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Psychism: Reality and Relativity

Jan 02, 1995 06:56 PM
by Jerry Schueler

My response to Eldon re psychic powers (and I think that the word
"powers" is a bit overblown in most instances.  Perhaps psychic
abilities' or psychic faculties' is more to the point - we are
not talking about leaping buildings in a single bound here) was
not intended as controversy and I apologize for using the word
rebuttal, which may be a little too strong.

I agree and concur with Eldon's response to my response.  I
intended my remarks simply to represent an opposing viewpoint -
one which Eldon is already too familiar, but then I wasn't
writing for Eldon but rather for others on theos-l who might get
the idea that the ideas expressed by Eldon were accepted by all
members.  I have no intention of trying to persuade anyone (least
of all, Eldon) to my point of view.  I am, I freely admit, an
eclectic and I incorporate ideas into my world view wherever I
find them.  Except for the Mahatma Letters and HPB, I don't
believe there is a single theosophical author in whom I can say
that I accept EVERYTHING that they wrote or taught, and this
includes G de P and Judge (I have only a very few disagreements
with G de P and Judge, and have great respect and admiration for
both, but I cannot agree with everything they wrote).

Psychism, it seems to me, probably represents the foremost
difference between Adyar and the other TSs.  I am in the
uncomfortable position of seeing a lot of good in both the Adyar
viewpoint (i.e., I like the Besant-Leadbeater approach to the
Gupta-Vidya Model) and the Pasadena and Point Loma viewpoints (I
like the emphasis on spiritual development rather than psychic
development and I love G de P's description of the GV Model - I
do, however, disagree with G de P on how the model should be
used).  I am a member of both Adyar and Pasadena, and am fearful
that if a merger ever comes about, something that I now like in
one of the two groups will be lost.  As an eclectic, I can take G
de P's GV Model descriptions together with the B/CWL's
descriptions of the planes, and get a pretty wide view of things
that fits in very nicely with my own experiences.  What I am
getting at here, is that I do not represent any one TS point of
view, but am rather one single voice that speaks out now and then
in various directions (I know that Eldon is already aware of
this; I am saying all of this again for the benefit of new
theos-l participants).

As to Eldon's references to sensory extension, I would like to
offer another view.  I offer this view as my own; I did not get
it from HPB, CWL, or anyone else though it can be found in veiled
form in HPB and in some Buddhist works.  Hopefully it will
provide some food for thought:

When we consider the GV Model as given by HPB we note that the
divine cosmic plane lies at the upper end of the spectrum, while
the physical plane lies at the bottom, the lowest and grossest or
most dense.  This cosmic spectrum' or what I have called our
space-time-consciousness' continuum includes 7 cosmic planes and
12 Globes.  If we think of the divine plane as the most
spiritual, then the physical plane must be considered as the most
material.  If we think of the divine plane as the most true' then
the physical plane must be considered the most false.' By false'
I mean illusory in the Buddhist sense of Maya.  In other words,
the model suggests that our physical plane is the fartherest of
all from divinity (lower planes do exist, but only in other
universes, not in ours).  This is because each plane is an
expression in spacetime of the preceding planes.  Divinity is
self-creative.  This self-creativity is itself expressed downward
into spacetime with each plane.  Each plane is thus another step
away from its divine source, and another step into Maya.  It we
can accept the foregoing hypothesis, then we must conclude that
of all our senses, our 5 physical senses are the most illusory of
all.  Our physical world, which HPB labeled Globe D, is 6 steps
away from its divine source, and is the most mayavic of all.
When we sleep at night, consciousness leaves the physical body
and enters a Body of Light, or aura, or whatever we want to call
our subtle body.  Our subtle body has subtle senses.  These are
not extensions of the physical senses, but separate senses that
are incorporated into each of the subtle vehicles in the higher
planes.  Like the cosmic planes, our bodies and sensory organs
are each expressions of their preceding counterparts.  On each
plane, we have a corresponding body and sensory equipment else we
could not have any consciousness on that plane (G de P points out
that consciousness cannot function on any plane without a
suitable vehicle, and I agree because subjectivity and
objectivity are a duality, and you can't have one pole of a
duality without the other).  For these reasons, I believe that
our dreams are more real than our waking experiences, not less.

I believe that our psychic experiences in the higher planes are
more real than our physical experiences on Earth.  Why? Because
they take place closer to divinity.  The closer we get to
divinity, the more real' or true' they are.  Of course, many of
our experiences in the higher planes seem very illusory when we
return.  Our dreams, for example, seldom seem to make sense' to
us after we awake.  But this is only from the relative viewpoint
of our waking state consciousness or ego.  Our dreams, for
example, make perfect sense to us while we are dreaming them.
The psyche has its own meanings and viewpoints, which often seem
gibberish to the ego, but Carl Jung says that the psyche
preexists and transcends the ego, and I agree.  I believe that we
are more authentic in our dreams than we are in the waking state,
especially in our relationships to others.  Our dreams can act as
spiritual barometers, to show us how far we are really
progressing along the Path, rather than the egoic picture of
ourselves that we see during our waking hours.

For the reasons that I have given above, I have to disagree with
Eldon's position on psychism and on the idea that our psychic
senses are so deceptive that we should ignore them.  They only
seem deceptive because our ego (by the Jungian term ego I mean
our waking self' or what HPB calls the personality as opposed to
what Jung calls the psyche and what HPB calls the individuality)
is usually not able to translate them into anything meaningful.
I believe that our psychic senses are actually more real than our
physical senses - but I must couch this by saying that reality'
is totally relative.  Let me conclude then, by saying that our
psychic experiences are more real than our physical experiences
relative to our individuality, and less real relative to our
personality.  Psychic experiences get us into trouble primarily
when we take them literally.  For example, the symbols that we
see in a dream will often have a meaning that is far different to
the dreaming psyche (to the individuality) than we think when we
awake and remember the dream (to the personality).  Symbols are
the language of the individuality, while the personality works
only in words, and it must translate the recalled symbols into
appropriate words, which is always tricky and sometimes
impossible to do.  Psychic experiences are real.  But they are
very hard to interpret properly into words so that they retain
their meaning.  Thus I would say that the deceptive nature of the
astral and mental planes lies not in our experiences there, but
rather in our interpretations of those experiences.

Jerry S.

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