Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Human Aura, and the Spiritual Nature of the Soul

In New Age metaphysics and healing, there is a theory that all humans possess an "aura" - a field of energy around them that extends a certain distance from their body.  Reports of this are ancient - beginning with the halos often seen depicted surrounding the heads of holy people, all the way to modern times, where some healers report the ability to see this aura surrounding other people. Others can see it after deep meditation - those who do see it for the first time are often surprised, sometimes wondering what is wrong with their eyes. The colors and changes in the aura are said to change according to one's emotional state and overall well being.  Is there any scientific evidence for this? No, except some healers have been able to accurately report physical diagnosis of illnesses based upon their reported ability to see changes and colors in the aura.


So all we have are witnesses who report this phenomenon, and from that some can diagnose illnesses in the body. The reason I give credence to this is that I know someone who told me he could see these auras after entering a deep meditation. The first time he experienced it he had no idea what was going on. So today, while the human aura is a part of fringe science, and generally known among mystical New Age movements outside of Christian churches, the odd thing here is that it was reported about 250 years ago by Emanuel Swedenborg, who had the ability to enter the spiritual realm for many years in his latter life.

SOME SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE CONCERNING THE HUMAN AURA

While writing this blog, I came across this interesting study done on people who claim to see human auras. An article at Medical Press, Scientific evidence proves why healers see the 'aura' of people, states the following:
Researchers in Spain have found that many of the individuals claiming to see the aura of people –traditionally called "healers" or "quacks"– actually present the neuropsychological phenomenon known as "synesthesia" (specifically, "emotional synesthesia"). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged "virtue". In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. This way, synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people with a particular color.
This is an interesting approach. Instead of trying to photograph the aura, as was tried in the past with Kirlian photography, scientists examined the brain activity of these people who have claimed this ability.

SWEDENBORG'S STATEMENTS CONCERNING THE HUMAN AURA

So while there is no absolute scientific evidence for the existence of such human auras reported by psychics, one thing that struck me when I read some of the observations Swedenborg made concerning his visions was that he seems to have observed such an aura - not around humans, but around the spiritual beings and angels he saw in the spiritual world.  He did not call it an "aura", but instead used the term "spiritual sphere". Some psychics report seeing colors commonly seen in rainbows.  And guess what - Swedenborg reported that sometimes colors common in rainbows can be seen in this spiritual sphere:
...the quality of a man, or of a soul after the death of the body, is known at once; and by the Lord it is known from eternity, and what it will be to eternity. His quality is perceived by angels immediately on his arrival. There is a certain sphere which exhales, as it were, from his disposition, or from everything in him; and this sphere, wonderful to say, is such that from it is perceived the faith and charity which the man has. It is this sphere that becomes visible by a bow when it so pleases the Lord. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1048).
Ever been around a person who just has "negative energy" about them?  Who just drains or sucks up any sort of happiness by their very presence? Well Swedenborg explains that - every person emanates this sphere which influences people around them, and in the spiritual world, people who emanate similar spheres tend to congregate together:
That which rules in [a person] manifests itself there by a certain sphere which is perceived by all around him. This sphere is such because it exhales from every single thing in him. The sphere of him who has regard to himself in everything, appropriates everything to himself, and, as is there said, swallows up everything that is of advantage to him, thus all the enjoyment of the spirits around him, and destroys all freedom among them; and therefore he cannot but be dissociated from them. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1316.2)
This aura is not always visible. At times it can be made visible to the senses (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1504). And the amount of information concerning the person gained from seeing such auras varies:
There are, therefore, as many spheres as there are affections and combinations of affections, which are innumerable. One's sphere is his image as it were extended outside of himself, and indeed an image of all the things that are in him. What is seen or perceived in the world of spirits is only something general, but what one is as to particulars, is known in heaven; and yet what he is as to least particulars, no one knows but the Lord alone (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1505).
In the military, they often speak of the "command presence" of a leader. Some have this "aura of authority", others do not.  Swedenborg speaks of this aura of "command presence":
A certain spirit who was known to me and with whom I had conversed while he lived in the body, appeared many times afterwards among the evil; and because he had a high opinion of himself, he acquired a sphere of superiority over others; but on this account the spirits suddenly fled away, so that none appeared but himself alone; and he filled the whole sphere round about, which was one of self-regard. ...It was afterwards said by the other spirits that they could not endure his presence, because he wished to be greater than others. Being at length brought into association with others, he was carried up on high, and so it seemed to him that he alone governed the universe; to such a degree does the love of self puff itself up, when it is left to itself. He was then cast down among the infernals. Such a lot awaits those who think themselves to be greater than others. The love of self, above every other love, is contrary to mutual love, which is the life of heaven. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1506).
One's intentions influence the quality of the aura about them. Thus others who were in positions of authority, and had regard to performing good uses through their authority, and not elevating their self above others, were seen by Swedenborg in heaven. Two people could be in the exact same position in life, and look externally the same, but based on their intention one could be worthy of heaven, and another of hell. In the work that you do, what is primary: the love of self, or rendering good use and service towards others?

