I made many changes to this essay this morning:
Anybody who has looked into the abyss of his or her consciousness knows that the abyss looks back at you, as Nietzsche said. The unconscious mind is a very live and active zoo of escaped animals raging about in pure chaos and savagery. Does their years of pent-up frustration make them even more crazy when they finally escape? And in all of this unintelligible impulse speaks back from the chasm some kind of insidious intelligence. In modern psychology, this hidden intentional has been called the id, the shadow, or the unconscious.
Pluma Blanca called the unconscious mind “psorax”. His definition of this entity of the unconscious is much more mystical and profound than any other explanation that I know. It is more of a practical understanding of how the mind creates frustrated realities that remain trapped within one, like an itch under the skin. He called it psorax because he saw it as subtle mental energy that becomes contaminated and gets trapped behind the skin, in the physical body.
There exists a mental and an energetic body that holds the impressions of all of the past experiences of the mind. The mind is the guide of the subtle energy, or prana, that is sent to control the physical body. Within the mind and the subtle body we carry all of the traumas, confusions and pains but also the hopes and aspirations of a mind and spirit seeking meaning in the experience of incarnated, human existence. If we die with pending desires and conflicts, then they are carried over into a new physical incarnation in a new physical body after death. This mental energetic momentum is termed ""samskara"" in yoga psychology. In life, this momentum expresses itself through a brain, nervous and glandular systems. In death these momentum leave the physical body remain latently attached to the mind until they find a suitable body to express themselves with in a new birth and existence. The entire bundle of experiences- the good, the bad, and the ugly, are carried in the energetic or samskaric body, the ""karma" shraya."
The terms "karma" and "samskara" are commonly interchanged. "Karma" is a popular concept. However, "karma" refers more to original actions than the resultant psychological and phenomenological projection of "samskaras." The original karmic actions create subtle impressions in the mental, energetic, and physical bodies. These enduring impressions are conditioned reactions that continually repeat and replicate themselves through various human and animal incarnations are termed "samskaras." In buddhist psychology the concept of "samskara" is related to the life conditioned by past "karmas," the "samsara." "Karma" and "samskara" are one pattern of action and reaction with the reactions determining a new action. Karma and samskara, action and reaction, create the "samsara," the phenomenological experience of being human. The cause and effect pattern of conditioned karmic actions propelled by past samskaric conditions that again generate the propulsion toward new actions results in a conditioned and limited existence of samsara. One attempts to fulfill desires or strives for a goal over and over while committing so many errors that bounce back upon one until one finds liberation from this cycle.
One cannot avoid the cycle of experiencing samskaras once one has created karma. Nobody escapes the fundamental laws of the universe. It is possible to change the cycle and recondition the process of constant suffering under negative samskaras. After so much suffering and committing so many errors one may wake up and consciously decide to change and inject new patterns in to the general pattern of samsara that one has previously created. Virtuous karmic actions create positive samskaras and one gradually carries a lighter load. Lighter, more spiritual samskaras lead one to the transcendence of the conditioned life of samsara where one becomes one with the true essence of life. The liberation from the cycle of samsara is termed "nirvana" en Buddhism and "moksha" in yoga. Perhaps Nietzsche´s strange ideas about an "eternal recurrence" were his attempts to understand the embedded "samskaras" of our mental nature which project themselves into our conception of reality, the "samsara."
The blocked vitality that distorts the body’s natural functions due to negative samskaras may accumulate like a festering sore attracting more mental parasites like itself to itself, thus making a hodge-podge stew of evil and illness. This idea makes more sense when one understands deeply the relation between the mind and the body and how prana, or vital energy moves between them. Psorax is a trapped energy, a mental concept concretized in a mental-energetic plasm that can’t effectively project itself outwardly as it would like to. For this reason "psorax" refers to the samskaric mental projections that create frustrations and illnesses, both physical and mental. Each time one fails to satisfy a desire the desire becomes even more frustrated. It has the intelligence of mind behind it, but the frustrated intentional toward matter and the physical body carrying the weight of this conflict in the nervous and glandular systems. Living with many errors and false ideas about oneself or the world is the greatest danger of conscious, human existence. Psorax in not psoriasis, but psoriasis is an interesting analogy of an illness deep within the skin. However, psorax refers to any distortion in the mental-energetic body that continually torments the mind while gradually projecting illness into the physical body.
