INSIGHT AND ENERGY
Energy is generated by cosmic ideation within the ever-potential field of cosmic electricity. On the subtlest levels of abstraction there is an incredible rapidity of rhythmic motion in a diaphanous, undifferentiated, homogeneous material medium. At that level of cosmic unity there can be no sharp distinction between ideation or thought and motion or electricity involving atomic particles. Alayavijnana, cosmic consciousness, is the storehouse and the penultimate source of all the energy moving on all planes of awareness and matter through descending degrees of differentiation and varying rates of motion, elaborating different curves of cyclic origination, alteration, decay and destruction.
When contrasted with this cosmic perspective, the early modern distinction between kinetic and potential in the natural sciences, stemming from crucial moves made in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries especially in the contributions of Young who connected energy with work is inadequate. Even at a physical level, problems remain in regard to what is potential and what is actual. Potentially, there is energy in a suspended object to the extent to which it has not fallen. If it were to fall, it would release energy, but if it is fixed in place, it is not going to fall. If it has potential energy in terms of the notion of a falling object though it is an object that is secured, what kind of energy is in fact involved though it is not visible as active energy in motion? It might be said that gravity exerts a measurable pull upon it, but what is that? A person may thus try, in a Socratic way, to ask the sorts of questions which the pioneers of the modern natural sciences raised, but now in reference to the conceptual framework of contemporary mechanics, biology or chemistry. Galileo once puzzled in church about the uniformity in the time intervals of the oscillations of a pendulum despite the diminishing of the arc of oscillation. Beginning to ask basic questions with the help of examples will show that the distinction between potential and actual is relative to those who are at a certain point in a realm of actualization. For someone at a point of stasis or standstill, all motion is relative to that position, and as objects move at the same rate along parallel lines, each appears motionless to the other.
In a Leibnizian sense, all possible worlds exist in the divine mind, but there seems to be only one particular world of which we are a part. This world must be a complex manifestation, through myriad monads, of one primordial monadic essence within the divine light. If, for example, one took a blank sheet of paper and set down three variables in relation to some problem, a number of models or different combinations of possible alternatives could emerge. If the problem is simple enough and one is sufficiently logical at that level of simplicity, it is possible to exhaust the alternatives. This soon becomes tedious for a thinking person who wishes to see what further permutations and combinations could be made. Meditation is a constant cancelling in thought of crystallization inherent in particularization. Non-attachment is a logical pre-condition for self-consciously handling matter at a rate of extremely rapid motion, like the speed of light, and shaping out of homogeneous substance a suitable vehicle for the concentrated noetic energy that streams forth from an ever-present awareness of the unconditioned and the unmanifest. Noetic insight is much richer than merely handling alternatives in a dry-as-dust, arid manner wherein an attenuated scheme of logic results in circumscribed logical possibilities.
Self-conscious thinkers are aware that through every thought they produce a progeny, that through every image they emanate a whole procession of elementals. This is not very difficult to imagine when one knows that merely by dropping fifty cents on the floor a million ergs are released. The erg is a minute unit of measurement and yet a wealth of energy and motion is involved. More generally, the earth's entire energy resources, the focus of many self-elected prophets of doomsday, are miniscule in comparison to the energy released by the sun. In about fifteen minutes the sun radiates upon our planet more energy than the whole world consumes in a year. Here one directly confronts the poverty of conventional categories of thought in relation to demonstrable evidence for the tremendous plenitude in regard to solar heat, light and electro-magnetic energy. Contemporary science is still crude, awkward and assertive due to its state of adolescence.
