This morning (11/7/22): I asked my HS about organs and spirituality. Initially I didn’t feel any answer. An hour or two later I’m doing my morning sanctuary service of the Heart and an answer was provided. This service is to read something of Gnostic literature and contemplate it. While pondering what to read, an answer came to me – but the answer wasn’t from my regular consciousness. It wasn’t memory, or personality, it was deep within and it pointed me to “Dei Gloria Intacta”. Opening it up I get to page 16 – and it deals with something about Flesh and Spirit.
Deep down I “Know” (Gnostic wisdom) that this applies to my question… so I read on. Jan van Rjickenborgh quotes Paul from the Bible, “Now this I say that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither does the corruptible inherit the incorruptible.”
After the quote Rjickenborgh explains that this, for him, is a reference to the human personality and that liberation is not found din resurrecting or pursuing the goal of personality perfection. He quotes the Bible again, “He must increase and I must decrease!”
While I don’t take everything written in the Bible as Gnostic truth, this came to me through my question, a specific question regarding Organs and spirituality. Max Heindel (and other Rosicrucians) postulated that the physical organs in a body were stitched together with a silver chord that binds the soul to the body and by modifying this relationship, one degrades their spiritual process.
My concerns with this type of thinking (that the body is important and impactful to spiritual growth) are listed below under the heading “Original Post.” However, I also came to realize this morning that flesh and blood do not inherit the Kingdom of God. The “Kingdom of God” is a metaphor for the spiritual bridge within us – in other words, it is our spiritual growth. The human body does not control the spiritual component.
But what does this mean? It means that the body isn’t saved. Is the personality? Rosicrucians say “no” as it pertains to the body. The seat of the ego being in the liver, if the liver perishes, in time so too does the personality.
The real question though is if organ donation or replacement changes us. Does having a replacement kidney change you? Or a replacement liver, or heart? In my original post I referenced data on heart transplants – there are few studies on personality change with heart transplants. Those having been done showed little to no statistical weight to the claim. But what of the liver?
Since the Rosicrucian perspective is that the liver is the seat of the ego, a liver transplant would be very significant on personality. A quick dive into research on this topic reveals a government paper detailing that up to 70% of liver recipients indicate a change in personality. However, it’s not clear the cause – if it is deemed psychological (which is how the world would understand a change in ego) or medical (fungus infections of the spinal fluid, etc.). Both infection and psychology are mentioned and the results seem to be intermixed. Various MRI’s are presented as evidence of changes in the brain.
Another data point is from China. China performs 50% of all liver transplants in the world. However, personality changes are not something reported or noted in this (less scholarly article) on the topic.
The science is a toss up – one side saying no effects, another side noting personality/psychological effects but factors in a lot of mental issues related to post-op infection.
Back to the spiritual perspective: If the body doesn’t pertain to the health of spiritual process, then it seems that there should be no concern for organ replacement with machines or other organs. Even if the ego is seated in the liver, the remaining organs would seem to have negligible impact upon the spiritual path.
A recent discussion has been on my mind lately. It relates to the philosophy of Max Heindel. Specifically his views on organs and spirituality. According to the Rosicrucian Fellowship’s site, Heindel felt that organs were stitched together with the silver chord that binds the soul to the body and by transferring an organ from one person to another, that the result would be counter productive spiritually speaking.
This is very hard for me to accept, but I don’t wish to dismiss it outright. Sitting in neutrality on this topic I have to concede that I view three forms of truth. For me, truth is either:
- Directly experienced by means of the five senses
- Directly experienced by means of spiritual truth (Gnosis or Self Awareness)
- Understood logically through a pattern of reason
The greatest of the three mentioned processes is of course Gnosis. Gnosis, direct experience through Divine inspiration, is by far the greatest truth. After that, direct experience through the senses and finally following the logical flow of thoughts by means of reason.
As this topic is not something I’ve directly experienced in the carnal world, nor have I had a Gnostic awareness to this topic, I’m left with reason alone.
