Archives for posts with tag: New Age
Credit: beforeitwnews.com

Credit: beforeitwnews.com

Ingo Swann, who died this year, was one of the most remarkable psychics of our times. Considered a pioneering figure in ESP related ‘remote viewing’, his remarkable feats so impressed the establishment that the prestigious Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Princeton, Mind Science Foundation, San Antonio and several others involved him in their ESP research programmes. The results were of such outstanding quality that the CIA ( concerned about the Russian Intelligence Organizations’ own research in the field) engaged him in what came to be known as the ‘Stargate Project’ for 25 years before abandoning it in 1995, with a change in command, on account of the results being vague and ambiguous for the purpose of intelligence gathering.

The range of ESP connected abilities attributed to him included first and foremost, ‘Remote Viewing’, then psychokinesis, mentally influencing growth of plants, influencing temperature in a controlled environment, ‘out of body Travel’ ( thereby detecting a ring of tiny asteroids around Jupiter, subsequently confirmed by scientists) and influencing stable magnetic fields of a super cooled  junction in a quark detector (considered an amazing feat by scientists).

ingo swann

Ingo Swann

In his book ”Natural ESP – A Layman’s Guide To Unlocking The Extra Sensory Power Of your Mind” ( Bantam Books 1987 ) he holds that potentially an ESP ability is present universally and is not unique to a psychic. In the book he seeks to show how anyone can develop this ability by employing his methodology for ‘remote viewing’ through drawing, sketching and doodling.

The parts of the book which interested me were not the exercises to teach ESP techniques to the common public but his deeply insightful metaphysical observations about the source and context of the phenomenon. Being an adept in the field and a gifted practitioner of the ‘art’ no one would be better qualified in providing a scientific and philosophical context for ESP

He opens by asserting that the study and practice of ESP has been stagnating for over a century since interest was first aroused in scientific circles, mainly on account of remaining in a traditional groove of enquiry fettered by labels which were not really relevant and the use of verbalization ( rather than the use of sketches and doodling) which restricted and inhibited the process rather than revealed the true nature and source of ESP.

In the course of the extensive experiments and demonstrations at the prestigious institutions he was associated with, he came to the realization that what was equally important was the mental processes as much as the results for providing a clue to the nature of the phenomenon. He therefore began to focus attention on his own mental activity to determine what was happening.

A particular experiment finally became the ‘clincher’ which opened the window to reveal the truth – Swann says ”as a result of it, my life was never to be the same”. In this experiment in ‘remote viewing’ two objects were placed in a container directly above his head which he was expected to view ‘remotely’ while he was strapped to a chair with electrodes. He then ‘remote sensed’ and sketched the following symbols which arose in his conscious mind;  (1) U T    (2)  dn-L  He wondered whether these were distorted letters from Arabic. The actual objects were  (1) a card with the figure 5 and (2) the words 7 U P . Those conducting the experiment however immediately realized what had happened. Swann’s remote sense had viewed the objects upside down – join u and T and the figure 5 appears – reverse dn – L and you get 7 UP.

In that instant Swann realized that there was a faculty within him which had observed the objects without the verbalization filters or internal editing in his conscious mind being activated. He arrived at the grand realization that the inner faculty had its own logic and rules of observation, working on a different mechanism of its own rather than a reliance on the physical senses. He named this faculty within us as the ‘ESP Core’, the psychic mind. He also realized that studies of ESP so far had concentrated on the notion that the mind ‘goes out’ and senses the target, whereas the truth was that the information is actually streaming into the mind from outside. The sensing mechanism plugs into a Universal Field of information which is beyond time and space in a ‘second reality’ beyond the physical plane. the information comes into the mind without the use of the physical senses.

He enumerates three broad categories of ESP:

(1) Sensing of physical objects ( as in the experiments of ‘remote viewing’

(2) Receiving a new idea as in inventions and creative acts

(3) Mystical insights, intuition, hunches etc.

He then postulates the concept of the Mind Mound which is ‘overgrown’ ( like in archaeological excavations) by presumptions, preconceptions inculcated by culture, education, beliefs, memory, imagination, ideas,and uncontrolled thoughts, impeding the passage of ESP signals into the conscious mind and acting as barriers. Within the mound lies hidden the ESP Core. The barriers are erected by the mind to maintain rationality and protect its own vital functions from getting overwhelmed by information streaming in from the Second Reality. This resistance can be identified as the ego which enables the physical entity to survive in its own material reality. Without the barriers the conscious mind would be inundated by more information than it could handle. Yet occasionally, vital ESP signals like strong intuition, creative ideas, foreboding, awareness of loved ones being in trouble or danger,etc are allowed through with barriers inactivated when vitally necessary.

