An article, subtitled "The Science of Correspondence and the Need to Expand Our Definition of Science", by Deno Kazanis, Ph.D, the author of The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality.
Present day western science is based on logical connections leading to an intellectual comprehension of the universe, but a science based on analogical or metaphorical connections can be and has been developed, which leads to an experiential understanding of the universe. The concept of science can and should be generalized to include any natural connection the human mind makes between concepts.So which are we, this seemingly infinitesimal individual in this vast universe, or the center of our universe? Well, no one would question that we are obviously both. One is a scientific perspective, the other an experiential perspective. How can these two vastly different perspectives connect?
Swedenborg referred to this metaphorical science as the "Science of Correspondence". Mysticism utilizes this broader definition of science, and in so doing has developed a basis for teaching and communicating their discoveries of the spiritual dimension of humankind. In a previous article 1, it was demonstrated that the recent western scientific discovery of 'dark matter' is consistent with and can include the mystical findings of subtle bodies and various "planes of matter" or consciousness. We will go on here to show that traditional analogical connections can form the basis of the path toward experiencing our subtle bodies, and thus toward our spiritual growth.
IntroductionAs David V. Tansley points out, "although a basic intellectual understanding of the subtle bodies is important, this mode of knowing must be transcended and transformed into experience; this alone turns the key to the locked door of the Mysteries and provides the student with a true knowledge of his inner being."2One may wonder how it is that other cultures, in particular mystical cultures and third world cultures have become aware of subtle bodies, or one may wonder how one might become aware of subtle bodies and spiritual development, or one may wonder how western science must be generalized to include these mystical understandings. Well the answer to all these questions may lie in our natural thinking processes. Mystics as well as third world cultures think more often metaphorically, whereas the western scientific world is dominated by logical thinking. And it is through the metaphorical or analogical thinking process that, it appears, one turns the key to the locked doors.
This may give insight into why western science techniques have been so successful in exploring the physical universe. The best suggestion might be that scientific thought can be based on precise connections utilized naturally by the human mind. So, for example, when we utilize precise logical connections we develop our western science. But since the human mind can think and connect in other ways as well, such as analogically or metaphorically, it would therefore seem reasonable that precise analogical connections could also be developed into a science. The determinant factor for creating a science may not be dependent upon the type of mental connection, but rather the precision of the mental connection. Poor logic obviously leads to an inaccurate conclusion, as would a bad analogy.
When we generalize our definition of science in this way, then it becomes clear that some ancient cultures, some third world cultures, mystics and shamans, have already developed a precise analogical or metaphorical science, which Emanuel Swedenborg called the "Science of Correspondence" (an excellent term for this science). Swedenborg regarded this science as the "Science of Sciences", but it can also be regarded as the "Art of Arts". Indeed, this metaphorical thinking is closer to western arts (music, poetry, paintings, etc.) than to western sciences. Although Swedenborg believed that this metaphorical science was very well known by advanced ancient cultures and had mostly been lost, he did not have available to him the literature or beliefs of much of the world, of Tibet, China, India, Japan, Africa, or the shamans of the American Indians or the Australian Aborigines. The science of correspondence is more than an analogical way of organizing information, but contains the potential of an "identity" to the relationship between objects and symbols. Not all analogies have this quality. But this "identity" is not readily apparent in our normal state of consciousness. It requires a significant change in our state of mind in order to experience the "identity". Joseph Campbell equates this state of consciousness with the opening of the Heart chakra. The techniques associated with the science of correspondence can allow this shift of consciousness, in time, to occur.
Limitations of western scienceDue to specialization, today's scientists are trained in a very limited perspective of knowledge. Very few have the opportunity to even explore other sciences in any depth, let alone subjects like the philosophy of science. Mainstream scientists tend to feel they understand how science operates, and as a result scientists do not know what they don't know. Their perspective paints a picture of the universe in which they may find security in, but philosophers and poets do not. The vast majority of scientists are "mainstream" or "hard-core" scientists. They perform traditional scientific tasks and do not explore that which violates the presently accepted paradigm of science. To them the existing paradigm dictates what is possible and what is not possible.
The "visionary" scientists are people like Newton, Schroedinger, Einstein, Pauli, Heisenberg, De Broglie, Hawking, Jung, and many others. The "visionary" scientist has a better understanding of the capabilities and limits of western science, whereas the mainstream scientist is a "true believer" of science and does not really understand its limitations. The mainstream scientists have been taught to distrust experience, which is regarded as deceptive and misleading. It is interesting to contrast this with the artist who views the variations and inconsistencies in human experience as what are of interest to explore. To the scientist this lack of reproducibility from person to person, this subjectivity, or personal "misconceptions", are the problems which need to be avoided in order to perform controlled "objective" experiments.
The justification for distrusting experience by scientists is partially because it seemingly has led to incorrect conclusions. The classical example is the perception of a falling object under the force of gravity. Before Galileo, it was assumed that heavy objects fall faster than light objects. Galileo performed careful experiments using an inclined plane (to slow down the falling movement), and a water clock to measure the time of this motion. He discovered that for objects rolling down the inclined plane at a given slope or angle, their motion was essentially independent of their weight. Furthermore he discovered that the distance traveled was proportional to the time squared, and not to the time. In other words, for an object starting at rest, if you double the time you quadruple the distance it travels. The object was accelerating uniformly. The concept of acceleration becomes important in developing Newton's Laws of Motion. Galileo would eventually go to the leaning tower of Pisa and simultaneously drop two objects of significant weight difference, and they hit the ground at the same time. Prior to Galileo one might have suspected that an object of twice the weight of another object might reach the ground in half the time. Without this careful experimentation and measurement, our understanding of the behavior of falling objects was inaccurate. These simple experiments open the door to Newton's laws of motion.
