The Human Heart is a Supersensible Organ of Perception
By Douglas Gabriel
Chapter Seven: Eastern Wisdom of the Etheric Heart
“Streams of butter flow from the ocean of the heart . . . our words flow together like rivers, made clear by understanding deep within the heart… the whole universe is set in your essence within the ocean, within the heart.”Rig Veda (4.58.5-6)
The endless/eternal knot, net, or web denotes the auspicious mark emblematic of love and the human heart. It is a symbol of the ultimate unity of everything. It represents the intertwining of wisdom and compassion, the inseparability of “emptiness” and “interdependent origination” in enlightenment. It is the symbol of harmony and one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. It overlaps without a beginning or an end, symbolizing the Buddha’s endless wisdom and compassion.
The shrivatsa is an auspicious mark that adorns the breast of Vishnu. Shrivatsa means ‘beloved of Shri’ and refers to the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Lakshmi’s insignia on Vishnu’s breast represents the devotion in his heart for his consort, and since Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and good fortune, the shrivatsa forms a natural auspicious symbol. The shrivatsa either takes the form of a triangular swirl (vortex), or an upright diamond with loops at its four inter-cardinal corners.
Krishna, as the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, also bears the shrivatsa at the center of his chest. Another name given is ‘curl of happiness’, and this curl is shaped like a Greek hooked-cross. Indian and Chinese representations of the Buddha frequently show the nandyavarta or swastika on his breast as a symbol of his enlightened mind.
Another possible derivation of both the endless knot and swastika arose from the S-shaped markings on the hood of the cobra. This in turn gave rise to the nagayantra, where two or more entwining snakes form an endless knot design or yantra. The endless knot or granthi also appears on clay seals from the early Indus valley civilization (circa 2500 BCE).
In its final evolution as a geometric Buddhist symbol, the eternal knot or ‘lucky diagram’, which is described as ‘turning like a swastika’, was identified with the shrivatsa-svastika, since these parallel symbols were common to most early Indian traditions of the astamangala (The Eight Auspicious Symbols).
The eternal, endless, or mystic knot is common to many ancient traditions, and became particularly innovative in Islamic and Celtic designs. In China it is a symbol of longevity, continuity, love, and harmony. As a symbol of the Buddha’s mind the eternal knot represents the Buddha’s endless wisdom and compassion. As a symbol of the Buddha’s teachings it represents the continuity of the ‘twelve links of dependent origination’, which underlies the reality of cyclic existence.
The Box Around the Wish Fulfilling Stone
In Buddhism, the cintamani is said to be one of four relics that came in a chest that fell from the sky [many terma (teachings) fell from the sky in caskets] during the reign of the first king of Tibet, Lha Thothori Nyantsen. Though the king did not understand the purpose of the objects, he kept them in a position of great reverence. Several years later, two mysterious strangers appeared at the court of the king, explaining the four relics, which included the Buddha’s bowl and a mani stone (cintamani stone) with the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra inscribed on it. These few objects were the “bringers of the Dharma” to Tibet.
Inside the “box” that fell from heaven was a mani-jewel (cintamani stone), which is a magical holy grail which manifests whatever one wishes for whether treasures, clothing, food, drink, or any desire can be manifested. The wish-fulfilling stone grants health and can remove suffering and sickness and life itself can be enhanced. It is the source of the Buddha’s teachings and virtues given by the Buddhas in the sky – Tushita Heaven.
The Wishing Fulfilling Tree – Cintamani Jewel
Just below the anahata or heart chakra is a space called the Ananda Kanda, which means the ‘root of bliss.’ It is the secret inner altar where the personalized deity is worshipped. It is a center where devotion is intensified. Here is said to be the Celestial Wish-Fulfilling Tree – the Kalpa Taru or Kalpavriksha. It is one of the beneficial things that was manifested during the churning of the ocean of milk during creation.
In this heart cave one is said to receive what one truly wishes for, if the intention/will is strong enough. In some places, the Kalpa Taru becomes the ‘cintamani’ or Wish-Fulfilling Jewel. It is still a tree, this cintamani, located on an island in the middle of a beautiful lake, which is itself in the middle of a beautiful garden. It is the tree of bounty, able to provide all needs. The Atman, the “I am”, is said to live there. It is sometimes described variously as red or white or pink. It is the spiritual heart.