In a metaphysically impoverished climate, merely to say that people ought to think of logical possibilities will not help them to tap noetic energy. We might enlist a concept like vision from religion and myth. The advantage of the term "vision" is that everyone can understand the use of the eyes, and knows at some level what is involved in seeing even though most have not really thought much about it. Even without being an artist, a person knows that one critical element in seeing is perspective. A more crucial element is the capacity to be able to handle different perspectives over a period of time. Still better, though more difficult, is the ability to handle various perspectives simultaneously. Even on the physical plane there are rich imaginative possibilities which are forfeited through fixation or through having a wandering eye. Most people are simply not able to exercise the full potential of the godlike faculty of sight on the physical plane. When people think that by the aid of a drug, a technique, a text, they could suddenly have a vision, see sights, forms and sounds, and even have some sensation of light, the word "vision" becomes so plebeianized, even in its mystic sense, that many hazards are connected with its use. There is no cognitive content to that kind of concept. People who have had what they sincerely believe are valid and beautiful visionary experiences may very quickly trivialize them by depicting them in the language of emotion. Does this give one real knowledge? Does it permanently transform one's view of the world? At one level, it does give the recognition that the world of superficial appearances is a lie and that much so-called knowledge is empty and pretentious. This recognition has a certain value but it is not very constructive.
Although it is a useful exercise to insert a philosophical notion like logical possibility or vision into the common conception of potential and kinetic motion, this moves us no closer to a grasp of higher states of consciousness. Such states cannot be unlocked by any stolen key because they presuppose a distinct moral requirement disinterested, altruistic, detached receptivity. It has to be disinterested to release a high level of energy. It has to be altruistic, for unless one can release pure energy one would be burnt up at the higher levels. This is a merciful protection because few could truly handle the power of a cosmic vision. With Nietzsche, many might say, "Let the veil remain." The larger the vision, the greater the corresponding compassion required. The more penetrating the insight, the greater the necessary detachment and the single-minded concentration needed. One must be sufficiently strong and unafraid, not wanting anything for oneself that is not legitimate and which cannot be effortlessly secured like the breathing of air or the drinking of water. The moral requirement for tapping high energies is not an arbitrary imposition upon self-conscious beings by some capricious authority. It is actually a psychological pre-condition for being able to maintain a poise which is needed to sustain subtler vestures in realms of consciousness wherein the crucial distinction is not between actual and potential, but rather the ontological distinction between potentiality and potency.
Metaphysical imagination, continuous reflection and deep meditation are required for real understanding. One could learn by looking at Nature, the inimitable teacher. Nature is a servant of Adepts, but a teacher to everyone else. Even on the physical plane, potential energy has something to do with height. Consider what happens to the immense electrical energy potentially available in the downward trickle of mountain streams. Where does it come from? It represents nature's work as an alchemist in taking the moisture in the ocean and evaporating it through heat. Through the evaporation and raising of moisture to a sufficient height, nature is able to convert alchemically that water so that it is not energically the same as it is when at sea level. There are only a few drops where a stream begins, but there is a vast potential energy present. Yet that potential energy is in fact an actual energy in relation to the potential energy which went into the whole process of alchemization begun by heat and which will also be present when the process is complete.
There is something in higher states of consciousness analogous to the experience of a condition which is neither hot nor cold, but where there is a vivifying participation in the cool blue flames of a soft light which can release a steady stream of energy and which could be used at will in any direction on any plane beginning with ideation and working downward. One soon reaches a point where one has to relinquish conventional distinctions and also recognize the poverty of all mundane concepts. There is some similarity between the image-making power of a newborn babe, innocently floating on the ocean of life, and the disciplined imagination, gently guided by a benevolent will, of the detached and all-seeing Adept. There is more similarity between these than between the disciplined imagination of the Adept and the impressionistic visions of excitable prophets. These latter are chaotic, and have only a limited validity in relation to the illusions of men in the realm of so-called reality made up of divisive and tortuous, impotent and aborted, actualizations. Confused visions are not merely crude and delusive, but actually generate a perverse and demonic energy.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras refers to two kinds of energy. One kind of energy, which might be called a sort of higher prana, gives one level of understanding. The other kind of energy cannot remotely be tapped, except through a serene continuity of consciousness called sama or similitude. In such a state, a person can consciously make luminous the sphere surrounding his rupa and effortlessly sustain self-luminosity. This is only possible at a high level of ceaseless meditation upon the one secondless, universal source of divine light. It involves the theurgy wherein a person sees all beings as spheres of light within a vast universe which is a limitless, boundless sphere of light. From this perspective, one would be able self-consciously to transmute every atom of one's grosser vestures and radiate out, from above below and from within without, that supreme self-luminous noetic energy which can light up the atoms and arouse the potentials that slumber in human beings. No society, group or civilization can self-consciously harness this energy even for the sake of the collective good without fulfilling the moral and psychological prerequisites that are needed. There is no possibility of access to Akashic energy without fulfilling the ethical pre-conditions that prevent its misuse. People might, however, in a misguided search for the vril foster a multitude of delusions. Strictly speaking, all the psychic states are shadowy and insignificant in relation to the wisdom of noetic insight.
