The Many Faces of Origin | Lisa Friedberg
Lisa discusses origins’ myriad meanings and deepening our awareness and development through the body-mind-spirit connection.
In our age of globalisation, one could argue that our origins don’t mean as much as they once did. We are no longer limited by the towns or cities where we grew up, or our nation’s preferences and biases. National borders are becoming more porous - the idea of a ‘nation-state’ is, after all, only a few hundred years old - and we move to different countries, setting up new circles of life. We learn to speak second or third languages at a higher rate than ever before. We’re exposed to ideas, cultures, music and imagery from all around the world in an instant. We are moving into an era of greater collective political and economic decision-making, of global and regional cooperation – for good and sometimes, one might argue, for ill.
Our certainty regarding the origins of the universe is no less unsure. Was there a specific point when everything began, or was there always a universe – a timeless eternity pre-existing all? The concept of infinity in mathematics gives us a helpful perspective, but it has always been a problematic subject for a Western scientific paradigm, which defines reality by that which is testable. Is the structure of the universe a universal energy field? Does consciousness play a role?
An interesting point of examination is what’s called the ‘Zero Point Field’ of quantum physics, which has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a vacuum or nothingness. Lynne McTaggart, in her book The Field, states that Heisenberg’s ‘Uncertainty Principle’ implies that no particle is ever completely at rest, but rather is in constant motion due to a ground state field of energy constantly interacting with all subatomic matter. This means that the basic substructure of the universe is a sea of quantum energy fields, a maelstrom of subatomic particles fleetingly coming in and out of existence, exchanging and radiating energy.
McTaggart explains that a ‘field’ is a region of influence, and that the ‘existence of the Zero Point Field (ZPF) implies that all matter in the universe is interconnected by waves, which are spread out through time and space and can carry on to infinity, tying one part of the universe to every other part.’ Everything is connected in a giant, web-like field of energy, and combined with the well-documented ‘observer effect’, it suggests that reality only comes forward as a defined state through the involvement of our awareness, and only appears physical because we are in a physical body.
In other words, we create reality through our consciousness, and the material world is just one perspective, or plane of being. This links in with Kundalini yoga literature, which states that we have ten spiritual bodies or dimensions: one physical body, three mental bodies, and six energetic bodies, all the while existing within a larger whole. Interestingly, the ZPF structure seems to support the existence of the Akashic records, or ‘Book of Life’, as described in esoteric texts.
But what of our human origin? Are we, as the esoteric literature describes, spirits descending into matter? An interesting exploration of these ideas comes from the 20th century psychic, Edgar Cayce. Speaking from ‘sleeping’ trance, he recounted stories of Lemuria and Atlantis, of human souls becoming incarnate around 10.5 million years ago. He stated that we were once formless thought – consciousness energy – but, through our free will, we became creative and projected ourselves into the material world of cause and effect, of knowledge and experience. We’ve since become bogged-down in the lower vibrations of physical form, of sensations and emotions, as our minds moulded to fit the requirements of the physical world. As such, we accumulated karmas, or energetic patterns, that we must now work through.
Lately, consciousness has attracted a great deal of scientific interest, and studies have demonstrated that it does not in fact reside in the physical brain, indicating that we are more than our physical body. Approaching consciousness from the perspectives of both the quantum physics and near-death or out-of-body experience, other studies have shown how consciousness continues to exist past death, outside the constraints of time and space. The 21st century is unique, in that it coalesces this point as no longer a matter of faith, but of fact.
On the other hand, could we view our origins as coming from nature? On a recent trip to Peru for a Kundalini yoga and ayahuasca retreat in the Amazon, the ayahuasca played a crucial role in opening me to Mother Earth and to the life around me: the essence and energy of the plants, the insects, the animals, the earth itself, the minerals and the rocks. In contrast to my previous life experiences in northern, Western contexts, everything was alive and imbued with life energy, with prana. I felt myself to be an organic being also, vibrating with the same rhythm, composed of the same elements as all the life around me. The living things and the environment no longer felt external or alien, nor did I myself feel like an alien amongst it. This feeling of shared being was new to me, even though I’d always known it intellectually or philosophically.
In the Kundalini tradition, patterns of sound in mantra allow us to tune in to the vibrational frequencies all around us and to experience the Naad (the essence of all sound) and the Shabad Guru, the sound that cuts away the ego, which obstructs the truth of who and what you are. We learned from the Zero Point Field that every atom and subatomic particle is vibrating, and the vibrational frequency of the words we speak and the thoughts we think create a field of energy around them. As Yogi Bhajan put it, ‘What you vibrate, you become.’
And what of the origins of life on this planet? The Earth was formed when cosmic dust collected into the first rocks. Life on this planet is characterised by symbiotic relationships and co-evolution; complex systems, cycles and ecologies. From an esoteric perspective, the Earth’s forces also create crystals, which have a structure representing frequency frozen into form, primed for function if we only learn how to use them with humility and care.
In this way, the Earth itself is the foundation for life. This fact can be likened to the chakras: in life you need the base and the body to proceed to the higher, etheric realms. The spirit cannot come into its fullest power without all the chakras, all levels of vibration, both dense and high, harmonising together. When people are too lodged in the body, in the lower personality of hunger, desires, fears and sexuality, there’s an imbalance, but the opposite is also true.
And what of the origins of our flesh, of our tissues and DNA? We are what we eat. We make and remake ourselves physically with every bite we take, with every breath of oxygen that gives life to our cells. In this way, we cannot exist without plants, and plants cannot exist without light. Plants are the only beings that can turn light into the components of life, and sustain all the beings in the food chain that feed on them. By consuming them, either directly or indirectly, we absorb the photons within them.
German biophysicist Fritz Albert-Popp discovered that molecules in our cells respond and perform functions in response to different frequencies of light, and cause other molecules to emit specific frequencies in response. He called these frequencies ‘biophoton emissions’, and claimed that one of the most essential stores of light in the body is our DNA. It was also discovered that light can be used to repair cell structure and DNA, a phenomenon called ‘photo repair’. In this way, we could understand ourselves not as a collection of cells and transmitters, but rather as light bound into living matter.
The 21st century is a time for re-learning or unlearning. It is a time for committing to a practice, of actions done everyday which raise our vibration and keep it high, furthering our awareness and development through the body-mind-spirit connection. Yoga and meditation are spiritual technologies available specifically for this purpose. However, daily activities done with devotion, such as singing, dancing, working with nature and serving others, also raise our energetic vibration and open our heart centre – the seat of expanded love and compassion, and the key to our humanness. Yogi Bhajan said, ‘The 21st century is about giving back to the people the ability to access the truth themselves. With power and humility, shakti and bhakti, everyone grows in consciousness.’ It is time to reconnect with our origins, in order to fully move forward into our future.
Lisa Friedberg is a life-long spiritual seeker, who has studied environmental studies, politics, philosophy and art, in an effort to find a set of ideas by which to critique our world and its systems, and to offer an alternative. She constantly seeks ways to put her ideals into practice and currently works as a community development project coordinator at a university in Bristol, freelance artist, and is a Kundalini yoga teacher in training. Her artwork can be seen at www.lisafriedberg.com.