Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Beginning and Return of Everything

"The unbelievably vast and the infinitesimally small, eventually meet."
                                                          ~ From the film, The Incredible Shrinking Man

It is a mathematical fact that the casting of a pebble from my hand alters the center of gravity of the universe."
                                                          ~ Thomas Carlyle

"Things lie hidden in their opposites..."
                                                           ~ Al-Alawi

A new breakthrough in physics is giving new credibility to the arcane sciences. Dr. Christopher Monroe and his colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado did an interesting experiment with a single atom.

Through the results of this experiment they proved that one atom can simultaneously exist in two vastly separated places! Scientists have known for some time that in the quantum world, a single object can exist in a multiplicity of forms and places. Of great fascination is that not only can a single object exist in more than one place, but also these two manifestations of a single object can respond instantly to each other's experiences.

For many centuries, one possible sign of a Sufi saint is that he or she has the gift of bilocality, or being able to appear at two places simultaneously. There are many stories of Sufi Sheikhs performing this wonder. Yet we can go still further in our explorations, and posit that if there is ONE ULTIMATE REALITY, then this new science is showing that ONE THING can manifest into an assortment of shapes and locations.

Dr. Monroe and his colleagues separated a single beryllium atom into different shapes in space. However, Dr. Monroe's true feat in this experiment is that he separated the two states of the one atom by a relatively enormous distance! Quantum events (such as what we have been speaking about) usually occur in the "micro scale" world, in other words, these events do not noticeably affect our everyday, mundane world.

Nevertheless, Dr. Monroe separated one beryllium atom so far apart that it represented a transition from the domain of quantum mechanics to the everyday "normal" world. In short, Dr. Monroe discovered a BRIDGE!

"Every atom bubbles the mystery." ~ Fakhruddin 'Iraqi

From the point of view of the scientific community, nothing is proven yet. A useful theory or model behind the experiment is not proof, they would point out to us. Ultimately (in the scientists view), we can prove nothing. Scientist do not speak of the Laws of the Universe. They speak of theories, i.e. the "theory" of relativity, the "theory" of evolution, and even the "theory" of gravity. Thorough testing is done to eliminate the variables and to find an alternative explanation. If the theory is testable, and the results of the test are shown to be repeatable and predictable, then a scientist would say it is verified. However, scientists know better than to expect a theory to be infallible, and so they keep it in the verification zone indefinitely.

Sufis now have a way to understand in a scientific sense, how by affecting the subtle realms, in other words, the quantum "micro" world, they may establish a releationship with the gross realms, in other words, the everyday "macro scale" world. This may provide some glimpse into why such tiny events such as lighting one candle, can provoke the universe into healing an entire human being.

From ~ The Sun at Midnight: The Revealed Mysteries of the Ahlul Bayt Sufis, pgs 470-471
Laurence Galian


Dervish Alchemy
Laurence Galian's Home Page

Friday, March 18, 2011

The View of the Great Perfection

Many regard the pinnacle of Buddhist theory and practice to be the Great Perfection system of theory and practice resulting in perfect spiritual awakening. According to this view, the physical world, the form realm, and the formless realm all emerge from an implicate unity of the absolute space of phenomena (dharmadhatu), primordial consciousness (jnana), and a primal energy (jnana-prana) that is indivisible from both space and consciousness. The absolute space of phenomena is not to be confused with relative space; rather, it is the ultimate dimension of reality out of which space, time, energy, matter, and mind all emerge. This primordial unity of space, consciousness, and energy is the ultimate implicate order.

Physicists have always set themselves the goal of understanding the objective universe as it exits independently of any relative observer, so their understanding of the melted and frozen vacuums is necessarily devoid of any notion of consciousness. This, as we have seen, may be a crucial limitation in their understanding of nature. Buddhists have always sought to understand the world of experience, not a purely objective world independent of experience. So in their understanding of nature, absolute space is not separate from primordial, nonlocal, time-transcending consciousness. And this ultimate consciousness is said to be imbued with unbounded knowledge and compassion and with a creative energy limited only by the natural laws of karma. This luminous space is the ground from which all possible worlds appear, and it is the ultimate nature of every observer's mind.

