The Seat of The Soul
by Gary Zukav
- During the years
that I was writing The Dancing Wu Li Masters and after, I was drawn
again and again to the writings of William James, Carl Jung, Benjamin Lee
Whorf, Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein. I returned to them repeatedly. I
found in them something special, although it was not until later that I
was able to understand that specialness: these fellow humans reached for
something greater than they were able to express directly through their
work. They saw more than they could express in the language of psychology
or linguistics or physics, and they sought to share what they saw. It is
what they sought to share through the medium of their work that drew me
- They were mystics.
That is my word. They would not use such language, but they knew it. They
feared that their careers might become contaminated by association with
those who did not work within the scientific model, but in the depths of
their own thoughts they each saw much too much to be limited by the five
senses, and they were not. Their works contribute not only to the evolution
of psychology, linguistics and physics, but also to the evolution of those
who read them. They have the capability to change those who touch them
in ways that also cannot be expressed directly in the terms of psychology,
or linguistics, or physics.
- As I came to understand,
in retrospect, the magnetic quality that these works held for me, I came
to understand that what motivated these men was not Earthly prizes or the
respect of colleagues, but that they put their souls and minds on something
and reached the extraordinary place where the mind could no longer produce
data of the type that they wanted, and they were in the territory of inspiration
where their intuitions accelerated and they knew that there was something
more than the realm of time and space and matter, something more than physical
life. They knew it. They could not necessarily articulate this clearly
because they were not equipped to talk about such things, but they felt
it and their writings reflected it.
- In other words,
I came to understand that what motivated these men, and many others, was
in fact something of great vision that comes from beyond the personality.
Each of us is now being drawn, in one way or another, to that same great
vision. It is more than a vision. It is an emerging force. It is the next
step in our evolutionary journey. Humanity, the human species, is longing
now to touch that force, to shed that which interferes with clear contact.
Much of the difficulty in doing this lies in the fact that the vocabulary
with which to address this new force, which is indeed the eternal force,
is not yet born.
- In this moment
and in this hour of human evolution this proper vocabulary and means of
addressing that which longs to transcend religiosity and spirituality and
assume the position of authentic power is longing to be born. We need to
give that which we as a species are now touching consciously for the first
time a vocabulary that is not clouded so that it can be identified clearly
in the acts and judgments of the human race, so that it can be seen clearly,
and not through veils of mystery or mysticism, but simply as the authentic
power that moves the force fields of this Earth of ours. I hope that this
book will assist.
- As a way of talking
about what we are and what we are becoming, I have used the terms five-sensory
and multisensory. Multisensory is not better than five-sensory. It is simply
more appropriate now. As one system of human experience winds down and
another, more advanced system emerges the older system may appear by comparison
to be lacking, but from the perspective of the Universe, the language of
comparison is not the language of lesser and better, but of limitation
- The experiences
of the multisensory human are less limited than the experiences of the
five-sensory human. They provide more opportunities for growth and development
and more opportunities to avoid unnecessary difficulties. I have contrasted
the experiences of the five-sensory human with the experiences of the multisensory
human in each instance to make their differences as clear as possible,
but this does not mean that the five-sensory phase of our evolution, the
phase from which we are emerging, is negative in comparison to the phase
of our evolution that we are entering, the multisensory phase. It is simply
that it is now no longer appropriate just as there came a time when the
use of candles became inappropriate because of electricity, but the advent
of electricity did not make candle power negative.
- Who among us is
an expert on the human experience? We have only the gift of sharing perceptions
that hopefully can help those on their journey. There is no such thing
as an expert on the human experience. The human experience is an experience
in movement and thought and form, and, in some cases, an experiment in
movement and thought and form. The most that we can do is comment on the
movement, the thought and the form, but those comments are of great value
if they can help people to learn to move gracefully, to think clearly,
to form -- like artists -- the matter of their lives.
- We are in a time
of deep change. We will move through this change more easily if we are
able to see the road upon which we are traveling, our destination, and
what it is that is in motion. I offer what is in this book as a window
through which I have come to see life. I offer this window to you, but
I do not say that it is necessary that you accept it. There are so many
ways to wisdom and to the heart. This is our greatest richness, and the
one that gives me the most joy.
