Beyond the Event Horizon of Thought

Definition: “Thought” – The energy used to form the contents of experience.

At this point in my life I find it harder to avoid feeling and thinking there can be only be one reality and one consciousness. How could you not? The answer is, by believing that Truth or Consciousness (or “innate health” as they talk about in some fields of spiritually-based psychology), or what is known, or knowable, is by Thought only, therefore one cannot know anything beyond the event horizon of one’s thinking – that world or reality formed by Thought.

I like that: “The Event Horizon of Thought” – it is a valuable insight (from psychology and skeptical philosophy) that all we can know are feelings, sensations, thoughts and perceptions formed of Thought. But – and this is a big “but” – it depends on what you mean by “know”. What if we expand from “what we can know” to “what can be experienced”? Then that would include pure awareness without content. Can that be experienced? We can put that aside as debatable for the moment and look at some other interesting observations. What is it that is knowing: thinking doesn’t know anything in itself, it’s just what’s used to form the content of what’s known – an instrument to play the music of knowingness on. So what is knowingness? Who or what is “knowing” – what is experiencing knowing? What are its limits? Does this knowingness experience always have the same limits as the thinking instrument it uses to form thoughts, perceptions, sensations – the contents of the mind in other words? What do we even mean by “knowingess”? To put it crudely, it’s the same is asking, “Who, or What is knowing?”

By using reason alone, there is no way to prove that consciousness or awareness is unlimited, universal, and not limited to this body. However, there is no way to prove it isn’t using reason alone.

But this all gets very ephemeral and “out there” – we can talk about ultimate matter or what can be known until we are blue in the face then feel like it’s just so much talk and grinding of gears. It just flows away and new thoughts come in, the car needs to be taken to the repairman and it’s time for lunch.

Like, “So fucking what?”
Because if you look closely at what you are actually believing, and at what is the basis for believing it, you might find something startling. And that startling revelation could change your entire life if you pursue it far enough. That which you held to be certain – that you are a material body in a material world, and consciousness is limited to and shares the limits of the body, and comes from the brain somehow, and that the body stops at the skin, and that there is a separate world of objects out there, and a person or self here, a human being “in here” (who is born, and is born with certain capacities such as innate health) – is not actually resting on certain knowledge at all, but on a belief that you were trained to hold and reinforced to adhere to and worship. It opens the door to the possibility that what you thought you knew is not actually a certainty at all, but an assumption held in place through repetition of habit.

We are still left with the not knowing though – reason tells us it could be unlimited – but we don’t know for certain either way.

This is where intuition and life experience come in. This is where one has to be honest about what one experiences and not try and change it to stay in line with one’s beliefs and assumption, not tow the line, not rationalize. You need to admit, “Yes, I am conscious right now” And “No I don’t ever actually remember being unconscious, only a lapse in memory” and “Yes, I’ve had a deep intuition of oneness”, no matter how fleeting, it was as real as day, and “Yes I see that it makes no sense to think there is more than one reality, because then there would have to be a higher reality encompassing both, thus always arriving at one reality.”

OK so then the one reality must be the same as the consciousness I am. I exist. Being is. I am, and I am conscious, that is Being right now. That is unquestionably real. This is a real experience. And if it’s real, and it must be the same reality as all that is real, which we have an intuition is one, therefore it is universal I AM, or universal consciousness.

However I can’t prove this except through my own life experience, since it depends on a self-proving. By experimenting with living “as if” consciousness were universal, I can see what happens. If it accords with reality, it will be a happier, more harmonious life.

The experience of oneness exists as a potential in everyone, even if they don’t remember having it. At minimum you will experience it when you die or in one of your reincarnations (if you don’t awaken in this lifetime). Since it is what we are, it is only an illusion that keeps a separate self in place, by effort of thinking.

Notes on Prophets, Mystics, Sages, Philosophers and All That Good Stuff

Last night I watched an entertaining musical from the 70’s, Jesus Christ Superstar. I saw it when I was a kid. Very enjoyable music and great lyrics.
Then for something less dramatic and more meditative before bed, I read some of The Gospel of Thomas until I got sleepy. (http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gthlamb.html)

My reflections this morning:

In those densest of times, such as when the Buddha appeared – heavy civilizations full of complex organizations, thinking, rituals, ideas, political structures, social patterns; heavy with unconscious patterns, the past (held thoughts form sense-mind)
come these prophets
Jesus in Roman times, certainly full of politics and strife, tension, materialism, organization, culture, intricacy of thinking, language
Mohamad into tribal dirt and chaos?
Heavy with beliefs, superstitions, presumptions and assumptions

How is a prophet or a sage different from a philosopher? A philosopher examines the current thinking, looks at what other philosophers have said, and reshapes it as best he can, getting insights and new thoughts along the way to clarify and possibly enlighten, creating new shapes, like new pottery
Whereas what does a sage do? Does he break the pot? A sage reveals the light and the clay that is making all pots, now, in timeless Reality. And takes no credit for it since he and the light and clay-maker are the same, whereas the philosopher has his object and himself and the potter, and ponders where it all came from and where it is going.

Perhaps this is the esoteric meaning behind these lines from The Gospel of Thomas:

(16) Jesus said, “Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary.”

(http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gthlamb.html)

But now, today, isn’t a time in history when a singular prophet would be accepted. They would be drowned out in the noise, and considered crazy. It’s a worldwide culture, interconnected with media and networks and subtle ideas. It’s more a time when the sages sprout like mushrooms in fields where countless shapes emerge, part of an overall pattern. We are now billions of people, spread over a planet, with rapid communication, not local tribes where word spreads slowly, by mouth or by clay or papyrus carried by hand or oxcart or horse or boat.
Today the world brain can be easily fed, a vast pool at its fingertips at any time, keeping the mind distracted, worried, preoccupied, fulfilling needs, desires, greed and fear. Always thinking of the future (or the past – the future thinking built from images, thoughts from the past) which never arrives, trying to secure a material condition in order to free the present, continuity is attempted by effort. The same movement of energy that’s always been, in a different form.