The scientist can point to countless situations where man's beliefs were incorrect prior to scientific exploration. This has led many scientists to simply believe that we cannot trust our intuitions, or our experiences. But there are countless situations of the following, also. We should recall that in 1903, a soon to be Nobel Prize Laureate, Albert Abraham Michelson, stated that "The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote." 3 And another well known physicist (Lord Kelvin) stated over 100 years ago that the job of physics was essentially complete and students should not bother to pursue a career in physics. Both these statements are of course, before quantum mechanics, before relativity, before high energy and nuclear physics, before elementary particles, etc. Scientific perceptions are also often incorrect. One hundred years ago, the entire universe was thought to lie in the Milky Way and there was no big bang concept, but rather a steady state universe which had no beginning or end. Even though the nuclear power of the sun was literally staring them in the face, scientists didn't see it as nuclear energy, but as thermal energy generated by the contraction of the sun. They believed they had explained all physical phenomena in terms of the laws of physics available to them at the end of the last century. It is not unusual to make things fit in terms of our understandings, or, if that can't be done, we simply discredit or ignore the phenomena.
Even today mainstream scientists really don't anticipate any major changes in their perspective of the universe or the present paradigm. They never do. Their effort is more aimed at either ignoring what they can't explain, or trying to make the observation fit the model, just as Lord Kelvin made the energy of the sun fit into thermal energy. An example of that today might be Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Prize Laureate, who has recently published a book entitled "The Astonishing Hypothesis", about which he says that "everything that you see and feel, your emotions, and so on, all that, on this hypothesis is due to the activities of nerve cells and other molecular events going on inside your brain, and it is not necessary to postulate something external ... that you might call the soul. His book sketches the science of just one kind of consciousness, the visual, but in all that we perceive, interpret and remember, everything that we've identified with mind and spirit, all of it he says, is just the firing of tiny electrical charges in the neuron of the brain. He says his campaign is to engage scientists in the study of consciousness, to appropriate the well worked turf of philosophers and theologians, and explore it with the tools of experimental science." 4 Yet he cannot provide concrete evidence for what he wants to believe. Clearly Dr. Francis Crick does not anticipate any significant new discoveries.
If we follow the history and philosophy of science as Thomas S. Kuhn did in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", we find that transitions in paradigms ("universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners") undergo significant upheavals and are not as smooth or as clear cut or as logical as we are led to believe in retrospect. 5
Schroedinger, a great scientist himself, whose wave equation became the foundation of quantum mechanics, understood the limits of science quite well. In his book, "My View of the World", he states: "The scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.
"So in brief, we do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.
"... The scientific world-picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens - it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it - though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed.
"In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason why the scientific worldview contains of itself no ethical values, no esthetical values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination, and no God, if you please. Whence came I and whither go I?" 6
Schroedinger makes it clear that present day science cannot answer, or even approach the basic questions we have about the universe, such as who we are, why are we here, and how we should live. Is there a God? A soul? etc. Many other scientists and non-scientists alike have over the years, made similar observation about science. The 20th century science has been so silent on these questions -- unable to even approach them, that mainstream scientists have tacitly concluded that these questions are not worth pursuing, and are of no value.
Schroedinger is not ridiculing science. In fact he has a high regard for his profession. He is simply stating what should be an obvious truth about the limits of science as it is practiced today. If science is to begin to move beyond these limitations, its basic premise must be expanded. Science is presently locked into logic as the only way that meaningful connections can occur and conclusions can be made. Scientists hide behind their "objectivity" to nullify any direct experiential knowledge, a striking contrast with the science of correspondence.
As Stephen Hawking points out "a scientific theory is just a mathematical model we make to describe our observations: it exists only in our minds." 7
We cannot doubt the incredible successes of western science, nevertheless it has been unable to answer one significant spiritual issue. Carl Sagan has said that what he likes about science is that if you have a question, you can determine a scientific test for this question, perform the experiment and gather the data and reach a conclusion. This "statement" has the illusion of truth because scientists limit their thinking to those situations where this is true. However, significant spiritual issues do not lend themselves so easily to this type of logical process. In an obvious sense, God not being definable cannot be put to a scientific test. But we also find that typically spiritual issues often lead to a win-win situation. Take, for example the goddess Quan Yin. In China if you pray to Quan Yin for something and she does not grant your prayer, well she has a very good reason, and one accepts that. Such a win-win situation makes it impossible to put such concepts to a logical test. The scientist might conclude one is only deluding oneself to believe such a thing, but there is no scientific proof for that conclusion either.
Spiritual enlightenment is regarded as the goal of the spiritual path, and although one might look upon enlightenment as an answer, it could equally be viewed as a question, since it is beyond duality. Being so, it does not lend itself to logical scientific exploration. Enlightenment may well be what happens between the question and the answer.
We should also consider Godel's discovery of the limitations that logic places on scientific investigation. A century ago it was believed that given a sufficient set of premises, a statement could be logically proved or disproved. However, Godel has shown that this is not true of logic -- not all consequences of a fundamental set of theorems can be proved, even though the consequence may be consistent with the theorems. Not all questions can be answered logically even if you had all the basic theorems that define the universe.
Another limitation of science comes from Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle, which limits our precision of logical knowledge, and points out that to make a measurement, one interferes with or effects the system one is measuring.
More recently, chaos theory has shown us that the solutions of certain types of mathematical equations, such as second order non-linear differential equations, cannot be written in equation form. These types of equations cannot be solved by clever mathematical tricks, but require a computer to describe the solutions. Furthermore, the path of the solution is unpredictable. All of this came as a great surprise to mathematicians and scientists alike. As long as science chose to ignore these equations (and scientists did so because they couldn't solve them), the universe looked logically predictable. Now it does not appear so.
