Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Paper on Mormon Doctrine and Kundalini Yoga (Part 4): The Heart Chakra

The Baptisms and the Chakras: A Comparison of 2 Nephi 31:13 and Kundalini Yoga (Part 4 of 7)

Anahata (The Heart Chakra)

With the anahata chakra, associated with the element of air, we come into an association with our verse as it continues: “then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.” [1] The name “Holy Ghost” was originally a translation of the Greek pneuma hagion, in which one can translate the word pneuma as not only “spirit,” but also more literally as “breath,” “wind,” or “air” (think of the word “pneumatic”). [2] With the notion of the Holy Ghost, then, comes associations not only with “spirit” but also the influx of divine breath in “inspiration,” the exchange between inner and outer we call “respiration,” the way we pant with desire after our “aspirations,” or even the blood-soaked “perspiration” of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. [3]

What can this tell us about the Holy Ghost and His baptism? Apart from the facts that 1) He is a personage without a body of flesh and bones, 2) He is a separate being from the Father and the Son, and 3) unlike Them, He can dwell in us, [4] we know surprisingly little about Him. For instance, there is the still unresolved controversy as to whether or not He is a “spirit son” of Heavenly Father, and the question as to whether He will ever “get a body” remains unanswered. But what can we gather about His nature from the symbolic and etymological observations listed just above? It’s clear that if the Holy Spirit is thought rather as the Holy or Sacred Breath, several consequences emerge. Namely, when we receive “inspiration” from God we are actually “breathing together” or “conspiring” with Him, a mutual exchange of breath in which the divine imparts spirit to us and we return spirit to the divine. The Holy Ghost would thus be the “breath of God,” that gust of inspiration He bestows to His children and expects to receive back. Knowing this connection, we can now perhaps understand why Parley P. Pratt called the Holy Spirit
" …the great, positive, controlling element of all other elements. It is omnipresent by reason of its infinitude, and it pervades all things. It is the agent or executive, by which God organizes and puts in motion all worlds, and which, by the mandate of the Almighty, or of any of His commissioned servants performs all the mighty wonders, signs and miracles ever manifested in the name of the Lord, the dividing of the sea, the removing of a mountain, the raising of the dead, or the healing of the sick." [5]

Like air, the Holy Spirit would thus be quick-moving and flexible enough to pervade everything, wiggling into the smallest keyhole and permeating the tiniest pore. Also like air, it is too “fine or pure” to be able to see with physical eyes,[6] but is nevertheless something we desperately need in order to live.

Let’s then imagine that a “baptism of the Holy Ghost” would involve participating in this divine “co-inspiration” with God, in which I become purified enough to receive God’s breath—His life, so to speak—into my heart and let it begin to animate [7] me from within. So doing, I not only have access to the Light of Christ (that is, the light that reveals things’ spiritual nature, just as physical light reveals things’ physical nature), but also to the “mind of God,” as the Lectures on Faith refer to the Holy Ghost.[8] More psychologically speaking, we might rephrase this by saying that a baptism of spirit involves an initial perception of the world from a more transcendent perspective. Says Carl Jung

"[In Anahata,] you begin to reason, to think, to reflect about things, and so it is the beginning of a sort of contraction of withdrawal from the mere emotional function. Instead of following your impulses wildly, you begin to invent a certain ceremony that allows you to disidentify yourself from your emotions, or to overcome your emotions actually. You stop yourself in your wild mood and suddenly ask, ‘Why am I behaving like this?’”[9]

With the perspective of the Holy Spirit, I no longer identify with any of my feelings. I gain the quickness and mobility of wind, able to evade the “fiery darts of the adversary”[10] with ease and finesse. Moreover, the “ceremony” mentioned in the above passage could very well apply to our weekly sacrament meetings, for in them we receive a symbol of Christ’s blood, another symbol of His life.

If the Spirit of God is the “breath of God,” let us further imagine this breath as an exhalation, a projection (of sorts) of God’s inner life into His creation. This would mean that the Holy Ghost is less a “spirit son” of heavenly parents than the medium through which “spirit sonship” (or “daughtership”) can take place at all. After all, when the angel tells Mary in the Gospel of Luke that “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God,” [11] is he not implicitly saying that the Holy Ghost is the medium, the “bridge” through which the Father can connect with and incarnate His divinity in the Son? The Holy Ghost, then, is the figure which unites the Father and the Son, the function which the Lectures on Faith refers to when it says that the Holy Ghost is their shared mind. [12] Nor does this conception of the Holy Spirit rule out His personal nature. Precisely this relationship of bridge between father and son existed in the Egyptian religious function of Ka-Mutef (an epithet for Amun), who—as the “ka” or life-spirit of the divine—transfers that divinity from the Pharaoh to his son through the womb of the royal mother. Though this “ka” is the “procreative power of the deity,”[13] he remains a personal being, one who was personified and worshipped as separate from the Pharaoh, Osiris, Horus, Isis, or whatever deity one can pick. Like any “ka,” we can thus imagine that the Holy Ghost could be the “double” of incarnated divinity, Who can leave the body as easily as a breath, to do the business of He who sent Him. [14]

What this observation consequently means is that when Christ tells His disciples that “If I depart, I will send him [the Comforter] unto you,” [15] we can think of the Comforter given to us as the same divinity that was born in Christ making itself known in our bodies. The Holy Ghost—as the “being-there” of God—would therefore exist in so many bodies at once, taking up residence in whatsoever heart will take Him. This at the very least makes sense of the Holy Ghost’s association with the Telestial Kingdom in D&C 76, [16] corresponding not to the single lights of the sun or the moon but to the infinitely manifold lights of the stars. Perhaps we can even use that to explain why there are no pictorial representations of the Holy Ghost as such—like any ghost, He is transparent to what lies about Him, showing Himself only through the memories, conversations, books, or coincidences which lie in His vicinity. In any case, with the baptism of the Holy Ghost we for the first time become part of the Godhead’s shared breathing, entering the respiratory relationship of inspiration and consecration in which the Comforter reveals Himself.

[1] 2 Nephi 31:13
[2] See John 3 for a kind of poetic double-entendre between its different meanings as “wind” and “spirit.”
[3] Like pneuma, the Latin spirare, which means “to breathe,” has found its way into our vocabulary (as in each of these words).
[4] D&C 130: 22-23
[5] Pratt, Parley P.. Key to the Science of Theology, 44
[6] D&C 131: 7-8
[7] “Animate” comes from the Latin word “anima,” which can also be translated to mean “spirit.”
[8] The Lectures on Faith: Lecture Fifth
[9]  Jung, C.G.. Op. Cit., 38-39
[10] 1 Nephi 15:24
[11] Luke 1:35
[12] Lectures on Faith: Lecture Fifth
[13] Jung, C. G. Psychology and Religion: West and East. 2d ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969
[14] I have read that exactly such a picture of the Holy Spirit (as a “double” of Christ as an embodied God) occurs in the apocryphal Coptic version of the Pistis Sophia.
[15] John 16:7
[16] D&C 76:86

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