But in this world, whose nature is duality, there are always two sides to a situation. While there is more to pull the mind into distraction and preoccupation and not being present (speed and quantity of thinking added to), there is also the possibility of worldwide communion – video conferences and email at the speed of light – a richness of ideas (pointing to truth if one is seeking and open), and metaphors and analogies of virtual realities and game worlds that point to the nature of this field of seeming reality, and free the soul from the mind. Larger worldly ambitions are balanced by larger spiritual ambitions. The more the spiritual or metaphysical seems like they are remnants of the past, delusions, old ways of thinking, seen by the cynical, the skeptical and the scientific materialism and consumerism as laughable, contemptuous, silly, voodoo, “woowoo”; the more thinking swings one way, deeper into a dream, that which is real and awake becomes an interest intensified somewhere else, like a string being stretched on a bow, where tension is created in the distance between where the arrow pushes it out and the point of attachment at the bow end. When the arrow is released, it goes even farther. The fractal just is bigger and more elaborate, but it’s ultimate nature overall never changes. The hologram has more points and deeper circles, but is the same hologram.

“Nothing ever changes” can be read either as a sad commentary on the state of affairs of the world, or as a statement of truth about the happy fact that what Is, never dies.

The Reality of Universal Consciousness

Jesus said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind.” – The Gospel of Thomas

The hard thing to grasp about Universal Consciousness is that it is not something that can be sensed by the senses, has no form, cannot be thought about or conceptualized or imagined, as it is the “light of awareness” itself. So how does one know it exists? It starts to sound more like a belief or an item of faith, or nonsense… like no thing. Nothing.

I will do my best to lay out an inexorable logic of experience that can show, to those receptive, how it is true. In other words, it presents a possibility that you can either embrace or reject. Whether you see it or not, is up to your willingness, readiness, and grace.

1. Experience: I Exist.
I am having an experience, and even though it may be a dream, or a hallucination, or created by Descartes’ demon, or a digital simulation in an alien’s computer, or a thought-form of some type, its still a *real experience*. Even if this experience of a body and a world is just an avatar and a scene in some insanely complex and detailed game simulation, it’s still a *real* experience. So *something* somewhere is experience-ing. There is consciousness-ing going on. In other words, I am Be-ing. Being is. I exist. So to start, we at least know that much for certain. And so even if you insist that I am not conscious and/or do not exist, I can know for certain that is just your idea or theory or belief. I have a rock solid basis from which to build, for me.

2. Reality.
But what about the question of what is real, and what is reality? A fruitful way of approaching this question in the context of ultimate or absolute reality is by asking, “how many realities can there be”? We have established that there is at least one (I Am, Being). Could such a thing as more than one reality be possible? Well let’s look at that notion: if there were two realities, how would one know about it? It implies that there would be a *third* reality encompassing both realities that knows of both realities. So that would be the one reality. If there were yet another reality at alongside that higher encompassing reality, then how would that be known? By yet another higher reality that knows *those*. So no matter how many levels, or how many realities, there is still only one reality.

Notice that it can be tempting, according to one’s assumptions, to say that maybe there is another reality out there – the proverbial tree that falls in the forest and no one hears it – that one doesn’t know about, or that no one knows about. But the assumption is that “reality” is thing-like, is like an object: it has borders, it can be distinguished, it can be perceived, or conceptualized (“discrimination” in Buddhist terminology), that is, as perhaps out there somewhere somehow, perhaps as another dimension, could be known, at least *theoretically* – otherwise why are we talking about it? The assumption is that it could be known at minimum as a theory or concept or something imagined, as a separate reality. But again, it is known by whom or by what? You’ve already brought in awareness, consciousness, knowingness, by the back door, whether you admit it or not. It’s either part of awareness or not. Something is either real or not. You can’t be half pregnant. This is not a conceptual or word game we are playing. We are waning to know what *must* be true, not what *might be true*.

It is meaningless to say “separate reality” unless we are talking about psychological, mind-based or personal reality: in other words, a thought-created “reality”, a perceptual reality. And this is valid in a psychological context (just see how two people can watch the same movie and have a completely different experience!). But what we are investigating are philosophical or spiritual questions, or ultimate questions, however you want to say it. Questions about life and the nature of life. Personal “separate realities are useful for understanding human behavior and relationships, and how to live, but even there, we want to put it in context, and not fall into relativism, and grant ultimate reality to whatever arbitrary thinking beings can fall into. Truth is truth.

So you can see it would be as meaningless to claim there is ultimately more than one reality as it would be to claim there is a little invisible man named Yehude in my pocket, and because he’s invisible and I can’t disprove it, therefore he exists. You would be seen as crazy, or at least a little looney. And it’s just as crazy to say there is more than one ultimate reality. Just because one can *say* something or *think* something doesn’t mean it exists or makes logical or intuitive sense. I can say “One plus one equals three, to me”. And that’s fine, you are free to say that, but who cares? It’s meaningless and not intelligent.

Therefore, using intelligence, we see that this encompassing reality would be the one reality: the totality. And this accords with our deep intuition that indeed there is only One reality, one infinite totality, without limits or borders. (I remember lying in bed as a child and thinking, “if there is a border to the universe, what is beyond that border? It would have to go on forever…” which is the imaginative insight about infinity that is the same as the spiritual perception I am pointing to here). If you don’t have that intuition then I kindly suggest you have been fooled by thinking and a fascination with form. There is still hope for you however: it is available to anyone. (If you insist on this way of looking at reality you will be at minimum unhappy and at maximum end up in an institution for the mentally imbalanced, whose prime characteristic is mistaking thinking for reality. I’m only half joking here … I truly think such syndromes as depression are the result of not knowing who, or rather what one is, and being fooled by thought. Such lostness can be and have been, cured by spiritual insight into one’s true nature).

It’s meaningless to talk about more than one reality. It’s not logical, and does not accord with one’s experience.

3. Evidence.
Can you find a limit to your consciousness? Have you ever and can you now find a border? All that you have ever known, or know now, or will know, is experienced within your consciousness. And I don’t mean your mind. Your mind – any and all thoughts, sensations and perceptions – is something known *by* consciousness. The content of your mind appear by to that which is experiencing: the same reality that is reading these words right now.

