My overview of the amazing Science and Nonduality Conference in San Jose including the presentations Jay Kumar, Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, and Deepak Chopra and more. Excerpted from this month’s issue of Collective Evolution.
Tag Archives: philosophyLink
Thought has been getting a bad rap lately in various circles. Ever since Eckhart Tolle pointed out that there is an awareness that observes thought, so that a thought itself cannot be “me”, all hell has broken loose.
Of course a central problem is that we mainly think in words, and words form the basis for much of our conditioning, so the realization that the persistent thought “I am a mess” is not “me” is extremely helpful.
And as anyone who meditates knows, the ability to observe a series of thoughts and not attach or identify with them, creates “space” for other types of inquiry and experience. We become less and less caught up in any one thought or pattern of thinking.
Inevitably, however, the question of free will comes upas we try to discern whether the thought “I want to get up” causes the action that makes us go to the kitchen. My friend Michael Jeffreys, in his deconstruction, points out that “we don’t make any thought happen so what makes us think that a thought that happens of itself has any power?”
We can even go as far as to negate the reality of thought entirely when we again recognize that there is an awareness beyond thought, that can observe our thoughts, and it appears after the actions that seem to result from them have already occurred. Life never stands still.
We sometimes call this quality of mind “consciousness,” and there are teachings that maintain that the awareness of consciousness is in fact “all” that there is that we know for sure—that the brain does not take in but rather projects the outside world entirely.
It is difficult to refute such an argument, but when it’s time to go to Trader Joe’s it’s a lot easier to assume that we can get in the car and drive because we need food and it’s “out there.”
It seems to be much less painful to live “as if” there is a real world “out there” beyond our thoughts.
And it is also very helpful to accept the world as it presents itself, regardless of our thoughts. The entire Eastern concept of suffering, or Samsara, is based on the illusion created by an overly powerful mind that “thinks” it knows better than reality. We can see some of that in hubris of modern science which sometimes believes “Nature made a mistake” and “we” can do better.
So how can we approach these issues, using our flawed language, and understand them more deeply?
It helps immensely to look at the language we are using more closely. For example, teachers like Rupert Spira point out that when we examine the subject-object structure of the way we communicate with words, it is easy to see where the notion of “ownership” by a self came from – for every action (verb) there seems to be a doer (subject).
E.g., “I had a dream”…
Or when we say “it is raining”, what is the it? And again, when we say “I feel bad”, who is the I – when we discern that there is always an awareness that knows what is being felt, sensed or thought, we move “above” thought, as Eckhart Tolle says. When we numb ourselves with drugs or alcohol, or habitually follow conditioned patterns, we are “below” thought.
But what about thought itself. We may compare thought to software, and it has many similarities in that it seems to “trigger” events and solve problems. But where is this realization pointing?
But if we’ve used computers, we have confronted the following set of circumstances:
We have tried to perform a task, like create a report from data, and it doesn’t seem to work. We may even open the manual, but the language of the manual is obtuse and we cannot follow it. We try the task over and over but we are stuck in the realm of thought.
We think we are doing it right, and we’re attached to our concept of how it ought to be, but it is not working.
Then we go from thought to an idea that takes us “outside” of our “selves”. We’ll call an expert and we dial tech support.
This idea takes some courage to implement, as we all know. We might encounter more linguistic frustration by being connected to someone in India or the Philippines; but let’s assume we have an experienced friend who has used the software more extensively and has experienced the same issue.
This friend, or someone competent at tech support, takes us through the steps and now explains the operation from the point of view of the program (or the programmer who designed it).
Suddenly the entire process “makes sense” – we have gone from Thought – to Idea – to Insight or Realization.
In many ways we have taken our “selves” out of it in order to make space for the “solution” to unfold.
I had an epiphany along these lines last year, when I was invited to Chicago for a weekend to celebrate the marriage of a niece I had never met by a cousin with whom I had recently reunited and bonded.
I wanted to go but was anxious about getting out of my comfort zone and had many “thoughts” about what could go wrong. I could get stranded, delayed, lost, stuck on the tarmac, lose my stuff or massively inconvenienced, and these thoughts were inhibiting me from taking the trip.
