Friday, September 27, 2013


I read the following in the September 26, 2013 edition of the LA Times:

Bionic Leg Is Steered By Brain Power

By Melissa Healy

     The act of walking may not seem like a feat of agility, balance, strength and brain power.  But lose a leg, as Zac Vawter did after a motorcycle accident in 2009, and you will appreciate the myriad calculations that go into putting one foot in front of the other. 

     Taking on the challenge, a team of software and biomedical engineers, neuroscientists, surgeons and prosthetisists has designed a prosthetic limb that can reproduce a full repertoire of ambulatory tricks by communicating seamlessly with Vawter's brain.
     A report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine describes how the team fit Vawter with a prosthetic leg that has learned-with the help of a computer and some electrodes-to read his intentions from a bundle of nerves that end above his missing knee.
.....Vawter's prosthetic is a marvel of 21st century engineering.  But it is Vawter's ability to control the prosthetic with his thoughts that makes the latest case remarkable.  If he wants his artificial toes to curl toward him, or his artificial ankle to shift so he can walk down a ramp, all he has to do is imagine such movement.
....."With this leg, it just flows," said the 32 year old software engineer......The control system is very intuitive.  There isn't anything special I have to do to make it work right."  
....."At the institute's Center for Bionic Medicine, Vawter spent countless hours with his thigh wired up with electrodes, imagining making certain movements on command with his missing knee, ankle and foot.
     Using pattern-recognition software, engineers discerned, distilled and digitized those recorded electrical signals to catalog an entire repertoire of movements.  The prosthetic could thus be programmed to recognize the subtlest contraction of a muscle in Vawter's thigh as a specific motor command."

There are a lot of interesting things to discuss here, but before I do I want to make clear that I am very happy for Mr. Vawter, that I admire all the hard work, dilligence and precision that went into the creation of this device and am excited about the promise that it holds for all people with missing limbs who will eventually benefit from these devices (as soon as these systems are perfected and ways of mass producing such devices are figured out and as soon as our values which are reflected in our health care system improve so that these devices are affordable for all who need them and not just for the ultra fortunate elite that can pay for them).

Such a device, which restores so many of the ambulatory functions that Mr. Vawter had enjoyed prior to his accident, will be described by many, perhaps even by Mr. Vawter, as 'miraculous.'  The majority of the team of scientists that were involved in the creation of this device will probably smile inwardly at this description, because they know the actual mechanics of how it works and while it is extremely complex and wonderfully precise, they know that the device is not miraculous, but mechanical, or perhaps more accurately, electro-mechanical.

 The point of this post is to show that the device is, actually, miraculous, or, more accurately, that it piggy-backs on what is miraculous about life, about the self and our relationship to our bodies, and does it in such a way that what is truly miraculous is completely overlooked; so that the layperson in her or his wonder at such a device is actually closer to the truth of it, and more emotionally appropriate in their response to it than the research scientists who will be winning Nobel Prizes and receiving enormous sums of money, not for creating something miraculous, but for finding a way, as I said before, of piggy-backing on what is truly miraculous.

....."At the institute's Center for Bionic Medicine, Vawter spent countless hours with his thigh wired up with electrodes, imagining making certain movements on command with his missing knee, ankle and foot.

     Using pattern-recognition software, engineers discerned, distilled and digitized those recorded electrical signals to catalog an entire repertoire of movements.  The prosthetic could thus be programmed to recognize the subtlest contraction of a muscle in Vawter's thigh as a specific motor command."

So basically, and I know I am over-simplifying, Vawter imagined doing a variety of ambulatory tasks with his missing knee, lower leg, ankle and foot, and each of these specific imaginings created a precise pattern of neuron firings in the nerves leading through his thigh down to the missing lower leg.  You can actually do the same thing yourself.  Without moving any part of your lower leg or foot, you can imagine doing certain tasks and while you cannot feel directly the neurons firing, you can, with many of these movements, feel the very subtle muscular contractions of various thigh muscles as you do these imaginings.  It is also interesting to realize that when you actually do these movements, you don't need to imagine them at all.  The only reason you are imagining them is because you are not doing them.  If you would just 'intend' to do them, with or without any conscious thought, they would be done.  In the same way that Vawter during the research phase of this device, did all this work with his imagination, concentrating on all these specific thoughts, but now that he has an actual leglike and footlike device, he no longer has to imagine anything, but just intend to climb the staircase or get up from the chair and ....."With this leg, it just flows,"......The control system is very intuitive.  There isn't anything special I have to do to make it work right."  

The research work that was done was in discovering the electrical patterns of neuronal firings that were already there and then creating the software to recognize these patterns and then electrically to conduct signals to that part of the artificial limb that would mechanically perform the task that Vawter intended to perform.

Let me reiterate here what I have mentioned many times before in other posts of this blog.  Matter does not want things.  Atoms, molecules and electrons do not care what happen to them one way or the other, have no desires, intentions or ambitions. Complex molecules, hydrocarbons, proteins, nucleotides, even DNA have absolutely no ambitions or desires for anything.  This should be obvious to any one of normal intelligence, but it seems to be beyond the understanding of our most celebrated scientists who base their understanding of life on ambitious and competitive nucleotides, proteins that desire to work and other such obvious nonsense.  Do you really think it makes any difference to a protein molecule if it is part of a complex matrix that keeps your heart beating or if your heart stops beating and that molecule becomes part of a meal for a hungry jackal?  Do you really think that DNA wants to replicate?  It replicates in automatic response to signals it receives from the surrounding cell.  Do you think that dinosaur DNA was in mourning because dinosaurs didn't survive.  Do you think any part of dinosaur DNA even realized it was dinosaur DNA?  Even realized anything at all?

Vawter's replacement leg is made out of matter, out of atoms and molecules and electrons.  It has no desires.  It does not care whether Vawter walks or not.  It does not care whether it is purchased for ten million dollars or whether it sits on a laboratory shelf.  In the same way Vawter's real leg is also made of matter, of atoms, molecules and electrons.  It, also, does not care whether Vawter walks or sits in a chair for the rest of his life.  What cares in all this, what has intentions is Vawter himself, or I should say, Vawter him Self.  Beings have intentions.  Beings experience things.  The intentions that beings have are to have certain kinds of experiences.  The two go hand in hand.  If you didn't experience anything you wouldn't desire anything.  And what you desire is to have a certain kind of experience, either for yourself or for other beings. You are not your body.  You are that which experiences and desires things through the agency of your body.  And that includes your brain.  Your brain, composed of atoms, molecules and electrons, in spite of its enormous complexity of organization, does not want anything and does not experience anything.  Your brain records your experience.   Your brain helps you organize your experience by separating it into different categories, so that you, with your human brain, experience the world as a human, and your dog, with its dog brain, experiences the world as a dog and a caterpillar, with its caterpillar brain, experiences the world as a caterpillar.  So your brain records and categorizes and helps you define your experience, but it does not experience your experience.  You, a non-physical being; you, the context of your experience and the milieu of your desires, you do that.  Your body/brain is that which translates instantly, miraculously, your desires or intentions into the precise pattern of neural firings that lead to the precise pattern of muscular contractions, that allow you to fulfill those desires.  Your body is the automatic and miraculous servant of your desires.

In all the hoopla and the awards ceremonies and the rising stock prices and the daydreams of all the ungodly profits to be made surrounding this amazing new device,  let's not overlook that which the research team has actually done. They have found a way to piggy back on our miraculous bodies that have been designed to do one thing and one thing only: to allow us to automatically fulfill our desires by instantaneously translating those desires, desires which are experienced but not observed and are not part of the physical universe, into the physical firing of enormously complex and precise patterns of neurons which initiate a series of electrical and mechanical responses which result in us being able to do that which we desire to do.

"Isn't it amazing what 'they' can do today!"  But isn't it more amazing what God, or the Cosmic Consciousness, or the Universe, if you prefer, has been doing all along.

I welcome your comments.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


This post cannot really be understood, by me or anyone else.  We are all limited consciousnesses.  We all have a mere peephole into the Infinite.  Yet it is still fun, awesome and humbling at the same time, to consider the Infinite, which transcends every iota of our material world, bounded by time and space (or by yin and yang), and is the source of all intelligence, creativity, consciousness and love.

Forgive me for being redundant, but I do have to repeat some things mentioned in earlier posts before moving forward.  The speed of light is, according to Einstein, the fastest speed that a particle or a wave can travel and still be a particle or a wave.  If we think of the speed of light not as a cosmic speed limit, as Einstein would have it, but as a cosmic threshold, then things crossing that threshold continue on but are no longer things.  They have entered the realm of Infinity, of the Godhead, of Cosmic Consciousness.  Once passing that threshold they would continue to accelerate to an infinite speed since they would have no mass (as Western scientists would have it) or no yang pull (as Eastern thinkers would have it) to limit their velocity.  A thing (which is no longer a thing) moving at infinite speed is incomprehensibly fast  and absolutely still at the same time, since it takes this 'no' thing no time at all to traverse the entire universe and return to the same spot.  And since it is not a thing it takes up no space; so it is simultaneously both everywhere and nowhere.

