There have always been things about life that I have felt I know to be true intuitively yet I am left with a certain uneasiness because I cannot explain why I know such things and I know that there are many out their who require clear scientific explanations before they can accept an idea. I have always had the mind of a product designer, throughout my life I have spent much of my 'day dreaming time' thinking about practical problems and there possible solutions and sometimes I have come up with answers that I have not bothered to pursue only to see, perhaps years later, a successful product solution precisely as I had visualised it years before. I have always accepted that design ideas can start to form in the 'ether' through an accumulation of collective thinking upon an idea until someone can grab and finally resolve that idea and thereby materialise it on the physical plane. There is a certain pattern of concentrated creative thinking upon an idea, both consciously and also running in the background of consciousness that seems to allow one to dream up such things. Through the teaching opportunities of my middle years I was able to encourage design students to pursue such means to the resolution of their own design problems in this way and the more intuitive of them were able to do so. These kinds of experiences along with repeated confirmation of an intuition through some scientific discovery or change of public attitude, go towards establishing the proof of certain intuitions, at least in my own mind, has led me to almost completely trust them but I am always still on the lookout for science based proof.
I've been watching a series of television programmes this month about extraordinary people that connect with some of these ideas from my intuitions. These have included a number of people who are described as autistic savants - this group have some mental handicap yet show extraordinary genius in other ways. One of these is the young Englishman Daniel Tammet, Daniel calculated Pi to an amazing 22,514 places before an awestruck group of students and tutors at Oxford University, the sum took over five hours to recite. Daniel, who is also a brilliant linguist, also learnt Icelandic (said to be the most difficult of languages) in a week, at the end of which he was interviewed on Icelandic T.V. in the language, demonstrating the thoroughness of his understanding of it. During the programme Daniel also met Kim Peek, the inspiration for the film 'Rain Man'. Kim has a photographic memory for everything, can read two pages of a book in eight seconds using his eyes separately to read both pages simultaneously. Kim still loves to memorise telephone directories and spends much time in the library devouring books.
Another savant featured in the series is Derek Paraviccini, Derek is blind and partly autistic, he cannot count to ten or tell left from right yet despite profound disabilities he can remember in detail every piece of music he has ever heard. Derek has the rare gift of universal pitch, he was presented with sequences of chords played simultaneously by 50 instruments, and he was able to hear every one and to repeat them on a piano by playing them in rapid succession as an arpeggio. Autism expert Dr Baron-Cohen points out that when areas of the brain are not being used for their normal function they can be used for others, with no distracting visual clues and little emotional or intellectual recognition this is how he believes Derek can concentrate entirely on the music. The musician Jools Holland argues that there is much more to Derek's music, he has brilliant musical improvisation, especially when playing Jazz and reaches out to his audience as he expresses his intuitive bond with the musical world. Derek seems to live in a world where he hears the musical notes behind every pattern of sound.
Psychological researchers think that we will never understand memory or cognition until we can understand the autistic savant. These individuals appear to have incredible ability to focus and concentrate the mind with complete attention to a specific area. But in Daniel Tammets case he isn't calculating, he arrives at his answers instantly. He sees numbers as shapes; colours and textures that combine to form another shape that is the sum of their parts. Daniel arouses international scientific interest because he can describe that which he sees in his head.
All these savants seem to be using much more than unusual neurological pathways in the brain, they appear to be using intuitive pathways to an understanding of their particular field of interest. Professor Allan Snyder, from the Centre for the Mind at the Australian National University in Canberra believes that we all possess the savant's extraordinary abilities and it is just a question of learning how to access them. Although I am certain that eventually if its progress continues at its present expanding rate, science will eventually uncover all that can be known about man, the planet and finally the universe but I believe that an individual building the intuitive links to the mental and spiritual planes could gain understanding in a fraction of the time.
While savants suggest the possibility of unusual neural connections or synapses in the brain, recovering stroke victims demonstrate that new pathways around stroke damaged parts of the brain are possible in order to regain lost motor function of their limbs, or to regain speech, if one has the determination or will to relearn.
Amputees with bionic arms made the international news this month. Their bionic replacement arms are controlled through the remaining arm and hand function nerve endings that have been reconnected into the muscles of the upper chest previously used for movement of the arm. From these muscles electrical activity is carried by wire to the motors in the robotic arm and hand that correspond to the original arm and hand functions. The movement of those muscles in the chest activates these and slowly the amputees regain arm and hand movement and control just by thinking about the task, even to a regaining of sensation in the fingertips.
Motor functions like these are directed from the surface of the brain through electrical activity and a web like interface to be worn on the head like a cap is being developed that will allow motor function control signals to be transferred to electrical cables and carried to any part of the body. It is hoped that this will allow paraplegics to walk again and is likely to allow pilots to fly planes just my thinking about it. What I've always believed is that whatever man can imagine to create, provided he can design the appropriate technology, he can create it. This could easily lead to man's own destruction, which is a distinct possibility soon if we fail to respond to the growth of global warming but it is more likely to contribute significantly to his salvation because the heart and soul of man is sound and that soundness comes to the fore especially in the moments of his greatest crisis.