Transpersonal experiences in general do not lend themselves to scientific scrutiny. As Stanislav Grof states: "Transpersonal experiences have many strange characteristics that shatter the most fundamental assumptions of materialistic science and of the mechanistic worldview. Researchers who have seriously studied and/or experienced these fascinating phenomena realize that the attempts of traditional psychiatry to dismiss them as irrelevant products of imagination or as erratic phantasmagoria generated by pathological processes in the brain are superficial and inadequate. Any unbiased study of the transpersonal domain of the psyche has to come to the conclusion that the observations involved represent a critical challenge for the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm of Western science". 8
To better explore transpersonal experiences, we need to understand the nature of humankind's total consciousness. What we normally regard as the unconscious can become conscious as we shift our consciousness to our subtle bodies. From the etheric body, the visible body and etheric body are conscious and the astral body, mental body, etc. are still unconsciousness. As we shift our consciousness deeper and deeper, more activities of the subtle bodies become conscious. Many techniques for experiencing the subtle bodies and the unconscious are best explained by Swedenborg's "science of correspondence". Let us look at this concept in more detail.
The science of correspondenceSimply stated, the science of correspondence is a functional metaphorical/analogical relationship between two logically unrelated objects or events. The relationship is actually an identity, but this identity cannot be experienced in our normal state of consciousness. This relationship cannot be intellectually grasped, it is not a logical connection. The science of correspondence requires a long term exploration in order to be comprehended and utilized properly, just as does our western logical science. If you combine Carl Jung's concepts of "synchronicity" and "archetypes", you will find something very much like the science of correspondence. This analogical or metaphorical science is applied in mythology, iconography, true ritual and ceremony, dreams, as well as in alchemy, astrology, the Kabbalah, and mystical symbology. An excellent example of Correspondence is the Mandala, a symbol utilized by many cultures, and which corresponds to man and to the universe. Obviously this is not a physical description or drawing of man or of the universe, nor is it just an informative symbolic representation, but when properly experienced, the Mandala is a precise correspondence to man and to the universe.
SymbologyMan communicates through symbols. Whether those symbols are the spoken word, the written word, pictures or images, they are still symbols and are not the object or concept itself. We cannot directly transfer experiences from one individual to another. We cannot simultaneously share our experiences -- we can only share events. We can point to a tree or the grass or the sky, but we cannot know how the other person experiences these things, so these objects are symbols also -- symbols of themselves. Symbols come in various shapes and sizes, have various connotations, and are more or less significant or meaningful. A symbol can be representational, codified, analogical, etc. But visual or verbal symbols in mysticism are not just representational or codified or analogical but convey a basic identity with the object or concept they symbolize. That is to say they connect in a pure objective sense, but not necessarily in a logical sense. They can be experienced as an identity, the symbol and that which is symbolized. This type of "correspondent" symbology is used in all techniques which lead to a mystical or spiritual understanding of the universe and mankind. Let us explore this further.
DreamsDreams are the personal aspect of myth. Dreams and their meaning seem to get rediscovered, and it was Freud who rediscovered the value of dreams in the 20th Century. Carl Jung says "In 1900, Sigmund Freud published in Vienna a voluminous work on the analysis of dreams. Here are the principle results of his investigation. The dream, far from being the confusion of haphazard and meaningless associations it is commonly believed to be, or a result merely of somatic sensations during sleep as many authors suppose, is an autonomous and meaningful product of psychic activity, susceptible, like all other psychic functions, of a systematic analysis. The organic sensations felt during sleep are not the cause of the dream; they play but a secondary role and furnish only elements (the material) upon which the psyche works. According to Freud the dream, like every complex psychic product, is a creation, a piece of work which has its motives, its trains of antecedent associations; and like any considered action it is the outcome of a logical process, of the competition between various tendencies and the victory of one tendency over another. Dreaming has meaning like everything else we do. It may be objected that all empirical reality is against this theory, since the impression of incoherence and obscurity that dreams make upon us is notorious. Freud calls this sequence of confused images the manifest content of the dream; it is the facade behind which he looks for what is essential - namely, the dream-thought or the latent content. Freud applies to the dream the same principle that we always instinctively use when inquiring into the causes of human actions. He asks himself quite simply: why does this particular person dream this particular thing?" 9
An earlier scientist who utilized dreams in his exploration of the inner world was Emanuel Swedenborg. His personal approach to the language of correspondence began with the symbols that appeared in his dreams. In 1744 he was completing his four volumes of the brain which threw light on the operations of the brain which were appreciated only centuries later. But still not being able to find the soul in man, he pursued an inward journey, utilizing his dreams. Instead of just occasionally jotting down dreams, he began to record and interpret them daily. "Eventually Swedenborg's feeling and imagery burst forth, presenting symbols within symbols growing, comprehending all." After a very long process of self-analysis and inner changes which he inadvertently undertook in this process, the visionary tendency broke into his waking life. He later stated "We must not, by our own power and by own intelligence, begin to doubt the heavenly truths which are revealed to us." Swedenborg was to claim that he was permitted to walk in heaven and hell, and wrote extensively about these experiences. 10
Carl Jung states that "The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends. For all ego-consciousness is isolated; because it separates and discriminates, it knows only particulars, and it sees only those that can be related to the ego. Its essence is limitation, even though it reaches to the farthest nebulae among the stars. All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood." 11
Arnold Mindell, who developed Process Oriented Psychology, expresses the information dreams convey in the following manner: "All your dreams manifest as body experiences which eventually turn into symptoms if you don't work on them very much. The physical occurrence may not manifest right away as a symptom." 12
When we feel in great depth and experiment with our feelings and amplify those feelings, this phenomena about the experiences in our bodies are mirrored in our dreams. I call that the dreambody. To explain this process, Mindell develops the concept of the dreambody, which he relates to the subtle bodies: "I define the concept of the dreambody as body experiences which we have, which we feel.
