What happens during initiation? The Head, Heart and Hara

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

One of my nightly rituals of late has been purposeful meditation upon trying to "listen" to the universe.  I try to do this before falling asleep. I relax and attempt to let the distractions of the world, whether they be the noise of the interstate that sits a few hundred feet from my home or my girlfriend surfing Tik Tok, fade away into obscurity.  I focus on my mind on just being still and "listening" to what the Universe decides to tell me. While doing this the other evening, I had a most profound realization. This is where this gets a little deep. The realization was that we (as a reality) exist within the all-seeing eye of God.  Imagine that the all-seeing eye of God is God learning, experiencing, viewing, and being through each and every one of us, and we are by proxy then connected not only to God but to each other because of this.    

Consider that matter is made of atoms, each of which vibrates at a specific frequency,  and each of us is made up of atoms that vibrate and resonate at certain frequencies.  Our individual consciousness is then made up of these vibrations which are resonating at certain frequencies together, which are then being received by God and translated by God.  Imagine then that God is connecting to each of us, and we to him. God is constantly emanating reality, and we are experiencing it both through him and with him.  Sacred Geometry, or the patterns of creation, are visual representations of this emanation.  In the Royal Arch, we hear repeated John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  Remember that words are not merely spoken, they are intoned or vibrated, and in doing so form harmonic resonance with everything around us.  In fact, the verse above says nothing about the word being spoken.  Instead, maybe we need to replace Word with the term vibration instead.  Doesn't the verse make more sense if you say: "In the beginning was the vibration, and the vibration was with God, and the vibration was God"?    

Have I lost you?  Maybe the below article will help:

It says: "Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields.  An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating things/processes come into proximity: they will often start, after a little time, to vibrate together at the same frequency."  It goes on to mention this phenomenon is called syncing... or "spontaneous self-organization".  Many examples of which can be observed in nature, although the article gives these examples:
  • Fireflies of certain species start flashing their little fires in sync in large gatherings of fireflies, in ways that can be difficult to explain under traditional approaches.

  • Large-scale neuron firing can occur in human brains at specific frequencies, with mammalian consciousness thought to be commonly associated with various kinds of neuronal synchrony.

  • Lasers are produced when photons of the same power and frequency are emitted together.

  • The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face.
The article continues to describe that a German Neurophysiologist, Pascal Fries, has been working "over last two decades the ways in which various electrical patterns, specifically, gamma, theta and beta waves, work together in the brain to produce the various types of human consciousness."   Furthermore: "These names refer to the speed of electrical oscillations in the various brain regions, as measured by electrodes placed on the outside of the skull. Gamma waves are typically defined as about 30 to 90 cycles per second (hertz), theta as a 4- to 7-hz rhythm, and beta as 12.5 to 30 hz."  Fries has concluded that "the three work together to produce, or at least facilitate (the exact relationship between electrical brain patterns and consciousness is still very much up for debate), various types of human consciousness."

The article then goes on to debate whether all matter, such as a pile of sand which they use as an example is conscious.  The article ends with the below:   

"Boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates” or just collections of more rudimentary conscious entities (probably at the atomic or molecular level only), rather than combinations of micro-conscious entities that combine into a higher level macro-conscious entity, which is the hallmark of biological life.

Accordingly, the type of communication between resonating structures is key for consciousness to expand beyond the rudimentary type of consciousness that we expect to occur in more basic physical structures.

The central thesis of our approach is this: the particular linkages that allow for macro-consciousness to occur result from a shared resonance among many micro-conscious constituents. The speed of the resonant waves that are present is the limiting factor that determines the size of each conscious entity.  

As a shared resonance expands to more and more constituents, the particular conscious entity grows larger and more complex. So, the shared resonance in a human brain that achieves gamma synchrony, for example, includes a far larger number of neurons and neuronal connections than is the case for beta or theta rhythms alone.

It’s resonating structures all the way down—and up.

