Putting the "soul" in control
Cleaning the filters of consciousness
Is there anyone who knows more about how your body operates than you do? That's the broadest possible 'you’. It includes the you that you know to be you, partaking in your life, eating, drinking, moving, and sleeping but also the you who digests the food, chooses which muscles to use in which combination to pick up the drink, and runs your brain during both sleep and wakefulness; you as the totality of your biological wisdom.
According to one researcher, 99.44% of all our activities are automatic, outside of our conscious awareness, let alone control. Even if the amount of conscious control were triple that amount (giving us control of a whopping 1.68% of our functions), we would still be at the mercy of unconscious processes.
Most of the philosophy of The Sunya Way is adapted from two sources. Nearly 40 years ago I studied with a chiropractor named Alan Beardall who stated that his goal, in healing, is to "put the soul in control". As a Mormon, perhaps he implied a meaning that I missed. I assumed soul meant something like 'higher consciousness. Another interpretation of soul comes from a spiritual teaching known as the Diamond Approach, the other primary source of The Sunya Way. Its definition of soul is “the consciousness in which all states of consciousness arise”. Soul is therefore a vessel in which any state of consciousness or awareness can manifest. All states of consciousness would necessarily include any state that anyone has ever reported experiencing, including those which we all know like sleep, dreaming and wakefulness, but also states that have been described by mystics over the centuries.
Limits on the soul are therefore limits on the possibilities of our consciousness. Combining these concepts of soul, we can state that the soul, which is unlimited in its possibilities, must not be in control when consciousness is limited. So when the soul is not in control, what is? Before we go there, let’s back up a bit and look at the nature of consciousness.
The above definition of soul is similar to a postulate put forth by William James, the man known as the father of psychology around the turn of the 20th century. James suggested that the brain is like a filter that allows in a small bit of an otherwise vast sea of consciousness.
An analogy that helps us understand the ‘filter theory of consciousness’ is found in cloud computing. With cloud computing, our devices are just windows not only to vast amounts of data, but also to the software that we ‘borrow’ to access and use that data. The internet and search engines are a good example of this. From our little phone, we can use the power of a search engine to find anything that exists among all the websites that exist on the planet.
Fundamentally, many spiritual traditions suggest, consciousness or awareness is the basis of all of existence. Spiritual growth is then, is an expansion of our ability to experience ourselves as a portal through which that awareness may shine and focus. In even more advanced states of awakening, one can come to directly experience that even the portal — the soul — is itself constituted of the same awareness.
Putting the soul in control then, is a matter of eliminating factors that limit the experience and expression of consciousness. Each spiritual path or religion may have their own version of what that may look like, but in the end, we can only know it through our own soul — no one can tell us more about our experience than we can.
So what is it then that clogs our filter? Though modern neuropsychology understands this with more precision, spiritual traditions have long taught that what clogs our filter is conditioning, the habitual activities of the mind. Conditioning (of the soul) includes any belief that we hold about ourselves or the world that constricts the possibilities of our consciousness. Some traditions have further understood that to free the soul, one must also free the body. If the body remains locked up while the mind is freed, the mind might be able to transcend its condition, and have a limited experience of expanded awareness. Transformation, where one comes to directly experience unlimited awareness in the body itself, requires freeing the body as well. The Sunya Way understands this, and offers a direct and rapid method to ‘put the soul in control’.
Beliefs that limit our consciousness are frequently stressful, and stress brings forth habitual patterns of muscle tension and physiological changes that prevent us from experiencing full awareness in our body. This activity is interpreted in the brain as emotions or feelings. Even when these feelings are not overtly stressful, and we are not consciously tense, they still manifest as repetitive patterns that obscure the experience of unlimited awareness in our bodies. The sum total of these feelings, which are part of the sense of being us, is sometimes known as the ego.
Putting the soul in control then is the process of elimination of automatic reactions. These conditioned reactions shape the experience of our mind and body by enacting repetitive patterns of muscular and physiological activity. When this activity ceases, one may experience states of inner spaciousness or openness, It is in that inner space that experiences of Essence may arise.
Among spiritual teachings, as far as I know, only the Diamond Approach brings forth experiences of Essence in this way, not as a metaphor but as feelings of an actual substance in the body. When the filter of the body is cleared, Essence is felt as if it were of a physical substance with density, color, taste, texture, transparency, density, luminosity, and viscosity, and so on. Beyond this, Essence is often felt to be or impart a kind of psychological quality, like love, strength, power, peace, courage, support, grounding, steadfastness, compassion, or other empowering qualities.
The Sunya Way, partially modeled on the Diamond Approach, maximizes the efficiency of cleaning the filters of the body, and therefore the mind. ReBooting, particularly when aimed at psychological discomfort, (Life-Mind ReBoot) brings most participants, regardless of the level of discomfort they began with, to the feeling of space, which they often call calm or or peacefulness.
Most participants do not initially recognize Essence in their experience, but guiding them to sense into their bodies will often spontaneously bring forth an Essential state. In facilitating this transformation, it is my intention to have it be completely organic. I rarely have any idea what experience will emerge when they sense into the relaxation in their bodies. Some just experience more relaxation and peace, while others describe more profound experiences. One woman reported a hot, empowering fire in her chest after working through a feeling of chronic self-doubt. Another woman felt warm honey flowing through her body after arriving at the session with a chronic painful feeling of worthlessness. ‘Awakenings’ such as these are discussed in the Diamond Approach, though they mostly occur for students with years of experience, not as the result of a few sessions. So this is the first kind of Essence that we see in The Sunya Way.
One of the innovations of The Sunya Way that allows it to be so efficient has been its discovery and inclusion of a second kind of essence, a set of biological essence we call instinctual ReSource capacities. These ReSources are innate abilities we are all born with. They allow us to interact with the world of people and things. Most seem mundane, particularly in comparison to the other-worldly feelings associated with (spiritual) Essence. They include feelings like anticipation, completion, longing, pleasure, rage, and about 60 others. When we ReBoot the resources we have disconnected from or learned to distrust for one reason or another — bring them to mind that is, while treating the acupuncture point that each one has associated with it — it is a signal to the ego that it can relax. We no longer need its protection. The actual underlying capacity to survive is present, each ReSource says in its own way.
Therefore bottom line, The Sunya Way recognizes both biological and spiritual Essences, and both play a part in the understanding of the nature of our clogged filters, and in their unclogging.