – can be sensed as ‘bright or dark’, ‘light or heavy’, ‘sharp’ or ‘dull’ and ‘flat’, ‘resonant’ and ‘full’ or ‘hollow’ and ‘empty’?
The answer to all these questions is not our fleshly ‘physical’ body and its organs. It is not any body we can measure, weigh or apply any form of medical tests to.
Nor, however, is it some form of objective, pseudo-physical ‘energy body’ of the sort that New Age practitioners of alternative medicine speak of.
Instead it is our subjectively ‘felt body’ or ‘lived body’. To be more exact, it is not just a body we simply feel or are aware of. Instead it is a body of awareness – that body of feeling awareness or ‘soul’ which I call the soul body.
That is why, in these memoirs, I have used terms such as ‘lived body’, ‘body of feeling awareness’ or ‘soul body’ to present another understanding – based on intimate personal experience - of what we call ‘the body’ or ‘a body’. I have also argued that our ‘body of our feeling awareness’ or ‘soul body’ – embraces the entire field or space of experiencing that we perceive as the ‘world’ around us.
Here I wish to go even further in exploring the single word ‘body’. For most people, of course, the word ‘body’ has, in contrast, a self-evident meaning which is rarely if ever questioned. They see the human body, like any other ‘body’, as a bounded ‘material’ object in space. I stress the word ‘see’, for this hints at the way in which the dimension of visual experiencing has come to dominate both our perception and conception of the body and of bodies, i.e. of ‘bodyhood’ as such, leading us also to think of bodies as ‘material’ objects ‘in’ space.
In reality however, nobody (‘no-body’) can see, hear or even touch ‘matter’. For what we call ‘matter’ is actually a purely abstract concept to which there corresponds no ‘objective’ reality we can directly experience or prove the existence of. Instead, what we think of as properties of ‘matter’ are simply qualities of subjective experiencing – in particular those qualities of tactile experiencing such as hardness or softness, weight and density, roughness or smoothness etc.
In other words, as Samuel Avery points out, it is only because any thing or ‘body’ that we see in space is also sensed as something that can potentially be felt or handled in a tactile way that we think of it as a ‘material’ body. Yet ‘space’ too, is no objective ‘physical’ dimension, but rather a dimension of subjective, visual experiencing. So we could go so far as to say that visual experiencing of and in ‘space’ is itself a sensory and spatial interpretation of tactile experiencing in all its dimensions, actual and potential - which include hearing, taste and even smell. Thus hearing is vibration that touches us - and gives us a sign of something that can potentially be touched. Similarly, smell gives us a sign of something that can potentially be tasted - taste itself being a form of touch. That is why a dog’s experience of space is shaped as much – if not more – by their acute sense of hearing and smell than by sight alone.
It is not sight but touch then, that can be said to be the true essence of all sensory and bodily experiencing. Thus not only sensations of hardness and softness, roughness or smoothness, lightness or heaviness, weight and density, warmth and coolness but also of air and respiration, taste and digestion, movement and stillness, tension and relaxation, sound and silence – even pleasure, pain and emotional states - are felt in a principally tactile way, as are such senses as ‘pressure’ of time, of spatial expansiveness or confinement, closeness or distance - not to mention our felt sense of how inwardly close or distant, ‘in touch’ or ‘in contact’ we feel with ourselves and others.
The radical conclusion that all these reflections inexorably lead to is that bodyhood as such is touch, i.e. tactile experiencing in general and per se. It is not just that our bodies are an instrument or object of touch. Instead, the very ‘body’ that we think of as touching or being touched is, in itself, a felt shape or pattern of tactile experiencing.
“The tactile realm of perception is the same thing as the body.” Samuel Avery
All that we see from the outside and call ‘a body’ then, is in essence nothing but a realm of actual and potential modes of tactile experiencing – proprioceptive and kinaesthetic, respiratory, auditory, olfactory (smell) or gustatory (taste and digestive sensations), emotional and relational. As a result however, one may ask whether the very word ‘body’, with its immediate connotation of something principally seen in the form of a visual, mental or technological image, has itself become an obstacle to a more basic understanding of what ‘a body’ – ‘any body’ – essentially is.
The same can be said of the word ‘soul’ – which is why I prefer the term ‘feeling awareness’. In this context however, it is important to distinguish ‘feeling’ and ‘touch’.
If we touch something we of course 'feel' it. On the other hand we can be 'touched' in a feeling way and not just in the physical way implied by the term 'tactile' - just as feelings can also 'touch' us in a non-physical way. What we call ‘soul’, therefore, can be understood precisely as this feeling dimension of tactile experiencing. To say that “the tactile realm of perception is the same thing as the body” is to say that not just what we call ‘body’ but also what we call ‘soul’ are, in essence, anything ‘in the world’ that we experience as ‘touching’ us in a manner that is felt in what may be more than just a ‘tactile’ way - whether this be a visual image or perception, a sensation of pleasure or pain, a look on a person’s face or in their eyes; a sound, word or tone of voice, a painting, poem or piece of music, or an experience, event or encounter of any sort.
This is what makes it impossible to separate our self-experience from our lived or experienced world. For what most essentially constitutes that world is all that has the potential to touch us in a feeling way. Indeed any ‘world’ consists of nothing but particular potentials of felt, tactile experiencing – none of which arise from some ‘thing’ called ‘the body’ or ‘the soul’, but rather from ‘feeling awareness’ – an awareness which knows no bodily boundaries and yet is the essence of both ‘body’ and ‘soul’ – both of which consist essentially of sensed shapes, patterns, tones and textures of feeling awareness.
What we call ‘a feeling’ (singular noun) or ‘feelings’ (plural noun) is one thing. ‘Feeling’ (verb) is another. Feelings are something we experience ourselves as ‘having’. Feeling is something we do. Or rather not something that ‘we’ do but that awareness itself ‘does’ – for without a feeling awareness of a self or selves – of an ‘I’, ‘you’, or ‘we’ – there could be no self or selves to experience, just as without a feeling awareness of all there is to potentially experience, there would be nothing to experience – and so also no field or ‘world’ of experiencing to experience – whether visual, auditory, tactile or otherwise. Furthermore, since it is only through an awareness of experiencing that we first come to experience any ‘self’, ‘body’ or ‘world’ whatsoever, it follows that this awareness itself cannot – in principle – be the property or product of any self, body or world we are aware of – let alone enclosed within the apparent boundaries of what we see as ‘a body’ or ‘brain’.
This argument ‘in principle’, i.e. the recognition that awareness is fundamentally irreducible to any experienced phenomena - being itself the precondition or ‘field condition’ for experiencing in all its infinite modes and potentials - is what I have called ‘The Awareness Principle’, the ultimate metaphysical fruit and thereby also the ultimate foundation of my philosophy. This philosophical principle is similar and yet at the same time very different from Eastern ‘spiritual’ traditions and philosophies which see the attainment of a type of pure sense-free awareness as an end-in-itself - and to downgrade sensory and tactile experiencing to the level of less refined or ‘grosser’ states of being and modes of awareness (tattvas). Western spiritual traditions too, have also tended to elevate the intellect and downgrade the realm of the sensory, and - like many Eastern traditions - to falsely identify the latter with ‘gross’ matter and with a ‘material’ world.
The paradoxical truth concealed by these ancient but still-maintained prejudices is that it is precisely what can be called ‘pure sense-free awareness’ that is what senses and feels all things – which are but forms taken by it – just as it is also pure-sense free awareness that inwardly touches what it feels and feels what it touches. For just as in touching something with our hands we also come to feel it, so does the simple feeling awareness of anything also and automatically touch it – and that even without any outer ‘physical’ contact occurring. Alone in the Eastern tantric tradition do we indeed find an echo of this truth, and of the experience of the ‘touch’ (sparsha) of ‘pure awareness’ (cit).
“[Oh Goddess, who is] beyond the five voids and whose characteristic is the touch of cit.”
from the Jayadrathalamayatantra or ‘King of the Tantras’ as cited by Fürlinger in The Touch of Śakti.
Space (‘the void’) is the sensuous embrace of the divine, i.e. of that pure sense-free awareness (Sanskrit cit) which, in both making space for and manifesting as all sensory qualities and bodies, also and at the same time feels and touches them itself - both from within and from without.
‘The New Yoga of Awareness’ is a path which I define as leading from a heightened feeling awareness of sensory experiencing to a highly sensuous and blissful experience of feeling awareness as such. Since this feeling awareness is the source, not just all bodily but also worldly experiencing, it has the dramatic capacity to transform our ordinary and predominantly visual perception of the world around us into a type of tactile ‘proprioception’ of that world – one that embraces every ‘thing’ or ‘body’ in it and not just - as the term ‘proprioception’ usually implies – our own fleshly body. Put the other way round, what we ‘proprioceive’ as ‘our’ body expands to embrace the entire world around us and every other body in it. The experience of not just perceiving but proprioceiving everything in the world around us in an intimately sensuous, feeling and tactile way – as part of our own larger body of feeling awareness – is what I call ‘sensuous awareness bliss’, an experience by no means limited to Tantric Pair Meditation.
I find myself spontaneously entering and enjoying a state of what I call ‘sensuous awareness bliss’, one in which particular sensory qualities or features of ordinary things and people I am aware of around me are something I sense within me – but as unique and exquisitely sensuous qualities of feeling awareness itself. This state lasted for about one and a half hours but felt as if it could have gone on for an eternity.
The first experience began sitting at a table by the window in a seafront restaurant. The last half hour of it was spent walking home from the restaurant, whilst at the same time sustaining this state of awareness bliss.