Our resonance theory of consciousness attempts to provide a unified framework that includes neuroscience and the study of human consciousness, but also more fundamental questions of neurobiology and biophysics. It gets to the heart of the differences that matter when it comes to consciousness and the evolution of physical systems.

It is all about vibrations, but it’s also about the type of vibrations and, most importantly, about shared vibrations."

What does this have to do with Freemasonry?  Think about what happens during the initiatory process.  Is not initiation a series of rituals that has as its goal an alchemical transformation of the initiate from a base state to a higher state?  What I believe most Freemasons fail to examine when we look at a candidate for Freemasonry, is if they are capable of receiving the transmission of the esoteric knowledge given in the degrees and applying it to their own lives.  For the answer to the question above, the goal of initiation is to get the initiate to ask himself: "How do I develop a process by which I can become more self-aware, and accelerate the process of my own development?"

When the initiate is receptive, then the initiation will activate three primary consciousness or soul centers, which are called many names in many spiritual systems.  The Gnostics called them: Hyle, Psyche, and Gnosis, The sufis: Head, Heart and Hand, The Qabalists: Assiah, Yetzirah and Briah, Buddhists call them: thought, speech and action, Those that study the system of Reiki call them: The Head, Heart and Hara.  Regardless of what you call these, the purpose of the initiation is to activate all three of these centers.  

Initiation activates the Head by making the thinking process illuminated.  This illumination is the knowledge of spiritual realities and understanding of the spiritual depths of oneself.  Through this illumination, you begin to ask questions like: who I am, why I am here, where do I come from, what is my purpose?  You also become aware of your connection with the divine, and then perhaps reach an understanding that everything is a thoughtform or vibration from the mind of God. Is it an accident that the Master asks the Senior Warden: "Whence Came You?","What came you here to do?", and various other interrogatories during the opening in the First Degree?  I don't think so.  

Initation activates the Heart by cultivating a feeling of unconditional love.  We are first made a Mason in our hearts.  Why? Because it is by unconditional love or "Brotherly Love" as we call it, that we honor not only our interconnectedness but also our interconnectedness with God.  When we fail to treat each other with Charity: which is not just our relief of those who are less fortunate than we, but which is the action of Brotherly Love of each other, we see the evil of man personify itself.  However, when we Love and Respect one another as equal parts of the whole which is God, we see the ignition of a spiritual spark within our hearts.  From this spark, an etheric light rises from us, into what is called our Third Eye, or that place above our heads which in esoteric Christianity is represented by the flame above the heads or the halo surrounding the heads of those who receive the Holy Spirit. 

Initiation activates the Hara which is a Japanese word that means "Sea of Energy".  It is the cultivation of action or will.  It is normally represented as being near the navel, but it is essentially that will which we use to travel Jacob's Ladder or the will that is behind our ascent of the Winding Staircase to the Middle Chamber. It is the will to take action esoterically in order to use spiritual realities to change things on the physical plane. It is the willpower that is created by changing our consciousness to a higher level. It is the will which allows the transformation of the physical body into the idea of the spiritual body.  It is the development and cultivation of our self-awareness and our interconnectedness to the divine which is allegorically represented by our movement from a dead level to a living perpendicular. 

It is the goal of Freemasonry through it's initiation to awaken these areas within the initiate.  Does it succeed?  Maybe it does for a few out of the many.  There are many brothers that I know who I feel are understanding of this purpose.  That they are taking this journey, although it is one that might take a lifetime. They understand that it is a marathon and not a sprint, which is allegorically explained by the concepts of the rough and perfect ashlars.  We must work to become perfect, to reach that frequency where we might resonate with God.  I use meditation as one of many concepts or tools to attempt to work on my rough ashlar or to continue the process started by my initiation, even if it took me some years after to finally understand and recognize the process. It is never too late to change or to grow, to love one another and make a positive impact on the world. The change begins within, and once you have mastered that change within, then you will be able to change the world without. 


WB Darin A. Lahners is our Co-Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s also a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine, and a grade one (Zelator) in the S.C.R.I.F. Prairieland College in Illinois. You can reach him by email at darin.lahners@gmail.com.

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