- We have much to
- Let us do it in
wisdom and love and joy.
- Let us make this
the human experience.
- CHAPTER I:
Evolution from the Introduction
- The evolution
that we learned about in school is the evolution of physical form we learned,
for example, that the single-celled creatures of the oceans are the predecessors
of all more complex forms of life. A fish is more complex, and, therefore,
more evolved than a sponge; a horse is more complex, and, therefore, more
evolved than a snake; a monkey is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved
than a horse, and so on, up to human beings which are the most complex,
and, therefore, the most evolved Life forms upon our planet. We were taught,
in other words, that evolution means the progressive development of organizational
- This definition
is an expression of the idea that the organism that is best able to control
both its environment and all of the other organisms in its environment
is the most evolved. "Survival of the fittest" means that the
most evolved organism in a given environment is the organism that is at
the top of the food chain in that environment. According to this definition,
therefore, the organism that is most able to ensure its own survival, most
able to serve its self-preservation, is the most evolved.
- We have long known
that this definition of evolution is inadequate, but we have not known
why. When two humans engage one another, they are, in terms of organizational
complexity, equally evolved. If both have the same intelligence, yet one
is small-minded, mean and selfish while the other is magnanimous and altruistic,
we say that the one who is magnanimous and altruistic is the more evolved.
If one human intentionally sacrifices his or her life to save another,
by, for example, using his or her own body to shield another from an unseen
bullet or a speeding car, we say that the human who sacrificed his or her
life, indeed, was one of the most evolved among us. We know these things
to be true, but they are at variance with our understanding of evolution.
- Jesus, we are
told, foresaw the plot against His life, even to the details of how His
friends would act and react, yet He did not run from what He saw. The entirety
of humankind has been inexorably shaped by the power and love of One who
gave His life for others. All who revere Him, and almost all who
but know His story, agree that He was one of the most evolved of our species.
- Our deeper understanding
tells us that a truly evolved being is one that values others more than
it values itself, and that values love more than it values the physical
world and what is in it. We must now bring our understanding of evolution
into alignment with this deeper understanding. It is important that we
do this because our current understanding of evolution reflects the phase
of evolution that we are now leaving. By examining this understanding,
we can perceive how we have evolved to now, and what we are now in the
process of leaving behind. By reflecting upon a new and expanded understanding
of evolution, one that validates our deepest truths, we can see what we
are evolving into, and what that means in terms of what we experience,
what we value, and how we act.
- Our current understanding
of evolution results from the fact that we have evolved until now by exploring
physical reality with our five senses. We have been, until now, five-sensory
human beings. This path of evolution has allowed us to see the basic principles
of the Universe in concrete ways. We see through our five senses that every
action is a cause that has an effect, and that every effect has a cause.
We see the results of our intentions. We see that rage kills: it takes
away breath -- the Life force -- and it spills blood -- the carrier of
vitality. We see that kindness nurtures. We see and feel the effects of
a snarl and a smile.
- We experience
our ability to process knowledge. We see, for example, that a stick is
a tool, and we see the effects of how we choose to use it. The club that
kills can drive a stake into the ground to hold a shelter. The spear that
takes a life can be used as a lever to ease life's burdens. The knife that
cuts flesh can be used to cut cloth. The hands that build bombs can be
used to build schools. The minds that coordinate the activities of violence
can coordinate the activities of cooperation.
- We see that when
the activities of life are infused with reverence, they come alive with
meaning and purpose. We see that when reverence is lacking from life's
activities, the result is cruelty, violence and loneliness. The physical
arena is a magnificent learning environment. It is a school within which,
through experimentation, we come to understand what causes us to expand
and what causes us to contract, what causes us to grow and what causes
us to shrivel, what nourishes our souls and what depletes them, what works
and what does not.
- When the physical
environment is seen only from the five-sensory point of view, physical
survival appears to be the fundamental criterion of evolution because no
other kind of evolution is detectable. It is from this point of view that
"survival of the fittest" appears to be synonymous with evolution,
and physical dominance appears to characterize advanced evolution.
