What prevents modern people from taking heed and putting into practice simple measures known to prevent onset of the degenerative diseases running ramped at pandemic levels in Western civilization? Is it a lack of will power? Cavalier disregard? Or steadfast believe disease is something that happens to other people?
It’s time to introduce wisdom’s perspective on the human dilemma. Wisdom traditions offer a meta-normal take on life, one rooted in breaking the taboo against knowing yourself. Born of training attention, concentration, wisdom results in an inner knowledge you can’t come by any other way. With wisdom, you become in tune with yourself. Of course, that means you become the authority regarding your wellness. With wisdom, all fooling yourself ceases in place of peace bestowing self-acceptance.
Our human wisdom heritage insists adopting pro-active preventative self-care is part of a bigger challenge: a crisis in consciousness itself. The ordinary, normal kind of consciousness guiding most folks is woefully incomplete due to being underdeveloped. Only through development of a fuller consciousness does wisdom to live by naturally emerge.
Wisdom can’t be learned from books or lectures. Mentors or coaches play a decisive role in developing wisdom only insofar as they’ve successfully made the journey themselves.
While our sciences continue in rapidly escalating acquisition of knowledge, corresponding increases in wisdom are not evident! In fact, traditional science often serves as a major obstacle to developing wisdom.
Western civilization was for long dominated by religious authority whose tight control depended on a form of mind control known as dogmatic faith in mandatory theological doctrines. The Church maintained its powerful authority by classifying certain states of consciousness as heretical. Heresy simply was not tolerated and could lead to excommunication, torture and imprisonment, even death by burning at the stake. In all cases, it was believed heretics would suffer everlasting damnation in hell.
Perhaps the most persecuted of all heresies was the gnostic heresy. Much of our knowledge of the gnostics is based on Church disinformation aimed at making them look foolish and evil. Gnostics were among the early Christians, however gnosticism is an orientation to gaining fuller consciousness known throughout the world.
Our English word ‘know’ comes from gnosis, and gnosis is commonly found as the core of words such as diagnosis and prognosis. Gnosis is Greek, and its ultimate word origin is the Sanskrit verbal root jñā. The word means knowing or understanding, but in a very special sense of the understanding that is wisdom.
Wisdom understands ordinary, conventional consciousness as a gnosis deficiency disorder ̶ in other words, incomplete and lacking in understanding. Ordinary, normal consciousness arises from social conditioning from birth: what’s learned in the family, at school, in church, job training, and by participation as a member of society. Network information media including radio, television, and the Internet seal the deal.
Going further, wisdom understands how ordinary consciousness is maintained at the expense of gnosis bringing about wisdom. Our wisdom heritages refer to ordinary conventional knowledge as a state of endarkenment ̶ being in the dark. It’s often referred to as illusionary, a waking dream life, or as a hypnotic suggestion created normal waking trace. It’s also our emotionally controlled safeguard ensuring sane membership in society.
Wisdom goes on to note the condition of ordinary life comes with side effects of endarkenment: fear, anxiety, stress, pressure, suffering and sorrow. By means of cultivating gnosis, one can gain liberating wisdom making those conditions manageable at first, and in the long run seeing through and rising above them as a renewed, free person.
Contemporary neuroscience and psychology add to wisdom’s perspective. Gnosis inducing practices or working out result in remodeling of our brains as evidenced by ‘before’ and ‘after’ MRI scans. Our normal condition of fear dominated fight or flight knee jerk reactions to life results in considerable gray matter associated with a little part of our brains known as the amygdala. As little as two months of twice daily short gnosis workouts results in remodeling of our brains in which that gray matter moves strengthening circuits used for our left prefrontal cortex to become the seat of objective, dispassionate interpretation of our environments and emotions. That transforms fear based limbic fight or flight reactions to responses from higher brain/mind functioning, reducing stress. What’s more, the insula is shown to become active, the seat of empathy, compassion and loving kindness.
That’s just one example of contemporary science catching up with what human wisdom traditions have insisted upon for several thousand years. Such science has a lot of catching up to do in its explorations.