The episode began with an experience I have had many times – that of falling into a type of blissful 'swoon' merely by watching a particular person eat. The experience happens rarely because it doesn't come about watching just anyone eat – and yet there is nothing special about the particular people who evoke this experience and they can differ hugely in age, gender, class and manner of eating – except perhaps their own concentration on the eating process. For this ‘gustatory’ process, has, for the body of feeling awareness - something of a deeply meditative nature - drawing us down into the very belly of the soul. It is notable too, that in tantric philosophical ‘aesthetics’ – a word derived from the Greek aisthetikos (meaning both sensitive and sentient) and aisthanomai (meaning to discern through the senses) what I call ‘soul qualities’ are referred to in Sanskrit as rasa – which means something like the quintessential tastes of words, things, music and, ultimately, all discernible sensory phenomena.
Switching to the dimension of the auditory, I experienced the sound of a feisty little girl's voice having a meal with her parents and it was felt within me as vibrating with a unique intensity of tonal textures and qualities which seemed to touch me inwardly with an exquisite sense of felt vitality, one which, in contrast, her mother, also present, felt totally dead and lacking in. vitality.
Then there was the calm demeanour of a middle-aged man sitting at the table next to ours, who, though not in any way fat, felt as if he embodied a most full and rounded soul body, pervaded with soul qualities of roundedness and mellow calmness - yet with a core of vitality or Shakti, one revealed only by a spark in his occasionally darting eyes and shifts of expression, and totally absent in his wife.
The animated expressions of a woman talking at a table outside the window next to which we were sitting, evoked - each time I looked at her face – a lightning flash opening of an unbounded space of pure awareness around her seemingly compact and charged body, a space which I knew as her larger awareness body. I was reminded then, of a saying from the tantras:
“Shiva am I, of compact mass of consciousness and bliss, and the entire universe is my body.”
The rather plain electric ceiling lights of the restaurant were sensed as streaming with the most intense rays of light-bliss-vitality into my eyes and through them into my soul body.
Walking home, the topmost edges and triangular roof cornices of houses were sensed ecstatically as erotic points of contact with the space surrounding them, as if they were all acting as charged collectors or lightning conductors of the innate vitality within that space. Looking at them I actually sensed this vitality as electrical ‘charges’ touching and exciting different points at the top and back of my shaved scalp.
The seemingly countless shale tiles of another building with a large angled roof surface – all the tiles slightly separated from one another – I heard as a silent chorus.
The topmost part of a fur tree – seen leaning inward slightly toward a row of similar trees - was sensed as its laughter.
Different solid textures and surfaces of brick, paving stone and tarmac were all felt as the manifestation of different textures of awareness made manifest, each unique.
And then the sky with its swifts - swirling and swooping in the evening light. No, not birds flying though space, but space flying through birds! And Shiva as the sky itself and the emptiness of space – an awareness-space embracing the most diverse ‘sensorium’ of manifesting forms or Shaktis – yet also in an 'electrically' charged, divine-erotic contact with each and every one of them.
No ugliness whatsoever in this entire sensorium of sights and sounds. No ugliness even in the rectangular grey-metal aggregate silo that is the 'eyesore' in our harbour town, along with its complex of tubes and conveyor belts that convey gravel from the barges that dock beside it. Instead feeling the inner texture of its metal in my body as the inner ‘mettle’ of its soul.
Having already spoken of sensed ‘electrical’ charge, I will add only that as we finally approached the forecourt of our home I beheld again the large and strangely-structured metal structure that is a fenced in electrical 'sub-station' right by one side of our house. Except that this time it appeared quite literally as the living and manifest image or murti of a veritable deity – indeed as the divine powerhouse of the house itself.
Leading into a particular box type structure that formed part of it, my awareness became focussed on a row of thick electrical connectors inserted into sockets – feeling in them an extraordinary flow not simply of ‘electrical’ power but of divine power - Shakti - occurring in front of my very eyes.
Like other experiences of sensuous awareness bliss, this one confirmed once again that ‘God’, being awareness, is truly everything - and that everything in turn is a manifest or embodied portion and expression of that divine awareness. It also taught me that each thing and person too is a murti - a manifest face, facet or personification of divinity – as well as an expression of the constant erotic union or maithuna of pure, feeling awareness (Shiva) and its pure power (Shakti) of sensory manifestation.
“The twinned form of Shiva and Shakti is known as the union. It is termed the power of bliss because the entire universe is emitted by it.”
At a later time, I was once again blessed with two further instances in which I experienced long states of sensuous awareness bliss’. Both instances began in the same seafront hotel as the first experience, and also at the same time – as the sun was setting. In both instances, Karin and I sat in silence for over an hour – indeed a full two hours in the second instance recounted here. Getting up and leaving was difficult for me, for I felt I could have remained seated in the same place and within the same state of bliss for an eternity, swooning with the sense of ever new soul qualities felt through meditating different objects and people.
Once again there was an awareness of feeling within me all that could be seen ‘out there’ – whether different densities of cloud, seagulls and waves, aeroplane vapour trails, or ‘man-made’ things such as brick walls, cars, Victorian lampposts, garage doors, drainpipes, brass doorknobs, metal road signs, a gaudily painted dustbin – as erotically sensuous shapes and textures of soul, sensed ‘in here’ – within the spaces of feeling awareness seemingly bounded by the flesh.
At the same time all motions of wave or cloud, planes or persons were felt as being in perfect harmony with the music playing in the background in the hotel – as if orchestrated by it.
Sensuous awareness bliss is both ecstasy and ‘in-stacy’. For like the nature of the Soul Body itself, Awareness is ‘ec-static’, extending ‘out there’, beyond the boundaries of the flesh and surrounding, touching and feeling in a most sensuous and tactile way anything sighted at a distance in space. Yet at the same time Awareness is also ‘in here’ – feeling each thing sighted within the boundaries of the flesh as ‘no-thing’ but an innately sensuous and tactile quality, shape and texture of feeling awareness or soul as such – a soul quality experienced with my soul body.
What I especially noted this time however, was that things I would normally perceive as ugly, decayed or ‘shabby’ appeared like the most wonderful works of art – as if any one of them (the painted dustbin for example) could have been placed in its own empty room in an art gallery as a mesmerising abstract sculpture or creative ‘installation’.
There is nothing merely commonplace in the world of our sensory experiencing.
As an example, looking at the bar in the hotel, it was not the multi-coloured range of bottles of brandy and other spirits that drew my gaze and excited my senses to an intense pitch – instead it was a simple plastic milk bottle of the sort one buys in the supermarket – almost empty but for a few centimetres of remaining milk. Next to it was a full plastic container of milk of the same sort, but this was less inwardly touching and erotic than the almost empty one – in which the relation of inner fullness and emptiness was itself full of innate sensuous meaning.
Then there were people – bodies. Many of these might normally have struck me as somewhat repulsive, ugly, fat, misshapen, badly dressed or somehow ‘distorted’ or ‘disfigured’ in their posture, look and expression. Yet now I saw each person’s body as an odd or eccentric but nevertheless perfect living ‘version’ of themselves – the very ‘distortions’, ‘oddities’ or ‘eccentricities’ in their appearance or dress being what made them such fascinatingly unique living sculptures and works of art. I was reminded of Jane Roberts, who describes a very similar experience of people in one of her books – that of seeing every person on a street as but one ‘eccentric’ yet perfect ‘version’ of themselves.
Yet if ‘my’ experience of both people and things in a heightened state of sensuous awareness was but a small taste of the blissful intensity with which the singular divine awareness (Paramashiva) constantly and continuously experiences all manifest bodies and beings in the cosmos (all its Shaktis) then it must truly and indeed be in a state that could be described as ‘ecstasy’- comparable to a never-ending state of ‘being’ awareness bliss (sat-chit-ananda) this being also the constant and dynamic sexual union (maithuna) of the divine couple or yamala – Shiv-Shakti.
Others have compared my accounts of extended and intensified sensuous awareness bliss with experiences on ‘acid’ – LSD. Yet had I myself only been able to understand or ‘bracket’ the experiences in this way – as a sort of spontaneous ‘trip’ that occurred without drugs – I believe the experiences themselves would neither have been possible in the first place, nor assumed the particular character that they had. For without the capacity for a higher-level metaphysical awareness or ‘recognition’ of the ‘states of consciousness’ I experienced on these occasions, not even a drug such as LSD could have induced them.
Sensuous awareness bliss teaches that all that can be perceived with the senses is imbued with innate meaning or ‘sense’. What imbues them with meaning are the sensuous soul qualities manifested in all things sensory. All of these possess a unique beauty of their own – and in this sense – and sensed in this way – there is nothing, and also no one – that one can perceive as ‘ugly’. I have long had similar experiences in tantric pair meditations, where no matter whose soul I have sensed and ‘resonated’ with, whether man or woman – and no matter how ‘attractive’ in conventional terms or not – has not appeared to me as anything else than divinely beautiful.
A week later, in the same place and at the same time, there followed yet another experience of Sensuous Awareness Bliss, this time characterised entirely by the aural dimension rather than visual experiencing. It was as if, sitting this time with eyes closed and ears wide open, I was immersed in a ‘sonorous bath’, one which was at the same time a veritable symphony of distinct and diverse sounds – background music and sounds from the restaurant kitchen, the air hum of an extractor fan, the clinking of cutlery and of metal coins in the cash till, the chinking of ice cubes in a bucket and the crash of an empty glass bottle being dropped into a bottle bin, the swinging sound of doors, opening and closing, the soft padding sound of footsteps as people walked to and fro, and together with all this the murmur of human voices of different pitches and tones. This symphony of sounds was a perfect symphony, with all its sounds in harmony with one another and even with the sounds of actual music being played in the background. And like a musical symphony it had its phases of acceleration and deceleration, as the general hubbub of activity and sounds now increased, now decreased, raised or lowered itself in pace and volume – yet again in perfect synchronicity with changes in the music itself. Then again, as in a symphony, there were ongoing themes; in this case the mellow-toned voice of a Yorkshire-accented man sitting at a table behind me, and the occasional low murmur of his wife in response.
