The Seat of Consciousness in Ancient Literature


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About the Book

For early civilizations, consciousness and the sense of self were experienced as located in the center of the body, most often near to or within the physical heart. Enlightenment was understood as the illumination of a transformed “spiritual heart.” Thus the mind of the body as a whole was represented by the heart-soul. In contrast, modern culture places consciousness within the brain, resulting in a mind/body dualism. This separation of mind and body has recently been emphasized as characteristic of the psychopathologies of the modern self.
This volume explores the understanding and experience of consciousness in the earliest civilizations before about 500 BCE. Beginning with a description of ancient Western and Eastern heart-consciousness, the psychological and spiritual manifestations of the ancient mature heart-soul are summarized. Ancestor worship, lineage identity, primitive consciousness and the ways in which the external world was mirrored by the inner world provide additional clues about the experience of heart-consciousness. Finally, the work addresses the fundamental changes in the experience of consciousness that led to the mind/body dualism of today.

About the Author(s)

Retired clinical psychologist Richard E. Lind lives in Springfield, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

Richard E. Lind
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 363
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2753-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0937-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       v

Preface      1

Introduction      9

1. Ancient Western Descriptions of Heart-Consciousness      41

2. Ancient Eastern Descriptions of Heart-Consciousness      102

3. Ancestor Worship      136

4. Worship of the Fire in the Heart      176

5. Primitive Consciousness      224

6. Comparison and Summary      270

Bibliography      325

Index      337