It is a very common mistake to equate consciousness with mind, to think consciousness is mind-like. This is one of the reasons behind much confusion in the fields of spirituality, spiritual psychology and psychology, not to mention philosophy. So it’s important to be clear on this: Anyone who meditates for example, will be told or be familiar with how, once you relax and open your attention, you can become more aware of how thoughts or mental images, or the sound of self-talk, are passing, how they come and go. They arise. The same with bodily sensations and perceptions. Nothing stays the same but is in constant flux. What is observing this play of form, the flow of thoughts and sensations, perceptions? Can a thought see a thought? Can a perception observe a perception?

And what have you ever known of yourself or the world except this passing play of thoughts, imaginings, perceptions and sensations? Your assumption has been that there is some solid thing out there behind it all. And, we may believe some day science will get to the bottom of it all and find out what it’s all made out of, and how it works, beyond just the appearances and the workings of the mind. Well, you’ve got a long wait my friend. Meantime, it’s time to live.

Through the use of reason and examining beliefs, we come to see there is a total lack of evidence for consciousness being limited and personal. But does this prove it is not? No, it is a negative conclusion. So we are left with a 50/50 proposition: there is a 50% chance that consciousness is limited; there’s a 50/50 chance, according to reason, that consciousness is not universal. We must go on to experimentation in our lives: living it.

(The mind doesn’t experience anything, nor do anything in it’s own).

4. The Logic of Experience.
Combining these insights, one comes to an incredible, startling, mind-blowing conclusion:
If there is only one consciousness, and one reality, they must be the *same* reality! This One Consciousness is the same consciousness I am experiencing right now. There cannot be any other. And, there are no “others” *in reality*. This, despite what my beliefs tell me, what my experience seems to tell me, and the society tells me. What is reading these words right now is what is creating this entire universe and this body and mind right now.

If you have followed the logic of this article, you can also begin to se why many sages have pointed out, or tried to, the fact that our experience is a projection of the mind.

What is reading these words right now is what is creating this entire universe and this body and mind right now.

Notice this is not the same as solipsism: the belief or position that my mind is all there is. Nor is it idealism, which says that the mind is all (the opposite of saying matter stuff is all: materialism, which is the religion of the modern world). What I am outlining is the view that *consciousness is all*. Consciousness encompasses, and *is*, both mind and matter.

This understanding is encapsulated in the statement “Being Is, and Non-being isn’t”, which reflects the fact that both consciousness is, and universal reality is, and they are the same reality. This Being is not personal or limited.
This truth is reflected in the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides writing, the Upanishads, The Course in Miracles, and other places:

“Now then, I will instruct you; hear what I say:
Two paths are open to investigation.
The first says: being is and non­being is not.
It is the path of certainty, because it follows the truth.
The other says: being is not, therefore non­being is.
This misdirected path, I tell you, cannot lead to a sound conviction
For, if this statement were true, it would not be possible for you to conceive of non­being, nor to name it.”
– Parmenides (read the entire poem fragment translation here)

“In the unreal there is no duration and in the real there is no cessation; indeed the conclusion between both the two has been analyzed by knowers of the truth.”
– The Bhagavad Gita

“Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
– A Course In Miracles

5. Living It.
Try this experiment: Endeavor to perceive, think, decide, act, and relate, as if Consciousness were Universal – that what you are is absolutely the same as everyone else and everything else – one Mind, one Consciousness, and all is a projection of mind. See what happens. You will be amazed.

In this article I have attempted to lay out The Reality of Universal Consciousness and The Logic of Experience.

I have proved it for myself. It’s up to you to explore, investigate, if you are willing and open…

The Simplicity of Truth: A User Guide

One of interesting things about what we call spiritual truth, is how once you see a truth, how self-evident, obvious and simple it seems. “Duh, why didn’t I see it before?” You can then not not see it. And it can be puzzling why others don’t see it when you point out the seemingly obvious to them. Why is this?

The simple answer is that the mind loves complexity.

(20) The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.”
He said to them, “It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.” – The Gospel of Thomas

Here’s where analogies or metaphors are useful: they use images to help the mind orient to an entire situation. At some point that image can help one have an insight. So for this situation let’s use the analogy of a mountain. Let’s say you are hiking up a mountain on a new planet. No one has ever been on this planet before, so no one knows what’s up on the higher slopes. But you’ve hiked up ahead of the rest of the party. You’ve seen new sights. But then you want to walk back down to refill your supplies, to check on your friends. You hike back down, and naturally they ask you about where you’ve been and what have you seen? You tell them of the wonders and try to explain the amazing, incredible beauty of a sparkling emerald forest and the moving, glowing trees that talk to each other, and the astounding beauty, but they don’t believe you, think you’ve made it up, or even if they believe you, you know they don’t really have a sense of what you’ve seen. They say, oh, it’s like the forest I saw in Maui, I know what that’s like!” and you say “No! It’s nothing like that, it s a whole new thing, like you’ve never seen!”
How can you explain it?

You realize they just need to see it for themselves. You see there are two options: do you just keep quiet, or do you try and inspire them to see it? You love them so you point them in that direction, knowing that they have to have the motivation to get up and move their feet and walk up the slope. You can’t do that for them.

Of course, a mountain with levels is just a metaphor, and does not imply any judgement of superiority and inferiority; but it does help capture the idea that one sees more at higher “levels”. Here’s another metaphor that’s commonly used helps too: a keyhole, or the aperture of a lens. Normally, most of us are looking at reality through a keyhole, a tiny aperture. Our minds only allow us to see a tiny slice of reality. We are busy with a focus on a small portion, a small view on the totality. The mind is like the iris of a camera, allowing a certain amount of light in. When you open the attention, open the lens’s iris up, it takes in more of the scene, and suddenly a bigger context is understood. We’ve all had the experience of the “Aha!” reaction when a problem suddenly becomes clear to us, or a clear path of action pops into our head. We know what to do. It can come as a very quiet insight – perhaps we were wondering what to do, what to say to a friend who asked for help with a personal problem, and like the proverbial little bird whispering in our ear, it becomes suddenly and quietly obvious, self-evident.

