Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Solomon’s Cord and Paul’s Boast

In the West we’re still a long ways from catching up to the rich accumulations of knowledge (of sorts) of the world beyond the border. Having quoted from Ecclesiastes recently, I remembered seeing there what is the original mention of the silver cord. It is the cord that supposedly links our material to our subtle bodies; it thins out and extends into a cord when the spirit is out of the body or in a near death state, but we don’t die until the cord is broken.

Here is the citation in full, near the end Ecclesiastes (12:6-8).

Remember him [the Creator] before the silver cord is snapped and the golden bowl is broken, before the pitcher is shattered at the spring and the wheel broken at the well, before the dust returns to the earth as it began and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Emptiness, emptiness, says the Speaker, all is empty.

Amusing, in a way, that the tradition which brings us the silver cord also accurately characterizes the meaning-content of modern culture. I knew about vanity, of course, but I’d forgotten about that emptiness.

In the East what is a minor thread, in ours, is much more fully developed, both in the Hindu and Buddhist cultures.  Energy bodies are pictured in those and the élan vital in their case is a genuine energy structure, the chi in China. In the Hindu world we have the sutratma, which is a “self-thread.” There is much less emphasis on the connection, in the East, much more on the subtle body itself.

Having read the quoted verse, I got curious about let’s call it ordinary “paranormal” reports—in the New Testament. One that fell into my lap is a brief section in Paul’s 2 Corinthians where the apostle tentatively mentions an out-of-body experience, although not his own (12:1-5):

I am obliged to boast. It does no good; but I shall go on to tell of visions and revelations granted by the Lord. I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know—God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know—God knows) was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them. About such a man as that I am ready to boast; but I will not boast on my own account, except of my weaknesses.

We live in an interesting universe.

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