Yet the symphony was also a brilliant symphony, never monotonous or purely repetitive, but with new and unexpected sounds emerging at unpredictable intervals – a burst of speech or laughter, the sound of a chair being scraped along the floor, the clank of a beer or wine glass being set down rather loudly on a table, or the steamy sound of an espresso machine being activated.
What was important was not just hearing these sounds with my ears but sensing them with and within my whole body. Thus sounds heard from behind my back were felt as touching a region of my back with their vibration. I have already referred to the infant’s experience of sounds, sounds that they have not yet learned to name or identify - as a type of ‘inner vibrational touch’. And indeed the voice tones and pitches of people speaking were felt from within my body, arising from exactly the same regions or resonant cavities – whether head, chest or belly – as in theirs. Every sound literally touched and excited a part of my body, whether from without or within, in a way that had an almost erotic quality - thus giving the whole experience the nature not just of a warm sonorous ‘bath’ or perfect symphony but also and above all a wonderfully deep and blissfully relaxing ‘sonorous massage’. The experience of sounds as the sonorous bath is comparable, I believe, to the experience in the warm waters of the mother’s womb, where it is the aural rather than visual dimension of the baby’s sensory awareness of the world that is predominant – just as it is the mother’s voice and the tactile dimension of her embrace and touch that is most significant in early infancy. The ‘soul body’ is a womb of fluid feeling awareness. Its surface can be described as a ‘sonorous skin’– sensitive to the vibrational touch of sounds from without - able to feel and resonate within them from within.
I have also referred to the way in which, seeing things, one can gain a direct tactile sense of their textures - the materials they are made of – sensing these as textures of one’s own inwardly felt body. Seeing the smooth translucent surface of a glass one senses its glassy texture, which is at the same time closely related to the sound it would make if struck. So it was that with my eyes open just before leaving the restaurant, I observed a shelf stacked with empty glasses in the bar, and in seeing them also felt and ‘heard’ their smooth glassy texture as a silent or potential sound. I also not only saw but sensed and heard the sight of pure white milk being poured into a glass jug, feeling the milk’s whiteness, fluidity and flow as a silent sound. Whether it was the sound of glass on glass, metal on metal, wood on wood, or glass or metal on wood, these sounds resounded with and revealed to one’s ears the different textures of things. This is similar to the way sight too reveals the way a thing would potentially feel to one’s touch or how it would weigh in one’s hands.
Leaving the restaurant, walking around in the open air and then riding home on my bike, I found myself acutely aware of the different sensuous textures of muscle, tissue and bone that made up my own felt body. Through my legs and feet, indeed even through the metallic structure and rubber tyres of my bike, I was acutely aware of the textures of pavement and tarmac, more or less even or uneven, upon which I walked or rode. The bike had become, in a most unusually intense way, an extension to my body – but in such a way as to enable me to feel the qualities of the ground beneath it throughout my entire body, along with its variety of sensuous textures.
Being once again in the open of course made me more aware of distant sounds such as the cries of seagulls in the sky. In this way, like the open sight of sky and sea, sounds can expand our sense of space. Yet it was the enclosed space of the restaurant, which like the enclosed space of the womb or of a symphony concert hall, facilitated the experience of the ‘sonorous bath’, ‘sonorous touch’ and ‘sonorous massage’. Space as such however is essentially a singular openness. It is only our perception of it that may be enclosed, divided or blocked by the walls of buildings and rooms. Essentially also, space is nothing but our way of perceiving the open expanse of pure sense-free awareness – within which alone things can appear to us – be seen or heard, touched and felt.
The key to sensuous awareness bliss seems to me to lie in allowing any sensory object, however commonplace, to attract your attention and see it just as it is – attending purely to its sensory form and features rather than seeing it as this or that – for example as ‘a glass’, as ‘table’, as a ‘car’ or ‘chair’ – or as ‘that fat person’ or that ‘old man’. Let more and more things attract your attention in this way, not only seeing but sensing them in this way – not through your eyes and out there but also and at the same time with and within your whole inwardly sensed body. For example by listening to sounds that catch your attention - yet hearing them just as they are, not as sounds ‘of’ this or that thing or person - and not just with your ears either, but as a something touching your soul from within – like deeply resonant music or deep words. One can also listen in this way to something we see, whether a table or tree, cloud or piece of cutlery. Indeed particularly if something makes no audible sound at all it becomes almost easier to sense its visible shape, colour and texture as a silent inner sound. In this way one comes to see everything as a soul-filled sculpture, and to hear and feel it from within as a unique inner sound with a particular sensuous qualities feeling tone.
The ‘experiences’ of Sensuous Awareness Bliss recounted here, however intense, should by no means be considered as basically ‘unusual’ or ‘out of the ordinary’. On the contrary, they simply serve to remind us that we can, at any time, give more time to our immediate sensory awareness of things, and in this way reap the huge healing value of pure sense-free awareness – which is precisely that which intensifies our experiencing of the sensory, allowing us to sense with and within our bodies – and that in a most tangible, tactile and erotic way - everything that we otherwise merely see with our eyes or hear with our ears. Through heightened sensory awareness we can also come to experience the healing power of the sounds that all things essentially are - letting them touch and massage us from within and without. The most fundamental healing dimension of ‘Sensuous Awareness Bliss’ lies in helping us to recognise how pure awareness itself can return us to our senses – letting us literally ‘come to our senses’ in a world, which, paradoxically, tends to de-sensualise our perception through flooding us with an ever-changing flux of two-dimensional or even three-dimensional digital imagery, or even just with sensory shapes, colours and objects (like those stacking supermarket shelves) which have a purely ‘sign’ function – serving only to draw our sensory attention to things as nameable, branded products and commodities.
A week later, in the same place and at the same time, there followed yet another experience of sensuous awareness bliss, this time characterised entirely by the aural dimension rather than visual experiencing. It was as if, sitting this time with eyes closed and ears wide open, I was immersed in a ‘sonorous bath’, one which was at the same time a veritable symphony of distinct and diverse sounds – background music and sounds from the restaurant kitchen, the air hum of an extractor fan, the clinking of cutlery and of metal coins in the cash till, the chinking of ice cubes in a bucket and the crash of an empty glass bottle being dropped into a bottle bin, the swinging sound of doors, opening and closing, the soft padding sound of footsteps as people walked to and fro, and together with all this the murmur of human voices of different pitches and tones. This symphony of sounds was a perfect symphony, with all its sounds in harmony with one another and with the sounds of actual music being played in the background. And, like an orchestral symphony, it had its phases of acceleration and deceleration, as the general hubbub of activity and sounds now increased, now decreased, raised or lowered itself in pace and volume – yet again in perfect synchronicity with changes in the music itself. Then again, as in a symphony, there were on-going or repeated ‘subjects’ or ‘themes’, for example the mellow voice tones of a Yorkshire-accented man sitting at a table behind me, and the occasional low murmur of his wife in response.
Yet the symphony was never monotonous or purely repetitive, but replete with new and unexpected sounds emerging at unpredictable intervals – a burst of speech or laughter, the sound of a chair being scraped along the floor, the clank of a beer or wine glass being set down rather loudly on a table, or the steamy sound of an espresso machine being activated.
What was important was not just hearing these sounds with my ears but sensing them with and within my whole body. Thus sounds heard from behind my back were felt as touching a region of my back with their vibration. I have already referred to the infant’s experience of sounds, sounds that they have not yet learned to name or identify – as a type of ‘inner vibrational touch’. And indeed the voice tones and pitches of people speaking were felt from within my body, arising from exactly the same regions or resonant cavities – whether head, chest or belly – as in theirs. Every sound literally touched and excited a part of my body, whether from without or within, in a way that had an almost erotic quality - thus giving the whole experience the nature not just of a warm sonorous ‘bath’ or perfect symphony but also and above all a wonderfully deep and blissfully relaxing ‘sonorous massage’. The experience of sounds as the sonorous bath is comparable, I believe, to the experience in the warm waters of the mother’s womb, where it is the aural rather than visual dimension of the baby’s sensory awareness of the world that is predominant – just as it is the mother’s voice and the tactile dimension of her embrace and touch that is most significant in early infancy. The ‘soul body’ is a womb of fluid feeling awareness. Its surface can be described as a ‘sonorous skin’– sensitive to the vibrational touch of sounds from without – able to feel and resonate within them from within.
I have also referred to the way in which, seeing things, one can gain a direct tactile sense of their textures - the materials they are made of – sensing these as textures of one’s own inwardly felt body. Seeing the smooth translucent surface of a glass, one senses its glassy texture, which is at the same time closely related to the sound it would make if struck. So it was that with my eyes open just before leaving the restaurant, I observed a shelf stacked with empty glasses in the bar, and in seeing them also felt and ‘heard’ their smooth glassy texture as a silent or potential sound. I also not only saw but sensed and heard the sight of pure white milk being poured into a glass jug, feeling the milk’s whiteness, fluidity and flow as a silent sound. Whether it was the sound of glass on glass, metal on metal, wood on wood, or glass or metal on wood, these sounds resounded with and revealed to one’s ears the different textures of things. This is similar to the way sight too reveals the way a thing would potentially feel to one’s touch or how it would weigh in one’s hands.