Spiritual truth is like that. Since it has to do with what is already the case, what is always true, there is a sense of obviousness about it, a sense of humility before a great mountain compared to which our tiny bodies stand. But in this case it is our tiny minds, our comprehension of truth which is limited by the human mind. The mind however, is not consciousness: it’s just a word, a concept for thoughts, sensations and perceptions that appear in consciousness. It’s tempting to say that we are like babies with blank minds, but the truth is, we are in reality quite mindless.

(22) Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, “These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”
They said to him, “Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?”
Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.”

This is where images break down: we cannot use the mind to picture consciousness. Since consciousness is the context, the playground, or the screen – pick your metaphor – in which all content appears; since it is the “Perceiver in Chief” reading these words and perceiving images, then it is that which is doing the seeing, ultimately, and not any object that appears in it (object meaning content of the mind: sensation, perception, thoughts). Another way to say this very difficult to grasp notion is that consciousness is “non-objective”. You can follow a perception, a thought or a sensation all the way back and never find a thing at its source, only an observer, this observer, now, always present. This simple truth is what reams have been written and spoken about (Zen and Advaita writers, mystics, etc.), and ironically its simplicity is what makes it hard to see.

It doesn’t help that seemingly scary words to the ego like “emptiness” (it can feel like that) or “nothingness” have been used. Thoughts of crazy nihilists and ascetic monks in huts, denying the pleasures of the world come to mind. Words and language break down when trying to describe Being-ness that is both that in which everything appears and yet a no-thing in itself. But we carry on, shooting arrows into the sky… (Is it any help to point out that non-being is a logical impossibility, since the notion is appearing to Being? Apparently not! Perhaps so many are heavily invested in the idea of death and drama. Fear must have a purchase in this investment. But why stop there and concern ourselves with how far so-called “others” are doing in their hike up the mountain, or become complacent with our current view. We recognize how far our feet have brought us, feel grateful for a better view, inspiring us to hike farther, and point ourselves bravely upwards).

Furthermore, to this writer, it also is self-evident that it must be the case that if there is no object “back here” (nowhere) perceiving, then there is by implication no object “out there” being perceived. And in this dissolving, clearly both the supposedly objective and subjective, observer and observed, are being two sides of the same non-existent coin! In any case we won’t go further here… hopefully you get a glimpse of what’s suggested. The point is, this direct knowing can’t be grasped by the mind. It’s simply an experienced given, and what is self-evident is also inherently simple and without form.

One of the apparent obstacles is that the human mind seems to love complexity. Think of an engineer and his toy, a complicated computer he’s made. He doesn’t want to give up his toy: this is understandable. Or think of an artist with a complex tapestry she’s made – an intricate weave they’ve worked on for years. There is an attachment to these creations. But built-in to this is also boredom: the mind will naturally tire of playing with the same thing, will want to turn to something else, then get bored with the new thing, and either go back to the old one and try and get some fun from it, maybe add more complexity, or find a new toy. This cycle goes on endlessly.

This also explains why oddly enough, we love problems. On the surface it doesn’t seem to make any sense to say someone likes problems, but if you observe it will become apparent that we are very attached and don’t want to be separated from our problems, will argue for them. A depressed person for example, just “won’t see reason” and will fight you tooth and nail for the truth of their situation, even though their friends see a brighter view. So what are they giving up if they give up the problem, the complexity? To them it feels like they are giving up who they are, their identity, their reality; they cling to a cherished sense of who they are, like a snake holding onto old skin that’s been comfortable for years. It chaffs, but what else do they know as this well-worn, smelly old blanket?

It’s a funny thing that happiness would appear unsafe to the mind. Why is this? Because it means more freedom, it inherently is more free and open, and like a small animal peeking from a burrow at a big world out there, it instinctively wants to retreat to it’s safe and familiar burrow. It’s a funny thing that peace would be threatening, would appear as a menace somehow.

Think of it like learning to ride a bike; or rather, unlearning, forgetting that it’s unsafe to ride a bike. As you see that you can go farther and farther, you forget your fear that you were going to fall: you learn to trust the stability of the bike and enjoy more and more the ability to move swiftly and feel the world flying past and the wind in your face. It’s much more direct and fun than walking. So it is with truth. One learns to trust that indeed there is true safety, that the universe is not out to get you, and that a tense and contracted self doesn’t actually work well in the long run. You learn to surf reality instead of forcing your way through, like a man with a pick axe trying to make headway on icy ground, or a jungle explorer having to chop his way through thick entangled vegetation. The ice will melt and the jungle will clear on it’s own accord, once the possibility is realized it’s not a separate icy, solid world, and not a scary jungle attacking a fragile tiny body.

All these images are to help turn the imagination towards “higher” possibilities. They are higher yet they were already there, under your feet, the whole time. IT can be hard to image that there’s nothing wrong, when there appears to be some thing wrong. But that is the whole point: it is only appearance. What “you” is, is stronger higher and freer than what appears to a small, frightened mind. If you can see it…

Intuitive Intelligence

“Ordinary intelligence is a cerebral function. It appears as the faculty of adaptation and organization. It allows complex problems to be handled by bringing into play a large quantity of givens. Linked to heredity and to acquired conditioning of the brain, it operates sequentially, in time. This kind of intelligence is responsible for performing math calculations, formulating logical arguments, or playing tennis. Operating like a super-computer, it excels in accomplishing repetitive tasks and may one day be surpassed by machines. Its source is memory, the known.

Intuitive intelligence appears as understanding and clarity. It is responsible for seeing simplicity in apparent complexity. It strikes directly, in the moment. Always creative, free of the known, it is at the heart of all scientific discoveries and great works of art. Its source is the supreme intelligence of timeless awareness.”  – Francis Lucille,   Eternity Now

This innate intelligence is something that mystic and prominent healer Sydney Banks talked about quite often (an entire field of alternative psychology and life coaching was spawned from his teachings: Three Principles Psychology). He would call it “natural intelligence” (which is a misnomer because they are both natural), versus learned intelligence. Or “plain old common sense”. He also spoke of seeing in simplicity all complexity:

“Your eyes must see in the singular if you want to find truth.” The Missing Link (p. 69)

By “eyes” of course he didn’t mean the physical eyes, but the eyes of our awareness.

