Here is something to get your teeth into.
"'Dark Matter' --
The Physical Basis for Mysticism"
©Deno Kazanis, Ph.D., 1997 (All Rights Reserved)
Any part of article may be copied providing credit is given.
The recent scientific concept of "dark matter" suggests that we should seriously reconsider the timeless mystical perception of the physical universe. This paper will show that the traditional physical description provided by mystics for subtle bodies and subtle matter would today be categorized as "dark matter," and that by taking these mystical concepts literally we can utilize this excellent mystical model as a physical basis for the understanding of numerous mystical and psychic phenomena.
Serious scientific investigations have been put forth in an effort to study phenomena such as subtle energies (qi or prana), psychic healing, clairvoyance, hands on healing, healing through prayer, near-death experiences, and out-of-body experiences to name a few. The accumulating scientific evidence has generated various models in an effort to account for each phenomenon independently. However, these modern scientists have overlooked the traditional comprehensive physical explanation which mysticism has provided for these and other related phenomena. Traditional mystical teachings assert that the creation of the universe is divided into several major planes of matter or consciousness, and that man, in addition to his visible body, has interpenetrating subtle bodies which are made up from each of these planes of matter. Most, if not all, of the spiritual writings and teachings that have emerged from every culture contain this concept.
Although the concepts of subtle matters and subtle bodies have been dismissed and ignored by scientists, mystics have persisted in this knowledge. Against this background we now have the recent scientific discovery of "dark matter" in the universe. Western scientists do not know what "dark matter" is, because we cannot readily detect it or see it, and yet it produces significant gravitational interactions. Theories fall into two broad categories: (A) large objects which do not emit light, such as the remnants of burnt out stars, like black holes and white dwarfs, and (B) small objects which are not composed of charged particles and are therefore not visible. "Dark matter" is not a rare or insignificant ingredient, but makes up at least 90% of the mass in the universe. This article will focus on the second category for "dark matter". As the author has stated in a previous article, and as will be shown here, the known properties of the uncharged form of "dark matter" would be consistent with the physical properties associated with mystical matter from other "planes", the matter that also constitutes the subtle bodies of humankind. We will show the role of "dark matter" subtle bodies in phenomena such as qi (or prana, or ki), clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, psychic healing, the power of prayer, and other extraordinary phenomena and will propose that this type of "dark matter" was present before (and therefore responsible for) the Big Bang which created visible matter.(1)
Our scientific understanding of physical phenomena in general has grown enormously in the past two centuries. During the 19th century our understanding of electromagnetic phenomena was pioneered, and the knowledge that electricity and magnetism are related phenomena and that light was a form of electromagnetic energy was established. The periodic table of the elements had been developed and essentially completed, and as we entered the 20th Century, science understood that the elements were composed of atoms, but believed those atoms to be the smallest "pieces" of solid matter. The valences of atoms were known, and therefore the chemical properties of atoms were thought to be "understood", even though it was not known "why" atoms had certain valences or what "basic force" was responsible for chemical reactions. With the discovery of the electron and the understanding that it was a part of the atom, and after a hard fought battle with classical mechanics, a new picture of matter and the atom emerged in quantum mechanics. Amazingly, the chemical properties of matter became attributable to electrical charge (the same electrical charge found to be responsible for light in the previous century). The atom was found to be made up of low mass, negatively charged electrons moving about a small but highly massive positively charged nucleus. From the point of view of the electric field, the atom appears solid, but from the point of view of mass, the atom appears very empty. Quantum mechanics showed that not only do we see objects because of electrical charge (and not because of the properties of mass) but we can hold and feel objects because of the properties of charge (and not because of the properties of mass).(2)
Presently, scientists with highly sophisticated instruments have explored distant galaxies, and have discovered and verified the existence of "dark matter". The detection of "dark matter" has to be made indirectly, through the observation of its gravitational effect. Because it has mass, "dark matter" can exert a gravitational pull on visible matter. So, looking into outer space with our most sophisticated instruments we can observe gravitational influences on distant stars, gas clouds, nebulae, galaxies and other celestial phenomena, but we cannot see the matter which produces the influences.(3) As was stated in a Smithsonian review article, "Today, we understand that what we normally think of as the 'galaxy' -- the pinwheel of stars -- is in fact only a part of the entire structure. It is surrounded by, and immersed in, a globe of unseen dark matter that makes up at least 90 percent of its mass. The real story of the Universe, it seems, is in its dark matter."(4)
"Dark matter" at this time can refer to any matter which is not readily detectable by ordinary astronomical observation, yet can produce a gravitational interaction. As mentioned, there are two broad categories for the explanation of "dark matter". It can be burnt out stars -- white dwarfs or black holes, or, more relevant to this paper, it can be matter which is not composed of electrically charged particles. This simple property makes this matter invisible to our normal vision, and also would give "dark matter" the ability to interpenetrate with visible matter, i.e., it could pass right through visible matter. Although the existence of uncharged particles is not new, the discovery of "dark matter" seems different from what is known to date in that it makes up at least 90% of the universe, and is apparently stable. This huge mass of stable matter possibly void of charged particles presents a universe very different from that envisioned by scientists just a few years ago, and suggests something very new (or perhaps very old). The property of "interpenetrability" of this type of "dark matter" with visible matter strikes a cord with the subtle matter of the mystical traditions. To clarify this let us explore the doctrine of subtle matter and the subtle bodies.
