Thursday, June 19, 2014

Atomistic Mysticism

At this point our best shot at planetary and social healing is probably to become better human beings. That means finding ways to become more conscious and caring. Also it is time to end the conflict between science and spirituality, which only served the purpose of religious fundamentalists and science fundamentalists to the detriment of  everyone else; too many rules and too little forgiveness. This is the traditional dualistic subjective/objective mindset found in the West, and is parallel to the supposed separation of mind and body.

In most of the ancient or primitive cultures there has been a common thread of reverence for nature; the transition of the seasons, the moon and stars, for the larger cycles of nature, including our own coming into being and passing away. Even though we have learned much about the marvelous intricacies of nature, we have only scratched the surface. What we don’t know probably surpasses by far what we understand. We are a mystery and we live in a mystery, and we know it – some of us. To have a sense of awe and wonderment, and reverence is a gift. The ultimate mysteries may not even be knowable by humans, and our lives as humans could be only a small part of who we really are.

Day follows night, spring follows winter and  the unfolding of life is a cycle. These are reassuringly orderly processes. Atomistic mysticism describes a way of thinking or a kind of a posture in life that includes a deep respect for the intrinsic processes of both nature and science. Recently astronomers have learned that in just our own galaxy there are probably 100 million habitable planets.  Cosmology is revealing that we live in a universe that naturally evolves stars, galaxies, and planets with mountains, oceans, and even life, which is increasingly unlikely to be limited to just one planet.

We have become so used to the mechanistic view of the world that originated with Descartes that we have forgotten that it is a metaphor. We no longer think, as Descartes did, that the world is like a clock. We think it is a clock, and that nothing is real unless it can be weighed or measured. The physical world is defined by its limitations. Everything is composed of the same material, but differences in configuration, finite dimensions and measurable attributes are what distinguish one thing from another in time and space.

On the other hand, the believers in the Gaia hypothesis think the world is one huge organism that regulates itself to some good end. The Spiritual world is said to be nonphysical in nature, and exists independently from matter, and is also said to be infinite and not subject to the constraints of linear time, death, or decay.

Our senses interpret everything around us and translate it through specific vibrations. Our experience of the world is limited by what our physical senses can interpret. Science has come to understand that both atoms and thoughts are just energy. Just as water may be in the shape of ice, liquid, or clouds, energy comes in various forms such as waves, particles, liquid, solid, gas, light, sound, even brainwaves. The science of Quantum Physics seeks to answer the question "what is energy?" and arrives at one of the most basic facts of the Universe, that "everything is energy". And apparently energy cannot be created or destroyed.  Once you really understand that everything is energy, then you understand that there is no such thing as separation. Physics has come full circle back to metaphysics.

So if everything consists of waves of energy at its fundamental level, then this same source of energy must flow around, within and through us. The fact that this energy is matter, space, time and biological life, which to some suggests that it also has an underlying intelligence. One interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests that matter actually came from intelligence. So it makes sense for people to refer to it as a universal mind or collective field of consciousness.  The zero point energy field may be the most compelling news of our time.

The harmonics of energy vibrations are synonymous with our perceived categories of reality  There is a  vibrational continuum as particles vibrate at increasing speeds and take on a more subtle, less dense form. The range may continue beyond what we have even imagined.  Our five senses allow us to perceive on a physical level only a narrow spectrum of vibrations though we have devices to extend those perceptions a bit. However beyond that is mystery.
  •  Sound:  25 to 25,000 vibrations per second or cycles/hertz
  •  Electricity: 1 Billion vibrations per second
  •  Heat: 2 Billions vibrations per second
  •  Invisible spectrum of color (including infra-red & ultra-violet): 500 Billion vibrations per second
  •  X-Rays: 2 Trillion vibrations per second
  • The frequency of visible light: from 430 trillion Hz, to 750 trillion vibrations per second.  (The visible spectrum is about one ten trillionth of the total spectrum).

David Bohm’s breakthrough research into Quantum physics offers us a solid foundation to begin to understand the nature of our reality. Quantum physics suggests that all matter when taken down to its sub-atomic level consists of waves of energy which is referred to as quanta. This aspect of physics is congruent with the wisdom of the ages – physical reality is probably nothing more than an illusion.

