On the Astral "Sight"
>> I was wondering about the actual mechanism of astral sight, how does the brain interpret it? When I see my bedroom through my closed eyes it appears clearer than with physical eyesight, more sharply in focus - even the peripheral vision, which with normal sight is blurred - and more intensely coloured. Since they are not actual eyes that are seeing, what sensory apparatus of the astral body is collecting the light waves to be imprinted on the brain and HOW for goodness sake? Is it even light waves that are being perceived? <<
The intensity that you're experiencing is actually the mental component within the astral sensation. The mental component is more noticeable with the astral sensoria than it is with the physical sensoria. This is what makes the astral sensoria feel so different and exciting.
The seat of the senses is actually the mental body but the seat of what we normally define as "sensation" is within the astral body. This is where we "feel" sensation and translate the sensory input into personal terms.
The astral vision is not dependant upon physical light (e.g., you can see clearly in a dark room). What your astral eyes are perceiving is the *essential meaning* (the mental component) radiated by all the things in view. Hence the "feeling" that more than just visual details are being perceived. Each thing communicates its essential meaning at a mental level. With your astral sensoria you are perceiving this mental communication more directly and without the distractions of the physical sensoria, brain, etc.
We experience all of this normally within our physical senses but seldom notice these subtle layers of perception because of how overpowering the physical, brain-bound sensations themselves are. For example, when you see something with your physical eyes that strikes you as unpleasant, the perception of its unpleasantness comes from your astra-mental perception, not your physical eyes.
The physical brain is accustomed to integrating the mental perceptions with the astral and physical sensations, so when we perceive things at the astral level, the brain will automatically translate these perceptions into physical sensations. [Bardon makes use of this in his Elemental accumulation exercises by *consciously* tying the astral perception of the Element to the physical sensation.] This explains why your astral vision is so physical in nature. The mental component of your astral perception is recognized by the brain and the brain responds as it would if light were triggering your optic nerve, etc.
>> To make matters even more complicated, I've astrally seen my cat walk past my bedroom door, stop, flick her tail, lick herself and move into the room, only to open my real eyes to watch her then perform the same sequence in "reality" (reminds me of "Matrix"). How do the astral senses download a future sight into a brain in the present? <<
It sounds like you have some precognitive abilities. This is the ability to perceive the threads of commonality that comprise part of the present moment. This is not exactly "seeing the future" as the title suggests; rather, its perceiving what is most likely to occur based upon the threads of commonality that unite this present moment and that past moment.
In the case of your cat, you might also have been perceiving her intention with your astral senses. This would have been a part of her essential meaning, communicated at a mental level.
>> Are all the senses present in the physical body mirrored in the astral body? Does the astral body have more than just the 5 physical senses and if so, how are these interpreted in the physical brain which can relate to only the usual 5? <<
Actually, all the mental senses are mirrored in the astral body and the physical body only mirrors seven of those. These are the five standard physical senses, plus a compression of a few subtle senses that I call the "emotional tone" and another compression that I call the "mind's chatter". [See my "Center of Stillness Meditation".] These last two physical senses represent the parts of the astral and mental sensoria that are recognized by the brain. The brain translates all subtle perceptions into one of these seven categories.
>> I'm also interested in how our poor brains manage to combine physical sight with astral sight. I have been lying in bed awake and relaxed with my husband reading beside me and described to him in vivid detail while it was happening the "vision" of a red coloured see- through ... something ... with a geometrical type framework floating from the bathroom into the bedroom across the bed and out the opposite wall. Is this also astral sight, even with my eyes open, and if so, how is it possible to astrally perceive something overlaying normal vision? I think this must be the same principle used with the Step II eyes-open visualization, but how does it actually work? <<
The brain responds in habitual ways. Since this level of perception is a normal part (albeit, unconscious) of physical perception, the brain recognizes its input and translates it into physical sensations such as the vision you describe. And yes, the same principle is evoked in the Step Two sensory concentration exercises.
