Chamber

In Jewish mysticism, the Chamber of Guf, also called the Otzar, is the Hall of Souls located in the Seventh Heaven. Every human soul is held to emanate from the Guf. The Talmud teaches that the Messiah will not come until the Guf is emptied of all its souls.

In keeping with other Jewish legends that envision souls as bird-like, the Guf is sometimes described as a columbarium, or birdhouse. Folklore says sparrows can see the soul’s descent and this explains their joyous chirping.

The mystic significance of the Guf is that each person is important and has a unique role which only each person, with their unique soul, can fulfill. Even a newborn baby brings the Messiah closer simply by being born.

The peculiar idiom of describing the treasury of souls may be connected to the mythic tradition of Adam Kadmon, the primordial man. Adam Kadmon was a supernal being, androgynous and equal in size with the universe. According to Kabbalah, every human soul is a fragment cycling out of the great world soul of Adam Kadmon. Hence, every human soul comes from the Chamber of Guf.

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Orientation

A compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the Earth’s magnetic poles. It consists of a magnetized pointer, usually marked on the North end, free to align itself with the Earth’s magnetic field. The compass greatly improved the safety and efficiency of travel, especially ocean travel.

Compasses were initially used in mysticism in ancient China. The first known use of the Earth’s magnetic field in this way occurred in ancient China as a spectacle. Arrows were cast similarly to dice. These magnetized arrows aligned themselves pointing north, impressing the audience. Curiously, it took some time for this trick to get used by the Chinese for naval navigation, but by the 11th or early 12th century it had become common.

The earliest Chinese compasses were probably not designed for navigation, but rather to order and harmonize their environments and buildings in accordance with the geomantic principles of feng shui. These early compasses were made using lodestone, a special form of the mineral magnetite that aligns itself with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Since then, more accurate devices have been invented for determining north that do not depend on the Earth’s magnetic field for operation. A gyrocompass or astrocompass can be used to find true north, while being unaffected by stray magnetic fields, nearby electrical power circuits or masses of ferrous metals. A recent development is the electronic compass which detects the magnetic direction without potentially fallible moving parts. This device frequently appears as an optional subsystem built into GPS receivers. However, magnetic compasses remain popular, especially in remote areas, as they are cheap, durable, and require no electrical power supply.

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Material

A thoughtform is a manifestation of mental energy, also known as a tulpa in Tibetan mysticism. The thoughtform is also one of the expressed or visualized means of Samyama, a particular system of teaching or doctrines, often embodied as a set of vows or commitments. Recited mantras are essentially thoughtforms representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound vibrations.

Definitions have been suggested for thoughtforms, such as that of an image held in the mind of a practitioner which aids in the manifestation of intention. It has also been proposed as an agency of psychic effect which exists and takes form in the pre-physical realms of existence, which acts in accord with the intent of its creator.

It connates a homunculus or foundation of awareness, or an instantaneous observer and observed duality. Homunculi appear in various theories of cognitive philosophy and psychology to account for different facets of conscious self. They are created by every individual at every moment, and in some formulations they are a constant manifestation of everyone at every moment, possessing a will of its own.

Thoughtforms are said to have two effects, a radiating vibration and a floating form. They are divided into three classes – those which take the image of the thinker, those which take the image of a material object, and those which take a form entirely of its own, expressing the inherent qualities in the matter which it draws around it.

It has been theorized that the effects of music, emotion and color strongly influence thoughtforms.

Entrapment

Gnosis is the spiritual knowledge of a saint or mystically enlightened human being. In Byzantine and Hellenic cultures, gnosis was a special knowledge or insight into the infinite, divine and uncreated in all and above all, rather than knowledge strictly into the finite, natural or material world. It indicates direct spiritual experiential knowledge and intuitive knowledge, mystic rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking. Gnosis itself is obtained through understanding at which one can arrive via inner experience or contemplation.

Carl Jung worked on trying to understand and explain the Gnostic faith from a psychological standpoint. In many ways, Jung’s analytical psychology schematically mirrors ancient Gnostic mythology. Jung understands the emergence of the creator out of the original, unified monadic source of the spiritual universe by gradual stages to be analogous to the emergence of the ego from the unconscious.

However, it is uncertain as to whether the similarities between Jung’s psychological teachings and those of the gnostics are due to their sharing a similar philosophy, or whether Jung was unwittingly influenced by the Gnostics in the formation of his theories. Jung’s own writings would tend to imply the latter, but after circulating one of his related manuscripts, Jung declined to publish it during his lifetime. Since it is not clear whether Jung was ultimately displeased with the book or whether he merely suppressed it as too controversial, the issue remains contested.

On the other hand, it is clear from a comparison of Jung’s writings and that of ancient Gnostics, that Jung disagreed with them on the ultimate goal of the individual. Gnostics in ancient times clearly sought a return to a supreme, other-worldly God state. To contend that there is at least some disagreement between Jung and Gnosticism is at least supportable. The Jungian process of individuation involves the addition of unconscious psychic tropes to consciousness in order to achieve a trans-conscious centre to the personality. Jung did not intend this addition to take the form of a complete identification of the self with the unconscious.