The closest we can come to understanding any of this is by looking at our own consciousness, which is one aspect, one piece, of the cosmic consciousness,  much more limited but still of the same essence (the divine spark within).  Our own consciousness, which is really us (everything else, including our body and brain, being our equipment, the apparatus that we use to experience life) is part of the Cosmic Consciousness, part of this no-thing.  In yoga and exercise classes we are told, when trying to relax, to be absolutely still; not to move a thing; and to bring our awareness to our feet, to our shoulders, to our lips, to our eyes and, again without moving a thing, just with our awareness to will those body parts to relax.  And no one objects.  No die hard materialists in the class raise their hands to call attention to the seeming contradiction, the paradox, of asking us to be absolutely still and not move a thing and then asking us to bring (move) our awareness to our feet, hands, shoulders, etc.  Everyone realizes, although materialists never stop long enough to think about it, that our awareness is not a thing (Perhaps awareness is the brain?  So is it our brain that is moving from our feet to our hands and to our shoulders?  I always thought the brain remained stationery within our skulls!) With another moment's reflection we would realize that our awareness is not a quality, a thing that we possess, but it is us, itself, the very thing, or no-thing, that possesses everything else.  When our instructor asks us to bring our awareness to our feet, it is not really that we are bringing or carrying something down to our feet.  We are bringing nothing but ourselves.  The instructor could just as easily say "be absolutely still and move down to your feet; now move to your shoulders, etc."  There would be no difference in how we executed that direction, but stating it that way would bring the non-material nature of ourselves closer to the surface and in our materialist society we prefer to keep that basic fact, so undermining to our whole materialist philosophy, hidden from view.

Each of us has stored within us an enormous number of memories: of facts, of meanings, of words, the muscle memory of how to speak and move and perform many, many complex tasks, the visual memory of so many places that we have seen both in the real world and in the virtual world of videos and movies, and places that we have imagined.  Along with this are stored countless remembered non-visual sensations of sounds and tastes and touches, and emotional memories of how we felt in various places and with various people.  In fact there is much research evidence to suggest that everything that we have ever experienced and even sensations that we were subliminally exposed to, that we were not even focussed on or conscious of at the time, that all of that is registered, is recorded, somehow, in our brains. Discovering the way that this enormity of information is stored in each and every one of our individual brains is the goal of many research projects that are currently taking place.  Whatever these projects eventually discover, the closest they will get is to discover the code by which this information is retained.  Whether that code is composed of pathways of neurons, the shape of those neural pathways, the chemical deposits within those neurons, the electro-magnetic fields that those pathways produce when fired, or some combination of these, this research will never uncover the actual smells and tastes and feelings and information that is stored there, but only the code that then must be translated into the actual stuff that we remember.  This translating of code into memory is done when we consciously try to remember something; when something that we experience in the present automatically triggers a memory from the past; and more prosaically, it happens every time we look out or listen to or smell or taste or touch our environment.  We see something and that thing is defined, instantly and automatically, by our past experiences of it.  We know that thing is called a tree; we know it is in our yard, or a neighbor's yard, or in a place we have never been in before, all because of the associations automatically triggered by that perception.  So this translating of neural code, or brain code, into the stuff that we actually remember or the stuff that automatically defines what we are currently perceiving, is going on at every moment of our waking existence.  And this translation is not done by any visible, physical organ within our bodies.  Whatever instrumentation scientists are able to use, now or in the future, they will not be able to go beyond, in their observations, the electrical or chemical or wave activity in and surrounding the brain.  They will never observe or measure the organ that translates this code into the stuff, into the smells and sensations and images and thoughts, into the actual specific experiences of the external and internal world which is the actual 'stuff' that populates our consciousness.  And that is because there is no such organ.  This translation is done not by a physical organ but by a non-physical being.  We can say that you (not your body or your brain, but you, the consciousness you) is doing it, but we are not aware of it at all, so it seems almost comically presumptious for us to take credit for this job which must take transcendent speed, unfathomable precision and tireless attention. This task, without which we would have no limited consciousness at all, no consistent point of view, no sense of self, no continuity, no world which is ours as opposed to theirs, no world which is familiar as opposed to unfamiliar, and no world which is understandable in any kind of intellectual way; all of this constant meticulous and astounding translation must be attributed to the Cosmic Consciousness, to the Godhead, to Infinity.

As I said before, when we are talking about the Infinite, none of this is really understandable; in other words It is way too enormous, too complex and too intelligent for us to wrap our little minds around;  but at least we can think about things long and hard enough to conclude that even though we cannot really understand It, there is no other conclusion but that 'this must be so.'  The same must be said for the initiation of whatever activity we choose to do at any moment.  The moment we decide to do something, extra blood bringing extra energy moves to precise parts of the brain and the precise hundreds of thousands if not millions of neurons are fired which initiate a whole series of wonderfully complex and precise processes that allow us to do whatever it is that we want to do.  Those processes moving from the initiating neurons through other parts of the brain and eventually to the precise muscles needed, are all things that scientists can and are studying and will continue to study.  What they cannot study, because it cannot be observed, because it is not executed by a physical organ, because it is not an observable, measurable process, is the instantaneous translation of our will, our decision, into the precise million initiating neuron firings required to carry out that decision.  And that is every decision, from our decision to go to law school, to propose to Calpurnia, to scratch our nose or to change our underwear.  It is again a task that requires unfathomable precision,  incalculable speed and unwavering and tireless attention; and it is again a task that we must attribute, not that we can really understand it, but because 'it must be so,' to the Cosmic Consciousness, to Infinity, to the Godhead.

Now I must reiterate that this must be so.  If you think about it you have to agree, unless you don't like any of the three names I've chosen: Infinity, Cosmic Consciousness or Godhead, and are more comfortable calling this infinite, limitless Being something else.  Many, if not the majority of people in our society, are not comfortable even considering the possibility of such a Being.  Many think of such a Being as having done a lot of work six thousand years ago, or fourteen billion years ago and, again, possibly, four billion years ago, at which time all the mechanics of systems were set in place which continue, by themselves, to function and evolve at every moment until we wind up with all the living complexity that we have today, while this Being has retired to some kind of heavenly retirement village from which He or She emerges only rarely to make sure that our favorite sports team wins games (If we lose the game that becomes proof, for us, that He didn't show up, and proof for our victorious opponents that He did.)  Much of this blog discusses at length how these known mechanical processes are not just designed and abandoned but must be overseen, altered and shaped continually.  If this is not evident in relation to biological processes, surely it must be evident regarding brain processes. For these processes, the translation of brain code into the stuff of consciousness, the translation of desires into the precise arrays of initiating neurons that will bring about the satisfaction of those desires, there is no visible mechanical process that one could even speculate might be responsible for these accomplishments.  Yet these are at the very center of every moment of our conscious existence.  The Infinite, the Cosmic Consciousnes, the Godhead, is not in any state of retirement, but is involved in an unfathomable number of simultaneous activities each one of which is, by itself, beyond our ability to comprehend.  Our lives are so intimately intertwined with the Infinite, so totally served by the Infinite, that it is almost comically presumptious to think that we lead an 'independent' existence; unique, yes; individual, yes; but independent?  Don't be ridiculous.

Materialists pride themselves on not 'needing' any notion of God, or Godhead or Cosmic Consciousness.  They flatter themselves into thinking that they function just fine without these fabricated crutches.  The truth is that at the center of these materialist notions is an idea of human superiority; of the materialist's own personal superiority to those 'knuckle-draggers' who cling desperately to antiquated views; of the materialist's belief in scientific progress to answer all questions, metaphysical or otherwise; of the materialist's personal superiority to the multitude of past generations that clung to outmoded ideas.  This notion of personal superiority is what has replaced the gratitude and humility that comes with either a belief in or an understanding of the necessity of there being an infinite Being containing transcendent intelligence upon whom we are utterly dependent.  And it is not any commitment to rationality that makes it impossible for materialists to calmly and deeply consider the implications of the above three paragraphs, it is, rather, the materialist's unwillingness to give up the notion of human and personal superiority to the non-human universe and to all the past ages of humanity, that makes the materialist incapable of accepting or even considering the inevitable conclusion of these words.

To continue: There are no parts to the Godhead, because there are no 'things' to separate one part from another.  There is no separation.  There may or may not be incorporate beings, what people have called angels of various forms, that populate intermediate planes of existence that are still separated from each other by some kind of energy formation; but within the Godhead itself, there is no separation, there is only One.  And there is no information within the Godhead.  Information as we know it, is some kind of coded message composed of words, numbers, electron streams, sound waves etc., which moves an idea or knowledge or opinion from one limited consciousness to another or to a mechanism designed by a limited consciousness which can read or respond to that information. Although there is a countless amount of information emanating from the Godhead,  within the Godhead there is no need for information because there is only one Being and that Being is everywhere at once.  There is no other one within the Godhead for that Being to communicate with.  Also, with one rather large exception, there are no ideas.  An idea is an intermediary between insight and action.  People without the power to act on them, communicate their ideas in the hopes that people with the means or the power will be able to translate those ideas into actions that will have a real effect on the world. Or people hold an idea until the time that they, themselves, can organize the means to translate that idea into action.  In the Godhead both the insight and the power exist simultaneously, so the execution is simultaneous with the insight.  To make it even more deliciously complicated, there are no actual insights.  An insight, at least as we understand it, assumes that there is a moment in time when we did not have the insight and then, suddenly, there is a moment in time when we do.  Yet in the Godhead there is no time.  Everything is already known.  The only exception is that when the physical universe was initiated, it began with an idea: the idea being, I believe, the notion of two opposing forces, one contracting and inward and one expanding and outward, whose interactions would, ultimately create the entire physical universe.  Once these two forces and the laws governing the interaction of these two forces were put in place, they were inviolable, since the physical universe depends on, in fact actually is, the interplay of these forces and any adjustment or even violation of these laws would bring down the entirety of it, necessitating the creation of a new universe with perhaps a different idea.  Therefore, all the subsequent ideas, for instance, the idea of the interplay of nucleotides and amino acids as being at the center of living bodies, the various ideas of metabolism, the various body plans with their complementary nervous, digestive, locomotive and breathing systems, in other words everything major that happened throughout the history of living evolution, existed as an idea in the mind of God, in the Cosmic Consciousness, prior to the time when the environmental conditions, all based on the natural unraveling of those first laws, created a condition suitable for the application of that idea.  And when those environmental conditions were right (amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, right range of temperatures, available minerals, probably something to do with the magnetic polarity of our planet, probably something to do with various waves and subtle particles that we are receiving from other galaxies), when everything was ready then, and the fossil record bears this out, that idea from the Cosmic Consciousness was introduced leading to, not a gradual, but a saltational (a sudden and dramatic) appearance of an entirely new life form, a new system of metabolizing, multi-celled as opposed to single-celled organisms with their jaw droppingly complex system of inter-cellular signalling, and the appearance of all the basic modern physical body types, all of which appeared saltationally and simultaneously at some moment during the Cambrian explosion.