>> Btw, one would think that the Step II exercises should come very easily to me, yet I can't seem to do it consciously however much it happens spontaneously! Very frustrating! <<
The only difference would be your degree of openness. In other words, perhaps you're trying to 'force it' when you should be 'letting it' . . . The easiest thing to do is to get in our own way. ;-)
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
31 Jul 2002
>> Somebody wrote here about "inner sight", i.e., look around without the use of the physical eyes. Could be this skill a help for blind people? I mean, to teach blind people to use their "astral eyes" and this way go into a normal life like the rest of the people? Or the "inner sight" only operates when the person has been using his physical eyes before? What about blind people who born blind? <<
In theory, yes, this would be a possible avenue for a blind person. One who had seen before would perhaps be able to experience their surroundings in a nearly normal fashion since their brains would be in the habit of visualizing. But one who had never seen before would not be able to perceive things in the normal way that we think of vision. The reason is because their brains would not be used to translating the input of this astral sense into images. In their case, it would still be a perception of the essential meaning that all things communicate, but the brain would not translate that perception into familiar (to us sighted folk) 3D images. Their "visual" landscape would "look" quite different and whether or not that could be translated into spatial terms significantly enough to be functional in a "normal" way is questionable. For example, I sort of doubt it could be used to navigate *visually* through a room.
>> I think physical eyes are very important for developing our 'inner sight', for physical and astral bodies should grow through life together. People born blind for example will never use their eyes, but both their physical and astral bodies will have very developed other senses. <<
The physical senses are dependant upon the astral senses, but the converse is not true. One can have fully developed astral senses while having an absence of the corresponding physical sense. In fact, a physical limitation such as blindness or deafness will often result in a heightening of the corresponding astral sense. Hence the "logic" behind the self-blinding that you mentioned. By removing the distraction of physical sight, those bards and seers were able to more clearly perceive their astral and mental perceptions. Fortunately, there are easier ways! ;-)
>> In IIH Bardon emphasizes that only the one that has his "sphere of consciousness intact (= 5 senses intact) can pursue IIH. <<
For the specific training in IIH, this may be true; but this is not true of initiation into Hermetics in general. IIH can easily be adapted to suit the blind, the deaf, those without the ability to smell or taste and those who are completely paralyzed and experience no bodily sensation. So long as the mind/psyche itself is intact, no physical limitations preclude the successful pursuit of Hermetics.
>> A blind man actually lacks the sphere of consciousness relative to the sight sense and therefore might not be able to pursue the elemental equilibrium needed during the training of the senses. <<
In IIH we use the sensory concentrations in this manner and to this end only because it is a very convenient and powerful method. It greatly speeds the development of the Elemental Equilibrium, but it is not the crux of the Equilibrium. It is just as possible to achieve this same Equilibrium of the Elements through the work of character transformation and self-perfecting alone, since *that* is the crux of the Elemental Equilibrium.
It is also quite possible to develop the full array of magical faculties noted in IIH without any dependence upon the physical senses whatsoever. Again, we use the physical senses as a pathway to gaining the inner essence of magic, but it is also possible to reach that inner essence through other means.
There have been many sages and magicians throughout the ages who were blind or deaf or who faced probably any sort of physical abnormality you can imagine.
>> As I practice sense concentration, the senses are obligatory, if I do not have them, there will be no way I would be able to focus on the sensation. <<
In IIH we use the technique of refining and exercising our physical, brain-bound senses *within the context of MENTAL concentration*. The bridge between mental and physical, is the astral. It's this combination of the *mental* context of the exercise plus its focus upon the *physical* senses, that rapidly develops the *astral* senses. Do you see what I'm trying to say?
At any rate, the focus upon the physical senses is secondary to the goal of developing the astral and mental senses. It's a convenience but not a necessity.
Your perspective is that of someone with their full array of senses intact and you've never known the true absence of sensation. When a physical sense is missing, you are more internally aware of its astra-mental root -- that part of the sense that is not brain-bound. So in this sense, a blind person is at no appreciable disadvantage when it comes to developing their astral sight.
It must also be remembered that the sensory concentration exercises exist within a broad context. There are also astral and physical components. And there's that ever-present development and deepening of the emptiness of mind.
The emptiness of mind is especially relevant in this discussion. It leads fairly directly to a state where you are effectively disconnected from your sensory inputs. Eventually it leads to a state where you are also effectively disconnected from your brain's habits. In other words, it would be like being born blind -- you would no longer even think in visual terms.
So, while IIH is working with your physical senses, it's also leading you to your astra-mental senses through other means. These other means can be adapted to lead a blind, deaf, etc., person to the same goal, in an equally balanced manner.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
12 Aug 2002