Much as physicists describe the current universe as "frozen" with respect to the perfect symmetry of the melted vacuum, so do Buddhists characterize our current minds as frozen with respect to the perfect symmetry of primordial consciousness. But that hidden perfection is not confined to the distant past, before our current "fall from grace." Rather, as the Dalai Lama comments, "Any given state of consciousness is permeated by the clear light of primordial consciousness. However solid ice may be, it never loses its true nature, which is water. In the same way, even very obvious concepts are such that their 'place', as it were, their final resting place, does not fall outside the expanse of primordial awareness. They arise within the expanse of primordial consciousness and that is where they dissolve." How is the perfect symmetry of this ultimate ground broken? In the words of Dudjom Lingpa, a nineteenth-century Tibetan master of the Great Perfection, "This ground is present in the mind-streams of all sentient beings, but it is tightly constricted by dualistic grasping; and it is regarded as external, firm, and solid. This is like water in its natural, fluid state freezing in a cold wind. It is due to dualistic grasping onto subjects and objects that the ground, which is naturally free, becomes frozen into the appearances of things."

Like the melted vacuum of physics, the primordial unity of space, consciousness, and energy of the Great Perfection transcends time as we know it. Instead of being structured by the ordinary divisions of time, which are designated by specific observers within their own cognitive frames of reference, the Great Perfection is associated with "the fourth time", a dimension beyond the past, present, and future. So the broken symmetries of relative space-time, mass-energy, and subject-object all emerge from the ultimate, undifferentiated symmetry of the absolute space phenomena, the fourth time, primrdial consciousness, and the energy of primordial consciousness, all of which are coextensive and of the same nature. These two sets of relative and ultimate phenomena have no inherebt indentities apart from the cognitve framework in which they are ascertained.

In this view, location in space-time is contingent upon the observer, but the emphasis is on the participant as a perceiver, not as a conceptual designator. Empirical observations exist only relative to the mode of perception and the technological system of measurement with which they are made. On a deeper level, theories exist only relative to the conceptual framework in which they are formulated. It is the participant as thinker who establishes relative locality within space-time. This sets the universe -- relative to a cognitive frame of reference -- in motion. Without such participancy by a perceiving agent, there are no phenomena, and the universe is static. In other words, multiple worlds of experience emerge into existence and evolve relative to the theory-laden experiences of observer-participants.

According to the cosmogony of the Great Perfection, all phenomena arise as displays of absolute space, which transcends all words and concepts, including the notions of existence and nonexistence, one and many, and subject and object. As a result of the delusional habit of reification. this infinite, luminous space is obscured and reduced to a blank, unthinking void, known as the substrate (alaya). The experience of the substrate is like a dreamless sleep, devoid of appearances. From that void arises the substrate consciousness (alayavijnana), a state of limpid, clear consciousness from which all phenomena appear; it emerges from and is of the same nature as primordial consciousness. From the substrate consciousness arises the sense of self, or "I", which is apprehended as being "here", which results in the objective world appearing to be "over there", thus establishing the appearance of space. In this way, the dualistic experience of the world emerges from multiple, implicate orders of nonduality.

There are crucial differences between the substrate consciousness and primordial consciousness. When one's mind is settled in the substrate consciousness, one ascertains the nature of one's own mind in its relatively "frozen" state. Even though dualstic, discursive thoughts have subsided, this vacuum state of consciousness is subject to change and is implicitly structured by conceptual reification. The mind is temporarily in a state of relative equilibrium, or symmetry, but as soon as it emerges from that meditative state, the asymmetries of dualistic thinking are catalyzed as before. Primordial consciousness, in contrast, transcends time, and all appearances are present to it, without arising or ceasing. There is total knowledge and total awareness of all phenomena, without ever merging with or entering into objects. As Dudjom Lingpa explains, "Primordial consciousness is self-originating, naturally clear, free of outer and inner obscuration; it is the all-pervasive, radiant, clear infinity of space, free of contamination."