Leaving the restaurant, walking around in the open air and then riding home on my bike, I found myself acutely aware of the different sensuous textures of muscle, tissue and bone that made up my own felt body. Through my legs and feet, indeed even through the metallic structure and rubber tyres of my bike, I was acutely aware of the textures of pavement and tarmac, more or less even or uneven, upon which I walked or rode. The bike had become, in a most unusually intense way, an extension to my body – but in such a way as to enable me to feel the qualities of the ground beneath it throughout my entire body, along with its variety of sensuous textures.
Being once again in the open, of course, made me more aware of distant sounds such as the cries of seagulls in the sky. In this way, like the open sight of sky and sea, sounds can expand our sense of space. Yet it was the enclosed space of the restaurant, which like the enclosed space of the womb or of a symphony concert hall, facilitated the experience of the ‘sonorous bath’, ‘sonorous touch’ and ‘sonorous massage’. Space as such however is essentially a singular openness. It is only our perception of it that may be enclosed, divided or blocked by the walls of buildings and rooms. Essentially also, space is nothing but our way of perceiving the open expanse of pure sense-free awareness – within which alone things can appear to us – be seen or heard, touched and felt.
The experiences of sensuous awareness bliss recounted here, however intense, should by no means be considered as basically ‘unusual’ or ‘out of the ordinary’. On the contrary, they simply serve to remind us that we can, at any time, give more time to our immediate sensory awareness of things, and in this way reap the huge healing value of pure sense-free awareness – which is precisely that which intensifies our experiencing of the sensory, allowing us to sense with and within our bodies – and that in a most tangible, tactile and erotic way – everything that we otherwise merely see with our eyes or hear with our ears. Through heightened sensory awareness we can also come to experience the healing power of the sounds that all things essentially are – letting them touch and massage us from within and without.
The most fundamental healing dimension of ‘sensuous awareness bliss’ lies in helping us to recognise how pure awareness itself can return us to our senses – letting us literally ‘come to our senses’ in a world, which, paradoxically, tends to de-sensualise our perception through flooding us with an ever-changing flux of two-dimensional digital images, or else the assault of sensory stimuli which confront us through advertising or in entering supermarkets – all of which are devoid of any aesthetic quality since they serve a purely ‘sign’ function – serving only to signify and draw our attention to nameable, branded products and commodities.
On Art and Aesthetic Experiencing
he key to the experience of sensuous awareness bliss lies in not ‘taking’ what is perceived ‘as’ this or that familiar, nameable thing or person, but instead letting oneself take them in and be taken up by them into their purely sensuous nature and form. This is comparable to the way infants perceive before they have been taught the names of things. Thus an infant or non-speaker (‘in-fans’), lacking language, does not and cannot hear such a thing as ‘a bird singing’, ‘a car passing by on the street’. Indeed, before it learns to translate tactile experiencing into a sense of space, it would not hear such sounds as coming from anything ‘out there’ at all. Instead it would simply experience sounds in a purely tactile way – as the inner vibrational touch of their tones and textures.
As adults too however, we can still choose at any time not to hear a particular sound as, say ‘a car passing by’ or ‘a bird singing’. Similarly, as adults we can re-learn the art of not seeing any such ‘thing’ as a bicycle, table or dustbin merely as ‘a bicycle’ or as ‘a dustbin’, not seeing this building as ‘a shop’, ‘a house’ – or even as ‘a building’ – and also not seeing some person as either a ‘stranger’ or as anyone we already ‘know’ and can name.
It seems to me that there is also an intimate connection between the experience of heightened sensory and sensuous experiencing I have described and the fundamental nature of art and aesthetic experiencing. Indeed I would suggest that the experience of ‘sensuous awareness bliss’ can lead us to an entirely new metaphysical understanding of art itself, i.e. a new philosophical ‘aesthetics’ of a sort that is not rooted in any particular ‘school of art’ and its ‘philosophy’ but rather in the nature of aesthetic experiencing as such. For whilst it has long become common to oppose ‘figurative’, ‘representational’, ‘naturalistic’ or ‘realistic’ schools of art with so-called ‘abstract’ art, the truth is that the sensory is the abstract, i.e. there is nothing in ‘reality’ that, precisely through the art of not seeing or sensing it in the ordinary ways we tend to, cannot be aesthetically seen, heard and felt as an ‘abstract’ artistic composition in itself – and not just ‘as’ this or that thing or person.
What I have called ‘sensuous awareness bliss’ is thus for me the quintessence of all aesthetic experiencing. For through it we can come to an awareness that what we see in the natural form of a sea or sunset, tree or mountain, or in the form of a a man-made object such as car or building – is nothing less ‘abstract’ in its sensory form than any so-called ‘abstract’ painting or sculpture – but only if we do not merely perceive something as ‘a sea’ or ‘a sunset’, as ‘a tree’ or ‘a mountain’, as ‘a car’ or as ‘a building’ etc.
Any great work of art therefore, even if seemingly ‘realistic’, can help us precisely to not interpret what it depicts only ‘as’ some nameable thing or person - allowing us instead to experience it as an innately meaningful ‘composition’ of different ‘abstract’ sensory shapes, tones, textures, each of which is imbued with felt meaning or ‘sense’.
Thus if an ‘abstract’ or even a ‘realist’ painting gives us a strong sensory impression, say, of the particular colour, pattern and texture of, for example, ‘the brickwork of a building’ - yet in a way that prevents us from seeing it merely as ‘the brickwork of a building’ – then the artist is bringing us back to our senses. By this I mean back from what has generally become in today’s world a wholly de-sensualised experience of things and beings, one in which they are merely perceived ‘as’ this or ‘that’, i.e. according to whatever name and ‘idea’ we attach to what or who they ‘are’. The portrait artist too, abstract or realist, does not just depict what they see with their own eyes. Instead, in the very act of ‘depicting’ the face and eyes of a real or imaginary other, what is revealed is the very way of looking out on the world and feeling themselves that manifests itself through the look in the eyes of this other and the cast of their gaze, together with the unique line or colouration of mood or feeling tone that are already inscribed on or that inwardly colour the face of this other.
The ‘eye of awareness’ is like the eye of an artist. It enables us to see and feel the innate meaning or sense present within the outer form and facets of any thing or being, nameable or not – to sense the qualities of soul they give expression to – as works of art in themselves.
We do not transcend the world of ‘names and forms’ (namarupa) by ‘controlling’ or ‘suppressing’ the senses but, on the contrary, by intensifying our immediate sensory experiencing of things and in particular not merely seeing or hearing any ‘thing’ merely as this or that. In this way we do not let shadows be cast on our immediate perception of things by a prior ‘idea’ of what they are. I think here of Plato’s cave allegory, in which shackled prisoners see only shadows cast on the cave wall light by figures from behind – until one prisoner turns to face the light and can re-enter the bright, colourful world of rich sensory experiencing which it illumines. And yet the very word ‘idea’ comes from the Greek eidos – which originally meant nothing ‘mental’ but rather some ‘face’ or ‘aspect’ of the immediate sensuous ‘form’ or ‘look’ of anything we perceive – for example its shape, colour or texture.
If portraiture, ‘realist’ or ‘abstract’, can reveal the soul of the subject – in particular those shades and colourations of awareness or soul that find expression in their faces and eyes, and if ‘Romantic’ art was able to reveal the inner soul moods not just of man or of the artist, but of nature too - through its faces - then ‘abstract art’ can, in general, show us precisely that there is nothing more innately ‘abstract’ than the immediately experienced sensory ‘faces’ or ‘aspects’ of all things – their eidai. Quite simply then, it is the immediate sensory dimension of experiencing that is the most ‘abstract’.
All that what we call ‘abstract art’ has ever done then, is to simply ‘abstract’ or ‘lift off’ (the meaning of the Latin abstrahere) particular sensory dimensions and qualities of experienced phenomena in a way that frees us from perceiving those phenomena solely ‘as’ this or that, i.e. in the light and through the lens of purely mental or conceptual ‘abstractions’. In this way, we can begin to get a sense of what it would feel like to become aware of things as they are, i.e. precisely not, for example as ‘cars’ but as ‘abstract’ sculptural shapes, each a sensory expression of innately sensuous shapes, densities, weights, colour tones, lustres and sheens of awareness itself.
I understand sensuous awareness bliss as an experience of ‘enlightenment’ or ‘truth’ in the deepest sense that abstract art strives for – the recovery of a mode of aesthetic experiencing of all things that reveals them as the sensory expression of innately sensuous ‘forms’ (Plato) or “idea-shapes” (Seth) of feeling awareness rather than as mere mental ideas or verbal constructs (vikalpa).
For there is no way that a ‘little green man’ from an alien planet – one lacking any vegetation or any concept of ‘trees’ would or could see ‘trees’. Assuming that this alien’s senses included sight, all they would actually see would be nothing but an ‘abstract’ composition of different shapes and tones of green. The unfortunate, fact is however, that the potential richness of immediate sensory experiencing, free of experiencing ‘as’, has become over time something alien to all but ‘artists’. This is what gives art its double role, both opening us too and at the same time concealing -– ‘painting over’ – the rich and still untapped potentials of everyday human aesthetic and sensory experiencing.
Standing on the terrace of the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, England, a broad vista of sky and sea, pier and town streets and buildings opens up before me. The whole ‘realistic’ vista – experienced in a purely sensory way – by not seeing anything ‘as’ this or that - is an ‘abstract’ but rich and aesthetic composition in itself. It bears the compositional hallmark of any great work of abstract or realistic art – namely a balance of balance and imbalance, a harmony of harmony and dissonance, a unity of unity and disunity, an order composed of order and disorder.