There are no bodies, therefore no brains, no nervous systems and  no sense organs within the Godhead.  Sense organs are ways of filtering information: certain light waves as opposed to others, certain sound waves as opposed to others; nervous systems carry electrical information from one part of the body to another; and brains help us organize this information into a consistent, familiar, but limited understanding of the world. Magnificent scientific instruments, that enables us to see more deeply, more distantly and more minutely than we have been able to see before, add so much more information than we previously had, at the same time that idiotic scientific theories attempt to squeeze all this new information into the same old logical, linear, cause and effect, space and time bound little boxes that we have always stored them in. The Godhead can be thought of as one infinite sense-nervous-brain system.  Everything It encounters is sensed in its entirey, as opposed to sensing certain aspects of an object or a being and not others.  Everything It encounters is known in its entirety, since it was conceived by the Godhead, and created directly or by processes coming directly from the Godhead.  I don't mean that a thing is known biologically, as opposed to physically, as opposed to emotionally, as opposed to historically.  I mean that a thing is KNOWN, which means completely, in its entirety and simultaneously.  And by a thing I mean every thing in the universe, since the Godhead is everywhere and always has been everywhere and is, and always has been, encountering every iota of the physical universe at every moment.  And these Godly perceptions are not perceptions as we know them, filtered through a sense organ and either a visual or aural or taste or touch perception.  Our perceptions give us certain aspects of an object filtered through our own human sensory/brain/nervous system. God's perceptions give the object itself, in it's entirety and it is made both from within and without the object simultaneously.  All the myriad wave and particle processes involved in the creation and history of that object are instantly apparent to the Godhead.

Through science, as we begin to understand some of the material processes involved in getting the world to the condition that it is presently in, we can extrapolate backward and make some conjectures as to what the world was like in the past.  This comes from studying geology and with it the geological record, paleontology and with it the fossil record, genealogy and with it the genealogical record, etc.  These conjectures may be somewhat accurate, yet not completely accurate since we do not know all the processes involved and how all these different processes impinge on one another.  But let's suppose that we knew every process.  Suppose we could look at a person and actually perceive every process happening in this person's mind and body and understand, instantly, because of our knowledge of these processes, after all we created these processes in the first place, and know, in every detail, how this person is on every level and how this person got to be that way.  Also, the entire record of this person's experiences, recorded in code in this person's brain, is instantly available to us since we not only created this code, but use this code at every moment to translate neural firings into experience and desires into neural firings.  Then we would know this person; not our opinion, or our perception of this person, but the actual person herself, or himself, or the actual object itself.

Imagine being completely known to a being, any being.  Imagine being completely known to yourself.  Some of us think we know our personalities and habits of behavior fairly well, until we all, thankfully (or else our life here would be utterly boring and predictable) surprise ourselves.  Yet none of us pretend to understand ourselves biologically, do we?  All of the current biological research taking place is an attempt to complete this understanding, a process which to most biologists, even the more arrogant ones, is understood to be just beginning.  Yet to be understood by another being, so that not just your personality and biology, but all the influences that shaped your personality and biology, all the genetic materials and the other personalities and events and chemicals and food products that influenced the precise person that you are today, and all the things that you ever thought or experienced, all of which are recorded in our brains in a code which is not only instantly translatable in its entirety by the Godhead, but was created and put in place by the Godhead (please don't even dare to suggest at this point that anything of such gargantuan and indecipherable complexity as the human brain could be caused by a random, mindless process of evolution, of replication mistakes....the only thing mindless in this instance would be your audacity to make such a pathetic suggestion); a Being that you couldn't possibly hide anything from, Who would know what you were hiding and why you were hiding it the moment you attempted to do such a thing, and a Being who, with, and in spite of, It's entire and complete understanding of you and all of your equipment, still absolutely and unconditionally, tirelessly and eternally works for you, supports you and loves you; well...... that would be overwhelming indeed!

The responsibilities of the Godhead, of Cosmic Consciousness, are beyond comprehension.  At every moment that any of the myriad living beings in this universe wants to do anything, that non-physical desire must be translated into the precise array of neurons that will allow that activity to take place.  Every firing of every neuron that is coded for information or memory must be translated into that specific piece of information or memory.  If that is not enough to keep the Cosmic Consciousness busy, every egg that is produced by every animal must have in it a perfect and precise arrangement of protein molecules capable of reentering the nucleus of that cell and firing the precise genes that will differentiate all the various cells of that organism; and all the genes, which are coded merely for the recipes for the raw materials, the proteins, of these organisms, must then be selectively fired and transcribed and translated and manufactured and delivered and then shaped, at the precise place and in the precise moment,  into the newly forming, rapidly expanding, twisting, turning, embryotic mass.  And somewhat different processes of equally transcendent complexity must be overseen, and timed and shaped in all plant organisms.  On top of this, each living creature is given a system of desires, which, although they may have biological and chemical antecedents, are specifically designed so that all beings, the great, great majority of whom are totally unaware of their biological needs, are able to sustain and replicate themselves simply by following these biological desires:  eating what and when they want to eat; drinking what and when they want to drink; resting where and when they want to rest, seeking warmth when they are cold, seeking coolness when they are warm, and seeking a mate of the same species when they are horny.  Even the inviolable, physical laws of the universe, the laws without which there would be no universe, neither of life nor of matter, these laws are only inviolable because they are sustained, and they are sustained at every moment by the will of the Cosmic Consciousness and because, and only because, it is the will of the Cosmic Consciousness that this material universe be sustained and that the living beings within it continue to survive.

All of this has not been paternally imposed on us, by the way.  We were all once part of the Godhead and we will, ultimately, return to being part of the Godhead.  We chose to create this universe and various life forms so that we could have an experience of a separate consciousness.  Consciousnes is not really separable.  It is, as Deepak Choprah puts it, 'a non-local phenomena.'  Life, living beings, with nervous systems and brains, is our way of giving ourselves the illusion of separation.  Each different species is a different way of experiencing the world.  Members of the same species experience the world similarly enough to understand each other, so we don't die of loneliness.  Yet we also, even within each species, are not exactly the same, so we still have the ability to surprise each other, and so we don't die of boredom.  The Cosmic Consciousness serves us at every moment to allow us to survive so that we can continue to have this unique experience through the unique filter of our own unique body/brains and through our own unique combination of non-biological desires.  It is for the fulfillment, or the drama of seeking the fulfillment, of these non-biological desires, that we choose to be born.  And we also chose (when we were part of the Cosmic Consciousness, so, really, the Cosmic Consciousnes chose), to let us have, during this existence, free will, so that we can explore these desires which lead us to a myriad of interactions with our environment of people, animals, plants and things, and to learn from these experiences.

While the Cosmic Consciousness, at every moment, insures our survival by overseeing a myriad of automatic biological processes, and serves us at every moment by allowing the processes to initiate which will fulfill whatever it is that we desire to do,  the question is, does the Cosmic Consciousness ever interfere with our pursuit of desires or does It allow us to always exercise free will in these pursuits?  It seems to me that the Cosmic Consciousness does, at times, most definitely, interfere in these proceedings; but remember that the subtle creates the gross.  Our man-made world is created by desires.  Everything that was ever built, written, composed, or invented, by a man or woman, was built, written or composed because that man or that woman wanted to build, write or compose that very thing.  That wanting, that desire, begins as a little itch, a little, non-observable, non-measurable, dissatisfaction with something about the way things are, and then, ultimately, manifests into the industrial age, a doily, space exploration, ear plugs, world war, nail files, the United Nations, or whatever else has ever been humanly created, big or small.  Cosmic Consciousness is not matter, has no physicality whatsoever, and therefore operates on the most subtle level.  How many people that you know have received a sudden insight, a sudden realization, that they were on the wrong path, which led to them adopting a whole new set of desires and changing their lives? An insight, an awakening, not measurable, not directly observable to anyone but ourselves, but with the power to upend and transform our entire lives, suddenly appears to us.  What is the origin of this most powerful insight?  Ourselves?  If that were the case, if it were already within us, why did we let ourselves get so deeply into the predicament that we found ourselves in prior to this insight?  It is the Universe that teaches us that we are on the wrong path.  Yet how can the Cosmic Consciousness allow people to stay obsessed with the wrong desires long enough to inflict so much pain and suffering on the rest of humanity?  This is impossible to understand or to even justify from the perspective of finite life; but from the perspective of eternal life, from the perspective that we are all aspects of the same One Being; all of the suffering we see is part of the human learning process as we gradually, and painfully, determine that we are not really separate, and with that understanding comes the further understanding that our desires should be not for ourselves alone, but for the benefit of all of us.