- When perception
of the physical world is limited to the five-sensory modality, the basis
of life in the physical arena becomes fear. Power to control the environment,
and those within the environment appears to be essential.
- The need for physical
dominance produces a type of competition that affects every aspect of our
lives. It affects relationships between lovers and between superpowers,
between siblings and between races, between classes and between sexes.
It disrupts the natural tendency toward harmony between nations and between
friends. The same energy that sent warships to the Persian Gulf sent soldiers
to Vietnam and Crusaders to Palestine. The energy that separated the family
of Romeo from the family of Juliet is the same energy that separates the
racial family of the black husband from the racial family of the white
wife. The energy that set Lee Harvey Oswald against John Kennedy is the
same energy that set Cain against Abel. Brothers and sisters quarrel for
the same reason that corporations quarrel -- they seek power over one another.
- The power to control
the environment, and those within it, is power over what can be felt, smelled,
tasted, heard or seen. This type of power is external power. External power
can be acquired or lost, as in the stock market or an election. It can
be bought or stolen, transferred or inherited. It is thought of as something
that can be gotten from someone else, or somewhere else. One person's gain
of external power is perceived as another person's loss. The result of
seeing power as external is violence and destruction. All of our institutions
-- social, economic and political -- reflect our understanding of power
- Families, like
cultures, are patriarchal or matriarchal. One person "wears the pants."
Children learn this early, and it shapes their lives.
- Police departments,
like the military, are produced by the perception of power as external.
Badge, boots, rank, radio, uniform, weapons, and armor are symbols of fear.
Those who wear them are fearful. They fear to engage the world without
defenses. Those who encounter these symbols are fearful. They fear the
power that these symbols represent, or they fear those whom they expect
this power to contain, or they fear both. The police and the military,
like patriarchal and matriarchal families and cultures, are not origins
of the perception of power as external. They are reflections of the way
that we, as a species and as individuals, have come to view power.
- The perception
of power as external has shaped our economics. The ability to control economies,
within communities and within nations, and the ability to control the transnational
economy of the world, is concentrated in the hands of a few people. To
protect workers from these people, we have created unions. To protect consumers,
we have created bureaucracies in government. To protect the poor, we have
created welfare systems. This is a perfect reflection of how we have come
to perceive power -- as the possession of a few while the majority serve
it as victims.
- Money is a symbol
of external power. Those who have the most money have the most ability
to control their environment and those within it, while those who have
the least money have the least ability to control their environment and
those within it. Money is acquired, lost, stolen, inherited and fought
for. Education, social status, fame, and things that are owned, if we derive
a sense of increased security from them, are symbols of external power.
Anything we fear to lose -- a home, a car, an attractive body, an agile
mind, a deep belief -- is a symbol of external power. What we fear is an
increase in our vulnerability. This results from seeing power as external.
- When power is
seen as external, the hierarchies of our social, economic and political
structures, as well as the hierarchies of the Universe, appear as indicators
of who has power and who does not. Those at the top appear to have the
most power and, therefore, to be the most valuable and the least vulnerable.
Those at the bottom appear to be the least powerful, and, therefore, to
be the least valuable and the most vulnerable. From this perception, the
general is more valuable than the private, the executive is more valuable
than the chauffeur, the doctor is more valuable than the receptionist,
the parent is more valuable than the child, and the Divine is more valuable
than the worshiper. We fear to transgress our parents, our bosses, and
our God. All perceptions of lesser and greater personal value result from
the perception of power as external.
- Competition for
external power lies at the heart of all violence. The secondary gain behind
ideological conflicts, such as capitalism versus communism, and religious
conflicts, such as Irish Catholic versus Irish Protestant, and geographical
conflicts, such as Jew versus Arab, and familial and marital conflicts,
is external power.
- The perception
of power as external splinters the psyche, whether it is the psyche of
the individual, the community, the nation, or the world. There is no difference
between acute schizophrenia and a world at war. There is no difference
between the agony of a splintered soul and the agony of a splintered nation.
