Seat Of The Soul, p.1Gary Zukav
THE SEAT OF THE SOUL
Simon & Schuster
Scanned: June 17.2001
Last Update: June 17, 2001
During the years that I was writing The Dancing Wu Li Masters and after, I was drawn again and again to the writings of William James, Carl Jung, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein. I returned to them repeatedly. I found in them something special, although it was not until later that I was able to understand that special ness: these fellow humans reached for something greater than they were able to express directly through their work. They saw more than they could express in the language of psychology or linguistics or physics, and they sought to share what they saw. It is what they sought to share through the medium of their work that drew me to them.
They were mystics. That is my word. They would not use such language, but they knew it. They feared that their careers might become contaminated by association with those who did not work within the scientific model, but in the depths of their own thoughts they each saw much too much to be limited by the five senses, and they were not. Their works contribute not only to the evolution of psychology, linguistics and physics, but also to the evolution of those who read them. They have the capability to change those who touch them in ways that also cannot be expressed directly in the terms of psychology, or linguistics, or physics.
As I came to understand, in retrospect, the magnetic quality that these works held for me, I came to understand that what motivated these men was not Earthly prizes or the respect of colleagues, but that they put their souls and minds on something and reached the extraordinary place where the mind could no longer produce data of the type that they wanted, and they were in the territory of inspiration where their intuitions accelerated and they knew that there was something more than the realm of time and space and matter, something more than physical life. They knew it. They could not necessarily articulate this clearly because they were not equipped to talk about such things, but they felt it and their writings reflected it.
In other words, I came to understand that what motivated these men, and many others, was in fact something of great vision that comes from beyond the personality. Each of us is now being drawn, in one way or another, to that same great vision. It is more than a vision. It is an emerging force. It is the next step in our evolutionary journey. Humanity, the human species, is longing now to touch that force, to shed that which interferes with clear contact. Much of the difficulty in doing this lies in the fact that the vocabulary with which to address this new force, which is indeed the eternal force, is not yet born.
In this moment and in this hour of human evolution this proper vocabulary and means of addressing that which longs to transcend religiosity and spirituality and assume the position of authentic power is longing to be born. We need to give that which we as a species are now touching consciously for the first time a vocabulary that is not clouded so that it can be identified clearly in the acts and judgments of the human race, so that it can be seen clearly, and not through veils of mystery or mysticism, but simply as the authentic power that moves the force fields of this Earth of ours. I hope that this book will assist.
As a way of talking about what we are and what we are becoming, I have used the terms fivesensory and multisensory. Multisensory is not better than fivesensory. It is simply more appropriate now. As one system of human experience winds down and another, more advanced system emerges the older system may appear by comparison to be lacking, but from the perspective of the Universe, the language of comparison is not the language of lesser and better, but of limitation and opportunity.
The experiences of the multisensory human are less limited provide more opportunities for growth and development and more opportunities to avoid unnecessary difficulties. I have contrasted the experiences of the fivesensory human with the experiences of the multisensory human in each instance to make their differences as clear as possible, but this does not mean that the fivesensory phase of our evolution, the phase from which we are emerging, is negative in comparison to the phase of our evolution that we are entering, the multisensory phase. It is simply that it is now no longer appropriate just as there came a time when the use of candles became inappropriate because of electricity, but the advent of electricity did not make candle power negative.
Who among us is an expert on the human experience? We have only the gift of sharing perceptions that hopefully can help those on their journey. There is no such thing as an expert on the human experience. The human experience is an experience in movement and thought and form, and, in some cases, an experiment in movement and thought and form. The most that we can do is comment on the movement, the thought and the form, but those comments are of great value if they can help people to learn to move gracefully, to think clearly, to form like artists the matter of their lives.
We are in a time of deep change. We will move through this change more easily if we are able to see the road upon which we are traveling, our destination, and what it is that is in motion. I offer what is in this book as a window through which I have come to see life. I offer this window to you, but I do not say that it is necessary that you accept it. There are so many ways to wisdom and to the heart. This is our greatest richness, and the one that gives me the most joy. We have much to do together. Let us do it in wisdom and love and joy. Let us make this the human experience.
CHAPTER 1: EVOLUTION
The evolution that we learned about in school is the evolution of physical form. We learned, for example, that the single-celled creatures of the oceans are the predecessors of all more complex forms of life. A fish is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a sponge; a horse is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a snake; a monkey is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a horse, and so on, up to human beings which are the most complex, and, therefore, the most evolved Life forms upon our planet. We were taught, in other words, that evolution means the progressive development of organizational complexity.
