Holes in the Spine
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HOLES IN THE SPINE
Document: 10, February 11, 1982
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1982
Consider, intellectually, how easy it is to look back at the past and think you understand how a certain movement came about. Perhaps remember reading about a past religious leader and the practices on which he based his teaching. Looking back now, it may well strike you instantly that, based on the conditions of time and place, the economic and social realities, and everything else you could see, it was just right. It was as if he had a waiting audience, and it may seem to you, sitting here now, that no one should have been surprised at the development of such a movement.
Notice how easy it is to do that, and then, notice how hard it is to do This. That is, to be in the middle of This Thing, making it happen. Now, you all assume that I’ve had some gigantic, glorious plan in mind all along, and that I’m just waiting to spring the specific details on you. And it’s fairly easy to make observations about what’s happening in Life now: You might say something like “the tenor of Life in our time and place is such and such.” But you’re still left with the lingering question of “OK, that sounds good. But what are we going to do right now?”
You can look back and wrap up a whole piece of history in one sentence. You might see that a past religious figure had a certain message and it could be distilled into four or five words. The “message” is a small capsule, and of course it doesn’t convey the totality of what actually happened. But you can produce a fair condensed description of what happened. It’s neat, it fits, and you can see why it happened. The conditions were just right. And yet, it is not quite so easy to wrap This up in a capsule, while sitting here in the middle of it.
The functions of man can be referred to in various ways. We can say, for instance, that one man may be more intellectually inclined, and another more emotionally motivated. But this is similar to the attempt to describe personality as a thing. That is, even after you agree that it is not a demon or a curse, you still feel personality is a something. There must be something to observe. And so it is with the functions of man. I can describe someone as being more physically oriented, and the description isn’t incorrect; it’s not delusion. It’s true. You can recognize people who are more physical, or more emotional. Systems of the past have referred to the junctions as “centers.” There have been, throughout recorded history, strange drawings and theories about the spine, that you work your way up, that you could even work through reincarnations. There have been theories setting forth, for example, seven little areas corresponding to sex, emotions, intellect, reason; and other theories say there are nine. But there are no specific, separate centers in the nervous system, any more than there are independent junctures. It is not a matter of there being an area where a man is purely physical, emotional or intellectual. That is not untrue, but it is no more true than saying, “personality is a something.” Remember this as you Consider my mapping of the nervous system. What I’ve done is to delineate the growth of Life through man, starting with the physical functions forming the lower areas of the system. From there, growth expands to include what we call emotional capabilities, which I’ve designated as the mid-portion in the drawing, and then to the intellectual, or upper-portion.
This mapping is as accurate as it can be. Which means that true though it be, it is still not the complete, final statement on the matter. And of course, that’s the case with all maps. It’s been so with all previous mappings of man’s functions. They’re all a true reflection, but it’s up to you to See what is reflected.
This mapping is true in that it reflects the progression of man’s and Life’s development. But the emotional functions are not somehow centered only in the mid portion of your body. Neither are the intellectual and physical capabilities confined to one exclusive area. It’s just not so simple.
Ask yourself: What have you found in the attempt to impartially observe yourself? What can you learn? Have you ever seen a “thing” called personality? You can perhaps see that “I am jealous,” or “I am greedy”; but your casual acquaintances could tell you that. The point is this: have your observations shown you a some-thing? You must Consider the process. You must Consider that the past is everything below the Horizontal Line. The past is with you. Even now. It isn’t gone; you’re sitting on it. Consider, beyond intellectual theorizing, how a man can be physically or emotionally motivated. Consider how it is that you could “observe yourself” for six or more years and have a whole list of complaints, yet you’ve still never found the “enemy.” You can smell him; you see the mess he makes. But you’ve never caught him — or it — in the act. And now Consider: This Thing is not a matter of catching an “enemy,” but one of understanding the process. And this mapping reflects the process.
The process of physical growth is a progressive activation of one’s inherent capabilities. For purposes of my mapping, all of man’s possible abilities lie in three areas — the intellectual, the emotional, and the physical. Every human activity is one, or a combination of these three.
What I’ve depicted in the lower part of the drawing is what people call the physical processes, the life of the body. But it isn’t, in reality, a circle on a piece of paper. And in you, none of these areas develops within such neat confines.
