Sunday, 18 May 2014

Of Ill-Conceived Fantasies

          It had not been my intention to write another script on the illusions of life. I thought I had said, if not all, then enough on the subject. This journey through the 'dark night', that seems to describe my current experience, appears to be offering me the gift of recollection from which I may make some progress, whatever that is, towards reality. And this gift must be exercised using my own experiences, my own hard-won truths, for I cannot touch reality through the eyes of another, unless that other is my own Higher Self. What follows is an extract from my current diaries, looking at the nature of my experience of the world around and within me, which in so many ways is the same thing. It is perhaps the nearest I can get at this time, to speaking from the heart rather than the head.
          I look at the world around me, the universe around me, the inner psycho-spiritual country within me, but what do I see? I see an incompleteness, limited by my own physicality, my own sensing organs. Even with the use of scientific instruments I do not see a complete universe because there is always the view of the universe in terms of quantum mechanics that lies forever beyond me. Even if I should gain total seeing, it would always be against the backdrop of my intellectual understanding, and that would colour everything I see. I would not be seeing the universe through the eyes of an innocent.
          Putting all that to one side, I see what I see with an emotionally and historically coloured backdrop. I never get to see the world as it may truly be. I have no true vision. It is like a dream in that I can experience delights and nightmares, and those are my judgements on the world. Thus that world can have no real meaning for me until I actually get to 'see' it. One cannot truly see until one stops sleeping and dreaming and becomes awake and aware. It is also from this illusory standpoint that I observe the actions of others, draw conclusions, and take actions. Not only do I see all that through my own veil of ill-conceived fantasies, but also seemingly unaware that those whom I observe are also operating through their own fantasies. There can be no truth here so long as I sleep. And in the past, those experiences have been extremely damaging, so much so that I have been forced into a state of awakening. But how often have I dozed, or fallen asleep, since then?
          Another way of looking at the same condition is that what I see as my interactions with the world around me is nothing more than my own inner projections, and the human race is very good at blindly projecting itself onto its environment. Yet it is these projections that I seek to understand without realising that because they are projections and not reality, they can have no meaning, except that which I impose on them at my convenience. At no time is reality actually confronted until I, through painful experience, am forced to look hard and in a wakeful state for my own psycho-spiritual survival. Until that moment of spiritual awakening comes, I struggle to maintain my projected fictions as truth. Thus when I get hurt, I blame something/someone 'out there' rather than the projecting of myself, my ego. There is a little nugget of wisdom that says that blaming others is a sign of psychological denial. But those 'others' are not real; they are my projections, even though I struggle to the limit of my strength to persuade myself that my egoistic illusions are in fact realities. What a strange and foolish world it is that allows projections, illusions, to interact with one another rather than realities. Isn't life difficult enough already?
          Thus these conclusions, drawn from the memories of my own experience, lead me to the point where I yearn to see the world, that psycho-spiritual inner country that I inhabit, through the eyes of my Higher Self, the closest I can conceive to a state of wakeful reality, for I believe that by its very nature the Higher Self never sleeps. It is always aware, above all, of the power and energy of the divine life force that flows through it.

"............This is the use of memory:
For liberation - not less of love but expanding
Of love beyond desire, and so liberation
From the future as well as the past. Thus love of a country
Begins as attachment to our own field of action
And comes to find that action of little importance
Though never indifferent. History may be servitude,
History may be freedom. See, now they vanish,
The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them,
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern."

(T.S.Eliot: Little Gidding - Four Quartets)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Solidity Is an Illusion

          I would like to approach the experience of 'seeing' the universe around me from two points of view. The first is from the viewpoint of physics, the second from that of the psycho-spiritual. Both of these viewpoints lie within the domain of the ego, some aspects being conscious whilst others are unconscious. (I include in this latter category the subconscious.) It will be seen that both viewpoints are flawed and therefore fall short of true or real 'seeing'.
          It is not my intent to go into the physics of seeing in any great detail. Any standard textbook, or internet equivalent, on the subject will perform that task quite adequately. There are, however, certain points I would like to emphasise. Light from an outside object (the word 'outside' yet to be defined) enters the eye but goes no further than the retina. At that point the light energy is converted into signals that are recognised and processed by the brain. Even though the brain is in darkness, it is able to recognise or 'see' light. However, it is the mind that is the final arbiter of what lies outside, whether or not the brain agrees. Therefore, from the mind's perspective, everything which is not part of itself, lies outside itself. Thus everything that is part of the material universe can be considered to be 'outside', including the brain mass.
          Being the creatures that we are, our vision is limited to a very narrow range of electromagnetic wavelengths. (400-700 nm, or 0.4-0.7 millionths of a metre, compared with up to hundreds of metres for radio waves, and 10 billionths of a metre for gamma rays.) The point here is that we see only a tiny fraction of what is available out there. And not only is our vision very limited, but most of what we do see is ignored (or can be considered to be blind to) anyway, depending on our prioritising processes.
          Consider now the structure of the matter we see around us. It is composed of a very tiny fraction of what might be considered to be 'solid', using the Niels Bohr model of the atom. The details of that model are not important here except that it indicates that the overwhelmingly larger part of the atom is nothing but energy and its associated field. In short, the universe, including the most dense of solids is largely empty space. Yet we experience the world around us as largely solid. (Within the model we are using here, liquids can be considered as fluid solids.) The solidity of the universe is an illusion, brought about by interactions of energies and their associated force fields. The really interesting question in physics is about why the universe has any solids at all! Yet regardless of all this we presume to be able to really see, and ignore the fact that what we see is illusory. That is not to say that there is nothing out there, but rather that we cannot know for certain what does lie out there.
          Now if all that wasn't enough, our judgements or assessments of the world around us (let's forget the rest of the universe for a moment) is heavily coloured by emotive issues, past experiences, moods and so on. The police and justice systems are aware of these false assessment problems, even if some juries are not. All too often we spend our lives sleep-walking, quite unaware that reality is passing us by. This must be the ultimate in lotus-eating experience, spending our days feeding on illusions.
          Ah yes! And I haven't even touched on 'time'!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A Matter of Time

I would like to say that I am writing this post in the present time, except that I do not know when the present time really is, or how long it lasts. To simplify matters, and also to leave something for another day, I will not even try to deal with the past and the future, except where I need to set the present, assuming I can find it, in some sort of context. If I can assume that some kind of understanding of the present time can be reached, I must ask myself why the present time, the 'now', is so important. Well quite simply it is because I cannot deal with matters that lie in the past, or which are yet to come.
The act of writing my first paragraph lies in the past. I cannot change the past even by editing what I have written. I simply create another part of time past. The fact that a reader will not see the pre-edited script is neither here nor there. The act of completing this paragraph at some point in the future is even more problematical, because I do not yet know for a certainty what I am going to write. I will know that only when it has slipped into the past. In fact, all my thoughts about the future rest on my memories of the past. So tightly are the past and future bound to each other that they seem to be a single entity with the present time somehow sandwiched between the two. So what is the present and where or when does it exist?
Let me narrow the study down somewhat. Each word I type on this keyboard has a beginning and an end. When I type the first letter it slips into the past, whilst the last letter still lies in the future, if it can be said to exist at all. A similar argument applies to a single letter word, except that then I would be dealing with the first part of the letter as being in a different time from the last part of the letter. The point I am arriving at, somewhat laboriously you might feel, is that the present time is infinitely short. 'In the limit', as we say in differential calculus, time tends to zero. That is to say, the present time ceases to exist anywhere, or anywhen.
Now here is the paradox. I do not exist because the present time does not exist. By definition, I do not now exist in the future, nor did I exist in the past which was simply a series of present moments. Yet I am here, and have been here! In other words there is an awareness of a subjective present, which is of variable length and coexists with a non-existent real present time. Of course I would accept that there may be a problem of logic involved here, and logic does not always allow one to arrive at correct, that is reasonable, solutions. There are two other possible explanations that can be brought to bear on this problem.
The first explanation is that when we are dealing with time, we are simultaneously dealing with conscious awareness, and that can only be seen through the medium of the ego which is a flawed state anyway. The state that sees more truly is the Higher Self, or that to which we choose to give that name. And it is said that the Higher Self is eternal, not everlasting which implies time passing indefinitely, but eternal, which is timeless.
The second explanation, which is admittedly of a more frivolous nature but not a jot less spiritual, is that currently (we will not allow the word presently) Lucy and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary, and that is always likely to jumble one's wits, especially when a marriage has been as happy as ours. And there I will stop before I slip into an insane, mental timewarp.  

Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Step Towards Reality

          There are moments in one's experience when a thought which has been around for quite awhile, whether it be for days, weeks or months, suddenly becomes immediate or brought into focus. It is not unlike seeing objects through a new pair of spectacles, acquired because the old prescription has become unfit for purpose. Thus it was that recently the idea that I should attempt to see the world around me in a different way, suddenly came into a new focus. From a psychological point of view, one might frame this idea as seeing the world through the eyes of the True or Higher Self, the Transpersonal Self. For the Christian, perhaps, it is an attempt to see the world as the Inner Christ would see it, if that were possible. 
          It is perhaps unfortunate that words play such a large part in our ideas. Whereas I am comfortable with the idea of seeing the world through the eyes of my Higher Self, even though the practice is likely to be far more difficult than the propounding of the idea, the introduction of the word 'Christ', whether it be of the 'Inner' or the historical variety, can and does generate problems for some people. Much the same applies to the God word. When the religious words are used, there seems also to be a natural tendency to place them in the same bracket as the Church. And now comes my difficulty regarding the teachings of the Church, for it seems to me that either the Church has forgotten its true calling, or has simply ignored it for more worldly considerations such as politics and morality.
          As I pointed out elsewhere, it seems to me that the main, even perhaps the sole, function of morality is help us as a large (and getting daily larger) group of egos to get along together. Thus morality recognises the need to curb the natural inclinations of the ego, but does little to further the cause of mysticism, the natural realm of the Higher Self. It seems to me, therefore, that whatever the Church may aspire to, its teachings (other than the expounding of the Christian mythology) fall far short of what the Christ actually taught. I should add at this juncture that I recognise that this falling short of spiritual aspiration does not apply to many religious people, Christian or otherwise, who are genuinely searching for spiritual truth, as are many non-religious people.  
          Morality, then, is not the prime baggage to be jettisoned in the cause of the Higher Self which is the most obvious source of egoless love. If one lives by the gentle, and on occasions the very ungentle, dictates of love, morality becomes redundant and disappears of itself. Regrettably, it says much about our species that from the very beginnings of settled societies, religious and political law have needed to come together, one perhaps being the precursor of the other, to set behavioural standards that are acceptable to the majority of people living under those laws. Punishment inevitably followed.
          However this script may appear, I have not intended to write a negative criticism of the Church, of morality, of religion, or indeed of any other characteristic or activity, singly or communally, of the human race. Such attacks would have little, if any, value for me. What I have tried to do is to identify one area, an admittedly relatively easy, first-step area, in which I can begin the inclusive process of living through my Higher Self, namely that of living from love rather than from morality. And this arises from a very real need to become available for whatever down-pouring of the spirit that may be waiting to infuse my being. It is a step, maybe only a faltering step, towards achieving an inner, spiritual (or transpersonal, if preferred) balance, a step towards seeing reality in all its awesome aspect. I may not be able to affect the outcome of that down-pouring, but at the very least I can indicate a willingness to participate in the process.