When a husband and a wife compete for power, they engage the same dynamic
that humans of one race do when they fear humans of another race.
- From these dynamics,
we have formed our present understanding of evolution as a process of ever-increasing
ability to dominate the environment and each other. This definition reflects
the limitations of perceiving the physical world with only five senses.
It reflects the competition for external power that is generated by fear.
- After millennia
of brutality to one another, individual to individual and group to group,
it is now clear that the insecurity which underlies the perception of power
as external cannot be healed by the accumulation of external power. It
is evident for all to see, not only with each newscast and evening paper,
but also through each of our countless sufferings as individuals and as
a species, that the perception of power as external brings only pain, violence
and destruction. This is how we have evolved until now, and this is what
we are leaving behind.
- Our deeper understanding
leads us to another kind of power, a power that loves life in every form
that it appears, a power that does not judge what it encounters, a power
that perceives meaningfulness and purpose in the smallest details upon
the Earth. This is authentic power. When we align our thoughts, emotions,
and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm,
purpose, and meaning. Life is rich and full. We have no thoughts of bitterness.
We have no memory of fear. We are joyously and intimately engaged with
our world. This is the experience of authentic power.
- Authentic power
has its roots in the deepest source of our being. Authentic power cannot
be bought, inherited or hoarded. An authentically empowered person is incapable
of making anyone or anything a victim. An authentically empowered person
is one who is so strong, so empowered, that the idea of using force against
another is not a part of his or her consciousness.
- No understanding
of evolution is adequate that does not have at its core that we are on
a journey toward authentic power, and that authentic empowerment is the
goal of our evolutionary process and the purpose of our being. We are evolving
from a species that pursues external power into a species that pursues
authentic power. We are leaving behind exploration of the physical world
as our sole means of evolution. This means of evolution, and the consciousness
that results from an awareness that is limited to the five-sensory modality,
are no longer adequate to what we must become.
- We are evolving
from five-sensory humans into multisensory humans. Our five senses, together,
form a single sensory system that is designed to perceive physical reality.
The perceptions of a multisensory human extend beyond physical reality
to the larger dynamical systems of which our physical reality is a part.
The multisensory human is able to perceive, and to appreciate, the role
that our physical reality plays in a larger picture of evolution, and the
dynamics by which our physical reality is created and sustained. This realm
is invisible to the five-sensory human.
- It is in this
invisible realm that the origins of our deepest values are found. From
the perspective of this invisible realm, the motivations of those who consciously
sacrifice their lives for higher purposes make sense, the power of Gandhi
is explicable, and the compassionate acts of the Christ are comprehensible
in a fullness that is not accessible to the five-sensory human.
- All of our great
teachers have been, or are, multisensory humans. They have spoken to us
and acted in accordance with perceptions and values that reflect the larger
perspective of the multisensory being, and, therefore, their words and
actions awaken within us the recognition of truths.
- From the perception
of the five-sensory human, we are alone in a universe that is physical.
From the perception of the multisensory human, we are never alone, and
the Universe is alive, conscious, intelligent and compassionate. From the
perception of the five-sensory human, the physical world is an unaccountable
given in which we unaccountably find ourselves, and we strive to dominate
it so that we can survive. From the perception of the multisensory human,
the physical world is a learning environment that is created jointly by
the souls that share it, and everything that occurs within it serves their
learning. From the perception of the five-sensory human, intentions have
no effects, the effects of actions are physical, and not all actions affect
us or others. From the perception of the multisensory human, the intention
behind an action determines its effects, every intention affects both us
and others, and the effects of intentions extend far beyond the physical
- What does it mean
to say that an "invisible" realm exists in which the origins
of our deeper understandings are located? What are the implications of
considering the existence of a realm that is not detectable through the
five senses, but that can be known, explored, and understood by other human
- When a question
is asked that cannot be answered within the common frame of reference,
it can be classified as nonsensical, or it can be dismissed as a question
that is not appropriate, or the person who is asking the question can expand
his or her consciousness to encompass a frame of reference from which the
question can be answered. The first two options are the easy ways out of
a confrontation with a question that appears to be nonsensical or inappropriate,
but the seeker, the true scientist, will allow himself or herself to expand
into a frame of reference from which the answers that he or she is seeking
can be understood.
