by Marinus Jan Marijs
The question “what is the meaning of life?” is one of the central questions of philosophy. The question will be answered differently by different people. The answer can refer to physiological needs, the need to find security, to belong to a group, to increase social status, to pursue knowledge, to live in harmony, etc. As one can see, these are developmental levels of meaning, which are subject to change as our understanding grows over time. One could ask: “Is there some ultimate meaning of life which goes beyond all this?” This question is directly related to the mystical experience. While many existentialists will see life as meaningless, mystics see life as deeply meaningful.
‘Mystical development’ stands for a process in which a mystic transcends the personal and the rational domains to enter the trans-personal domains. It is directly related to the development of subtle energies that exist at different levels. During this process several growth blockades can appear, some of them are defense mechanisms. At the mystical levels one goes through stadia in which energetic blockades have to be removed (see figure 56 here below). From a mystical point of view, the Kosmos consists of different levels of existence. Alongside the physical there are different dimensions, different levels of consciousness. These dimensional levels are not spatially separated, but occupy the same space and mutually interpenetrate each other.
On some of these levels (those related to emotional and mental activity), humans have developed subtle energy fields. These are concentrated fields of subtle energies which are highly activated. If one has the capacity to see these subtle energies, then one will see a person surrounded with ovoid fields consisting of a group of energies of different colors.
These fields are known as the ‘aura’. Aura’s are not physical in nature, their energy does not belong to the electro-magnetic spectrum. However, they are connected with the physical body and the brain by the nadis (subtle energy channels). An aura field, at the emotional levels 2 and 3, normally has 8 to 15 colors. However, as a mystic develops, this emotional energy field will be purified, and some colors will disappear. For example, the olive green of deceit, the orange-red of pride/arrogance, the grey of depression, stress and fear and the brown of egoism will fade from the mystic’s aura.
As soon as the emotional energy field has been purified, what remains is a field with five colors:
- Violet: The subtle energies of spiritual development;
- Yellow: The subtle energies of cognitive development;
- Green: The subtle energies of interpersonal development;
- Red: The subtle energies of affective development;
- Blue: The subtle energies of moral development.
These colors are not used symbolically like the colors in the Spiral Dynamics model, for example. Nor are they metaphorical or merely associations. These five colors of subtle energy correspond with the five groups of developmental lines. All the different aura fields of the mystic at the different levels consist of the same five colors, and these different fields have become integrated.
The development of subtle energies on higher levels
When a certain aura energy, for instance yellow, is strongly activated for long periods of time at a certain level, the energy intensity of that yellow energy on that level will reach a critical threshold. When this happens, the energy of the same color (in this instance yellow) will be activated at a higher level. Once the yellow energy at this higher level reaches a certain degree of activation, it will stabilize and then become permanent. If the yellow energy is again strongly activated for long periods of time at this higher level, the same process will repeat itself. This developmental process can be summarized as follows: The subtle energies emerge, get stabilized at a higher level and then become permanent. However, a precondition for complete and stable mystical growth is parallel growth in all five main groups of developmental lines. The process, then, will take place in all five groups of developmental lines (the five main colors) until finally the highest form of bhava samadhi at a high-causal level becomes permanent.
Central to the question “what is the meaning of life?” is the concept of involution. Involution is a process by which the emanating force or potential gradually descends from the Spirit into the different dimensions of reality, with the physical dimension being the last in the sequence. Involution, or emanation, is central to neo-platonic philosophy, but can also be found in Platonism, Gnosticism, Manichaeism, the Kabbalah, Catharism, esoteric Christianity, Pythagoreanism, and some forms of Hinduism and Buddhism.
These different dimensions that exist after involution are undeveloped and not activated. The process of involution is followed by the process of evolution, which proceeds through the same successive stages upwards. In terms of the subtle energies, we see the generation and activation of a series of levels of subtle energies, going from the physical world up to the high-causal level, the divine. Although this emergence of the subtle energies starts at the lower levels, these energies cannot be reduced to the physical world. These subtle energies are capable of existing independently from the physical realm. These different kinds of subtle energies exist not only in the world around us, but also within the human body, where they are much more concentrated and activated.
The activation of these subtle energies unfolds slowly, sequentially, one level after another, gradually obtaining consciousness at these levels. This activation and development of the subtle energies can only start at the lowest level, the emotional level. This is clear not only from visually observing these subtle energies at different levels, but also from the sequence in which the different stages develop according to developmental psychology. The higher-level subtle energies cannot develop unless there is first adequate development at a lower level. However, permanently activated subtle energies of a certain group of developmental lines (visible in the aura as a certain color) will lead to the gradual development of subtle energies of that color, and thereby of that group of developmental lines at a higher level.
