In the CHAPTER TWO The knowledge that most of us experience is in the form of intellectual knowledge. It is derived from the rational part of our mind. This is really a form of relative knowledge; it is not real knowledge. It consists of a limited field of facts and figures from which we deduce theories, concepts and our relationships with our environment. This is the form of scientific, technological, philosophical and other ways of reasoning which come from the rational mind. The fallacy is that the original assumptions are fundamentally adequate in themselves. Yet we find that knowledge of this type is continually being proved wrong as new light is thrown on the subject. Let’s take an example from science. Newton expounded the theory of gravitation which was eventually accepted as being absolutely true. However, a few centuries later Einstein showed in his theory that gravity does not exist as such. Of
course this does not only apply to science; it applies to every intellectual act that we perform. Any conclusion that we come to through the rational mind can be superseded in the light of new information.
We can also experience knowledge in the form of feeling or emotion. One can mentally feel the truth of an idea; at the same time one can also emotionally sense that something is true. Many people mistake this type of knowledge for intuitive knowledge.
Beyond emotional and intellectual knowledge there is another type of knowledge. This type of knowledge is achieved in states of meditation and is a more real form of knowledge. It is intuitive knowledge that comprehends the totality of a situation. Unlike rational knowledge which tries to build up a complete picture of the whole from the parts, intuition directly apprehends the whole, the totality. It comes from the superconscious part of the mind, of which we are usually unaware. This type of knowledge depends neither on the intellect nor on the emotions, which tend to colour or warp the real form of knowledge. Meditation does not depend on personal projection; if it did then it would not be meditation.
During meditation a link is made between the higher regions of mind associated with the so-called expansion of consciousness, the superconscious part of the mind, and the field of consciousness or awareness, the so-called waking consciousness. This link allows higher mental vibrations to be perceived by the consciousness of the meditator. These subtle higher vibrations exist all the time, yet they are not normally perceptible. Sometimes they are seen on rare occasions in the form of intuitive flashes, inspirations, creative illumination, etc. We are normally unaware of these vibrations, truths and higher knowledge because of the impure, complex ridden state of our minds. These higher forms of knowledge, higher vibrations, show more of the underlying cause and truth behind the manifestations that we see in our everyday lives. The deeper aspects of life show themselves during meditation.
t is gratifying to find that science and yoga, which until recently seemed to be diametrically opposite to each other, are drawing closer together. Science is starting to study and utilize yogic techniques and yoga is starting to speak increasingly in scientific terms and to use scientific knowledge. No longer is science concerned totally with the material aspects of existence. More and more it is beginning to concern itself with, and to investigate, the spiritual or non-material facets of existence. Science, by showing modern intellectual people the physical by-products associated with spiritual phenomena, will surely open more minds to the truth and possibilities of religion, yoga and other spiritual paths or methods of mind exploration.
At the end of the last century many eminent scientists came to the conclusion that they knew so much that there was nothing important left to discover and investigate. Then Einstein, Freud and other open-minded scientists came and through their investigations showed that there was indeed much more to know and discover in the universe. Because of this, modern scientists are very aware of the possibilities open to them in the field of investigation and are very careful not to become complacent. It is for this reason that various research projects are currently investigating the phenomena of spiritual experiences. Actually, it is strange that science has not investigated this field before, considering that it
was over fifty years ago that Freud published his findings on the lower unconscious mind, and that geniuses and saints throughout the ages have shown the possibilities of higher stages of mind awareness.
One of the most interesting fields of investigation of modern science is research into the physical manifestations of meditation. These are still in their infancy, but are already throwing much light on the utility of meditation for physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits. It seems more than a possibility that science will eventually greatly help people to tread the spiritual path. Devices such as biofeedback instruments (discussed later in this chapter) are being utilized by some to gain higher states of meditation. Modern forms of psychology, in particular, are very concerned with spiritual growth in an individual, as well as psychological health. A notable example is psychosynthesis, which actually has the same aims as yoga: integration of the whole being, of an individual and eventual self-realization.
Let us discuss various fields where science and yoga are approaching or have gained common ground. Modern ideas in the field of psychology are surprisingly like yogic ideas propounded thousands of years ago in the form of Samkhya philosophy. In yoga it is the whole nature of a person that is important. This means the physical, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual aspects of man. All these aspects are developed, or rather we should say that the dormant faculties in each individual are revealed, through the practice of yoga. This is the true spiritual path, where all these aspects are integrated to make man a whole
Psychology in general (there are exceptions such as psychosynthesis, which was formulated by Roberto Assagioli in 1910) until comparatively recently has only been concerned with certain restricted facets of man’s being, almost ignoring other influences on an individual’s life. For example, Freud, the father of western psychology, postulated that man’s prime motive in life was sexual satisfaction and self-preservation. This is, to say the least, a rather limited view of man’s psychological being and his aspirations. Yet even today there are many psychologists who believe in this idea. Of course Jung was very progressive in his ideas, which accepted that there were deeper influences and aspects of man which most people are not aware of.
All psychological considerations of man have tended to treat him in isolation from his environment and other things that influence his being, such as the spiritual aspects of man’s existence. As such, psychology could never really give anything that even slightly approaches a reasonable explanation of man. Consequently all psychological therapies that followed from the psychological theories were not very successful. They helped man in some ways, but not in any way that led to happiness or evolution of being.
Jung was probably the psychologist who most helped psychology to adopt a holistic or complete attitude to man’s existence. His ideas, however, have only recently been considered seriously by other psychologists on a large scale. Partly from his teachings, various modern schools of thought have been indirectly or directly developed, for instance, growth psychology, gestalt psychology, organismic psychology, height psychology and various others. They all see man as a multi-dimensional being and all are very much in accordance with yogic thought. They all realize that any understanding of man must consider all aspects of existence, both objective and subjective. If any part of existence is omitted, such as the spiritual aspect, only a partial picture of man can be formulated.