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..:: The Observer V / The Soul ::..


Alan Schneider


            We have come at last to the most crucial spiritual consideration of them all – the existence of the Soul within the human observational field.  This essay will delve deeply into this most significant subject, treating the Soul not merely as a hypothetical construct, but as one that can be observed directly in the observational field, through participation, concentration, and sensation. 

            What is the Soul?  The answer to this question depends on our personal observational perspective.  From the perspective of the Physical Plane, physical senses, and ego, the Soul is, at best, an archetypal concept existing largely beyond the possibility of empirical verification that has some bearing upon consciousness as the spiritual essence of the individual, and the moral director of behavior.  At worst, as is demonstrated by the consciousness of the very materialistic among us, the Soul is completely non-existent – the byproduct of idealistic wish-fulfillment fantasy, and nothing more.  Viewed through the observational lens of the Astral Plane, the Soul assumes a more present reality among the great assemblage of archetypes active there, and observable by the Astral Body, although it may well be only one of a large number of images relevant to the organism and its internal processes, all vying for the attention and recognition of the observer.  Through the lens of the Mental Plane, the Soul has at least become yet more important as a possible Spirit Guide and spiritual mentor, although it may not be fully recognized for what it is there, and still be regarded by the residual ego consciousness of the Physical Plane as a means to a personal end.  

            The level of observation corresponding to the Soul is the Atmic Plane of Expression – with the Atman being the Hindu equivalent term for the Judeo-Christian Soul in that spiritual system.   The Yogic/Tantric level associated with the Soul is the Heart Chakra, Anahata, Chakra Four in the Ascension sequence.   The hallmarks of  Anahata awareness are compassion and the advent of genuinely selfless love and human involvement.  Because this level of observation represents such an enormous departure from the levels preceding it, a brief review of what has been said in the previous newsletters of The Observer series is in order at this time. 

            The action of the Kundalini in the first three Chakras is inexorably tied to the physical body observable on the Physical Plane of Expression – generally termed “reality” by the ego, and characterized by the continuous stream of sensory manifestation.  While it is true that we can meditate and travel among the first three observational planes with practice, they remain largely self (please note the use of the lower case “s”) motivated, and rooted in the observations in and of the body.  Even at the level of Manipura, where the social (s)elf and its concerns predominate, the motivational drivers present are generally very individualized and personal in nature.   One can exist for the term of incarnation, or incarnations, and never transcend these three levels of observation – never even hear of the suggestion that observational levels are what they are, or think of the possibility of any further expression of consciousness beyond the personal.  This is the Karmic baseline condition of humanity – the roots and trunk of the Tree of Life and consciousness, requiring only the most basal involvement of the Kundalini, without the need of any type of extended or higher awareness whatsoever.  

            As the spiritual evolution and development of the Soul continues, the Kundalini energy will eventually maximize its potential in Manipura – this condition is often characterized by a cumulative boredom and dissatisfaction with life on the Physical Plane, even (or perhaps especially) in the case of the manifestly materially successful individuals present thereon.  A sense of the need for something beyond personal gratification and social status begins to become manifest in the consciousness of the observational field of the individual – the first twinges of the movement of the Kundalini in the direction of Anahata.  And these experiences may be accompanied by one degree or another of moral remorse and misgivings for the questionable actions that may have been performed in the service of material achievement and social success up to this point.  Now, we are ready to begin the Kundalini crossing into Anahata, across the great gulf of personal isolation into collective moral involvement in the higher social environment of self-sacrifice represented by the Heart Chakra.  It is only at this level that we can begin to understand the ultimate meaning and significance of the observer in consciousness, and of the observational field phenomenon as well.  In Anahata, we truly begin to awaken to the truth of our identity.  Previous to this level, we remain asleep and unconsciousness to the full implications of who and what we really are.  