Theoretical physicist and Nobel prize laureate Erwin Schrödinger:
“The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further… when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.” Writings of July 1918, quoted in A Life of Erwin Schrödinger (1994) by Walter Moore
The ultimate meaning of life is to transform the involutionary power into an unfolding evolutionary upward process by which increasingly higher/deeper levels of subtle energies are activated. Finally, the subtle energies at the highest levels are activated and high-causal bhava samadhi and is permanently realized.
No one who has experienced a real disclosure of the divine source and mystical transformation can doubt that this is the goal, purpose and meaning of all life, nor can one doubt that this goal is not attained in the present life, it lies ahead as an effective purpose for the hidden real being of each individual. J.H.M. Whiteman
The Kosmic meaning of life
The Kosmic meaning of life is directly related to the process of Kosmic involution and the subsequent process of Kosmic evolution. The Kosmic meaning of life has to do directly with the final result of both processes. This is a Kosmic transformation, whereby the involutionary force is transformed through evolutionary unfolding into highly-activated forms of subtle energies which then return immensely enriched to their source.
The question one could ask is: “Why does this complex process of involution and evolution, which takes place over billions of years, happen? Why this involution and the creation of the physical world?” The purpose and the result of this complex process is the activation of subtle energies at the highest level: The high-causal, the divine. This activation and energizing cannot be done directly at that level; the amount of energy necessary to do so cannot be generated directly at its own level.
The Kosmos can be seen as a stratification of different levels of existence of which the physical realm (the physical cosmos) is the lowest or outermost level, and the divine the highest or innermost. Because these levels are different dimensions which mutually interpenetrate each other, the terms higher and lower levels are spatial metaphors. How did these levels come into existence? Were they already formed during involution or did they come into being during the evolutionary return to the source?
As there are different degrees of emptiness, which is the involutionary side of the story, it seems that these are much more gradual than had previously been thought. The levels of emptiness (sublevels A) are much less differentiated than the levels of fullness (sublevels D).
However, if one considers the different levels during the evolutionary return to the source, and looks at the bhava samadhi states, something totally different takes place. If one compares the volume of the subtle energy fields formed during the different bhava states at different levels (Volume = 1/6 pi d³) it is clear that the different volumes increase with a logarithmic constant.
If one calculates the volume of these fields:
- The low-subtle bhava samadhi field is 2 meters across and 3.3 meters high;
- The high-subtle bhava samadhi field is 6 meters across;
- The low-causal bhava samadhi field is 14 meters across;
- The high-causal bhava samadhi field is 32 meters across.
With every higher level the volume increases twelve times. So where the volume of the low-subtle bhava samadhi field equals 1 then:
- The high-subtle bhava samadhi field = 1 x 12;
- The low-causal bhava samadhi field = 1 x 12 x 12;
- The high-causal bhava samadhi field = 1 x 12 x 12 x 12.
The logarithmical constant (1 – 12 – 12² – 12³) relating the volumes of the four bhava samadhi fields at the different levels gives direct information about the levels themselves. As these fields of subtle energy at different levels are directly related to the levels themselves, one could say about these levels, using Jean Gebser’s terminology: These transitions are structured jumps and not continuous (Jean Gebser; The Ever-Present Origin. Ohio University Press, 1986). This is not a linear development. What is more, from the subtle energies at the emotional level, higher levels can be activated, one by one through a series of levels up to the high-causal.
- This is why Kosmic involution and evolution are necessary, because the activation of high-causal energies can only begin from a low level, thereby bringing the involutionary force highly enriched back to its source.
- The meaning of life at a Kosmic scale, then, is the development of subtle energies, starting with the lowest level, the subtle energy which is connected with the emotions. This kind of subtle energy field can be easily activated, and requires much less force than the subtle energy fields at higher levels.
- This explains why this energy could not directly be activated at its own level. Instead, Kosmic involution and evolution through a series of levels is necessary to create these energy fields at a high-causal level.
- It means that these levels do not gradually flow over from one to the next (if that were the case, the logarithmic constant wouldn’t be there) but distinct and specific identifiable stages. Not only is the number of the different levels of bhava samadhi exactly given, but also the difference in volume, each time twelve times greater. This shows how enormous the energy of a subtle energy field is at a high-causal level. It also shows the amount of energy that must be generated to activate fields at this level.
The illustration on top of the page is by GLEYRE, Charles-Gabriel (1806 – 1874)