For example, if you have migraine headaches that you experience as poundings and you then go ahead and investigate the experience and the feeling of pounding, you might suddenly feel that there's a lot of drums pounding and people are about ready to fight one another - in an ordinary state of consciousness. You just investigate the feelings of your body, a migraine, and you see drummers and feel the pounding of your head - and suddenly you remember, Oh my God, I dreamt the other night that there was a war going on. So this phenomena of body experiences mirroring what you have dreamt, this is what I call the dreambody.
It means that all body problems, all body symptoms are dreams trying to manifest through the body. ... Everybody thinks that the body is bad and the body is pathological . . . and that when you're sick, it's something to cure, instead of seeing that when you're sick, that's some energy trying to happen that could be very useful to you and to everybody else, not just to yourself and your own personal growth." 13 One could say that illness, sickness, pain and aches are correspondences to something greater, often revealed through dreams.
Despite the vast information on dreams presented by Freud, Jung, Mindell and many others, scientists still tend to view dreams as meaningless fantasies, and all too many non-scientists want to view dreams as being prophetic. Dream symbolism is a good example of the science of correspondence at work. It would appear that the symbolism of dreams are "literal" in a deeper sense of correspondence, and only seem like complex symbols from our limited state of mind in this limited existence.
ChakrasSymbolism used for the chakras are not meant to be physical drawings of the chakras, but are symbolic correspondences. Also, the chakras have a psychodynamic correspondence. One can say that the first chakra equates to survival, the second to reproduction, and the third to power. Joseph Campbell points out that when people are living on the levels of the first three chakras they are living on the animal level. Animals too cling to life, animals too propagate, animals too fight to win. When we are living on this level we have to be controlled by social law - dharma. Our popular religions, says Campbell, are concerned with prayers for health, wealth, prodigy, and victory. "We are not in the field of true religious life, in the field of the spiritual birth, until we have come up to chakra four. And this is at the level of the heart, the sacred heart.
Anahata - that means 'not hit'." 14 What this refers to, says Campbell, is the sound that's made of any two things not striking together, which is 'OM' (AUM); it is the sound of the energy of the universe of which all things are manifestations. This is the midpoint of transcendence, to realization. Campbell says this is the level of the breakthrough of the metaphysical level that the two that seem to be separate are really one. While in our normal state of mind relationship appears separate, here we can experience that relationship becomes identity [seeing the identity in the correspondence], we can experience the self-luminous bodies [which are the subtle bodies]. Here the first three chakras fall into a secondary position. Further, Campbell says, at the throat chakra, Visuddha - purgation - we have the sublimation of the animal physical experience, the turning about of the shakti. At the ajna, or position between the eyes, which deals with authority, power on the spiritual level, the soul beholds its object. At the crown chakra we have the thousand-petalled lotus, where one has the experience of "I and the Father a re One".
MythologyIn the nineteenth century scholars mostly treated myths with the usual meaning of the word, such as "false", "fiction", "invention". This century we find western scholars who have approached the study of myth markedly different; "they have accepted it as it was understood in the archaic societies, where, on the contrary, 'myth' means 'true story' and, beyond that, a story that is a most precious possession because it is sacred, exemplary, significant. This new semantic value given to the term 'myth' makes its use in contemplary parlance somewhat equivocal. Today, that is, the word is employed both in the sense of 'fiction' or 'illusion' and in that familiar especially to ethnologists, sociologists, and historians of religions, the sense of sacred tradition, primordial revelation, exemplary model". 15
Joseph Campbell says that "throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth." 16 Joseph Campbell, brought mythology to the forefront in the western world as no one else had, and has shown us that mythology is a method of utilizing theater or story telling to connect with a deeper reality, and to put us in touch with that reality. Mythology is a metaphor or "correspondence" to a much greater world. By exploring these stories, one can begin to experience the correspondence of this imagery.
Rites, Rituals and CeremoniesRitual and ceremony can involve movement, gestures, mantras, mudras, prayers, chants, etc., in the presence of icons and other symbolic representations, in an effort to bring forth a 'quality' or 'presence' or a deeper reality one is connecting with usually for the purposes of healing and/or spiritual growth. Rituals can last from minutes to weeks.
A central ritual in Christian theology, the ritual of the sacrament of the Eucharist, is utilized in transubstantiation (a doctrine that says that, the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ). Transubstantiation is opposed to other doctrines, such as consubstantiation, that assert that the body and blood of Christ coexist with the bread and wine, which remain unchanged. The doctrine of transubstantiation was reconfirmed by the Council of Trent (1551) and restated by Pope Paul VI in 1965. Transubstantiation is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
The roots of this word "trans" and "substance" indicates the possibility of a more general usage of the term "transubstantiation". Today, however, it exclusively refers to the identity of bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ. So here we have another major example in spirituality of this identity between the symbol and that which it symbolizes. In general true rituals aim at an experiential unification with a deeper spiritual understanding.
AstrologyThe relationship of the stars to mankind is certainly ancient in nature. We have discussed in previous article how astrology may physically operate through the subtle bodies, but astrology is also a correspondence between the position of the planets in the signs of the zodiac and the individual. Through the process of observing the integration of the energies of the planets through the qualities of the astrological signs, and their interactions, a complex understanding of the nature of the individual and the universe unfolds. By reading astrological charts one begins to see the interaction of universal events through these basic energies. If applied successfully, this could eventually lead to an experiential understanding of these energies and also the operation of the basic alchemical elements. Clearly the practitioner of this metaphorical science will benefit more than the client.