Have you heard of gene swapping?  This is an utterly amazing process whereby a microbe which happens to possesses the genetic material necessary to cope with an environmental threat to a whole species of microbes (the arrival of a new predator, the disappearance of an accustomed food source, a climactic change, etc.) is able to grow pilli, or connecting ducts, to other microbes and send through those ducts the precise genetic material that they need to adapt to this environmental change.  In this way whole communities of microbes are able to survive because one member of that species was the recipient of the precise mutation (an "accidental" mutation, of course!) necessary to provide protection from this threat.  This most subtle and precise of procedures, so exponentially far beyond what our most sophisticated surgeons can do today, was taking place over three billion years ago at the earliest stages of our life on this planet.  If you don't attribute this process to the Cosmic Consciousnes, to the Godhead, then what do you attribute it to?  Whatever you call whatever It is to which you make that attribution is fine with me, as long as you attribute to It the transcendent brilliance and endless caring that it would take to accomplish such a thing.

Also, there have been a number of experiments recently where bacteria or insects have been observed over several generations after having been exposed to a new food source and having been denied access to the old food source.  In a number of cases, these organisms have adapted at lightning speed (compared to the supposed very gradual incremental changes of traditional evolutionary thought) in a straight line, without any random mistakes, and misfirings, from being perfectly adapted to the original food source to being perfectly adapted to the new food source.  These processes which are not just genetic changes, but changes in shape, beak length, reproduction cycles, behavior, massive changes in the timing of gene firings, in shapes and shapes within shapes and shapes within shapes within shapes to create an altered grand shape while still maintaining equilibrium and altering all kinds of systems so that these new shapes, new organs or altered organs receive the nutrients and the signalling that they need and so that the organism that has been changed can continue to willfully control these newly shaped organs and use them as part of its automatic environmental response system and its system of satisfying its desires; and all of this taking place within thirty to one hundred generations (ten to thirty years),  If you eliminate randomness in these undertakings, which, rationally, is the first thing that you would eliminate, what can you attribute these changes to but the Godhead, Infinity or Irving, if you like, as long as you attribute to Irving the transcendent intelligence, precision and caring to engineer such changes.

Although our consciousness is able to focus on a multitude of different things, it is able to focus on only one of those things at a time.  What is impossible for us to understand is that Cosmic Consciousness not only has the ability to focus on everything, but to focus on everything simultaneously.  Is there a chain of command so that the endless responsibilities of the Godhead are parcelled out to separate spiritual beings, angels, if you like, that have been granted enough intelligence and ability to serve and manage the needs and desires of individual physical beings, so that the Godhead manages through a spiritual hierarchy of angelic managers?  I have no idea, although centuries of anecdotal evidence would lead us to think this were so.  Yet within the actual Godhead, itself, there is no separation.  Perhaps angels are those beings that are ready to give up all personal selfish desires and therefore have no need for a body, but still want to have some sense of separation, even if that sense of separate existence is purely as a giver, as an intermediate servant between the Godhead and sentient physical beings.  This is all conjecture, and we are free to conjecture as we like as to how this unfathomable job gets accomplished.  Yet, what we cannot conjecture about, not if we think deeply and honestly about it, is that this job gets done and gets done at every moment of our existence and without which we would have no existence.

As I said before, God, or the Godhead, or Cosmic Consciousness is not a physical being, is beyond matter, beyond time and space.  How can all this transcendent intelligence exist in a being who has no physicality? How can we begin to imagine such intelligence existing without a brain or sensory organs or a nervous system?

When people enter the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease, they do not lose consciousness.  They simply cannot make any sense of the information that their sense organs are receiving.  All the information categorized and stored in the brain is excited by the perception of any sensation that is connected to that category.  In this way we are able to look out into the world and see objects and hear sounds that we understand, or at least think we understand, that are familiar to us and that we know how to relate to.  The world stops being a frightening, confusing place when it becomes recognizable and familiar.  This goes for all species, which define the world in their own unique way, and through which they achieve a sense of comfort and familiarity. Also the brain stores its information in the form of snapshots, that are frozen in time.  So when we define something or someone, say as dangerous, or as safe, then we continue to associate that person or that place in that way until they prove otherwise; but we become obtuse to the signals that would alert us to danger in a person we have previously defined as safe and are usually taken unawares by  the danger when it happens.  Quantum researchers tell us that our perception converts waves into particles.  We also convert fluid processes into unchangeable objects by our storing of  these ‘snapshot’ memories in our brains.  That is why we are always stunned when we see a child that we haven’t seen for ten years, or an adult that we haven’t seen for thirty years.  We think of people’s bodies including their faces as unchanging objects when actually they are constantly changing processes. 

The mind of God or the God head or Cosmic Consciousness does not, cannot, work anything like that.  First of all, there is no thing, no physical self, no body that needs to be fed, protected or rested, no personal biological needs or desires, so there is no thing that could threaten It, simply because It is not a thing. So there is nothing in the mind of God that is driven by personal desires or biological needs.  And there is nothing self-protective about these processes.  God effects the physical universe through It's will and intelligence but is not effected or possibly threatened by anything in the physical universe. When we think, our thinking takes place in time and space.  Signals move through our brains and nervous systems by the successive ionization of adjacent molecules which takes place rapidly, but not instantaneously (and no where even near the speed of light).  Therefore, we think sequentially and it takes us a moment, even a fraction of a second, to ‘figure things out’ or ‘to get our bearings.’  In the mind of God there are no thoughts.  A thought is an intermediary between perception and action, between receiving a sensation and understanding that sensation.  God’s understanding is total and instantaneous.  And God’s perception is total.  Living, physical beings are able to see certain frequencies of light through our eyes and sounds through our ears.  We are able to expand the range of those frequencies through instrumentation.  We are also able to expand the range of sights and sounds through instrumentation so that we can hear things much lower and much farther away than our unaided ears could hear, and see things much smaller and much farther away than our unaided eyes could see.  Yet God has no physical sensory organs. Yes, without eyes we physical creatures cannot see, but that is because we are limited to information coming into our brains. Without a body God perceives all waves, all frequencies, all particles, all physical processes and perceives them simultaneously. God does not need a separate place like a human brain to store memories.  The memories are embedded in every object in the universe.  By perceiving every process, no matter how small or subtle or how large and forceful, God sees the process, a process that is known intimately, since God, or the Cosmic Consciousness put the process in place to begin with. God sees all the processes and how they interrelate and how they got to be where they are at the moment and where they are heading, if they stay on the same course, in the future.  These include biological processes, psychological processes, genetic processes, aging processes, etc. When regarding a human being, God sees all these processes plus the effect of every influence on the body and brain of that individual, including the effects of genetics, of environment, of other people, of culture, of diet, of air quality, of exercise, of everything that has occurred in the life of that individual and how it has affected him or her for good or for ill.  This record is not only recorded in the posture and mobility of the body, in the chemical deposits in the body and brain, but in the brain itself which has recorded the entire history of everything this person has experienced in a code that the Cosmic Consciousness not only understands, but created and uses at every moment to stimulate the neurons that you need to give you what you desire at the moment and to translate stimulated neurons into actual experiences. 

Through scientific investigation we have begun to understand some of the physical processes that are at work in our universe, and through this understanding we are able to go backward and deduce, or at least think we can deduce, what may have happened in the past through our fossil record, our geological record, our genealogical record,  etc. Many of these processes, I believe, are misunderstood.  What we perceive, we perceive.  No one can argue with a perception.  But how we interpret that perception, the context in which we place that perception, the deductions we make from that perception, that is what can very much be argued with.  And there are many processes that we are completely unaware of.  There are waves of energy and particles too subtle and small for our instrumentation to detect.  We are affected by waves of radiation from distant galaxies, from the changing magnetic polarity of this planet, etc.  But God, or the Cosmic Consciousness, sees and understands all processes and their interrelationships, and in so doing, instantly understands everything about how every object in the physical universe got to be where it presently is and where it is headed in the future. So, in a sense, every object and every being within the material universe is God’s brain; is where the knowledge is stored where God understands what God needs to understand to accomplish what God needs to accomplish.  As far as God’s personal memories, there are none.  If there was a time prior to the existence of any physical universe, a time when there was only God, then within God there were no things, no separations, and therefore nothing capable of changing or interacting, in other words, no history and nothing to remember. God has no separate existence.  There is no separate history of God.  The history of God is the history of the physical universe.  God's memory is not stored in a brain, but in the universe itself.  God exists merely to serve other beings and to maintain the physical universe.  God’s involvement in this process is total.  There is no other part of God which goes off on Its own and leads Its own existence, and explores Its own desires.  God has no desires for God. God’s only desire is for the universe and to support all those creatures who come from God but who harbor delusions of separate existences, to assist them in fulfilling their desires, to provide for them the experiences they seek, and, when the time is right, to provide the insights that will allow them to evolve to the next level of awareness, in other words to realize at whatever level they are ready to realize it, that they are not so separate after all. To provide this life, this precious life, that we enjoy at every moment, this is the sole purpose of God’s existence.

And God's relationship to you never changes.  Your relationship with God may, and probably does, change.  Whether you are in complete and adamant denial of even the existence of God, or whether you embrace God totally, God is still there; closer than your breath, allowing you to do whatever it is that you want to do, allowing you to experience whatever it is that you want to experience, before you are even concsiously aware that you want to do it. God is infinitely patient but not in the normal way that we think of patience.  God is not holding down restless impulses, not struggling with impatience.  Far from it.  God is way too busy for such nonsense.  God IS.  