One of the reasons I left the academic philosophy department was that I saw very clearly (had a massive intuition to be honest – still unfolding to this day, in this essay, 30 years later) that the academic mind, particularly in Western philosophy and psychology, had lost its soul as it were, become alienated from true first-hand experience, and only recognized “knowledge” repeated from the past, in part or in whole. This could be called a machine-type intelligence, a processing intelligence, and not intuition. I also see there was a clear reason for this prejudice or taboo: intuition, seen deeply enough, throws into question all the assumptions about the nature of intelligence and who and what we are and what reality is, since it is a direct knowledge, straight from the unlimited source, the universal Mind. That is, from Reality.

“To see a light, no other light is needed.
So also, the Self being self-effulgent, needs no other means of knowledge.
It shines of itself.” – Atma Bodha by Shankara, translated by Ramana Maharshi

But academia is committed to the material and pseudo-scientific model that reality is built up from little parts and the operation of those parts to create life, intelligence, and everything. They believe in something called “matter”, even though the physicists haven’t found it yet. It’s a faith, and I lost faith when I saw directly their dogmatism and was criticized and put down for questioning their dream of salvation in finding the ultimate material model in the future. I saw clearly that that model can’t account for my experience (what I later called “Consciousness” – that wasn’t even in the vocabulary in academia), or intuitive intelligence. This intuitive intelligence is also one and the same as the source of creativity, was operative in the formation of the first living organisms, for the creative evolution of infinite life forms, for love, for beauty, or the perception of self-evident truth of logic, reason and common sense. They had their heads up their respective asses, in short. It was a big ego game. A merry-go ‘round re-playing the same questions and answering with the same re-used tokens of “knowledge”, hollow as a coin with a hole in the middle.

After that I became interested in a more applied philosophy: the question “how to be happy,” rather than the just more cerebral and academic puzzles. As it turned out, within the realization of intuitive intelligence, is the answer to that question.

“The ego concept is the root cause of all delusion and therefore, all trouble. It is the false identifying of “I” with a body rathe than with the Self.”
– Lester Levenson, from Keys to Ultimate Freedom

However I didn’t know how to access this intuitive or natural intelligence and freedom reliably. There seemed to be interference. This “noise” I was to understand later, is a very ancient habit, laid down over millions of years as we were evolving, as a survival program. This linear program (as contrasted with the non-linear one of intuitive intelligence) – this surviving through *time* – allowed plants, animals, and humans to continue through time and space, and is the imprint of the past that brought us to the shore – the shore of the Absolute – on which I stand now as I write this. It’s the mind’s story of what we are as a body and a world, a universe seemingly “out there”: the world of appearances (of phenomena). It’s the story we learned in school and from books and was reinforced by teachers, students, friends, society, family, and so on. It’s a beautiful and brilliant story, but it’s ultimately just a story. Useful up to a point, but limited. Fear and desire lurk inside it – maintain it.

“The ego dies hard. But once you know the ego is the source of all misery and the Self is the source of all happiness, the it shouldn’t be too hard to work at letting of of the ego.” – Lester Levenson, from Keys to Ultimate Freedom

The interesting thing is that this intuitive intelligence has always been there, and peeks out in moments of love, of the perception of timeless beauty, in moments of clear understanding that come to us out of the blue, and in remarkable experiences of serendipity, and in so-called psychic phenomenon such as premonitions (which are really just a peek behind the curtain to the fact that there is no real separation in reality – no space or time except from the mind).

Can all of this be proved? Only for yourself, in your own experience. It cannot be proved to the mind, the processing mind, because the mind operates only in time and space, like a computer.

“Getting involved in intellectual questions and discussions validates the ego and avails you nothing.” – Lester Levenson, from Keys to Ultimate Freedom

This is not to say that intellectual discussion is not fun, enjoyable, and useful at the “level” of the relative (levels are only a way of seeing). The intellect is a beautiful and incredible tool, and can even be used to un-do false beliefs, or build toys or tools in the world of phenomena, and see it’s relatively sustained laws, such as in physics. But ultimately it is like becoming mesmerized by surface patterns on a ocean, when what you want, what you are, is found by looking inside, in silence, and know the ocean (sorry for re-using a popular over-used metaphor, but it’s a good one!).

Intuition or direct knowledge gives you a shortcut through time. It’s like God giving you a free pass. It’s what’s called the “vertical dimension” by psychologists (for instance George Pransky) interested in human potential. It’s easy – effortless. The only hard part is the seeming difficulty of letting go of the ego. Another name for ego is “who you think you are,” as opposed to who you are before thinking.

Have you ever noticed how the answer to a hard problem you’d been working on, or actively analyzing, or something you were trying to remember but couldn’t, came to you after you stopped struggling and working on it, stopped effort-ing? The answer came while you were doing the dishes, taking a shower, walking, or while driving, when your mind was relaxed or focused on something in the flow.

Those who are in the habit of questioning and skeptically objectifying may be asking, well why would Intelligence or Consciousness hide itself or make it hard to to realize the Self or intuitive knowledge? The answer is that this is nearly the same in essence, as the age old question about the existence of evil (if God is infinitely good and powerful then why is there suffering and evil?). That’s a question to be answered in an entire chapter, but for now, by analogy let’s say “Why do you look in a mirror? Why do you like stories and dramatic music?” Why do you like to have fun and not be bored? And as a corollary why do you take life so seriously?

Why do we like to fight, argue, create conflict? Why do we love to be miserable (admit it, when you are totally honest in your heart), be victims, point out the flaws of others? Why do we judge, feel superior or inferior, enjoy watching violence on TV, soak up the news of other’s misfortunes, laugh at cruelty and suffering, get angry at the idiot drivers, and yell at our loved ones? Why do we hate our bosses and politicians and anyone else we can think of when we run out of people to hate? Why do we indulge in guilt and remorse about the past, which we have no control over?
Answer: because it keeps the ego going, the sense of a separate self. This sense of a separate self is under the delusion that its existence – the arrogant presumption – is necessary and needed because you will absolutely disappear and not exist without it. It believes in death. Death and separation go hand in hand. If there were no separation, how can there be death? The totality is always and everywhere the totality. Therefore, we must hang on, and want to have seeming control – power over the fate of this separate entity.