            Referring to the Sphere of the Psyche diagram, the central core of this structure is the ambiguous dark ball shown.  The wisdom of this representation is seen in its absence of additional symbolic expression – at no point in this depiction is more shown than the presence of the ego and surrounding personal unconscious ring on the surface, the extended interior (which is postulated as being the region of “dreams” and “dreaming”) and the Self at the center, suggested as the possible origin of the “internal regulatory mechanisms” that produce those dreams, but not necessarily so.   None of the analysis of the Mystery Theories is present, because these analyses are essentially hypothetical in nature, however logical their existence may be, or seem to be. The Sphere is shown as a sphere, not an onion with many additional layers, not a ladder with many rungs present, and not a pyramid composed of multiple levels converging in sequence to a peak of expression.  All of these latter are essentially interpretations and interpretational, and, while these may be very significant from the perspective of the Astral Plane, or perhaps the Mental Plane, the Sphere of the Psyche remains the most valid representation of the observational field from the perspective of the Physical Plane wherein we are all held courtesy of the body, senses, and the ego for the term of incarnation.  It contains all that can be verified by experiential investigation of the observational field – we know that we exist as the body, the interpreter of that body’s experience (both consciously and unconsciously), and the receiver of archetypal impressions in deep dreaming and deep meditation that can, at the extreme depth of those states, be traced to a fundamental point of collective origin beyond which nothing more can be known by any further means of observation or investigation – the Self – referred to with the upper case “S” to distinguish it from the lesser “(s)elf” present as the ego observer on the Sphere’s surface.   

            Eastern religion has analyzed this Self (although it does not use that term) into a sequence of additional states that are, again, largely hypothetical, although certainly very logical in their sequence, as has the Hebrew tradition of the Tree of Life in the West.  The Eastern representation of this system is the Chakra Tree, or Lotus Tree of Yoga and Tantra, referred to so often in these essays.  But, here in this fifth in the sequence of The Observer Series, I will confine myself to treating only the Self of the Sphere of the Psyche.  Why?  Because this much can be known (although not necessarily without question) and is the subject of common reportage by investigators using dream journaling and meditation as their techniques of observation.  Yes, the Hindu Brahman very possibly is the ultimate foundation of all experience and observation, as is the Cabalist Ain Soph Aur, and Brahma may be the Creator of existence, as may Kether, but these remain interpretations after the fact of observation, not observations themselves.  Only the Jungian Self is directly observable as a subject of human experience.   

            In “The Observer IV / The Kundalini”, I mention the archetypes as the primary drivers of experience, producing archetypal symbols that appear in direct human observation and perception.  Mention was also made of the acculturated determination of these symbols – the forms they display in consciousness emerge through the filter of personal and social acculturation.  And mention was also made of the presumption that the precise nature of the archetypes themselves cannot be known – they exist beyond the threshold of observation within chaos as strange attractors.  All that can be said of them is that they appear to generate a more or less consistent set of symbols across cultures, and that this symbol set appears to represent a universal foundation in human experience existing at the instinctual level, presumably as the consequence of neural activity in the human brain, and perhaps also hormonally moderated by the endocrine glands.  

            The Self is itself an archetypal symbol of the threshold of chaos – and is subject to cultural representation as such.  Interestingly, in most of the Ascension experiences of my knowledge, it does not appear dark, but very bright, in observation – a bright, glowing spherical or radial form at the center of the observational field.  I myself perceived this form initially as Sahasrara, Chakra Seven, the Crown Chakra, described in “Samadhi” (Doors In Disguise, Chapter One), and progressively experienced a sequence of perceptions beginning with a radiant, colorful floral form, culminating in such a glowing white sphere as was just described.  It should be noted here that the depiction of the Sphere of the Psyche is as seen from the view of the ego observer on the Physical Plane – what is deep within the Sphere is necessarily dark from that perspective on the surface.

             Is the Jungian Self also the Soul of Anahata and the Buddhic Plane?  It is probably more relevant to inquire whether the Self is the ultimate form of the observer in the observational field, and whether that field corresponds to the Sphere of the Psyche.  What, then, is the root source of the observer and the field, and where does this manifestation come from? 