Mysticism is a discipline involved with knowledge and techniques which are of value in assisting the individual toward spiritual growth. It is a very pragmatic discipline, concerned with direct experience, or awareness of spiritual truth, of ultimate reality, etc., which can be attained through immediate intuition, insight, or illumination. Mystical methodology is not based on external experimentation, but internal observation. According to Lama Anagarika Govinda, "The mystic anatomy and physiology ... is not founded on the 'object-isolating' investigations of science, but on subjective -- though not less unprejudiced -- observations of inner processes, i.e., not on the dissection of dead bodies or on the external observation of the functions of human and animal organisms, but on the self-observation and on the direct experience of processes and sensations within one's body."(5) Mysticism regards intellectual knowledge as an aid to the direct experience of ultimate "truths", but not as an end in itself. This can be contrasted with modern science which is primarily an intellectual process, quite suspicious and skeptical of direct knowledge through experience.
As an age old tradition which continues to develop, mysticism is expansive, covering numerous concepts and doctrines. Exemplary among mystical teachings are those of India and Tibet, and of particular interest to this paper are those beliefs related to the subtle bodies of man (which form the physical basis of mysticism). According to this knowledge man is composed of several interpenetrating sheaths or subtle bodies called kosas, which are made up of matter from different planes, each of different relative density. The densest of these sheaths is what we normally regard as our physical body, the body that is visible to our normal vision, and which western science has explored in great detail. The other sheaths are not visible to our every day vision. The second sheath is a subtle, fine-material sheath named the prana-maya-kosa, known also as the prana or etheric body. This kosa gives the visible body life and consciousness through the prana. In western mysticism, the astral body is noted in addition to the etheric body, and is apparently combined with the pranic subtle body. The next even finer sheath is our 'thought body' or 'personality', the mano-maya-kosa (mental body). This body is necessary for rational and intellectual thinking. The fourth sheath is the body of our potential consciousness, named the vijnana-maya-kosa, which extends far beyond our active thoughts. It comprises the totality of our spiritual capacities and is apparently equivalent to the soul in western mysticism. "The last and finest sheath, which penetrates all previous ones, is the body of the highest, universal consciousness ... (ananda-maya-kosa). It is only experienced in a state of enlightenment, or in the highest states of meditation (dhyana), and corresponds in the terminology of the Mahayana to the 'Body of Inspiration' or 'Body of Bliss'."(6) These sheaths are not separate layers forming around a center, but are mutually penetrating forms of matter, from the finest matter down to the densest form of matter, which appears before us as our visible body. "The corresponding finer or subtler sheaths penetrate, and thus contain the grosser ones. Just as the material body is built up through nourishment, while being penetrated and kept alive by the vital forces of the prana, in the same way the body of active thought-consciousness penetrates the functions of prana and determines the form of bodily appearance."(7) Mind body, prana body, and visible body, however, are viewed as being penetrated and motivated by the still deeper and finer matter, in which the material that our thought and imagination draws its substance, is stored up. "It is therefore only the spiritual body ... which penetrates all the five layers and thus integrates all organs and faculties of the individual into one complete whole."(8) In mysticism, the finest matters appear to be associated with the deepest truths, or spiritual understandings.