 Our own bodies are electro-chemical batteries operating electro-mechanical structures. There is enough energy in the form of  information within living cells for them to reproduce themselves -- to actually create a new being from a few cells. And within that being is all the information needed to be whole and complete and healthy. Learning to trust and work with these organic processes is a core message of the wisdom traditions, both ancient and modern.

A thermostat illustrates an analog computer in that it is either off or on. Higher brain functions resemble a digital computer by assigning intellectual values to perceptional data, and working out a logical, rational procedure. But that takes time and effort. Often an immediate decision is required: approach or avoid, like or dislike, accept or reject, do or don’t. And our fast-paced industrialized world dictates ever more split-second choices. When driving 60 miles per hour, your body moves 88 feet per second. Rationalizations are just not an option.

Intuition is potentially our most valuable asset. Even Einstein said that choosing what you will pay attention to is what counts. Fear motivates and keeps us alert, but paying too much attention to fear leads to a tragic downward spiral. Positive thoughts engender an upward spiral toward happiness, but can also lead to fuzzy or wishful thinking. Balancing the two is essential, but  it is a artful skill to be honed. Intuition gathers information even from non-local sources and helps us make better choices. The more you use it, the more dependable it becomes, like any other skill.

At any moment any cell can be either in the growth mode or the protection mode. The protection mode consumes the very nutrients normally used for growth and maintenance of the cells. We are hard wired to avoid danger. Conditioned reflexes operate both at the physical and psychological levels. If you put your hand on something hot, your brain sends a signal to move the hand before you even know there is a problem. This is commonly called a “gut” reaction.

One of out greatest problems is that each of us made to feel we are “not good enough” on some level. The worst atrocities stem from a separation of the human psyche into a good and a worthless portion: “they are wrong, we are right.” Even the most seemingly caring parents often inflict extreme morality on a helpless child. Without rules there is anarchy but historically, piety can also be very dangerous. War is usually about piety. Principles differ from rules by trusting the individual to do the right thing. While shame and guilt are tyrannical weapons used by society to keep us in line.

The way to go from protection into growth is through the heart. Fear, hate and indifference will drag you down, cut you in half and make you a slave to a system or an “ism.” Caring, gratitude, and forgiveness will put you on an upward spiral. It isn’t rocket science; just treat others the way you want to be treated.

Either you care or you don’t, so what's it to be? Making a commitment to be more spiritual begins with being more compassionate and caring, being willing to look at things differently,  learning to trust the deep wisdom within. Recognize fear, unkindness and hate and choose something better. Start to see yourself as a kinder, gentler person and your experiences will reflect that.

In the Sanskrit doctrine of Tat tvam asi -- in his words, "Thou art that, which asserts that everything you think you are (Subjective), and everything you think you perceive (Objective), are undivided. To fully realize this lack of division is to become enlightened."

Pete and Duane’s Window is a program that explores our world in transition including topics such as consciousness, world trends, sustainability, spirituality, and our collective future. The show’s hosts, Peter Russell and Duane Elgin, are internationally recognized visionaries who have known one another for decades, and share an interest in awakening consciousness, both personal and global.  As “evolutionary elders,” they see this time as pivotal for our species and offer  a view of the world’s dynamics and trends, the potential for conscious evolution, and the opportunity to live sustainably and compassionately.

 "... we are the gods that our ancestors told stories about. We fly from one part of the globe to another in a matter of hours; we instantly communicate over thousands of miles; we can commit mayhem in moments, move mountains in minutes, and every night we sit in front of our magic picture box and find out what all the other gods are up to...

“ We are magnified through space and time, our senses enlarged, our whims accelerated.... We are at a time in human history and planetary development when we are becoming aware of the stupendous unconscious knowledge and skillful orchestration that is going on in ourselves as well as in the outer cosmos all the time. We are at a crossing point in human history..."

"...the earth has grown through us a brain and nervous system, but now these systems need to grow a larger psyche to contain them and to learn how to use them.  Thus the task of our time, evolutionary governance, is one of matching the increasing complexity of external reality with a corresponding increase in the depth and breadth of our psychic reality." 

"True illumination, like all real and vital experience, consists rather in breathing of a certain atmosphere, the living at certain levels of consciousness, than in the acquirement of specific information."
 - Evelyn Underhill, from Mysticism, [1974, New American Library