To sum it up (limited in time and space as the writer and this essay are, or seem to be), in the Now intuitive intelligence knows itself in a moment of Self-revelation or uncovering. This is called insight (a sight from within), and is not only useful in self-understanding and with problems in the world when allowed, but comes with a feeling of joy. Happiness is our true nature, and its unlimited nature are present when we stop interfering in the channel and are open and giving. Love never disappears, it just gets veiled for a time. Relax and let it flow. Live from the inside out…

Definitions Are Not to be Feared

Sometimes in spiritual or transformational psychology circles you will hear people saying they don’t like definitions or to define things, or are resistant to the very idea, as it seems like it would deter from grokking the inner meaning, or some vague notion like that…for example that “it’s about the feeling” and can’t be defined, and definitions are too intellectual. This is a misunderstanding and a step backwards. 

A definition is simply to state what you mean when you use a particular word. For example one person could say “Let’s go to Mongolia” and another could say the exact same thing, yet the first speaker means the region near China and the other means the restaurant on 23rd street. Some Buddhists use the word “mind” (or it was translated that way) the same way others use the word “Consciousness”. If you are using the word “mind” to mean the sum of thinking, feeling, sensations and perception, and you use “consciousness” to mean that which is aware, then you better be clear with who you are talking, which you are referring to, or there will be confusion and going around in circles.

It’s about clarity and communication, that is all.

The fact that some experiences are hard to pin down or explain or communicate the essence of, or to understand rationally, is a different issue that has to do with the limits of language and linear thinking. But as long as we are going to attempt use language to point to truth, clearly communicated definitions are a good prerequisite for good communication that will be more likely to lead one closer to understanding (hopefully mutual!).

 

Here I’m offering some definitions to help get The Definition Project (I just made that up) off the ground: 

Happiness:  A permanent, unconditional awareness of one’s nature, an imperturbable reality called bliss, peace, etc. This is the “spiritual” or absolute definition, or unlimited happiness, in contrast to the common or world-based definitions, which are centered around external conditions, states of mind, the satisfaction of desires, and pleasures. The words “happiness” and “freedom” are synonymous, since they point to the same thing: what we are. Since what we are, what is, is uncaused, true happiness is by nature non-causal.  Since individual or separate selves would be subject to cause and effect, they cannot have any self-will or inherent freedom that is not illusory or assumed along with the self that has it. Therefore happiness is not possible for a person or human being that does not come with inherent limits. These illusory limits are not present in the experience of love. 

Consciousness: The reality that perceives. That which is reading these words right now, and is the same as the one reality. There is by definition only one reality: if there were more than one reality, such as mind and body, how would they communicate or interact or affect one another, unless there were a third reality that encompasses both? So that third reality would in fact be the one reality. So you are always back to one reality. Our intuition tells us that there cannot possibly be any separation within this one reality, other than that offered by the mind, and therefore separation is illusory and a product of the movement of thought. (The word “consciousness” is a placeholder, since what we are, this non-objective reality, cannot be named, since names only pertain to objects. So think of all the paths concepts and words as scaffolding prior to freedom). 

Real: That which exists.  That which exists is known according to self-evidence. Self-evidence is the certainty of experience of that which exists – being, or the I Am – and can never not exist.  

Body: The collection of seemingly local perceptions, sensations and feelings that is covered under the concept “my body” and agreed upon by intersubjective agreement, along with other bodies. It of course, only exists in the mind, as a concept and as a set of imagined past and future images. You could call this action figure of a body as a avatar of consciousness to play in the world.

World: That playground of consciousness that arises with the creation of time, space, and bodies. It seems to be filled with objects because the mind was created to play with something and be used by consciousness as a mirror to know itself. It can only know itself indirectly, via objects, because consciosuness, what we are, is not an object and so cannot see itself seeing, since it is the seeing. 

 

 

 

 

The Intellect and Beyond

A recent poster to a popular Three Principles forum commented:

“It seems that in the 3P conversation there’s a variety of perspectives on things like free-will, control, to do or not to do. The notion that God (as in Mind, Consciousness and Thought) is everything vs there’s God and then there’s personal thinking. Do techniques don’t do techniques. And so on. It can get really confusing. So, perhaps those conversations aren’t helpful? Perhaps the more we talk the further we move away from seeing God. Perhaps the place to see God is in nature, poetry (not specifically about 3P), in art, in babies, in bees, in animals and in ourselves and each other before we speak. Perhaps the only thing that’s useful is to know that we’re all God? I would say discuss but oh the irony of even writing this! 😂💕x”

My response:

I like to remind myself that “there are no others”. Then serendipity happens. That’s love, or “God” if you will, peeking out. 🙂
You’ve indeed also spotted something endemic Clare. Your mileage may vary but my experience was that none of these (what you could call philosophical in the original sense of the word: love of wisdom) issues can be resolved from within psychology. The intellect is a necessary tool for enquiry and ridding one of beliefs and allowing understanding and insight to shine forth, but it has to be guided by clarity and wisdom, not beliefs, concepts and formulas.
I tried for over 20 years and went in circles. It all only became clear (and what Syd was trying to say but perhaps didn’t have the tools) when I got on the direct path of self-enquiry. In any case, from the perspective of the “mind” or psychology, it will all always all be utterly paradoxical by nature. I know this can sound repetitive but truly the answer is within and not in the formula, or in objects like poetry, bees, nature, or others… as Syd used to say, simplicity resolves all complexity.
PM me if you want.
Peace & Love,
Eric

To develop this theme a little further (for the purposes of this blog):
The block for me was the opposite: not the intellect or conversation, but an anti-intellectualism encountered (often a fascist precept within within spiritual circles – “look for the feeling” taken the wrong way), dogmatism, and lack of clarity and wisdom. Even the highest feelings of love can only take you so far, if they depend on devotion – so why not go direct.