Along with these sheaths or mystical bodies are the energy centers or chakras, which are also not visible to our normal vision. The chakras "collect, transform and distribute the forces flowing through them. ... From them radiate secondary streams of psychic force, comparable to the spokes of a wheel, the ribs of an umbrella, or the petals of a lotus. In other words, these chakras are at points in which 'psychic forces' and bodily functions merge into each other or penetrate each other."(9) There are seven centers of psycho-cosmic force, the lowest of these is the Muladhara chakra (Root-support), and is located (relative to the visible body), at the base of the spine (the sacral plexus). The next-higher one is called the Svadhisthana chakra. In Tibetan Buddhism, this center is usually not mentioned or regarded as an independent center, but is combined with the Muladhara chakra, under the name 'sang-na', the 'Secret Place'. It corresponds to the sacral plexus, and stands for the whole realm of reproductive forces. The next center is at the solar plexus and is called Manipura chakra (naval-lotus), and stands for the forces of transformation, in the physical as well as in the psychic sense. The center that corresponds to the heart area is called the Anahata chakra, which regulates and controls the organs of respiration, just as the heart does. The three highest centers are the Throat center, Visuddha (pure) chakra, corresponding to the plexus cervicus in the visible body; the Ajna (command) chakra, corresponding to the position between the eyebrows (the medulla oblongata); and the Crown chakra called Sahasrara-Padma, the 'Thousand-petalled Lotus', which is associated with the pituitary gland in the visible body. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Ajna chakra is not separately mentioned, but is regarded as part of the Sahasrara-Padma or Crown chakra.(10)
Connecting the sheaths (kosas) and chakras are subtle vessels called nadis, which serve as conductors of the energies that flow through the subtle bodies. To a certain extent, they parallel the nerve-system in the body, and they are very numerous. However, there are three major nadis - the central channel or susumna, which runs like a hollow channel through the center of the spinal column (relative to the visible body) and the ida and pingala, which are two channels wrapped around the susumna-nadi in a spiral fashion, starting from the left and the right nostrils respectively, and meeting susumna in the perineum at the base of the spine. They establish a direct connection among the seven chakras. In Tibetan descriptions, pingala and ida are often simply called the 'right and left nadi', and there is no mention of a spiral movement of these nadis around the susumna.(11)
With our ordinary vision we cannot see the mystical subtle bodies, or the chakras, or the nadis, but all these bodies and chakras interact with each other to form the whole human being. To function as a human being, we are constantly using these subtle bodies even though we are not conscious of them. To the true practitioner of mysticism, these truths are as real to them as scientific truths are to the scientist. By turning inward mysticism has concentrated its exploration of the universe on those concepts which are of value to spiritual growth.
EAST MEETS WEST
The "dark matter" of interest to this paper can be defined as matter which is void of charged particles and therefore cannot be seen with our normal vision and can interpenetrate with visible matter. For example, if the universe contained "atoms" which were held together by a "force" other than the electromagnetic force, these "atoms" would not be visible to our normal vision and could interpenetrate with visible atoms. Recalling what we know of the mystical properties of subtle bodies and subtle matter, the subtle bodies capable of interpenetrating our visible body must be composed of various forms of uncharged "dark matter", if they physically exist (have mass). Interpenetration with visible matter is a property of "dark matter" which is void of charged particles. What the mystics were describing was a type of "dark matter" long before scientists discovered "dark matter". How could they have known that such a matter could exist? In our everyday life we are unaware of the existence of these subtle bodies, but the true mystics have developed techniques which makes it possible for them to experience the universe from the perspective of their subtle bodies. In so doing they can look out upon the universe and observe the "dark matter" with their "dark matter" subtle body vision. Long before "dark matter" was discovered, C.W. Leadbeater said "All these varieties of finer matter exist not only in the world without, but they exist in man also. He has not only the physical body which we see, but he has within him what we may describe as bodies appropriate to these various planes of nature, and consisting in each case of their matter."(12) Through our visible body we are able to experience the visible world, and through the different unique types of subtle matter of which we consist, man can experience the corresponding outer world when he becomes conscious of that respective subtle body. Again, Leadbeater says "The soul of man has not one body but many bodies, for when he is sufficiently evolved he is able to express himself on all these different levels of nature, and he is therefore provided with a suitable vehicle of matter belonging to each, and it is through these various vehicles that he is able to receive impressions from the world to which they correspond."(13) To the mystic who has acquired awareness of his subtle bodies, "dark matter" is not dark.
Furthermore, looking at the accounts of individuals who have experienced these other planes of matter (such as during near-death experiences or in mystical states), it would appear that the sense of time and space associated with these various forms of subtle matter are different from that associated with visible matter. Each subtle body seems to have a unique sense of time and space, and this suggests that time-space relationships are dependent upon the type of matter one is conscious of or experiencing. Clearly this would make it very difficult to communicate these experiences to those familiar with only our usual sense of time and space. Examples of descriptions of mystical impressions of these planes of matter might be found in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg or Rudolf Steiner, or the art of Alex Gray.
We need to consider where subtle "dark matter" came from. Our scientific understanding of the Big Bang as a single energy event which presumably created simultaneously all matter and time and space, is, interestingly enough, not the likely source of the "dark matter" we are discussing. The traditional view of mysticism is that the more dense forms of matter were born out of the finer forms of matter, a Creation which "is divided into seven major planes of consciousness or matter"(14). Our present scientific understanding of the origins of the Universe indicate that matter was created out of the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago. Our understanding of this event is sufficient that these unique types of subtle "dark matter" were not very likely formed in that event. Subtle "dark matter", however, could have existed before the Big Bang, because our comprehension of the Big Bang is based on the behavior of visible (luminous) matter. The microwave background radiation of the universe (the "echo" of the Big Bang), and primordial nucleosynthesis (Big Bang atomic nuclear production) are the two quantitative tests supporting the hot Big Bang Theory. Of course both of these phenomena are based on radiation producing (luminous matter) observation, as is also the red shift which originally indicated an expanding universe. We can no longer assume that all matter was created at the Big Bang, even though luminous matter clearly was. Some form of "dark matter" may have existed before the Big Bang. While this may seem like a highly speculative consideration, it is equally speculative to presume at this time that all forms of "dark matter" were created out of the Big Bang. Thus the concept of "dark matter" forces us to reconsider the presently held belief that nothing existed (except perhaps a singularity) before the Big Bang. It would be premature to conclude, with our present knowledge of the Universe, that ALL forms of matter were created at the Big Bang.(15)
The cosmological value of this possibility will be in its ability to resolve any anomalies which presently exist in our understanding of the universe. To have some sort of primordial "dark matter" present before the Big Bang would indicate that the Big Bang was created out of a certain percentage of this primordial "dark matter," but not all of it was "converted" to luminous matter. Thus we still have much of this primordial "dark matter" around.