Materialism is the greatest of deprivations as it destroys the mind slowly but surely. We begin to love things more than people and begin to treat people like things instead of incarnated spirits. Not having this clarity and responsibility of how each one of us is a co-creator in this creation of samsara always leads to a fall. Psorax is a psycho-physical entity that in some ways is self-created by the individual while at the same time is aided by the fact that there are exchanges between these entities of psorax between human beings, or minds incarnated in physical human bodies. Psorax is the energetic memory of a mind that accompanies the physical body. One can receive as well as transmit this psychic virus in much the same way that one receives and transmits physical viruses. A practical example: you are at peace. There are only a few light, positive thoughts in the mind and some pleasant feelings. Behind this subtle activity of mind is a deep, mysterious witness that just pleasantly is. Out of nowhere, it seems, there enters a dark, violent image on the mental scene. Is it my own unconscious attacking my peace, or is it because another person has come near and I sense his suffering? If I’m not at peace, then I may never understand and just get locked into a reception and transmission of negativity. This seed wants to take root within me, it vibrates my body and perhaps excites some memories and fears. It wants to become one with me. Only from a state of deep calm and non- judgment one can begin to witness these activities; how they affect the mind, change the feelings, and even how and where these influences vibrate and take root in the physical body. Most importantly is to distinguish your’s from another’s psorax.
I have always liked to live away from big cities so as not to be bombarded by so many crazy human minds. I was once traveling by taxi in Chiapas and was wondering with whom I would have to share the taxis. Three passengers would be in the small car with me as we traveled from our rural city toward the capital. I was happy when two very dignified old ladies entered the car. I would be sitting next to them in the back seat. They had a very respectable and decent vibration and were very cordial when they entered. One of them reminded me of my own grandmother. She slept on the trip and put her head on my shoulder. She awoke several times, raised her head, went back to sleep and then once again put her head on my shoulders. This happened several times and she never placed here head in the other direction, toward her friend. It was sweet and endearing and I suspected that some unconscious, motherly attraction toward me made her place her head on my shoulder over and over. I only said to her mentally, "all is well, just rest a while. I do not mind." After the trip ended I had a terrible headache. I could not sleep at night and when I finally did I had a terrible dream that my grandfather was drinking and cheating on my grandmother and was an entirely different figure in my dream than how he actually was in real life. My grandfather was somebody who vowed never vowed to drink again after the great celebration of the German surrender in Europe during World War II in which almost everybody in his division got excessively drunk. He promised to god that if he ever made it through that terrible, drunken night that he would never drink again and he did not. For that reason I understood how the psorax of the sweet old lady transferred over to me and tried to replicate itself in my headache and in my dreams. It was her that suffered the effects of alcoholism with her husband. The dream helped me understand her state of emotion by superimposing her emotional memories over mine. The discomfort only lasted a few days and during that time I felt the enduring impression of that sweet old lady, but with so much pain and suffering as well.
Pluma Blanca was an advanced yogi as well as a healer, and used his pinnacled knowledge to observe these phenomenon, how they create physical and mental illness, and developed ways of curing these ailments based on this understanding. Deep, sincere meditation is of course the most effective manner of seeing and processing the shadow, but this depends on so much: mental health, physical health, determination and discernment that are only developed by ardent efforts in one’s spiritual life. In yoga, yama and niyama is the base of this practice. This practical morality imparts self awareness and practical universal ideas of how to maintain mental balance through proper personal and social responsibility. Without these fundamental ideas of humanism imparted to individuals one is but a mix of animal impulses and social determination, or a game of Russian roulette. A society without spiritual principles that foster ethical awareness is but a vehicle for destructive, unconscious forces where psorax takes all into the abyss. I think this is why Pluma Blanca lived in a cave and only taught a few good people. Anandamurti, on the other hand, impulsed others to fight within society against the depraving effects of what he termed “negative microvita”. Both are right according to who they were, where they were, and what they expressed as enlightened individuals. Its not enough to believe and conceptualize about such things. Beliefs and opinions give rise to superstition and dogmas about ghosts, hauntings, and possessions, and the like. Without the efforts of both of these men who spoke about these phenomenon in the most practical and scientific manner possible to speak of such phenomenon, I know that I would be even more in the dark about understanding negative microvita or psorax, and perhaps be yapping about the devil and hell-fire and salvation.