In the afterlife, Swedenborg observed that similar souls would congregate with each other according to their primary love and way of thinking. From that, each angelic society would contract a similar sphere. Likewise, the spirits of hell would also contract their own sphere according to their evil and falsity. These spheres of influence would repulse each other, until according to one's love, heaven would be formed into a grand human that is constantly perfecting itself.  These angelic spheres are known in scripture as "the stars of heaven."

THE TRINITY: SOUL, BODY AND SPIRIT

While there is a lot of speculation on the nature of the human soul, Swedenborg's statements on this subject are based on the visions he received and his experiences while in the spiritual realm.  So why is it important to know of the existence of human aura? Should Christians ignore this simply because it is popular among New Age movements?  No, they should pay attention: for without knowledge of the human aura, they will never reach a true understanding of the central mystery of Christianity: the Holy Trinity.

What Swedenborg observed in the spiritual world, is that each angel has an internal soul, an external human form or spiritual body, and surrounding this body a spiritual sphere.  This trine of soul, body and spirit, is present also while we are in a physical form.  In all life forms, there is a "spiritual influx" of life from God, who is the sole origin of all life.  This spiritual influx of life is received directly into the human soul, and from there flows into the mind and thence into the body. From the body, there is an aura or spiritual sphere of this influx of life.

Likewise, something similar happened when God decided to become incarnate into a human form: when He became incarnate, the Holy Trinity was formed of His soul, His body, and His proceeding spirit.  As His body received life from His soul, and His soul was Jehovah, and as He was born of a virgin, He referred to God as "His Father".  His human form is "the Son".  The aura that extended from His body is "the Holy Spirit."  Without this understanding, people will get lost in imperfect analogies. The Trinity is a Divine emanation: the Divine Itself, which no man can see, the Divine Human, by which we can know God, and the Divine proceeding: the Holy Spirit, which extends from His body, and dwells in us and influences us. While God became incarnate, something else happened: as God is infinite and omnipresent, so these aspects of the Trinity in the human life form also became infinite and omnipresent.  Once Jesus rose from the dead, the human form had become completely unified to the Divine.

This revelation of the Holy Trinity, is something that is known to those who belong to the New Church, or the church of the New Jerusalem prophesied in the book of Revelation.  It is a distinguishing doctrine from the older Christian churches, which became corrupted when God was divided into three personal beings in the Council of Nicea in the fourth century A.D.

Do not put your trust in human opinions of philosophy, or in the councils of churches which sought to rule others through means of religion. Instead, seek the truth direct from the Lord. It is by means of revelation that God makes Himself known, not through human philosophy. And once this truth is known, you will know who you should pray to: Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior. For what is the name of the Father? It is Jesus Christ. In the New Church, people will begin to understand the true meaning of the Lord's prayer.

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