RUPERT TOWER writes: On August 1st GEORG FEUERSTEIN gave an illuminating overview of the essentials of yoga, and chose to focus on Hatha-Yoga, meaning ‘force’ or ‘forceful’ yoga. This is the form of yoga best known in the West, though its deeper spiritual and philosophical foundations are rarely understood. It is widely reduced to gymnastics and fitness training, without any reference to, or experience of, the Kundalini, higher states of consciousness, and the ideal of spiritual liberation.
Yoga allows us to delve into our own mystery of being, and has eight principal limbs (anga). These comprise: Moral restraint (non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and greedlessness); Discipline (purity, contentment, asceticism, study, and devotion to the Lord); Posture; Breath control; Sense withdrawal; Concentration; Meditation; and Ecstasy. Moral restraint is the foundation of all limbs, and must be observed at all times. Only then can the path of progressive unification and simplification succeed, and lead to the various ecstatic states of consciousness, and ultimately to liberation or self-realisation where karmic ‘deposits’ can be totally obliterated. Contemporary western Hatha-Yoga tends to focus exclusively on Posture, by-passing the first two limbs, thereby in so doing lacking depth and genuine transformation.
Georg also spoke of the developed disciplines that eventually lead to self-transcendence, notably the transmutation of sexual energy, and the importance of the integrity of the teacher-student relationship. He ended by saying that disciplined yoga practice allows the practitioner to stand forth as a ‘mighty lamp’ amidst tremendous chaos, capable of dealing with life`s journey both dispassionately and wisely.
Then in early October, CHRISTINE PAGE gave a talk entitled ‘Out of the Mouth of Babes’, reprising her ‘Beyond the Brain III’ performance for those of us who were unable to attend. Christine made the link between the ability of children under the age of seven years to recall past life memories, and David Bohm
s theory of the implicate or enfolded order which represents a deeper order to existence, in juxtaposition to our everyday life level of existence as explicate and unfolded. Children retain the ability to unfold different aspects of the implicate, creating an inter-dimensional communication with no limitations, whilst adults create and live in fixed, illusory holograms where there is no movement. Christine argued that the interference pattern formed on the photographic plate of the hologram is formed by splitting a laser beam of light and reflecting one beam off a mirror and onto the plate. When looked at with the naked eye, there is no order to this pattern. However, when another laser light is focused on the plate, the hologram appears, and each piece of which contains the whole although viewed from different angles. Holographic images appear through the correct angle of light, and when there is a similarity between the object on the plate and another reflected image, a synchronicity occurs. Hence, when attempting to merge with the hologram, containing all levels of existence, we need to merge with the willingness to lose our sense of separation and self awareness, let go of the need to control, and incorporate sound and visualisation. We can merge with the hologram through 'right' intention and the 'right' frequency, and achieve resonance.s
Dr. Ian Stevenson, an expert in the field of children
past lives, has studied 2600 cases, and concluded that most memories occur between the ages of 2-5 and fade between 5-8. His research has shown that 36% of phobias and 35% of birthmarks in this life are associated with past lives, 72% of children remember their death, and up to 30% of these are violent.s` stories relating to past life memories. Four signs of connection by children to other levels of existence are: a matter of fact tone, consistency over time, knowledge beyond experience, and corresponding behavioural traits.
Christine ended by sharing some moving, startling, and sometimes humorous accounts of children
RUPERT KINGLAKE TOWER writes: The North London Group has held three Spring/ Summer meetings which have been both stimulating and enjoyable occasions, and although our numbers have fallen somewhat as members become used to the new calendar in the Network magazine, it has been rewarding to receive some new members into the SMN ‘family’.
On April 8th DAVID LORIMER spoke on ‘Organ Transplants and the Nature of Memory’. Using the books on organ transplants by Claire Sylvia and Paul Pearsall, David raised questions about the nature of memory in relation to cells and organs. It appears that memories and even temperamental characteristics can be transferred via the organ transplant, which makes one wonder how this might come about. A specially interesting case concerned a man who received the heart of another man who himself received a total heart-lung transplant. Thus both donor and recipient were still alive. The circumstantial evidence is most intriguing, but more systematic research is required if firmer conclusions are to be drawn. As it is, the anecdotes we have do suggest fruitful lines of enquiry.
In late May, Dr. ROGER TAYLOR introduced us to the complex work of Dr. KONSTANTIN KOROTKOV in Kirlian photography, and supported this with some of his own work in this field, as well as collecting some raw data in the form of ‘gas discharge visualisations’ elicited from volunteer individuals` fingertips via computerisation. In theory, energy defects in organ systems of the body can be identified according to the image placement representing that particular organ. However, in practice, as Roger emphasised, such relationships can be equivocal, and interpretation of the results tend to be unclear and usually controversial.