All minds are interconnected and have their base in the Macrocosmic Mind, the Generator, Operator, and Destroyer of the physical universe. Each microcosm in this Macrocosmic Mind is distinct only in its most outer periphery where there exist distinctions of name, form, attachments to particular people, ideas, and places. The closer one gets to the essential “I-feeling” of each mind, the more the microcosm becomes the Macrocosm. The microcosm has no existence apart from the Macrocosm. Therefore, when we speak of the science of microvita, we are not speaking of entities other than microcosmic minds. Microcosmic Minds may be incarnated in physical form but they may also exist in their finer form, or in an energetic or astral body. The astral body is designed to manifest a physical body and continue evolving by continually manifesting in time and space with physical bodies. However, there are certain special cases in which they may manifest through physical bodies that already have a mind. This is when we call the disembodied mind a microvita. It is actually a distinct microcosmic mind but it resonates with a mind-body system of another microcosm. Normally, this resonance occurs when the disembodied mind is more powerful than the incarnated mind and the disembodied mind imposes its "samskara"s, or reactive momentum, on the incarnated being. This may be a “positive” or evolutionary impact in which higher propensities are stimulated so as to further the physical, mental, and spiritual evolution of the microcosm. Also, the effect may be “negative” in that the influence of the disembodied mind degenerates and crudifies the microcosm. What determines the effect of receiving a “positive” or a “negative” microvita is determined by the actions of the microcosm. A microcosm that loves the true and the good resonates with those thoughts, archetypes, and subtle energies behind these noble desires and the Macrocosm swoops down, as it were, to help guide the microcosm into higher union by applying its “positive” microvita. Positive microvita are microcosms, but they are microcosms under the control of the Macrocosm. When a microcosm is under the control of the Macrocosm, the free will of the microcosm only desires to serve the Macrocosm and nothing more. Therefore, these entities may assist the universe and its work of Generation, Operation, and Destruction of the created universe and help all beings flow with dharma to reclaim their birth right of union with the Macrocosm. A “negative” microvita is but a renegade microcosm. They are trapped in the resultant "samskara"s or reactive momentum of previous actions. They exist as bubbles of consciousness, not essentially separated from the Macrocosm, but separated by their own previous thoughts, feelings, and actions. These beings seek to continue their existence in the physical plane. "Psorax" is the collective name for the negative microvita. They look for people with similar karmic patterns with whom they may resonate. For example, if a good person begins to give in to a lower desire, Psorax may try to resonate with one’s body-mind system so as to help teach the tempted microcosm how to be more ruthless and selfish and actually fall into a lower frequency. Influences of positive microvita are “inspirations” while the influence of negative microvita are more akin to the traditional idea of “possessions,” although these possessions are often very elusive and more covert than the traditional and sensational ideas of demonic possession.
If there ever were a favorite hiding place for psorax in the human mind, it must be in the vortex or vrtti of duplicity. Recall that psorax is the term that Pluma Blanca referred to as the centripetal or return force in the universe that always pushes back against and apparently punishes microcosmic, outward actions that are not in harmony with the original, balanced actions of the Macrocosm. This outward, frustrated projection remains lodged in one’s mental and physical body in the form of a reaction like a constant itch under the skin, or something much, much worse. Every previous mental action still weighs and acts upon the mind in the present. Only in the spiritually ignorant microcosmic mind is there a need for this act of compensation to put the universe back into order after distorting it with an impulsive will. Is psorax really evil? It just pretends to be the bad guy to reflect our own shadow. Behind everything in this phenomenal world exists an underlying love.