Scientists like David Suzuki whose work is based around the 'neural narrative' in which the brain undergoes a constant transformation based on experiences and Richard Restak whose interest is in our capacity to literally 'rewire our minds' have now established that we continue to build new neural pathways throughout our whole life as long as the brain is given new functions to learn like a new language or a new physical skill. Richard Restak believes that the mind creates a narrative for life, constructing connections and relationships that create a web of meaning. i
These scientists describe what I have always believed and have attempted to apply in my work, it is that if you seek to attempt to find the answer to a new problem or find the solution to a puzzle you open up new pathways of thought, you expand the capacity of the mind. This is no more than the creative function that moved us from the cave to where we are now as a group of beings, led by inspired men or women, yet it is an attitude that everyone can develop in order to constantly stretch and stimulate the mind, not only to keep it flexible but more especially in order to continually enrich the quality of one's life.
I see the mind of a man consisting of that of the 'Mind' which he can hold in his consciousness and for all of us this is only a tiny fraction of all that which can be known and experienced, not only throughout the physical plane of the universe but upon all the higher planes of 'the One Life in which we live and move and have our being'. Ordinarily man does not as yet function upon what is called the 'the plane of mind', to be able to do this he needs to be able to access the higher mind and to do this he must create new neural pathways that will enable him to sustain the higher frequencies. The more we can grasp the more difficult problems or the unknown, the more we can access the higher elements of energy and transcend our current mindset. The path is ever an evolutionary one, to move from the human to the super human and into the next stage of the journey of expanding consciousness. In order to do this we must establish the right attitudes or right disciplines and this is no more than the highly concentrated discipline required for progress in any of the arts or sciences. As the scientist discovers natural laws and must abide by them in order to move forward in the understanding of his particular discipline, so the spiritual man must learn to know the spiritual laws that are the key to his spiritual or divine consciousness. It is the intuitive scientists that are able to make the great leaps forward in human understanding, those who can formulate and then follow a compelling intuition that enables them to step into a world that hasn't been known before by man or his science. The difference between science and the esoteric tradition is that the keys to the understanding are hidden in the teachings of the esoteric tradition to enable the transformation of the mind and to reveal the worlds to be discovered through such a transformation. None-the-less the esoteracist cannot make this transformation using the intellect alone, he must develop the intuition, become truly selfless and all-inclusive in order raise his vibration high enough to be able to express love-wisdom and thereby make the necessary steps forward into the planes of the higher mind.
And this brings me at last to the task to be fulfilled through the sign whose full moon falls in October, the sign of Libra. For it is the sign in which a real vision of the path ahead appears and in order to proceed safely a man must learn the careful weighing of values, must achieve right equilibrium and the correct utilisation of the balancing and analytical faculty of the mind so that he may enter upon this next stage of the path which is described as a narrow and razor-edged path that runs between the pairs of opposites. It is also the sign in which intuitive perception is developed. During the ordinary clockwise progress around the wheel of life, this may occur when some dire need of a man has so dramatically aroused the instinct for self-preservation that a call is heard by the soul and a response to his plight is evoked. Then the first few faint flashes of intuition will be vaguely sensed or recognised by him. This is likely to be followed by either a life of quietness and thoughtful reflection, or of static unresponsiveness, or one of weighing up and seeking to balance and thus arrive at a clear way forward. The following life in Virgo is likely to be either one of outright materialism or one of a slowly emerging soul vibration indicative of the hidden spiritual life of which Virgo is the custodian. When the point of balance is reached man swings between the pairs of opposites, he seeks to be entirely human but finds impediments within himself that drive him towards something that is more than human, for the man who seek to be the spiritual man or the aspiring disciples this is a time oscillation between focussing on the aims of the soul and then drawing back to his old ways and his old desires. Progress is thus made around and around the wheel until experiences or vibrations intensify to such an extent that a reversal of his travel upon the wheel of life becomes possible for a man and the true path of return can begin to be followed by him. This process of preparation is just like the building of those new neural pathways but this particular pathway will direct the mind inwards towards the soul and the soul seeks to construct the bridge of the Antahkarana, a pathway of consciousness into the higher worlds, the world of the human monad or spirit and towards the world of deity it Self. Here Libra becomes a point of spiritual balance, the balance between the life of the form and the life of the soul, the balance is not tipped in this new direction until the personality can see without doubt the advantage of surrender to the soul which he now recognises as being of the true self. Thus he can now express the keynote of Libra, "I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force". It is not a journey to some far of place beyond the stars, for those higher worlds inhabits the very same place as our world, our hearts and our minds and there it waits patiently until we are ready to build the bridge to that higher dimension which is the true Self for us all.
i The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature.