>> Synesthesia per my understanding is the crossing of the senses - hence SEEING sound, or FEELING scents, etc. <<
It's really the *combining* of senses, because when you see sound as color, for example, you're also hearing that sound. But first, let me say something about the difference between clinical synesthesia which Peter described very well, and what an occultist would *call* synesthesia.
We occultists have the bad habit of taking modern scientific terms, which have very specific definitions, and using them to explain or describe occult concepts. This is another case of that where we've adopted the scientific term synesthesia to mean something slightly different than what the scientific definition really is. *Clinical* synesthesia is as Peter described -- a matter of neuronal connections within the brain itself. *Occult* synesthesia however, has nothing to do with the brain's structure -- it has to do with *perception*.
>> This presumably encompasses the astral and mental bodies, as they are where sensory information is processed (I think), as well as the Brain, as this is where physical sensory information is received. My original question was, does anyone have an explanation for why/how sensory crossing occurs, or how to develop the 'ability'. I also think that it would be invaluable to understand how the brain and it's processes relate to the other bodies, and exactly how the brain CONNECTS to the other bodies (i.e. how the astral/mental matrix works). <<
In the Step Two sensory concentration exercises while you are trying to isolate each sense, you will notice that each sense has a strong affinity with at least one other sense. For example, while you're trying to visualize that clock on the wall, it's very difficult to isolate the *visualization* from the *sound* of the clock's ticking. And likewise, when you're trying to *smell* a rose, it's very difficult to isolate the smell from the *image* of the rose.
These affinities occur at an astral/emotional level. This is the body which *personalizes* the perceptions of the mental body. The process of personalization is one of associating the perception with one's own past experiences, one of drawing upon things you already know in an effort to understand the perception.
The Step Two exercise however is a *mental* exercise, so one focuses upon isolating each sense from all the others. This separates the senses from the astral personalization process.
The Step Two exercise is the *creative* use of the mental senses and is not *perceptual*. Synesthesia on the other hand, is a combination of creativity and perception, but mostly it is perception. Where the creativity comes into play is in the intentional combining of senses and bodies of perception (mental plus astral).
The *mental* senses perceive essential meaning. The Fire region of the mental body perceives essential meaning *directly* and without any clothing of form (such as thought or emotion). This *direct* perception is then processed by the Air region of thinking and is given its first layer of clothing -- thought. Here one thinks about the perception and condenses it into finite concepts. Next, these thoughts penetrate the Water region of the mental body -- the astral or emotional body. Here, the thoughts about the direct perception are given the clothing of emotional significance and they take on form as sensation, color, tone, shape, etc., all of which are drawn from the storehouse of one's past memories. These direct perceptions, clothed in thought and emotional significance, then make their way into the physical body (the Earth region of the mental body) and, most especially, into the brain. This triggers electrical impulses within the brain and autonomic nerve system, causing the physical body to respond according to the input.
So, *occult* synesthesia is a matter of perceiving essential meaning *through* more than one *astral* sense at a time. The first step is to isolate the mental sense. For example, close your eyes and focus exclusively upon the sound you're hearing and isolate just your mental perception of the essential meaning of that sound. Once you're in this focused *listening* mode, draw that perception down into your astral body and open yourself to *seeing* color, shape and rhythmic movement.
Don't try to force it because this will take it out of the realm of *emotional response* and *perception* and into the realm of *rationalization*. Just open yourself to seeing what you hear. The key however, is making that initial mental perception of the essential
meaning of the sound.
Also, you must understand that this *seeing* is just like in the Step Two exercise -- it is a *mental* vision, not a physical vision.
The applications of *occult* synesthesia can be found primarily in the art of *in*direct perception of essential meaning. Through experimentation one can learn how to *clearly* perceive essential meaning *through* the astral filter; or rather, how to translate astral perceptions into essential meaning. A sort of grand form of synesthesia would be kabbalistic utterance in which one is combining both the creative and perceptual aspects of *all* the senses simultaneously. It can also be a source of great inspiration to the painter or composer, etc. It can also be pure entertainment. :)
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
02 Dec 2003