The existence of subtle "dark matter" before the Big Bang may explain the cosmological issue concerning why matter is not spread evenly through the universe, as cosmologists would expect. Instead the stars are gathered into galaxies, galaxies are gathered into groups and clusters, and these, in turn, are gathered into superclusters. Until about 300,000 years after the Big Bang, the visible matter in the Universe was a hot, turbulent plasma. "If any clumping had started, the intense pressure of the radiation in the plasma would have blown it apart. Only after 300,000 years or so, when the Universe had cooled off to the point that those nuclei could capture electrons (and thus become the atoms we are familiar with) could gravitational collecting get started. Unfortunately for Cosmologists, by then it was too late -- not only was matter too thinly spread to form superclusters, clusters and groups, it was too diffuse even to make the kinds of galaxies we see all around us."(16) What is needed to account for this is "dark matter" which is unaffected by light or this intense radiation, i.e. matter not composed of charged particles, an example of which is subtle "dark matter". Intense radiation would pass through this "dark matter" and so it would not experience the intense pressure. Thus the formation of clumps early on would be possible. Measurements made by the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (COBE) of radiation emitted around this time of interest shows that visible matter in the universe was indeed highly clustered, even back then. Physicists have hypothesized a class of "dark matter" subatomic particles known as weakly interacting massive particles (WIMP's) which could explain the clustering. WIMP's would have been produced at the Big Bang, are without charge, but would be more massive than neutrons and protons which make up the nucleus of the atom. They remain undetected to date. "Dark matter" present before (and clearly after) the Big Bang seems a plausible alternative.
Recent research into the nature of "dark matter" has yielded some interesting results. Astronomers in Australia directed their telescopes at the Large Magellanic Cloud (a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way) in a sophisticated effort to detect massive pieces of "dark matter" in the Milky Way. We know we can't detect "dark matter" directly -- it wouldn't be "dark" if we could. This technique involves taking advantage of the focusing effect of light by gravity. What can be looked for is a brightening and fading of the background stars in the Magellanic Cloud, apparently due to a massive piece of "dark matter" passing between us and the Cloud. The brightening effect can potentially last from hours to years, depending on the size of the "dark matter". This technique involves taking pictures each night for several years, of 9 to 10 million stars in the Cloud and computer analyzing the photographs for changes in brightness. The researchers observed several such brightening and fading events with an average time of two and a half months. This gave "dark matter" size estimates from one-tenth the mass of the Sun to the mass of the Sun. This is the right size range for white dwarfs.(17) This would account for about 20% of the "dark matter" in the Universe. However, these events could be caused by anything which could produce gravity, even massive pieces of subtle "dark matter", as discussed in this paper.
It is known today that man is composed of matter created by the Big Bang and aged in the stars, but this new understanding of subtle "dark matter" makes, as Ajit Mookerjee says, "The individual manifestation ... like a spark of the cosmos, as the human organism, the microcosm, parallels everything in the macrocosm. The complete drama of the universe is repeated here, in this very body."(18) Mysticism would say that we are composed of sheaths of matter, matter which was created at each major event in the universe, when different types of matter were "condensed" or formed, and the last of these "events" was the Big Bang, which was the beginning of our visible matter. The seven days of Creation may refer to the seven stages or events in the Creation of the Universe. This can be viewed from the point of view of consciousness or matter, since the sense of time and space appears to be associated with the type of matter involved. Instead of the universe going from no time-space-matter, to our present sense of time-space-matter, the universe was created in different stages of time-space-matter. So time and space are dependent upon the form of matter one is dealing with or conscious of. It would appear then that consciousness on the subjective level equates to matter and the time-space associated with it on the objective level. One cannot say which causes which, or which is more fundamental, and, therefore, ultimately, consciousness and matter are the same thing.
This suggests that the physics of subtle "dark matter" is incomparable. This would suggest a universe composed of various "unique" types of matter with unique properties, a unique force to interact with, and a unique sense of time-space. These various types of "dark matter" which make up the various kosas, may have to be named "pranic" matter, "mano" matter, "vijnana" matter, etc. We can further state that each unique type of "dark matter" can strongly interact with its own type in a way analogous to how visible matter interacts with visible matter. Each type of "dark matter" can generate its own unique form of energy, in a manner perhaps analogous to how charge generates electromagnetic energy. Long range interactions can then occur between corresponding forms of subtle "dark matter". This is not readily visible or detectable by electromagnetic seeking devices (including our eyes), but could be observed when one experience one's corresponding subtle body and sees the world through it.
