Ways of Christ

Additions to the main text part 1


The layers of the human being

1. About the physical body

Based on the functional and regulatory systems of the physical-material organism – as well as on its responses to such things as homeopathic, energetic and spiritual healing methods – it is evident that the physical body is designed to work together with forces beyond the chemical-physical. These forces are addressed below. The forces of faith can promote this cleansing.

2. The life forces: On the drawings by Johann Georg Gichtel,Theosophia practica, 17th-century

This old European drawing shows the centers ofthe life force, such as are able to be explored today, and for which modern spiritual undertakings usually use the Indian term "chakra(s)" - wheel(s). Highly sensitive individuals – that is, those who are more or less receptive to the finer forces of nature – are able to see these swirling structures at the point where life and conscience converge.

Since they are found in all people, they are not bound to a specific religion but are passed down through the various cultures in different ways and also play a role in a culture’s healing methods. Acupuncture points and meridians – which were previously falsely associated with another religion – were not only recognized in Taoism and modern-day China, but also under other names (e.g. "Nadis") in India. Even "Ötzi" the Iceman seems to have been familiar with these healing methods and to have attempted to reinforce them in his drawings. In the meantime, these methods have been measurably proven through research into electro-acupuncture, and also histologically proven, i.e. in human tissue. They can be seen as bioelectric "waveguides" and as a component of the same energy systems as the "chakras": the points as simple coordination points , the chakras as complex coordination points .Thus, it would not be commensurate with the level of knowledge and science available today to say that all of these structures are simply a "Hindu" or "Taoist" concept.Rather, they must first be seen as real, overriding control systems of the human organism. The ancient Greek and early Christian term "pneuma"along with its various meanings ("breath"/ "breath of life"/ "spirit")shows connections to the knowledgethat transcends forces of life, that can be found in the most diverse cultures around the world. (Chinese "Chi/Qi,"Indian "Prana," in some European traditions "Od,"anthroposophical "creative forces,"or "airwaves of warmth, light, chemicals and life," etc.).

The forces of life are not automatically identical to the Holy Spirit. And yet the Holy Spirit, who comes into the equation (e.g. through prayer, through shedding light on the emotional-spiritual areas), can permeate and cleanse the forces of life, and can help to heal the physical body. (See John 3:8 and the chapters on baptism and foot washing in our main text.)

There are more than seven such centers along the spine (each linked tonerve centers, glands or organs). There are slightly varying divisions that form each of these 7 centers. The drawing shows the versions with the spleen center (the sixth from the top), similar to those preferred in modern theosophical presentations. The upper centers, linked to the pineal gland (on the top of the head;Indian: Sahashrara), the pituitary gland(on the forehead;Indian: Ajna), and the thyroid gland (down on the neck (Indian: Vishuddha),are identical in most similar teachings. In Indian yoga teachings, rather than a heart center (Indian: Anahata), a related center in the middle of the chest is often presented, which is connected to the thymus gland. Below that comes the emotional center (Indian: Anahata), which is linked to the solar plexus. Instead of the spleen center– as a center of the life forces – various yoga forms refer to the sexual center (Indian: Swadhishthana) as being connected to the life forces. The drawing clearly shows both centers, but the lower center is not directly shown – the one in the area of the tailbone – the center that controls the physical abilities to survive (Indian: Muladhara, the center of the spine’s otherwise relatively dormant "Kundalini energy").

The life force "aura," which extends beyond the physical body, can be perceived by those who are sensitive to it. With certain lighting (backlight), many can gradually begin to detect a narrow border around the finger. The fact that the border is in motion, sending out rays – similar to the light radiating from the sun – makes it clear that this is not simply an optical illusion. At least part of this emanation can be made visible by such techniques as "kirlian photography" and used for diagnostic purposes.

The physical body and the "vital energy body" must, by all accounts, work closely together by day and by night if a person is to remain healthy and resilient. Yet, in many cases today, there is no longer a strong compatibility between these two related layers of the human being. In the long term, opening oneself more for God leads to the physical being’s stronger permeability to the life forces. Here we get a glimpse of the mystery of what was given to us by Jesus in the Last Supper through the symbols of the bread and the wine, with the ultimate aim of transforming the human being through God in a similar pattern as Jesus himself modeled in his resurrection. The human being at least was given the capacity to be restored. Rudolf Steiner wrote of a phantom body – which must have meant not the life force body but rather the embryonic predisposition of a physical-material body, which can be more compatible with the life forces.

