Wherever I look, I see proof that consciousness is the only ‘real’ thing about reality. Everything else is an illusion. It’s a profound thought, and this writer thinks the realization is a fundamental path to happiness and success in life. Stay with me and I’ll explain why.
My preferred route to exploring the subject of consciousness is by way of quantum physics. Anyone who has undertaken a serious examination of the quantum world has seen how interconnected the two subjects are. However, scientists appear to be embarrassed that physics butts up to consciousness at the most fundamental levels. The Quantum Enigma by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, two University of California physics professors, makes that compelling argument. Many other enlightened writers have said the same thing. Unfortunately, mainstream science discards their work, calling it pseudoscience.
The majority of scientists believe that consciousness is nothing more than a phenomenon that emerges out of the activity of the human brain (and perhaps the brains of other intelligent creatures). So the argument goes, the brain is the most complex structure in the universe and this complexity is itself the source of consciousness. I am not convinced. Indeed, science has not a single compelling idea of how consciousness might emerge out of the physical brain. Scientists are the first to admit this difficulty while vehemently disagreeing with every enlightened approach to the problem. To them, consciousness is the illusion. However, the reality is the other way around. More and more scientists are beginning to accept the argument that Rosenblum and Kuttner make. There will come a time, I believe, when all of science is enlightened and physics will find a way to incorporate consciousness into its study.
Prior to the end of the 19th century, it was thought that matter was continuous, meaning that matter could be cut in half an infinite number of times and the segment remaining would still be matter. For example, a hunk of gold could be cut in two repeatedly until the remaining pieces were far to small to see but the pieces that remained would still be gold. Of course, now we know that’s not true. It turns out that gold (or any matter) can be cut only until the size gets down to a single atom. The next cut reveals only a pile of electrons, protons and neutrons, not gold. Matter is not continuous. It is said to be quantized.
Max Planck proposed in 1900 that light energy was also quantized. Twenty years later, quantum physics was born out of his ideas and the minimum quantity of energy he envisioned was given a name: photon. Energy does not exist below the size of photons. Think about that fact for a moment and let it sink in. Planck’s idea was radical at first but, as with matter, the idea has proven to be true. Quantum theory matured as an entirely separate branch of physics and soon became the most successful physics theory of that era and still is today, surpassing even Einstein’s theories of relativity.
The idea of quantized matter and energy was so important in the understanding of how the universe worked that physicists began to explore the possibility that other facets of the physical realm might also be quantized: space and time for instance. This is more challenging than quantized energy ever thought of being. Nevertheless, let’s play around with it. Imagine for a moment ‘pieces’ of space and ‘pieces’ of time. This stretches the mind almost to the breaking point because if one was able to shrink to a size smaller than these quanta, neither space nor time would exist. Einstein was one of the physicists who explored the idea. He wrote a paper on it in 1910. Although no one has developed it into a working theory, the idea of quantized spacetime (the term Einstein used) continues to be explored today. String Theory is one such attempt. In 2007 the popular magazine Discover published an article that talked about it. (http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time.) The bottom line for quantized spacetime is that, assuming it’s true, the ultimate reality is that at fundamental levels, neither space nor time exist. You have to agree that a ‘piece’ of time simply cannot flow the way we usually expect time to pass. This writer is not waiting for physicists to figure it out. He believes in the evidence that’s already been presented. He believes that spacetime is quantized. Spacetime (i.e., the physical universe) is some form of illusion, meaning that its foundation is not something that can be defined as physical. What is its foundation? Consciousness.
Let’s explore further. The ‘place’ that spacetime quanta appear is called the Planck realm. For space, that’s a size of 10-35 meters. For time, it’s 10-43 seconds. Planck time is merely the time it takes light to cross a segment of Planck length. If you’re unfamiliar with scientific notation, these are incredibly small sizes, billions of times smaller than even the tiny nucleus of an atom. The Planck realm permeates the universe, lying in the ‘gaps’ between the quanta of spacetime, a domain which by definition (obviously) cannot contain space or time. What would a realm without space or time be like? What would it consist of? It’s impossible to go there to see for ourselves since we and our instruments are, physically, products of the spacetime realm. I propose that the nature of the Planck realm is consciousness itself. Think about it. We know consciousness exists and we know it has to exist outside the spacetime realm because it has absolutely no physical attributes. There’s simply no other place it can be.