Over the years, given his own abilities and experiences he concluded that our awareness of the physical world and our thinking experience of it is not the only form of consciousness we possess. There is a second consciousness, the ESP Core which integrates with both the physical world and with the Second Reality beyond it. By now I could guess what would be coming next.

The ESP Core he then calls the Deeper Self. The Second Reality, inevitably, he links ( as I expected him to) to concepts propounded by scientists and Quantum physicists and thinkers as the Quantum reality, the Implicate Order ( David Bohm), the Zero Point field ( Lynne Mc Taggart), the Cosmic Web ( Fritjof Capra). The Deeper Self or the psychic mind he states may not exist only in the brain but indeed extends beyond the physical body.

He then equates his idea of the Deeper Self with Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘Conscious Self’. Sheldrake, the renowned biochemist and plant physiologist, states that this is not merely derived from matter. As he puts it, while the Conscious Self interacts with the motor field of the body and the changes taking place in the brain through the body’s interaction with the environment and circumstances of life, yet it remains ‘over and above them’. The properties of the Conscious Self cannot be reduced to matter, energy and motor fields but derives from another reality beyond time and space. It has properties unlike a purely physical system and it is this that accounts for parapsychological phenomena we encounter on the physical plane.

It becomes obvious that Sheldrake’s Conscious Self and Swann’s Deeper Self, in traditional, theological terms is none other than the Soul, the Oversoul, the Superself, the divine Self and Cosmic consciousness. This begins to match the Hindu concept of the soul which I have laboured to explore and present throughout this blog. This soul according to the Gita is not the AGENT of action but the quiet unobtrusive motivator and witness. Swann’s conscious levels of the mind in the upper reaches of the Mind Mound constitutes our ego, which is the independent AGENT of action influenced but not controlled by the Deeper Self. His ESP Core is indeed the soul, situated both within us and extending beyond into the Universal Consciousness. The Second Reality beyond space and time that he speaks of , from which the ESP inputs arrive, are none other than the Universal Consciousness  (Brahman, Cosmic Web etc).

Swann’s researching the ESP phenomenon thus reveals valuable insights which parallel Eastern Metaphysics and provide an understanding from the psychological and scientific angle and the philosophical and metaphysical angle of the paranormal and ESP phenomena occurring in our daily lives.

The ESP Core ( the Pineal gland, the Third Eye, the Ajna Chakra ? ) is the seat of our soul aligned to our physical body and its ego component in the brain, seeking to reveal the paranormal and extra sensory truths derived from the cosmic Web, as intuition, creativity and the paranormal abilities of ESP, when we, the ego are willing and able to listen.

Credit; samanthanoto.com

Credit; samanthanoto.com

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The Hindu view of the soul is that it is a spark of divinity within. Hindu culture and civilization revolves around this presumption and fundamental premise. The personality is the material garb which it dons to experience the physical plane and in the process refines its host to the level of its own perfection. At that point of the personality’s evolution it becomes synonymous with the soul, which then becomes liberated from the need to reincarnate.

The Christian and Judaic view is that the soul is the spiritual counterpart of the personality and acts through it on the physical plane. Unlike the Hindu view, here the soul is the actor and therefore assumes full responsibility for acts of omission and commission and upon the death of the personality, on the day of judgement it becomes answerable for them and is accordingly consigned to heaven or hell for all eternity. The soul is not the Spirit or the Holy Ghost and there is nothing divine about it.

The Hindu view stems from its Monism where divinity is ubiquitous and all is one and one is all. The Christian view arises from its Dualism where God alone is divine, whereas His creation  ( including the soul) is not. The Dualist view holds that the creator and his creation are distinct, whereas the Monist view is that the creator and His creation are one. For the Dualist the drop of water is separate from the ocean, for the Monist the drop becomes the ocean when it falls into it.

The New Age view proposed by writers like Gary Zukav veers towards the Hindu view with distinctive differences. New Age metaphysical thought (Fritzof Kapra, David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake, Lynne Mc Taggart, Renee Weber and others) endorses the Monist premise ( unity of everything). New age thinking reflects the Hindu view that souls are fragments of the Godhead, as a cup of water is of the ocean.

