Sunday, November 18, 2007

THE G WORD

It's not the F word, the N word, the L word, or even the C word. The most politically incorrect word in the English language that you can utter, at least in most of the social situations that I find myself in, is the G word. There are a few exceptions. As the first half of a curse it's okay. So, "Where are my goddamn shoes?" would be perfectly acceptable. "God Almighty, you're not doing that again!" is a little quaint, but tolerable. Using the G word at the end of a curse rather than the beginning, is even more old fashioned but still forgivable, as in "Holy Mary, Mother of God, who left the kitchen like this?" But a simple, sincere expression of the G word, especially if it implies that you not only believe in God but that you believe that God is alive and is having an impact on your life, is enough to provoke a stunned silence in most social gatherings. And this is not a momentary silence. Once the awful word has been uttered, there is no more comfortable communication to be had with anyone who had been in earshot of the offense.


Not that God is the perfect word, I just don't know of a better one. For one thing, it carries the implication that God is a man; a tremendously powerful, brilliant, kindly, and when He loses his temper, which is not that rare, a tremendously scary man; but a man never the less. God is certainly not a woman. You cannot even correctly say "Goddess loves me", it would have to be "A goddess loves me". So, the word God has the implication that it's a man, and a man who may have many underlings, but no partners. God is calling all the shots, and He is doing that alone. On the contrary, there maybe goddesses, but there is never Goddess. There is only a goddess, one of many. God works alone, but the best a poor goddess can hope for is to be a member of His support team.


I have stated in other posts what I think God does and if you think of God as a man, no matter what His talents are, it is just flat out impossible for Him to accomplish all that. If you think of God as a woman, it would actually make it a bit more feasible, given women's supposed talent for multi-tasking, but only marginally. No, the God that I am thinking of could not possibly be confined to a body.


Eastern religions revere the Tao, the Atman, and the Infinite. These words imply a kind of spiritual substrate that supports and creates our lives at every moment. So that rather than having a God who has a specific location, this God is omnipresent; there is no where that this God is not. No matter what we do or don't do, and whatever we believe or don't believe, whether we recognize it or not, God is there, because God is everywhere. Our experience of closeness to God or distance from God is a matter of our perception rather than actual distance. This is much closer to my thinking, but it has a connotation of being simply a kind of energy. It's hard for us to grasp the idea that intelligence, creativity, will and caring could exist in an unbounded form, separate from any physical body. But that is pretty much my conception of it. An endless ocean of energy, intelligence, and love, that, whether we realize it or not, is supporting us, and energizing and directing all the ten quadrillion biological processes occurring in each human body at every moment, to say nothing of all the biological processes of every living being on this planet.



If you think of God as a man who is around when He's happy with you, and disappears when He's not, you won't arrive at a conception that is possibly big enough to accomplish everything that I think God is accomplishing. I go back to the Old Testament. God is eternal, omnipotent and omnipresent. Now, that's my guy!, if He just weren't a guy. Let me try to replace this Western image of a sort of helpless human supplicant and an all powerful divine companion who may be very close to you, but still a separate being, with a different image. Hindus speak a lot about the ocean of the Divine. Where is that ocean? Everywhere. We are swimming in it. And just like fish who have spent their entire lives in water, and do not know what it is because they have never experienced 'no water', we do not know God because God is the context of our entire existence. We are swimming in God, but we don't realize it, because we have never experienced 'no God'. We may think we have, but just the fact that we are thinking, that we have consciousness, that our hearts are beating and our blood is flowing, means that we are still part of that context. In the same way, a fish, no matter how despairing her mood, is still in the ocean. Now you can pull a fish out of water, and put her back. From the moment that fish returns, she has an understanding and an appreciation of water, because she has experienced 'no water'. She suddenly realizes the reality of it. But we can't be pulled out of the Divine ocean, because that is our entire existence. There is nothing outside of it.



If I were a wave on that Divine ocean, a wave that has a separate consciousness, I might think, during my short life, that I was separate from the rest of the ocean, but I would be wrong. I started out, was formed by, this ocean, and after my very brief existence as a wave, I return to being an inextricable part of this ocean. My sense of separation, including all the feelings that result from that sense of separation; my initial intimidation at the size of the other waves, my increasing confidence as I continued to grow, my feeling of invincibility as I reached the peak of my power, and my feeling of vulnerability and fear of death, as my power diminished, would all be illusory, because they would all stem from the same false premise, that I am a separate entity, separate from the entire ocean.



Our whole existence here, on this physical plane, is based on our experience of separation, of having an individual consciousness tied to a particular body, a particular brain and a particular history, but if, or when, we go back to God, we no longer have that separation. It's not as if an individual is traveling back home, it is as if we are melting, as if the walls of separation are dissolving and we expand into a bigger and bigger space. So it's not as if we lose our sense of self, it's as if our sense of self expands infinitely, yours joins with mine, until there is only one consciousness, until we realize that all these separate beings that we have encountered during our existence are actually all aspects of the same Being.


