Cultivate Attention and Discernment (6)

Illustration of Ibn al-’Arabi | Image source: www.en.qantara.de/

“He who knows himself knows his Lord;
… indeed, He is his very identity and reality.

— Shaykh Ibn al-’Arabi

Reading time: 25-30 mins

The Qur’an

Orthodox Islam has a bad rap these days, and not without good reason. However, just as Christianity has wisdom and truth underneath all the centuries of re-writes and distortions, so too the Qur’an which has buried the strains of Islamic mysticism which infuse its origins before corruption set in. The Sufi tradtion and Islamic mysticism it stands for, is very different to the Islamism and Jihadism of the kind we have witnessed in the modern age. Here too, the importance of discernment is clear.

Like the Bible that constantly warns of temptations and lies that could “deceive the very elect” the Qur’an is equally explicit in its warnings regarding dark forces of the demonic or Jinn overseen by the Shaytān or “Whisperer” both of whom seek to imperial travellers on the “straight path” with “insinuating thoughts” or waswasa. The strengthening of spiritual perception is necessary in order to discern the true from the false and shun the crooked path. Indeed, we have seen that intelligence as much as faith is crucial to seeing the unseen and the signs of higher states of consciousness which might lead us to embody the presence of a Universal Intelligence or God/Allah. As the Hermetic maxim reminds us – “as above, so below”. And like the Bible, one has to sift for the gold in the Qur’an in order to see the reflected light.

Dr. Kabir Helminski‘s translations from his 2005 book The Book of Revelations: A Sourcebook of Themes from the Holy Qur’an provide an excellent summary of the qualities needed to begin seeing the unseen and its relationship to self-development and spiritual practice. The teachings encourage us to reflect and perceive the conscious creative power of all that flows through Nature and the universe. By paying attention to: “…the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: these are messages indeed for people who use their intelligence.” [1]

So, rather than having our head in the clouds and seeking signs and portents of a superstitious nature, we are learning to observe life’s hidden symbols and patterns of meaning. We may then learn to recognise the patterns of creative and entropic influences which can be understood as extrapolations of truth as it applies in Nature and in man. Regarding these “signs” embedded in converging and radiating “arrows of time,” we have the following injunction to remain aware that intelligent design is at work, not only in the evolution of organic life but from the influence of other dimensions of existence that interpenetrate our own. We only have to take note of this design in order to see how carefully the Earth and cosmos is a school for learning:



Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (6)

The Kiss (Lovers), Gustav Klimt, oil and gold leaf on canvas, , 1907–1908.

“Behind every shallow sexual interaction, there hides a person who does not want to see or be seen at a deeper level.”

Michael Mirdad, An Introduction To Tantra And Sacred Sexuality

Reading time: 30 mins

Brain Power

Before we continue exploring the vital role of simplifying and economising through attention to sexual energy let’s take a brief detour into the brain and the spaghetti junction of incessant thoughts.

An enormous amount of energy is expended in thinking deeply about a subject and still more when our thoughts are a product of stress and anxiety. Factor in low-grade fantasy and you have a major energy drain in the mind-body system. With such a breach, our perception, impressions – what we give out and receive – and ability to think critically is seriously impaired by subjective evaluations, warped still further by defensive mechanisms and stagnant beliefs.

The brain is a big, jelly-like battery making up 2 per cent of our body weight. Even at rest, this incredible hub gobbles up a whopping 20% of the body’s energy. [1] It’s long been known that the brain uses more energy than any other human organ, – up to 20 per cent of the body’s total output., with two-thirds of that energy used to help neurons or nerve cells “fire” the remaining third devoted to general “housekeeping,” and cell-health maintenance. [2]

Each neuron has a small voltage 70 millivolts or 0.07 volts. That may not seem much when compared to the 1.5 volts of a AA battery or the 115 volts from a wall socket, but at the microscopic scale, which is where it functions, it’s pretty impressive. In fact, when you take into account that the brain is made of 80 billion neurological batteries each of which contains four times the electrostatic force that normally results in lightning during a thunderstorm.  [3]

Our brains pack a powerful punch.