Dualistic, or "frozen", consciousness is the natural radiance and clarity of the objects that emerge in the expanse of awareness. When they arise to our perceptual faculties, they are frozen by reification, as we grasp onto ourselves and all other things as inherently existing objects. The objective world is crystallized into separate and distinct things as a result of consciousness individually apprehending and labeling objects. They are experienced as agreeable, disagreeable, or neutral, and consequently thoughts of attachment to the agreeable, aversion to the disagreeable, and indifference to everything else emerge. Agreeable things are seen as good and become objects of hope, thus proliferating thoughts of yearning. Disagreeable things are seen as bad, and thus serve as a basis for thoughts of anxiety.

The way to return to the perfect symmetry of primordial consiousness is to realize how all phenomena fundamentally emerge from and are of the nature of absolute space. They have never existed except as displays of this primordial purity, so all appearances are illusory displays of our own primordial consciousness, which has taken on the guise of ordinary consciousness. It is not that consciousness must vanish into absolute space and primordial consciousness must arise from somewhere else. It just seems that way because of our ingrained tendency to reify ourselves and all objects of awareness.

In encountering the view of the Great Perfection, we first gain conceptual understanding based on verbal instruction, reading, study, and reflection. The next step is to investigate this theory, both analytically and experientially, until we fathom the lack of inhehrent existence of all objective and subjective phenomena. We now comprehend how they are all "empty" of any intrinsic identity, independent of any cognitive frame of reference. Finally, we comprehend how all things naturally, spontaneously arise from the absolute space of phenomena and have no existence apart from that ultimate ground. We have now realized the view of the Great Perfection. To "gain confidence" in the view, we first identify the nature of primordial consciousness, then continually abide in that state of awareness until it remains unwaveringly at all times and in all situations.

While physicists speak of the perfect symmetry of the melted vacuum as a thing of the past, Buddhists regard the perfect symmetry of primordial consciousness as immanently present. According to Buddhist cosmogony, the form realm emerges from the formless realm, and the explicate order of the physical world emerges from the form realm. Eventually the reverse will oocur. But in evry instant all three of these worlds spontaneously emerge from and dissolve back into the absolute space of phenomena. Just as the nature of ice is water, the nature of everything is the unity of primordial consciousness and absolute space. Once we cease objectifying ourselves and everything else and recognize the "one taste" of all phenomena as displays of primordial consciousness, we enter into a state of meditative equipoise in which all phenomena dissolve into the great expanse, with no object, obstruction, or intentionality.

From ~ Hidden Dimesions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness, pgs 110-113
B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D.

Related Links:

Vacuum States of Consciousness: A Tibetan Buddhist View
The Potential of Emptiness: Vacuum States of Consciousness
External, Internal, and Nondual Space
A Contemplative View of the Mind
The Scientific Frontier of the Inner Spirit
The Inter-Subjective Worlds of Science and Religion


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quantum Mechanics as a Branch of Primate Psychology

According to the Copenhagen Interpretation, invented in the middle of the Carlsberg brewery in 1926 by Niels Bohr, the world-as-known-to-science is not a model of the real world but is -- at one step remove -- a model of the human mind building a model of the real world. The science of sciences, then, THE SCIENCE, the fountainhead, becomes epistemology, which is a branch of human psychology, which is a branch of primate psychology and of primate neurology. The primate genetic imperatives of territoriality, pack hierarchy, rage-threat reflexes, rule by an alpha male, all play a role in the theorizing/modeling of domesticated primates like us. Or, as Eddington said, "We have certain preconceived notions of location in space that have come down to us from ape-like ancestors." Get into your brain, into the Jungian "collective unconscious", the DNA archives, to find the origin of philosophy, art, and modern physics including the Copenhagen Interpretation.

But according to David Bohm (1952) the quantum jump is controlled by a subquantum hidden variable which is non-local:

here, there, and everywhere in space

now, then and everywhen in time.