KabbalahRecently, great interest has developed in the Kabbalah, and significant information has been made available. "The term Kabbalah translates literally into tradition, and refers us specifically to the tradition of Jewish mysticism". 17(Kabbalah, Charles Ponce). It is based on traditional literature of the Jewish Religion, such as the Torah, the Talmud, Mishna, Gemara, Midrash, Halakhah & Aggadah.
Although seemingly complex to comprehend, the understanding of this system as a law of correspondence aids in its discernment. The Sephirothic Tree corresponds to numerous situations, and an understanding of this complex symbol and how to properly apply it is a central theme in the Kabbalah. There are 10 sephiroth in the Sephirothic Tree and they are regarded as abstract entities through which all changes take place. The 10 sephiroth are connected by 32 paths (of wisdom). The Tree then corresponds to numerous situations one might encounter in life. The skill is in fully understanding the correspondences so that the system can be applied properly. When this occurs, the identify of the Sephirothic Tree and life becomes clear.
HerbalogyHerbs are utilized by all cultures from China to Africa to India to the North and South American Indians. Our relationship with plants and their properties is universal. Herbalogy is generally regarded as the utilization of plants for nutritional or medicinal purposes, but herbalogy includes ceremonial plants as well, which can be utilized in sacred rituals.
In the west, numerous pharmaceuticals are obtained from plants - penicillin was obtained from a fungus in 1928. Clinical research is continuing to document the health-giving benefits from select fungi/mushrooms. And although herbalogy was traditionally ignored by western medicine, today you can find courses on medical herbalogy in the west.
Herbal remedies have become a big business in the west. Although active ingredients have been extracted from some herbal remedies, others have failed to produce an active ingredient and some have several. Extracting the active ingredient can produce a pharmaceutical agent that often produces side effects which the herbal remedy did not. It appears that there is a synergistic effect of the herbal remedy which eliminates or reduces any side effects. We have only scratched the surface of herbal remedies. There are claims by many cultures of having actual cures for ailments which we in the west only keep under control (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) with our medications. One may wonder how herbal remedies were discovered. It was not through the techniques of western scientific research, but through the science of correspondence. In China, this involves a holistic perspective of the world, and such concepts as Yin and Yang, and the five basic elements. For example, herbs are regarded as having four natures: cold, hot, warm and cool; five tastes: spicy, sour, sweet, bitter and salty; four actions: ascending, descending, floating and sinking. These qualities can be related to the corresponding nature of the disease to determine which herbs to use, a very complex, integrated system.
In some cases, the 'law of signatures' can be utilized where the shape and/or color, and/or smell and/or taste of the plant is utilized as related to the symptoms of the individual. On a simple level a particular kidney shaped bean may be useful for kidney ailments, and a specific yellow plant or flower might be useful for jaundice.
AlchemyCarl Jung has written considerably upon the subject of alchemy, exploring the incredible images presented to the world through this system. As an analyst he found great value in the structure and source of these rich symbols and utilized them accordingly. Carl Jung discovered "how certain archetypal motifs that are common in alchemy appear in the dreams of modern individuals who have no knowledge of alchemical literature". 18 He demonstrated that "the wealth of ideas and symbols that lie hidden in the neglected treatises of this much misunderstood 'art' definitely does not belong to the rubbish heap of the past, but stands in a very real and living relationship to our most recent discoveries concerning the psychology of the unconscious. Not only does this modern psychological discipline give us the key to the secrets of alchemy, but, conversely, alchemy provides the psychology of the unconscious with a meaningful historical basis. This is hardly a popular subject, and for that reason it remained largely misunderstood. Not only was alchemy almost entirely unknown as a branch of natural philosophy and as a religious movement, but most people were unfamiliar with the modern discovery of the archetypes, or had at least misunderstood them". 19
Alchemy seems to hold such contradictory information that logic and common sense are of limited value. It is a journey, a path. All of our present day sciences grew out of alchemy - our chemistry, physics, medicine, astronomy, etc., had there birth in alchemy. Man's early interest in these scientific subjects was so he could further explore and more accurately utilize his knowledge of correspondence. Newton himself was a great explorer of alchemy and spent much more time in this subject then he did on the traditional western sciences. Despite Carl Jung's understanding, appreciation and writings on alchemy, and Newton's great interest, today the mainstream scientist still views alchemy only as an ancient attempt to understand the world, but one that was incorrect and has no place in the world today. In our scientific text books, no mention is made of Jung's understanding of alchemy, but it is only stated that this was what primitive man incorrectly believed.
Carl Jung showed how the images and processes utilized by alchemists could be seen as paths to psychological transformations. But they go beyond that, even. The words and images utilized by the alchemists are easily misunderstood because, again, we have to think in metaphorical terms. For example, a basic metaphor in mysticism is the five 'element' theory. But the use of the word 'element' here is not at all the way we use the term 'element' in science today. What is meant here is something more fundamental, more elemental, then the dense physical elements of our modern science. The alchemist's/mystic's elements are fundamental from a metaphorical perspective. The alchemist's 'elements' can be seen in the physical and emotional and mental and spiritual aspects of man and the universe, i.e. all levels of consciousness as well as the dense physical universe. That is to say, it is present in all the bodies, subtle and dense, metaphorically. The term is used to represent the 5 basic qualities of both the objective and subjective universe. That is, the 5 'element' theory needs to be understood through the Swedenborg's science of correspondence or analogical/metaphorical science, and not through logical science.
In eastern thought we find 5 basic elements: 'earth', 'water', 'fire', 'air', and 'space'. In Buddhism the elements are personified into the Five Buddha Families: buddha, vajra, padma, ratna, and karma. Although each buddha family is associated with an 'element', one or more of the Buddha Families can be used to describe a person's basic interaction in or approach to the world. Each Buddha Family principle can have a confused or enlightened expression, as the particular 'neurosis' associated with a buddha family can be transmuted into its enlightened aspect.