Anyway, if I were trying to convince you of the validity of all these beliefs, what could I do? I could talk about my experience and the experience of many others, and share that with you. I could talk about the difficulty of imagining, which I have done in several other posts, that our spiritual life, including consciousness, will and intelligence, originates from matter, from nucleotides and proteins. That it makes much more sense to envision it the other way; that living bodies and biological processes come out of, originate from, consciousness, intelligence and will. But in doing so, I seem to be embarking in a direction opposite from modern science. Evolutionists, biologists and biochemists are espousing the view that genes are the foundation of life, that our existence is, at base, a way of serving these genes, and that consciousness, the soul, even life itself and 'you' are quaint concepts that have no bases in reality (because they cannot be seen). No matter how cogently I argue, I cannot keep pace with these increasingly materialist views that seem to be supported by the latest research.



But hold on! Those are evolutionists, biologists and biochemists. They're not the only game in town! What about those other mystical, gullible, self-deluded nuts, the astrophysicists? (Cut to the sound of the cavalry bugle call, as five hundred mounted astrophysicists appear over the crest of a distant hill and start galloping toward us.) Those uneducated flakes are now telling us that there is a lot more to the universe than meets the eye. These weirdos are saying that not only is there an invisible world, but that they have measured it, because, although it cannot be seen, it does have an effect on gravity. Not only that, but the visible world is only a small portion of the universe; that fully ninety-four per cent of it, at the current measure, is invisible. That's very interesting, isn't it? Here we have a community of evolutionary biologists and biochemists who snicker at the possible existence of anything that cannot be seen, and, at exactly the same time in our history, we have another community of scientists who are telling us that the great majority of the universe around us is invisible. Do Richard Dawkins and the evolutionary biologists deny the carefully measured results of the astrophysicists? Would Darwin deny Einstein? If they, Dawkins and the biologists, are contending that all of the astrophysical stuff is happening 'in space' and they are talking about life, which happens here, then they would be wrong. The last time I looked, we were in space. Everything that is in time is also in space. The earth is a planet, which is in a solar system, which is in a galaxy, which is 'in space'. If you have been wondering what being 'in space' would be like, wonder no more. You are in it.



Now Einstein postulated that there were ten or eleven planes of existence that were not visible. So far, physicists have discovered one, the neutrino plane. There are two reasons, according to these fanatic, cultist physicists, that it is impossible to see and so hard to detect this 'other' universe. One is that neutrinos are unfathomably small. The largest is a fraction of an electron and the smallest is thousands of times smaller than that. Also, they do not have a charge; while all of the physical, visible, universe is charged either positively or negatively, or some combination of the two; this invisible world is neutral, has neither a positive nor a negative charge. So there is nothing in the physical universe that attracts or repels neutrinos. They flow through every nook and cranny of the universe without anything impeding their movement. This is important to note. It's not as if they only fill the huge gaps between stars, they flow right through the stars themselves. So, it's not as if there is a visible neighborhood and an invisible neighborhood. The two are inextricably entwined. And this is not happening somewhere 'in space'. This is happening right here, on this planet. And it is not happening just in the atmosphere. It is happening within and through physical matter and within and through our own bodies!


Hmmmm! Is any of this sounding familiar? I have been talking, probably too much, in all the other posts about how life can be experienced, but not seen; how God, or the cosmic consciousness is a substrate, a plane of existence that supports and creates our physical existence, how genes and the genetic code are the bridge between the invisible world of consciousness, will and intelligence, and the physical world of matter. I have also mentioned that God is beyond opposition, neither this nor that. Taoism and many ancient religions are forms of monistic dualism. Out of One comes two, and from two comes all diversity. Different ways of saying this same thing are: Infinity bifurcates into yin and yang; God created the heaven and the earth; out of perfect balance, comes two seemingly antagonistic but really complementary forces. The interaction of these two forces creates the physical universe. Will the discovery of this neutrino invisible universe that transcends and permeates our visible universe of positive and negative particles eventually become the scientific proof of Taoism? Is our life an intersection of the visible and the invisible universe? Is our physical body and its biological processes part of the physical universe, and our consciousness, will and intelligence, in other words, our soul, part of the invisible universe? Do we come from the invisible universe of perfect balance to participate briefly in the charged physical universe of attraction and repulsion and then go home again to the perfect balance and peace of the invisible universe? Will the post-Einstein astrophysicists finally provide the proof for that which the mystics and saints have been experiencing for thousands of years? And will Dawkins, Hutchinson and the 'no nonsense realists' who stubbornly refuse to give any credence to anything that cannot be seen, become the 'flat-earthers' of the 21st century?



