THE TEMPLE OF ASCLEPIUS
– seven levels of healing
Because we experience the world around us
via our senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch, we have come
to associate our very being with sensation. We have come to regard matter
and the electromagnetic energies as essential to our very existence. We
identify so intimately with our body that we feel that we are the body
and and that there is nothing more to us. When our bodies start to experience
some symptoms of 'dis-ease' or trauma, we assume that the timely application
of some chemical or physical remedy will heal the body and restore our
According to Vedic philosophy, the soul originates
in the regions of pure spirit. It is seen as a drop separated from the
vast ocean of Spirit.
In this diagram the brown region is of matter,
where individual separate identity is sensed as very real. The dark blue
glow is the electromagnetic field, which is localized to the brown material
Stage 1 – THE EXTENDED BODY
This rigid and formal structure represents
the four material elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. When overlayed
by an image of the perfect man and the other personalities, the post and
lintel design also provides a framework on which to show how the linking
of all beings at the levels of universal mind and of the other inner bodies
is not only possible, but also inevitable.
Stage 2 – THE PHYSICAL BODY
Man is the pinnacle of creation, the perfect
handiwork of nature in every respect. Man is pristine. Perfect health
is our natural state. At this level 'dis-ease' or ill health is due to
a deterioration of natural balance or malfunction of biochemical interactions
or disturbance to structural integrity of the body. In the Vedic context
the innate nature of all things is entropy, the progression from order
to disorder and eventually to chaos. All structure requires the crystallization
of order from natural chaos. Structure also requires the energy of conscious
effort to remain structured.
Standing in the doorway of the temple, is
the man of perfect health, the ideal state. In my design, in each
hand he holds a Caduceus, which would normally have been engraved on the
columns. He is both the healer and the healed.
In front of the column stands a healer or
physician applying a soothing herbal remedy and fragrant oil balm to a
patient who is very obviously suffering some dire malady. The morbidity
and stress of the ailing man is emphasized by the burden of his crown
of horns. He carries in his hand the symbol of Mercury, indicating that
his trauma may be caused by some biochemical imbalance. It is equally
possible that he may be labouring under the weight of deeply ingrained
flawed mental or emotional programming and a careful study of the state
of health of the various levels of his psyche may be necessary before
he may regain a positive equilibrium. His feet and legs locked in a matrix
of stone, show that he may be acting out of complexes rather than mature
Stage 3 – THE ELECTROMAGNETIC BODY
The perfect man is sheathed in the vibrant glow of a healthy and correctly polarized electromagnetic body. This is the THIRD STAGE of the healing process which may need to be addressed by the physician. The electromagnetic fields run, control and oversee the biochemical interactions in the physical body.
Stage 4 – THE EMOTIONAL BODY
On the far right of the painting is the
figure of RAMA, hero of the great Indian epic, the Ramayana. An emotional
ideal to a third of the world's population, Rama is the model man to young
and old, to the man of the world and to the recluse as well. He embodies
virtue and ardently applies it to life even in conflicting circumstances.
Though stationed in the mundane he is at the core supremely above it.
Rama's nobility exemplifies the potential of the perfectly proportioned
emotional body, wherein emotion properly applied to life is a positive
force for good and for health. The emotional body is the FOURTH STAGE.
All kinds of emotional injury may occur in life, and the effects may well
linger for many years. It may be difficult to positively identify what
symptoms are due to emotional trauma, but when correctly diagnosed and
reconciled, otherwise misleading symptoms may disappear. An emotional
body free of residual trauma is vital to good health.
Stage 5 – THE INTELLECTUAL OR MENTAL BODY
Vedic belief is that above the level of universal mind, or ParBrahm, all is ONE, there is complete unity, there is no second. At the level of Brahm duality appears and persists throughout the extended creation in all forms of opposites. Its symbol is Yin-Yang.
Out of this duality arises the idea of you
and me as separate entities. There follows comparison and thereafter ego.
As soon as there are two sides to any situation as in the body for example,
there is the distinct possibility of imbalance and obviously this concept
is of great significance to the maintenance of health.
Eastern mystics through meditation, exploring the inner reaches of consciousness, saw by direct perception the same fundamental laws of nature.
They realized and portrayed harmonics by
showing with images and symbols that there can only be a whole number
of petals around a flower, never half-petals. A very ancient oriental
symbol, the YANTRA, is made up of inter-meshing triangles. The Yantra
shows restraint. It means crystallization, order as opposed to chaos.
The Yantra always implies structure in some mechanistic form, either physical
Stage 6 – THE SOUL BODY
I refer to the alchemistic symbol of family relationships and friendship between men on Rama's sleeve.
This hierarchical and collective consciousness
is vital to the health of our interactive relationships within the community
of our fellow beings. It is inevitable that we all communicate with each
other and affect each other at many subconscious levels. This connection,
the way mind extends from one person to another, is another level revealed
by the Post and Lintel structure of the design.
Stage 7 – THE SPIRITUAL BODY
The figure seated in meditation at the base of the Indian Tree of Life is tapping in to this universal field. Through meditation and contemplation one can tune in to the whisperings of the soul and the regions of the Ocean of Spirit.
The SEVENTH STAGE, that of the 'Ocean of
Spirit' is quite impossible for the limited and essentially dualistic
mind to portray or even to conceive.
We also nourish all the other bodies, by
the practice of putting aside the tensions and dynamics of the six lower
regions and relaxing into the non-judgemental, non-polarized realm of
the pure Ocean of Spirit, where every event is neutral until we evaluate
it and endow it with power either to hurt us or to heal us.