In another post I mentioned that you, the observer, are external to all things you observe.  You can feel your breath, but you are not your breath but the breather of your breath.  You can watch your thoughts.  But you are not your thoughts, but the thinker of your thoughts.  You can listen to your heart beat, but you are not your heart beat, but the listener of your heart beat. In all observations, even the ones within your own body, you, the observer, are still separate from what you observe.  Yet God, or the Cosmic Consciousness, is not a thing and cannot be observed.  God can be experienced.  You experience God, not as external to yourself.  You experience God by stopping, even for a moment, the restless activity of your desires, and giving up all the self-definitions that you have accumulated over the years by being a member of a society.  By dropping all these barriers, your self, your consciousness, expands and begins to experience for itself some of the limitlessness, some of the boundlessness, some of the love and connection that is part of God.  You don't observe God; you melt into God.

At least that's what I think.  Do you think differently?  Let me hear from you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


In a mine in South Dakota, one mile below the surface of the earth, scientists wait patiently by tanks filled with liquid xenon, a material as dense as rock, each surrounded by outer tanks of 70,000 gallons of water.  They are waiting for the arrival of dark matter particles which, supposedly, will tap out a distinctive beat when they collide with the xenon.  According to these scientists dark matter outnumbers regular matter in the universe by a ratio of five to one.  Dark matter is so elusive that it as yet has escaped observation, but it must exist, according to current thinking, to explain certain phenomena, like why the spiral arms of constellations don't spin out into the universe from centrifugal force, but continue to be held in place.  Also, the expansion of the universe, supposedly from the Big Bang, is considerably slower than first predicted, which must be explained by all this extra, yet undetectable mass, slowing down the expansive force of the Big Bang.  While these scientists labor underground in South Dakota, other subterranean scientists labor dilligently in Switzerland, colliding subatomic particles at enormous speeds in search of the Higg's Boson.  Physicist Thomas Higgs postulates a Higgs field which pervades the universe but is, like dark matter, undetectable, and collides with particles a millisecond after the Big Bang or other collisions or explosions of particle busting intensity, conferring mass on some particles and none on others (see my post 'Higgs and Creation').  Dark energy, dark mass, the Higgs field and the Higg's boson, the exploration in South Dakota and the exploration in Switzerland seem closely related.  They all stem from our bewilderment regarding mass, how to explain it's origin and how to explain why our usual Newtonian formulas regarding mass and force don't seem to come close to working when we are dealing with the gigantic forces and masses of the universe or with the forces at work within the minuscule dimensions of the atom.

The prevalent philosophy of most Western people on this planet at the moment is one of materialism.  This philosophy is based on the 'real' things, the solid things that we can see and measure around us.  It is terrifying to a materialist (at least to a thinking materialist, and those may be few and far between) that there may be no real solidity what so ever to the universe.  Originally it was thought that solid matter was composed of tightly knit indestructable pieces of matter called atoms.  It was later discovered that those atoms were really separated by large distances (large in relation to the size of the atoms themselves) from each other and connected, not by matter, but by force fields of mutual attractions and repulsions). Still later, the atom itself was discovered to be composed of a 'solid' nucleus separated by large distances (large in relation to the nucleus itself) from electron particles or an electron field, which again, was held in place by non-material forces of attraction and repulsion.  Now we have been able to pierce the solidity of the atomic nucleus and we have discovered within these seemingly solid protons and neutrons a bewildering array of much smaller subatomic particles, of quarks and gluons and mesons, all connected within the proton and neutron by force fields of mutal attraction and repulsion.  So are these quarks and mesons the 'ultimate' particles, providing the 'ultimate' solidity to the universe, or are these too, ultimately, composed not of matter, but of forces, in the case of quarks, of two opposing forces, one expansive and centrifugal, one contractive and centripetal, in a tight embrace?  What if all particles were, in fact, not made of anything solid at all, but were combinations of opposing forces, neutralizing each other in a stable configuration?

These force fields, by the way, in fact all forces, cannot be seen or measured directly, but only by their effect on matter, on particles and waves.  The forces themselves are not material.  We fall off the roof of a building because of a force, which we call gravity.  Whether our understanding of gravity is correct or not, it is a force and not matter.  In other words we don't go crashing to the ground because little 'gravity' particles are pushing down on us.  There are no particles involved.  The positive poles of magnets or negative or positive molecular ions do not repel each other because of particles or waves that push in between them.  This happens because of a force, which, in this case, we call an electro-magnetic force, but it is no more material than the force that we call gravity is material.  In fact all forces, the so-called weak force and strong force, as well, have no material base in and of themselves, but can only be measured by their effects on matter.

We have been brought up on a basic Newtonian model of mass versus force.  There is a big rock in the road.  How much force will it take to move that rock to the side of the road?  We exert force against the resistance of mass to accomplish whatever we want to accomplish in the world.  Certainly mass must exist.  It's as real as your older, bigger brother sitting on you when you were a child and you not able to muster enough force to push him off.

Our understanding of gravity has changed in the past century.  We used to think of gravity as Newton would have it, as a mutual attraction between masses, the much larger mass pulling the smaller mass in toward it, but the smaller mass exerting a pull on the larger mass as well. With Einstein we have come to view gravity as a bending in the curvature of time/space, but this is also due to the mass, the solidity of large  massive objects.  We understand that when we are moving a large rock, it is hard to do because of the attraction of that large rock to the center of the earth and we are really exerting a horizontal force to overpower this downward vertical force.  We also know that if we were in a gravity free zone, within a space ship, for instance, that that heavy rock would have no weight or mass and we could easily move it with the flick of a finger. Yet we still think of this downward force as being caused by, as emanating from, this solid, heavy quality of the material of the rock.  Yet what if there were nothing really solid or massive about the rock at all.  What if the seeming solidity of the rock and all the particles within the rock had the appearance of solidity and mass because of  opposing forces in stable configurations and not because of any matter at all?

In other posts (Higgs and Creation and Yin,Yang and Beyong) I have written a fair amount about yin and yang, the two opposing forces that many people believe (at least many people in Asia believe) are the structural foundation of everything in the universe.  Yin is the expansive, centrifugal force and yang is the contractive, centripedal force.  You may have heard that yin and yang attract each other.  This is not quite true.  Yin and yang ensnare each other.  Yin and yang combine to form particles and waves, the yang preventing the yin from expanding out beyond the boundaries of the particle or wave and dispersing into infinity, by pulling it in toward its yang center, and the yin preventing the yang from contracting into itself and disappearing from the physical plane into the non-physical vortex that holds the universe together and that was the site of the Big Bang.  Waves are more yin than particles, but they each have a shape.  Shape has dimension because of the yin force and has boundaries because of the yang force.  This is not an attraction, but a mutual entrapment.  Yin still wants to escape from the pull of yang and exapand out into Infinity, and yang wants to escape from the outward push of yin and collapse into itself.  This dynamic tension, the intensity of this pushing and pulling is what gives us the illusion of solidity. Within the nucleus of the atom are quarks which are particles not of matter, but of yin and yang in a tight embrace.  Some of these particles (mostly in the center of the proton or neutron) are more yang and some of these particles (mostly toward the surface of the proton or neutron) are more yin.  The proton and neutron are arrangements of these variously charged sub atomic particles held in a stable balance by their mutual attractions and repulsions, although the proton, being slightly more yang, is externally balanced by the yin electrons or electron fields which circle the nucleus and at the same time as they are pulled centripedally by the yang force of the protons, push out centrifugally by their own yin expansive force.

The real attraction is between smaller yang and larger yang.  Yang pulls other yang toward it.  Large accumulations of yang energy continue to attract more and more yang energy to it.  The yin that is bound with yang in all objects modulates this pulling force.  But this attraction of smaller yang to greater yang is the real explanation of gravity, of weight and mass.  Physicists run into problems and create enormously complex formulations because they look at the world as a single force versus mass.  There is the force of the expansion of the Big Bang versus the mass of all the material of the universe.  There is the centrifugal force caused by the spinning arms of galaxies versus the mass of the material in these galaxies.  If they would forget about mass, forget about any real solidity at all, and view the universe as an interplay of two countervailing forces in various configurations, not the interaction of a single force with mass, then, they would not have this problem.  Yes, there is the expansive force of the universe, perhaps caused by the Big Bang.  But there is the countervailing  contracting force still pulling from the non-physical center of the universe where the Big Bang took place.  Yes, there is tremendous centrifugal force caused by the high speed rotation of galaxies, but there is the countervailing centripedal force pulling back toward the denser, more yang center of these galaxies.

Just as there is no real mass, there are no 'massless' particles, as Western scientists refer to them. Every particle and even every wave maintains a shape.  For this shape to be maintained, for this wave or particle not to break the confines of its boundaries and disperse out into infinity, there must be some, at least minimal amount of yang.  The pull of this minuscule amount of yang cannot be detected on the Earth where the strongest gravitational pull is toward the yang center of our planet.  Yet when light waves, for instance, pass by the much stronger yang pull of large stars and the dense yang center of galaxies, light waves and electro-magnetic waves are pulled toward them and we get the bending of waves that led to much of Einstein's theories about relativity and space/time.