I remind you that the astrophysicists, thus far, have only detected one invisible plane of the ten or eleven that Einstein postulated. We can assume that if there are other planes, that they would be even harder to detect. The particles would get smaller and smaller, their mass would be less and less, and their effect or pull on anything in the rest of the universe would get weaker and weaker. Even the neutrino plane was considered, originally, to be without mass. Then it was discovered that even though neutrinos are so tiny that they are barely measurable, when you consider that they fill the entire universe, including interstellar space, their total mass has a very significant effect on gravity and the rate of expansion of the universe.



Let me borrow one more page from the world of physics and add one more conjecture. Einstein determined the speed of light, and that is referred to as a constant. It is the C of E=MC2. It is the highest speed at which any form of matter or particle can move. But what if we looked at it not as a kind of cosmic speed limit, but as a threshold? What if light waves don't know there is any such speed limit and continue accelerating past it? What if, at that point, they stop being a wave or even a thing, and this 'no thing' continued accelerating until it reached infinite speed, and it could reach infinite speed because it would have no mass to impede its momentum? 'No thing' traveling at infinite speed would be everywhere at the same time, because it would take it no time to travel the entire universe and come back to the same point. 'No thing' vibrating at infinite speed would be infinitely fast and absolutely still at the same time. 'No thing' would have no parts, because there would be no 'thingness' to separate one portion of it from another. So 'no thing' would occupy all space and no space simultaneously. Within 'no thing' there would be perfect union, since there would be no thing to separate one part from the other.

Now, you may ask, "If this 'no thing' has no mass and no charge, what possible effect could it have on us? And if this 'no thing' has no effect on us, why worry about it, or even try to think about it? The answer is that although it, this ultimate plane that lies beyond space and time, is not effected by the material world, the material world is effected by it, but not by simple collisions, attractions or repulsions. Let me explain. A few years ago I was standing on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. From that vantage it looks like every inch of the island of Manhattan is covered with elaborate buildings. The amount of effort and imagination and history that that panorama represents is breathtaking. How did it all get there? Yes, you could say that the steel came from iron deposits in Minnesota and was processed in mills in Ohio, and that the stone came from quarries in Vermont. That's not really what I am getting at. All of that construction began with desires in different human beings. No building was built unless someone wanted it built. No material was transported unless someone wanted it transported. Now they may have been built for a variety of desires and various combinations of desires, i.e. to make more money, to beautify a certain neighborhood, to provide shelter, to bring glory to the owner, etc. Yet they all started with a desire. And if we look at it from the perspective of an individual being, they all began with a certain restlessness; the desire created a stirring, a certain polarity, a charge, which created a biological process, which created a body sensation (a 'fire in the belly' or a 'swelling' in the chest') and the firing of some thought processes in the brain which resulted in a more solidified, more materialized plan. Desire automatically creates the energy and commitment to see this desire fulfilled, which we call will. With will, fueled by desire, the builder now uses his or her muscles and sinews and brains to do all the planning, the activity and organization necessary to get the building built. Everything that has been constructed, composed,written, sculpted or drawn by our species, not just in Manhattan, but in the entire world, began with a desire; and every desire comes automatically with the energy, which we call will, and the ability to focus that energy in the most effective way, which we call intelligence, to realize that desire. But where is the seat of desire; from what or from where does desire spring? Your desires spring from you, and you is not a thing. It is consciousness. In exactly the same way, the desire to create a physical universe springs from God, from the cosmic consciousness, which is also not a thing. In fact, it is 'no thing', it is the very 'no thing' that we have been talking about. So, does this plane,that is on the other side of light, that is not a thing, that is beyond space and time, beyond this or that, that is perfect union, does this plane effect us? No, this plane does not effect us. This plane IS us! This plane is the birthplace of desire and from this plane comes everything you see around you; all the human things that come from our desires and all the natural things that come from (and here is that G word again) God's desires.

Now this ultimate plane, since it has no mass, can neither be seen nor detected by any instrument. When we try to detect it we are looking in the wrong direction. It is not something out there to be detected, it is the one who is doing the detecting. It is the detector not the detectee, if you will. If we are waiting for physicists to discover it, we are waiting in vain. Rather than going to people whose expertise is in looking out at the world, we should be consulting with people whose expertise is in looking in at the Self; meditators and spiritual teachers. And we, of course, can do this ourselves. When we meditate, when we turn our focus away from the material world; we look at ourselves, not at what we are attached to, but at what is being attached. When we do that, when we remove ourselves from all the things that we desire and are entangled with, then the walls of separation break down. We begin to experience ourselves as an inextricable part of the consciousness of the world. We are of the same fabric, the same plane, as the Divine, and as such, not as our bodies and our biological processes, but as ourselves, we are boundless, immutable and eternal. And I would have told you all this a long time ago if you hadn't shunned me the moment I mentioned the G word!



Thanks for reading. I sincerely welcome your feedback.

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