Yet few of the visitors – except perhaps those who have the eye of a photographer – realise that the real ‘gallery’ is outside, or even that the gallery’s many simple plastic terrace chairs, all in vivid primary colours – are no different in essence from any of the primary-coloured works exhibited in the Piet Mondrian exhibition they have just toured.
Meanwhile, primary-coloured cars pass by on the roads immediately below and besides the gallery - some bigger and heavier, some squarer or more rounded than others. Yet I see no ‘cars’ but rather sense their different qualities of bulk and weight, angularity or roundedness as shapes of my own body of feeling awareness. A weightier, bulkier and more rounded ‘car’ evokes a delightful sense of sinking into a deep, warm and cavernous abyss opening up within the rounded awareness space of my inwardly felt belly. I do not simply see or perceive the car with my eyes but ‘proprioceive’ it – feeling myself taking on and enjoying its bodily shape and form in the same way I invariably experience myself doing when looking at an ‘abstract’ and ‘artistic’ sculpture or installation of any sort. This is what I mean by aesthetic experiencing – felt as ‘sensuous awareness bliss’ and recognised as both the source and power of all great ‘art’. This is also why I can stand for hours in front of a Beuys installation or Henry Moore sculpture – enraptured in such a state of tactile, feeling identification with it that it becomes an boundless source of ‘sensuous awareness bliss’.
The metaphysical practice behind this bliss is very simple: namely not just to stop seeing ‘as’, but to feel – indeed to be – whatever it is you see.
The Setting Sun is the dawning,
The Setting Sun is the dawning,
Rising Sun of the One Divine Awareness, its Sky made
Radiant by that Light of Awareness which alone lets things be seen,
Revealing them all as living shapes of that Light, yet now freed of
The shadows cast by any and all ‘ideas’ we may have of them.
For a thing itself is nothing but an eidos or idea, and that in
Exactly the way in which the Greeks understood these words:
Not as ‘ideas’ or ‘images’ in our heads, but as the very
Beingness of ‘things sighted’ and sensed out there -
Just as they present themselves to the soul through
The senses themselves, and not through any mental
Concept or ‘idea’ of what they are - or what we are.
For we too are nothing but sensuous living shapes of
The light – of the Living Light of Awareness ;
Brought to light by Its invisible Sun; which
Forever shines but never sets or rises, our
Lord of the Living Light.
hough it was a relatively late development, Hindu culture, even more than Christian iconography is replete with murti – colourful images and beautifully crafted sculptures of the gods - all of which had their own many faces and yet each was ultimately understood as but a single face or personification of a singular and divine consciousness. Hence it makes no sense to speak of Hinduism simply as ‘polytheistic’, and absolute nonsense to speak of any form of ‘idol worshop’ – particularly since this term is an invention of a Judaeo-Christianity which is effectively a form of bibliolatry – the worship of the ‘holy book’ – whether the Torah or New Testament. And whilst it is true that those murti which form the centrepiece not only of Hindu temples but of countless small domestic Hindu shrines and the rituals performed around them, often serve a merely symbolic function, it became my own experience that, particular in the oldest and most carefully crafted murti there is far more than simply meets the eye - as there was also in Egyptian statues of the gods as well as the once colour-rich ones of early Greek culture, and those which played an important role in other religious cultures.
Nevertheless, given my long-standing skepticism towards any form of ritualised worship (Sanksrit puja), not least those that simply enacted in a somewhat mechanistic and soul-less way some fixed and pre-determined ritual procedure, it was with some trepidation that Karin and I - having moved house and already established a personal seat and shrine for it in the conservatory - eventually unwrapped a package we had long had in our possession after receiving it from India, one containing a very carefully selected and impressive bronze-cast statue of Shiva. I remember also the uncertainly I felt on the first occasion in which, using only the very minimum of other ritual paraphernalia such as a candles, sandalwood incense, a CD of ‘Sacred Chants of Shiva’ - and a sacred flame lit through a tall sacred oil lamp in the garden, I followed my impulse to experiment by simply sitting beneath and meditating this Shiva murti. I did so not knowing what to expect, and in a way in which I quite deliberately followed no pre-prescribed sequences of ritual procedures of the sort that are normally taken as obligatory to adhere to in every detail.
Partly for this reason I believe, this, my first experience of ‘Shiva puja’, was both wondrous and revelatory. Not only did it remove all my scepticism within minutes. It also facilitated a wholly new insight into the true purpose of puja and in particular the true purpose and meaning of the murti or god-image at its centre. What I least expected however – and that despite my numerous experiences of gazing at and resonating with the living image or murti of another human being in the course of Tantric Pair Meditations – was the experience of entering into similarly if not even more deeper resonance, communion and inner communication with a seemingly inanimate bronze statue of a god. The choice of both god (Shiva) and the particular statue or murti of it was certainly not arbitrary however. For it was one which, like many others of a similar type shows Shiva himself, not only in human bodily form but also in a state of meditation himself. It was therefore through the choice of murti that I came to comprehend that it, and others like it, were, whether in the form of two-dimensional images or three-dimensional statues, no mere ‘anthropomorphic’ representations of one or other god. Instead the murti was something quite different, something intentionally crafted to express, in human bodily ‘form’ (Greek morphe/Sanskrit rupa), an altered state of consciousness – one characterised above all by a deep, meditative resonance with the divine in all its dimensions – both formless (arupa), polymorphic – assuming many faces and looks - and fully formed and embodied.
What was even more unexpected however, was that these very comprehensions came through my meditative resonance with the Shiva murti – as if it itself were acting as my guru and teaching me its own nature – which I came to understand both in a wordless bodily way and through inner hearings or shruti. The most basic messages or teachings I learned from it – though many, many others followed in subsequent Resonations with it, was that by attuning to and resonating with the qualities of divine awareness made manifest in every detail of its own bodily form and posture, I could come to experience my own body and everything around it as - like the murti itself - a manifestation of the divine in its all-pervasive and formless aspect – one manifest as the very space surrounding it and all other bodies, this seemingly empty space being the very ‘aether’ of awareness within which all things take form and of which all things are an expression and embodiment. Of course I am aware that is was no accident that such tangible, bodily comprehensions came to me through resonance with a murti of the god Shiva. For it was as if, if translated into ordinary sentences, the message of Shiva was that:
“This face, these eyes and this human bodily form that you meditate in the material form of the god you name Lord Shiva is indeed, and in all its specific features, a most resonant and fitting embodiment and personification of that singular and divine awareness associated with me - but no less and no more so than your own self and fleshly body can become through beholding mine and through receiving its gaze - which reveals also my meditative resonance and identification with that divine awareness in many aspects and dimensions – not least its source in the deep dark womb of infinite potentiality personified by the great mother goddess Kali. For it is above all Her, the mother of all things, that my own form as Shiva reveals me myself as constantly meditating – directing my own inner gaze into.”
It was through murti meditation too that, whilst listening to the mantra of Shiva – Om Namah Shivaya - being slowly and repeatedly chanted, I came to experience a deeper metaphysical comprehension of it, one which, if presented in the words of Shiva himself might be expressed as follows:
“It is She, Kali, as this boundless dark womb of non- pure potentiality, who resounds through the primordial syllable OM, just as it is I who give it a fully and proudly embodied bodily form and name (NAMA) whilst at the same time, as pure awareness wholly transcending that form as fire, air and the pure aether of awareness – SHI-VA-YA.”
As with my experiences of Tantric Pair Meditation with people, I could write whole reams recounting further experiences of worship or puja as a form of meditation – indeed as one of the most sublime forms of Tantric Pair Meditation itself. Suffice it to say that through it I came to fully experience and embody the metaphysical truth of the Shiva Sutra – namely that the ‘Self’ is awareness. This experience always tended to occur at a certain point in my puja when, observing a reflected image of my eyes, face and body in the conservatory window at night – I not only experienced but myself as an embodiment of this truth – and of Shiva himself. My own image was then the most powerful murti reflecting this embodied experience back to me. What we are speaking of here is a basic principle of ‘tantra’ – namely that to worship a god is to become that god’. This is a principle recognised in many religious traditions, in particular the Orthodox Christian tradition, under the name of theosis – ‘divinisation’. The difference is that the ‘god’ in question is that god which is nothing other than awareness as such (Greek noos), in other words what can, most fittingly, be called the Nootheos.
concur with and have further explicated Seth’s teaching that that all our incarnational selves are, in reality, simultaneous incarnations - albeit in different eras - of one and the same larger ‘entity’ or ‘oversoul’ - and in this sense are not ‘re-incarnations’ of each other at all. What we think of as a ‘reincarnational’ process occurring in the afterlife and before birth, is in fact the gestation and birth of an entirely new incarnation of our ‘oversoul’ - one shaped by a new combination and permutation of a shared pool of lived experiences and potentialities – comparable to a spiritual gene-pool from which all incarnations both draw and in turn contribute to. I therefore rather speak of other incarnations of this oversoul, more like a family of sibling selves than reincarnations of the same self.