Because Western culture was dominated by a reign of religious tyranny for most of its formative 2,000 years, practical application of the taboo against gnosis ̶ the taboo against knowing yourself ̶ prevented psychology from developing. At best, Western culture took ‘normality’ for granted, and as its psychology developed in the 20th century focused considerably on abnormality expressed as mental diseases. A part of the board examinations mandatory for gaining licensing as a psychologist includes testing of the comprehensive Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, apparently now in its fifth revised tradition. No correpsonding manual of characteristics of the liberated, wide awakened human potential exists! In that regard, our orthodox sense of mental health is markedly deficient and its scientific competency in woeful need of scrutiny. It should also be noted DSM bodes well as a diagnostic basis justifying prescriptions of pharmaceuticals as an admission of failure of the psychological enterprise to heal dysfunctional psyches.
Most ironic from the perspective of wisdom is that much of the scientific enterprise diagnoses emotional disorders, treats them with pharmaceuticals, and bases itself on a reductionist view in which matter and energy are the basics of the world. No discussion of consciousness occurs despite the fact that all science is an artifact of consciousness. Wisdom maintains that puts the cart before the horse. At best consciousness is somehow regarded as a side effect of our brains.
Badly bungling gaining a basic mapping of consciousness are the fields of the philosophy or religion and colonialist Orientalism. Due to persecution of the gnostic heresy, recognition of that ‘something vitally different’ at play in the gnostic liberation traditions of India and China has remained missed and unaccounted for by academics for several centuries. At best they repeat the scholarly axiom that all ‘religions’ are based on belief, so by identifying beliefs you’ve got understanding of alien, non-Western traditions nailed. And what a botched job they’ve done, rendering gnostic transformational psychologies as religious dogmas by means of misinterpretation.
From beginning of the Common Era, certain works were written in India counting as comprehensive mappings of the consciousness territory of awakened dormant human potentials. Such traditions are known in China and Islamic sufism as well. Simply put, we’ve missed the boat due to prideful tribal sluggishness. The result is that our contemporary Western mapping of the dormant human potential can be thought of as an early 17th century map of Africa, a few locations identified, the majority completely in the dark of endarkenment.
Our crisis today is one of evolutionary fitness rooted in a crisis of consciousness. Billions of years of physical and biological evolution brought about the first humans only 2 million years ago, and in only the last 50,000 years have we developed language and tools. With language we communicate, in time learning to communicate within ourselves, and later become self-reflective. From the first shamans down through seers and sages an archaic wisdom tradition developed. A blessing of the information age makes knowledge of our wisdom traditions available in books, on the Internet, through podcasts, videos, and the written word where just a few decades ago such was accessible only at great difficulty.
Noetics is the Third Pillar of BodhiBuilding ̶ a way of preventative self-care aimed at thriving of your genetic potential. Your genes are the other form of ancient wisdom written over billions of years of the long evolutionary adventure embodied as you, me, everybody in humanity. By means of gnosis oriented working out and training, irreversible certainty and peace overcome doubt, suffering, and indecisiveness.
A constant theme in fitness industry publications is member recruitment and retention, said to be a problem of motivating members to join gyms. Health and medical publications report that despite solid preventative advise, people just don’t follow it ̶ hence, get sick due to controllable environmental and personal responsibility issues. Clearly more is at stake than marketing and motivation ̶ and that’s a crisis in consciousness.
BodhiBuilding’s Three Pillars ̶ nutrient dense whole foods, robust physical activity, and Noetic training ̶̶ work in concert to access, organize, then sustain stability of your innate human potential for fitness and wellness. Of them, Noetic training aims to awaken your ability to give birth to a wisdom understanding transforming your life. Once accomplished, you’ll live that wisdom. It will be you!
BodhiBuilding contributes to a new frontier in wellness and fitness by developing whole persons. Once transition from uncertainty and confusion occurs, steadfast gnosis of fitness naturally emerges ̶ as a ‘lived in’ understanding of natural living.
Wise Up ̶ with wisdom.
©2013, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.