If Bohm is right, the primate brain (which devised Lear and Beethoven's Ninth and tic-tac-toe along with quantum mechanics) is the product of DNA architectual design to terraform Terra, which is dependent upon quantum bonding of the DNA helix which, in turn, is determined by quantum jumpiness determined itself by the hidden variable, non-local in spacetime, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent as any theologian's God.

If Bohr is right, the primary study is that of the brain and consciousness (primate neurology); but if Bohm is right, the primary study is that of the hidden variable non-local in spacetime (cosmic organization: negative entropy).

Since Bohr himself said, "The opposite of a trivial truth is false; the opposite of a great truth is also true", we can synthesize Bohr/Bohm and conclude that primate neurology = the hidden variable, which in pre-scientific language would read: the soul = God, except that to be true to Bohm and Bell's Theorem (1964), primate neurology (the soul) also = any other point-event which has a view of the universe as accurate as that of any other point-event, so that if the hidden variable = God, so does the lampshade or the blue spruce (which is what any Buddhist or acid-head will tell you even without studying quantum mechanics).

From ~ The Illuminati Papers, pgs. 15-16
Robert Anton Wilson

Related Links:

 The Semantics of God
 The Semantics of the Soul
 The Meeting of Science and Mysticism
 Reality Ain't What It Used To Be


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What is God?

An excellent 2-part interview with Professor Jacob Needleman on his latest book, 'What Is God?', shedding light on the relationship between this Being we call "God" and the attention factor in human beings.

From the interview:

"The real illusion is that people feel that God can act in the world of human affairs with all the ordinary people who are not developed according to how they're meant to be developed. So in that sense, it's awakened human beings which are needed for God to act in the world; that's the way of putting it in a short form.

As for one of the proofs for the existence of God, I would say, as a philosopher who's studied a lot of the proofs for the existence of God, and this may not sound like much of a proof, but one of the greatest proofs for the existence of God is the existence of men and women who are inhabited by what you might call God".

~ Jacob Needleman ~

His website:


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Sacred Manifests as Inner Consciousness

We are seeking to approach the unknown, to open the door to what is hidden in us and pass beyond. It is necessary to submit entirely to an inner voice, to a feeling of the divine, of the sacred in us, but we can do it only in part. The sacred manifests as inner consciousness. The divine, God, must be found within. Truth, the only truth, is in consciousness.

Everything that exists is constituted of three forces. They can be represented as the Father, the active force; the Son, the passive force; and the Holy Spirit, the neutralizing force. The Father creates the Son. The Son returns to the Father. The force that descends is the one that wishes to return, to go back up.

In man it is the mind that is opposed to the body. The neutralizing force is the wish that unites them, connects them. Everything comes from the wish, the will. To represent God, it is necessary to represent three forces. Where the three forces are reunited, God is. Where our attention is, God is. When two forces are opposed and a third unites them, God is here. We can say, "Lord, have mercy on me." We can ask for help, to come to this in ourselves. Our aim is this, to contain, to unite these three forces within us...... to Be.

A new Way of Functioning

The state of my being today is conditioned by my way of thinking, feeling and sensing, which takes all my attention and restricts me to a narrow part of myself. In order for me to go beyond this, there must appear in me a new way of functioning. I have to discover the total ineffectiveness, the insufficiency, of my thoughts and feelings as a means to approach the true nature of myself. The automatic functioning of my thought and feeling comes between the world as it is -- what I really am -- and the perception I have of it. The state in which I live is without order, vision or aim. I am here without knowing why or what I serve.

Each of my functions responds to impressions as though it were alone, from its point of view based on what it knows. But the functions cannot separately perceive reality, which includes a much higher energy. Their force is too passive. For understanding in the light of consciousness, the functions must all be attuned and united in a single movement of availability. If there is any distance between them, the common aim is lost and the blind function acts according to its habit. Thus, the first thing to understand is this availability of my thought, my body and my feeling to receive together, at the same time, an impression that they cannot know in advance. Everything they know is not the immediate perception of what is here, now, when they are quiet. And I must pass through the disappointment of seeing that their intervention, in which I always believe, only brings images of the known instead of direct experience. Then perhaps I will begin to understand why this teaching places such importance on the fact that our centers work without any relation with each other. So long as a relation is not made, I cannot go beyond my habitual state of consciousness.