This definition is an expression of the idea that the organism that is best able to control both its environment and all of the other organisms in its environment is the most evolved. “Survival of the fittest” means that the most evolved organism in a given environment is the organism that is at the top of the food chain in that environment. According to this definition, therefore, the organism that is most able to ensure its own survival, most able to serve its self-preservation, is the most evolved.
We have long known that this definition of evolution is inadequate, but we have not known why. When two humans engage one another, they are, in terms of organizational complexity, equally evolved. If both have the same intelligence, yet one is small-minded, mean and selfish while the other is magnanimous and altruistic, we say that the one who is magnanimous and altruistic is the more evolved. If one human intentionally sacrifices his or her life to save another, by, for example, using his or her own body to shield another from an unseen bullet or a speeding car, we say that the human who sacrificed his or her life, indeed, was one of the most evolved among us. We know these things to be true, but they are at variance with our understanding of evolution.
Jesus, we are told, foresaw the plot against His life, even to the details of how His friends would act and react, yet He did not run from what He saw. The entirety of human kind has been inexorably shaped by the power and love of One who gave His life for others. All who revere Him, and almost all who but know His story, agree that He was one of the most evolved of our species.
Our deeper understanding tells us that a truly evolved being is one that values others more than it values itself, and that values love more than it values the physical world and what is in it. We must n
Our current understanding of evolution results from the fact that we have evolved until now by exploring physical reality with our five senses. We have been, until now, fivesensory human beings. This path of evolution has allowed us to see the basic principles of the Universe in concrete ways. We see through our five senses that every action is a cause that has an effect, and that every effect has a cause. We see the results of our intentions. We see that rage kills: it takes away breath-the Life force-and it sills blood-the carrier o f vitality. We see that kindness nurtures. We see and feel the effects of a snarl and a smile.
We experience our ability to process knowledge. We see, for example, that a stick is a tool, and we see the between siblings and between races, between classes and between sexes. It disrupts the natural tendency toward harmony between nations and between friends. The same energy that sent warships to the Persian Gulf sent soldiers to Vietnam and Crusaders to Palestine. The energy that separated the family of Romeo from the family of Juliet is the same energy that separates the racial family of the black husband from the racial family of the white wife. The energy that set Lee Harvey Oswald against John Kennedy is the same energy that set Cain against Abel. Brothers and sisters quarrel for the same reason that corporations quarrel-they seek power over one another.
The power to control the environment, and those within it, is power over what can be felt, smelled, tasted, heard or seen. This type of power is external power. External power can be acquired or lost, as in the stock market or an election. It can be bought or stolen, transferred or inherited. It is thought of as something that can be gotten from someone else, or somewhere else. One person’s gain of external power is perceived as another person’s loss. The result of seeing power as external is violence and destruction. All of our institutions-social, economic and political-reflect our understanding of power as external.
Families, like cultures, are patriarchal or matriarchal. One person “wears the pants.” Children learn this early, and it shapes their lives.
Police departments, like the military, are produced by the perception of power as external. Badge, boots, rank, radio, uniform, weapons, and armor are symbols of fear. Those who wear them are fearful. They fear to engage the world without defenses. Those who encounter these sym
effects of how we choose to use it. The club that kills can drive a stake into the ground to hold a shelter. The spear that takes a life can be used as a lever to ease life’s burdens. The knife that cuts flesh can be used to cut cloth. The hands that build bombs can be used to build schools. The minds that coordinate the activities of violence can coordinate the activities of cooperation.
We see that when the activities of life are infused with reverence, they come alive with meaning and purpose. We see that when reverence is lacking from life’s activities, the result is cruelty, violence and loneliness. The physical arena is a magnificent learning environment. It is a school within which, through experimentation, we come to understand what causes us to expand and what causes us to contract, what causes us to grow and what causes us to shrivel, what nourishes our souls and what depletes them, what works and what does not.
When the physical environment is seen only from the fivesensory point of view, physical survival appears to be the fundamental criterion of evolution because no other kind of evolution is detectable. It is from this point of view that “survival of the fittest” appears to be synonymous with evolution, and physical dominance appears to characterize advanced evolution.
When perception of the physical world is limited to the fivesensory modality, the basis of life in the physical arena becomes fear. Power to control the environment, and those within the environment appears to be essential.