It’s a good sign the field is opening up in some places to questions and intellectual inquiry. It means greater freedom.
One will by nature have questions – basic, fundamental ones, *your* questions – until you don’t. You can try and avoid them and take solace in whatever – but your mind will not be at peace until you’ve answered your questions (even if it takes lifetimes). The questions are based on the nagging feeling something is missing or not right. and it’s true: you are still believing in false gods, meaning you hold things to be true that are not true, assumptions inherited from society or history or wrong logic or however they came to infected your mind.

Silence speaks bountifully

The Meaning of Ott’s Jack’s Cheese and Bread Snack Lyrics

Heard this (trippy) song about ten years ago and loved it, and was intrigued by the lyrics:

Ott – Jack’s Cheese and Bread Snack

 

One: All composite phenomena are impermanent.
Two: All contaminated things and events are unsatisfactory or in the nature of suffering.
Three: All phenomena are empty and selfless (devoid of self-existence).
And four: Nirvana is true peace.

… but wasn’t entirely clear what they meant, though I knew it was basic Buddhist philosophy ontology. Now I understand (and ten years from now may see more deeply what they mean… :).

Basically, it’s like this:

One: It’s talking about separation and oneness: if a phenomenon, an appearance, which is what an object is composed of, must in order to be perceived as a thing in consciousness (what there is, and what all phenomenon appear within), have some sort of border, boundary, or seeming separateness from other things, then it is part of the world of change – you need time and space to have objects, and a self, and movement – then by nature it will come and go. Anything that is born dies; any perception, sensation, or thought arises then goes away; the only thing that does not change is the totality, which cannot be perceived as a thing because it isn’t – and intuitively it must the same as what is reading these words – the one perceiver.
So in short, “composite”, “phenomenon” and “impermanent” all imply each other: so see what changes and thus is illusory and you will know what is eternal.

Two: By “contaminated” here means the experience of fear and desire: reactions, unconsciousness, which if acted on – a reaction, which is repeated and automatic (karma: cause and effect) via mental activity – this by nature leads to suffering. Pure consciousness is “contaminated” in the sense of obscured: the waters are muddied by personal thinking, mental activity or vibration comes from separateness, which wants to complete itself, but blindly, through objects which it either desires, or fears, thinking they are outside itself, and complete disappearance (non-existence) is implied as a possibility in separateness, and this disturbance is suffering and not peace.

(In a practical sense or example, people can achieve a lot, be ambitious, but create a lot of wreckage in the process through desire and fear – the ego-driven activity, creating stress, suffering, such as coming from competitiveness, anger, driven-ness, unconsciousness, stupidity of learned or clever rather than natural intelligence; but in action through non-attachment the “sage” achieves without doing; life is lived through him, not by him).

Three: Given that self and other arise together (how can there be one without the other – it would just be One), the separate or personal self is a phenomenon like any other, composed of passing, illusory sensations, perception, thoughts: a concept, the “I” thought. So just as this self does not actually exist in any real and substantial sense, so by implication are all others, all of what was considered to be “out there”: as such all phenomenon are as non-existing in-themselves as this self, ultimately. That is, absolutely, all phenomenon do not exist in themselves but as the perceiving ultimate witness, which is universal. That unknowable “this-ness” is empty as far as being objective.

Four: Nirvana is true peace. True peace is nirvana. Is happiness, is love, is beauty is truth. Is Self.

On Having Less Thinking: Untangling The Three Principles Psychology from Psychology

7/19/18

This post is in response to a question on a FaceBook forum.

Jennifer commented:
“I found it confusing when a 3 P teacher says for us to have less think[ing] and then say we have no control over our thinking. Because of that I think it would be helpful to be really clear they are not talking at the me self level that has no control. Not sure if I am explaining this well 🤔”

Eric:
“I never said to have less thinking. I said to have more understanding. As a seemingly separate self you can aim for that; do your best, let God do the rest.”

Jennifer:
“I was not referring to what you said. I agree with you I just think saying the other is when it gets confusing. Maybe being confused is part of the journey 😊”

Eric:
“Yes, the 3P are often a confusing teaching. It’s why I’m working to help make them more clear (I need to hone many of my blog articles down, but it’s time-consuming!) – Syd’s wisdom got mixed up with psychology and it’s been a tricky thicket (sticky wicket?) ever since. 🙂
Peace”

Jennifer
“Eric Platt I am interested to know more about this how it can be simple.”

(This article is the answer I gave):

What I was alluding to was to go beyond the mind – in other words, go beyond thought, or thinking. It seems that too often people get stuck at the level of thinking. They become aware that thinking is problematic in a sense, but don’t see how to let go or change or quiet down thinking.

Syd Banks was a natural mystic or non-dualist, but he didn’t have the tools linguistically, nor the preparation in any spiritual tradition (such as Advaita vedanta), to speak of his enlightenment experience in anything other than what he picked up in the culture around him or the collective unconscious, the zeitgeist of the time. So, for example, he speaks in his early tape of “Christ Consciousness”.

As Garret Kramer pointed out (private conversation), Syd was making a concession to the audience, putting his insights into a form digestible to whom was listening. Later, when he encountered psychologists (mid 70’s), it occurred to him (in his naïveté or outlook – a ninth grade education and welder) that psychologists were “professionals” and helpers of humanity, and that they would be the way that the teachings would spread out into the world. He felt it needed a professional face to give it legitimacy.

Unfortunately Mr. Banks didn’t realize that, while such profound spiritual insights could potentially change psychology, the outlook of psychology would also affect or often limit how a spiritual message might be heard. In essence, the spiritual is about universal reality (the Absolute), whereas psychology addresses the personal. They start from different assumptions and worldviews. Western psychology starts with the assumption that there is such a thing as a person, and they are a body, a mind (that comes from a brain and nervous system), in a world of circumstances, and so tools are needed to change and affect that body-mind (techniques, drugs, analysis, changes to lifestyle, circumstances, relationships, work, etc.). It is a materialist worldview. The 3P seemed to introduce new tools, but really it was undermining the entire reality assumption underneath. Even though psychologists who were working with Syd understood to some degree that this was a very radical change in outlook, they themselves could not shift their outlook far enough fast enough through an effort of will (and Syd was often confronting them about their lack of understanding – see the book “Paradigm Shift” by Jack Pransky), or their students (patients) would hear it from their old way of seeing things – in other words from the (small) mind, from the (small) self or ego, from their conditioned way of seeing, perceiving and acting.