Gravity, dark matter, the slower expansion of the universe, can all be explained by an understanding of the simple principles of yin and yang.  These increasingly desperate searches for mass conferring particles and dark particles are in a sense, the last gasp attempts by materialists to find any solidity in the universe what so ever.  Crawl out of your mine shafts and tunnels and give all this nonsense up.  We live in a 'seemingly solid' world, but really a world of forces, forces which have no material bases at all.  These forces are laws.  Just like there are laws of gravity and laws of electro-magnetism, which are human attempts to describe how forces behave, there are laws of yin and yang (see 'Yin, Yang and Beyong').  In human society the laws that we create have to be externally enforced.  There is the law and included in the law are the methods of enforcing the law should anyone violate it, or as a deterrant to people that are thinking of violating these laws.  But in nature, the laws and the enforcement are the same.  The inviolability of natural forces demand that the universe behave in certain ways.  These laws cannot be violated, although they can be overcome.  Living beings and machines created by living beings, are the only things capable of overcoming, not violating, but overcoming, natural forces.  We do this biologically by metabolizing energy to overcome gravity and inertia, for instance, and pump blood to our heads, move food matter through our digestive systems, etc.  We do this behaviorally, by summoning the energy to overcome these same forces so that we can do what we want to do.  And we do it with machines, which are themselves a kind of metabolic system, by gathering energy and funneling it through a certain kind of shape and a certain kind of material, to overome natural forces and accomplish the task that the inventor of the machine had in mind when he first thought of it, and the users of the machine have in mind whenever they use it.

The force of gravity is not executed through particles which push down on you.  The Big Bang force of expansion is not executed by particles that push out on you.  Forces are non-material.  Stop thinking of non-material forces versus particles, or versus mass, and think of two countervailing forces.  In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth (the earth as a planet not being created for two more 'days' the reference must be to heaven force and earth force).  Infinity bifurcates into yin and yang.  Two different religions (Judeo/Christian and Taoist) from opposite sides of the world, saying exactly the same thing.  The universe begins not with a Big Bang but with an idea, an idea of two countervailing forces and how they can interact to form a 'seemingly' solid universe.

I not only welcome your comments, I hunger for them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Science is grounded in observation of the world around us.  Based on these observations scientists hopefully develop testable theories as to how physical things will react under certain physical circumstances.  These theories are tested and if found to be accurate, can be used to make predictions as to what will be the energy result, or the velocity result or the chemical result of a series of certain specific physical conditions.  These are observations of the external world.  Even biologists who make their observations on living bodies, make them, most commonly, not on their own bodies, but on other bodies which are, at least from the perspective of the researcher, part of the external world.

Social scientists often rely on what is called 'internal' observations.  Often subjects are asked to observe their feelings, their behaviors, even their body sensations and describe them to the researcher.  And we all make "internal' observations regularly in our daily lives.  We determine, based on observation of body sensations, that we are hungry or tired or relaxed or achey or sick.  When we try on new clothes we observe our body sensations to determine how well the clothes fit.  If you have ever been to a yoga class you are asked to 'watch your breath' or to keep observing different parts of your body to see if you can stretch further and twist more without straining.

When we are younger, disciplinarians ask us to 'watch ourselves.'   All of psychological therapy, all of it, regardless of the particular branch of therapy that is being practiced, all rely on the ability of the patient to step back when they find themselves caught up in a familiar pattern of behavior that they would like to change, and notice what they are doing and feeling at that moment.  Certainly there is no hope for change, either when psychologists attempt to change unfulfilling behavior patterns, or when judges or wardens or anyone else involved in the jurisprudence system, attempt to change criminal behavior,  if patients or criminals do not have the power to step back, to 'watch themselves.'

It should be noted that even with so called 'internal' observations of body sensations, feelings and memories, that the body sensation, feeling and memory is still external to the observer.  We observe a body sensation, but we are not the body sensation that we are observing. When we observe our experience we are not the experience itself, but that which is observing the experience. This is equally true for imagined observations.  We are not the dream, but the dreamer; not the concept, but the conceiver.   Whatever we observe, even if it is within our own bodies, even if it is within our own imagination, is always external to us, the observer.

So what is this observer that is making all these observations?  First of all, and obviously, it is not the 'eye.'  When you make observations in the external world, you often use your eyes, although many times you intentionally close your eyes when you are detecting a sound or smell because you may be able to focus more intently on a nonvisual observation with your eyes closed.  And certainly observations of body sensations, thoughts and anything commonly thought of as within your body is not made with the eye.  Even if you use your eyes, it is arguable that the eye itself is not making the observation.  You are looking through your eyes.  Your eyes by themselves, even with all their neural attachments to the brain, are just mechanical/electric cameras, although fantastically intricate and precise cameras.  There still needs to be an observer, an 'I' looking through that eye to actually see anything.  Many thousands of patients in vegetative coma states have their eyes open.  Are they actually seeing anything through those eyes or not?  This is a question that plagues their loved ones and care takers.  Since they are totally paralyzed there has been no way of knowing (until recently, see post 'Brain Scans, Comas and Consciousness') if there is anyone 'in there' or not.  People intuitively understand that even if the eye is working, even if all the various parts of the eye are there and in good condition, even if the optical nerve is in tact and the connections to the optical tetum of the brain are whole, there is no vision unless someone is in there; unless someone is using this equipment; unless an 'I' is looking through that eye.

This I, this observer, is what people with spiritual curiousity are interested in.  There is no reason why spiritual curiosity cannot happily coexist with scientific curiousity; scientific curiosity being an interest in observations of the world around us; and spiritual curiosity being an interest in the observer itself.  And there are several things about this 'observer' that are extremely interesting and extremely rewarding to anyone that has a real curiosity about it.  One interesting thing is that no matter what you are doing or experiencing, if you are able to observe it, then you notice that it, whatever you are observing, whether it is inside or outside of your body, whether it is real or imagined,  is always outside of you, the observer. So the observer, which is you, always eludes definition.  Whatever you decide this observer is, whatever concept you conjure up for it, that definition and that concept exist outside of the observer.  To try to 'figure it out' you have to conceptualize something and in doing so you automatically create something outside of yourself, the observer.  The observer is not a thing and it is not a concept.  It may be helpful to say that the observer is the context, the non-physical bowl within which you experience all  your experience.  It may also be helpful to use the analogy of the foreground and the background of a painting.  If a painting contains any objects what so ever, there must be a background for those objects to emerge from.  The observer, then is the background of your experience, and the foreground is the actual experiences of your life.  Yet this is not perfectly accurate either and cannot be taken too literally. If you imagine a painting with a background and a foreground of objects, then you, the imaginer, are niether the background nor the foreground of the painting, but the non-physical background which is imagining the entire painting including background and foreground.  If you extend your imagining to include all the walls of the museum where all these pictures appear, then the walls become the background of all the picutres, but you the imaginer are the context, the background which includes the entire museum.  And if you visualized the entire universe and all the endless dark space out of which emerges suns and planets and comets and nebulae and constellations, then you, the visualizer are not the endless black space of the universe but the invisible bowl, the invisible background within which that endless black space and all the objects within it are imagined.  Any image of contexts or backgrounds, if held on to, will actually prevent you from experiencing, and by experiencing, from knowing, the observer by itself, when it is not making any observations at all. And since you, yourself, are the observer, these concepts, and the continuous restlessness of desires which keep you ever focussed  on the objects of your desire, in the external world or in your imagination, prevent you from experiencing the observer by itself, apart from all observations; and since the observer is you, the real you, your inability to stop, even for a minute or two, the restless movement of your desires and your mind, which is the servant of your desires, prevents you from every really knowing yourself, from self-realization.  The observer, or the self, then, is not any of these things or images that we use to define it.  The observer IS.

You can also notice that the observer, whether you are using your eyes, your nose, your ears, your skin, your memory or your intellect, that the observer, itself, is exactly the same observer no matter which sensory organ or combination of sensory organs you are using to arrive at whatever it is that you are experiencing.  You, the real you, as opposed to your body, your mind or whatever it is that you experience, are the observer.   You are the seer of your sights, the hearer of your sounds, the thinker of your thoughts, and the 'senser' of your body sensations.  If you are able to separate yourself from what you are experiencing, you will notice that yourself always feels exactly the same to yourself, and that includes not just whatever you happen to be doing or experiencing at that moment but also wherever and whenever you happen to be doing or experiencing it.  The you that observes smells inside your nose and the you that senses touch sensations all along your skin, the you that tastes things in the roof of your mouth and the you that sees things between the external end of the optical nerve and the retina, and the you that hears things between the external end of the cochlear nerve and the ear drum, are all exactly the same you.  Also, your 'you' doesn't change with time.  There is no morning you and evening you; a summer you and a winter you.  You are always the same ground of experience, the same focus, the same observer, no matter what, where or when you are observing something.

So even when you were a small child, your experience of yourself to yourself was exactly the same as it is now.  That is why sometimes you wake up in the morning and before your adult thoughts and concerns come rushing in you have a momentary insight that you, yourself and to yourself, without the distraction of any thoughts, feelings or body sensations, are exactly the same as you always were.  That is also why people with Alzheimers, where the logical and time oriented connections in the brain have begun to deteriorate, can get terribly confused and think that they are present at a much earlier time in their lives.  That is also why all old people, when they can separate themselves from their body sensations,  never feel old to themselves but exactly as they always felt to themselves and are often surprised to see themselves in pictures and realize that they really are, at least as far as their faces and their bodies are concerned, old.  The same is true for people who have lost a limb, have gained a lot of weight, or whose body has undergone any drastic change.  They still feel exactly the same to themselves as they did before the change took place and often momentarily forget that that change has taken place.  Even stroke victims and people that have experienced brain damage know, even if they are no longer able to communicate this knowledge, that in their innermost self, they are still the same as they always were.  The intense frustration that these people feel comes from the fact that even though they are no longer able to translate their thoughts into words for others or even for themselves, the same impulses, the same desires that would formerly result in thoughts are still there but, maddeningly, they can no longer be communicated.

