MYSTICS AND QUANTUM PHYSICS?

Q: Are mystics a quantum wave manifestation as well as a particle at the same time?

A: The proposition might defy human commonsense, but then so does mysticism, so it could be true. If the suggestion is true would it also explain the two part mystic experience of being everything, including the experience of being temporarily human − wave AND particle?

Mysticexperiences.net

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Physics and the Evidence for Non-Material Consciousness

Ruminations

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There is an old story of the net and the fishermen. A net having a weave that lets any object smaller than 10 inches long slip through it. Fishermen cast the net in the lake and harvest fish always ten inches long or longer. The fishermen mistakenly conclude that there are no fish in the lake smaller than 10 inches. Philosophy 101 students easily recognize the fishermen’s mistake. If there were fish in the lake smaller than 10 inches they would slip through the net.

Now imagine that there is some constraint on these fishermen that prevents them from weaving nets any more finely than they have. Is there any other means by which they might acquire evidence of fish smaller than ten inches long? As it happens there is. They can take some of the larger fish, keep them alive in captivity, and mate them. If successful, they would…

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THE BRAIN AND MYSTICISM: A BRIEF LOOK

 

By David Robertson

– Publisher of A Perennial Follower, where this post originally appeared.

 

Right off the bat, I should strongly emphasise that I’m far from being an expert on neuroscience, I wouldn’t even call myself a layman on the subject. But in my humble defence I’ve just read a book on the subject over the last few days – “The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman”, as well as read some other stuff here and there.

I strongly recommend the book as a simple introduction to neuroscience, accessible to anyone who has interest in the topic (and this is coming from someone who frequently gets confused by all the medical and biological jargon!)

Throughout the entire book, there are constant insights and mind-blowing information about the nature of the brain and how it functions.

David Eagleman kept surprising me in the book too, which I found rather refreshing. Instead of presenting the book as absolute fact and attacking anything opposing the current scientific consensus, he was incredibly humble in his claims. He was always open to other explanations, and admitted potential limitations and gaps in current research – a sign of a true man of science. I think this may be partly due to his quite open-minded worldview, which has been labelled possibilianism. This position is essentially a middle ground between atheism and traditional theism that doesn’t commit to certainty one way or the other, but instead chooses to explore multiple possibilities and theories that current science may not be capable of yet.

A simple example of this attitude was in his brief gloss over the free will debate, where he concluded that even though there are signs that we don’t have free will, we’re still a long way off from truly knowing if we have it or not.

So onto some of the stuff covered in the book and how this relates to the findings of those who have followed mystical traditions across time.

The brain is the single most complex thing in the universe (yet discovered). Each brain, in essence, is it’s own universe. Each neuron, (the cell that transmits information gathered from the outside by emitting electrochemical signals) has ten thousand connections to other neurons. And each string of connections creates an aspect of your experience, or helps facilitate a function of the body. The brain has ten trillion connections, more than a thousand times the amount of stars in our galaxy.

Here’s an idea of the amount of information in the brain: there is more of it stored in a single fully developed brain than in all of the data on the internet combined. Truly mind boggling and incomprehensible.

This seeming limitlessness of the mind reminds me of what Buddhists have frequently said across the centuries – the mind is like the open sky. Though the context is a little bit different, Buddhists talk about the limitless potentiality of immediate awareness and consciousness after all the foggy aspects of our mind (like desires, harmful thoughts and feelings and the like) have been cleared away.

Still, I think Buddhists have been onto something about the mind and the brain’s potential. Neuroscience seems to give leeway to this.

Moreover, the Pure Consciousness Experience, one of the types of mystical experience reported, is said to be one where the regular limitations of the mind, namely the sense of being an individual self, are dissolved and one “elevates” into a state of pure, unlimited consciousness. The truly incomprehensible complexity of the brain seems to grant the possibility that such expansive states of being exist on a scientific level.

One of the insights that I was somewhat aware of, largely due to some of my studies in science and spirituality, but was nevertheless still nice to be confirmed by a more mainstream scientist was that the world of our senses is ultimately an illusion.

The world that is projected in front of us, is all contained within the dark chamber of our brain. Really what is in front of us is just energy and matter, and it is our brain that puts on a show through interpreting these signals via electrochemical signals gathered from sensory organs.

*You don’t see, hear and smell through your eyes, ears and nose. These things just collect the information and your brain interprets and projects it. Reality, according to neuroscience, is rather senseless but the brain over millions of years has created this beautiful, detailed cosmos for us to enjoy and experience. An intricate play that the mind has created before us to veil whatever reality actually is.