GaryZukavheadshot

Gary Zukav

Zukav pictures the  soul as an immensely powerful concentration of spirit outside time, directly emergent from Godhead. If we imagined an entity like our sun on the ethereal plane , it would match Zukav’s conception. This glorious entity of high resonance, vibration and clarity, for some reason develops negativities, corruption and splintering in a minute part of itself (like sun spots on the face of the sun).The New Age conception is indeed, that the soul is Spirit ( unlike the Christian concept) but not divine (unlike the Hindu concept) as it is capable of developing flaws and getting splintered. It then by choice, wanting to eradicate the mole and heal the fault, incarnates through a massive reduction of its power, on the physical plane to heal itself. The personality into which it incarnates is those parts of the soul that require healing plus some luminous parts like compassion and love that it lends to the personality to aid in the process of healing during a lifetime.

Zukav also gives a novel twist to the theory of Karma, moving away from its determinism, to freedom of soul’s choice in reincarnation. He holds that the Law of Karma has no ‘moral dynamics’ as the universe is not judgmental. Karma cures negativities and aberrations which develop and seeks to heal them by presenting challenges and opportunities which exercise and test the personality in ways which help the healing process. As we are not aware what is being healed in a beggar, those suffering pain through loss of a child, a spouse or a catastrophe, we are not to judge but merely react with compassion. The healing process he terms as ‘balancing energy’.

Zukav holds that animals have group souls – cat group soul, horse group soul etc. Only humans have individual souls. Their combined activity contributes to the evolution of the group soul. Beyond the souls incarnating on the earthly plane are the ‘advanced levels of light’: Teacher and Guide souls are from these levels, as are Angels – all unblemished and therefore not affected by the law of Karma. There are also consciousnesses that we could term as Masters after whom many religious movements have developed. Beyond are ‘realms of light’ that can be termed as God.

Souls also incarnate together to heal, in relationships of parent-child, siblings, loving partners, and even adversaries, healing themselves and one another in the process through the challenges that such relationships produce.

Temptations and addictions are tools for healing. The more a soul endeavours to heal, the greater will be the challenges it will confront. Temptation and addiction are the ‘compassionate response’ of the universe to assist the process of healing. As healing takes place there is rejoicing in the nonphysical world and the soul  moves to a higher frequency of light.

The goal of life is to align your personality with your soul, accepting the wisdom and expertise of Teachers and Guides that come through intuition and hunches. This leads to ‘authentic empowerment’ when energy is released only in love, trust, forgiveness and compassion. This enables one to have a clear understanding of the process through which souls are endeavouring to heal on the physical plane.

Zukav’s book turned him into a New Age guru of sorts, selling more than three million copies and gaining an impressive following. He then proceeded to write a sequel, ‘Soul Stories’ citing cases to illustrate his thesis. There is now a Seat of the Soul Institute on the net for those who wish to explore, learn and experience his findings in greater depth.

The book profoundly influenced my own thinking, despite my firm belief in the unquestionable divinity of the soul. The adjustment in thinking that I made was to regard his concept of the soul as the extended subtle body in Hinduism, which is still in a kind of physical plane and to regard the ‘higher resonating entities’ as divinity. But the Soul Stories and other conceptions were all relevant in many other ways, particularly the ideas about transformation in human consciousness now occurring, which resonate with Russel’s dawning of a Consciousness Age and Mc Taggart’s Zero Point Age. All in all I seemed to be getting further in my search for the soul.

credit: metaphysics-for-life.com

credit: metaphysics-for-life.com

Our tour has covered such luminaries both intellectuals and scientists as Peter Russel, Fritjof  Kapra, Gary Zukav, James Redfield, Renee Weber, David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and  Jose De Silva. I now propose to review the writings of the eminent journalist Lynne Mc Taggart and her painstaking investigations in her tour de force of the subject. In what I consider her path breaking book ‘The Field’ (1999 Harper Collins, New York, copyright Lynne Mc Taggart ), Mc Taggart launched on what she described as her quest to ascertain the ‘Secret Force of the Universe’.

    Her research into different disciplines focussed on detecting an underlying Field that connects us all and everything. We have already seen ( Science and Metaphysics: Bohm) that the eminent physicist David Bohm conceptualized the existence of an ‘Implicate Order’ from which the material world unfolds and into which it enfolds again as ripples in a wave. We also saw the insightful biologist Rupert Sheldrake (   Biology and Metaphysics : Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic fileds) postulate ‘Morphogenetic Fields’ to explain diversity and evolution in a purposeful Nature.