The fact that the observer, which is the true self, has not changed since one was a small child, can at first seem abhorrent to the ego.  Yes, you have a whole shelf of trophies that you have accumulated, you have a wall full of advanced degrees; you have a fabulous home, a fabulous car, and a wonderful family.  But all these achievements and acquisitions are external to yourself.  I know that you don't think the same thoughts, have the same understandings, feel the same feelings, have the same values or perceive the world in the same way as you did when you were much younger, but, again, all of these are the contents of consciousness, not consciosness itself.  In the same way, you may now be haunted by failures, guilts and disappointments.  You may be lonely and depressed in a way that you never were in early childhood.  Yet, these feelings, this 'sense of yourself' are the things that you observe or even the things through which you observe the world, but they are not the observer itself.  It's as if you have accumulated dirt on the surface of your flashlight.  The light that comes out is not as bright as it used to be, and all the things you see look dirty because of it; but if you remove that dirty cover of the flashlight, if you get below the surface, the light inside is exactly as bright as it always was.

So two curious things about this observer are 1. that everything it observes in the material world and in the imaginary world is external to it, and 2. that it never changes.  The things it thinks about change, the body sensations it experiences change, the values and and relationships and feelings that it dwells on at different times change, but it, itself, not the experience, but that which experiences the experience, in other words, you; you, apart from your ever growing and aging body and your ever changing stream of thoughts, you, yourself,  never change.  This is exemplified beautifully in a Hindu legend of two birds in a tree.  The first bird is singing, then not, building a nest, then not, laying eggs and feeding children and then not; flying, eating, singing, and then not.  The other bird just sits absolutely still in the tree and silently observes everything the other bird is doing.  This other bird never moves; it never sings; it never does anything but silently and absolutely peacefully observes.  The first bird the Hindus refer to as the self with a lower case s; what they call the relative self.  The second bird  the Hindus refer to as the Self with a higher case S; what they call the witness.

Another thing that is most curious about this observer, or self, which I will now call this Self, is that it is not observable or measurable in any way directly.  Of course, it is usually quite obvious when a Self is present in the body of a living creature, because the presence of the Self means that that creature is alive; and the absence of a Self means that that creature is dead; usually a very obvious difference.  Yet when people are in vegetative comas and are being maintained by life support systems, it becomes very difficult to tell if they are alive or not; and no matter who is asking, no matter whether it is 'uber materialist' Steve Pinker, or 'man is merely a computer' Richard Dawkins, the question is always, even if the entire body and brain seem to be in tact,  "is anyone still in there?" Unless the person is not completely paralyzed and can voluntarily move some muscle, whether it is to wiggle a toe, blink an eye or clench a jaw, there has been no way (again, until very recently) to determine whether 'anyone' is in there; and always family and loved ones and caretakers, even neo-Darwinist materialist caretakers, are desperate to find out.

Even in healthy bodies, although the responsiveness of a living person gives you prima facie evidence that there is some one, some thing, some entity, in there that is hearing and considering your words and giving you reasonable responses based on those observations; the actual hearer of your voice, the being that is making sense out of your words, the being who is initiating a whole series of responses including the firing of millions of neurons, the contraction and expansion of several muscles in his tongue and jaw and the directing of just the right amount of air through his vocal chords to respond to your questions, that being, so obviously deduced from his or her reactions, is not actually visible or even directly measurable.

You may have been in yoga classes or done deep relaxation exercises where the instructor asks you to be absolutely still and, without moving at all, to 'bring your awareness' to your foot, 'bring your awareness' to your hand, to your chest, to any part of the body where you are experiencing tension.  All of this is done while you are being absolutely still.  If everything in your body, not the microscopic movements within your cells, or the involuntary movements within your blood stream and digestive tract, but everything within your conscious control is absolutely still while your awareness is moving freely all around your body, then, clearly, your awareness is not a thing.  And your awareness is really you.  When you are asked to 'bring your awareness' to a certain place its not as if you are bringing or carrying something external to yourself called your awareness.  It's not as if you are moving to your foot and you decide to take your awareness along with you.  How could you move to your foot and not bring your awareness.  You and your awareness are the same thing; they cannot be separated.  You could as easily say, without moving, 'go to your foot,' or 'be with your foot,' and you will get exactly the same result.

The reason you can move the Self freely around the body while the body is absolutely still is that the Self is not a thing at all.  It is context not content.  It is the non-physical bowl within which you experience all your experience.  It is not made of molecules or atoms, of waves of energy, of quarks or neutrinos.  It is not a thing.  It is no thing.  I could call it consciousness, but that conjures up an image of something that includes the contents of consciousness, all the things that consciousness experiences.  Yet you are pure consciousness, not the contents of consciousness.  The Self is actually you at your deepest level, yourself,  and the moment you try to conceptualize it, to observe it in your imagination, you step outside of yourself and create an image or a concept that is bounded, limited and not really pure consciousness, which is unbounded, limitless and precedes any content.

The observer, the Self, is not understood but realized; it is not figured out but experienced.  In fact it is the only thing (which is not really a thing) that you can know with complete confidence.  To know the Self does not require an observation of anything.  It does not require the use of a measuring instrument which gives you a quantity or a quality of a thing, but never the thing itself.  It does not require the use of sense organs which receive some signals that are impinging on them and ignore others and which signals are interpreted by ourselves based on our previous experiences.  It does not require the brain, which is the organ which records and defines our experience and through which we look out at the world from a certain point of view.

As opposed to science, the experience of the observer, of the Self, requires no beliefs.  When contemporary scientists look back on past scientists they have no problem using the word 'belief.'  Scientists used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe.  Scientists used to believe that fire emitted a substance called phlogiston.  Scientists used to believe that time and space were discreet, separate qualities, as were electricity and magnetism.  Those same scientists when they were alive would have been just as upset and outraged by anyone calling their 'laws' or their 'conclusions' beliefs as contemporary scientists are about calling their current unerstandings beliefs.  Yet time always changes laws into beliefs that are only understood to be beliefs in retrospect.  The observer, the Self, however never changes.  It cannot change because it is not a thing and only things change.  Mystics and saints trying to put into words their experience of the Self and the effects of realizing the Self, use the same words and make the same attempts that they did five hundred years ago, five thousand years ago and last year.

All this brings us to a fourth interesting thing about the observer, the Self.  I saved this aspect of the Self for now because it is, unless it is understood carefully, the most ego threatening of all.  This fourth aspect of the observer is nothing more and nothing less than that the observer, the Self, that is looking out and observing the world from behind my eyes, and the observer, the Self, that is looking out and observing the world from behind your eyes, is the exact same Self.  In fact, the Self that is looking out and observing the world from your cat's eyes, or your dog's eyes, or any living beings eyes, or, if they don't have eyes, any living being's sense organs, the observer, the Self, in all living beings is the exact same Self.  Again, I do not mean that any two creatures perceive the world in the same way; that any two creatures have exactly the same values or feelings or thoughts.  I am not implying that every creature even has values or feelings or thoughts.  Yet every creature is conscious; every creature has at its center an observer, even if all it observes is to detect whether something is to be approached or avoided, eaten or ignored.  If a creature is alive it needs nutrients and it gravitates toward the things it needs and it expends energy to arrive at those things it needs, whether that means hunting, grazing, running, flying, swimming,  turning its leaves to face the sun or sending out roots to find water.  This creature, whatever it is, performs these tasks not because of gravity, electro-magnetism, the weak force or the strong force, but because it wants to, because of the force of desire; and it desires what it needs not because it, or we humans for that matter, have any understanding of our biological needs, but because we experience hunger, a conscious experience, which is the desire which draws us to what we want to eat (and also, thanks to the wisdom of the universe, to exactly what we need to eat).  And the 'that which experiences hunger' of that simplest creature is the exact same 'that which experiences hunger' in us humans, which is the exact same 'that which thinks our thoughts', and 'that which calculates our most sophisticated calculations.'

As Deepok Chowpra says, "conciousness is a non-local phenomena."  Living beings are ways of separating consciousness, not that it is really separated, but by committing to a separate body and a separate brain, and participating in this world only through the agency of this body/brain, each of us develops our own separate way of experiencing the world and maintains the illusion of separation.  In this light, a species is a group of living beings that share a common understanding of the world and that can therefore understand one and other.  Variation within a species means that while members of the same species share a basic understanding of their world, they do not share it exactly.  Yes, from an evolutionary point of view, variation within a species increases the chance of survival of that species in the face of a new predator or a sudden change in environment.  But from an experiential point of view, variation within a species means that each member of a species has an exciting life as it gets to know, but never fully knows, is continued to be surprised by, the other members of that same species.  Members of the same species have enough in common so that they can understand each other and do not die of loneliness.  Members of the same species have enough variation so that they can never understand each other fully and do not die of boredom.  Understand here that I am not coming from the point of view that we are here merely to try to survive.  If that was the only thrust of evolution we would have stopped in the very beginning with microbes, which began all living creatures and still dominate all other living creatures by billions or trillions to one.  Survival has never been the main issue.  The thrust of evolution is to provide an experience and as environmental conditions on this planet and available elements on this planet have allowed for more and more complex organisms, they have been created to provide a more and more complex and interesting life experience. And evolution stops with humans not because more survivable creatures are not possible (as I said, microbes are exponentially more survivable), but because we are the living creatures, finally, that have the complexity to realize, during our own life time, that we are not separate, in other words, humans are the first creatures that have the capacity to see through the game of life and realize who we really are.