And when the procreative urge gets in on the act, usually as a form of grounding all that “electrostatic” tension, then a massive explosion of neurochemicals occurs at the point of climax. Sexual saiety is the result – or offspring.

The point is, this is a major “charge” which has a major downside and may not only be exhausting your physiological responses and your nervous system but re-wiring the neurology of the brain toward habituation. We become addicts to what is a very narrow mental and biological mechanism rationalised by the intellect, fuelled by ignorance.


Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (5)

Infrakshun / pixabay.com

‘In order to make gold, you need to have gold.’

— Medieval alchemist

Reading time: 20 mins

Energy Matrix

Eastern philosophy and medicine has been well in advance of the West when it comes to recognising the energy of the body and mind. For thousands of years Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese and Indian practitioners had knowledge of the channels or meridians which carried two kinds of force, yin and yang, which flow along a network of energy pathways which map the entire body.

It is now accepted that our bodies are electromagnetic in nature with these energy pathways acting as electricity conductors, a fact of which acupuncturists take full advantage in order to regulate and “unblock” certain imbalances in the energy field. Knowledge of the energy network of meridians forms the diagnostic methodology behind Shiatsu/Acupressure, Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga. Indeed, science seems to be catching up with what the ancients have already known for thousands of years.

As no anatomical foundation was perceived to exist for the meridian network in our current Darwinian-saturated science establishment the concept had been discarded and ignored as the Newtonian/Cartesian mindset held sway. However, a flurry of new experiments emerged in 2013 which produced a new anatomical foundation called the ‘Primo Vascular System’. Researchers at the Seoul National University in South Korea describe the PVS as “… a previously unknown system that integrates the features of the cardiovascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. It also provides a physical substrate for the acupuncture points and meridians.” They propose “…a new vision of the anatomical basis for the PVS and the vital energy—called “Qi”—as an electromagnetic wave that is involved very closely with the DNA in the PVS.”

What is most fascinating is the duplication of the PVS by the vascular and the nervous systems during the very early stage of body development. Consequently: “… the PVS combines the features of the vascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. The PVS in all its aspects is understood as a system that covers the entire body, and regulates and coordinates all biological life processes.” [1]

This was followed in 2016 with discoveries on the microstructure of the PVS via the use of a patented microscopy system by Professor Vitaly Vodyanoy of Auburn University in Alabama. He revealed for the first time “the microstructure of the miniscule, translucent system of vessels, subvessels and stem cell-filled nodes—together making up the primo-vascular system…” which appears in and on blood vessels, organ tissue and the lymphatic system. As for less complex biological of rats, it too features in the human system. [2]

Instead of a simplistic version of meridians lying on the surface of the skin, classical Chinese texts have always indicated the three-dimensional nature of energy pathways which carry liquid Chi to the internal organs. This liquid is made of stem-cells packed with DNA. And we know the enormous healing and regeneration properties of stem-cells and the mysterious nature of DNA as one factor in the interface of consciousness with knowledge and reality.

Now, keep in mind the importance of liquid in our bodies and its role in carrying protective and nourishing information.


Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (4)

© Creator76 | Dreamstime.com

“A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reading time: 15-18 mins

Energy Conservation

To conserve our energy in the way we think, feel and act we need to know how they might all relate in simple terms. So, let’s simplify it.

Think of energy efficiency (upgrades) and energy conservation (energy use) leading to the correct economy for your life. The home can be thought of as a metaphor or symbol of your mind and body. (If you like, this is an extension of Jordan Peterson’s thinking of tidying up your room).

Energy conservation involves using less energy by changing your behaviours and habits. Energy efficiency, on the other hand, involves using techniques, traditional systems of knowledge and new technologies that requires less energy to perform the same function.