It is my belief also however, that many of the inborn inclinations, as well as outward encounters, events and life circumstances of a given incarnation can offer important clues to other, simultaneous or ‘sibling’ incarnations of its great soul. In my own case for example, I think for example of my Jewish mother’s liking for ancient Egyptian art – and in this connection also my own almost lifelong fascination with sound and my deep soul identification with the god-name Amon Ra. For according to Seth the stones with which the pyramids were built were levitated with the aid of inner sounds using means that derived ultimately from ancient Sumer, Sumeria or Sumaria as it is also called – a name resonant with the language he calls Sumari, and a civilisation out of which in turn Assyria arose, whose most famous king – Ashurbanipal – notably achieved significant military victories over, among others, the ancient Egyptians. I think also of how I was brought into the world by a Chinese midwife, the spiritual as well as political inclinations that attracted and took me first to China during the Cultural Revolution and then later to Japan and its city of temples – Kyoto, where I felt more at home than in England. I think too of my mother’s lodgers from India and Pakistan in the years after the partition of India – a partition which still leaves its painful scars in Kashmir - not only the erstwhile seed-bed of ‘Kashmir Shaivism’ but also, as many have argued, the end destination of one of the lost tribes of Israel – explaining why it is that Kashmiris used to describe themselves as ‘children of Israel’ and why so many place names in Kashmir are identical to those of the ‘Holy Land’.
I see all these things as clues to other incarnations and ‘faces’ of my own soul, connecting me with them. But such clues alone, though significant in themselves, are not enough to provide a more direct type of experiential evidence of, in this case possible incarnations in India, China, Japan and perhaps also Egypt and even Sumaria itself. Nor do they say anything about the nature and circumstances of those other incarnations. For this, other types of experiential evidence are required. In my own case this has come in many ways. One is through very realistic dreams (for example of Vimanas or flying palaces, of Indian street processions – and indeed of being Indian and standing on the terrace of an Indian palace dressed in a white, but very traditional type of Indian jacket). Evidence has also come in other ways however, for example through a long and intense eye-contact meditation or ‘resonation’ with my very first student, Michael Horgan - one in which we both saw, felt and knew each other as wizened and wise old Chinese men. In another pair meditation with Michael, I saw and sensed myself performed a shamanic fire ritual around him - a link with that wholly unanticipated series of ‘Resonations’ in each of which I became the same dark and intense ‘shaman’ – in his terms an Ungum-Buthu.
At a later time Michael introduced me to one of the most important individuals we both came to know and work with. This was a young black man who – like the shamans of the past – was marginalised by an illness - but at the same time possessed most unusual gifts of imagination and of psychic travel. It was after one of many experiences of pair meditation with him, that, leaving the chair on which I had been sitting face to face and eye to eye with them, I became aware that my simply observing him at a distance I could still sense my soul as if within his body - and that without any close bodily proximity or eye contact at all. This became the start of an entirely new skill I was to practice in future Tantric Pair Meditations, that of focussing my gaze on a region of my partner’s body (whether their head, chest or abdomen visualising and sensing its inwardness as a hollow space of awareness with a particular quality or qualities – and then merging it with aware inwardness or soul of the same region of my own body – thus, as I wrote in introduction I cited earlier to ‘Tantra Reborn’, totally dissolving the apparent fleshly boundaries that separate us as souls.
Traditionally, it is considered that one of the several marks or signs of a true guru or satguru is his or her capacity for so-called ‘direct transmission’ of awareness in silence. At the same time this goes along with the old dogma that the aim of spiritual development is ‘Self-Realisation’ of the highest sort – as if the self were some fixed or stable thing or identity What distinguishes the understanding of the true guru or Satguru in ‘The New Yoga’ is, given that the essence of ‘Self’ is understood, as in the Shiva Sutra - as nothing but pure awareness itself – the true mark of so-called ‘Self-Realisation’ is, paradoxically, an infinite capacity for Becoming Other. By this I mean the capacity to attune to and identify with the aware inwardness or ‘soul’ of any seemingly ‘non-self’ phenomenon - from a single sound or colour to an atom, cell, body or entire universe of bodies – as well as being able to identify with the soul of another being, human or trans-human. The role of any spiritual teacher or guru therefore is to show how each of us can attune to, resonate withh and embody not one but a myriad of different selves, including both countless aspects or ‘faces’ of both our soul -and that of others. Each us can learn to experience the ‘Many Faces of the Soul’. In this way too, we can come to perceive the multitude of different selves (parallel or reincarnational, actual or potential) present or latent both within their own soul and that of others. Finally, through our own innate capacity to shape-shift our own ‘soul body’ or ‘body of feeling awareness’ in the likeness of these many selves we can also exercise another important dimension of Becoming Other - the capacity to reveal the larger soul of another to that other – and with it, the face of each and any of the countless selves which their soul embraces and contains - as it itself is also contained by that divine-universal soul or awareness which is the source of all that is – the Nootheos.
The loss of such capacities over time had led us to a culture comparable to one in which no one any longer remembered dreams, no one any longer experienced any felt meaning in music – or even one in which no one any longer experienced erotic feelings and sensations – and in which those who still did were regarded as having either some sort of psychiatric illness or experiencing abnormal or ‘paranormal’ psychic or somatic states. So it is my understanding that the ‘metaphysical experiences’ described in these memoirs, whether of dreams, music, the many faces of the soul – not to mention the experience of soul-body intercourse and communication, far from being un-natural or paranormal, are our birthright – are as native to our souls and as ‘normal’ within the soul world from which we all hail as our capacity to dream, to derive meaning from music, or to experience sexual pleasure in this world. From this point of view, these memoirs serve only as a reminder of the nature of that larger world of soul which it seems most human beings have long forgotten, along with some of the modes of experiencing that are natural and native to it. This soul world is a reality consisting of countless metaphysical dimensions and planes of awareness, of which our own and other ‘planets’ are but one manifest expression. It is also that world in which each of us, after death, will inevitably come to rediscover both the music of the soul, its many faces – and their singular and divine source.
hat all experienced realities are more or less individualised manifestations of a singular and universal field of ‘pure awareness’, i.e. awareness as such. That awareness is everything and that everything in turn is an awareness in its own right. This is what I call ‘The Awareness Principle’.
That in this plane of awareness we experience the universal awareness field principally as space – whether dream spaces, cosmic spaces, musical spaces, space of inner resonance within others and spaces experienced both within and around our bodies and those of all things.
That there is no such thing as ‘matter’ or ‘energy’, and no such thing as a ‘material’ or ‘energy body’. That since awareness is not bounded by our bodies there is no such thing as ‘out of body’ experiences - only more or less confined ways of experiencing awareness, our selves and our bodies.
That the body itself is essentially nothing a body of awareness - a more or less permeable boundary separating inner spaces of awareness within it from ‘outer space’, i.e. the entire field of outer awareness within which we experience the world and from out of which all phenomena manifest.
That there is no such as a God or beings that ‘has’ awareness. Instead God is awareness – a universal awareness field of which all beings and all phenomena are but one face, aspect, portion, expression and embodiment.
That what we call ‘soul’ is the innately spacious or field character of awareness character of awareness, one which embraces countless actual and potential selves or identities. That soul or awareness is both the source of all selves or identities and at the same time transcends identity.
That ‘soul’ is also the innately feeling character of awareness, imbued with an infinite range of tones of feeling or ‘feeling tones’ – the music of the soul. That behind the sensory qualities of all things lie ‘soul qualities’. That these soul qualities are sensuous qualities of awareness as such - which like qualities of musical and vocal tones, are essentially qualities of ‘feeling tone’, shaped by inner sounds. That all things are formed through inner sound and feeling tone - the ‘music of the soul’.
That our bodies, as soul bodies - bodies of feeling awareness or soul - can not only take on countless shapes and only reveal countless faces of our individual soul but freely sense and resonate, meld and merge with those of others. That they can also identify with that universal soul or awareness that is the true meaning of ‘God’.
That ancient of religious rites having to do with sacredness of space or specific sacred spaces - or that pay homage to space through pointing in its cardinal directions – are but symbolic attempts to experience of a primordial metaphysical truth - namely that awareness is not confined to a body or bodies ‘in’ space but extends to the ultimate horizons of space – which is the very aether of awareness and the source of all things in it.
That space is also time-space – a time-space that embraces, simultaneously, all possible pasts, presents and futures selves and experienced realities, none of which ever cease to exist.
That there is no such thing as a ‘reincarnation’ of the self or soul – only multiple and simultaneous incarnations of our own larger soul or ‘awareness being’ and its pool of individual soul qualities.
That what we call ‘dreamless sleep’ is simply unremembered experience of the soul world - allowing us, were we to awake within it an experience of that world our own larger soul-being.
That it is possible and important to create a new ‘science of soul’ – a subjective science with its own inter-subjective research methodology.
That the eyes are literally ‘windows of the soul’ and the face and body of a human being are its sensory image of their soul (murti).
That the bi-personal field created by resonance between two people in resonant eye-contact can quite literally open a portal, not only to their own souls, but to the soul world – that multi-dimensional world of awareness of which our own world and planet is but one minor plane.
That human civilisations and cultures was seeded and cultivated by higher, more advanced ‘species of consciousness’ from other planes of reality, whose perceived form and powers – animal and/or human - made them appear as superhuman ‘gods’ with supernatural powers and psychic technologies. That religious mythologies are more or less distorted human stories of these ‘gods’ and of their powers and vehicles.
That there are and always have been Teachers or ‘Speakers’ whose role it is to preserve the knowledge imparted to humanity in as undistorted a form as possible.
In Kashmir Shaivism, the Hindu god Shiva and its feminine counterpart Shakti – came close to being symbols of pure awareness one the one hand and its pure power of manifestation on the other - as personified by the great mother goddess Kali.
That Shiva and Shakti are, in this sense, like two sides of the same coin that we call ‘God’ or ‘Divinity’ – distinct but inseparable - and that their unity can be experienced and embodied both in all things and between all people - through the sensuality and sexuality of the soul and its body.
That a new theology of awareness is also possible - one which recognises that God which is awareness in both its aspects (Shiva-Shakti). That theology is a ‘nootheology’ (from the Greek noos or nous – awareness) and its God is the Nootheos.