Lynne Mc Taggart

Lynne Mc Taggart

Mc Taggart’s concern was to investigate the range of observations and research by scientists to highlight the crystalization of ideas about a unifying and underlying reality which has been gaining greater acceptance despite resistance from the conservative scientific mainstream.

She presented and traced for the lay man, much like Capra and Zukav had, the movement in scientific thought from the mechanistic Newtonian world view and Darwinian theory of random evolution to the interconnected world of Quantum Physics and the dissatisfaction of some scientists with the lack of scientific interest in applying these findings to our macro level of existence. She dwelt on their efforts to investigate our connection with this apparently intentional force in the universe. Through her investigative journalism she sought to find the scientific basis for this evolving ‘revolution’ in thinking. Her concerns were however not confined to academic conjecture but appeared to be driven by a need to tap into the ‘Field’ to search for a kind of alternative medicine of psychic and spiritual healing and miraculous cures.

 At the heart of the premise was a Zero Point Field, the vibrations between particles which themselves are knots of energy. A ceaseless exchange of energy takes place sourced from this Zero Point Field and in turn replenishing this inexhaustible reservoir of energy.

We need not here go into the mysteries and complexities of Quantum phenomena, which she explains, such as ‘non-locality’ and the startling effects that the act of observation have on particles, beyond noting briefly that in the former case an electron is seen to influence another particle instantaneously over any distance without exchange of energy, implying that a connection once established is retained even after they are separated over a great distance. In the latter case the act of observation effects the particles behaviour. These curious phenomena suggest the idea of an interconnected world in which  we as observers  are active participants which produce the reality we observe  through the act of observing. This is not unlike the mystical view of the ancients that the universe exists when we look at it but disappears when we look away.

Fritz Albert Popp

Fritz Albert Popp

Mc Taggart dwells at length on the findings of Fritz-Albert Popp a German theoretical biophysicist who studied ‘ biophoton emissions’ of living organisms and even developed a machine for the purpose. Here again it is indicative of a force from which these emissions emerge, showing that at the macro level too there is a relevance of the quantum activity which we find at the micro level.

Mc Taggart’s investigations then move through the magical portals of ESP, linking its incredible feats and as yet unrealized potential also to the Zero Point Field.

She goes on to investigate research carried out at Stanford University to show the power of the mind to influence random outcomes in a machine deviced to study such phenomena. The effects of sacred sites and global interest in events portrayed on the TV on the machines in the programmes  appeared to change random outcomes to higher degrees of order, all indicative of the phenomenon of quantum mechanics being applicable at a macro level. The experiments appear to show that an act of will can affect the outcome and that by thinking we can create greater order out of random patterns. The question then arises whether the will can be applied to heal organisms. Research had shown that the will could be applied to affect bacteria, plants and cells. The conjecture was that all this was only possible because the Field, repository of all memory was being tapped into through these processes.

Some scientists had proposed that the brain itself was communicating through quantum processes within and consciousness was a global phenomenon occuring throughout the body, not merely the brain. Biology itself was a quantum process and as in Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields memory resided in the ZeroPoint Field with the brain merely retrieving the information from the Field. Creativity, insight and intuition were all representative of this phenomenon.

Intention could therefore affect the probability of events, pre-empt disease before it developed, change the course of our lives. The universe was instantly present, embracing all time and space at a point – a kind of continumm of presence. Precognition, distance viewing and the ability in some to look into the future were indicative of this (these conceptions appear to be in synch with the physicist David Bohm’s Implicate Order and and the biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields).

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Mc Taggart also examined experiments carried out by the Indian mystic Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi through his Transcendental Meditation (TM), mass meditation exercises to show how these affected  the graph of crime in specified areas which were the focus of participating meditators. Other phenomena observed were the affects of mass will on the environment and weather. More experiments showed the healing effects of prayer on controlled groups of patients. All these phenomena were shown as examples of tapping into the Field of benign energy, a store house of universal memory. Mc Taggart concludes that with growing interest in the phenomenon a Zero Point Age was emerging  ( much like Peter Russel’s Consciousness Age in his book  The Awakening Earth).

Mc Taggart, encouraged by the universal response to her book launched into her next book ‘The Intention Experiment’ which sought to engage enthusiastic readers in active participation on the net to affect an experiment in biology.

Her writings became an inspiration for the production of a popular documentary on quantum physics and its relationship to paranormal phenomena – ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ with interviews with scientists which illustrated some of  the complex phenomena investigated by her. 

