We call the M-D entity
of our body and mind the "self". According to holistic reasoning,
our self is in turn an aspect of a more complex entity of an even higher order.
We shall call this next higher entity our "soul", disregarding existing
meanings implied by this word. The soul must have other aspects besides the
self that we identify with. We may call these the "multiple selves".
The concept of multiple selves is not alien to psychologists. H. Kohurt, for
instance, discussed them in his paper "The Search for the Self", as
reported by Louis Zinkin (88)(89).
The Soul is immanent in each of the multiple selves as it is in ours (HP9). Thus each self refers to it as "my soul", although the soul includes more selves than one (MHP8). Our soul is within our self, and our self is in our mind and body. This means of course that our Soul is immanent in our mind and body. The soul in turn is a part of an even higher order entity unknown to us. It in turn is part or subpart of the humankind-entity. This proceeds through entities of higher and higher order, through earth-entity all the way up to All-Entity. All are immanent in "us", in our bodies, minds, our Selves, and our Souls. If we could proceed in our consciousness to peel off the outer layers of us, one by one, starting with our body, we would recognize higher and higher entities as our "real I", eventually experiencing All-Entity as our ultimate true identity. In this sense, and with the appropriate state of mind, it is no blasphemy to state that "I am God". This is exactly the path to enlightenment taught by Yoga, Buddhism, and other mystic philosophies. They all seek the awakening to one's innermost reality, which turns out to be the holistic reality of the whole universe. The ancient scriptures of Hinduism, for instance, the Vedas, call the innermost personal reality "Atman", and the ultimate reality of the universe "Brahman". The wisdom to be understood and to be experienced is that Atman and Brahman are one and the same (90)(91)(92)(93).
The described concept of the human psyche provides also an explanation why long distance runners get their "second wind", "third wind", etc., until they experience a psychic "high". They draw on deeper and deeper immanent reserves, thus experiencing higher levels of their psyche. For the same reason, frightening experiences can have an exhilarating effect.
The soul dwells in an environment where our limited notions of space and time do not exist. For the soul, its constituent selves exist all simultaneously. However to our mind, time differences do exist, and the selves of the same soul appear in different time periods of human history. This has been interpreted as reincarnation, however it is not a matter of the soul jumping from body to body. It is the creative expression of life by the soul into many different dimensions, so that it can grow through experiencing life in a multifaceted way far beyond the scope of a single self. What we perceive as one particular incarnation of our soul is one specific aspect of natural, creative unfoldment into its constituent parts. Unfoldment occurs at any level, be it the spreading of a flower's petals, of a tree's branches, different races, or different selves of a soul. It is only our limited common sense, our distorted sense of space-time, that prevents us from seeing the true greatness of our souls as they unfold their existence into seemingly separate selves, as any holon does. Our souls do not need to be saved. They are securely imbedded in the folds of All-Entity, as are our selves. Where time does not exist, death cannot be.
Dr. Ian Stevenson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia Medical School, has performed thousands of scientifically documented case studies of apparent reincarnation. At least five volumes with case histories have been published by the Virginia University Press (94). The university's decision to publish this "controversial" material was based on Dr. Stevenson's impeccable professional credibility and on an independent in-depth check into the scientific viability of his studies. A summary of Dr. Stevenson's studies is given in a book titled: "Reincarnation", authored by Sylvia Cranston and Carey Williams (95). Dr. Stevenson focussed his studies on children, because he observed that the reincarnational recall tends to fade after a certain age. Also, children's spontaneous recalls are less suspect because they are less influenced by prior knowledge. Furthermore, children's stories can often be more easily verified, because witnesses of their former lives may still be alive. According to Cranston and Williams, for each case investigated Dr. Stevenson and his staff taped interviews with an average of 25 people. They checked out documents, letters, medical records, etc., and compared character traits between the child and its claimed former personality. In about 200 cases the child could point to a birthmark where it claimed to have been wounded or killed, and the position of the wound could be verified through witnesses or records of these events. For instance one boy claimed that he was formerly a Turkish bandit who took his life when he was cornered by authorities. He shot himself from below through his jaw. The boy had a huge mark there, and hair was missing on his scalp where the bullet supposedly had emerged in his former life. A witness of the shooting was still alive and verified these details. Other cases involved people who could fluently speak foreign languages, although they had never learned them in this life.