The existence of the subtle bodies and chakras provides a strong theoretical basis for the explanation of numerous phenomena, such as qi (ki, prana), out of body experiences, near death experiences, clairvoyance, energy healing through touch and prayer, reincarnation, and other related phenomena. And exploration of these phenomena provide very convincing evidence for the existence of subtle bodies, and that the universe includes enormously more than comes within the range of ordinary vision and present day science. Furthermore, a "dark matter" subtle body theory can shed light and provide possible insights into numerous other topics. Let us take a look at some of these phenomena.
The concept of a subtle energy, or qi, appears to be universal. It is regarded as the primordial life force itself, and is given different names by different cultures (qi in China, prana in India, ankh in Ancient Egypt, arunquiltha by the Australian Aborigine, mana in Polynesia, pneuma in Ancient Greece, tane in Hawaii, orenda by the Iroquois, ki in Japan, etc.).
In the west, one finds "many published reports of experiments in which persons were able to influence a variety of cellular and other biological systems through mental means. The target for these investigations have included bacteria, yeast, fungi, mobile algae, plants, protozoa, larvae, insects, chicks, mice, rats, gerbils, cats, dogs, and well as cellular preparations (blood cells, neurons, cancer cells) and enzyme activities. In human 'target persons,' eye movements, muscular movements, electrodermal activity, plethysmographic activity, respiration and brain rhythms have been affected through direct mental influence."(19) However, western science can't precisely say what subtle energies are, can't specify the mechanism of subtle energies, can't credit a given therapeutic result to subtle energies with certainty, and can't say who is a legitimate subtle energy practitioner.(20)
Subtle energy, or qi has both local and nonlocal effects and is associated with prevention of disease, healing, the martial arts, as well as spiritual growth. In Esoteric Taoism, circulation of qi along pathways inside the "body" is capable of producing improvements in health and life, and there are many methods of circulating qi, from acupuncture/acupressure, to specialized movements (qi-gong), to meditation. Through Taoist meditation techniques one can attract external qi in through the chakras. In Kriya Yoga, prana can be developed through asanas (postures), mudras (gestures), mantras (seed-sound syllables), and bandhas (muscular contractions).(21) Qi or prana has properties that are not explainable in terms of physical matter as we know it. Although some have suggested that qi is a form of electromagnetic energy, it would have been all too easily detectable if this were so. Furthermore, it would require an entire electromagnetic information transmitting system, and a complete information receiving and interpreting system, which living systems do not seem to have. Traditionally, prana is associated with the subtle body called the prana-maya-kosa. The failure of the west to verify such a subtle body has led to alternative models about qi or prana. But with the understanding that "dark matter" (pranic matter) makes up the prana-maya-kosa, it would appear that qi or prana is simply a form of "dark matter" and/or the energy transmitted by "dark matter", which is why it has been so difficult to establish a physical basis. Direct interactions between subtle bodies composed of pranic matter is quite possible, and skilled practitioners of qi or prana have perfected techniques which enable them to transmit this energy externally. Qi can also affect the subtle bodies by entering through the chakras and transmitted through the body by the nadis. We should also mention that qi and prana are discussed in various ways, and so although one normally is referring to the "dark matter" and/or the energy transmitted by this "pranic" matter, some references to finer forms of qi may be in regard to the finer forms of "dark matter" (such as mano matter or vijnana matter) and/or the energy transmitted by them.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF HEALING
There is a large body of research which has been performed that supports both local and nonlocal energy based alternative therapies, such as the power of prayer, spiritual and psychic healing, hands on healing techniques (biofield), and oriental medicine. Numerous models have been proposed to explain these phenomena. In view of our understanding of subtle "dark matter" and the knowledge of the subtle bodies of mysticism, let us see what insights the combining of science and mysticism shed of the process by which these alternative therapies operate.
The very ancient alternative therapy is Traditional Oriental Medicine, contains the basic feature of this therapy is the qi (or prana). This concept has already been discussed. Qi energy can effect the subtle bodies through the meridians or the chakras. The visible physical body can in turn be easily effected. This "dark matter" subtle body explanation for qi can also implement a basis for essentially all biofield therapies and therefore provide and satisfy the desired scientific basis.
Energy healing or the laying-on of hands is an ageless tradition of therapy. It is believed to operate directly by transferring healing energy from one person to another. Most practitioners believe that this biofield extends outward from the body, so actual touching is unnecessary. They also believe that it is energized by an energy source which they mediate. Clearly we are dealing here with the "dark matter" etheric and/or astral subtle bodies. The role of the etheric body is to "act as a receiver, assimilator, and transmitter of prana".(22) Thus the subtle bodies may supply a simple and direct way for healing via the prana-maya-kosa. A healing touch would presumably allow the qi or prana in that corresponding subtle body of the patient to flow properly, which in turn can have beneficial effects on the visible body.
