Anatomy of the Spirit – Caroline Myss

 

Paperback, 1st pbk edition, 302 pages
Published: August 26th 1996
Publisher: Three River Press (first published January 1st 1996)
ISBN:  0609800140 (ISBN13: 9780609800140)
Edition Language:  English

“The Book of Genesis describes Adam’s body as created ‘in the image of God.’ The message in this phrase is both literal and symbolic. It means that people are energy duplicates of a Divine power – a system of seven primary energies whose truths we are meant to explore and develop through this experience called life.”

In her book, Anatomy of the Spirit, author Caroline Myss tells us that most culture’s myths recount Divine interaction with humanity in stories of the gods mating with human beings to produce godlike and half godlike off-springs. Among the God stories, however, the Jewish traditions is unique, because Yahweh “is never depicted as being sexual and maintained a more distant relationship with their inaccessible Divine.”

When Christianity appeared on the scene, they gave their God a human body, calling him Jesus, the son of God. The Christians crossed the biological divide to begin their new theology with a bio-spiritual event known as the Annunciation.

“In the Annunciation the angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she has shown favor with the Lord and is to bear a son and call him Jesus. The implications is that God is the biological father of this child. Suddenly the abstract Divine principle in Judaism called Yahweh was mating with a human woman.”

By doing so they turned Jesus’ birth into a “biological theology” and used his life as evidence that humanity is made in the “image and likeness of God.” More contemporary theological writings have challenged that biological likeness, revising it into a spiritual likeness, but the original notion that we are biologically made in the image of God remains, nonetheless, a major literal and archetypal aspect of the Judeo-Christian tradition.(i)

The Body
Today many spiritual seekers are dismantling old religions’ classic parent-child relationship to God by moving into spiritual adulthood. By invoking a spiritual authority this maturation involves the ability to develop and interpret deeper messages of sacred texts to learn the spiritual language of the body. We do this by becoming more conscious of our internal life by recognizing the impact of our thoughts and attitudes upon our physical bodies.

“The body is a road map for the journey of healing and recovery. It can tell us where we were, where we are, where we need to go, and how best to get there.” writes Dr. Clyde Ford in his book Compassionate Touch. Through psychosomatic therapy “…we can work with the human body in healing and recovery from physical, emotional and spiritual trauma. Touch opens a doorway beyond normal awareness. Beneath our chronic pain are chronic unresolved feelings. Our bodies remembers without censoring. [Whereas] our conscious minds often edits, filters, and selects what we retain.” Therefore, harmonizing mind and body is key to healing from physical, emotional, spiritual trauma and to learn the spiritual language of the body.

 

Paperback : 264 pages  *  ISBN:  ISBN-10 : 1556433077 (ISBN-13 : 978-1556433078) * Publisher: North Atlantic Books (July 15 1999) * Language: English


Everyone has experienced a trauma at some point in their lives. On the journey towards healing our bodies become our greatest ally, or toughest adversary, in the process to recovery. Psychosomatic therapy explores how a particular body sensation helps us to understand a deeper emotional or psychological issue by investigating the body’s awareness of various emotions such as; anger, or grief. This happens to ground the emotional experience in the body, and unearth the emotional and psychological issues beneath physical sensation towards healing and recovery.(ii) Through psychosomatic therapy the body is enlisted to aid in the healing through touch, movement and awareness and takes into consideration the mind’s role in the healing of the body.

Many of us have heard of the term ‘energy healing’ as it relates to the Eastern philosophies of the seven chakras which are energy centers within the body. Christianity and Judaism have similar teachings of energy centers. For Christianity it’s called the Christian Sacraments, in Judaism – it’s the ten sefirot, or Tree of Life of the Kabbalah. These energy centers has universal wisdom or truths that lays out the path of enlightenment. “Bio-scientifically” speaking, I firmly believe that these energy centers in the body are made possible through the works of neuropeptides.