That through engaging in worship as a meditational practice we can come to recognise and fully embody that self, body and God which is awareness – the meaning of ‘theosis’ or ‘divinisation’.
That to be the awareness that we most truly are is bliss and that this is the meaning of the Sanskrit term satchitananda – being (sat) awareness (chit) bliss (ananda).
That metaphysical concepts can come to be experienced and that metaphysical experiences can in turn give rise to new and more refined metaphysical concepts.
That music us a medium for the direct, wordless communication and experience of metaphysical concepts and comprehensions (see Appendix 1 - Music as Metaphysics).
That music us a medium for the direct, wordless communication and experience of metaphysical concepts and comprehensions (see Appendix 1 - Music as Metaphysics).
side from the lodger from India and Pakistan mentioned earlier, I grew up in an environment almost entirely coloured by the circle of friends around my parents, who, like them, were all refugees or survivors from Nazi Germany- my mother being a German Jewess and one the last to get to England – at the age of 18 - on the infamous ‘Kinderstransport’, and my father being on of very few non-Jewish Germans to have been active for a long time in the underground anti-fascist resistance movement after Hitler’s rise to power. One result of growing up in what was effectively a type of culturaI ‘bubble’ bearing little or no relation to English culture was that I felt entirely alien to it, indeed felt like an alien within it, for a very long time – feeling that all my deepest values, qualities and also abilities were ones that I could find no echo, reflection or recognition in English culture, a culture which I felt as entirely lacking in soul. Another result of this was that issues of national, racial, religious, ethnic and political identity have always been central in my own soul – initially finding expression in a very uneasy and often highly conflicted relation between three principal aspects of my identity – its purely German side, its German-Jewish side and then also an English side or face – albeit one that took a lot of time for me to find or feel in any way as authentic in any way at all. An important dimension of personal meaning belonging to these memoirs therefore, is that they also constitute stages in a life journey through which I came to a wholly new understanding of identity – firstly through experiences of the innate multi-personhood of the soul – its countless faces – and ultimately to a type of awareness transcending personal identity in all its aspects. This life journey is what also lies behind the entire story of my work and insights as a thinker, author, teacher, therapist - and tantra master. For this story had a second beginning, when, at the age of eighteen, and faced with the choice of studying either physics or philosophy at Oxford, I chose philosophy – thereby coming to a new metaphysical understanding of reality and of physics itself. It was at this same point in my life when I also made an oath to myself. The oath was to devote my life to coming, with the same degree Karl Marx had done in coming to an unprecedentedly deep and rigorous analysis of capitalism and political economy - to a far deeper philosophical understanding of the nature and meaning of Nazism and the Holocaust – which were of course themselves integrally bound up with questions of personal identity in all their aspects - national, racial, religious, ethnic, political, personal and even musical. I include this autobiographical postscript by way of introduction to a dream I felt I could not exclude from these pages – and one that in a quite literal sense, came to life. It occurred during the time I was doing my MA in Humanistic Psychology and running the ‘dream group’ that I set up to pursue my research into lucid dreaming.
The dream began with a whole series of so-called ‘false awakenings’ - in which one thinks one has woken up only to realise one is still in the dream state. In the course of the last of these false awakenings I dream that I got out of bed and went into an adjacent room. There I encountered a man who announced to me that he was a ‘parabolite’ – a word related to the English ‘parable’ and whose Greek roots mean that it can quite simply be translated as ‘speaker’. This was not insignificant to me given that Seth had spoken of individuals he calls ‘Speakers’ all of whose incarnations are, in one way or another devoted to teaching others the true nature of reality, the soul – and the self or identity. So much for the dream, though there was more. Yet more memorable than the dream itself was what occurred the very next day. I had been sitting in the front living room of the ground-floor flat I then shared with my ex-wife and talking to a close friend of mine – also a member of the dream group – when we both saw a man walk by. You can imagine our surprise then when this man halted in front of the house, approached the window of room we were in and starting banging on it with his umbrella – as if demanding that we come to the door and let him in – which we duly did. And you can imagine my astonishment when I recognised him as the very same man I had encountered the night before in my dreams – the ‘parabolite’ or ‘speaker’. And what a speaker he turned out to be. For we had no sooner let him in and invited him to sit with us in the living room, than he began to speak – and to go on speaking, continuously and without pause, for several hours – and that with an intensity of embodied presence I had never experienced before - save perhaps in myself.
Before doing so however, he first announced his own ‘identity’ in a rather different manner to the way he had done in the dream, not even telling us his name, but simply declaring – and that not only in a loud and declamatory voice but also with total authority and conviction that, in his own words: “I am the living representative of the 6 million Jewish dead”. He went on to then describe his own life, including his experience of Nazi concentrations camps and to speak of many other things connected personally, politically and philosophically with them - most of which I barely remember, but one dimension of which, again, I only now in writing this account, see the significance of.
Finally and before leaving, he concluded what seemed at the time like an interminable monologue by turning to face me in particular, look me deeply in the eyes – and tell me in no uncertain terms that my writings (which I had barely begun) were of the utmost importance.
All this from someone I had never even met before - except in a dream.
Quite an experience indeed - both metaphysical and physical.
If there is any overarching or underlying theme, mantra, motto or Leitmotif to these memoirs however, it is the recognition and experience of music as the very quintessence of metaphysics: ‘music’ being here understood as the music of the soul, composed of tones and chords of feeling – but also, and in particular, those suspended, repeated and every varied and transforming discords which, in the music of Bruckner, Scriabin and Wagner in particular – are the expression in sound of felt questions – not just human emotional and existential questions but also the most profound metaphysical questions that it is possible – or that are perhaps impossible – to articulate in words.
Whilst abiding in a most intimately personal resonance with the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, I went on to appreciate the sumptuously, searingly sensual and yet at the same time deeply metaphysical tone poems of Scriabin - including his unfinished cosmic drama ‘Mysterium’ - and then, much later in my life, the extraordinary ‘Music Dramas’ of Richard Wagner. Of these Wagner wrote:
“I would almost like to call my dramas deeds (acts, actions) of music become visible.”
And as he would say of his creation Tristan:
“This work is more thoroughly musical than anything I have done up to now.”
“Here I sank myself with complete confidence into the depths of the soul’s inner workings, and then build outwards from this … towards external forms … Here life and death and the very existence and and meaning of the external world appear only as manifestations of the inner workings of the soul. The dramatic action itself is only a response to that inmost soul’s workings, and it reaches the surface only in so far as it is pushed outward from within.”
Another way of putting this is that the drama and its sung words are like dreams dreamt from out of the soul of the music (as, in Wagner’s opera ‘The Mastersingers of Nuremberg’, the protagonist dreams what will become the prize-wining song).
Commenting on Wagner music dramas in a way which totally concurs with both his and my own metaphysical experience of them - philosopher Bryan Magee writes that in them:
“… external visible reality is represented on the stage, while the invisible inwardness of the same reality is articulated by the music, thus giving unified expression to inner and outer reality at the same time … expressing the noumenal reality of which the stage characters themselves are phenomena; he [Wagner] is not expressing just the internality of these phenomena, he is expressing the noumenal reality of all phenomena, the noumenal reality of which phenomena as such are manifestations. What one call the surface of the music is still interrelating with what is happening on the stage, but in its unimaginable depths the music is not an expression of what is happening on the stage at all: both music and stage are expressions of something else, and of the same something else, the one of its inner nature and the other of its outer. Of these two there is no doubt which carries the greater weight.”
“… in an important sense, the noumenal already includes the phenomenal within itself … the staged drama grows out of the music which, says Wagner is ‘a visible image of the music’, one which he himself says ‘includes the drama within itself’ (Wagner’s italics). The staged drama is the music made manifest, the music actualised, incarnated in human beings and their actions.”
“Symphonic music, which Beethoven had developed into a self-sufficient means of expressing the most highly personal, and in that sense dramatic emotions, has [in Wagner] found a new abode in the theatre, and become drama in the literal sense; and what that drama is bodying forth is not only human characters but the whole cosmic scheme of things within which human beings have their being … giving expression to ultimate metaphysical insights, a thoroughly possessed philosophical vision of the totality of what there is – than which, if it is valid, nothing could go deeper.”
And writing of Tristan:
“In it the dramatic presentation of the human being as such – the fundamentalities of feeling and experiencing and relating – is in itself musical.”
“There can be no question here in anyone’s mind of the various arts being brought together on an equal footing. Stage action? For long periods there is scarcely any. Words? Many are repeated cries of distress, the longing, aching, yearning that are even more piercingly and agonisingly expressed in the orchestra … the words become melis-matic vehicles for ecastic sound.”
To which one could add that through Wagner’s innovative interweaving and metamorphoses of multiple musical themes or Leitmotifs, three or four of which might be combined within a single bar – yet with each alluding to, recalling or anticipating many other events, elements and characters of that same drama and not just to those being currently enacted on stage. In this way his music offers us an experience of these different events and elements of his dramas as parts of a greater dream or whole transcending them all. Similarly, the dramatis personae themselves, singing against the background of countless, ever-newly intertwined Leitmotifs, lead us to subconsciously hear them as parts of this greater whole – not as separately named identities but as parts of each other’s soul.
“…united, nameless, endless – no more Tristan, no more Isolde…”
And like the unresolved discords of the music, even Wagner’s words too, express not just the most intense of yearnings but also the deepest of questions - metaphysical questions that we know, from both their words and the music, that the characters themselves are experiencing.
As Magee agrees “They are singing metaphysics, to some of the most beautiful music that has ravished the human ear.”