Heart: Chinese Fire-energy
The heart is called the King of the organs and commands all of the organs and viscera, houses the spirit, and controls the emotions. In Chinese, the word for heart (hsin) is also used to denote ‘mind.’ When the heart is strong and steady, it controls the emotions; when it is weak and wavering, the emotions rebel and prey upon the heart-mind, which then loses its command over the body.
Physiologically, the heart controls the circulation and distribution of blood, and therefore all the other organs depend upon it for sustenance. Thoughts and emotions influence the function of various organs via pulse and blood pressure, which are controlled by the heart, where emotions arise. Internally, the heart is functionally associated with the thymus gland, which is located in the same cavity and forms a mainstay of the immune system. Extreme emotions such as grief and anger have an immediate suppressive effect on the immune system by inhibiting thymus function.
Externally, the heart is related to the tongue, to which it is connected by the heart muscle. The color and texture of the tongue thus reflect the condition of the heart. Speech impediments such as stuttering and mutism are often caused by dysfunction or imbalance in heart energy. Facial complexion, which is a direct reflection of blood circulation, is also a major external indicator of heart function. Fire energy makes the heart the dominant organ of summer, during which season the heart must increase circulation to the surface in order to dissipate excess body heat.
The heart’s associated organ is the small intestine; its element is fire. Long-term memory, thinking, emotions, intimacy, cognition, intelligence, and ideas are all dominated by the function of the heart. The heart is sometimes called ‘The Emperor’, or ‘supreme controller of all Yin and Yang organs.’ The heart houses the body’s spirit. The heart dominates sleep; if the heart is strong the patient will fall asleep easily and sleep soundly. If the heart is weak, the patient’s mind will “float,” resulting in an inability to fall asleep, disturbed sleep, or excessive dreaming. The heart’s positive psycho-emotional attributes are love, joy, peace, contentment, propriety, insight, wisdom, orderliness, forgiveness, and courtesy. Its negative attributes are hate, guilt, shock, nervousness, excitement, longing, and craving.
Traditional Pulse Diagnosis
Pulse diagnosis is a diagnostic technique used in Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Mongolian medicine, Siddha medicine, traditional Tibetan medicine, and Unani.
In Ayurveda, advocates claim that by taking a pulse examination, humoral imbalances can be diagnosed.
Ayurvedic pulse measurement is done by placing index, middle and ring finger on the wrist. The index finger is placed below the wrist bone on the thumb side of the hand (radial styloid). Pulse can be measured in the superficial, middle, and deep levels thus obtaining more information regarding energy imbalance of the patient.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the pulse is divided into three positions on each wrist. There are several systems of diagnostic interpretation of pulse findings utilized in the Chinese medicine system. Some systems utilize overall pulse qualities, looking at changes in the assessed parameters of the pulse to derive one of the traditional 28 pulse types. The traditional 28 pulse types include Floating, Soggy, Empty, Leathery, Scattered, Hollow, Deep, Firm, Hidden, Long, Surging, Short, Rapid, Hasty, Hurried, Moderate, Slow, Knotted, Full, Thready, Minute, Slippery, Choppy, Wiry, Tight, Weak, Regularly intermittent, Rapid-irregular, and Stirred. They are analyzed based on several factors, including depth, speed, length, and fluid level.
Other approaches focus on individual pulse positions, looking at changes in the pulse quality and strength within the position, with each position having an association with a particular body area. For example, each of the paired pulse positions can represent the upper, middle and lower cavities of the torso, or are associated individually with specific organs. For example, the small intestine is said to be reflected in the pulse at the left superficial position, and the heart at the deep position.
The Heart Channel Pathway via Acupuncture Points
The major channel of acupuncture points begins at the heart and emerges via the surrounding blood vessels to pass down through the diaphragm to the small intestine. Another internal branch extends through the throat to the eye, and a connecting channel goes to the tongue. A third branch goes first to the lung before surfacing at the center of the armpit. From here the channel descends along the inner aspect of the arm on the opposite side of the biceps to the lung channel, passing the inner end of the elbow crease. It continues down to the tip of the little finger by the corner of the nail on the thumb side.