The process of growth — of the child becoming the man — is also a process of activation of these areas. Picture it in this way: energy is drawn into the system at the base of the spine, and as it makes its way up the system, it is carried off to all areas of the system much as a river branches into tributaries. Life’s energy inching out through the little branches is the process of growth and activation. It is a process that starts at the lower end of the system, and is by and large finished when it reaches the level of ordinary consciousness. By then, all parts of the system that are going to be activated are activated; by then, a man or woman has discovered all the talents and capabilities he or she will ever have. By then, one is grown, and that’s as far as it is going, if one is ordinary. The point for you to note is that although you can look upon someone and see his predominant area of development — you can see where the greatest activation was concentrated, whether in the physical, emotional or intellectual areas — the process is not a linear one, and activation of all these areas occurs simultaneously. Thus, you have the typical absent-minded professor. It’s obvious that his intellect has more muscles than his body. But he does have a body; he’s not just a walking brain. Conversely, the professional athlete can talk and balance his checkbook along with the rest of us more normal-looking mortals.
The process of activation and growth is an overlapping one, because all the areas overlap. And along with this diagram, I’m giving you a new mapping of how that activation is accomplished. It is as if the process of activation produces a pattern of holes in the spine, which run from top to bottom. And that is your past — a pattern of holes for distribution of energy. Some of the holes are going to be bigger than others. Some areas will have larger holes than others, which of course, allows for greater development of that area, for a greater concession of energy to feed that area. For instance, a man who has more and bigger holes at the lower end will be observably physically oriented. Wherever the holes are is where the energy flows out; that is where the system demands to be fed; that’s where it will be fed forever. By the same token, if the holes towards the lower end of the system are not large enough to demand continual feeding, then the majority of the energy will get through to the higher end of the nervous system, and he becomes an apparently very intellectual man. Now Consider the graduation of all this: the less energy diverted through the holes at the lower end, the more energy there is to feed the higher ends of the system, and the more one appears to be intellectual. Now do you understand that for such a person the holes down at the lower end have to be smaller?
Hence, the old picture of the archetypical absent-minded professor is a reflection of something real — a man who is intellectually brilliant can well be a physical wreck. And it’s because an insufficient amount of energy is fed to his lower system. I say an “insufficient amount” on a subjective basis: everyone and everything is, at the ordinary level, just as it should be, and such a man, lopsided though he be, serves a very distinct and necessary purpose. But his lower system did receive an insufficient amount of energy in the sense that it has harmed him physically: he’s clumsy, he gets sick too often, he forgets to feed the body — he’s just a wreck. He is, in a sense, deformed. He’s lopsided. And what I want you to see now is that, rather that being the result of “demon personality,” this is how his system physically developed. The greater the proportion of energy channeled to the higher ends of the nervous system, the more you’ll have a man who thinks like a champ. He has great powers of concentration and comprehension, and retention, but he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
What appears to be emotions is like a little spot where the spine finally hits the brain. There is no absolute line separating mind from body. But there is a place, a bump if you will, that marks the distinction between animal and human. It’s as if there is, rather than a separation, a little threshold where the spine becomes the brain. And beyond that threshold, the whole system, and the whole process of growth/activation, is repeated in what you call personality.
With people who appear to be more emotionally oriented, then, the majority of their life’s energy feeds the middle area. As an aside, to say someone is “emotional” is usually to say that he’s negative. That is, is it not, how you identify an emotional person: he’s always in a snit. Further, it is not simply a matter of saying a person is obviously an emotional man. That’s saying almost nothing. Can you get a quick glimpse of the almost unlimited, possible variations of hole patterns in this middle area? For instance, if one man has a greater concession of holes in this area we’re calling “emotions,” he may have smaller holes in the section that overlaps the physical area, and larger ones in area that overlaps the intellectual. Or it could be the other way around. Both of which possibilities would produce a slightly different type of person. It has to do with circumstances at any particular time, and it has to do with the biological past, including the progression and pressures that formed the holes in the first place.
No one is simply an emotional or physical or intellectual person. There is a gradation, and it’s a matter of where the greater portion of energy is diverted. In theory you would think that each part should get a third of the charge which goes up the spine, but that’s not the way it works. And that is why people appear to be one-sided.