One of many supreme examples of this is in Wagners music dramas is the Liebestod - the famous final ‘aria’ of Tristan called Mild und Leise in which Isolde could just as well be singing of that mild (Mild) and quiet (Leise) awareness that is Shiva as of Tristan - thereby giving expression to a musical metaphysics that is as much tantric as it is ‘tragic’, not least through finding expression through the meditative union - in sensuous bliss - of a sacred or divine pair or couple.
From Wagner’s Tristan: ‘Mild und Leise’
Mild und leise
wie er lächelt,
wie das Auge
hold er öffnet ---
Seht ihr's, Freunde?
Seht ihr's nicht?
wie er leuchtet,
hoch sich hebt?
Seht ihr's nicht?
Wie das Herz
ihm mutig schwillt,
voll und hehr
im Busen ihm quillt?
Wie den Lippen,
sanft entweht -
Fühlt und seht ihr's nicht?
Hör ich nur diese Weise,
die so wundervoll und leise,
aus ihm tönend,
in mich dringet,
auf sich schwinget,
um mich klinget?
mich umwallend ---
Sind es Wellen
Sind es Wogen
Wie sie schwellen,
soll ich atmen,
soll ich lauschen?
Soll ich schlürfen,
Süß in Düften
In dem wogenden Schwall,
in dem tönenden Schall,
in des Welt-Atems wehendem All
Mildly and softly,
how He smiles,
how The Eye
He opens sweetly -
Do you see it, friends?
Don’t you see it?
Brighter and brighter
how He shines,
illuminated by stars
Don’t you see it?
How His heart
fully and nobly
wells in His breast?
How from His lips
softly wafts -
Don’t you feel and see it?
Do I alone hear this melody,
which wonderfully and softly,
telling it all,
sounds out of Him,
rings around me?
Sounding more clearly,
wafting around me ---
Are these waves
of soft airs?
Are these billows
of delightful fragrances?
How they swell,
swirling around me,
Shall I breathe,
Shall I listen?
Shall I drink,
Sweetly in fragrances
In the billowing torrent,
in the resonating sound,
in the wafting Universe of the World-Breath -
he name ‘Sumari’ is not just itself a sound word used to name a language of sound – or what Seth describes as a dream or trance language. According to Seth, it is also a name for one of a whole set of what he called ‘families of consciousness’, each characterised by specific propensities and qualities. The family he names as the ‘Sumari’ is one he describes as characterised in particular by characteristics of joyful creativity and inventiveness, combined with a strong sense of personal independence, an aversion to organisational or group affiliations. The name Sumari also has resonances with the name of the pre-Semitic race and civilisation inhabiting the lower Euphrates valley whose empire dated from about the 4th millennium BC and which is known either as ‘Sumer’, ‘Sumeria’ or ‘Sumaria’. What follows is part of what Seth has to say about this meaning of the name ‘Sumari’, its connection with the use of sound in this other ancient civilisation, and also with extra-terrestial species of consciousness and the nature of ‘space travel’.
Now, your human stock did not all originate solely from your planet…
In that respect your ancestry is indeed varied. Some of the information given in my own book, by inference, should have made that clear … There were then visits from others in other planetary systems. In that regard this is quite natural. Your own relative isolation is far from the average. The legends, many of them, therefore, were of course chronicles of quite legitimate physical events, describing phenomena for example for which natives had no adequate vocabulary. They were forced to describe what they saw by making comparisons with objects and events already familiar to them.
Some such visitors, in your terms, were more evolved than others. All, however, would appear as superhuman in contrast to those civilizations that encountered them…
There were some deliberate experiments, that were in fact far more dangerous to the experimenters, always in which the experimenters tried, in one way or another, to advance man’s knowledge … By the time that feasible inter-system space travel is practical, the psychic abilities are developed to a very high degree. One is necessary for the other. Therefore, it became much more feasible to approach earthmen during their dream state, when their natural fear reactions were somewhat minimized, and where the danger to the visitors was far less.
Civilizations were often warned in advance of natural disasters that were apparent to the visitors with their greater viewpoint. Such warnings were either given in the dream state of the earthmen, for the reasons given or often in some secluded place, for often the visitors would be attacked. During these eras, in your terms, the speakers often acted as go-betweens. Often warnings of disaster were not followed. Some warnings were misunderstood, then, as punishment by the gods of ‘moral misdoing…
The whole moral code idea was originally tailored for the current scene as it was encountered, told in terms that the natives could understand.
The Sumarians left the memory of their existence in the Sumerian culture. They initiated it, though they did not direct all of its activities, nor were they responsible for the distortions of their teachings that often resulted. There is a difference then between Sumarian and the culture in the books. Your Sumarians were behind the culture - they initiated that particular civilization…
I will be clear. Your Sumarians showed earth people at that time how to communicate, how to initiate crafts, gave them all the fundamentals upon which a civilization then could be based. The Sumarians, your Sumarians however, were not of human stock at that time …
Your Sumarians have become human stock in those terms at other times. It is not a point of them trying to invade a native stock. They simply understood the nature of individual existences. Therefore, they are able to choose from various physical systems those in which they would like to have experience …
They maintain their inner knowledge and integrity, and are born within any given system. They always use their native abilities and talents to help the system, working very strongly in psychic or creative endeavors …
I do not necessarily mean that they are consciously aware of their affiliation. This is an individual matter. They are often inventors, always then involved with the initiation of new ideas or discoveries. All of this follows inner patterns that are specifically human in your terms. Humanity therefore has its own characteristics, and no ‘outside influence’ can go counter to these, but must work with them …
When it seems that great discoveries come, and then are lost through the ages, perhaps to be rediscovered, it simply means that man’s own nature was not in harmony with them, could not use them properly. Whenever aggressiveness became too misguided it automatically caused the loss of powers or discoveries that could be used to destroy the planet …
This is a natural aspect, the self-protective principle that operates within earth life as you know it. On occasion discoveries were given before their time, and promptly lost, only to be rediscovered ages later …
The problem comes when you try to categorize consciousness or being … a body can be made from the camouflage of any system, constructed easily when you know how to do it. Space suits are, therefore, an inadequate, clumsy memory of an inner ability to clothe the inner self with whatever camouflage is at hand, to merge with the elements of an environment in such a way that you become a living part of it … The Sumarians - your Sumerians, did this when they initiated the culture spoken about in your books.
Basically - in your terms now - there is no such thing as an isolated, independent earth stock, in that consciousness did not suddenly erupt from the physical behavior or characteristics of your planet, or in any other …
As you know, consciousness comes first, and then forms the physical materializations of it. Those consciousnesses who picked physical materialization choose to operate under certain conditions that then appear as the natural characteristics of a species to you …
Consciousness is not local, and it never was … Presently you understand your existence only as it intrudes into three dimensions. Its own activity is in many other dimensions however. The Sumari, therefore, appear in or intrude into the three dimensional system from other dimensions …
Matter was manipulated through sound…In some respects the over enthusiastic use of the sound was responsible for the flood mentioned in the Bible, and other literature. It was for this reason that many attempts were made to warn against the impending disaster.
The use of sound was important at various times in irrigating dry areas, quite literally by pulling water from a distance … There were several characteristics that proved difficult, however. Literally, the sound traveled further often than was intended, causing consequences not planned upon. Great finesse was important. Sound was also used after irrigation to speed up the flowering of plants, and to facilitate transplantation to other areas. It was also utilized for medicinal purposes in operations, particularly in bone and brain operations … There are several important issues connected with the pyramids that are not as yet understood. The symbols upon them often were meant to be sounded. The sound set up reverberations. Some of these would automatically open up many doors, leading to as yet undiscovered secrets - but only for those who understood the use of sound.
Inner sounds have an even greater effect than exterior ones upon your body. They affect the atoms and molecules that compose your cells. In many respects it is true to say that you speak your body, but the speaking is interior. The same kind of sound built the Pyramids and it was not sound that you would hear with your physical ears. Such inner sound forms your bone and flesh … Each of the atoms and molecules that compose your body has its own reality in sound values that you do not hear physically. Each organ of your body has its own sound value too. When there is something wrong, the inner sounds are discordant.
Some books, published and unpublished, relating to these memoirs:
Books of my own (unpublished)
Medicine Sounds – an introduction to homeophonic healing
Morphic Resonation and Morphic Healing
New Adventures in Consciousness – exlorations in ‘Aspect Psychology’
Soul Science – the Listening Science of the Soul
The Manual of the New Yoga
The Little Book of Tantra
The Zone – ‘Second Generation’ reflections on war, psychosis and health
Books of my own (published)
From New Age to New Gnosis
Head, Heart and Hara – the soul centres of West and East
Inner Universe – fundamental science, phenomenology and fields of awareness
Tantra Reborn – on the sensuality and sexuality of the soul body
The New Yoga - Tantric Wisdom for Today’s World
The Awareness Principle – a radical new philosophy of life and science
The Qualia Revolution – from quantum physics to cosmic qualia science
The Science Delusion – why God is real and ‘science’ is religious myth
What is Hinduism?
Books written by or with others:
Tantric Poetry – my Lord of the Living Light (published, Karin Heinitz)
Soul-Body Bliss – Diary of One Woman’s Initiation into the Tantra of the Soul Bod, anon, unpublished
The Awakening of a Devi – selected correspondence beween Devi Silya Muischneek and Acharya Peter Wilberg (published)
SUMARI – the Language of Sound, Mary Wilkinson, Karin Heinitz and Peter Wilberg (unpublished)
Seth Speaks – the eternal validity of the soul, Jane Roberts (published)
Adventures in Consciousness, Jane Roberts (published)
The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone Rudolf Steiner (published)
Wagner and Philosophy Bryan Magee
Wagner and Philosophy Bryan Magee
Links to my on-line writings