Can this relation be made? Do I feel as a fact, in a real way, that there is a lack of relation? Do I feel at this moment my lack of intelligence to know my own truth and the truth of what is in front of me? Do I see that I am held back by words, ideas and emotions, full of doubt, belief and fear? I need to realize by experience what this disconnection of my centers means. I have a certain sensation of myself, and my thought is on the sensation. But one or the other is always stronger. I am not one, not a unity.

This accord of my centers of energy and their functioning cannot be brought about by forcing. There must be a quieting, a letting go of their movement, in order for a balance of energy to appear between them. But something is missing. I feel I am always to passive. So the need for an energy appears, an attention that will stay free and not become fixed on anything. It is an attention that will contain everything and refuse nothing, that will not take sides or demand anything. It will be without possessiveness, without avidity, but always with a sincerity that comes from the need to remain free in order to know.

Awakening to a New Force

We wish to become conscious of the state and movement of energy in ourselves. This can only be done in the present moment. I need to be more active inside. I practice trying to be present, to awake. But every activity that I have not yet mastered provokes tension. I wish, and I am not capable. So I tense, and in this way create an obstacle to realizing my aim. I come up against this obstacle again and again until I become convinced of the falseness of my conception of effort -- that is, as a movement toward a result. Then I feel relieved, a letting go that is a clear sign of my own Presence...

In order to come to the total stillness in which I will be free to know, I must abandon both the pretension that I am able and my belief in what I know. I must see myself blindly believing, again and again, in what my thinking or my emotion tells me. I need to see myself as always fooled until I see the uselessness of it all, until I feel how poor I really am. Then a calm appears and perhaps I learn something new. In any case, it is like a door opening. All I can do is leave it open. What will follow I cannot forsee.

The quality of influence that reaches me depends on the quality of my Presence. And the quality of my Presence depends on the relation of my thought, my feeling and my sensation. In order to be attuned to a more subtle force, the attention of each part needs to concentrate, to become charged with a new meaning and power to relate voluntarily. In this way the thinking purifies itself, as do the feelins and sensation. Each plays its own role and functions in concert with the others for the same goal of being attuned with a more subtle Presence. This Presence needs to shine, to animate my body. It has an intelligence, a vision that is like a light in the darkness and thickness of my sleep.

As I am today, directed by my ego, I cannot know the very essence of my Being. Iam not prepared for this. A greater abandon, a greater magnetization toward my real "I", toward my "divine" nature, must take place. I feel the need for it, and I awaken to this wish, this life. I feel this intelligence awaken.

From ~ The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, pgs. 27 & 46-49
Jeanne De Salzmann

Related Links:

The Holy Equation: The Fundamental Key to Inner Work
Sensing Exercises
Attention Exercises
Self-Obsevation Exercises
Self-Remembering Exercises

Monday, March 7, 2011

Living the Mindful Life

I happen to like everyday life very much. I really have no desire to live in a monastery, and so I find being more present and mindful in everyday life extremely valuable for the style of life I live. I am also, like everybody else, lost in my thoughts a good deal of the time or carried away by my emotions or a little crazy, but I have found that the kind of meditation practice that comes primarily from the Gurdjieff tradition -- I bring a lot of modern psychology in, too -- can be very helpful to escape at least partially from that tyranny of overactive thought and feeling that makes us lose contact with reality.

Remember when good news / bad news jokes were popular? I'll start by giving you the good news.

The good news is that because our deeper nature is really wonderful, there is hope! We can become less crazy. We can have more vividness and realness in our lives and can get in better and better contact with our deeper nature. Part of the good news is that there are a lot of techniques for doing that, although they often require social support. They are hard to do solely on our own.