The heart meridian has its origin in the heart itself, but does not permeate the heart, rather it permeates the “supporter of the heart”, the aorta and other major blood vessels entering and exiting the heart. Following the descending abdominal aorta, the descending part of the small intestine, spirally wrapping the small intestine. The branch that passes upwards, surrounding the throat, and going to the “supporter of the eyes” (the optic nerve), follows the blood vessels passing up into the head, i.e., the carotid artery. The main meridian passes from the “supporter of the heart,” along the pulmonary artery, to the lungs and thence to the side of the body. The heart and uterus are related: When the menstruation doesn’t come, it means that the blood vessel of the uterus is stagnant. The vessel of the uterus, belonging to the heart (meridian), spirally wraps the inside of the uterus. In this case, chi rises up and presses the lungs from the lower parts. The heart chi cannot pass down smoothly, therefore the menses do not come.
The heart meridian does not permeate the heart itself, rather it permeates the “supporter of the heart”, which becomes the descending abdominal aorta. This vessel is palpable as the moving chi between the kidneys. The energetic consequences of this distinction are enormously important. We feel that this is making a very direct statement about the energetic nature of the heart, especially about the relation of the heart to the blood. Some authors see the uterus as the place where the moving chi between the kidneys resides. This tends to reinforce the energetic connections that the heart has to this source. Further, it is the superficial trajectory of the supporter of the heart that is the main meridian. This is possibly one reason why many great practitioners have consistently refused to treat the heart meridian directly.
Eternal Para-Bindu Drops
Nada and Bindu are two shakti powers – Naada (Shakti) is seen as a semicircle and sound, while Bindu is seen as a dot, point, or a circle with void inside (Shiva). Bindu is a singularity with no dimension, from which everything proceeds. Nada and Bindu are the progenitors of tattvas, the building blocks of the universe.
Sakti powers divide again into Nada, Bindu, and Bija. Bindu is Shiva and Bija is Shakti. Nada is the relationship between the two. Nada is action and Bindu is static; Nada is white and Bindu is red.
Sound is contraction and expansion, vibration and motion. Nada transforms into Bindu which is Isvara Tattva, the origin of the worlds. Bindu’s abode is the thousand-petalled lotus chakra in the highest cerebral center of the head. The Bindu should be worshipped like Shiva and Shakti.
Nada and Bindu are all aspects of this universe, known and unknown. Even gods came from these entities. Nada in its original intent was an act like the union of two entities.
Nada is action where there is a form (Rupa) to the action (Kriya) of power (Shakti), Kriya-Sakti-Rupa. The product in this case is Bindu (Para-Bindu or Supreme Bindu). Para Bindu is a drop, a particle or a dot. It is light, it is space, it is devoid of decay. Bindu is a compact, super-dense power seed ready for blossoming out into the building blocks of the universe in an orderly fashion.
Sakti brings about blossoming, actualization and unfolding of the universe from Bindu. Para Bindu resides in Sahasrara, or the thousand petalled lotus, the seat of Isvara.
Nada is the exciter and also the excited resulting in creation. From Nada, Goddess creates three Devis and three Devas who possess the Saktis – Will (Jayestha), Desire (Vama), and Action (Raudri) in addition to creation of Fire, Moon and Sun (Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra). This is known as the creation of sound, the primary creation. The second creation is object creation. The male god comes from female deity; they become couples. Vama creates the universe; Jayestha maintains what is created; Raudri dissolves.
The Drum of Shiva
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is the lord of the cosmic dance and the cosmic sound of AUM, from which the entire universe in generated. Shiva is often depicted with an “hourglass drum” (damaru) which provides the music for the dance and symbolizes the act of the creation of the universe through sound. The sounding of Shiva’s drum produced the first sound (Nada, the source of creation) in the void of nothingness; its pulse setting up a rhythm to which Shiva began his dance of creation.