With duplicity the mind has evolved what seems to be an efficient mechanism of allowing 2 contrary systems to function side by side without any contradiction, or so it seems. The “raging bundle of desire in a dying animal” and the sincere, responsible, conscious human being incarnate in the same being. Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf comes to mind here. Duplicity acts as a form of repression and distortion of what really is true about our lives in the more shadowy area while at the same time giving free reign to the wolf inside without compunction or pangs of conscience. In short, duplicity is a lie. It is an attempt to save face, to not admit that one is governed by the shadow.
The shadow, and therefore psorax, is everywhere humans are; in individuals and the collective. The grossest examples exist common society, in our daily conventions, and especially religion and politics. The imperialist governments create their own enemies or “terrorists”. They themselves promote, manipulate or even create corrupt foreign regimes who prostitute their natural resources and human labor to the powerful nations. They will never hesitate to make the most absurd lies so as to wage war and kill millions to steal the natural wealth from the rest of the world. The average citizens go along with it and wave their flags and get fat while unwitting soldiers and private security forces and other drones go off to other lands to kill people and bring their “demonocracy” to all. Where does psorax fit into all of this? What kind of shadow is created from an individual that believes these lies and what kind of greater monster is created by a collective body that goes along with the myth? Even greater and darker is the shadow of the shrewd people that fabricate these false realities for their own benefit. The reactions from these actions are all so apparent in the collective depression, neurosis and zombification of the common people who have little notion of or feel helpless to the false realities of their lives. A life unconnected to the subterranean flow of unity consciousness will always be compensated by cosmic law; the grosser the transgression, the grosser the reaction.
In Tantra there are 5 mental levels: the sensory, intellectual, creative, intuitive and causal minds, or muladhara, svadhistana, manipura, anahata, and vishuddha, respectively. Whenever the personality makes a jump from one mental level to the next there is of necessity a shift of psychic energy as well as the objectives of that psychic energy. A healthy evolutionary leap from one mental level to the next would gradually incorporate the lower tendencies into the higher. As we have seen there is a recapitulation of prior tendencies in successively subtler forms. If the old patterns of expression is not transmuted and integrated into the new, then a split within the personality occurs. The lower tendencies exist and function at the same time as the higher. And because there is a great difference in thematic structure at each mental level, there are therefore very definite incongruities in such a personality. What was once the major them of a particular vortex becomes the unconscious shadow of the next higher vortex. For example, the propensities of the 3rd vortex (creative mind) that were not incorporated into the Anahata level (intuitive mind) of personality become the shadow for that personality. The tendency of duplicity or hypocrisy manifests itself when the Anahata-intelligence of the personality is unable to fully integrate the lower, now unconscious propensities, of the vortexes preceding it. Instead of the Anahata Vortex being able to transmute the psychic energy of the lower propensities into one of its own, the mind at this level tries to mask, deny, distort, or suppress these incongruent tendencies. Here we may have the case of a personality endowed with some finer, conscious qualities and intelligence; for example a little moral conscience, a warm affection for others, as well as a spiritual outlook on life. This same personality, however, still contains remnants of a previous pattern of mental functioning that run contrary to the current sense of being. Instead of consciously recognizing and working to integrate these disparate tendencies into a harmonious and conscious synthesis the mind can use its cognitive abilities to distort and mask these contrary tendencies and thereby permit them to exist side by side with the conscious personality or ego. Different environments will bring out these different, opposing tendencies. In one environment one may behave in an uninhibited manner, expressing what is normally unexpressed, while in another one may act according to social protocol. What is meant here is not the expression of different facets of the personality that actually accord to a current situation. Instead duplicity is the act of covering up, putting up a show or “persona” to cover up an undesirable inner reality.