When I expressed these fears (thoughts with a powerful self-attached) to Michael Jeffreys in the Santa Monica Eckhart Tolle Meetup Group, he said, “what if you went to Chicago (and none of that happened) and you had a really good time?”
This came from beyond my “self” and was a new Idea. It had not appeared among my thoughts previously, which had been all self/fear-based.
Suddenly I laughed (a common reaction to insight or realization) and said, “I never thought of that.”
Again, it seems to me that I had gone from a coarser, materially controlled sense of experience (a threatened self) to a broader perspective (someone else’s input or idea) to a “finer” realization of a much higher frequency (hence the insight and laughter): I did not know the outcome (and it could be favorable).
And in fact, I went into the trip without expectations and open, and had a blast.
A big part of the experience was the ability to meet every situation “fresh” – without the need to orchestrate or control the outcome – and accept it as it unfolded. In fact, when my cousin picked me up in the car in Chicago and told me I was going directly to dinner downtown, instead of to my hotel for a nap, I had no choice but to surrender… And nothing horrible happened.
I now find it immensely helpful to attempt to create space and use my awareness to discern the quality of thoughts that arise – and let them go unless they have the taste of an idea, or occasionally, an insight or realization.
As I’ve learned, ordinary thought is just sound in my skull, like the traffic going by, and frequently negative bringing up a “problem” that I didn’t even know I had.
And such negative, habitual low frequency thoughts can easily become obsessive.
But beginning to notice different qualities of the same energy as ideas or insights, and not “taking credit” for them as an “I”, gives me the ability to potentially effect a different outcome from one that other thoughts might have envisioned.
Is there a “me” freely doing any of this? I am now prone to dismiss this entire issue as a “word trap”.
And what about the use of the word “Divine” in the diagram above – certainly modern science would frown upon such language.
When I look out at the stars and galaxies, which can take me easily beyond thought or ideas, I have a profound realization – I don’t know. My language is incapable of grasping the “meaning” of what I perceive from “my” own limited perspective.
I can only fathom that there is Something far Greater than my own limited capacity to “think” that comprehends the vastness that is HERE and obviously EXISTS.
It is an experience beyond my mind to grasp. Neuroscience tells me it is all happening within my brain, so it in fact IS Mind, but hardly a mind for which “I” can take credit.
To “me” this becomes the ultimate insight or realization—awe and humility in the face of experience that none of my thoughts cannot comprehend, and that the “I” that I think I may be, and need to get to Trader Joe’s, is nothing in comparison to… this infinite and vast Intelligence called Life.
Biocentrism is a new “theory of relativity” or potential “theory of everything” — rethinking our view of reality relative to our biology – and finally inclusive of consciousness. According Dr. Robert Lanza and Robert Berman, the authors of ‘Biocentrism’: How Life Creates the Universe“, Life is primary, not the accidental occurrence of a random and lifeless universe.
Our biology therefore is the basis for our notion of reality, and our experience (which science has not accounted for) include a Consciousness that seems to exist outside of Space/Time – an infinite intelligence.
Let’s try to understand this experientially. We all use computers today, with software that “works” in the real world.
Let’s more deeply examine the computer analogy. We use a binary computer – only two values – 0 and 1 – the next value in the sequence which we think of as “2” is 10 in the binary system. 3 in the binary system is 11, 4 is 100, so that only the symbols “1” and “0” hold value. This is the power of “0” – we do not need infinite symbols to count until… the end…
For calculation we use the decimal system – we have separate symbols for 1 – 9, and then the next value is 10, and so on.
So why do we use the binary system in our computers? The most obvious answer is that each calculation is an electric switch, which is either on or off. This allows it to be electrically “switched” according to software instructions within the silicon chips that calculate at massive speed.
If you think of a light switch – there is no dimmer, or three level switch, which might represent a “trinary” system. That would be too complicated and expensive to manufacture.
(A “trinary” belief system – what a concept: The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost?)
It also turns out that “our” brains run on a binary system – sometimes known as “dualism”. We “see” things generally in opposites – Yin/Yang, masculine/feminine, on/off, good/bad or yes/no.