Another interpretation of the sound of the damaru suggests that the drum depicts the powers of the rhythm of the heart-beat. If you see your heartbeat, it is not just one straight line but it is a rhythm that goes up and down. The whole world is nothing but rhythms; energy rising and collapsing to rise again. The damaru is also a symbol of sound. Sound is rhythm and energy. The whole universe is nothing but a wave function, it is nothing but rhythms. It is just one wave (Adviata). So the damaru signifies the non-dual nature of the universe. The drum symbolizes the universe which is always expanding and collapsing. From an expansion it collapses and then it re-expands, this is the process of creation. Other symbolism suggests the sound of damaru symbolizes the words of the Vedas.
The damaru is a small drum with two drumheads, which symbolize the two states of existence–unmanifest and manifest. When a damaru is sounded, it produces dissimilar vibrations which are fused together by resonance to create one sound. The drumbeat is the tuner sound, the sound that fuses the unmanifest and manifest aspects of vibration into one resonance. The sound thus produced by the damaru symbolizes Nada, the cosmic sound of AUM, which can be heard during deep meditation. According to Hindu scriptures, Nada is the source of creation. It is through this drum that the universe was created, and through it the universe will be destroyed and renewed again in the endless cycles of time.
The damaru, like all double-headed drums, constitutes a microcosm of the universe, unites the masculine and feminine principles, and produces sounds with a tremendous dynamic range. By playing a double-headed drum we become co-creators. In such a drum there is balance between male and female forces. Earth and sky, matter and spirit, Shiva (divine masculine) and Shakti (divine feminine) are working together in perfect harmony. With clarity of thought and intent, the drummer becomes a co-creator of all that is needed to benefit all beings unto seven generations.
The damaru was first created by Shiva to produce spiritual sounds by which this whole universe has been created and regulated. Shiva loves damaru. In the shield shape of some damaru, the triangular upward representation also symbolizes male procreativity (the Lingam), and the downward round representation symbolizes the female procreativity (the Yoni). Symbolically, the creation of the world begins when the lingam and yoni meet at the midpoint of the damaru, and the destruction takes place when they separate from each other.
There is also a symbolism regarding the shape of the damaru – the top portion of the damaru symbolizes the male creativity of procreation (the Lingam), and the downward representation symbolizes the female creativity of procreation (the Yoni). Symbolically, the creation of the world begins when the lingam and yoni meets at the mid-point of the damaru, and the destruction takes place when both separate from each other.
“The heart is the seat and fountain of life, of heat, of spirits, of pulse, and respiration; the Sun of the body, the King and sole commander of it: the seat of the organ of all passions and affections.”The Zohar
The supersensible nature of the heart has been presented here as the penultimate expression of the human soul and spirit. From ancient teachings to modern research we have pointed out that no greater sense organ exists beyond the human heart. The modern view that the brain is the seat of the mind and consciousness is simply partial truth. Without the heart being in coherence with the brain, the brain is only a mirror of the five senses that is lacking wisdom without the participation of the heart.
Brain-bound thinking leads to cold, dead, materialistic shadow-thinking that will not get beyond superficial knowledge. But heart-thinking, the source of wisdom extracted from experience, is the key to understanding the meaning of life and the reality of life after death. Warmed-up thinking, which comes from the heart, leads to living thinking that Steiner called Imagination. Imagination leads the human heart to commune with archetypal thoughts generated by hierarchical beings (deities) that resonant with the spiritual content of human understanding that transcends the material world. Then comes the Inspiration and Intuition that arises from the same spiritual domain that illuminates the true nature of reality.
The heart is not usually viewed as an important sense organ; in fact, it is the most highly developed organ of perception that has transcendent moral capacities that can evolve into supersensible perception of the spiritual.
The heart can sense the outside world with much more than the five senses provide and can know and understand much than is considered invisible, or beyond the five senses. The heart can also sense every organ inside the human body and respond to the needs of respiration, circulation, nutrition and all of the bodily systems. The highly developed heart can assume the autonomic aspects of the cardiovascular system and control circulation, respiration and many other aspects of maintaining internal equilibrium. The pulse of the heart is the voice of the divine, both inside and outside of the human being. Heart perception is far beyond what science understands about this Holy Grail of human consciousness.