Can you See now why systems based primarily on physical exercise won’t, in themselves, ignite the higher areas of the nervous system — and then, why religion (taking religion as being the attempt to feed the middle area) is also useless for purposes of higher activation? It’s not that exercise or religion is wrong. It’s simply that they attempt to activate what’s already formed. They’re working on the past; they’re trying to activate the past. And it can’t be done. It’s working on the wrong end of the system. And that’s what I’m trying to get you to See — not that it’s right or wrong, but that it just won’t work.
Your body is, by and large, as activated as it ever will be. Anyone, be you man or woman, who has a serious interest in This, anyone who will ever make progress in This, must have had a reasonable biological past. By that I mean that all these areas have been activated and developed to a certain minimal level, and continue to be fed by a fairly balanced distribution of energy. In other words, you can’t be lopsided; you can be neither a physical wreck nor a talking bicep, and expect to do anything in This. You’ve just gotta be sane, to a certain minimal degree, in all three areas. You have to have some balanced base to work with. Speaking of the body specifically, you can certainly teach it new tricks, new skills — if it’s already reasonably activated, minimally sane. And there is profit and a certain joy in undertaking such new activities: that’s one of the ways to feed the body, to keep the energy circulating. It’s part of keeping yourself alive. And you must learn to feed all three areas — you must learn to feed the emotions and intellect — much as exercise feeds the body.
With the emotions — the so-called “emotions” — you have a slightly different situation: you can’t deal so directly with this area. Initially, all you can do by way of feeding the emotions is to cease any expression of hostility. It is by this effort that you begin to See what hostility is. You begin to see that it is, at the least, a waste of time, and at worst, it directly hinders your efforts in This. You must See, if you See anything, that you can’t activate the higher unused portions of the nervous system and still indulge in hostility. It’s physically impossible, and you’ve got to See it. You’ve got to See that it’s a drain of precious energy, the same energy that could have been used to push yourself just a little bit above the Line. And the most direct way to see this is to cease all expression, even to yourself, of all negative emotions. Of course, this is a self-feeding effort, because only by stopping the flow of energy through mid-level holes will you have enough energy to See anything. Conversely, if you make no effort to conserve energy, if you continue to be a vent for negative outpourings, you’ll have no energy to See anything new.
Which brings us neatly to the higher intellectual area, the area where growth is effected in man. You must use the higher intellectual functions to look at yourself in a way that isn’t possible at Line-Level. I remind you of my description of consciousness as a fence: you tell consciousness that it is limited, that it is a fence. And of course, consciousness runs this information all around its perimeter and comes back with the answer: I see no fence. Ordinary Line-Level consciousness cannot see itself: it cannot conceive of itself on its own level. But you’ve gotta start somewhere. It’s built into humanity to believe that a man can be anything he wishes to be intellectually: he may not be able to change his bone structure or skin color, but all he needs is a little education and the sky’s the limit. Of course the belief serves a very distinct and necessary purpose, and it is a reflection of This Thing. It is a reflection of the fact that growth occurs at the highest levels of the system. But it is not true for humanity in general. It is true for the Few of This, and for those Few only, because growth, real nervous system expansion and extension, takes unbelievable extraordinary effort. It’s not a matter of mere education; it’s not a matter of teaching the mind new tricks any more than it’s a matter of teaching the body new skills. It’s a matter of nervous system-wide expansion, of conserving the energy that you would have spent just being you, and rechanneling that energy to fuel your growth above the Line.
The process of growth/activation is an overlapping one. I’m trying to get you to See that all these areas are activated simultaneously, and at the same time to See something of how Life grows through man — that this does proceed in stages, but is not a linear process. And I am, in a sideways manner, trying to direct your attention to how the growth and activation of This Thing is accomplished in you.
As a child grows, the primary flow of energy feeds his body. Yet you can see that the child grows intellectually, even as his body matures. Picture this energy as an electrical tension (which it is). It is the energy of simply being alive. And it first develops the lower part of the spine: that is, it activates the physical functions. When everything’s running well enough at that level — the lungs are working, the heart pumping, the connections established to provide the basis for muscular control, etc. — then energy is made available to fuel functions a little higher in the system. If we’re using our picturization of the child, he then enters a period of what we’ll call “social education” — he learns to share his toys, he learns that certain rules must be obeyed if he’s to be considered a part of society — things like not taking off all his clothes in the middle of a black tie dinner party. And when that process seems to be fairly well underway, he enters a period of intellectual education: he is set to the task of developing his brain. It’s almost as if the body gets itself going; then the spine says, “Alright, next stop.” And it runs up to the emotional floor, opens the door and lets out just the right amount and kind of energy, the same energy that you’ll continue to process “emotionally” until the day you die — if you’re ordinary. Then, “next floor,” and it continues going up until whatever energy is left trickles out to the finest little wire of the brain, where it’s finally all diffused, where that’s the end of that, and that’s the end of you — if you’re ordinary. This is a graduated process, and you can see it as having distinct stages. But these areas of the system, the areas that people call the body, the emotions and the mind, are not separate and distinct from one another.