For example, in the buddha family the basic 'element' or quality is space which is all-encompassing and open in nature. Space can provide a vessel in which all the other qualities can interact or mingle. Subjectively, the confused quality of this family is one of ignorance in the sense of ignoring or avoiding, not wanting to see. In the enlightened state, this quality manifests as the wisdom of all-encompassing space. It is associated with the color white, its direction is the center, and is symbolized by a wheel, representing this open quality. For the vajra family, the basic 'element' is water, an energy that tends to flow downward. The basic quality of the vajra family relates to intellectual ability, which can view situations from many perspectives, able to see the whole picture as well as the details. In the confused state, one is angry, aggressive or intellectually fixated. The enlightened form is mirror-like wisdom, a quality of sharp, clear reflectiveness. It is associated with the color blue, the direction east, and symbolized by a vajra scepter, which represents a diamond-like quality of indestructability.
For the ratna family, the basic 'element' is earth, which has the qualities of solidness, inertia, as well as fertility. The basic quality here is one of richness. In the confused state, there is a sense of pride; one can be very self-indulgent, enjoying leisure and comfort, which can become envy or hunger, desiring everything. Being proud, you may feel yourself constantly challenged by the possibility of failure and defeat. In the enlightened state it becomes the wisdom of equanimity, accommodating all experiences and bringing out their innate richness. It is represented by the color yellow (gold), the direction south, and symbolized by a jewel, which represents richness.
For the padma family, the basic 'element' is fire, which has an upward, consuming movement like flames. Its basic quality is passion. On a confused level this passion can become grasping or clinging, and like fire, it does not distinguish between those things it grasps, burns or destroys. It ignores the real state of being united and wants to possess in order to become united. In the enlightened state, it becomes discriminating-awareness wisdom, the warmth of compassion, which appreciates every aspect of experience. It is represented by the color red, the direction west, and symbolized by a lotus, a beautiful flower which grows out of muddy waters.
For the karma family, the basic 'element' is air or wind, characterized by a tendency to revolve in different directions and to relate itself to other possibilities. Its basic quality is action, always eager to start something new, always busy but efficient. The confused state of this family is excessive speed and resentment, particularly of any disorder or inefficiency. One feels that one is not going to achieve any of his goals, and becomes irritated with the accomplishment of others. The karma quality in the enlightened state becomes the wisdom of all-accomplishing action, able to accomplish ones goals with appropriate energy, without resentment. It is represented by the color green, the direction north, and symbolized by a sword, which cuts through hesitation. The idea here is not one of manipulation or of judgment, but to simply see or experience the world as the five 'element' or Five Buddha Family qualities. Thus, learning to observe these basic qualities of the universe at work in the world, in situations, in people, is a great spiritual exercise, leading eventually (hopefully) to the enlightened aspects of these qualities.
Holy Trinity and the Trikaya DoctrineUnderstanding, or experiencing the five basic elements can potentially open one up to the experience of the Holy Trinity (in Christianity) or the Trikaya Doctrine of Buddhism. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit correlate with the Dharmakaya, the Sambogakaya (body of bliss), and the Nirmanakaya of Buddhism. These sacred doctrines are very difficult to explain verbally, but do represent a very high level spiritual experience. They have been represented in the iconography of both religions, but remain quite mysterious. In Buddhism, Buddhas can manifest in any of these three kayas of bodies. The Father, or the Dharmakaya, is the embodiment of all the known, all laws, all forms or experiences, all existence. Out of this body comes the Son or the Sambogakaya. One of the attributes of Sambogakaya is play, which has the quality of mischievousness, and also it has the quality of a sense of humor, an uplifting light-hearted quality, which is beyond ego's heavy-handed nature. This humor seems to be associated with a sense of futility, but at the level of celebrating ones life. The Sambogakaya is the Body of Joy. The Sambogakaya is transmitted into the Nirmanakaya (Holy Spirit) which is our present situation, that state of existence which is an Earthly, physical, bodily situation, because everything that we experience becomes the visual and audio world in the ordinary sense, where the sun rises and sets, the tide ebbs and flows, and the moon wanes and waxes. Somehow, however, we do not quite see it in its true Holy Spirit or Nirmanakaya aspect.
IconographyIconography comes from the Greek word 'icon' meaning image, and 'graphy' meaning to write. So iconography literally means 'image writing'. The word has come to usually mean sacred image, though it really means much more than that. The subject of iconography can be some spiritual person or some spiritual event from spiritual history, or a symbol such as a mandala (which contains the 5 elements, as previously discussed). Iconography is the art of expressing the spiritual reality of these people and events using sacred symbolic forms and mystical colors. The drawings are made with precision, appearing more of a mechanical drawing than our western art. Yet, through iconography deeper realities can be presented in an objective way, and can open up new worlds to the practitioner as well as to those who meditate upon them.
Iconography is the visual relationship to the divine. It is hidden with visual correspondences.
MantrasMantras are the utilization of a sound or series of syllables to connect with their corresponding deep. They are frequently utilized during true rituals along with corresponding mudras (hand gestures) and images.
There are literally thousands of mantras. One of the best known is the mantra "OM MANI PADME HUM", which in China is Kuan Yin's mantra, and in Tibet, the mantra of Avalokesvara. OM symbolizes "the origin, the Supreme Source, the Dharmakaya, the Absolute." MANI PADME signifies "such pairs of concepts as: the essential wisdom lying at the heart of Buddhist doctrine; ... Mind contained within our minds; the eternal within the temporal; ... the goal (supreme wisdom) and the means (compassion)." HUM corresponds to "the conditioned in the unconditioned; ... it represents limitless". 20
But a mantra does not produce its full correspondence with the deepest levels of ones consciousness if ones mind is cluttered with verbal concepts. Reflective thought must be transcended, abandoned.
