Monday 30 Jan 2017
“Consciousness sleeps in the stone, dreams in the plant, awakes in the animal and slowly becomes aware of itself in man.” ---- Pythagoras
Like others who have examined consciousness, my experience and perspective tells me that it is the energy of consciousness that pervades the entire universe. It is the matrix that defines the universe and will open up for us in any corner of the cosmos we care to look at or investigate. We can use the largest of our telescopes or detectors to look visually or energetically to help understand the subtleties of our experience, but wherever we look, we will find consciousness moving to form the enormous complexity of the Universe. The emptiness of space is also filled with consciousness. This is harder to observe because it is, by and large, still and forms the huge distances we measure in light years from one component of what is called Baryonic matter to the next.
Baryonic matter can be thought of as physical matter. My understanding from physics is that this matter will eventually account for perhaps 5% of all universal stuff, provided that current experiments pan out the way they are expected to. Cold Dark Matter is thought to be another form of physical matter and there is currently experiments being designed to detect this near invisible stuff. Physicists expect it could account for perhaps another 15% of the Universal energy. This leaves 80% of the energy in the Universe unknown. Physicists have coined the term “Dark Energy” to describe it. They know it is there because it affects the movement of the matter that we can see and this movement cannot be accounted for without invoking Dark Energy to describe it. Currently science cannot explain what this energy is, so it is not possible yet to design instruments to detect it.
As alluded to at the beginning, my insight tells me that we can sense and observe this spaciousness as still consciousness. It is detectable in any human mind attuned to sense it. It is the first of five “Khanda’s” (aggregations) as taught by the Buddha. (As an aside, baryonic matter, which includes Cold Dark Matter, makes up the 5th Khanda which describes all that is physical. The first four Khanda’s, including consciousness, are all mental in nature!)
The Micro and Macro world of the Physical Universe is vast and it size is connected relatively to time. Physicists call it “Space-time”. Einstein first realised this relativity when he imagined himself sitting on a photon of light and saw he could cross the entire Universe in no time at all. The relativities between measured phenomena like distance and time are all adjusting depending on where and how we are viewing these phenomena. Einstein also described the relative nature of Mass and Energy. His General theory includes gravity and accounts for all of the measurable relativities in the Universe including gravity's effects. It is an all-pervading consequence that allows us to see that the Universe is effectively a singularity; perhaps each view is like a smashed piece of a hologram, where each individual piece still has a reflection of the whole. We also know from physics that measurement has its limits. Measurements smaller than 10-43 seconds and 10-35 centimetres, are no longer meaningful. Beyond this, time and space is in the realm of Quantum Mechanics. Consciousness is moving to create it all. We see consciousness everywhere we care to look.
- Click on the YouTube Icon for a short film on Scale and Powers of 10
Meditation is a good place to start an investigation into consciousness. Meditation is a process of reconditioning the mind in order to relax and be still. There is great joy and benefit in all manner of living with just this much. It is a recipe for happiness. If we continue deepening the process of making the mind still, great wisdom starts to arise. Practice and insight into still consciousness can be known beyond doubt and it can be held in place at all times with mindfulness. Then the still consciousness can be used as a first filter to give a perspective onto our life as it is lived. There is our apparent life which is held in place by our karmic “mind-stream” and the still consciousness that penetrates and creates it. Both can be seen at once.
We develop insight to understand and see how this still consciousness does create our life, while it can also penetrate it and allow letting go. It heals and relaxes trouble and tension as we develop the ability to let go and be still. We see that still consciousness as a whole is fungible, available for use by all to develop the conditions of life and as such, shows us how it connects us to each other and the wider Universe. Eventually stillness will allow insight for us to see the beginning and ending of conditions as the process feeds back in real time, all in the present moment. As practice consolidates and we incline towards stillness, we are not so often drawn into the troublesome conditions that come and go in our mind-stream of life. We start to understand the perfection of the universe as it is, and start to see and understand the singularity of the present moment and all the relativity’s at play.
The still consciousness we experience is analogous to the Quantum Space that is beyond measurement. This is the realm of psychic experience and the weird, in that it can bypass normal physical understanding. Some psychic people have an obvious aptitude to use their skill in all sorts of ways in this dimension. Their consciousness can connect to and explain events in mysterious ways. They appear to be able to bypass their standard conditioning, which for most of us is blinding. Generally our conditioning sets us on a particular path --- where we are born, our sex, our education, our family or group; this has all been previously conditioned into our mind stream. It is complicated though and 1 + 1 is not necessarily going to equal 2. This conditioned consciousness sets up what in Buddhism is called Sankara’s.
Sankara is a Pali word that means volition or an inclination towards! It feels like we transmit a “Tickler”. I have borrowed this analogy from the way lightning strikes. When the electrical field of a storm is overhead it is interacting with the earth and little antennas of waving electrical charge will appear all over the ground, as if they are saying “pick me”. The lightning will then connect with the most attractive seduction. When two mind streams become interested it feels similar. One knows almost intuitively that this particular tickler is where I want to connect. The reasons for the connections would probably fill the internet with psychological best sellers, but non- the- less, we do find each other and live our lives as we are conditioned to. My insight is that a lot of this is done without awareness in the stillness that is always present in our minds. The conditioning of Stillness seems to be analogous to the way the Quantum Realm of physics is conditioned, and the famous E.P.R experiment may be a good physical comparison. It should also be said however, that Self-Reflection can help us make more suitable choices because it can promote awareness.
- Click on You Tube Icon for a short film on the E.P.R. experiment.
Consciousness forms us and creates our world. Animal, Vegetable and Mineral is all conditioned into existence by consciousness. The landforms with all of the specific energies at play obey their conscious volition and one can easily see and feel its “ticklers” saying “come settle in this valley” or “shelter under this rock” or notice a mountain top screaming, “Come and experience this stunning view”. The earth is sensual and we are connected to and formed from it. The ticklers from the plants and vegetables signal their need to interact as do the animals, sometimes at their peril. I am thinking here particularly of food animals, but there are many other circumstances. (My poem on Animal Consciousness may be of interest) Consciousness connects everything and we can become aware of all this by making still consciousness our first filter. (See my poem Perception for a more lyrical expression of these phenomena.)
Having said all of this, continuous deep meditation allows us to focus on still consciousness which is in effect the matrix of the Universe. With the development of momentum and a continuous effort to purify the stillness, we eventually see that this matrix can no longer be sustained. As purity increases it ends up with nothing to contain, so it will collapse and finish. Only knowing, knows this experience. All entanglements are relaxed and released. The external world has then effectively finished and has unified with the mind-stream that knows. Consciousness has finished in what the Buddha called Cessation, leaving the unconditioned in place to know. The experiencer will also know that when the physical body that supports this unified mind-stream finally dies, that there will be nothing reborn. At the death of this body, with this knowledge in place, Knowing will know the beauty, truth and peace of Nibbana in the balanced continuum of perfection.