Even healing techniques where there is physical manipulation of the body, such as massage and others, there can be balancing of the energy fields through the nadis or meridians. And because the major chakras are located along the spine and in the cranium, they can be significantly effected by spinal manipulation and cranial-sacral therapies -- even when the manipulation is very gentle, since the hands are immersed in the pranic/etheric or astral body of the client.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
There is considerable scientific evidence for the healing power of prayer and its effectiveness in medicine, as shown by Dr. Larry Dossey. However, Dossey also points out that "We simply don't know how the mind of one person can engage in 'action at a distance' to bring about the healthful changes...". Conventional forms of energy are an insufficient explanation for what we observe in spiritual healing experiments. In them the 'energy' does not fade away with increasing distance, and it cannot be shielded, as we would expect if ordinary forms of energy were involved."(23) Clearly "dark matter" and subtle body theory could present a simple explanation since "dark matter" not composed of charged particles is essentially unaffected by visible matter. Energy in the form of thought could be transmitted by the mano-maya-kosa of one person and received by the mano-maya-kosa of another person. This mental body is capable of transmitting thoughts from one mental body to another. Normally we are not aware of these thoughts, but if one is conscious of the mano-maya-kosa, one can perceive these thoughts. As C.W. Leadbeater puts it, "In man's physical body there is etheric matter as well as solid matter which is visible to us ... and this etheric matter is readily visible to the clairvoyant. In the same way a more highly developed clairvoyant, who is capable of perceiving the more refined astral matter, sees the man represented at that level by a mass of that matter, which is in reality his body or vehicle as regards that plane; and exactly the same thing is true with regard to the mental plane in its turn. ... Every time that we think, we set in motion the mental matter within us, and a thought is clearly visible to a clairvoyant as a vibration in the matter, set up first of all within the man, and then affecting matter of the same degree of density in the world around him. But before this thought can be effective on the physical [visible] plane it has to be transferred from that mental matter into astral matter; and when it has excited similar vibrations in that, the astral matter in its turn affects the etheric matter, creating sympathetic vibrations in it; and that in turn acts upon the denser physical matter, the gray matter of the brain."(24) The energy transmitted on this level of fine matter would not only be unaffected by visible matter, but the space-time relationships associated with the matter of the mano-maya-kosa are so different, that our normal sense of distance would be irrelevant. These thoughts (energy) received by the mano-maya-kosa could in turn effect the gray matter of the brain or organs and stimulate action on the psychoneuroendocrine pathway or the psychoneuro-immunological pathways. Psychic energy can enter through the chakras as well. This type of model elegantly accounts for nonlocal spiritual and psychic healing.
Mankind has invariably been intrigued with clairvoyance, but its status has always been in question, even though convincing evidence has been presented. The subtle body doctrine of mysticism has offered a simple explanation for clairvoyance. As mentioned, the mental body (or mano-maya-kosa) is capable of transmitting thoughts from one mental body to another. If we have physical subtle "dark matter" mano-maya-kosa's, clairvoyance is a distinct possibility.
Astrology is routinely dismissed by the scientific community because it cannot be explained in a causal way in terms of our present understanding of the physical universe. It is often suggested that only ancient or so-called "primitive" cultures that didn't know better, could believe such things. Typical arguments state that the ancients thought that celestial objects were only a short distance overhead, but modern man knows that the stars and the planets are enormously remote. However, this knowledge did not deter Sir Isaac Newton from finding value in astrology, or in this century Carl Jung, who attempted to explain phenomena such as astrology through a concept referred to as "synchronicity", an idea related to Swedenborg's Law of Correspondence.
However, in dealing with "dark matters", which have a different sense of time and space, astrology could also be explained causally as well. If astrology is based upon causal effects on our subtle bodies (and it is traditionally regarded as such) produced by "dark matter" energy (qi), then indeed, the "dark matter" energies directed at us from "distant" parts of the universe (say in the directions of constellations and planets) which seem so distant in terms of our visible matter, may not be so distant in terms of "dark matter" time-space. These energies could, therefore, have a causal effect upon our subtle bodies. What we might see with our "dark matter" subtle body vision as we look out upon the Universe would be quite different. In the time-space of "dark matter", perhaps celestial objects are only a short distance overhead.
When it comes to other peoples beliefs, be it so called primitive cultures or ancient cultures, the western world with its scientific perspective regards those views often as superstitious, and seldom suspects that there is anything of significance (particularly of scientific significance) that these cultures have to teach us. The tendency has been to disregard all mythic concepts as superstitious. We have "taught" other cultures to suppress their beliefs or understandings of the universe in our presence, and they obligingly do so. As a result, we miss out on some valuable concepts, knowledge, and wisdom. We always (and naturally so) try to analyze their lives in terms of our present understandings of the universe, i.e. in terms of what we presently "know". To do so is to ignore the great potential for mystery, and may lead us far from our present limited understandings.