(So perhaps we created the computer software “in our image?”)
Language provides us with finer shades of meaning; instead of black and white, words let us think in areas of “gray”, but again our language is structured as binary – subject and object (and noun and verb).
This dupes us into “thinking” we comprehend reality as it is. But there is no such structure in nature – there are no subjects and objects – there is only movement. Nature, or Life, never stops. As Buckminster Fuller wrote, “I think I am a verb.” For a really clear presentation of this, I suggest watching almost any video by Rupert Spira.
So as we examine nature from a Biocentric perspective, and begin to integrate a sense of the meaning of Consciousness, the first thing we must take into account is the limitations imposed by our own dualistic (yes/no) brain – and its limited thought structure.
If we consider that a binary system of only two symbols is obviously restricted (we already know of another system of calculation which uses ten symbols before the Zero – our decimal system), can we begin to imagine as system with NO restriction.
Not a binary system, not a decimal system, but a system beyond the limitations of our thought entirely?
That would be the beginning of a recognition of the scale of Consciousness.
It is interesting to comprehend this in the realm of “prime” numbers. Primes are numbers only divisible by themselves and “1” and as you get larger their frequency obviously diminishes, but theoretically there would be an “infinite” number of prime numbers (there would always be something higher).
In a recent “thought experiment” on this topic I pointed out that with the help of supercomputers (still calculating using an on/off, yes/no, dualistic and binary system (like our brains), “the largest prime number has been calculated, each time as a result of more processing power. The record is currently held by 243,112,609 − 1 with 12,978,189 digits.”
If you try to conceptualize this it may give you a headache. (I suspect it would strain the processing power of your brain – but not the processing power, presumably, of Consciousness – stay with me here…)
Consciousness as has been speculated is beyond the space/time limitations of our brains – and truly “Infinite”.
Consider other so-called infinite constants—Pi, or the relationship between the radius and circumference of a circle – 3.14 etc. and Phi, or the “Golden Mean” or 1.618 – which is the ratio of the famous Fibonacci sequence of numbers where each equal to sum of the previous two numbers – each imperfectly (not a “whole” number) expressing a perfect relationship found in nature.
(Both relationships are also, apparently, expressed in many ancient monuments including most famously the Great Pyramid—could they be a sign of a deeper comprehension of Consciousness as Primary?)
To us, as Deepak Chopra has said, Infinite is “just a concept” of our yes/no brain for something truly unfathomable. Try grasping infinite by going out and looking at the stars and trying to figure out what is “outside”. You cannot mentally do it. It strikes you in your heart, gut and body.
In his recent Workshop on “What is Enlightenment?” Michael Jeffreys made the interesting point that Infinity “is not just one more thing–higher or bigger” – such as the next largest prime number or decimal place, and then the next one, and then just one more…
Infinite would = ALL. EVERYTHING. That is Consciousness.
Compared to our own supercomputers, or even our brain, both running binary “code” – and remember that our DNA is also “code” – Consciousness would be beyond any limitations of a binary, decimal or million or trillion-based system.
The “base” of Consciousness would literally be incalculable.
Our science, limited also by dualistic and binary thought, has finally come up against this on the quantum level, where space/time makes no “sense” without an Observer – or the reference point of Consciousness –the present moment.
To truly understand Nature and Reality, we must (as Biocentrism suggests) begin to comprehend the “scale” of Consciousness, or the basis for our very existence – and of course the word is merely a pointer to the reality of what Life is… “biologically” or “organically”.
The question becomes, can our current “religion” (belief system) of science, which assumes our existence as a given and absolute perspective (because Consciousness is too complicated to consider), begin to work objectively with this scale of being?
After all, the Infinite does exist. Look into the sky at night. And look into yourself and notice what has been “seeing” everything. It is not your thoughts or your emotions.
As Eckhart Tolle says, it is something the mind cannot understand (as a binary yes/no) system.
It is “no-thing”
It is what some have called God or Source. And it is what science and Biocentrism are beginning to comprehend as an infinite intelligent energy that is simply here and EVERYTHING: Consciousness.