If there is no space or time in consciousness, what is there? At first glance, it might appear to be empty. That’s because, of course, our physical selves cannot sense what is there. However, it is not empty. It is filled to overflowing with everything. Everything all at once, unaffected by spacetime, uninflated by separation, existing as One. Infinite knowledge, all information and every idea there ever was or will be exists there. The idea of you lies in this field of consciousness. It is the you that is much more than the limited physical being that exists in the present moment. It’s you without spacetime limitations. It is you with not only the present moment but with all possible futures, each with a corresponding past, all existing in the vast Oneness.
Please stop here to pause and reflect before reading on.
Since spacetime arises out of consciousness, it can be nothing but thought. It is the thought of separation. Spacetime separates two or more objects in space and it separates two or more events in time. It does nothing more. Consider that fact and what it means. The only purpose for spacetime to exist is as a separator. As vast as spacetime appears to be on its surface, it is severely limited. Within consciousness, objects and events exist in essentially an infinite number of dimensions all superimposed on the One. In spacetime, those dimensions are cut to three plus time.
The real you that exists in consciousness is One with every other human being because there is no space or time to separate you from another. The physical, familiar you comes into expression when a segment of the you that is contained in the field of consciousness is inflated with spacetime. Spacetime is the separator that allows you to be expressed in the physical realm in the Present Moment – but not in either the future or past. (Think about that too for a moment: you’ve never experienced an ounce of your physical life in anything but the present moment.) This inflated part of you is the only part of you that physically exists but there are past and the future aspects of you in consciousness (and so much more) but they aren’t inflated with spacetime so they aren’t expressed in the physical realm. Further, since time is quantized, the physical you is not expressed continuously over time. It is expressed and re-expressed in the Present Moment every 10-43 seconds. (We’ll come back to this idea below.)
The idea of you as a physical expression is actually the thought of God, re-expressed over and over again, each time as a perfect expression of you. In other words, God did not think of you just once and then was done with you. You are constantly renewed as another whole and perfect God-thought. As the thought occurs and re-occurs, subatomic particles (electrons, quarks and so forth) form out of consciousness substance and rush in to fill out the expression in the physical realm. As an analogy, one might think of the God-thought as providing an outline of you in the physical realm and then the physical expression follows in the tiniest of instants.
Now we are going to shift gears. However, we’ll come back and tie what we’ve been talking about so far to what follows.
The concept of motion is something that has fascinated me since I was a kid. I never understood what the fascination was all about but I’ve always thought that motion is not what it appears on the surface. Riding in the car as a ten year old with my family I would look out the window of our 1954 Ford station wagon and watch the outside world go by and think to myself, ‘There is something going on behind this motion that I do not understand.’ I had not a clue to what it was.
I recently read a book that talks about motion from the perspective of physics and I immediately sensed why I’ve been thinking about it all these years. The book is titled, God Does Play Dice with the Universe. It is not a spiritual book in spite of the title which is a play on words Einstein used when he famously said, ‘God does not play dice with the universe.’ The author is Shan Gao, a theoretical physicist who graduated from the Chinese Academy of Science in 1995. His book was published in 2008. In it, Gao shows that motion, whether of an electron or a person, is not continuous as is commonly thought. It is discontinuous. It is quantized! An electron ‘jumps’ from place to place without ever having been in the space between the two places. Indeed, as we learned in the discussion above, the space between the places is the consciousness realm where there is no spacetime for the electron to be ‘in’ in a physical sense. Interestingly and not coincidentally, he shows that these jumps occur every 10-43seconds. Extending his ideas from electrons to the physical world, he offers a brand new and (at least to me) a quite exciting theory of motion. A person moves as the result of quadrillions of ‘jumps’ of subatomic particles. His theory also offers sound explanations to many experimental observations that have previously gone without satisfactory explanation. If you are curious about this, I recommend you read the book. The first half of it is an easy read.
Gao says that this motion is random. An electron’s next location is not guided by anything other than the random influences of quantum law. He does not delve into the mechanics of how a person’s thought translates into subatomic movement. I believe that consciousness has an obvious influence about where the electron will show up so at least in living organisms, movement cannot be entirely random so I separate from Gao on that point. Gao does not get into a discussion of consciousness at all but I have extrapolated what he presented in terms of consciousness in order that I might understand how consciousness powers motion, as I think it obviously must.
(A sidelight here: if space and time do not fundamentally exist, neither can motion - in its traditional interpretation – because motion is defined as a change in location – space - over time. So to me, this is proof that Gao is on the right track.)
In this example, we’ll talk about a simple motion – you deciding to walk across a room and pick up a book. That, of course, is not a simple motion at all, given the interaction of God’s mind, your mind, your nervous system and all your muscles, but you’ll get the picture. Briefly, I believe this is what happens. First comes God’s thought of you. That thought inflates a segment of you held within consciousness with the spacetime separator and you instantly appear in the physical realm in the Present Moment, flesh and blood, a collection of subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, cells and organs. I stress that this physical you only exists in the Present Moment. It will be gone in an instant and replaced by a new thought of you in a slightly different place as the Present Moment evolves, creating an illusion of passing time and space. It’s not unlike watching a movie.