Consider conflicts, for example the kind of conflict that is normally seen by ordinary people as being political. The world seems to be divided, politically and socially, into two camps: conservatives and liberals. And the division is a reflection of something quite real. We could define conservative, by its general usage, as reactionaries, people in favor of the status quo. Every time change is mentioned they say “No,” no matter what the change is. We could then define liberal, by its general usage, as those people who are always in favor of pressing forward. They’re the ones who say “things have got to be changed.”
Note that those who appear to be liberals can almost, without fail, pinpoint and identify conservatives as being the undereducated, those who occupy the lower end of the social spectrum. They identify the hot bed of conservatism in this country as people with an eighth-grade education and gun racks in their trucks. Conservatives are those involved with lynchings, prejudice, stupidity. They’re the ones, in other words, who never want to change. The observation is not incorrect. It’s not true, but from the liberals’ viewpoint, it is not incorrect. Now if you took the conservatives’ position, that of a good right-wing politician for instance, he would speak of “those idiots, those dreamers…” and he’d be talking about liberals, of course. He would point to the bleeding heart social programs; he’d say that liberals just want to destroy good basic values. “They’re tearing up the family. We now have pornography running rampant in the country. The crime rate has tripled since the liberals took over. These people are idiots, and they’re wrecking the moral stability of the whole world.” I said it’s a reflection of something real. For one thing, it’s a reflection of the spine, which is further back in man’s past, and further back in their past. That is what a conservative is. What I want you to see is that conservatism is not a mind-set; it’s not psychological. There is a physical reality to the predominating, always extant dichotomy of liberals vs. conservatives throughout the history of man. What I was summing up in the conservative politician’s campaign speeches was the body, the lower part of the spine, the past of man. It is the past of humanity crying out (and from its view it is correct), “We need stability. We have got to have strict morality. There cannot be sexual license turned loose.” That sounds political but if you can begin to See it, it is not political. It is the lower end of the nervous system, speaking; it is the past talking and that part of the system does not look with favor upon change.
If you cannot See that the body does not like change, then you’ve got blinders on. Your body doesn’t want to learn new tricks; it isn’t interested in running a mile more than it ran yesterday. At the same time you have to be just as blind if you don’t See that exercise makes you feel better. Give the body what it needs in the way of food and exercise, and it’ll be happy forever. Your body will never ask for change; it is the absolute spokesman for the status quo, and that’s just as it should be. If you start messing with yourself physically — if you go on a year-long diet of cantaloupe juice — you’ll be in sad shape. The body wouldn’t suggest it, and, fortunately, it won’t stand for it. Change is not the name of the game for the body. The body is properly the home of habit: it sticks with what works, and for you here, in This, “what works” must be a reasonable, minimal level of physical sanity. The right kinds of energy find holes in the right place in the spine to feed the body and that part of the spine. After that, once it is set, that area is the home of habit, the nature of physical life, the life of your past. That is why the past is so strong: that far back in your past, you run head on into the tail of the nervous system, and that is where habit was formed. That’s its original home.