One could, with unwavering detachment, profound disinterestedness, and unconditional benevolence towards all, sustain a higher indifference in relation to every aspect of this world of manifestation, and yet see all relativities from the standpoint of unconditioned consciousness in which the self-luminosity of the divine is ceaselessly present. It is necessary to discriminate between the turbulent atmosphere of divisive, separative thought coalescing with psychic forces and the pellucid strength generated by the noetic energies of sustained altruistic thought. Proximity on the physical plane has nothing to do with co-adunition and consubstantiality on higher planes of consciousness. Human beings carry their own problems around them, creating and living in their own world. Maya or deception accompanies the notion that because people are close together on the physical planes they therefore share a common access to the same current of ideation. The situation is quite different if persons are consciously aware of the thoughts and energies they release. At the highest level, there is no real distinction between thoughts and feelings and noetic energies. They are intermeshed. They are emanations which involve noetic thought, Buddhic feeling and spiritual energy. These emanations will always bless, but especially those who are willing to expel from their own vestures chaotic and befouled energies.
All aspirants must do something on their own. It cannot be done for them. They must aid in the conscious and continual purgation of these muddled matrices, the fuel of their kama manas, so that the void can be filled by streams of noetic energy. But this would be very misleading if a person expected it to happen suddenly: hence Plato's metaphor of the leaky jar in Gorgias. If a person made it a habit of allowing himself to be filled up with foul matrices only to eliminate them, merely out of soul-disgust, and then was able out of unconscious receptivity to receive a great outpouring of higher energy it could not be retained. One cannot retain noetic energies if one has cut astral grooves that can only channel lower emanations. One would be like a leaky jar that has been so befouled that every time it is emptied, and pure fresh water is put into it, the fresh water gets contaminated. In the process of dynamic interchange of life-atoms, the fresh water would be expelled by evaporation.
A person has to do those basic things which will help produce more fundamental, stable, reliable and long-term changes in his vestures. One must establish points of contact and connections between the highest thoughts, feelings and states which one can maintain in daily life. One can experience the vibrant ocean of life-energy when at sunrise or at sunset one is able to experience the majesty and joy of the burgeoning light hidden behind the vast vista of nature's wealth of manifestation. Old cultures practised self-conscious modes of purification. What is the equivalent on the mental plane to bathing, to becoming ready to receive the manna that one hopes will fall from heaven? What is the equivalent of wanting to share it on the plane of thought and feeling with those who need help, or with those whom through the natural course of events one could help? One's own integrity and honesty, as well as toughness, are involved. Fearlessness is the defining characteristic of spiritual strength, and is the only basis upon which one could release truly noetic energy. No man could suddenly jump from being a concatenation of fears to supreme fearlessness. The very fact that one wants to jump means one is somewhere afraid of failure, hoping for spiritual favours or that partiality will work on one's behalf. What is that self that one is so anxious to protect, and on behalf of which one has to be so afraid and to seek favours?
In the Bhagavad Gita one could see unlimited applications of the central teachings, not merely to life conceived in terms of events, external decisions and particular duties, but in terms of a noble and noetic consciousness that must be vigilantly maintained with increasing detachment and without fear or wish for favour. Then, in a state of inward receptivity, one could enter the world of divine light, the light of the Logos within every man and behind and beyond the universe, a world in which every thought and feeling is instantaneously translated into altruistic action for the sake of all.
Hermes, January 1978