It is appropriate at this point to redefine the term "mind". We distinguish here between "conscious mind" and "unconscious mind" and we shall define as "unconscious mind" all the mind-substance in our psyche, up to All-Entity. There are really no divisions. In any multiple holon there are no divisions between its order levels. The source-entities and the sub-entities at all levels are one and the same, only seen from different points of view (HP6&MHP1). The word "psyche" means then the total of conscious and unconscious mind.
Holistic thinking leads to the belief in mind over matter. According to HP10, a change in any part is associated with changes in the whole and the other parts. Therefore, conscious thoughts change the self and through it the body. Any intense and persistent thought pattern does affect the body, positively or negatively, depending on the type of thoughts. Depending on how strong and persistent the thought patterns are, they affect deeper or shallower layers of the psyche, causing more or less permanent effects on the body.
Therefore the prevailing medical practice of repairing the body as one would a complex machine appears inappropriate. Instead the growing trend of a holistic approach to medicine addresses the whole personality and is likely to be more effective and less costly in the long run. Of course a change in the body also affects our mind, as we all experience when we are sick. The effect in that direction usually happens much faster. Probably this is because our mind is much more flexible than our body, the former being less locked into space and time than the latter. Thus it takes the body longer to change in response to a new blueprint from the inner self, as seen in our time perception.
So far we have viewed the M-D hierarchy like the organization of a corporation, where managers have an open door policy to all people working for him or her, down to the lowest rank. However, as everybody knows who has participated in corporate life, organization diagrams are crude abstractions of how an organization really functions. In actuality, there is a multitude of cross-communications and informal working relationships. So it is with the M-D hierarchy. Different levels are not distinctly separated, even seen from below, because consciousnesses usually grow across them gradually. Parallel entities melt together to form partial holistic unions, others disintegrate. Furthermore, parts belong to more than one whole, as individuals belong simultaneously to a family, a work organization, a church, a club, and (God forbid) to several partners. While this complicates the issues, the holon principles still apply to whatever situation one considers. Also remember that the hierarchical organization appears rigid only when viewed from the bottom up, while from the top down everything is one harmonious, homogeneous evolving union (HP6).
Now, is the reader confused about who he or she really is, the daily-life-person, the self, the soul, or the entire string to All-Entity? And how do the multiple selves relate to us? The answer can be obtained again with our trusty crystal model. Pointing to one of its planes one can ask whether this is a plane or whether it is the whole crystal. It depends on our point of view (HP6). The more we live from our heart, the deeper we feel the joyful union with the rest of the world, the more we identify with our higher source-entities (MHP7). Each individual sets his or her own place by the attitude towards life, by the scope of mind. The other selves are not separate, competing entities, viewed from the soul (HP6). Any action, any thought of our self affects our other selves and vice versa, whether one is aware of them or not (HP10). It is unconscious teamwork across space and time.
Learning to open up to and to identify with our inner self and our soul opens the access to their greater power, potential, and harmony. This is why deep muscle relaxation exercises used by psychologists for anxiety desensitization are so helpful. One puts the conflicting currents of daily life on hold and allows the soul to do its job: to implement peace and harmony. Conflicts are seen at this level with a detached, sovereign, and much more knowledgeable point of view. With some practice, one can sense answers and suggestions from there. The prerequisite is, of course, that one accepts the existence of M-D reality to begin with. This is also the reason why obsessive-compulsive behavior, such as alcoholism, can be much more effectively cured if the treatment involves a spiritual approach. Inner conflicts are already resolved at a deeper level within us, there being a harmonious whole of opposing parts. It's a matter of opening up to it.
M-D reality is called "spiritual", but this term has connotations for many people that do not well reflect the true nature of M-D reality. Many believe that the spiritual world lies beyond our world, unreal compared with ours, separated from us, and only to be reached after death. Holistic knowledge tells us instead that transcendent existence is more real than physical reality. Spiritual and physical reality are one and the same, seen from different points of view. We are living in the spiritual M-D world right now, always, dead or alive. It is better to think in terms of laws of nature that permeate all reality. Only with this understanding shall we use the term spiritual here, synonymously with M-D reality.