“Ego is an illusion. The goal of enlightenment is to transcend to a more universal, non local, non material identity.”
~ Deepak Chopra
By Peter Steiner BSc., DDS., in an interview with journalist and author Barbara Shaw BA., MS., MA.
For 20 years I have pursued the answers to Who am I? What is reality? What are the reasons for the existence of the universe? Is there more than one universe? Why am I alive?
I am still investigating the works of the great scientists of our day on this question of Consciousness. These are some of the conclusions I have arrived at so far.
First, who am I?
Can I actually evaluate myself? Can I get far enough outside of myself to be objective about me and see who I am? If I can, where does my self end — at the boundary of my body, of my mind, of my spirit?
The fact is, that each of us has a different boundary system. Of course, some of our sense of boundaries is cultural, some familial and some is individual.
My conclusion is that I believe I can be somewhat objective about myself, that I can step outside and even see my dark side without justification or guilt. I believe I can examine it to see if I should change it. I believe this is the essence of self awareness.
How do I know I am a separate entity? Psychologists use the mirror test on animals and children. Do they recognize what the animals and children see as a reflection of the self? Chimps and dolphins do, and possibly elephants. Small children do after a certain stage of development close to the age of two years..
But systems theory says that if you are part of a system you cannot understand the system completely, therefore we can never be totally objective about what we are. I can never see myself completely.
Another idea we get from physics is that the observer changes the system being observed. Any interaction with the world outside the self makes a small change in the self, so by the time I make the observation I have changed somewhat.
What is reality?
Reality is all we perceive and more. Our individual perceptions are each unique, so all our realities are valid. I am guided by my own system, which works for me most of the time. And I get very annoyed when it does not.
Knowing what reality is, is obviously very complex, made up of sensory information plus probably another form of perception science can’t seem to agree on.
For example, sexual attraction may be related to the vomero-nasal organ on the underside of the brain. It’s tied to detecting pheromones floating in the air.
Intuition or what we call a sixth sense may be related to that along with the parasympathetic nervous system. Of course, it’s modified by our experience.
I operate on a combination of gut feeling and analysis, which can overrule my gut. This is not the case with all of us, some operate on gut feelings, some operate on cerebral logic.
Obviously I don’t know if my ideas of who I am and what reality is, is just in my brain or if there’s an immaterial something that is the bottom line of consciousness.
My own gut feeling is that it’s not just the brain, but that there is something else.
Whether the chimps and dolphins have that, or not, is a very interesting question. If they do have self-awareness, do they have a soul?
Soul is what I call that immaterial something, for lack of a better name. But I still have to ask: If my brain were destroyed would there be anything left of me, of my essence?
What are the reasons for the existence of the universe?
I believe it all started with a system in perfect symmetry, that of the primordial Void. Then, in 10 to the minus 18 or so seconds it exploded into complexity, asymmetry and has been getting more complex for the past 13.7 billion years.
The human brain happens to be the pinnacle, as far as we know, of complexity. We have not yet seen anything more complex that that (the space shuttle and the CERN supercollider is dwarfed in complexity by the trillions of neural interactions in our brain.
I believe the essence of the universe is to create complexity. But why? Because it’s more entertaining! Maybe the creator got tired of perfection and wanted to have some fun, so created this mess. I also believe that the mess will swing back towards its perfection at some point.
God only knows how hard we try to create perfection. Perhaps our striving for perfection is the cause of most of our dysfunction. We are simply not meant to be perfect and when we try too hard we end up insane.
I ask myself if it might be possible for me to ride along on the edge between sanity and insanity. It’s like a high wire act to be at that place, and to notice if I am becoming insane and should put the brakes on.
Is there more than one universe?
Most physicists now believe there are an infinite number; we live in a Multiverse.. At each choice point, or at each bifurcation that we or any other entity might make, the reality of the universe may split.
That would mean each decision we make could lead to an entirely different outcome for the whole of the universe. And that both would occur and lead to two entirely different universes.
This idea may be related to our dilemma when we wonder if we are infinitely insignificant, or infinitely significant. It’s the latter if each of our decisions determines the outcome of the universe. That’s a huge responsibility.
