London Group – Meeting Reports 2000

December 2000

Rupert writes: PHILLIP BEACH gave a compelling talk at our July meeting about how he has synthesized the Eastern discipline of Acupuncture within his own work in Western Osteopathy. For two thousand years the Chinese have utilised fourteen meridian lines in ancient acupuncture based on touch and the terrain of the body, whereas these meridian lines have never been accepted in Western Science. Philip divulged that the underlying pattern that brings acupuncture and osteopathy together can be found in the double helix of muscle that operates across the whole body, and he illustrated this theory with evidence from ancient Chinese mappings of recoil patterns with Emergence phenomena and recent Western breakthroughs in understanding about vertebrates and Human biology.
In October, the group viewed LEONARD SHLAINS video presentation of the thesis of his book:The Alphabet vs. the Goddess: The Conflict between Word and Image, where he argues that the replacement of the old earth Mother Goddesses by patriarchal militaristic Gods reflects the change in consciousness brought about by the displacement of the image, previously the primary mode of communication, by writing and the written word. His lecture, although extremely entertaining, beautifully crafted and often convincing, aroused criticisms as some of the cultural and psychological links that he makes are occasionally both debateable and tenuous.
In November, CLIVE HICKS gave a fascinating illustrated lecture with slides about the Green Man) which unfortunately was not well attended. The Green Man
s origins are older than our Christian era, but he is typically to be found as carving adorning the pillars of eleventh and twelfth century cathedrals. He signifies irrepressible life, renewal and rebirth, and as a visual image he has three main forms. In the first and oldest form, he is a male head formed out of a leaf mask. In the second, he is a male head disgorging vegetation from his mouth, and often from his ears and eyes. And in the third form, the head is the fruit or flower of vegetation. Although examples of Green Women are rare, the Green Man is perceived lo be the offspring of Mother Nature and so the feminine principle is implicit within his own being. Clive described the many pseudonyms of this powerful archetype as The Wild Man, Jack in the Green, Robin Hood, and the King of May, and showed us with many a tale and vivid image that the Green Man is as alive and important today as a symbol of Nature and Ecology as he was in the dawn of prehistory.

August 2000

Rupert writes: The North London Group was most regretful that Professor VICTOR MANSFIELD`S planned talk on ‘Synchronicity, Astrology, and Soul-making’ had to be cancelled at short notice owing to severe storms in the US that delayed his outward journey. We hope that we will be able to plan another visit from Vic Mansfield in 2001.

However, on June 20th we were very fortunate to experience an intimate, in-depth talk by Dr MAX VELMANS about his new, pioneering book ‘Understanding Consciousness’. Max gave us a brief survey of the main state of play in the Mind-Body debate, and outlined the competing world-views of classical dualism, which splits the universe into two fundamentally different mental and physical substances or properties, and materialist reductionism, which claims consciousness to be nothing more than a state or function of the brain. Max then explored with us what and where are experiences, and showed that all experiences seem to result in a reflexive interactive interaction of an observer with an observed, a reflexive model of how consciousness relates to the physical world, to knowledge, and to the detailed workings of the brain. These intricate relationships can seem to form an impenetrable ‘World Knot’, but Max demonstrated the importance of combining ‘common sense’ enquiry with Science, as well as the struggle Dualists and Reductionists have to explain or deny the existence of the qualia of consciousness.

Finally, Max gave us a preview of his personal synthesis of consciousness, to which he refers as a form of ‘reflexive monism’. Consciousness gives meaning to existence, as just one, natural manifestation of a wider self-conscious universe. It spreads across our perceptual horizons and fills phenomenal space, being embedded in a broader universe. This is a perennial, ancient theme that was present in Ancient Egypt. A wonderful, mind-expanding and thought-provoking evening.

April 2000

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 Bohms 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.
Dr. Ian Stevenson, an expert in the field of children
spast 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.
Christine ended by sharing some moving, startling, and sometimes humorous accounts of children
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.