The purpose of the rings

The inner structure exerts a far-reaching influence on everyday life. It controls and guides the implementation of plans and actions. It governs the selection of what is important to remember. It enables us to supply missing information, to make inferences, to guess what we do not know and to reconstruct what we have forgotten. People tend to perceive and remember things that fit the relevant schema and forget things that do not. However, the purpose of the inner structure is not limited to its utility in daily activities. It also has several functions related to the soul.

Protection - the rings protect the soul from excessive amounts of information, and prevent an uncontrolled dispersion of the soul's energy. They create a sort of barrier - most pieces of information stop there (we are aware of them because this is where awareness remains) and also many reactions start from there.

Personal integration - the rings maintain the coherence of the soul. Without the rings, the mind would not be able to make a meaningful whole out of the various pieces of information. Fragmentation of the rings can cause intense anxiety and other problems including, in severe cases, a disintegration of personality.

Stability - the rings are more concrete (but less dynamic) than the energy of the soul. This concreteness contributes to stability and provides a sense of security, which is why it is difficult to let go of our beliefs (like inexperienced swimmers who cling to the side of the swimming pool). It is only when the energy can be internally controlled that the rings are no longer essential in this respect.

Separation - the rings do not only separate the part of the soul associated with physical life from the rest, but also keep that part separated from other non-material energy. This is necessary in order to preserve the soul as a unit and achieve independence. When awareness expands beyond the rings (through, for example, the use of psychotropic drugs, spiritual practices, or simply ‘peak experiences'), a temporary sense of the unity with one's surrounding or even the whole universe can be felt.

Shaping - the rings act as a dynamic mould that reshapes the soul.

Growth - when the rings expand, the soul can grow too, because its shell or boundaries expand. This enables a gradual and controlled expansion of awareness.

 

The rings have drawbacks too. They may close a person down, become restrictive and decrease flexibility. They can also grow without any corresponding experiential content, creating a bubble of empty ‘space' (e.g. an inflated ego).