By way of contrast, Traditional spiritual paths like Advaita and the yoga philosophy and practices of Kashmir Shaivism had tools to address these mental and bodily patterns of conditioning. Syd Banks and the psychologists assumed that talking and understanding would be enough to effect a radical shift, a transformation in outlook. And indeed sometimes these transformation did occur – for example from simply attending Syd’s lectures, and being around him and the people around him living their lives on Salt Spring Island – and it’s enough to keep the hope alive. But a large portion of the time, people are now wondering why they are not getting it or what exactly it is they are getting or not. It’s heard as concepts, a learning, a philosophy or psychology. However, what is needed is an unlearning: an unlearning of the forumlas for happiness we learned, the beliefs we picked up or arrived at, the habits we hold on to.

Some of the tools that traditional paths use are for example, a method of self-enquiry where one’s core beliefs are questioned, by very carefully asking, “Who Am I?”, and what are the beliefs that support the idea of being a separate entity, in a world of objects, in a dead universe (for example). In terms of the body, ways and means include the yoga of non-duality, that help one carefully observe the nature of the borderless-ness of perceptions and sensations of the body and sense perception, promoting a dissolution of those held patterns of aggression, fear and separation that live in a (seeming) body. The body itself is seen to be a set of sensations and perception and ultimately a concept. In other words there is the presumption of a body. This identification, which is false at bottom, eventually will be seen through. The assumption of being a separate entity is behind the fear of death, and the sensed feeling of separation, lack, and the fears and desires that drive thinking and behavior.

In a sense it’s great that a way, an avenue was found to try and do what psychology hadn’t been able to do very well, and point people towards a complete shift of perspective. But few realized how utterly and truly radical a shift was being talked about. Syd, in his innocence, just saw the love, beauty and truth, and forged ahead in great faith, and thought that once the world heard and understood it, psychology would inevitably change. Hopes were so high that it was felt that the problem of mental illness had been solved, and the old psychology could be left behind. The book “The Missing Link” attempt to forge a link between spirituality and psychology, and Thought was seen as the connection. But it’s a double edged sword. In my view, there is too much emphasis on Thought, and offshoots of the Three principles, such the “Single Paradigm” approach, take this emphasis – since thinking is indeed foundational to our sense of self and the world – and make a coaching model or self-improvement psychology of it.

The emphasis should really be on the non-objective nature of reality, and on a kind of self-enquiry that eventually will allow one to entirely free oneself from the central illusion that causes suffering. The question is, how many are ready for this? Regardless, which should adhere to what is true for us, to what we know.

The intent to point to an inside-out view is a good one, since the majority of humans live outside-in, particularly in a Western culture, founded on what is seen to be an objective, scientific outlook. However, science is limited in scope, as it deals only with phenomena, and not where phenomena appear, which is unlimited consciousness. Science cannot approach the qualities of truth, beauty and love inherent in our experience as revealed in self-knowledge.

As one of my teachers (Laura Lucille) likes to say “It’s simple but not easy”. It’s not easy to let go of habits accumulated for ages. And the mind is stubborn.

(This article from last Spring may be helpful – I wrote it in response to the central issue of thought-stuckness and transcendence):

On Beyond Limitations of the Three Principles Psychology Model

Thank you Jennifer for the question: it helped me put into words something that I’d see or reflected on but had been so far partly unspoken.

What is Self Love

I’ve often heard it said, for example, that in order to love another, or to find love, you have to “love yourself first” (including from prideful people that are not really loving).
It’s always been puzzling because it sounds like there are two entities: someone to love (your self) and the one doing the loving (me?). Or it sounds like an excuse for egotism (“Aren’t I wonderful, I love myself, and you need to be as wonderful as me before you love your self too!”).

When I have truly experienced self love, it is none of these. IT’s a different kind of experience. If I had to describe it, it’s more like realizing I am love – the usual “I” is not there, not in the way, you could say – a collapse of boundaries (words fail) – and love is not personal. In other words, it’s self love with a capital “s” – nothing to do with “me” or “them”. And sometimes there’s an experience of a love from an encounter that is so surprising, fresh, that one is amazed at the wonder of it. And this can happen out of the blue with a neighbor, a cashier, a total stranger… maybe the less we know them the easier for it to happen!

That being said, the mind co-opts the experience, and one is back in “where did that come from, and where did it go?” because the mind wants to see it as coming from somewhere – another apparent person – and wanting to make meaning or hold onto it.

In any case, I have no idea how this could apply to what we call “relationships” since those seem to come and go, without any sense of being able to hold to a “love” however you want to define that.

Sometimes the path of self-knowledge can be felt as a lonely one. “You have to walk that lonely valley, by yourself…” as the old song said.

But what is the “spiritual” path? You could say it’s as much as possible being honest with oneself, and sticking with facts. At some point you realize, there was never a goal or thing to get – an endpoint (realization or enlightenment) – just stuff to lose. Lose the lack, as it were. The happiness one was trying to find was there, merely temporarily infected with a self-sense that didn’t belong. A self sense pretending to be unhappy.

One of my spiritual friends said there is always a choice, at any moment, between love and control… which makes sense to me at an intuitive level. if you are already happy, and unafraid, what need is there to control? The future does not exist, or exists as something one is creating through a free will – either whay, what is there to be afraid of, or worry about? We act as if life were imposed on us, from the outside. But what if there were no outside? What is it’s all us, that is, all “I”, all self, or this?

How much do we feel that love comes from outside, someone else, or needs an object? How much does one then feel dependent on that object, or series of objects, for validation, to feel love, to feel “that feeling”.
It is never coming from them.