Someone said, “He who saves a life saves a universe entire.” We truly have no idea of the impact that we have. Remember the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” ?
So perhaps something I said to someone thirty years ago could have led to that person either winning a Nobel Prize or rotting in prison. Another quote I like is, “The saint and the sinner are the same person exchanging notes in passing.”
It may not be within our power to choose the result. The outcomes of my life are a co-production of me and the universe. The universe can crush me in an instant, yet all that I do has an impact on so much. For all we know, a single feeling can change the universe.
Why am I alive?
In Greek drama there’s a peripateia, a point in the play when the hero recognizes that everything in his/her life to this point means nothing. It’s the crisis point when the light comes on. For me it came when I was 43 and my father died at 86.
I asked myself if I wanted to live the second half of my life as I’d lived the first half. My answer was, NO. And that feeling changed everything for me.
That brings us to the question.
In a physical sense, I exist because my mother lost a daughter of 12 and decided she should have another child. If not for my sister’s death I’d not be alive, which leads to the question of how good can come form evil.
We teach that good intentions have a good outcome, but we know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’ve done so much, meaning well, that led to chaos and suffering.
So, what can I say? I guess I am alive because the universe thought it was a good idea. We say God does not make mistakes but notice that Evolution can get rid of the mistakes.
If I believe in either God or Evolution or both – I am meant to be alive, and I am not a mistake, my life has meaning, even if I do not know the meaning of my Life.
I suppose I’m here because somehow I can contribute to the unfolding of the universe. I believe all of us do contribute something because we truly are great, we just have to find our greatness.
When I say “We stand on the shoulders of giants,” I mean we know that our ancestors gave us so much, all they could.
We need to appreciate that, and then move on into our own new and challenging territory where they cannot show us the way.
BOOK REVIEW: “Infinite You, A Journey to Your Greater Self and Beyond” by Pamala Oslie
After decades of living with enhanced abilities, exploring spiritual principles, and delving into quantum physics (see her post on this web site) Pamala Oslie discovered there is more to reality and who we are.
She does not believe we are mere biological machines that age and cease to exist. “There is more to our existence than biology,” she says. We are “infinite beings”.
From the experiences of her consltancy clients she believes everyone reaches a state of “bliss and unconditional love”.
Everything is one consciousness, she says, one mind and one being.
The spiritual experiences give us a knowledge of our true abilities. “We appear to be transforming”.
She approves of the quote by Nikola Tesla (1836 – 1943), the famed futurist, inventor and engineer:
“The day science begins to study non physical phenomenon, it will make more progress in one decade than it has in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
She thinks quantum physics seems to be the bridge that is bringing science and spirituality together.
A list of physicists questioning “our old narrow materialistic definition of reality” is published in her book.
She asserts consciousness is not limited to the brain and draws on her observations of her client’s “unusual experiences and phenomena”.
We rely on technology to do things for us now that we are inherently capable of doing without technology at all, she claims. “Our brains have the same capabilities.”
“Holding fast to our old beliefs about reality … prevent us from reaching our ultimate potential.”
She suggests spiritual experiences seem to be introducing us to the wider, deeper, profounder realities of our existence.
However, she gets into the perennial controversy of whether such experiences are spontaneous or taught. My many experiences every year for over 15 years lead me to believe the experience is only spontaneous. It is caught, not taught. You can not evangelise the experience of reality.
Finally, one of the impressions of this readable book is the power and authenticity that comes from the clarity and honest simplicity of its language. This is a true mark of the mystic tradition.
La Penita. 2016.
The Mystical Experience of Reality will eventually become common knowledge. So what effect will this have on religions?
MERs reveal no manifestations of God or gods. They do however testify that the religious view of reality is built on primitive mythomanias, gullible constructs like faith, hope and belief, all of which indicate that religions’ views of real spirituality are fake.
All the churches can offer is morality and ethics purporting to be “spiritual”, gifts from a God or gods. Some defenders of religions might agree the religions are bunkum, but ask what the human race would do without morality and ethics, as if morality and ethics are exclusive to religions.
