Sunday 26 Feb 2017
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand.
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand.
And Eternity in an hour.”
While the “powers that be” seem to be a forcing a division between Science and the Spiritual I would like, in this blog, to show that the relationship needs to be symbiotic. I intend to show that the spiritual, through Meta Physics informs Science from an ontologically perspective and Science with its emphasis on proof and the “Scientific Method” can help the spiritual understand itself better in a more realistic way. In the end both sides can help illuminate the Absolute Truth of reality in helpful ways but it needs to be said, that in the end and in reality this journey is a personal one. Having made this statement so boldly I now need to recant and admit that this belief too is unsure, because from my understanding, the world already acts as if in a state of perfection and I cannot really know how you see it. Please read on! “Oh; and my spiritual path is a Buddhist one!” I know there are many roads!
The present moment is a very important concept to understand in the spiritual world, because by continuously observing the present, it will eventually show that the external world is created in a paradoxical and dependent way. We will see that it is always conditioned and relative. But more of this later! Using self-reflection, the natural space that is spontaneously resonating in the mind can be realised and experienced along with the seamless instinct that flows to allow the continuum from past to future. When observed this space allows us to see that the past is finished and dead and future is speculation and unknown. We see that we are most certainly informed from what has happened in the past, but in reality, what we are doing is bringing our perception of what has happened, along with its context in the world, to the present, through our experience. Then depending on how it is we are grasping onto these ideas, we bring a dependence on how it translates into the future. So the present moment is pivotal in determining the future. To know that we can be self-reflective is such important knowledge, because it allows us to develop a pathway in our life that can be more aware. We can move past our instinctual behaviour to develop a clear empty space that allows us to reflect more wisely on our life from this stillness.
The past brings a volition or intention into mind that arises from past events. This movement of mind has been conditioned as the past became the future in past moments, and its subsequent movement through the present and into the future carries our conditioning for future experience. It all appears as a continuous mind stream of conscious experience. We could remain completely oblivious to this passing parade if we do not practice to realise that there is a still space that can be present to reflect from. In the spiritual world this space or stillness is known through meditation. This practice is about stilling the minds movement by first balancing the minds energy and then using concentration and mindfulness to become aware of the way mind moves. When the stillness starts to become apparent the movement of mind is very visible against the background of the stillness. In this way we are calibrating our mental instrument of mind in just the same way we might calibrate a weighing machine or any other scientific measuring instrument including telescopes, microscopes, or particle accelerators.
The stillness or spaciousness of mind can in fact be seen by any person who has calibrated their mind. The phenomenon experienced is still consciousness! It is pure consciousness that is still and not moving. It is feeding back on itself and this gives it an identity. As the volitional action appears in the mind it moves the consciousness of mind and that creates a perception. This movement is seen against the calibrated stillness of mind. The mind will then move to create feeling --- positive negative or neutral. This feeling will usually be felt in our body but can also be formed in the mind. Our body and the entire physical structure of our being, which includes our world and the Universe then aggregates with its matrix of spaciousness, all in the context of this conditioned movement. One can see the resonance of all this in every moment. We can experience our entire world feeding back on itself in every moment. Arising and passing away in each moment.
William Blake's depiction of Newton measuring the World.
The Buddha said that consciousness arises and passes away trillions of times in the wink of an eye. He made an analogy of consciousness forming like a string of pearls but with no string --- arising and passing away. In Buddhism, this is called the second and third Noble Truth. The still consciousness surrounds and penetrates into the form of our world and universe. It is there to see all of the time when the mind is calibrated to experience it. The human condition, more than any other way of being is made for this self-reflection. The troubles we experience are a catalyst for us to look deeper and understand what the Buddha called Dukkha. Dukkha causes us to keep looking deeper into our mind, conditioning us to search for what is unconditioned. In the Buddha’s teaching “Dukkha” is the first Noble Truth. As an aside the fourth and last Noble Truth is the Buddha’s eight fold path of practice.
In terms of the Universe and the pure consciousness that forms it, the Buddha was asked where it all began. Using his highly developed “unconditioned” mind, the Buddha replied that he had looked back over 24 “Kalpa’s” and said there was no beginning to be seen. A Kalpa is a universal cycle. We know scientifically that we are approximately 14 billion years into this current universal cycle, and there are theories that see it ending with proton decay, perhaps 50 billion years into the future. So in looking back over 24 Kalpa’s, he was going back into deep time and space, searching over multiple dimensions. It forms a very nice bookend to the Christian idea of world without end. It is a good look at the extremes of space-time from the past into the future. So this neatly puts the present moment into its correct context. The Buddha called it the Middle Way between extremes. The spiritual architecture that defines this cosmology is filled, formed and penetrated with conscious energy and will no doubt answer many of the outstanding scientific questions about universal energy.
