Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sensation and Angelic Presence, part I

“When we are being faced with our deeds after death, angels who have been given the task of examining look searchingly into the face and continue their examination through the whole body, beginning with the fingers first of one hand and then of the other and continuing through the whole. When I wondered why this was so, it was explained to me. 

The reason is that just as the details of our thought and intention are inscribed on our brains because that is where their beginnings are, so they are inscribed on the whole body as well, since all the elements of our thought and intention move out into the body from their beginnings and take definition there in their outmost forms. This is why the things that are inscribed on our memory from our intention and consequent thought are inscribed not only on the brain but also on the whole person, where they take form in a pattern that follows the pattern of the parts of the body. 

I could therefore see that our overall nature depends on the nature of our intention and consequent thought, so that evil people are their own evil and good people are their own good.

Emmanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, pgs. 495-96 (new century edition)

Some readers have asked me exactly what sensation is; and although I use words to describe the organic sense of Being in terms of its immediate practical use to the art of Being, and emphasize its essential nature in many essays, there has never been, to the best of my knowledge, an exposition of why this kind of sensation exists, what its cosmological nature consists of, and why it is necessary to develop this sense.

There are, in fact, specific answers at hand to this question; they don't exist hidden behind a veil in a land of secret, unspeakable mysteries, but have pragmatic implications related to the nature of Being, Heaven, and Hell.

In order to examine this question, we will need to delve deeper into some of Swedenborg's material, and understand its relationship to what Gurdjieff said in more detail.

The description Swedenborg begins with above, of the angelic examination of the body starting with the fingertips, is not given casually. The process of angelic inspection of Being, which has both spiritual and natural characteristics, takes place through sensation; that is, it is physical, sensory, and nonverbal. It is a penetration of the body by higher intelligence.

The manifestation of sensation in the human body, insofar as it manifests at a voluntary or intelligent level, is a direct manifestation of the angelic kingdoms. It represents real contact with, and energy received from, a higher level.

The potential for this contact is definitely not restricted to existence after death. Swedenborg described the entry of angelic and heavenly energies as the inflow; and active sensation is a specific manifestation of the inflow which brings together the sensory materials of the body, including its awareness and memories, and realigns them into a new relationship with the divine. 

The infusion of angelic energies into the earthly body is, of course, an imperfect blend; yet without this infusion, any self-remembering which takes place is artificial, that is, inorganic. It has no properties of life, because it does not emanate from this process of inspection which can only be undertaken by the angelic order. Life outside the infusion of this angelic energy is thus referred to as death in the Gospels; and all of a person's effort to awaken must revolve around the wish to awaken this process of angelic introspection during one's lifetime. Not later.

The organic sense of Being, in other words, is the reception of angelic energies and their incorporation into the physical structure of self-examination. The yoga schools (which explain these phenomena in what I feel are somewhat inadequate ways) call the "points" at which these energies are received nadis; but what they are and why we have them is not exactly delineated.

Angelic energies infuse the body with its individuality; that is, the Being becomes undivided and an inspection of its own nature thereby becomes possible. The sensory experience of the pattern of the body, as described above, is necessary in order to understand one's wholeness of Being.

I have explained on a number of occasions the need to comprehend one's whole life in an organic process of reassembly; and this, too, relates to the physical experience of organic sensation, which because of its levels of energy comprehensively discloses the nature of Being, such as it is.

More about this tomorrow.



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