Gnostic believers today retain much of the gnostic mysticism of early Christian centuries, in particular that human minds are independent of the realm of matter, and are emanations of the One, the non-physical Spirit, and that the physical world is a result of the creator manifesting itself, and it is ruled by demons which prevent the spiritual progress of the mind in every possible way and maintain its entrapment in matter.

Interconnectedness

Interconnectedness is part of the terminology of a worldview which sees a oneness in all things. A similar term, interdependence, is sometimes used instead, although there are slightly different connotations. Both terms tend to refer to the idea that all things are of a single underlying substance and reality, and that there is no true separation deeper than appearances. Some feel that interconnectedness and similar terms are part of a contemporary lexicon of mysticism, which is based on the same core idea of universal oneness.

The mystics have related this as the notion of “all in one and one in all”, which in turn relates to the theological concept of panentheism, but in the most thorough meaning of that term. Not that all is within God, as your breakfast might be within you, or that God is solely within all, but, rather that the two, God and the creation are all one within one another.

In terms of religion, spirituality, personal world views and paradigms, the theology of God present within every human being, a concept familiar to Quakers and to Lutherans, might help to explain various life actions such as the rejection of human slavery. To own a slave would, in this cosmo-theological world view, be to claim ownership of the God present within the slave.

In global political, social, and ecological terms, the concept of co-relational “all in one, one in all” panentheistic interconnectedness will doubtless have significant economic, distributional, moral, ethical, political, personal, social, and ecological ramifications. By acknowledging the relationship to all things, interconnected behaviours are said to have the potential to change the world.

Observation

In many mystical traditions, the conscious mind is seen as a separate entity, existing in a realm not described by physical law. Some people claim that this idea gains support from the description of the physical world provided by quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the atomic scale, such as electrons, protons and other subatomic particles. Quantum theory generalizes classical mechanics to provide accurate descriptions for many previously unexplained phenomena. The effects of quantum mechanics become evident at the atomic and subatomic level, and they are typically not observable on macroscopic scales.

Quantum mysticism is the claim that the laws of quantum mechanics incorporate mystical ideas similar to those found in certain religious traditions and beliefs. It is descended from the measurement problem, the seemingly special role which observers play in quantum mechanics. The term quantum mysticism is often used by skeptical scientists to discount the idea that quantum theory supports mystical beliefs.

Quantum mechanics requires interpretation before it describes the experience of an observer. While particles and fields are described by a wavefunction, the results of observations are described by classical information which tells us the result. The information about observation is not in the wavefunction but is additional random data. The wavefunction only gives the probability of getting different outcomes, and the wavefunction only turns into a probability when it is measured.

The nature of observation has often been a point of contention in quantum mechanics because it describes the experiences of observers with different numbers than it uses to describe material objects. With the exception of Louis DeBroglie and Albert Einstein, who believed that quantum mechanics was a statistical approximation to a deeper reality which is deterministic, most of the founders of quantum mechanics believed that this problem is purely philosophical. Eugene Wigner went further, and explicitly identified it as a quantum version of the mind/body problem.

Consciousness causes collapse is the name of an interpretation of quantum mechanics according to which observation by a conscious observer is the cause of wave function collapse. The rules of quantum mechanics are correct but there is only one system which may be treated with quantum mechanics, namely the entire material world. There exist external observers which cannot be treated within quantum mechanics, namely human (and perhaps animal) minds, which perform measurements on the brain causing wave function collapse.

This interpretation attributes the process of wave function collapse to consciousness itself. However, it is not explained by this theory which things have sufficient consciousness to collapse the wave function. The question becomes one of whether the wave function waited to jump for thousands of millions of years until a single celled living creature appeared, or did it have to wait a little longer for some highly qualified measurer with a PhD. It is also not clear whether measuring devices might also be considered conscious.

Recent study of quantum decoherence casts new light onto the problem by reducing the importance of the macroscopic observer originally introduced in the language of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory. Modern scientific discourse has evolved to try to quantify how quantum systems fall apart due to their interactions with the surroundings. In this manner a unified view of all quantum interactions can be developed that treats neighboring quantum systems on the same footing.

These counterintuitive aspects of quantum physics were popularized in the 1970s with Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics, in which he explores the parallels between quantum physics and principles in Eastern mystical teachings. This was taken up in the 1980s by Hindutva pseudoscience, which extrapolated on the statements of Vivekananda, claiming that the conclusions of modern science are the very conclusions the Vedanta reached ages ago. It joined together concepts from physics like gravitation, electricity, magnetism and other forces with the mystical Vedantic notion of Prana.

Similarly, the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!? made controversial use of ideas about quantum mechanics, among other sciences, in a New Age context. Theories of Quantum mind have given rise to concepts like Quantum meditation, positing a scientific basis for meditation practices not supported by mainstream science.

In 1998 Deepak Chopra was awarded the parody Nobel Prize in physics for his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He received this honor for such writing that Quantum healing is healing the body and mind from a quantum level. That means from a level which is not manifest at a sensory level. Our bodies ultimately are fields of information, intelligence and energy. Quantum healing involves a shift in the fields of energy information, so as to bring about a correction in an idea that has gone wrong. So quantum healing involves healing one mode of consciousness, mind, to bring about changes in another mode of consciousness, body.