We're going back to chemistry just for a moment. It is thought that only three elements are created in the Big Bang -- hydrogen, helium and lithium. All the other elements were created as things cooled off from this unimaginable explosion. Hydrogen, helium and a tiny amount of lithium -- perhaps 1%.
Lithium has three electrons. This replicates the three forces and as a result, lithium has an unusual property -- I'm going to make another one of those ridiculous proclamations:
LITHIUM IS THE PEACE OF THE UNIVERSE
Most people know lithium as a medication used on manic depressives -- otherwise known as bipolar illness. It has an interesting history. In 1949 an Australian doctor (John Cade) injected some guinea pigs with a solution of lithium salt and noted that they got docile. Dr. Cade gave lithium to his most troubled patient (he worked in a mental hospital) and within three days the man was able to be transferred to an open ward and a couple months later he went home and got a job. Thus was lithium born as a medication for severely roller coaster mental patients. It evens everything out. With three electrons we have a perfect atomic replica of the three forces. Therefore it is peaceable -- and we don't need very much. Around 1% of the matter of the universe is plenty. After all, the universe is not very peaceable. There's a lot of action. And a lot of deep space.
Let's talk about deep space. What are its characteristics? It is cold, quiet, still, empty, and certainly undisturbed. I am going to venture that it is also male, using the Shiva/Shakti model where Shiva is the unmoving decider and Shakti is his power, energy, -- everything else.
Let's talk about the Earth. What are its characteristics, aside from the fact that it has little critters crawling all over it? It's easy to get fooled because of the superthin cooled shell that we walk around on -- which protects us from what the Earth really is. You want to know what the Earth really is? Look straight down into an active volcano. The Earth is a hot thing. If the earth was a girl she would be too hot to touch. One of the biggest problems in mining is air-conditioning. At a mile and a half down, the rock itself is about 110°F. That's hot enough to burn the skin with a couple of minutes exposure. Think about the hottest day of the summer. Down below us, it is awfully hot. And at the center of this little planet of ours, there is a ball of molten iron and nickel. By the way, it's a magnet.
So what do we have? I am going to say that we have outer space: Space. Empty. Cold. Still. Empty. Male. The God Shiva as an ascetic in meditation.
Then, underneath us, we have the Earth: Hot. Solid. Fecund. Feminine. Shakti in her guise of the various feminine goddesses: Aphrodite, Ishtar, Sarasvati, Kali.
Now Mr. Gurdjieff talks about three centers -- mental, emotional and physical. I am going to attach two of them to the above:
The Mind belongs to space. The mental body (not the thinking apparatus, which Mr. Gurdjieff calls the "formatory center.") It has an umbilical cord which is attached to deep outer space. There are no emotions which belong to the mental body or center.
The Body belongs to The Earth. Every aspect of the body belongs to the Earth. It will return to the earth upon the first death. It is made out of food, and is capable of becoming food. In fact it will become food no matter how you'd like to think differently. A tiger could eat you, and would, if you let it get too close and it was hungry. So there is some principle of animation which has entered the body and is running the show -- continuing the combustion which provides animation to the "mannequin." The physical body. What Mr. Gurdjieff called the planetary body, and which more properly should be called the Earth body. It has an umbilical cord which goes down into the earth. More deeply in some than others, which is why some people are attuned to spirits etc., like Rudolf Steiner.
But we have left out one center -- the emotional body. To what is the emotional body attached? Where is it's umbilical cord?
What is between the Earth, to which the Physical Body belongs, and deep outer space, to which the Mind belongs?
The Atmosphere. The Atmosphere. The Atmosphere.
I am not kidding you when I say that the Emotional Body is attached by it's umbilical cord to the atmosphere. Now, bear with me. I am asking a lot of rhetorical questions which I am then answering. This is a method of teaching.
What is it that happens in the atmosphere that does not happen in deep outer space nor in the Earth (except in the case of the Earth, which has various, very slow movements)?
We are almost there. Weather is the clue. Because it is the Emotional Center that has weather in it. Sometimes stormy, sometimes a sunny day.
THIS MIGHT BE SAID TO BE THE MAJOR PROBLEM FOR MAN; THAT HE HAS WEATHER IN HIS EMOTIONAL CENTER. IT IS WHAT MR. GURDJIEFF CALLS "THE MAD ELEPHANT."
Now the three centers ought to be completely separated. The Mind, which belongs to deep outer space and which is Male, ought not to have any emotions whatsoever. Cold. Still. Empty. Powerful.
The Body, must respond to the commands of the emotional center -- after all, that's what e -- motion means. Otherwise the Body just sits. It has no past; it has no future, only a permanent NOW. So either the the Mind tells the Body what to do, or the Emotional Body, or center, tells the body what to do. And this means that there are significant possibilities for problems if the emotional center has gotten screwed up.
Let's just imagine for a moment a being with these three bodies somewhat like an ant -- you know, with the body in three segments connected by a thin inter-spatial connector. There ought to be a connection between the three bodies, or centers. But the connections should be clean, and be free of debris. Having bad connections between the centers would be like having arterial sclerosis.
Now Mr. Gurdjieff talks about the mad elephant (which is the emotional center suffering extremes of weather and the fact that the connection between the centers is all messed up) and he says that the only way to calm down and tame a mad elephant is to sandwich it between two sane elephants. The two sane elephants are the mind (the real mind -- not the thinking apparatus) and the body. The mad elephant is the emotional center. Therefore, the best action possible for settling down the mad elephant (and in India, elephants really do still go mad and trample through villages killing people and generally acting berserk -- it happens from time to time, and nobody knows the clause of it), is connecting the mind with the body and letting the emotions settle down on their own.
Now it is enormously interesting to me that this is a virtual spitting image of the action indicated in both Chinese alchemical arts and in yoga. In the Chinese Alchemical model, the mind is fire which tends upwards and the body is water which tends down, and when they separate, death. One of the goals then, is to put the water in a pot or alchemical vessel, and reverse the order so that the fire is under the water rather than over it, which then boils the water and the water starts on a journey through the body which replicates the weather cycle to a tee.
The water (the energies of the body) are placed in an alchemical vessel in the lower abdomen. The fire, which is usually at the solar plexus, is brought underneath. The mystical alchemical soup boils. The steam rises. This is like the dew rising up off the grass when the sunlight warms it. It then forms clouds, just like in real life. It travels out to the limbs. In the weather cycle the clouds meet the mountains and because they are stopped they release their water as rain. In the alchemical cycle that we are talking about the clouds enter the bones (which are the mountains of the body anyway) and the alchemical formula falls as rain into the bone marrow.
Medically speaking, the bone marrow is responsible for creating the blood -- at least 90% of the blood cells are manufactured inside the bone marrow. Your bones are busy. They're not just structural skyscraper girders -- they are an actual organ, just like the heart or the spleen. In Chinese medical thinking they are part of the brain, or rather perhaps, the brain is part of the bone marrow. Either way same result.
In Yoga, one of the significant implications for the inversions such as headstand and shoulder-stand is to physically do the same thing I was just talking about, with one significant difference. In the Yogic philosophy and practice, the medical arm of which is known as Ayurveda, significant cause of disease is called Amma -- it might as well be called gunk -- that would be a very good translation. Anyway, let's just consider a headstand for the time being. It turns the physical body upside down so that now the gunk which has sunk down into the first couple of chakras (another word or phrase I have to define and translate? I give up. I am tired.)
Having stood on your head, now the gunk can drip down into the fire of the solar plexus and get burned up. Hey, you're very own incinerator!
We'll have to continue later. Thank you for tuning in. We'll talk about dropping out and all that other stuff another time.