- We, as a species,
have been asking the questions, "Is there a God?", "Is there
a Divine Intelligence?", and, "Is there a purpose to life?",
for as long as we have been able to articulate questions. The time has
now come for us to expand into a frame of reference that allows these questions
to be answered.
- The larger frame
of reference of the multisensory human allows an understanding of the experientially
meaningful distinction between the personality and the soul. Your personality
is that part of you that was born into, lives within, and will die within
time. To be a human and to have a personality are the same thing. Your
personality, like your body, is the vehicle of your evolution.
- The decisions
that you make and the actions that you take upon the Earth are the means
by which you evolve. At each moment you choose the intentions that will
shape your experiences and those things upon which you will focus your
attention. These choices affect your evolutionary process. This is so for
each person. If you choose unconsciously, you evolve unconsciously. If
you choose consciously, you evolve consciously.
- The fearful and
violent emotions that have come to characterize human existence can be
experienced only by the personality. Only the personality can feel anger,
fear, hatred, vengeance, sorrow, shame, regret, indifference, frustration,
cynicism and loneliness. Only the personality can judge, manipulate and
exploit. Only the personality can pursue external power. The personality
can also be loving, compassionate, and wise in its relations with others,
but love, compassion, and wisdom do not come from the personality. They
are experiences of the soul.
- Your soul is that
part of you that is immortal. Every person has a soul, but a personality
that is limited in its perception to the five senses is not aware of its
soul, and, therefore, cannot recognize the influences of its soul. As a
personality becomes multisensory, its intuitions -- its hunches and subtle
feelings -- become important to it. It senses things about itself, other
people, and the situations in which it finds itself that it cannot justify
on the basis of the information that its five senses can provide. It comes
to recognize intentions, and to respond to them rather than to the actions
and the words that it encounters. It can recognize, for example, a warm
heart beneath a harsh and angry manner, and a cold heart beneath polished
and pleasing words.
- When a multisensory
personality looks inside itself, it finds a multitude of different currents.
Through experience, it learns to distinguish between these currents and
to identify the emotional, psychological and physical effects of each.
It learns, for example, which currents produce anger, divisive thoughts,
and destructive actions, and which currents produce love, healing thoughts,
and constructive actions. In time, it learns to value and to identify with
those currents that generate creativity, healing and love, and to challenge
and release those currents that create negativity, disharmony and violence.
In this way, a personality comes to experience the energy of its soul.
- Your soul is not
a passive or a theoretical entity that occupies a space in the vicinity
of your chest cavity. It is a positive, purposeful force at the core of
your being. It is that part of you that understands the impersonal nature
of the energy dynamics in which you are involved, that loves without restriction
and accepts without judgment.
- If you desire
to know your soul, the first step is to recognize that you have a soul.
The next step is to allow yourself to consider, "If I have a soul,
what is my soul? What does my soul want? What is the relationship
between my soul and me? How does my soul affect my life?"
- When the energy
of the soul is recognized, acknowledged, and valued, it begins to infuse
the life of the personality. When the personality comes fully to serve
the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment. This is the goal
of the evolutionary process in which we are involved and the reason for
our being. Every experience that you have and will have upon the Earth
encourages the alignment of your personality with your soul. Every circumstance
and situation gives you the opportunity to choose this path, to allow your
soul to shine through you, to bring into the physical world through you
its unending and unfathomable reverence for and love of Life.
- This is a book
about authentic empowerment -- the alignment of the personality with the
soul -- what that involves, how it happens, and what it creates. To understand
these things requires an understanding of things that appear unusual to
the five-sensory human, but they become natural once you understand evolution
-- that five-sensory perception is a journey leading to multisensory perception
-- and that you were not always meant to be five-sensory.
1989 by Gary Zukav
Gary Zukav Biography | Cornerstone
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