Again I sat back to absorb the immensity of ideas proposed and to realign my thinking of the nature of the reality that surrounds us, shaping us as we too shape it.

Credit: reality-choice.org

Credit: reality-choice.org

The blog began with a consideration of Upanishadic metaphysics culminating in Shankeracharya’s Advait philosophy of Transcendental Monism, – then moved to the metaphysics of science with David Bohm’s theory of an Implicate Order and we now reach metaphysics in biology with Rupert Sheldrake’s theory about Morphogenetic Fields and Morphic Resonance. While the first two were concerned with the cosmos ( and beyond) the last has more to do with manifest Nature.

 Sheldrake is an eminent biologist who had studied at Cambridge and Harvard, travelled widely attending conferences on holistic thought, science and mysticism, where Bohm and Capra represented physics and Sheldrake was the most prominent biologist. Renee Weber (see previous post) in her book ‘The Search for Unity’ extensively interviewed Sheldrake ( among others). Below I have sought to present the substance of her seminal dialogues with Sheldrake on his hypothesis on Morphogenetic Fields.

Like Bohm was dissatisfied with the lack of interpretations of quantum mechanics by scientists for us, being confined to math. and equations, so too Sheldrake was dissatisfied with the mechanistic – reductionist view of biology among

Credit: wikipedia

Rupert Sheldrake
Credit: wikipedia

physiologists, biochemists and biophysicists who he felt were more physicists and chemists than biologists. This he called a major internal crisis in biology. A dissident tradition was on the other hand looking for something going beyond such a view – this group consisted of developmental biologists and embryologist, according to him the true biologists with whom he identified. They dissented from the mechanist view that the DNA and chemicals in human organisms were the sole cause of their form and properties. Everything was attributed to DNA in the mechanistic model. He felt that this was grossly over-rated. DNA was attributed unexplained powers and properties which could not be specified in molecular terms at all. This he describes as the fantasies projected onto the DNA.

Like Bohm sought to make sense of quantum mechanics by proposing an Implicate Order (previous post), Sheldrake postulated Morphogenetic Fields to explain what the DNA clearly was not doing. All that the DNA did was to provide a code enabling cells to make certain proteins. How then the cells used the proteins, organized themselves into particular forms and grouped together in tissues of certain forms and shaped them into an organism of forms was still a mystery. He gave an example to explain. DNA gave us the bricks and mortar with which the organism is built but how these are assembled into patterns, shapes and structures remained beyond known capabilities of DNA.

Sheldrake said that primary forms are defined by two fields, gravity and electromagnetism. Gravity is a kind of formation field but at a lower level, creating forms like spheres. Electromagnetic fields are also simple in contributing form but neither can explain the complexity or multiplicity of forms of organisms. He explains that as animals and plants develop, the complexity of their structures becomes greater and greater – more form coming from less, defying physical explanations.

His theory of Morphogenetic Fields proposes that there is a field which is responsible for development of form (the things which the DNA evidently does not do ). The form pre-exists in the field which guides the developing organism and controls its form and development. Each organism has a field dedicated to it. The fields are derived from past organisms of the same species through ‘Morphic Resonance’. Past forms influence present ones through the field by a kind of resonance and present forms feed-back into the field in a two-way kind of on going evolution of the same form.

He explains ‘Morphic Resonance’ with the analogy of radio and TV. Wires and transistors receive transmissions from stations. The DNA of a chicken are the wires and transistors which receive the transmissions from the Morphogenetic field of Chickens. the present approach to biology is like looking at a picture on the TV screen and examining the transistors, wires and chemicals in the TV set without accounting for the fact that the transmissions are not coming from the box. Indeed he holds that Morphic Resonance can be tested. An example is that of rats learning a new trick in one place and the rats of the same breed then learning that trick more quickly all over the world (in a later post I propose to show numerous examples of scientifically tested cases of so-called Morphic Resonance).

Weber then asked Sheldrake about the nature and characteristics of Morphogenetic fields. He explained that the fields are invisible, and like gravity has spatial patterns. The spatial patterns of a magnetic field can be seen in the iron filings on the magnet. Therefore the fields are invisible but detectable only through their effects. Morphogenetic Fields are also invisible and undetectable directly but only through the Morphogenetic effects. However they are not ‘energetic’ like magnetic fields because they are outside space and time.