The need for physical dominance produces a type of competition that affects every aspect of our lives. It affects relationships between lovers and between superpowers, symbols are fearful. They fear the power that these symbols represent, or they fear those whom they expect this power to contain, or they fear both. The police and the military, like patriarchal and matriarchal families and cultures, are not origins of the perception of power as external. They are reflections of the way that we, as a species and as individuals, have come to view power.
The perception of power as external has shaped our economics. The ability to control economies, within communities and within nations, and the ability to control the transnational economy of the world, is concentrated in the hands of a few people. To protect workers from these people, we have created unions. To protect consumers, we have created bureaucracies in government. To protect the poor, we have created welfare systems. This is a perfect reflection of how we have come to perceive power as the possession of a few while the majority serves it as victims.
Money is a symbol of external power. Those who have the most money have the most ability to control their environment and those within it, while those who have the least money have the least ability to control their environment and those within it. Money is acquired, lost, stolen, inherited and fought for. Education, social status, fame, and things that are owned, if we derive a sense of increased security from them, are symbols of external power. Anything we fear to lose-a home, a car, an attractive body, and an agile mind, a deep belief-is a symbol of external power. What we fear is an increase in our vulnerability. This results from seeing power as external.
When power is seen as external, the hierarchies of our social, economic and political structures, as well as the hierarchies of the Universe, appear as indicators of who has power and who does not. Those at the top appear to have the most power and, therefore, to be the most valuable and the least vulnerable. Those at the bottom appear to be the least powerful, and, therefore, to be the least valuable and the most vulnerable. From this perception, the general is more valuable than the private, the executive is more valuable than the chauffeur, the doctor is more valuable than the receptionist, the parent is more valuable than the child, and the Divine is more valuable than the worshiper. We fear to transgress our parents, our bosses, and our God. All perceptions of lesser and greater personal value result from the perception of power as external.
Competition for external power lies at the heart of all violence. The secondary gain behind ideological conflicts, such as capitalism versus communism, and religious conflicts, such as Irish Catholic versus Irish Protestant, and geographical conflicts, such as Jew versus Arab, and familial and marital conflicts, is external power.
The perception of power as external splinters the psyche, whether it is the psyche of the individual, the community, the nation, or the world. There is no difference between acute schizophrenia and a world at war. There is no difference between the agony of a splintered soul and the agony of a splintered nation. When a husband and a wife compete for power, they engage the same dynamic that humans of one race do when they fear humans of another race.
From these dynamics, we have formed our present understanding of evolution as a process of ever-increasing ability to dominate the environment and each other. This definition reflects the limitations of perceiving the physical world with only five senses. It reflects the competition for external power that is generated by fear.
After millennia of brutality to one another, individual to individual and group to group, it is now clear that the insecurity which underlies the perception of power as external cannot be healed by the accumulation of external power. It is evident for all to see, not only with each newscast and evening paper, but also throug
Our deeper understanding leads us to another kind of power, a power that loves life in every form that it appears, a power that does not judge what it encounters, a power that perceives meaningfulness and purpose in the smallest details upon the Earth. This is authentic power. When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning. Life is rich and full. We have no thoughts of bitterness. We have no memory of fear. We are joyously and intimately engaged with our world. This is the experience of authentic power.
Authentic power has its roots in the deepest source of our being. Authentic power cannot be bought, inherited or hoarded. An authentically empowered person is incapable of making anyone or anything a victim. An authentically empowered person is one who is so strong, so empowered, that the idea of using force against another is not 2 tart of hl,, or her consciousness
No understanding of evolution is adequate that does not have at its core that we are on a journey toward authentic power, and that authentic empowerment is the goal of our evolutionary process and the purpose of our being. We are evolving from a species that pursues external power into a species that pursues authentic power. We are leaving behind exploration of the physical world as our sole means of evolution. This means of evolution, and the consciousness that results from an awareness that is limited to the fivesensory modality, are no longer adequate to what we must become.
We are evolving from fivesensory humans into multisensory humans. Our five senses, together, form a single sensory system that is designed to perceive physical reality. The perceptions of a multisensory human extend beyond physical reality to the larger dynamical systems of which our physical reality is a part. The multisensory human is able to perceive, and to appreciate, the role that our physical reality plays in a larger picture of evolution, and the dynamics by which our physical reality is created and sustained. This realm is invisible to the fivesensory human.
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