To me, this immediately reminded me of the sayings of countless mystics, particularly in Eastern traditions, but also somewhat present in Christianity and Sufism (Islamic mysticism), perhaps no more directly stated than in Vedanta (a Hindu mystical tradition), that the reality we perceive is an illusion, a veil behind what reality actually is. This is known as maya, where the mind creates a subjective experience that hinders one from seeing the Ultimate Reality, Brahman, underneath it all.

The metaphysics of Mahayana Buddhism also hold very similar ideas to the “magic show” that is created before our eyes preventing us from seeing reality as it is. Which to the secular neuroscientist is just different concentrations of matter and energy, but to the mystic is something more: the ultimate unifying Principle known as God.

Modern findings in neuroscience are also, in some degree, verifying something that mystics have intuitively and experientially known for millennia – the interdependence and interconnection of all things, the oneness of the universe.

As an earlier post of mine shows, mystics from all traditions constantly emphasise and talk about all reality being part of God, nothing is truly separate. This has been well documented in nature, particularly in ecological studies where removing one aspect of any given environment (a fly for example) would have some sort of detrimental effect to the whole eco-system, throwing the whole thing out of balance until it is able to readjust itself over time. Everything forms part of a unified whole.

The workings of the brain are no different. One brain isn’t in a vacuum, separate from the rest of the brains of the world. We live in enormous networks and collectively, in the words of Eagleman, we are really just one part of a giant mega-organism. Our brain is like one node in this diverse, infinitely complex web we call humanity. And our brains strongly influence the brains of others and vice-versa, so much so that the physical make-up of the brain changes.

I can think of one anecdotal example of my own that highlights this. Over time, as my relationship has developed and transformed with my now fiance, I’ve noticed that both of us have become more like one another in many ways – using words borrowed from her that I’d never used, mimicking her behaviour subconsciously like subtle facial expressions, even feeling what the other is feeling whether its joy or sadness or even queasiness from being a little carsick. And I’m sure many long-standing relationships (not just romantic ones) are quite like this.

In essence, the circuitry of our brains are shaped and influenced by the factors around us like culture, friends, family and so on. All this appears to verify claims of the mystics that we are not really separate, individual selves, an independent bag of skin in a hostile cosmos, but really we are different parts of a whole.

Sometimes when I pick up a new book, particularly something that may challenge deeply cherished beliefs of mine, I get a small feeling of nervous excitement, but I think it’s something we should do if we want to expand our horizons and deepen and strengthen our own perspectives on the world.

In the world of neuroscience, I believe the insights of mysticism and mystical experiences have something important to say about the nature of the mind, consciousness and the brain. And it’s important for researchers in the field to look into this ancient phenomena seriously.

It appears that this is well underway too, a quick Google of “neuroscience and mysticism” will bring a wealth of articles, books and research on this topic, which are providing insights into the structure of the mind and brain.

Given that many findings in neuroscience, psychology and quantum physics seem to have parallels in the writings of ancient mystics, perhaps it is time to rethink or at least delve into different base assumptions of the universe than that of the philosophical position of natural materialism which science has traditionally held.

Mysticexperiences.net


David Robertson is the Publisher of Perennial Follower, perennialfollower.wordpress.com

 

MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE OF REALITY CONNECTED TO A NEWLY DISCOVERED BRAIN FIBRE?   

 

After what seems like painstaking scientific research into a little known fibre in the central nervous system, a researcher by the name of Lawrence Wile has identified a possible quantum element in the physical brain that in Wile’s opinion allows for “anomalous experience” at the mystical level. (MER?)

Is Wile to be taken seriously? He received a BS in physics from Union College (1971), an MD from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine (1976), a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale University School of Medicine (1979), and an MA in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts (1991). He is also Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and won a first place prize in the John Templeton Foundation competition with his essay ‘Reissner’s Fibre and the Neurobiology of Mysticism’.

There is a Foundation with his name on it dedicated to the subject of this fibre. The physicist Paul Davies, a Templeton prize winner, is currently President of this Foundation – The Chaikin-Wile Foundation.

His ideas about Reissner’s fibre have appeared in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, and he is leading a multidisciplinary team at Boston University dedicated to the exploration of the discovery.

Wile has published a paper called “Near-Death Experiences: A Speculative Neural Model” in The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 12(3) Spring 1994

He says a personal mystical experience led him to the belief that Reissner’s fiber is identical with the anatomical entity described by kundalini yoga. He says that his struggles to understand the meaning of this personal experience led him to believe that an understanding of the deeper realities underlying quantum phenomena can be integrated with an understanding of the mysterious realities of near-death and other mystical experiences.

He says that Reissner’s fiber can serve as an empirical basis for a scientific investigation of these phenomena.

By developing methods of stimulating the activity of Reissner’s fiber and measuring that activity with neuroimaging devices, he says exploration can be made of the worlds that currently lie at the threshold of death and in the esoteric depths of mysticism.