The ancient Egyptians had a system of knowledge which accommodated the world we can see with our normal vision, but also included matter not visible to our ordinary vision. To them subtle "dark matter" was apparently as visible and as much a part of their world as visible matter, and they lived accordingly. They were aware of numerous subtle bodies and prepared well for the life they would live after death. This was paramount to their thinking, and how they lived, and how they died. A highly evolved culture, they knew that there were ways to affect the subtle matter through meaningful actions, such as spiritual ritual. The mummies of Egypt were symbols of transformation - preparation and assistance for the dying in the after death existence. They apparently had a better sense of the totality of their being than it seems we have today.
Carl Jung has written considerably upon the subject of alchemy, exploring the incredible images presented to the world through this system. As an Analyst he found great value in the structure and source of these rich symbols and utilized them accordingly. Alchemy seems to hold such contradictory information that logic and common sense are of limited value. It is a journey, a path. All of our present day sciences grew out of Alchemy - our chemistry, physics, medicine, astronomy, etc., had there birth in Alchemy. Newton himself was a great explorer of alchemy and spent much more time in these subjects then he did in the traditional western sciences.
The words and images utilized by the alchemists are easily misunderstood. One might mock the idea of 5 "elements" in this system, but the use of "elements" is not at all the way we use the term "elements" today in science. The term is used to represent the 5 basic constituents of both the objective and subjective universe. That is, the 5 "element" theory needs to be understood through Swedenborg's Law of Correspondence, and not from logical science. In the system of subtle bodies, we find that the chakras are related to each phase of energy represented by an "element". In ascending order they are named earth, water, fire, air, ether. The root center (Muladhara chakra) is "associated with the 'element' earth, [whose] 'quality' is cohesiveness and inertia. This level is one in which one may remain content, experiencing no desire to change or expand into any other state." The Svadhisthana chakra is connected with the water "element" (an energy that tends to flow downward), the Manipura chakra with the fire "element" (an upward, consuming movement like flames), Anahat with the air "element" (characterized by a tendency to revolve in different directions and to relate itself to other possibilities), and the Visuddha chakra with the "element" ether (like a vessel in which all the "elements" mingle).(25) The 5 "element" theory applies to both the objective world and the subjective world of personality and consciousness. The idea here is not one of manipulation, but to simply see or experience the world from the 5 "element" perspective which is a great spiritual exercise.
NEAR DEATH AND REINCARNATION
The knowledge of the subtle bodies makes an existence after death comprehensible. The subtle body doctrine provides a vehicle (the soul) for our existence after the death of our visible body. It makes it easy to believe and understand, and is consistent with human experiences.
A. Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences
We cannot give adequate attention to this subject here, but briefly, people having near-death experiences report experience of: leaving their visible body and observing themselves from a distance; having a form which varied from an amorphous cloud to energy patterns, or pure consciousness, or having a body, but one that was permeable, invisible, and inaudible to those in the phenomenal world; having feelings in some cases of confusion, in other cases ecstatic feelings of timelessness, weightlessness, serenity and tranquillity; passing through a dark enclosed space such as a cave or tunnel; encountering other beings, such as dead relatives or friends, "guardian spirits", "spirit guides" or a "light being" who shows qualities of love, warmth, compassion and a sense of humor; communication through thought; a life review, self-judgment or divine judgment in which they describe an understanding of the consequences of their past actions and thoughts during their life. They frequently have knowledge of events which occurred at some distance away.
Near-death and out-of-body experiences, from the point of view of the subtle bodies and "darkmatter" are the spontaneous awareness and identification with the subtle bodies, and the separation of these bodies from the visible body. It is not clear at what level this separation occurs, which may vary depending upon the experience. Generally, for out-of-body experiences, the subtle bodies could separate at the level of the astral body, but for the near-death experiences, the separation would probably occur at the mental body or mano-maya-kosa
B. After Death
It may seem difficult to believe that knowledge of after death could be obtained, but if we have a physical soul composed of a very fine form of "dark matter", then it becomes more possible to accept that some knowledge of after death could be acquired. The after death events appear to be very similar to near-death experiences. Discussions of the experiences which take place after death can be found in such books as Rudolf Steiner's Life Between Death and Rebirth, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, and Sogyal Rinpoche's book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Although there appear to be differences in the specifics of the after death happenings, one must remember that the experiences of these states have a very different time-space relationship associated with them and far beyond our ability to comprehend from our present state of consciousness. Symbolic and representational art are therefore utilized to convey these after death events, as is some iconographical art of Tibetan Buddhism and shamanism.
