Chapter 2 excerpt
Excerpt from Chapter 2: The Life Forces
For thousands of years, humans have attempted to make sense of and understand their relationship with the earth, plant, animal, and human realms as well the wider universe. Their traditions and rituals have formed the foundation for worship, given order to life, and provided the means to sustain these beliefs over time. Ancient pagan religions embraced a geocentric view of the world and attributed magical qualities to the natural realms. Tribes used dance and ritual to appease the natural and supernatural elements of the earth, and they designated a chosen few within the community to manipulate these forces through ceremony and knowledge. These ancient models of spirituality were the first attempts to make sense of the Divine; different versions of these models existed in every culture.
In eastern cultures the shamanic ideas of northern Mongolia were combined with the philosophy of Buddhism to form Taoism. This brought the elements of suffering, service, and the manipulation of the forces into an organized, principled, and erudite human philosophy. In Taoism, humankind was seen as the balancing intermediary in the interplay between the forces of earth, our own elements, and those of the heavens. Hinduism, on the other hand, saw the extraordinary handiwork of the Creator in the single deity of Brahma, yet Hindus essentially created a polytheism through which they worshipped all aspects of the Creator. The underlying structures of all human beliefs, whether pagan, polytheistic, or monotheistic, all acknowledge the interplay between human beings and the forces outside them.
Early monotheistic doctrines explained man’s existence in terms of a hierarchy. Around 250 A.D., the classic philosopher Plotinus spoke of the One, or Absolute, from which emanated Intelligence, from which emanated Soul, from which emanated Matter. Plotinus rejected materialism in his search for ecstatic union with the Divine. From his ideas arose the Neoplatonic view that living in the material world can cause us to forget the purpose of our existence: reunion with the Divine. This philosophy has strongly influenced monotheistic religious thought.
In Islam, these ideas were furthered through the work of Sufi philosophers and later became part of Muslim understanding in relation to the hierarchy of the elements within us. This hierarchy consisted of the lower selves (nafs) and the higher elements or spirit (ruh), which were recognized as having an influence on the human. Muslims believed that perfection was attained through the mastering of the lower selves and the cultivation of the higher elements within us, and they recognized the human as the intermediary between Allah (God) and the earth.
The idea of a hierarchy is central to what are known as the life forces. A force is the power, strength, or energy that initiates a change of state. When Einstein spoke of energy as matter in motion, he referred to the movement of particles at a subatomic level. Because this movement is invisible to the naked eye, we might assume that all matter contains only latent or potential energy. In fact, this energy is present at all times, which implies that all matter is energy. All energy contains a particular frequency, or waveform, and each of the kingdoms—material, vegetative, animal, and human—has a specific carrier wave. Each of these carrier waves represents a force.
Just as our external world is composed of material, vegetative, animal, and human forces, we, too, are composed of, influenced, and supported by these same elements. We call these the life forces, and they are present both within us and in the world around us. We can illustrate and differentiate them as a hierarchy, beginning with the material force and moving upwards through the vegetative, animal, human and noble levels towards the Divine—the primary life force from which all other forces originate……..