The bad news comes in two major formats. One is that we have been programmed and conditioned to have a miserable view of ourselves and life, a programming that gets us into trouble all the time. The second part of the bad news is that not only were we programmed once but the program has become automatic, runs all the time, and is constantly reinforced by the mindlessness of our society. We do not need the slightest bit of mindfulness to get through everyday life; we can run totally on automatic.

Gurdjieff, who had a very no-nonsense, don't-bother-me-with-bullshit approach to things, put it very simply: most of the people you see on the street are dead. They are walking and talking, they have carrers, they can get elected into high political office, but they are dead. Their real inner essence, their soul, their spirit, whatever you want to call it, has become so buried under the mass of automatic programming that, for all practical purposes, they are machines, and there is no hope for them.

I do not like statements about there being no hope for somebody -- they are contrary to my hopes and temperament -- but practically, a lot of people are very deeply immersed in their own conditioning, and there is not much chance they will do anything about it. They will live and die as programmed automatons. And we are all like automatons to far too high a degree.

Gurdjieff said, "Man is asleep". He said that over and over and over again and then elaborated it in a way that I actually think is a more accurate metaphor: we are walking around in a waking dream, a dangerous dream. The dreams we have at night are quite safe, actually, because we just lie there in bed. We do not do anything in the physical world that could get us into trouble. The dreams we have while we are awake, however, get us into a lot of trouble, because we are not in clear, accurate touch with what is going on around us, yet we act, and we reap the consequences of our actions......

I have said that Gurdjieff's path is primarily a matter of mindfulness in everyday life. He taught, to the best of my knowledge, almost nothing in the way of formal, sitting meditation practices as we would normally categorize them -- although these were introduced to some extent by some of his students later. His theory was that the place in which you create all your troubles is ordinary life, and so that is both the place you need mindfulness the most and the best possible place to learn it.

I personally find Gurdjieff's techniques for creating mindfulness in daily life much more practical and successful than Buddhist ones. In my (hopefully, too limited) acquaintance with several Buddhist systems, they always stress that you should be mindful in ordinary life, not just in meditation, but in practice, almost all the emphasis is on formal meditation, and there are few, if any, practical techniques given for bringing this mindfulness to everyday life.

Gurdjieff said one of the best ways to become mindful in everyday life is to use your body. For instance, feel the sensations in your right hand now. Are they in the future?

(Reader, try this.)

No, they are now. 

Where are they?

(Reader, try this.)

They are here. 

Buddhists do talk about how being incarnated in a human body is actually the best of all the six realms of existence for practicing enlightenment. We have tremendous advantages here. One of the advantages is that we have these physical bodies that are anchored in the here and now. Our bodily sensations and sensory perceptions exist in a specific place and time, the present moment and place, so we can use them to stabilize our minds. Gurdjieff's technique for creating mindfulness in everyday life is to deliberately split your attention, so that a small part of your attention is always monitoring what is happening in your physical body. This deliberate split of attention acts like an anchor in the here and now, so that you are not swept away into thoughts, emotions, fantasies, reactions to thoughts and fantasies, reactions to reactions, and on and on that are evoked by both external events and previous thoughts, feelings and fantasies.....

The ideal way to become more mindful is simply to make the effort to be more mindful at all times. Indeed, this is what we must practice. Since we are, unfortunately, a long way from being able to do that very well, a good way would be to have an enlightened, perceptive teacher with you at all times, someone who notices when you have slid back into the fantasy that passes for ordinary consciousness and who reminds you at that point -- Wake Up! This would be especially helpful at moments when observing your mechanicalness would yield great insights. It is hard, though, to come across enlightened teachers, especially those who can follow you around through your day-to-day activities, where you most need this mindfulness. So that is not a very practical method. We have to do this work on our own, but we can use techniques to help remind us.

From ~ Living The Mindful Life: A Hanbook For Living In The Present Moment
By Charles T. Tart, P.h.D.

Related Links:

+ Sensing Exercises
+ Attention Exercises
+ Additional Gurdjieff Exercises