Neuropeptides – Compassionate Touch (Dr. Clyde Ford)
Important findings about the mind’s influence on the body come from the exciting, new field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). The word literally means studying the mind’s (psyche) influence through the nervous system (neuro) on the body’s defense system (immunology) through the intricate circuitry of neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are “information messengers”. They communicate back and forth among systems previously thought to be separate and distinct. Medical researchers previously assumed the immune system and the nervous system were separate and unrelated. Through the discovery of neuropeptides they discovered this is simply not the case.

Neuropeptides are a wide-spread system of messenger chemicals found all throughout the body, brain, nervous system, immune system, spinal cord, around organs, and in muscle tissue. Through research scientists realized that it is impossible to separate the body from emotional experience. “Emotions are not just in the brain, they’re in the body!” says Candace Pert of the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland. In other words, the same neuropeptides that promote emotional well-being cause bodily changes that result in physical well-being.

The location of neuropeptide receptors points to the intimate relationship between emotions and the body. One of the hot spot of neuropeptides is found in the spinal cord called the dorsal horn. Dorsal horns cells are the first to receive sensory impulses emanating from the skin and form our internal organs. Feelings has always had two meanings: one related to emotional experience, the other related to sensation through the skin. Pain, temperature, and light touch travel through these cells toward higher brain centers and are enriched with almost all neuropeptide receptors. The presence of neuropeptides modifies how these cells receive and pass along sensory information that regulate emotion in the brain and our perception of sensory stimuli through the skin.

Sensory impulses traveling toward the brain contact cells of a mid-brain region known as the periaqueductal gray (PAG) which is the only area of the brain that responds to touch. This area of the brain processes somato-sensory information (information obtained through the skin) and control bodily function regulated by the neuro-chemicals of emotional experience.

3d rendered illustration of an active receptor

Another area is the limbic system also known as the “emotional brain” because electrical stimulation of this area produces classic emotional responses – sadness, laughter, crying, elation, etc. This area also regulates our primary instinctual drives – fighting, fleeing, feeding, and sexual behavior. The limbic system receives sensory information from the skin and other sensory receptors which are blazing with neuropeptide receptors. The amygdala, a small area of the limbic system, is a chief site of this convergence between body, emotions, and behavior.

From the periphery of the skin to the core of the brain, neuropeptides seem to appear where body, mind and emotions converge. The human body is exceptionally good at somatic imagery – the ability to translate touch, pressure, and movement into meaningful information. Through somatic imagery our body can tell us about internal and external events, and it can also tell us about underlying emotional experiences.

Human beings are compelled to merge our bodies with the essence of God, we want to have the Divine in our bones, blood and in our mental and emotional makeup. Understanding the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual makeup of the body is key to unlocking the mysteries of the soul and getting closer to God. Through an adjustment of our attitudes we can materialize this understanding in our external world which removes the necessity of the dogma that surrounds our external God for whom we are fully dependent on much like a small child is to its parent. As we move into spiritual adulthood we then become co-creators of our lives and over all well-being. This is done through the power of choice and accepting our responsibilities for our choices.

Suggested Reading: The Guardian – Neuro-technology and Brain Hacking

We’ve come a long way
Every couple of hundreds of years humanity has experienced a quantum leap in its spiritual development. This quantum leap is often tied to astrological meanings since the astrological ages run in two thousand-year cycles. For example, the Age of Aries, which ran from 2000 B.C.E to the birth of Christ, embodied the Tribal culture that had the human consciousness directed toward developing unified tribal communities which was necessary for physical survival. Strength and physical endurance was the focus to concur external components of life.

Back then, life was tough and it was ‘the survival of the fittest’ mentality that helped humanity to manage the external challenges. People had to stick together and work within a community for survival. Important choices such as who to marry and your occupation was not determined by the individual but by the Tribal family or community. Biblical references to Moses, Exodus, the covenants between Yahweh and the Israelites through to the Ten Commandments became a great example of this tribal mind mentality.

 Then Jesus walked the earth which signaled the Piscean Age. Pisces is a water sign symbolized by two fish swimming in the opposite direction. It is here that we saw the human evolution from a Tribal mind split in opposite directions toward the development of the self – which is signified by the age of Individual Power. While still under the rule of the Tribal culture, it saw people form a separate identity from its clan and influences. The Piscean culture encouraged the growth and development of the self. Through Jesus’ teachings we learned a new emotional vocabulary about brotherly love, kindness, forgiveness and lessons of the heart. The Arian tribal culture used superstition as its core to control the clan whereas; the power of individual thought continued during the Renaissance challenged those perceptions. This era gave us forward thinkers and artisans such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo Da Vinci.

