“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
– John 1:9
Is spiritual awakening and the experience of enlightenment a metaphysical reality, transcendent, unexplainable and beyond the physical existence of our brain and body? Or is there a physical correlation, somewhere that is not ‘other than’ these bodies where our enlightenment happens. Some teachings say these bodies are a gift, a microcosm, in “His Image,” and are necessary vehicles for our incorporeal souls to awaken to the highest spiritual realization possible.
The common core mystical experience shared by all religions, all spiritual paths, all mystics and nearly all people who have a NDE (near death experience) is the experience of the Divine Inner Light.
The light is always present in everyone as the root of consciousness, it just simply needs to be uncovered. In this sense everyone is already enlightened; if there is life, that ‘life’ is divinity in expression. Animals too, at the core, obviously are this ‘life’ in expression. Therefore as is said over and over again by saints, sages and seers: the awakening path is simply the revealing of what is already there within! All life is the expression of the One Divine Being!
The Great Discovery
In the 1870’s, Liverpool physiologist Richard Canton first identified the spontaneous electrical signals of the living mammalian brain he called ‘brain waves’. It was, however, not until the early 19th century, German psychiatrist/scientist Hans Berger took Cantons discovery further developing the human electroencephalogram (the EEG). Berger was in fact an avid devotee of the 16th century Dutch philosopher-mystic, Spinoza. Per Spinoza’s philosophic writings claiming that what is referred to as God is within all life and is the root of all life. Berger was convinced that the EEG rhythms were the expression of the one Divine Reality and that this Divine Reality somehow expressed through the body, pulsating as these waves, giving life to the brain and body. He believed that brainwaves are the electrical language as it were, of the one Divine life and is what makes matter ‘alive’. Unfortunately his original hypothesis was lost in the ‘science’ of EEG. Nevertheless his discovery of the EEG paved the way for the many current technologies used to scan and measure the brain and the various neurological parameters. In fact neurofeedback would not be where it is today if it were not for his discovery. We continue to explore the relationship between higher consciousness and its manifestation in the brain.
There is self-knowledge that knows how to heal and regulate the mind-body inherent in consciousness. EEG neurofeedback is a way to reflect consciousness back to itself. This is what is called self-referral and this is what produces healing.
Centuries prior to the discovery of the EEG, and unbeknownst to Berger and his predecessors, Yogic science elaborated on the medulla oblongata as the physical ‘doorway’ to the infinite. The Rishis found that the brainstem is the actual physical location where the perception of the Divine Inner Light occurs. Within the brainstem is the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS is the regulator of our consciousness – like a pacemaker it activates or deactivates the brain by sending or inhibiting discharges as electrical pulses, brainwaves, which carry information throughout the rest of the brain and subsequently to the body. The RAS is always ‘awake’ in the background – it has to be – it is conscious in that it is source of the life force and the regulator of all our vital functions that make us ‘alive’: this includes the heartbeat, the cycle of the breath, blood pressure, etc. This explains why at deaths doorstep (when the brainstem is shutting down the body functions) the Inner Light is perceived. The brainstem holds the key to the fourth state of consciousness described by seers and in Sanskrit, known as Turiya. Turiya is our ‘background’ state that ‘witnesses’ the other three states: waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. The EEG brainwave of Turiya is called delta rhythm: the slowest bandwidth, oscillating between 0 and 4 Hz. For all intents and purposes the higher brain regions of the cortex are ‘offline’ when delta is the dominant rhythm. While in this deepest state the ‘I’ that is our ego sense of individual identity is dissolved in the universal omnipresent spirit – all sentient beings go into one-ness with the Divine consciousness during the delta deep sleep stage whether they know it or not. The RAS is in the so-called ‘primitive structure’ of the brainstem and is known in mystical language as the location for ‘the mouth of God’ – where the omnipresent universal life force enters into the body, individualizes as the soul, and animates the inanimate flesh. When the life force is withdrawn and the soul moves on in its journey, the vital functions cease and we call this physical death.
Certain enlightenment traditions teach techniques, thousands of years old, that are intended to guide the seeker within to the experience of the Inner Light. Kriya Yoga, expounded by Paramahansa Yogananda in his classic book “Autobiography of a Yogi” is an ancient system, resurrected in the mid 1800’s. The methods taught in the Kriya Yoga system are designed to guide the practitioner to this state of awareness/consciousness. During Kriya yoga superconscious meditation, attention is directed to the brainstem by various techniques. The practitioner indeed begins to behold the Inner light. In effect we begin to inwardly perceive the emanation, the radiance, of our soul in the brainstem as it first enters and manifests in the physical plane of existence. By the repeated experience of the perception of the Inner Light we naturally become increasingly aware of the inherent Divinity and the ensuing ‘self-revealed’ knowledge resident within and carried by the light. The “light that lighteth every man/woman” is the manifestation of superconsciousness in the brain. It is the higher mind, transmitted from the source. This is the knowledge that arises from, and resides, within us all. This inner perception is accompanied by the vibratory hum of creation perceived internally as the sound, Om. This is what is referred to as “The ‘word’ made flesh” – John 1:14.
Much more on this to come…