During the approximately 18 months that I practiced my meditational exercises for 14 to 16 hours a day, I learned to control my nervous and endocrine systems to such an extent that sleep was not required. If my body needed rest, a particular meditational exercise practiced for 45 minutes would suffice for the equivalent of 4 hours of sleep. I was awake 24 hours a day for the last 10 months of the meditational intensive. My being able to do this was an extension of the particular exercises which I practiced. As I no longer continue this intensive meditation, many of the "attainments" which I was able to tap have receded and require prolonged meditation to reacquire. The point to this is that I learned a great deal about how "my" nervous system(NS) is hardwired.
Since the field of my academic work for my Doctorate in Behavioral Biology was in Neurophysiology, my interest in the processes and workings of my mind-body integration during this time was keen. My interest in biology and the brain had carried over from a consuming desire to learn and acquire wisdom which was brought into this lifetime from past lives that I had lead as Physician and Yogi. As a result, my passion has always been to bring my knowledge and newly acquired skills into the modern scientific arena. Validation of metaphysical phenomena in the light of modern scientific achievements, has been the result. Thus, the following chapters will yield the present state of my endeavors to learn to understand the manner in which the psychical and etheric are made manifest in the physical structure of the human body.
As I mentioned before, at least 60% of the Genome deals with the NS in some manner and this fact places particular emphasis on the NS in relation to life processes. During development of the fertilized egg first to blastula and then to fetus, the cells which make up the ectoderm (outer skin) become both the integumentary system (skin) and the entire central and peripheral NS. This fact is important which will be explained later. The time period of fetal development is one of intense activity and mass migrations of cells. This is no less true for development of the NS. The NS starts off as a fold in the ectoderm, becomes a tube and migrates towards the inside of the blastula. There it develops the cephalization (head region) which becomes the brain. The early brain consists of three regions called the forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain. The forebrain develops into the neocortex, basal ganglia, limbic system, olfactory bulb and lateral ventricles. This is collectively referred to as the Telencephalon. The forebrain which develops into the thalamus, epithalamus, hypothalamus, pineal body and the third ventricle is collectively referred to as the Diencephalon. The midbrain develops into the tectum, tegmentum and cerebral aqueduct as the Mesencephalon. The hindbrain develops into the cerebellum, pons and fourth ventricle called the Metencephalon in addition to the medulla oblongata and fourth ventricle called the Myelencephalon. The rest of the tube becomes the spinal cord. Cells split off from the tube and migrate to various developing regions and become the Peripheral NS (PNS). It is the Central NS(CNS) which will be primarily discussed here and comprises the brain and spinal cord. The significance of the cited brain regions will be discussed in the following text.
First, I would like to discuss the organization of the CNS. The basic unit of the CNS is of course the individual nerve cell or neuron. The neuron is roughly globular in shape and has "upstream" projections called dendrites and one "downstream" projection called the axon. As with all cells, the cell body contains the nucleus with the chromosomes, nucleoli and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The chromosomes are structures composed of DNA and nucleohistone proteins coiled together compactly. The nucleoli are structures where the ribosomal ribo-nucleic acid (rRNA) is made. The ER is what gives the internally convoluted and high surface structure of all cells. Many biochemical reactions occur within these folds. In the nucleus, messenger RNA (mRNA) is directly made from the DNA template and makes its way along with rRNA into the cytoplasm outside the nucleus. In the cytoplasm, rRNA combines with ribosomal proteins to form the ribosomes which are the sites of protein synthesis. The message of the mRNA is "read" by the ribosomes associated with ER (rough ER[RER]) and a protein is made from it. These proteins are used for cellular architecture, as components of cellular membranes, as products for excretion and as enzymes to catalyze biochemical reactions.
The cytoplasm is made up of protoplasm and ER and contains various organelles. These organelles are: mitochondria where oxidative respiration takes place, centrioles where the cellular architecture is organized, Golgi complex where cellular products are packaged for excretion in membrane packets, lysosomes where intracellular digestion occurs and peroxisomes where hydrogen peroxide and degredative enzymes are stored. You are the sum of all the cells of your body and the health of your cells is your health!
Nerve cells make contact with other nerve cells with their dendrites and axon. All nerve cells in the CNS are themselves surrounded by several types of perineural cells which support the activities of the neurons. Concentrations of similarly responding and acting neurons are termed a locus. A locus is the next step in hierarchical complexity. Cell loci are grouped together in specific areas and concern themselves with specific activities. An example is the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus which regulates visceral activity of the abdomen. The next level of organization involves the integration of loci within the brain regions by association interneurons which have no axons or short axons. An example is the sense of sight which is associated with the occipital neocortex and has at least 5 levels of association neuron integration with input from the retina of the eyes via the optic nerves. The retina is an extension of the brain to a sensory organelle at the surface of the body, as are the olfactory sensilla. The ear is a bit different as the sensory organelle is outside the capsule of the brain but interior to the surface of the body.
The next level of organizational integration involves the regions concerned with a specific modality connected by linking tracts of interneurons with long axons with other areas of the CNS. An example is the linking of the locus ceruleus of the pons with the hippocampus of the limbic system and the neocortex, areas which are located at some distance from each other. It is the coordinated activities of all the neuronal loci which allows behavioral expression according to your genetical predispositions and learned responses afforded by integrative plasticity.
These tracts are characterized by the fact that they all are of the same class of neurotransmitter(NT). And in fact, neurons are categorized by the type of NT they spit onto their neighbors. NTs are various chemical compounds of which there are over 100 known. However, most are of a small number of types which will be referred to as the discussion proceeds.
The next level of brain organization centers on the integration of various brain regions with the information coming into the brain from the PNS. The local brain region processes this information, shunts the results to higher levels. Then the region relays the decisions which it received from the higher levels to the lower centers for action.
All information coming into the CNS from the PNS goes to specific cell loci within the Spinal Cord, the Pons & Medulla, the Basal Nuclei and on to the Thalamus and/or Cerebellum in ascending order. The Thalamus determines the input that will make its way up to the Neocortex and be perceived in the consciousness. All else remains in the realm of the unconscious.
The highest level of integration involves the neocortex and decision making. The sum of all the input from below is integrated and the decision to act in whatever manner is then relayed to the appropriate lower centers through the Thalamus to the Basal Nuclei, on to the Spinal Cord and then the nerve tract(s) that ennervate voluntary muscle.