We are now living in the Age of Aquarian, which is symbolic power. We haven’t made a complete shift to symbolic power. Some still choose to stay within the Arian tribal mentality, while others are caught between Arian and Picean way of living. Still there are those, and numbers are climbing by the day, who choose to develop a more personal intimate relationship with God through their spirituality and not through religion (tribal). In the Aquarian Age, the main thought is that we create our own reality. Since Aquarius is an air sign which governs the realm of mind and intellect, we see new ideas and fresh thought. The idea of holism produces a more unified perspective as we seek to unite what we have learned throughout the previous astrological ages. We now begin to view our biological design in unison with a spiritual design.

Although an air sign, Aquarius – in astrological terms meaning “in charge of” – is depicted as a water-bearer. We all know that water is a natural conductor of electrical energy. Aquarian philosophy helps us to understand the role that spiritual and physical energy plays in our lives.

Mayan Prophecy
 The winter solstice of December 21, 2012, marked the end of the Mayan calendar. There were many predictions about what might occur, some say it’s Doomsday – “the end of the world”; others believed that it marked a new dawn of spiritual enlightenment. As it turned out nothing of significant value had happened and life continued as it has always done. Yet, since we are living in the age of Aquarius – spiritual enlightenment, we have begun to see a new way of living in terms of spirituality and religion. In some ways old paradigms are beginning to crumble as we emerge with a new consciousness and begin to challenge various religious beliefs and natural rights theories to find answers to moral dilemmas such as; abortion, cloning, euthanasia, vegetative states, bio-tech and neuro-technology to name a few.

We are reaching a spiritual critical mass where our perceptions about religion and spirituality are being redefined. We will never abandon the truths contained in scriptural teachings of different religious traditions. These teachings are meant to unite us, not separate us. Yet, through literal interpretation it creates a divide within our kind, whereas symbolic interpretation – seeing that all of them address the same design of our spiritual natures – brings us together.   Therefore, what we are beginning to see is the merging Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish spiritual traditions into one system with common sacred truths creating a powerful system of guidance that can enhance our minds and bodies and show us how to manage our spirits within the world. The more we seek what is the same in all of us the more our symbolic sight gains authority to direct us.

As we shift our attention away from the external world and into the internal world learning symbolic sight, we will soon see that we are all the same, and the spiritual challenges we face are all the same. This new way of thinking will see us challenging our notions and ideas about God, taught through our churches, as we search for a more intimate connection with Him.   This search may bring us back to traditional beliefs or lead us to find new paths for spiritual fulfillment.

In either case, harmonizing mind and body will play more of a central role as we begin to understand that we create our own reality. In turn this will usher in a new phase of consciousness which marks the beginning of a transition from “Homo sapiens [sapiens] to Homo noeticus – an awareness based on spiritual insight and vision.”(iii)

Artist: manu.escrit

I came into this world naked.
I was not Catholic, Hindu, White, Black,
or right or wrong about anything.
The costumes and assignments came later.
But at some point, the hats I was forced to wear made my head hurt.
And a hurting head impairs free thinking.
Seeing this, I have become fully responsible
for celebrating my nakedness – my natural state.
So I will organize and attend a costume party to celebrate
the clearing of my head and the opening of my heart.
And after that, the real party begins.
I came into this world naked.
I will leave this world naked.
That’s the easy part.
My new assignment is to exist in the natural condition
while I am here.
This is not a rebellion against anything,
it is a celebration of everything.

By ZEN MACHINIST

__________________

Endnotes:
(i) Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, Caroline Myss, PH.D. Three Rivers Press, 1996, p 64-66.
(ii) Compassionate Touch: The Body’s Role in Emotional Healing and Recovery, Dr. Clyde Ford, North Atlantic Books, 1999, p
(iii)  Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, Caroline Myss, PH. D., Harmony Books, 1997, p.88.


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