Sensory deprivation is a physical term – it admits that the physical senses are reduced. But let’s notice that worlds and awareness unfold with this deprivation. The metaphysical standpoint is: the ever alive inner sense is liberated when the outer senses are reduced, or as Glenn put it: when we subtract the body.
Let’s take a trip through the metaphysical writings for references to this alive inner sense.
This exploration is Religion 1 – religion means to reconnect to something (re ligare in Latin). So reconnecting to the alive inner sense is Religion 1.
Religion 2 – ECCO-CAR – The Modern Science of Soul Travel is a post for another time
KEN OGGER, Freezone Scientologist
In the Motions Universe, we have the beginning of real sensation as we know it now. … And as people became more attached to sensation, it became possible to control and confuse them by hitting them with waves of sensations. And so we have the individual much more at effect than he was previously.
– “Super Scio” 15. THE MOTION UNIVERSE ( http://www.freezoneamerica.org/pilot/sscio/index.html )
ANALYSIS: the creative spiritual being, Our Real Self, known as a “thetan” in Scientology, exists prior to sensation. The initial creative being existed as a nothing but over time created the ideas of motion and sensation. By reducing sensation, we naturally become more Our Real Self, prior to sensation.
Theravada Buddhism’s primary practice is satipatthana – observation of the rise and fall of body, feelings, mind and mental objects with equanimity.
ANALYSIS: Buddhist nirvana occurs when one no longer craves or rejects sensation. Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, set himself on fire and remained perfectly still ( )
He was free and happy of the senses. A floater does not master his senses, but he does get away from them.
ASTRAL PROJECTION (aka OBE, OOBE)
When a person leaves their body and views it from above, they do not feel the pain of that physical body. They have achieved sensory deprivation via a Near-Death experience. This obviously means there is a YOU who is ALIVE and watching the body and that YOU is eternally sensory deprived.
In the Western Wisdom Teachings
According to Max Heindel‘s Rosicrucian ( http://rosicrucian.com/ ) writings, called Western Wisdom Teachings, there are in the brain two small organs called the pituitary body and the pineal gland. This last gland is also called by medical science as “the atrophied third eye”; however, these teachings describe that none of them are atrophying: the pituitary body and the pineal gland at the present time are neither evolving nor degenerating, but are dormant. It is said that in the far past, when man was in touch with the inner worlds, these organs were his means of ingress thereto, and they will again serve that purpose at a later stage. According to this view, they were connected with the involuntary orsympathetic nervous system and to regain contact with the inner worlds (to reawaken the pituitary body and the pineal gland) it is necessary to establish the connection of the pineal gland and the pituitary body with the cerebrospinal nervous system. It is said that when that is accomplished, man will again possess the faculty of perception in the higher worlds (i.e. clairvoyance), but on a grander scale than it was in the distant past, because it will be in connection with the voluntary nervous system and therefore under the control of his will.
ANALYSIS: In “The Quiet Center” John Lilly said (paraphrase) “I think the yogis were right. I found that in isolation I could put my body anywhere I wanted in spacetime”
MEISTER ECKHART – Concept of Mystical Union With God
If only you could suddenly be unaware of all things, then you could pass into an oblivion of your own body… memory no longer functioned, nor understanding, nor the senses
, nor the powers that should function so as to govern and grace the body…
In this way a man should flee
, turn his powers inward and sink into an oblivion of all things and himself.” ( http://tupamahu.blogspot.com/2010/03/meister-eckharts-concept-of-mystical.html
ANALYSIS: “suddenly unaware of all things” is exactly what a tank gives you. The tank is a recipe for Eckhart’s Mystical Union with God.
Saint Teresa of Ávila
The kernel of Teresa’s mystical thought throughout all her writings is the ascent of the soul in four stages… The fourth is the “devotion of ecstasy or rapture,” a passive state, in which the consciousness of being in the body disappears (2 Corinthians 12:2-3). Sense activity ceases; memory and imagination are also absorbed in God or intoxicated.
During the short time the union lasts, she is deprived of every feeling, and even if she would, she could not think of any single thing… She is utterly dead to the things of the world… The natural action of all her faculties [are suspended]. She neither sees, hears, nor understands.”
– William James quoting from St. Teresa of Avila, “Interior Castle”
( http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/tic/index.htm )
ANALYSIS: I think this verse speaks loudly and clearly of the role of sensory deprivation (by whatever means necessary) for what she considers religious experience
2 Corinthians 4:16, 18
4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Some unfortunately suppose that Christian Science leads us to ignore the body, but this is a mistaken view of its teaching and practise. The redemption of the human mind and body begins the moment that truth is accepted by one as a remedy for the ills which afflict mankind, and the work of the Christian Science practitioner is to lift thought above mortal sense, up to the true consciousness of man’s being as the likeness of God. It should not be forgotten that this lifts one above bodily consciousness into mental freedom and spiritual power, and the price paid for freedom is the surrender of material and sensual belief respecting man for the Christ-ideal of being and doing. Mrs. Eddy says, “Rightly understood, instead of possessing a sentient material form, man has a sensationless body” (Science and Health, p. 280). Sensation in the body implies a diseased tendency. Even on the human plane we are not conscious of heart, lungs, eye, or ear, unless mortal mind is offering a report of some discordant condition, and the remedy for this is to lift the discordant thought from the body, or, as the Master has bidden us, “Look up, and lift up your heads.”
- Yama: codes of restraint, abstinences (2.30, 2.31)
- Niyama: observances, self-training (2.32)
- Asana: meditation posture (2.46-2.48)
- Pranayama: expansion of breath and prana (2.49-2.53)
- Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses (2.54-2.55)
- Dharana: concentration (3.1)
- Dhyana: meditation (3.2)
- Samadhi: deep absorption (3.3)
ANALYSIS: there are numerous shortcuts to samadhi. You could practice ethical living all your life and maybe eventually get there. You could do physical asana for 10-15 years and get there. It certainly is not a rapid approach as I’ve done both bikram yoga and ashtanga yoga and I like them, but they do not lead to samadhi very quickly. Pranayama can do it in 4-6 weeks of diligent practice. I used to work with a person who left the Self-Realization Fellowship and I was able to get to some nice thoughtless states.
So now let’s get to pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses.
The yogic way to do this is called Sambhavi Mudra ( http://goo.gl/BzdVH ) … the tank is a pratyahara device automatically. So we move up to stage 5 of 8 just by climbing in. And I can vouch for the existence of John C. Lilly’s Quiet Center as being a real achievable thing just by laying in the tank.
In the Upanishads, a human being is likened to a city with ten gates. Nine gates (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urethra, anus) lead outside to the sensory world. The third eye is the tenth gate and leads to inner realms housing myriad spaces of consciousness.
The vision of the brilliant Soul in the perfect unity of Yoga (Maitri Upanishad)
25. Now, it has elsewhere been said: ‘He who, with senses indrawn as in sleep, with thoughts perfectly pure as in slumber, being in the pit of senses yet not under their control, perceives Him who is called Om, a leader, brilliant, sleepless, ageless, deathless, sorrowless—he himself becomes called Om, a leader, brilliant, sleepless, ageless, deathless, sorrowless.’
“the more we know, the less we see” — Sade, Never as Good as the First Time
E. J. Gold
Our vanity convinces us that the machine is awake and supports this illusion with activity, sensation, and associative thought. — Human Biological Machine as a Transformational Apparatus.
More than one spiritual system pleads with the aspirant to flee the senses. I know it sounds prudish and I like my share of sex, drugs and rock and roll as much as the next person. But this article is focused on the automatic and lasting religious value of sensory deprivation – inner sense awakening.