This is no isolated event between the physical domain and the life forces. Viewed holistically, all of the layers of a person are involved, together with God – to whatever extent. This can lead to a stronger compatibility with further parts of the human being, as addressed in the following section.

3. The emotional layer of the human being

The emotional domain, often referred to as the "mental"or "spiritual" realm, and in certain modern schools of thought as "astral,"can likewise be recognized as an individual level, if we do not limit ourselves to the "molecular-biological" conception that views everything in the human being as a response to chemical processes in the physical body.Those who are capable of perceiving it can observe something akin to a multi-colored "emotional body" – one that is initially formed like the physical body, but whose outer shell extends far beyond the physical body. In the parascientific field, particularly in parapsychology, "out-of-body experiences"have also been studied.These studies show that even many dreams about flying can represent such experiences, rather than simply being the brain’s system for processing events. The human’s emotional domain also contains numerous stimulus-response mechanisms, which can cling to habits that are rooted in the domain of the life forces. Apart from this, the emotional domain is accessible for such things as psychotherapy and for being cultivated through Christian-ethical approaches.In fact, this is easier than the difficult task of improving habits that are deeply embedded in the domain of the life forces, or of trying to "spiritualize" the physical body in the way certain Christian mystics attempted. (See also the chapters "The ‘holy zeal’ (and viewpoints concerning emotions)" and "The Last Supper, the arrest and the whipping of Jesus" in our main text.)

4.The intellect, a layer of the human being

The field of analytical (dissecting) and synthetic (synoptic) thinking can also be seen as individual, when viewed in a way that does not insist on interpreting everything as a function of the physical brain. 

Even this mental domain of the human beinghas been perceived as a body-like structure by those with a high degree of sensitivity to it – as referenced in point 3, but even more acutely. The mental domain harbors many underdeveloped skills for gaining knowledge. Here too, at least initially, the disturbing influence of the stimulus-reaction mechanisms referenced under point 3 is present, making an attitude of self-critique essential for progress. (See also "Consciousness, brain research and the free will of man" and "A Christian approach to processing life’s events"; see also the chapters "The Sermon on the Mount", "The transfiguration of Jesus," and "The crowning with thorns and Jesus’ last speeches" in our main text.)

5. The program for life, or "fate"

The basic guidelines and intentions that a person usually follows unconsciously or also deliberately – e.g. "you will reap what you sow" – are stored individually and are close to the realm of understanding, yet not identical to it. Since this is a level that concerns causes, theosophists coined it the "causal level." Here too, a transformation – or redemption – is possible, because the individual learns to become conscious of such guidelines and to allow God to lead him or her through them, instead of abandoning him-/herself to external laws.To this extent, this area also is not the highest in the human being. (See Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7-9; see also "The relationship of Christianity to other teachings of karma and reincarnation"; see also the chapters "The question of the ‘miracles’", "The raising of Lazarus" and "The crucifixion"in our main text.)

6. The "inner Christ" and the "higher self"

God can take shape in human beings, facilitating the recognition of man having been made "in God’s image"; or, as the mystics put it, the loving "spark of Christ"begins to grow in a person’s heart. In this way, in connection with the "external" Christ, Christian mystics experience drawing closer to God. Even with all the differences between these experiences, there are extensive parallels that were not simply adopted from each other, but that point to a reality behind the experiences.

Today, this potential in the human being – this "spark of Christ" – is connected with the core of man’s being. The essence that most clearly distinguishes man from beastis known in many circlesas the "higher self"or the "I am"in human beings, and sometimes as the "guardian angel"or a similar term. Such experiences can very well play a part in the life of Christians who are seeking God, and should not be generally labeled as non-Christian simply because they are unconventional. (For further discussion about Christ on the inside, see e.g. the chapter on baptism in our main text.)

Of course, this article is not intended to automatically endorse all of the related views and practices circulating on this topic. It also does not endeavor to mix the various views, but rather to outline the related facts.

 

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