We are all philosophers . . . and we are all sensualists. We ask, we consider, we desire the magical, we long for the mystical . . . but how skilled are we at divining what exactly our experience is right now? When starting our journey toward the mystical experience, we want to consider the subtle yet powerful functions of the brain, of the physical body and of the senses. In the 1960’s the American physician Paul MacLean began to ponder the workings of the brain. He came up with a model the split the brain into three distinct areas of function; the reptilian complex (the basal ganglia), the paleomammalian complex (the limbic system), and the Neomammalian complex (the neocortex). All with distinct functions and governing various mammalian behaviors. When we refine our relationship to the specific portions of the brain, we begin to open ourselves to the mystical experience.
One of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins describes this beautifully in his book Jitterbug Perfume ~
“. . . . Robert Bly thinks that it is connected somehow to light. If the reptile brain equates with cold and the mammal brain with warmth, then the neocortex equates with light. Bly’s hunch makes a lot of sense because the third brain is a floral brain and flowers extract energy from light. . . . .
. . . . moreover, neomammalian absorbs light and has the capacity to convert light into other forms of energy. So Bly was correct. The neocortex is light-sensitive and can, itself, be lit up by higher forms of metal activity, such as meditation or chanting, the ancients were not being metaphoric when thy referred to “illumination.” . . .
. . . .. We need a more realized, contemplative, gentle, flexible kind of person, for only he or she can survive (and expedite) this very new system that is upon us. Only he or she can participate in the next evolutionary phase. It has definite spiritual overtones, this floral phase of consciousness. . . . .
. . . . In a hundred different ways, we have mastered the art of space. We know a great deal about space. Yet we know pitifully little about time. It seems that only in the mystic state do we master it. The “smell brain” ~ the memory area of the brain activated by the olfactory nerve ~ and the “light brain” ~ the neocortex ~ are the keys to the mystic state. With immediacy and intensity, smell activates memory, allowing our minds to travel freely in time. The most profound mystical states are ones in which normal mental activity seems suspended in light. In mystic illumination, as at the speed of light, time ceases to exist . . .
. . . . With an increase floral consciousness, humans will begin to make full use of their, “light brain.” . . .
For one thing, information gathered from daily newspapers . . . is far inferior to information gathered from sunlight . . . The flowers have a direct line to God that an evangelist would kill for. . . . .
. . . When western artists wished to demonstrate that a person was holy, they painted a ring of light around the divine one’s head. Eastern artists painted a more diffuse aura. The message was the same. The aura or the halo signified that the light was on in the subject’s brain . The neocortex was fully operative . . . . “
By considering ourselves sentient beings (endowed with feeling) we mean to say that we are conscious. Some may argue that the senses limit us by showing us the edges of our mortal experience. Many spiritual and yogic traditions advocate the process of being “freed” from our senses. Yet tantra maintains that we are “Spirit embodied” and through the senses we can understand our most holy and mystical aspects. As author Diane Ackerman says,
“To begin to understand the gorgeous fever that is consciousness, we must try to understand the senses ~ how they evolved, how they can be extended and what they can teach us about the ravishing world we have inhabited.”
Through the series of Spark The Fire workshops designed to enlarge ourselves by amplifying our senses. You will learn asana to open and align the pranic currents in the body, layered with sensitivity, meditation and pranayama techniques to broaden our sensual experience.
Lets face it, the more skillful we are with our senses, the more we can utterly luxuriate in the magical, mystical, spectacles of life. Perhaps, what we aspire for most is much closer then we think.