The Mozart EffectThe positive effects of Mozart's music has come to the public's attention largely through Don Campbell's book "The Mozart Effect: Tapping The Power Of Music To Heal The Body, Strengthen The Mind And Unlock The Creative Spirit". Some of the hundreds of reported benefits of classical music are: (1) improves test scores; (2) cuts learning time; (3) calms hyperactive children and adults; (4) reduces errors; (5) improves creativity and clarity, (6) heals the body faster; (7) integrates both sides of the brain for more efficient learning (8) raises IQ scores 9 points (research done at University of California, Irvine). It would surprise our scientific community to know (1) that in a study of medical school applicants, 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group, compared with only 44% of biochemistry majors; (2) the very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians; (3) students who study music scored higher on both the verbal and math portions of the SAT than non-music students. Similar results have been obtained by engaging individuals in other arts.
The knowledge of the impact of music and art is surprisingly old. "In many cultures, sound technology has been used specifically for healing purposes in the context of intricate ceremonies. The Navajo healing rituals conducted by trained singers have astounding complexity that has been compared to that of the scripts of Wagnerian operas. The trance dance of the Kung Bushmen in the African Kalahari Desert has enormous healing power, as has been documented in several anthropological studies and movies". 21
Waldorf EducationRelated to the Mozart Effect is Waldorf education. The concept was developed by Rudolf Steiner in Europe in the 1920s. Steiner based this educational system on his understanding of subtle bodies. He believed that we understood the etheric body through the sculptural process, understanding how curves and shapes grow out of inner forces. The astral body, in turn, is connected with music. The aim of Waldorf education is to educate the whole child -- head, heart and hands. The curriculum is geared to the child's stages of development and brings together all elements -- intellectual, artistic, spiritual and movement. The goal is to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives.
As M.C. Richards puts it, "Why does the human being long to work artistically? Why are the art programs in the public schools and communities so popular? Because there is a natural enthusiasm for creativity built into our bodies. There is an essential connection between artistic activity and human nature, between art and nature and universe and human being. Painting, modeling, music, movement, speech, architecture, and drama are not electives. They are the ground of our intuitive understanding of ourselves and the world around us". 22 Music, the arts, Waldorf Education, can be seen as the effects of the science of correspondence; thinking metaphorically, experiencing the world metaphorically, and connecting with our deeper selves to become more of our true selves.
SuperstitionSuperstition comes from the Greek "super" and "stitio" meaning that which is left over. Superstition is the remnants of this higher level thinking involved in the science of correspondence. To distinguish between superstition and metaphorical thinking requires considerable study. When it comes to other peoples beliefs, be it so called primitive cultures or ancient cultures, the western world with its scientific perspective regards those views often as superstitious, and seldom suspects that there is anything of significance (particularly of scientific significance) that these cultures have to teach us. The tendency has been to disregard all science of correspondence concepts as superstitious. We have made it clear to other cultures to suppress their beliefs or understandings of the universe in our presence, and they obligingly do so. As a result, we miss out on some valuable concepts, knowledge, and wisdom. We always (and naturally so) try to analyze their lives in terms of our present understandings of the universe, i.e., in terms of what we presently "know". To do so is to ignore the great potential for mystery, and may lead us far from our present limited understandings. To understand the beliefs of other cultures we must suspend our own doubts and ignorance and open to their world, not intellectually, by taking notes and physical measurements, but experientially - becoming a part of their world. To understand the third world, one must live in it, opened minded, for a considerable length of time just to scratch the surface. Few of us have time to do that.
All of the topics associated with the science of correspondence may appear like superstition to the logically trained western mind. Indeed, if one is not skilled in this type of thinking one will make incorrect associations which lead to superstition, just as poor logic can lead to incorrect conclusions. One must immerse oneself in this process, be open but critical, questioning, to pursue this type of process appropriately. If one is truly knowledgeable of the correspondences, it is easy to distinguish superstition from correspondence, and superstition, then, is not an issue.
Creationism vs. EvolutionIn the world today, people often confuse images of correspondence with physical or historical reality, and the other way around. As a result, we have interpretations of the Bible and other spiritual writings as physical or scientific truths and not as correspondences (as Swedenborg suggested). This leads to a disservice of spiritual teachings and to scientific teachings. Correspondences, properly understood and eventually experienced, lead to higher truths. Applying scientific methods to interpreting spiritual teachings leads to something that is neither spiritual nor scientific.
Quite simply, the scientific perspective of evolution is very sound, still being refined, and produces information of scientific value (not spiritual value), and does not contradict (nor support) spiritual metaphorical teachings.
Conclusion"One thing can be claimed in favour of the mystical teaching of the 'identity' of all minds with each other and with the supreme mind - as against the fearful monadology of Leibniz. The doctrine of identity can claim that it is clinched by the empirical fact that consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Not only has none of us experienced more than one consciousness, but there is also no trace of circumstantial evidence of this ever happening anywhere in the world. If I say that there cannot be more than one consciousness in the same mind, this seems to blunt tautology - we are quite unable to imagine the contrary." -- Erwin Schroedinger, Mind and Matter
Science seems to be in a perpetual state of believing it has the truth, despite its history of changing paradigms. This failure to accept the idea of "mysterium" is surprising, because there will always be a great mystery out there waiting to be discovered. The Universe is not so small, nor so simple as to lend itself to total analysis by a logical science. This does not diminish the value of science, but simply places it in an appropriate perspective. Science provides one type of insight into the workings of the universe, but not the only insight. The arts certainly provide another route to knowledge, and mysticism provides yet another. The combination of logical science (western science) and analogical science (science of correspondence) can help us to understand our role in the universe, and to appreciate the universe as the extraordinary multifaceted phenomena it truly is.