Credit: shift.is

Credit: shift.is

Forms are not mere archetypes in the mind of God unlike what Augustine would have said. Sheldrake proposes that they are evolutionary not fixed. While they are affected by past forms of the same type of organism through a kind of cumulative effect, the field is also affected by existing forms – a kind of two-way process through a feed-back. This is similar to Bohm’s idea of the Implicate Order ‘unfolding’ and then ‘enfolding’.

He agrees that there is a kind of persistence of memory on a cosmic scale. He then approaches the God thought. He believes that Nature itself has a source beyond the natural world. Creativity within the universe and the universe itself can only be explained through a kind of idea of transcendence – some non-physical, trans-physical reality, spiritual in nature.

Once again I sat back to allow the mind-blowing concepts to settle in. Yet another scientist, a biologist this time had opened his mind to speak of science and metaphysics seeking this time to explain development of form, their multiplicity and evolution. When the circuits had stopped whirring and the alignments had been made, once again a new mind-set had evolved. Nature was indeed alive, intelligent with memory, intent and transcendental influences. No less important the fact that we are not merely products of nature but active participants in its evolution. As Bohm’s Implicate Order was affected and transformed every time we ‘enfolded’ back into it, so too Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields evolved through our individual ‘contributions’.

Credit: picstopin.com

Credit: picstopin.com

New Age consciousness manifested itself in the 20th century in the books of a special breed of writers like Fritjof  Capra, a scientist and Gary Zukav a Harvard intellectual. These two pioneers in this genre presented to the public their perceptions of the striking parallels between the new and evolving paradigms in physics and ancient wisdom contained particularly in eastern mysticism. Their books became bestsellers with several reprints. The titles were also chosen to underline the close affinity between mysticism and science. Capra’s ‘Tao of Physics‘ employed the Chinese word Tao which signifies cosmic purpose, unity and interdependence of all phenomena. Zukav in his book ‘Dancing Wu Li Masters‘ again employs a Chinese term which means patterns of energy or physics while Masters can be interpreted as teachers of Wu Li namely scientists.

Capra in his book traces the philosophy of eastern mysticism in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Zen and then proceeds to show that there are amazing parallels in their basic ideas with the concepts of modern physics. The growing scientific certainty of an integrated and interdependent cosmos whose only reality was the reality of a dynamic whole rather than the parts was the very premise on which eastern mysticism was founded. The observations and findings of Quantum physics supported this view, overturning the certainties of the Newtonian mechanistic world model of a solid, predictable, unchanging and deterministic universe.

fritjof kapra

Fritjof Capra

Capra speaks then of a basic change in world view and relates our present day problems to a ‘crises of perception’. He underlines that the new holistic world view is responsible for the rising eminence of ecological awareness, environmental issues and Green politics. He holds that mystical thought provides a relevant philosophical background to the theories of contemporary science; a conception of the world in which scientific discoveries can be in perfect harmony with spiritual aims and religious beliefs. He concludes that modern physics goes beyond technology, becoming a path with a heart, a way to spiritual knowledge and self-realization. Capra quotes Ashvaghosh the great Buddhist philosopher of the first century AD :

‘When the mind is disturbed, the multiplicity of things is produced but when the mind is quieted, the multiplicity of things disappears’

He quotes another Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna ( Buddhist scholar 150 – 250 AD):

‘Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves’.

Then he juxtaposes two quotes of scientists as comparison:

‘An elementary particle is not an independently existing entity. It is in essence a set of relationships that reach outwards to other things.’ – H.P.Stapp

‘The world thus appears as a complicated tissue of events in which connections of different kinds alternate or overcome or combine and thereby determine the texture of the whole.’ – W. Heisenberg

In this emergent world view, mass is merely a form of energy;  subatomic particles are not made of any material substance but are merely patterns of dynamic energy;  electrons are linked by ‘non-local’ connection;  physical vacuum, or void, contains the potentiality for all forms of a particle world;  forms are not independent physical entities but merely ‘transient manifestations of a perfect state of the field at the place, a material particle is merely indicative of a huge energy field concentrated in a very small space, an energy knot;  physical things and phenomenon are transient manifestations of an underlying fundamental reality.  Thus Capra holds that we have to see sub-atomic particles as dynamic patterns – their spatial aspect makes them appear as objects but their time aspect as process. Thus the changed perception of science is that every structure we observe is a manifestation of an underlying process and the process, not the object, is primary. An atomic particle can never be said to exist at a certain place, nor can it be said not to exist there. Being a probability pattern it therefore has a strange kind of physical reality between existence and non-existence.