As we uncover the present moment we can now realise that as we go deeper into it, we are getting closer to reality and truth. The beauty, relaxation and wisdom derived from this experience become more profound as the tensions that condition us start to unravel and fall away as we let go. Morality plays its part to allow us to know more easily how to let go. The purity of our mind increases as the more coarse defilements of mind disappears allowing the minds energy to become more refined. This allows us to work with the more subtle conditioning that is still causing the mind to settle out prematurely, albeit in more refined energy levels. We keep the practice going to purify the mind more until eventually the conditions of the external world are too course to escape the growing refinement. This causes them to finish allowing a clear view of the pure integrated mind. This is an important part of the practice because we now have the knowledge to establish continual mindfulness of this still background energy of mind. “Mindfulness has been established”, as they say. With this knowledge in place, beyond any doubt, we have successfully established and calibrated the datum of pure mind. We can practice to keep it in place continuously, while the “mundane mind stream” is feeding back into the moment, creating the world while at the same time penetrating and ending it. The apparent world and our life is weaving in and out of the minds still matrix.
Mindfulness develops further as self-reflection of mind becomes more acute and wise. This conditions a forensic awareness of the minds matrix where we see how still consciousness defines the extent of mind. We see that still consciousness is fungible, allowing complete interconnection of the Universe and all of its form. As the stillness becomes complete with purity of mind in place, the still consciousness collapses and disappears. We know and can experience that the external world has finished --- it has collapsed back into the practitioner’s personal mind-stream. The Buddha called this experience “Supra Mundane”. This mind-stream is now infertile because the external world is no longer available for karmic memory to be stored. Life continues but with this knowledge in place the practitioner knows that there will be no further rebirth. The practitioner will know that at death; their apparent mind-stream will finish. Not only will the individual mind stream finish but in fact the entire Universe that is intergraded into it will also finish. The only caveat here is that this knowledge must have remained in place. If the practitioner had not quite seen through the desire of attachment and has been “pulled out” back into the external world, the Buddha said that in subsequent rebirths, (Seven at most), this practitioner will become enlightened. (I cannot explain how he arrived at this statement except that it probably has something to do with the Chakra’s that he probably would have known about!)
In Quantum Mechanical terms, the paradox of the Wave / Particle relationship plays out in the universe. We see that the Wave, which had held the infinity of the universe along with the store of karmic memory being held in its conscious field to enable rebirth, has finished. It collapses to unify with the individual mind-stream as mentioned above. This is analogous to the whole universe moving to act as a Particle with that individual mind stream. This mind is so pure and integrated that the wave cannot arise again so long as it stays this way. So when death does finally arrive for that individually conditioned mind stream, the particle nature that is holding it all finishes also. The Buddha called this state Nibbana. Perfect Peace, Enlightenment! The apparent paradox that had defined Quantum Mechanics is now resolved. The perfection and balance of the Universe has not changed, but that individual mind stream has finished with Dukkha and brought perfect peace and has ended the paradoxical balance in a way that is beneficial to all consciousness. It shows the way energetically! The universe for this individual is finished and they cannot be reborn. There Karma is finished, so there is no volition for rebirth, further there is no past and no future.
The spiritual path as set out by the Buddha clearly shows us the nature and reality in this Universe. It is good that science can sharpen our focus and provide a way to test any proposals presented, but in the end we see that the mystery of life and the mystery of living in this Universe is a personal journey. Personal practice and its reflection from the physical world allows us to see that individuality whether it be in a quantum particulate or wave form, or whether it is an experience of the self, we see and know that it is temporary --- arising and finishing as has been described. We see that we are “not self” and when we let go, everything relaxes and finishes. The universe appears vast and profound and apparently needs to be this way in order to store its Quantum Mechanical information in either a “Many Worlds Model” or by way of what is termed “The Copenhagen Convention”. Either way every particle or every packet of energy including the conditioned energy of consciousness is accounted for separately. Each has its own individual energy level and its total is required to build the physical Universe that we reflect from. Every conditioned phenomena needs to be in and have its place.
We see that the Buddhist or spiritual path is both Ontological and Separate, and Absolute Truth can only be realised when this paradox is resolved, balanced and unified. The Eightfold Path of Practice that sets out the way to do this can be seen as a balance of emotion and intellect building morality meditation and wisdom for insight. The Head and the Heart must work together in a symbiotic way. The unification of Scientific fact and Spirituality, is in effect a study in a requirement for this same symbiosis. This is the miracle of being born as a human being. It is unsure how much self-reflection is available to other creatures and beings, but we can know that humanity does have this opportunity to know.” To be the one who knows” like the Buddha! I mention many times in these blogs the Buddha’s exhortation to us. “The house of self is on fire get out as soon as you can!”
“Deconstructing the Universe to find how it works,
Is analogous to
Taking the parts out of a radio to find the sound.”