This mixing of antithetical positions within the same mind causes the cognition to cover both fields, “to hunt with the hounds as well as run with the hares.” At one time the assertions, compulsions, hatred, etc. can assert itself. At another time one is kind and fair. Duplicity is when the kind and fair side refuses to really recognize its shadowy counterpart. Or perhaps its the stable side of the personality with its seemingly confident sense of identity that distorts or denies a weak and insecure part of the personality. Duplicity can manifest itself in various ways. What is central to this tendency is that it is an attempt at keeping two antithetical forces from clashing with each other. At the same time this tendency is a block to integration and wholeness that is possible at the Anahata Vortex. Duplicity manifests as hypocrisy when the more intelligent part of the being recognizes its inferior parts but attempts to compensate for them by setting up higher standards that cannot possibly be met by a dual and divided mind. For example, such a person may express may express crude and lewd behavior in the company of his friends, but denounce that same behavior while at work or church in order to uphold a persona of social respectability. Duplicity is all too easily found in religious groups where insecure people have the need for others to guide or influence them spiritually. Without even mentioning sexual deviance, there is still a mountain of dangerous examples of duplicity in religion. Duplicity allows hidden tendencies to burrow deep into these minds while the “demons” of spiritual vanity and the desire to manipulate and control others become the primary objective. Once good intentional has degenerated, what virtue is left to protect one from the darkest parts of the shadow? Its the same situation whether they wear white collars or orange robes or rattle off scriptural sayings in Latin or Sanskrit: people that deceive and harm others spiritually through their hypocrisy have very hard falls into perversion. What was repressed and hidden becomes so painfully evident after a fall. What they projected once projected as "god" becomes their "devil" as hypocrisy reveals its true and ugly face.
Spiritually-minded people with discernment, or viveka, cannot tolerate these activities and belong to any groups that lie and cover up these truths. A spiritually conscious person either has to get out of the web of lies or become an agitator or revolutionary, a “heretic.” Insight must extend beyond the names and forms of religion. “It is alright to be born into a sect, but not to die in one”, said Vivekananda. It is natural to have duality in human existence. Sometimes we are strong and other times we are weak and cannot resist negative tendencies. There is so much uncertainty in deeper existential matters and values. Duplicity, however, is when the mind censors and covers up the inconvenient truths by fractioning off and compartmentalizing the personality into a false image. This image is untrue in that it is an argumentation against another, undesirable part of one’s being. One declares war upon oneself. Natural duality and indecision take on a distorted belief system about oneself where only one side of the dual equation is true. The more one represses and distorts the shadow, the more of a “true believer” one becomes. Fanaticism and a lot of argumentation is needed to quell the shadow. It takes a lot of internal psychological work and/or spiritual practice to integrate the disparate parts of the personality and become whole. And this is only possible with a very positive view of existence that permits the shadow to dissolve in this light little by little. Instead of becoming whole and congruent, duplicity loves to project its inner, repressed tensions of conscience onto some “other”. Instead of seeing what is vile and low inside oneself it is much easier to find a scapegoat outside of oneself. Be careful entering into the shadow area of another, whether it is an individual or a collective society. Projections of the shadow are the perfect medium to transfer one’s own dark side onto another. The “other”, the “enemy” may turn out to be the revealer of truth, however. It may be your best friend in that one can really begin to understand this unconscious game of shadow projection that has the whole world going insane.
The most subtle expression of duplicity is the recognition of the fact that there is only one, integral consciousness in the universe but I still can’t let go of my ego with its projections of name and form onto the supreme unspeakable reality. Following a particular religion or path is an ephemeral reality of ego that deep inside I know is quite relative and very limited but always seems to stick to me and convince me of its reality. There is also the fear that Jesus, Baba, or whomever is one’s guru will punish one for letting go of the name and form and approaching the nameless godhead. The formless god says “no more of this” and unifies you with the Om that is beyond but vibrates every particle of this universe! Om will always drown out your little words for god. Only a direct, unmediated understanding of Oneself destroys all religious belief and dogma.
The complete purification of this vrtti of duplicity purifies the right, solar side of the Anahata Vortex and allows one to contemplate the pure “I” at its seat in the human spiritual heart. Without this vortex of duplicity vibrating and bifurcating the right side of the anahata, the vedantic sages contemplated the pure Self in the right side of the chest where it radiates outward in innocence and purity.
After duplicity there are two more vrttis in the anahata, argumentation and repentance. One can keep up the act, the duplicitous war of soul attrition, a little longer with the ammo of argumentation or put an end to it with a deep feeling of regret or repentance and change course toward what is eventually complete surrender of the ego.
An extract from Microvita And Tantra Maya