However, God is not the only conscious entity in this example. You, that Present Moment expression of life that you are, is also conscious and also has thoughts. Those thoughts originate across a wide spectrum beginning at the lowest level of your autonomic nervous system, your reptilian brain, upwards into your higher brain functions including your ego-mind and still higher to the level of your soul. These thoughts make imprints on consciousness and begin at once to have an effect on the you that is the God-thought when it occurs in the next Present Moment. This is the process in which you create your life experience, one tiny step at a time. But, of course, you are not aware of those steps because they occur so fast. Consciousness responds to your thoughts to move you across the room to pick up that book as the ‘new’ expressions of your life appear, much like a movie evolves from slightly different still pictures over time. In a movie, there is no actual movement, it just looks that way. It’s an illusion. Life is the same thing. Muscles take their cues, flex and relax and an illusion of motion occurs, instant by instant, all within the evolving Present Moment. And, we can say, an illusion of life occurs in the physical realm. This illusional world is what Rumi refers to as sleep.
This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like a dawn
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.
As I contemplated all this, I began to give thought to the process of goal setting and visioning and how this consciousness/Present Moment/motion idea might be explained with greater understanding. Anyone who has attended a visioning class understands what this is. You form in your mind a picture or vision of what you want your life to be, say, five or ten years from now. You put words and illustrations on paper. You hold that vision in your mind and, provided you minimize thoughts to the contrary, that vision will become your reality. It works as it has famously been stated by Paul J. Meyer, ‘Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.’ (Italics, mine.)
Let’s begin again with the Present Moment expression of you. It’s the part of you that exists in the physical realm. In the grander Truth of you, it’s a minor part, a sliver of your true existence – the rest of which is in consciousness, One with every other entity. The vision that you hold makes an impression in consciousness and from that moment on has a reality of its own in the One. However, you don’t experience it in the physical realm just yet. Experiencing it has to wait until that segment of your future becomes the present and is inflated with separation (the thought of spacetime) and it becomes the Present Moment. Then and only then will you enjoy the fruits of your visioning. How long does it take? Within consciousness, all it takes is an instant. (Remember, there is no time there.) In the physical world, the illusion of time makes for a different set of rules. In this physical realm, it’s your vision that determines the time frame. You are in charge. If you can vision it with sincere and total belief, it will be yours, without exception. Your future is determined by you, not in the past or future, but now, right this instant. But keep this in mind. If you also have contrary ‘visions,’ ideas that what you want is out of your reach, that you’ll never be able to succeed, that it’s hopeless to try and so forth, your progress will be delayed, postponed or put entirely off track. What I mean to say, this takes discipline. What you need to do is Trust Life. Put the negative thoughts behind and go for what you want with the unwaivering knowledge that the only thing that can hold you back are your own thoughts.
So, that’s how it works. Life flows from the inside. It doesn’t come to you by any other means. There’s no force in the universe, other than your own thoughts, that can get between you and what you want out of life. That’s because everything that’s ‘out there’ is merely an illusion. If you want a happy, successful life, create the vision that works for you and hold positive thoughts in your consciousness and minimize negative ones. The quality of your life depends on it. The better you get at visioning, and the more persistent you are, the more consistent will be your results. It is not hard to do but it takes mental discipline. And importantly, you don’t have to understand a spec of what’s on this page or believe in it for that matter. But it does require vision. Fortunately, everyone has that ability. Make it a vision of what you want, not what you want to avoid, because if you do that, you’ll get what you don’t want. That’s how Life works. Begin today to exercise your spiritual muscles. It’s a process that activates an ageless law of the universe: your thoughts attract after their kind. Those thoughts need not be perfect but you do need to do the best you can, every day. That will always be good enough. Then, begin to act as if your dream has already fulfilled itself. Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass. There are no exceptions.
The conclusion I’ve reached here is not new but I think it may be a novel approach to uncovering the Truth: you create your life experience by holding positive, constructive thoughts about your future and by taking thoughtful action now. Your future can and will be a reflection of what you hold in your thoughts combined with your choice of actions (motion), not yesterday, not tomorrow, but now. These musings do, I feel, explain why visioning works and to me, that is important because I prefer to reason things out rather than take them on faith. It gives me spiritual muscle to further explore my life experience as an expression of consciousness as I reach for the stars. I hope you do the same.