Empirical Evidence Argument
A modern argument for Heindel’s views is in recent heart transplant research. Research that states a percentage of heart transplant recipients begin to take on the personalities of those who donated the organs.
“The original seed atom of the recipient of a transplanted heart, we believe, would remain with the etheric counterpart of his original heart, which continues a part of his vital body…. We believe it likely that, once a heart transplant has taken place, the angelic Beings in charge of such matters would transfer the recipient’s seed atom to the apex of the donor’s heart, which now is pumping blood through the recipient’s body.” (Rosicrucian.com)
Empirical data has been provided, which shows that some heart recipients felt their donor’s heart caused a change in their personality. Such a data set is the work from Austrian heart transplant recipients. In this data of 47 recipients, 3 patients (6%) felt they had a personality change/influence that reflected the donors personality.
Problems with this Data
While 6% may seem small for some, I think it is statistically significant. My issue with the data is the lack of clarity. Was this a double blind analysis? Certainly this isn’t an experiment. People where not forced to have their hearts replaced, it was instead to be analysis after the fact. Due to this, the data integrity is perhaps compromised.
If the 6% of this study who felt they had a personality change to reflect the donors, the real question is, “did they know the donors?” If they knew the donors of their new hearts (close friends or family), then it is likely they are acting out a psychological manifestation.
Psychological Manifestation Post Traumatic Death
When people lose a loved one, even without a organ donation, they can slip into the person’s personality traits. A son who’s father was a carpenter, may pick up woodworking as a hobby shortly after the passing of their father. I myself have experienced this, and I’ve seen the effect in others as well.
I would imagine that the trauma of not only losing a loved one, but also in gaining their organs, the psychological transition would be very strong.
In an article from Psychology Today, this topic is brought from the point of view of organ memory. The author points out various studies that indicating memories can be transferred on organs (not the brain, but other non-cerebral organs). While compelling it doesn’t prove that memories equate to spiritual progress.
The Spiritual Dynamic of Organs
If we look at blood and body organs as having a spiritual bond, it could (and has been) argued that for a spiritual person to take on the organ of a carnal man, would simply be putting a tarnish on a previously spiritual bond. But let’s reverse the argument…
If it holds true that blood, or an organ contain spiritual tonality, then it would seem to follow that the reverse would be true: a Holy man giving his blood or an organ would have a lasting positive effect on a carnal person. It would seem like the perfect outreach program, as Holy men/women would offer their blood (or organs) for the carnal and thereby influence them into Holy states of mind.
The Problem of the Spiritual Dynamic
If a Holy person could transmit “holiness” to another by means of a blood transfusion, or through an organ transplant, then it seems we remove personal sovereignty from the recipient. That person who undergoes a change (positive or negative) is bypassing personal awareness, choice and conscious effort. That is a problem for me, I currently lack the acceptance that such things are doable through physical means.
For me, spiritual growth is a product of making a choice – a conscious decision. Suggestion that something else (blood, etc.) can change a person seems counter to what I’ve known to be true.
Francis Galton initiated an idea, later called Eugenics, that presumes to seek genetic perfection through the careful maintenance of humanities bloodline. This philosophy becomes dangerous in that it nullifies genetic traits deemed “bad.”
One can hypothesize that if society believed a person having a high chance of transmitting poor organ traits (such as genetic diseases of liver, heart, or lung) they might encourage such a person to not reproduce. A fear or concern might become prevalent that such progeny will be without the spiritual spark or depth that a “normal” person might have.
Perhaps a stretch, or perhaps not. Who knows for certain?
Truth and Openness
In the end, the best I can offer is to remain open to this topic. I can not confirm, nor deny the effective influence of a physical organ over another person. I will continue to seek the Gnostic Light of truth and perhaps one day will have a direct experience of Truth in the Light of Gnosis. Until then I can only reason out, laying out the concerns or benefits of such philosophy.