SCIENCE & THE SUBTLE BODY
Can meditation awaken an unknown force in the human body?
The first step in the scientific method is the observation of an unexplainable pattern in nature, and the pattern of a tactile force seeming to move up the spine and into the head, causing a change in consciousness, has been reported by meditators for centuries.
Known as "kundalini", "prana", "chi", or just "energy", this force and the network of intersecting channels which carries it is known as the subtle body, and it can be seen in Eastern medical diagrams since at least c. 1600 CE (Fig. 1)
"If the human body can raise it's base state of consciousness, the implications are global."
DORMANT UNTIL ACTIVATED
The subtle body is considered to be dormant at birth, blocked by an obstruction at the base of the spine. Unless removed through practices such as meditation and yoga, the energy remains confined to the lower reproductive region.
Subtle energy is thought to react to focused attention, and thus meditation acts to increase the pressure inside the system, causing the obstruction to be gradually overcome and allowing the energy to flow freely. Much to my surprise, when I started meditating I found that something like this actually happened.
Fig.2 - Varying types of "subtle anatomy" in Tibetan Buddhism
This event is known to be psychologically destabilizing and even physically harmful depending, it is believed, on the specifics of one's "subtle anatomy" (Fig. 2), however with continued practice the energy can be stabilized and a variety of new states of consciousness can be experienced and maintained.
"Esoteric texts describe man's growth as stunted by an obstruction at the base of the spine."
A PHYSIOLOGICAL GROWTH PROCESS?
This process is both transformative and irreversible, such that it is often compared to the advent of puberty. Might the similarity be more than superficial?
This was a hypothesis first expressed by late Indian author Gopi Krishna as a way toward a reconciliation of science and spirituality. If indeed a clear metabolic signature of a "spiritual awakening" could be observed, it would not only indicate if any growth factors were at play, it would help settle the argument over whether these experiences are real or merely subjective hallucinations.
The idea might seem trivial at first, but it has monumental implications—if the human body can indeed raise it's base state of consciousness, the implications are global.
On January 1st, I began the execution of a pilot study intended to answer this question.
Fig.1 - The Blue Beryl Treatise of Sangye Gyamtso, a Tibetan medical text, shows the subtle body channels along the spinal cord (c. 1600 CE)