He then quotes Oppenheimer ( American renowned physicist)

‘If we ask for instance whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say no; if we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we must say no; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say no; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say no’.

This he compares  with what the Isa Upanishad has to say from antiquity:

It moves, it moves not,

its is far, and it is near,

it is within all this,

and it is outside of all this.

He quotes Ashvaghosh again:

‘Suchness is neither that which is existence, nor that which is non-existence, nor that which is at once existence and non-existence, nor that which is not at once existence and non-existence.’

Capra concludes by saying that  reality lies beyond opposite concepts both for the physicist and the mystic who have to adopt a special way of thinking where the mind is not fixed in the rigid framework of classic logic but have to keep moving and changing the viewpoints.  Adi Shankaracharya the great Indian exponent of Advait or non-dualism in the 9th century AD  was a shining example of this perception as I have sought to show in my earlier  post (see pages also).

Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav

Zukav’s book is meant more for the lay person who wishes  to understand the mysteries of Quantum Physics,  though it is interspersed with parallels with eastern mysticism, like the title.  He won the American Booker Award for it. Later he went on to write what I believe is the New Age’s most significant work inspired by rare  mystical insight and inspiration ”The Seat of the Soul‘, which became my bible for researching the subject of the soul – something which I felt was so authentic that there was not a word in the book with which I felt disagreement. But we shall leave a review of that book for another post.

The dynamic dance of  the subatomic reality of particles, where the very basis of matter begins to transform into energy is what we find when we reach down into our microcosm and find that our essence is insubstantial, immaterial and relative, a fluid, imperceptible unpredictable and dynamic region of the play of virtually incomprehensible forces. Here one is reminded of the Hindu concept of Maya or illusion. This is not to say that the world is an illusion but our way of looking at it  is an illusion. When in seeing the parts we fail to see the whole, then the viewing is an illusion.

We are told that our reality is so interconnected with the microcosm and the macrocosm that were even an infinitesimal part of one or the other to suddenly disappear, so would we (Mach’s principle). We exist because the farthest reaches of the universe exist and the stars exist because we do. The essence then is the underlying process, the process of which we are a manifestation. We are not our ego system. We are part of a process.

In my view egocentricity is then the product of prejudice. The prejudice which presumes that the solidity of our environment is the absolute reality; the prejudice which claims that we are separate from all else; the prejudice which holds that being at the pinnacle of an evolutionary scale entitles us alone to survive; the prejudice which entitles cerebral intelligence alone to be endowed by feelings and sensitivities, that animals are therefore not worthy of  the same consideration because they are lacking in sensitivity; the prejudice that pain only of an intelligent being is worthy of note; the prejudice that life forms devoid of a nervous system cannot feel discomfort of equal intensity to nervous pain, nor  that the experience of the  joy and ecstasy of flowering   in plants can be equal to the joy and ecstasy of human sexuality; the prejudice that does not see the whole for the part, the wood for the trees.

The new paradigm shift of science aligning with the wisdom of  mystics and seers thus finally pronounces the beginning of a New Age suggesting that  man must shed his prejudices and  examine the possibility of reform which could lead to a  new metamorphosis of the expansion of consciousness.

earthNew Age thought represents the dawning of a new consciousness. In his astonishing book, The Awakening Earth. as far back as 1982, Peter Russel spoke of an exponential growth curve for people actively engaged in the transformation of consciousness, basing his conclusions on a study of the number of books and magazines published on the subject which had been doubling every two or three years. He also felt that with the phenomenal advances in information technology the the earth had become like an embrionic brain. He predicted that before long the consciousness curve would overtake the information curve and that within a few decades a fairly large proportion of the US population would be familiar with the subject. He then postulated that when the employment curve for ‘consciousness processing’ overtakes that of ‘information processing’, the evolution of human consciousness will have become the dominant area of human activity and we will have shifted from an Information Age to a Consciousness Age. This would be a time when the major thrust of human activity would move on to exploring our inner frontiers and self-development would be a prime goal. People would then be as familiar with meditation and spiritual experiences as today they are with calculators and computers.

peter russel

Peter Russel

Like a galaxy of thinkers in the field, Russel is no philosopher or mystic but a student of mathematics, theoretical physics, psychology and computer science at Cambridge and later a consultant on creativity, mindset and stress management in several major corporations.

The evidence that Russel’s predictions were not far-fetched can be seen in the growing coverage of New Age issues by the print and electronic media for information and entertainment. 