Wile saw a reprint from a medical journal about Reissner’s fiber. The article described a glycoprotein fiber, originating from a structure just below the pineal gland called the subcommissural organ that travels down the central canal of the spinal cord and ends at the terminal ventricle. There, he says, is the connection with kundalini.

Shortly thereafter he started research on Reissner’s fiber at the National Marine Laboratories at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. As he was reading a 1905 article by Porter Sargent about experiments involving behavioral observations of sharks following the severing of Reissner’s fiber he says his interest hardened into discovering the function of “this little known but strategically located structure.”

However, he was told his work was unsatisfactory and that, “Your ideas are outside consensual reality, Lawrence. Your speculations about yoga, mysticism, and quantum theory are not what we are looking for. Just write about what you did and what you saw, and you will receive credit for your student research project.”

Now, with NDEs providing unique opportunities for exploring questions about life and death, God, and our place in the cosmos, and with neuroimaging technologies capable of measuring the activity of Reissner’s fiber appearing on the horizon, Wile says it is time to “lift the shroud of obscurity from this glistening crown jewel around which the most wondrous structure in the universe is organized.”

Quantum theory, which is our best theory of the microscopic activity of Reissner’s fiber he says is, “on the one hand, compatible with a variety of mystical realities.

“On the other hand, this compatibility is currently based on a shared sense of mystery and ineffability of what is now unknown.”

The above is abbreviated from a paper in Volume 23 of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, March-April of 2016.

Publisher’s note:

On first reading I can’t see any substantiation offered for Wile’s suggestion there is any link between this fibre and the mystical experience of Reality (MER), or kundalini, or any so-called “mystical” events.

I once deliberately induced kundalini and will never do it again. Its power was beyond belief and overwhelmingly brusque in its focus. It shot up my spine and rushed spirally around my emptied skull in a nano second. Another split nano second and I would have gone out the top of my skull. I was utterly helpless, beyond any ability to think or feel. It finally left without me, leaving a barely sentient, non-functioning bag of skin. My body regained its nature slowly, on its own. Never, ever again.

But as I say, this paper goes no way to explaining any connexion to this apparent anomaly.

Nor does it specify what Wile means by mystical. Or is this something he would assume scientists would know? I have had some mystical experiences explained to me that I would, and have, dismissed as human spirit, stuff from the human mind, not the real mystical experience that is always an incoming – not an outgoing figment of the human condition, induced or otherwise.

However, Reissner’s Fibre promises to be a real game changer, maybe even as important as Darwin on our evolutionary understanding of Reality?

Mysticexperiences.net

GOD’S NEW NAME – QUANTUM PHYSICS?

 

“A profound shift is occurring in human consciousness.” 

What physics has discovered is that everything is energy and that this energy is everywhere – in space and in matter.

There is no such thing as empty space. It is filled with energy. They’ve discovered dark energy and dark matter (which isn’t in fact “dark” – it’s just invisible, we can’t see it.) The small percentage of “physical” matter that does exist in the universe is also just energy. So, bottom line – everything is energy.

All That Is/ Universal Intelligence/God – whatever name you want to call this – is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Omnipresent means present everywhere. There is NO place it isn’t. So whatever “Universal Intelligence” is – it is everywhere

Classical physics or Newtonian physics teaches that the universe is mechanistic and that everything is separate. This is the belief that we have based our lives upon for centuries – and this belief has limited our experiences and our possibilities. Quantum physics is revealing that classical physics isn’t explaining what we now know about “reality.” Among other things – there is an energy field from which everything emerges. The “seen” emerges from the “unseen.”

What physicists have discovered is this “field” of energy is a field of all possibilities – until an observer measures it or focuses on it. Then particles blink into light or something becomes “form.” (Let there be light.) So consciousness seems to be intrinsically connected with this field of all possibilities. We are literally creating (or co-creating) our own reality along with this energy.

“We are evolving into a more highly developed species, one with enhanced abilities and a greater level of awareness, and it is expanding our understanding of reality.” 

This energy seems to be “aware” – it responds to consciousness and is affected by the thoughts or energy of the observer. Physics now says there is no way to prove an objective reality because the observer always affects the outcome of the experiment.

Check out the research being done at Princeton University around the Random Number Generator. They are working to see how consciousness affects the results of experiments. Also check out the research being done around consciousness at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Everything is connected. We are all one. Nothing is separate from this field of energy. This is what mystics, spiritual masters, and indigenous people have taught for a long time.

Pam OsliePAMELA OSLIE, Auracolors.com.  Latest book, “Infinite You – A journey to your greater self and beyond” Google Books. “A profound shift is occurring in human consciousness. We are evolving into a more highly developed species, one with enhanced abilities and a greater level of awareness, and it is expanding our understanding of reality.”