I’m still trying to get you to glimpse the connection between that and what people call reactionary/conservative political theories. It is the past crying out. They are the lower part of the spine of humanity crying out. Simultaneously Consider the Three Forces; which I’ve described as the creative, the destructive and the sustaining. Conservativism is one of them in operation. It is neither good nor bad; it is simply necessary. On the other hand, that which externally is referred to as being liberal or progressive, is the energy which finds outlet and expression at the top end of the nervous system. And the conservatives will always accuse liberals of never being satisfied, always wanting to try something new: “messing around with the schools, taxes, defense”: in other words, messing around with what works. Conservatism finds expression as an attack on certain things, and yet you can begin to See that the attack has nothing to do with the stated subject. The subject is change — no matter what the change may be. What the conservatives are saying, what the lower end of the nervous system is saying is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But at upper the levels of the system, change is the name of the game. That which goes under the label of being “progressive” or “liberal” is where the majority of life’s energy feeds the higher end of the nervous system. The more energy there is available to fuel the higher end of the nervous system, the more intellectually oriented a person is. Let me describe this another way: the intellectual is closer to the cut-off line, the limit of consciousness, the highest point energy reaches under ordinary conditions. And he does have a greater nonverbal sensation that man is not complete, than does the physical man. But it is still a mechanically-produced sensation. He understands no more than does his conservative neighbor. To the “physical” man it’s a matter of, “Here I am — I got my truck almost paid for. I got some hogs out in the back yard. The lady doesn’t give me much trouble. Just leave me alone.”
The more energy that reaches the higher end of the nervous system, the more you have the nonverbal sensation that man is unfinished. And the more intellectually oriented a man is, the more, of course, he has faith in the “intellect”: The answer to everything is more education. The conservatives see it as a bunch of people “fooling around with our lives again, it’s a bunch of guys that spent fifteen years in college, their father or somebody paid their way through; they never worked and they got all these strange ideas about what we should do.” But from the viewpoint of the higher end of the system, it’s “What a sad plight, these people seem incapable of change. They are ignorant, they just lay around, they won’t get out and vote, they won’t show up for political rallies.” The liberals continually, throughout history, are the ones in charge of thinking of something new. They get together and form committees and it suddenly strikes them for the first time in that generation that, “Those people need more education. It’s obvious. Look at what they eat. If only they would eat a well balanced meal. If they would just write the government, we would send them a free booklet showing how to feed their children and they would grow up better.” And they try to tell this to the people down at the other end of the nervous system and the response they get is, “Hey, get out of here. I know how to eat. I don’t need somebody in Washington, somebody from college to come say, ‘We are going to tell you how to eat: read a book.’ I know how to eat. Forget about it.” And up at the other end of the spine they say, “See, it’s more proof they need more education. We have got to start now. We cannot let their children grow up like they are. They have to understand that there is important information available and they should avail themselves of it.”
Now take that and put it down in your own spine. And See why I tell you that there is no physical trick, there is no ambrosia of the gods, there is no food, there is no exercise that will ignite the higher areas of the nervous system. I speak of a minimal sanity: that all areas of your system must be activated and functioning to a certain minimal, healthy degree. There is a historical and physical process of growing from the past, the body, to the apparent emotions and on to the apparent intellect. In This, you have to provide sufficient energy to continue the flow. There has to be an unencumbered flow of a certain type to the highest levels of the system. Understand it cannot be completely unencumbered: the body has got to be fed; social necessities must be dealt with. Nevertheless, as much energy as possible must reach up to fuel the highest possible areas of the nervous system. Then, once you can cut yourself loose from the past, you can develop your own understanding of “that which happened, happened.” All those things that a psychologist would say are in the unconscious and that are still motivating you, you have got to see that all of that just happened: it was a bunch of holes poked in your spine. And it’s still there: the imprint is still there and it can’t be changed. But you can cut yourself loose from it. And you can let as much of this energy get up to the higher end as possible. You not only can, you must, if you’re to remain part of This, because that is where the reality of igniting the higher end of the nervous system is. It is where everybody else stops.
Once you begin to See things, even on the smallest level, a little connection is made from one cell to another, a connection where there was none before, a connection where before there was only a hole — a leakage of energy. Consider it another way: those holes are where you stopped growing. That was the end of you. And the final hole is the Line of Consciousness. That was the end of you. There is nothing in Life that will ever activate you beyond that point. Any further growth and activation is the exclusive domain of This. And it starts with inching yourself up: it starts with activating that tiniest wire above the Line. It starts with Seeing, just for a split second, what no one else can See.
Can you Neuralize that that is the ultimate in space flight? It is consciousness without gravity. All you have to do is get yourself above the Line of ordinary consciousness and, if I were to make physical parallel, I could say that it is like being outside the gravitational pull of this planet. You are weightless. And then, trying to cling to the ceiling above your ordinary self, you might wonder, “Well, how could I set up at least a fairly dependable space shuttle?…Now!”