The heart creates the concepts that accompany percepts and colors the individual’s world view. Subsequently, that world view is projected onto the world and sets the boundaries for new percepts. When the heart is happy, the world looks lovely. The same sensory input can create a heaven or a hell in the mind of the perceiver, depending on the condition of the heart. Even thinking is changed by the heart as it digests thoughts, feelings and experiences and tempers them into a personal cosmology. The heart’s wisdom is this cosmology that responds to the input of the cosmos and the internal input of the “temple” of the human body. We perceive the world and our own individuality through the heart.
The heart is the primal, and ultimate, sense organ that evolves into a supersensible organ able to perceive the invisible and the eternal.
This e-book was started to research the mechanisms whereby sense perception is written into the blood and thus into human memory. We knew that Steiner had said that there are three aspects to this process that involved the alchemical understanding of salt/mercury/sulfur as it applies to human blood. The mechanisms of these processes have been presented above in a variety of ways to shed light upon the central pillar of individual human consciousness that drives and controls percepts that can pierce through the delusion of material substance to dispel the illusion of permanence in the physical world. We believe that when this process is fully comprehended, the ‘I Am’ of the individual, the self, will become empowered to directly communicate with the spirits behind matter. We hoped to “see through” matter to the hierarchical spirits behind substance using the supersensible perception of the evolved human heart.
Once a cosmology has been constructed that aligns hierarchical correspondences of the spirit and matter, the heart becomes able to perceive the language of the spiritual world. Things of this world begin to speak the “Language of the Birds”, that forgotten language that explains the wisdom inherent in all things. Stones, trees, birds, and all physical substance begin to speak as the heart learns to listen to this language and starts to understand the sacred word, Logos, behind all substance both physical and spiritual.
Learn more about the heart from these articles:
Etherization of the Blood: There is a continuous reciprocal feeding and nourishing between the spiritual world and the human.
The heart becomes the ear of the cosmos, the sense organ of the gods that listens to the strivings of humans. The heart becomes an antenna to attune to a holy language that contains the “lost word.” Human blood becomes the vehicle for perceiving and communicating to invisible worlds that interpenetrate the world of matter. The heart becomes a forge where the smithy hammers sense perception into eternal insight. The crucible of the heart burns and transforms iron in the blood to gold in the heart, the mission of the alchemist.
Modern medical research and discovery continually affirm what we can learn from the ancients. History has shown that physical, material knowledge of the heart can only provide a partial view of what the heart was, is, and will become. To speak of the fifth chamber of the heart or the loosening of the physical heart and the etheric heart is shear madness to scientists. But recent discoveries of heart vortex rings and the predictive ability of heart rate variability demonstrate that medical science is still in the beginning stages of understanding the full nature of the heart’s capacities. To insinuate that the heart can perceive the invisible or commune with spirits will get you kicked out of medical school. To point in the direction of the auricles of the heart becoming new organs of perception would be judged equally crazy. But, the ancients haven’t been wrong yet about the evolving heart and the modern scientific view of the heart is obviously sorely lacking.
The heart is a forge that takes carbon and ionizes it into warmth ether that changes oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and calcium into refined substances that bathe the brain and its glands. This steady stream of elements being etherized and ionized into subtle substances that nourish the pineal and pituitary glands was well know in many spiritual traditions but is totally ignored by science and modern medicine. Science is a new materialistic philosophy of children who won’t listen to their parents. Seldom ever does science discover anything that wasn’t already known and understood through intuition. As Socrates indicated: All knowledge is remembered. Perhaps we should take this wisdom and see if what the ancients have told us might just be something worth remembering and utilizing to heal the weary heart. Then, when the wisdom about the heart that has always been known can lead scientific research, we just might find some of the answers to the mysteries of the heart.
Douglas Gabriel’s e-book can be accessed here:
Chapter One: The World Changes When Our Hearts Do
Chapter Two: Physiological Aspects of the Human Heart
. . . . . Secrets of the Heart
. . . . .Chambers of the Heart
. . . . .A Thumb of Fire
Chapter Three: Three Fields of Force
Chapter Four: Great Thoughts About the Heart
Chapter Five: Rudolf Steiner on the Human Heart
Chapter Six: Dodecahedron Universe
Chapter Seven: Historical Review of the Centrality of the Heart
Chapter Eight: Eastern Wisdom of the Etheric Heart (you are here)
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