In succeeding posts I propose to survey precisely such a development in thought, linking spiritual insights with science and exploring the resurgence of mystical practices and their examination by scientific establishments. I have already touched on the emergence of spiritualism through Science Fiction and the extraordinary response it has received from the public. I shall now continue to present such an emergence in works of fiction, philosophy, investigative journalism, scientific studies,  and the literature on mysticism.

 

 

In the previous posts we saw that science and spiritualism were identical concepts right till the Middle Ages when religious dogma and growing orthodoxy sought to limit and confine freedom of thought. This led to a parting of ways and henceforth science sought to distance itself from spiritual inspiration and religion.

Science without the inhibiting and restraining weight of religious dogma,  began to experience meteoric advance at a pace which surpassed the entire progress achieved by mankind in history and continues to move forward by leaps and bounds. In the centuries following the schism between science and spiritualism,  the scientific mind crossed new frontiers of knowledge with bold and fearless discoveries and inventions. The scientific temper has now virtually stretched to the limits of man’s ingenuity, going down to split the atom and going outwards to put his footsteps on the moon and preparing to reach beyond. Dogmas no longer inhibit man. He is ready to discard established hypothesis no sooner new evidence proves the contrary. There is freedom of thought, individual liberty, encouragement to experiment and postulate as never before. Inventive and creative minds are at a premium. They no longer need to fear the consequences. Every known frontier is under challenge.

In this atmosphere of freedom, religion has suffered a setback, particularly in the advanced societies of the West. In Europe the pews of the churches are empty, except for some elderly stragglers and art enthusiasts who treat them as museums. The Pope is now from a third world country where religion still thrives.

Despite this, there has been the remarkable growth of a new spiritual awareness which seeks to express itself through humanism, egalitarianism, vegetarianism, ecological concerns, animal rights, environmentalism and last but not the least the emergence of neo-mystical trends imbibing influences from a range of spiritual insights from established religions to  lesser known mystical, esoteric beliefs and practices. These are varied combinations and cocktails for our changing times, that have popularly acquired the nomenclature ‘New Age’. Basically the cocktails, to mix a metaphor, are old wine in colourful new bottles.

Credit: onthemovewithus.com

Credit: onthemovewithus.com

Science on the other hand, may well be reaching the zenith of secular advance and may soon find itself compelled less than a century from now to merely crawl forward by varying and duplicating existing knowledge rather than evolving, unless it takes the next logical step forward. It would need to rejoin the spiritualism it left by the wayside even if the parting was only a historical accident. It will need for instance to correlate metaphysical insight with Quantum discoveries, probe the paranormal, the supernatural, telepathy, morphogenetic fields, morphic resonance, Kirlian photography and Auric phenomena, psychokinesis, the healing powers of the mind, feats of Yoga, Reiki cures, Chakra therapies and you name it, before it can make a quantum leap of galactic proportions, taking humans from manhood to supermanhood.

Credit finerminds.com

Credit finerminds.com

In my view Science and Spirit are one, though we have learnt to treat them as being antithetical. We have been taught that the two are incompatible, that the spiritually inclined individual cannot have a scientific temper and that the scientist is, by training, at variance with spiritual inclination. But scientific temper and spiritual inclination are a single facet of the human personality and genius. The most fundamental attribute of human nature, corresponding with the natural order, are a scientific temper in evidence in inherent qualities such as curiosity, exploration and examination and a spiritual or mystical urge manifest in nobility of thought and action, humanitarianism, sacrifice, compassion and other non-egotistical actions. The human mind engages in finite logic and infinite imagination. We could well ask whether these are attributes of an ingrained materialism related to organic need or an inherent spiritualism related to an evolution to a higher order. Are these manifestations then of a scientific bent for material enquiry, or a spiritual quest?

I believe we have through a historical mistake clubbed materialism and attendant egocentricity with scientific temper and dismissed spiritualism and mysticism as outdated relics of religion to be put away in a closet. But I am reminded again and again of the metaphor that the creator is a master scientist. how else could he have created this wondrous precise world where physical, chemical, mathematical and dimensional codes hold their sway from the micro to the macro levels? The scientific temper and spiritual urge within us are in my view not at all antithetical but complementary. they are part of a single force or dynamics within us and the sooner we understand this the better for our evolution. Science should not be subjected to an exaggerated secular quarantine but be permitted to enquire freely into spiritual and paranormal phenomena without the stigma attaching of absurdity or of the guilt of engaging in an obscure and obtuse excercise.

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