If we were forced to summarize Christianity in one sentence it would be 'the Golden Rule,' Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  This is the central teaching of Jesus and it appears in Hebrews in the Old Testament and in the writings of Buddha, in Hinduism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism.  Yet these great teachers of ancient religion were after something more than molding 'nice' people.  Look at the Golden Rule not just as a prescription for behavior but as a learning tool.  By acting as if other people are as worthy as yourself, you eventually come to realize that they really are as worthy as yourself, in fact, that they and you are all aspects of the one great cosmic Self.

Whether or not we have that complete realization that we, in our essence, are really one, we still get intimations of it.  Those intimations we call love.  Love is the experience that we get, if even for a moment, that the other creature that we are looking at, or listening to, or touching, or smelling, or just thinking about, is really the same being as we are; and the usual sense of separation that we always have, and that I referred to above, the separation between the observer and the thing that we are observing, for a moment, disappears.  The feeling that we get is that the thing that we are relating to is not a thing at all, but a being, a being whose essence is the same consciousness, the same Self, as ourselves.  In that moment the illusion of separation is penetrated and our sense of self expands to include another.

Even though that moment of actual union, which can take place within or without the context of sex, and can take place with a child, a parent, a friend or a pet; can take place with an art form, with an audience, with a stranger or with a tree; that moment does not last, at least not at that intensity, for more than a moment.  As soon as you and the other being resume your activities, you do so from your own point of view and the other does so from his or her point of view and that sense of union may linger but not at the level of intensity that you experienced at that one transcendent moment. Yet these moments of experiencing the piercing of the boundary between oneself and another, bring all the rest of the universe closer.  You feel in a completely new and much deeper way, that you belong here, if not on the whole planet, then at least that you belong at that particular place where you had this experience.  You experience some of that closeness and shared experience that you had with your loved one with the other people and even with the objects in that place.

And, very importantly, you do not need another person to have this experience.  In spite of all the bad press that religion has received over the last decades, and how mindlessly and numbingly unconsciously so many religious practices are repeated by rote now a days, religion and it's rituals and practices were really created as a path to getting to a place where one can love one's Self.  Notice I did not say a place where one can love one's self.  That kind of love, self-love, has to do with a kind of pride about some aspect of your relative self that you feel is superior to a similar aspect in other creatures.  You obsess about this superiority of yours, not because of how ecstatic it makes you feel, but, usually, because it makes up for something else in your self that you feel is lacking or deficient.  This is precisely the kind of pride that you are reminded to get in touch with by well-intentioned but non-spiritual care givers.  "Why are you so depressed, a beautiful, young girl like you?"  "I know you are struggling with your studies, but remember what a gifted athlete you are." "I am sorry that the kids make fun of you, but you have to realize that they are just jealous of your intelligence."  This kind of bolstering of one aspect of the self to overcome negative feelings about another, doesn't really get you off the cycle of ups and downs, of ecstatic pride in one's victories and haunting shame in one's defeats.  What gets you off the cycle is realizing that the relative self, your body, your brain, your patterns of behavior, even your values, feelings and memories, are not the real you; they are part of the self, not the Self.  Your body and your brain are not you.  They are the equipment that you, the Self, use to experience the world and to satisfy your desires in the world.  But they are not the Self, which is not a thing or an activity, not a talent or an achievement; it is the context of everything else, it is pure consciousness, and by experiencing it, by knowing that that is what you really are, and what everybody else is, then superior and inferior disappear.  You can compete, but the life and death importance of competing is lost.  You are no longer competing because you need to  have a good sense of yourself or out of fear that you might wind up having a bad sense of yourself.  You know that your Self (not your self) will be exactly the same regardless of any defeat or victory.  This insight does not prevent you from competing, just competing with tension, with fear, with life or death stakes.  Competing becomes a game between two equals, in fact two identicals, who agree, for the sake of the game, that one will take of his shirt and be a 'skin' and one will keep on his shirt and be a 'shirt', or one will put on a black shirt and be black or a white shirt and be white; or a black body and be black or a white body and be white, or a male body and be male or a female body and be female; but all of this is part of the game of life, this game that, at times, but only at times, and actually at rare times, is competitive, but competitive as in a game and not as in those ridiculously dreaded and tension bound words......real life.

To love one's Self is to realize that in your essence you are exactly the same as every one else and every living being on this planet, and that you and everyone else are parts of, are different aspects of, a cosmic consciousness that is beyond space and time and is the source of all love, compassion, creativity and intelligence.  This Self can be discovered hap hazardly, which many religions call grace, or it can happen in an organized way by practicing a spiritual path.  Both experiences fade as you turn back to the world and pursue your interests within it with your usual point of view; although this experience is transforming enough that it will usually alter your perspective so that you will continue your worldly pursuits in a way somewhat different that you did before; the reason you are continuing to do the things you were doing will probably undergo a shift, and you may actually not continue to do what you were previously doing, but undertake some different activities.  If this experience comes as a result of a spiritual practice, then the experiencer knows how to get back to this experience once it fades; by going back to the spiritual practice that got her there. If it happens haphazardly and you are desperate to recapture the experience that you have lost, may I suggest a spiritual practice, anyone that appeals to you, as a vehicle for rekindling this experience?  If it is from a major religion, it doesn't really matter which practice you do, as long as you bring your full consciousnes and full desire to the practice. You know the experience that you want and that you love, so bring the fullness of that desire to your practice.  And, as I said, any practice of a major religion will do.  Major religions have lasted for thousands of years precisely for this reason, that they do deliver to the person who zealously undertakes their practices, this very experience that I have been describing.

Religion, not the mind numbing rote repitition of rituals that is often practiced nowadays, and which is done because "you're supposed to", or because "God wants you to," or because "the priest (or the rabbi or the imam) told you to,"  but vibrant, experiential religion, which is practiced without any more belief in it than we have in anything else we do.  We spend time and money to go to a movie in the hope, in the belief, that we will derive a good experience from it.  We spend time and money and energy acquiring an academic degree because we hope, we believe, that it will somehow pay off.  Every investment that we make of our time and energy we do in the hope or the belief that it will result in an experience that we want for ourselves or for others.  Precisely the same holds true for religion.  When Buddha and Jesus attracted followers, the followers came to them not because they were Buddhists or Christians and that was what you were supposed to do; there was no such thing at the time as Buddhists or Christians.  Rather, they came with a very simple belief.  They saw in Buddha and in Jesus something that they wanted to emulate, that they wanted for their own lives.  They simply said, "is it possible for me to achieve some of the peace, the wisdom, the love, and the vitality that we see in you?"  And Buddha's and Jesus' answer was "Yes.  Just follow me!"  So the followers followed.  They did the things that Buddha and Jesus suggested not from a mindless belief, but because there was something very tangible that they wanted to achieve for themselves.  If they didn't achieve it, they would stop their practices.  If they did, they would continue to follow and even teach these practices to others.  Thousands of years later these two religions still thrive, not because of rote practitioners who got no value out of their practice (how long would that last?) but because enough people experienced real results, real change and improvement in their lives; enough to continue and rededicate themselves to these practies and teach them to new generations, not of blind followers, but of spiritual seekers looking to know and experience their true Selves and their true natures.

The Self is the observer and when you observe from the true Self, you observe without the intermediary of your relative self, twisted by personal memories and driven by personal desires.  That is why pschologists and judges, both, can say with confidence, "Just watch yourself."  The Self that is watching the self; the Self that can step back from the self, is a higher Self, a Self whose observations are not twisted by momentary desires.  The Self always picks the reasonable path over the irrational path; the solution for the greater and longer range good over the solution that benefits one side (even your own side) over the other; the solution that makes you feel better about yourself in the long run even if you have to forego the immediate satisfaction that would give you pleasure in the moment but a diminished sense of yourself over the long haul.

Spiritual people are thought of, in some circles, as delusional.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Spiritual people have profound experiences of themselves and a vision of the world that is based on that experience and that really makes sense.  Materialists view the world in such a pathetic, disorganized and frightened way that they believe is based on reality.  It is actually based on a series of absurd beliefs  including the accidental rise of life from nonliving matter, the accidental rise of the physical universe from a random explosion, the ability of molecules to desire and experience and feel things, the ability of coded messages to form themselves, by themselves, into impossibly complex and synchronous ideas (the genetic code forming itself, by itself, into living bodies) which is the equivalent of letters forming themselves into great novels, numbers forming themselves into  the most sophisticated equations, and computer code forming itself into the most advanced software.  Not realizing that the Self is not a thing, they go through life fearing the destruction or the diminishment of the self.  Not knowing that we are all the same Self, they take pleasure in bullying and domineering others, and derive self satisfaction from thinking of themselves as higher up on whatever ridiculous hierarchy they think is important to them at the moment.  Not knowing that love of the Self and through love of the Self, the love of all others and the love of the cosmos, can be discovered within, they desperately seek out relationships, believing that only through relationships can they find any happiness at all.

Someone with Self realization participates in this world without fear, because they know that whatever the outcome of their endeavors, the Self, the observer, will not change.  They may be involved in hierarchies, but they don't take them seriously.  They relate to others as if they are brothers and sisters, because they are.  They do not enter a room with trepidation waiting to see if they are liked or not.  Their happiness does not depend on anyone else's opinion of them.  They enter a room of people to enjoy them, to share with them, to celebrate with them our common humanity and to discover with curiosity the unique path that each of them has taken. The Observer looks out at the world with fully conscious, open eyes.  The unrealized person looks out at the world with a certain tentativeness, because their sense of self (as opposed to their Self) depends, they think, on how the world will react to them.

As always, I welcome your comments.