Yet we are becoming scientifically aware through experiments with babies* that morality and ethics are ingrained in humans from birth.
So what further use is religion?
Will religion just become extinct like another superceded evolutionary phase, the “lifting of a veil”?
*Are Babies Born Good?
http://www.smithsonianmag.com Are we born with ethics? –
http://www.huffingtonpost.com › kidspirit
Are We Born Moral? by John Gray | The New York Review of Books. http://www.nybooks.com › articles › 2007/05/10
Note: These are just some of the results of a cursory check on the subject in Google.
Fate, which foresaw
How frivolous a baby man would be—
By what distractions he would be possess’d,
How he would pour himself in every strife,
And well-nigh change his own identity—
That it might keep from his capricious play
His genuine self, and force him to obey
Even in his own despite his being’s law,
Bade through the deep recesses of our breast
The unregarded river of our life
Pursue with indiscernible flow its way;
And that we should not see
The buried stream, and seem to be
Eddying at large in blind uncertainty,
Though driving on with it eternally.
But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us—to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
And many a man in his own breast then delves,
But deep enough, alas! none ever mines.
And we have been on many thousand lines,
And we have shown, on each, spirit and power;
But hardly have we, for one little hour,
Been on our own line, have we been ourselves—
Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast,
But they course on for ever unexpress’d.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well—but ‘t is not true!
And then we will no more be rack’d
With inward striving, and demand
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour
Their stupefying power;
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul’s subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
Only—but this is rare—
When a belovèd hand is laid in ours,
When, jaded with the rush and glare
Of the interminable hours,
Our eyes can in another’s eyes read clear,
When our world-deafen’d ear
Is by the tones of a loved voice caress’d—
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life’s flow,
And hears its winding murmur; and he sees
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
In his widely commented on new blog essay this week, “Resisting Conformity”, Robert Ringer* got the following comment from me that brought a response from him and another from one of his followers:
Keith: “You say scientists say man is the most powerful force in the universe then you say mankind realises it’s helpless against the forces of nature.
“Since the sixties scientists all over the world have begun to acknowledge the evidence of the Mystical Experience of Reality. This MER shows there is nothing bigger nor more powerful than even a fraction of what is known of Reality.
“Some are suggesting there is no evidence that the human race has any superior significance in this Reality.”
RR replied: “That’s right, many scientists believe that human intelligence is the most powerful force in the universe. However, I did not say that I believe it.
“It’s a very debatable subject – far too complex to get into a blog post. But if it’s true, it would not be a contradiction to point out that man is helpless against the forces of nature. Something can be the most powerful, but not necessarily omnipotent.”
“Stogiechomper” also replied: “I have had the mystical experience three times in my youth, and the human advantage is that he is able to experience it, while lower life forms are not.”
Keith: “I can’t disagree with you about “lower lifeforms” not being able to experience MER because I have no human or mystical experience of that, either way.
“From my own MER’s though I would be very surprised if there are any exceptions. Everything is, and we are that, in my MER experiences.”
“Stogie” also said: “. . .the experience taught me the opposite of what you say,, I.e., that my existence is as significant as the largest sun.”
Keith: “The word ‘significant’ is a word only found in humans, not in the existence of Reality, where all things are significant so there is no use in exceptionalising. Here, while we’re still humans the word will have significance of course.”
“Stogie”: “Far from looking for “superior significance,” however, the mystical experience is a realization of the interconnectedness of all things, a feeling of oneness with the universe.”
Keith: “Wholeheartedly agree, that’s my MER too …
“I’m delighted to know of your existence. I kept my MER’s to myself for about 65 years. Since starting mysticexperiences.net I’ve come to realise there are many more of us than I thought.”
* Robert Ringer is an American icon known for his worldly wit and wisdom. He has a large following and is a well reviewed best selling author and lecturer with many appearances on press, radio and television. He is the Publisher of a successful international blog, RobertRinger.com – “Where Philosophy, Wisdom, Reality and Action Come Together.”
A mystic doesn’t know everything about Reality, he understands everything about Reality.