Energy efficiency = all those qualities and techniques you can find to maximize your potential and minimize chaos. Accumulate energy for creativity and minimize loss from internal and external entropy.

Energy Conservation = simplifying your life through judicious, careful attention and limiting unnecessary drains on energy. employing measures which ensure you are not only efficient but have a constant supply on tap. Conservation sometimes means getting very creative. The more you conserve, the more likely that can be!

In other words, to be energy efficient means looking at ways your personality system can be upgraded so that less energy is needed to perform certain functions and which provides qualitatively better results. This can be “costly” in the short-term but requires much less effort in the long-term. This includes insulation, replacements, careful monitoring and upgrades.

Energy conservation involves actively seeking new ways to on your internal efficiency. You change your relationship to energy within your home. You seek ways to receive energy for minimum loss and a minimum amount of effort. It is strategic, long-term and eminently practical. It requires a re-calibration of existing appliances (organs of perception; centres) in order to extract a maximum amount of energy. The energy that you have is used wisely.

In other words, it means a change in overall behaviour through commitment and a creative application of knowledge.

How might we use our energy more efficiently?

Insulate, upgrade and monitor.

Insulate your mind and body from that which would drain but remain porous enough to let constructive influences through. And if you have good quality insulation then you have more energy to produce warmth and proper flow of electricity and therefore creative potential. (It might be stretching this metaphor to its limit but it’s no coincidence that key brain areas found to have more nerve fibre insulation or “myelination” equates to advantageous personality traits!)


Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (3)

“I have long held an opinion, almost amounting to conviction, in common I believe with many other lovers of natural knowledge, that the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest have one common origin; or, in other words, are so directly related and mutually dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, one into another, and possess equivalents of power in their action.”

— Michael Faraday, English Physicist and Chemist

Reading time: 20 mins


What is energy?

Energy is a property of matter, space, objects and fields. It can be transferred and converted, but it can’t be destroyed – or created. Energy can be chemical, thermal electrical and kinetic, all of which exists in and around the mind-body system.

For our focus it is potential energy which can be stored and qualitatively accumulated which is of interest.

Energy can be refined in order to get more vitality for your voltage, so to speak.

Since sufficient energy is the fuel for all manner of action, (and The Work) it stands to reason that the more energy you have within your mind-body system the more enhanced the capacity for change.  With enough stored, (and the “space” ready to store it) we have a greater chance of changing our physical, mental and emotional states.

With a greater store of energy on tap, this might even provide the “nourishment” and power needed to fuel overall meta-physical transformation.

At this point in history the demands on our time and energy are relentless. Many of us have become mentally ill or physically debilitated due to environmental and psycho-social factors. In this technological age there are reasons to fill every waking hour with activities and distractions which feed our restlessness but give little in terms of true nourishment. If we cut out the clutter and re-organise our daily lives so that things become simpler we make better use of our time. Time management goes hand in hand with simplicity. Economising conserving and simplifying are mutually inclusive.

What is crucial to your life and what is just repetitive, useless busy-ness? Is that moving centre sending into you spirals of pointless activity in order to displace energy that could be useful to personal transformation? Ask yourself honestly: Is your attention habitually fixed on getting things to feel better? Has this focus overshadowed what’s truly important in my life?

If that’s true and like so many of us, you have been caught up in finding too much satisfaction in possessions (or possessing people) then it’s a cue to simplify and to realise that attachment to beliefs and their possessions are often the greatest obstacle to living a more harmonious life. Or, as German poet and playwright Johann von Goethe expressed it: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

To achieve simplicity we have to conserve our energy in thought and action. One thing is for sure, you’ll need every ounce of it if you are to transform your inner life. By gettting rid of that which ultimately drains you, it opens up the space for an ongoing process of spring-cleaning, much like you do with your flat or house. And it’s amazing how much more can be achieved by decreasing one’s complexity.