The death experience has been examined physically as well. Over the years, various researchers have attempted to show a loss of weight of the human body upon death. The most explicit research of this phenomena occurred at the Technical University of Berlin which reported that after weighing over 200 terminally ill patients just before and immediately after death, there was a weight loss of 1/3,000th of an ounce.(26)
Another common belief in mysticism and also numerous cultures throughout the world is reincarnation. In many cultures it is not unusual for individuals to recall a previous existence, and to know about the people who lived in the village of this previous existence. It is believed by mysticism, that upon death the causal body (made from part of the mental body) the soul (and the more subtle bodies) have a relatively longer existence. The more dense subtle bodies (prana-maya-kosa), and astral body do not leave the visible body immediately upon death. With a "dark matter" subtle body which does not die at death (the soul), then reincarnation is clearly a possibility. It is generally believed that the kind of rebirth a person has is determined by the nature of our actions in this one. However, "Those who master the laws of karma and achieve realization can choose to return in life after life to help others."(27)
One hundred years ago atoms were thought to be solid, indivisible particles and therefore could not interpenetrate with other atoms, but mysticism still maintained that the subtle interpenetrating bodies made of "matter from other planes", did exist. With the development of Quantum Mechanics, the atom was no longer viewed as solid in terms of mass, but did have a solid appearance from the point of view of the electric field. This means that if there were "atoms" held together by some force other than the electromagnetic force, these "atoms" would be invisible to our normal vision and could interpenetrate with our visible atoms. These "atoms" could interact with each other through their own respective binding force, much like visible atoms interact with visible atoms through their binding electromagnetic force. In some ways it is surprising that such an idea has never been suggested by modern scientist.
If humankind was indeed composed of subtle bodies made up of different types of subtle "dark matter", and if we were capable of "shifting" our consciousness to these other subtle bodies, then we would indeed experience the world of that type of matter, much like mysticism states.
This type of subtle matter would fall into the broad category of "dark matter" because it would not be visible to our ordinary vision, but could produce gravitational effects. We could be immersed in it and would not know it. It seems, therefore, that we cannot rule out the physical description of the universe which the mystics provide. As evidence for the existence of such subtle "dark matter", we need only look at the growing scientific evidence for phenomena such as qi or prana, the power of prayer, psychic phenomena such as clairvoyance and other paranormal phenomena, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, reincarnation, etc.
The subtle body doctrine of mysticism has passed the test of time, being a part of our most ancient to modern cultures, throughout the world. It provides an excellent foundation for the explanation of numerous phenomena (as included in this article) so that even without a physical basis it is a valuable system well worth exploring and utilizing. Its success in mystical traditions and the scientific verification of much of the phenomena mentioned here are sufficient to warrant subtle body theory as a valuable doctrine. Truly, it needs no further proof. However, the recent scientific concept of "dark matter" provides a new understanding of what the mystics refer to as subtle matter and so the possibility for a connection between mysticism and western science is quite real and could be of great benefit.
This would suggest that we have a soul, and it is physical, even though it is a very fine form of physical "dark matter". But we must be aware that intellectual understanding of this doctrine will not enlighten mankind; we must obtain an experiential awareness of the subtle bodies in order to truly benefit from these teachings. In so doing, we will be able to live our lives from a deeper understanding of the nature of man and of our position in the universe. We will better understand the repercussions of our actions and decisions, on a personal level, a social level, and a global level.
Science seems to be in a perpetual state of believing it has the truth, despite its history of conceptual revolutions. This failure to accept the idea of "mysterium" is surprising, because there will always be a great mystery out there waiting to be discovered. The Universe is not so small, nor so comprehensible as to lend itself to total analysis by a logical science. This does not diminish the value of science, but simply places it in an appropriate perspective. Science provides one type of insight into the workings of the universe, but not the only insight. The Arts certainly provide another experiential route to knowledge, and mysticism provides yet another. Perhaps this overlap between science, art and mysticism will help us to understand our role in the universe, and to appreciate the universe as the extraordinary multifaceted phenomena it is. If we can equate the subtle bodies and subtle energies with the concept of "dark matter" this will give us a conceptual basis from which to work.
"Dark matter" is just as real as visible matter, all be it a subtler form of matter. With "dark matter", science will have many new frontiers to explore. The impact that "dark matter" will have on science in the 21st Century may be greater than the impact of quantum mechanics and DNA in the 20th Century. We will be exploring a subtle matter and a subtle human anatomy and physiology. Although there have been significant explorations of subtle energies, further explorations of the subtle energies may be more successful and expansive in view of this new understanding. We can better approach this problem perhaps by using meditative techniques to shift our consciousness to the subtle bodies and observe the world objectively from that perspective. This may aid western scientists to better understand the interactions which "dark matter" has, particularly with visible matter. Mainstream scientist are not presently looking for "dark matter" in man. They need to. The details of how the subtle bodies and chakras interact with the world around them and the visible body need to be better understood, although we have a great legacy of mysticism to aid us. I suspect that we will not be able to apply western scientific methodology effectively until we can experience subtle matter directly. Even then, science and medicine will undergo a significant revolution in its thinking and its methodology.
All that we see or seem/ Is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allen Poe