            The science of Chaos Theory may provide the most insightful level of information regarding the Self.  Jung came to the conclusion following many years of cross-cultural research into the symbolism of historic and contemporary societies that the evident similarity of many of the psychological images present indicated the presence of a common root mechanism generating them.  He subsequently referred to these root structures as archetypes, and the resultant images in consciousness as archetypal symbols.  He eventually concluded that the archetypes themselves existed beyond the realm of direct observation, essentially making them chaotic strange attractors in the observational field, although he never used chaos theory terminology per se.  Thus, any image appearing in conscious perception, apart from those which occur regarding conventional waking events, is very probably archetypal in nature.  This particularly applies to images occurring in meditation practice.  

            If we take the total contents of the unconscious into account, while there are certainly areas of exception to the above suggestion, the great bulk of what is experienced during periods of ego-free internal investigation and observation consists of archetypal symbols manifesting interactively.  Jung realized that the archetypes where more than “just there” in the collective unconscious – they exist in specific relationships to each other that ultimately have survival value for the individual and the race.  These relationships were expressed in the archetypal symbols present in a given observational episode.  But the mechanism of archetype generation had yet to be accounted for.  Nothing in science simply exists – there must be causality present to account for manifestation, featuring at least one primary causal expression. 

            The Self may be conceived of as the chaotic portal through which the archetypal psychic forces emerge into conscious expression as archetypal symbols, and thus serves as the needed causal modality noted above – the central point of origin of archetypal expression in the Psyche.  Because the archetypes are the building blocks of consciousness, all conscious expression results from their activity, emerging from the Self as their source.  

            If we accept the suggestion that the Self is the root of internal consciousness, the question of the external world – the Physical Plane – remains to be considered.  If evolution exists, then our human consciousness is most certainly one of its products, shaped by the demands of survival on the Physical Plane over many eons of time.  But, at any instant of observation, all that is present in the senses that inform us of the external (and to a large extent, internal physiological) world is a blur of sensation that must then be resolved into sensibility in the brain, and by the mind, specifically, the ego awareness.   There is certainly something “out there”, but it is filtered through the neurology “in here” to such a comprehensive extent that we cannot say with any certainly what it is, only that it appears to be there in the context of an independent environment.   Jung felt that the Self was probably the clearest reflection extant of what is external to the organism, in view of our status at the apparent pinnacle of evolution – i.e. at the top of the food chain.   So, what we see in the Self is a perceptual high-fidelity model of the world, existing embedded within the organism beyond our current range of observation, and appearing in conscious awareness as an archetypal symbol – a symbol of the utmost psychic potency, however. 

             If we investigate what can be known – the internal continuum of observation – we can possibly observe the Self at some point.  It frequently has the appearance of an omnipresent field of intense white light, an emotional valence of unconditional positive regard (agape Love, in spiritual terms), and is also accompanied by the uncanny impression of a Presence, or comprehensive identity, of some kind, all in all, a delightful observation, but, what are we observing at this extent of perception, and how?   

            My personal conclusion is that the Self is the origin of all observational capability of any kind anywhere, whether internal or external.  The moment we begin to observe ourselves in the act of observation, we begin to experience the Self in manifestation, although we probably will not realize this initially.   Through the process of meditation, the most effective method of internal observation available to my knowledge, we can continue to develop this investigation, knowing the Self in great depth and clarity if we wish, but there are certain caveats that accompany this investigation that the observer needs to be aware of.   The Self is the primordial root of Creation expressed in archetypal symbolism, presupposing the acculturation that expresses it – as instinctual Presence.   This Presence determines human consciousness up to and including our observational capability.  As we observe on more and more subtle levels (reflected in the Planes of Ascension in the Western Mystery Theories), we exceed the Self through the observational practice – the observer and the observed fuse into one non-dual Primal manifestation – no more object, and no more subject.  We have crossed over the Threshold into the chaos, and been absorbed therein.  

            Short of this stage of complete absorption, there is the final object of observation knowable – the Self – and this Presence must be respected by the observer as the most powerful observation of all – Creating, Preserving, and Destroying all that we know of as the manifest world, by Creating, Preserving, and Destroying us as the observers of that world.  The moment we awaken to our true nature as knowers of experience, we awaken to the Truth of Consciousness – we are all God pouring God into God.  Thus, the Self can indeed be known as the Kundalini, the Soul, and the Logos.  


                                                                                 - With Love, Alan -

                                                               (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)


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