For our July meeting, Dr. CRAIG BROWN, a general practitioner and President of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers, outlined the challenges that he faced in attempting to introduce spiritual healing alongside conventional medical intervention in a busy GP practice. The fundamental conflict, as Craig explained, revolved around the differences in medical paradigm. Conventional medicine seeks to categorise, diagnose, eliminate symptoms, and prolong life, whereas spiritual healing focuses on listening, honouring and giving space to the essence of the patient, being, not doing, non-diagnosis and non-attachment to outcomes. Craig demonstrated that ‘illness surveys’ conducted with those patients who had received spiritual healing in conjunction with mainstream primary care showed that these individuals claimed an increase of purpose, meaning, and connection within their lives. Nevertheless, ongoing difficulties remain, most specifically meeting the demands of the medical paradigm – the need for satisfactory, rigorous outcome measures and sceptic persuasion (proof of efficacy) being primary. Craig`s recent publication, ‘Optimum Healing’ (Rider Books, 1998, and reviewed in the April issue), explores the hypothesis that physical illness is often the expression of a deeper emotional and spiritual problem, and maintains that five negative attributes underlie all illness: anger, depression, guilt, attachment and worry.
RUPERT KINGLAKE TOWER writes: The North London Group has held three meetings since the last issue. On 18th November 1998 MIKE HARDING spoke on ‘The Astrology Wars: How Science has responded to pro-astrology findings’. In a provocative talk Mike reviewed statistical studies conducted by research psychologists Michel and Francoise Gauquelin which show compelling correlations between planetary placements and professional attributes in sports champions, scientists, and artists. He explored the paradoxical nature of Astrology, comparing its ‘natural’ language which contains a mathematical core that can be recognised by orthodox science, and its poetic language that expresses our symbolic relationship with Time. The questions to which many of us who attended continued to return were: does all this have value? what is its significance? and does this demonstrate consistent, predictable rhythms and causality, or rather does Astrology simply portray most elegantly collective psychic responses in people that mirror planetary rhythms in the stars?
For 1999, Professor ARTHUR ELLISON entertained us on January 14th with amusing anecdotes of his personal experiences with Altered States of Consciousness, and in particular Lucid Dreaming. Arthur spoke eloquently of the mystery of our ordinary daily consciousness and the philosophical considerations associated with Lucid Dreaming. He indicated that first-hand experience of Lucid Dreaming could be achieved relatively quickly through the practice of simple exercises and experiments which with discipline would initiate the onset of spontaneous Lucid Dreaming. He shared examples of these, and some of his own lucid dreams, which added to a fun and lively evening.
DAVID BLACK gave an informal talk to an intimate gathering on February 25th entitled ‘Psychoanalysis and Consciousness’. David addressed two questions in relation to the psychoanalytic point of view. Firstly, what is the relation between consciousness and the body, or more specifically the brain? He reviewed recent research by Gerald Edelman in Neuroscience which demonstrated that the brain manifests an order of complexity comparable to Psychoanalysis
picture of the psyche - PET scans show that the brains of happy, healthy, socially active children show up as full of light, whereas large areas of darkness and inactivity are found in the brains of Romanian orphans. These findings are typical of the new understanding that both Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience describe in some sense the same thing, though perceiving brain processes through two different modalities of perception, which cant be reduced to one another, but give the best model we yet have for thinking about the relation between the brain and the mind. Secondly, David addressed the question: what is consciousnes for? why should consciousness have developed? He suggested that the function of consciousness is to enable us to decide what we will regard as reality, and thus to adapt to the always new and unprecedented present. Responsible decision is made possible by consciousness. The psychoanalyst is concerned with consciousness in that it is sufficient to live in the world, and to fulfil those desires which an individual decides, on reflection, hold meaning for him or her.
Our thanks and appreciation go as always to our generous hosts for local group evenings – Baroness di Pauli and Lynn McGregor.
The North London Group has also been running a special series of meetings from January to June 1999 with the Noetics Group viewing the ‘Power of Myth’ video interviews between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell. The evenings (two so far) have been held at Rupert and Shawn Tower`s place in Hampstead with a vibrant mix of thought-provoking discussion, wine and conviviality.
WestLondon Meeting Report March 1999
CLIVE HICKS writes: The West London Group holds six regular meetings a year, on the second Wednesday in February, March, May, June, October and November, and possibly occasional other meetings, some perhaps in conjunction with other groups.
On Wednesday 11th February, CLIVE HICKS spoke on Consciousness, reviewing some aspects of the contemporary study of consciousness and how they interact with our psychological and spiritual life. On Wednesday 11th March, TIMOTHY GLAZIER introduced us some of the natural laws operating between people in society, under the title
The Yoga of Economics. The discussion explored some of the consequences of current trends, and their significance, including examining whether we can affect events more by political action or more by the way we live our lives.