We live in the most intellectual culture that the world has ever seen. Yet our religions offer very little in the way of intellectual appeal, unable to successfully bridge this gap. Too often those who claim to represent spirituality in fact do not. This all too frequently turns people away from any consideration of the spiritual path, and leads many to believe that religion has nothing to offer. The techniques utilized by the science of correspondence offers considerable intellectual stimulation, and, if successful, eventually leading to a personal experiential understanding of spirituality. Ultimately, the transformation process which allows consciousness on the level of the spirit (the sambogakaya, the ananda-maya-kosa) is the process of the spiritual path. Today in the western world and elsewhere, too often one is told to have faith, and not to question. Ultimately, at some juncture, one may require a leap of faith, but that leap comes after years of pursuing and questioning, riding oneself of doubt. True spirituality requires questioning as does true science. One must not be deluded into believing one 'believes' when one does not and one still has many unanswered questions. Too often our 'spiritual' leaders cannot answer our questions because they have not had a spiritual awakening themselves and therefore discourage the asking of questions, telling one to have faith. This truly discourages a scientific mind, and can encourage a fanaticism, and fanaticism is not true religion, is not spirituality.
While western science is primarily logical in nature, the true spiritual perspective is primarily metaphorical in nature. Swedenborg believed that the heiroglyphics and the entire ancient Egyptian language were based on spiritual correspondences, as was the original writing of the Bible. In this context it is of interest to consider Joseph Campbell's statement that, "God can be understood as a metaphor for a mystery which transcends all categories of human thought." Here we must be aware that these metaphors produce higher truths, and logic produces lesser truths. The science of correspondence is quite unlike our western logical science. It takes us in a different direction and yields unique information about the nature of mankind and the universe. The science of correspondence has an aesthetic quality to it, is inclusive of all systems, is humbling, often appearing simple and naïve from our western point of view, and tends toward long term solutions and a quality of patience. In essence, the science of correspondence appears to be more experiential in nature, producing direct knowledge of that which is being studied. This presents an apparent conflict with western science - a difficult hurdle to overcome, since western science is intellectual in nature, believing that intellectual understandings are supreme and free of bias or superstition. Western Science does not in the least trust direct experiential or intuitive knowing. In fact the only statement traditional western science has made about "experience" is "don't trust it".
Although the end pursuit of western science appears to be an intellectual comprehension of the universe, the science of mysticism is primarily involved with a direct knowledge of some ultimate reality, experience, etc., a knowledge or wisdom which cannot be comprehended intellectually, and therefore MUST BE DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED. It's a journey we must ultimately make on our own, hopefully with experienced teachers to guide us.
In the book, "The Soul, The Quality of Life", Alice A. Bailey and Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul state that "The Aquarian Age will see the fact of the soul demonstrated. ... The soul is as yet an unknown quantity. It has no real place in the theories of the academic and scientific investigators. It is unproven and regarded by even the more open-minded of the academicians as a possible hypothesis, but lacking demonstration. It is not accepted as a fact in the consciousness of the race." It would appear that the 21st Century will bring forth physical evidence for the existence of the soul (and other subtle bodies) in the form of what is presently conceived of as "dark matter". It is our hope that an Institute will be developed which will bring together individuals who are interested in the exploration of the "dark matter" subtle bodies of mankind, as well as an exploration of the law of correspondence. It would appear that the Aquarian Age is upon us.
1. Deno Kazanis, "'Dark Matter', The Physical Basis of Mysticism", Internet Deno Kazanis, The Physical Basis for Subtle Bodies and Near Death Experiences, The Journal of Near-Death Studies, (Winter, 1995)
2. David Tansley, Subtle Bodies, New York, NY: Thames and Hudson; 1984, p. 8
3. Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield, "The Arrow of Time", Flamingo, London 1991, p. 67
4. Bob Edwards, on National Public Radio in and interview with Francis Crick concerning his book "The Astonishing Hypothesis"
5. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1965
6. Erwin Schroedinger, My View of the World. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1964
7. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1988, p. 139
8. Stanislav Grof. The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychology and Inner Exploration. New York, NY: State university of New York Press; 1988, p.160-161.
9. Carl G. Jung, Dreams, Translated by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton, NJ:Princeton University Press. 1974, p.3
10. Wilson Van Dusen, The Presence of Other Worlds
11. Carl G. Jung, The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man: Civilization in Transition, 1933, P. 304
12. Arnold Mindell in an Interview with The Monthly Aspectarian.
14. Joseph Campbell, VideoTape Series of Lectures
15. Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality. New York, NY:Harper Colophon Books; 1975, p.1
16. Joseph Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1973, p.3
17. Charles Ponce. Kabbalah: An Introduction and Illumination for the World. San Francisco, CA: Straight Arrow Books. 1973, p.13
18. Carl G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1977, p.xiii
20. John Blofeld, Mantras: Sacred Words of Power, New York,NY: E.P. Dutton & Co.; 1977, p.39
21. Stanislav Grof. The Adventure of Self-Discovery:Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychology and Inner Exploration. New York, NY: State university of New York Press; 1988, p.184
22. Mary Carolyn Richards, Toward Wholeness: Rudolf Steiner Education in America. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. 1980, p. 94
Copyright © 1999 Deno Kazanis, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved. Any part of this article may be copied providing credit is given.
|The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality|
by Deno Kazanis, Ph.D.
The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality, in a surprising manner, provides a basis in physics for mystical/spiritual phenomena.
New discoveries from science regarding dark matter are used to explain unanswered questions on the nature of paranormal phenomena, non-local mind, the power of prayer, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and a whole range of mystical phenomena.
Dr. Deno Kazanis also presents an inspiring perspective on the traditional teachings and practices mankind has utilized to experience these phenomena.