Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Smaller than the Smallest, Larger than the Largest


Spinal Tap
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk brought to mind a phrase Maharish was quite fond of:
Knowledge is structured in Consciousness.
(i.e. what you know depends upon whether you are asleep or awake or dreaming, your state of consciousness.)

And there is a corollary:
Every state of consciousness is supported by a unique physiology.
(i.e. observe the body’s behavior during waking, sleeping, and dreaming states. Or view the physiological parameters elegantly diagramed by dream researcher, J. Allan Hobson.)

By contrast, Adyashanti chooses to emphasize a very different point.
Adya says enlightenment is not a state of consciousness.
Which I think is his way of emphasizing that the Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment is the Pure Consciousness of Non-Changing and Ever-Present Wholeness.

Pure Consciousness is not generated by the brain.
Pure Consciousness is the ground, the clay – from which the universe, all brains and all brain-states arise.
(And, personally, given as I am to physiology, I still think one of these brain-states supports the behavior we think of as “enlightened.” That is to say, a specific brain state supports Consciousness becoming conscious.)

It is all very circular -
like some kind of möbius strip, or better yet
M.C. Escher’s, “Drawing Hands.”

Maharishi used to tell us,
The range of Creative Intelligence (Consciousness) is from smaller than the smallest to larger than the largest.

As I tried to understand this - just what could be smaller than the smallest
and also larger than the largest -
I used to contemplate a hierarchy of academic disciplines that ran something along these lines:

When describing the smallest things
quantum physics begins with the vacuum and QED (quantum electro-dynamics)
which is the basis of all chemistry
which is the basis of all biology
which leads to needing sociology
and geology for studies of the World
which leads to planets and astronomy
which leads to galaxies and spiral nebulae, space-time and gravity,
and of course the big-bang (where everything comes out of nothing)
which must be understood in terms of astrophysics
which loops us back to QED and the vacuum.

Can you picture what this means?
I could never quite swallow that the vacuum was actually Pure Consciousness.
But years later when I re-read my notes I found that Maharishi believed they were identical.

So yesterday, I went looking one more time.
I found these words online, those of a physicist, regarding QED:

To be sure, we are electromagnetic creatures in an electromagnetic world, existing at the intersection between light and electricity.

If you haven’t done so already, do listen to Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk at the TED conference.
You’ll find this is pretty much what she discovered for her self.

4 comments:

Stuart said...

Patricia wrote...
Adya says enlightenment is not a state of consciousness.
Which I think is his way of emphasizing that the Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment is the Pure Consciousness of Non-Changing and Ever-Present Wholeness.


We can talk about all sorts of different, changing, temporary "states" that appear and disappear. States like happiness, sadness, LSD-like euphoria, meditation satoris, depression, desire, etc. To say "Enlightenment is not a state of consciousness" is to point to the thing that's really, as you say Non-Changing. So it doesn't appear and disappear like a state.

Patricia, you write, "I think is his way of emphasizing that the Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment..." Instead of "the Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment," why not say, "the Consciousness we're experiencing right now"? If it's non-changing, it's no different now than at any other time (/place/situation).

"Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment" sounds like something that appears only at special times. But the one pure and clear thing doesn't appear and disappear; it's present just now.

Anyway... I found your blog because it's realated to the blog I just wrote about the Jill Blte Taylor talk. Please stop by and comment if you can: it's in the March 08 section, here.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Pat Bralley said...

Stuart wrote:
"Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment" sounds like something that appears only at special times. But the one pure and clear thing doesn't appear and disappear; it's present just now.

My point is - "the one pure and clear" does dissappear if you don't have the physiology to preceive it's there.

Pure Consciousness is there all along - it takes a brain state to know that.

Takes a brain state for Consciousness to become conscious.

Stuart said...

Pat wrote...
"the one pure and clear" does dissappear if you don't have the physiology to preceive it's there... Pure Consciousness is there all along - it takes a brain state to know that.

The knowledge that comes through brain states appears and disappears. It's not "Non-Changing and Ever-Present Wholeness."

What's the point of making ideas about "the Consciousness experienced in Enlightenment"? Why is the experience of this moment not enough?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight is one of the most incredible stories I've heard in a long time. Her TEDTalk video blew my mind wide open to new possibilities. On the one hand, there's what she went through and how she emerged from it. On the other hand, there's what she can teach all of us.
I saw the 4 part Oprah interview on Oprah dot com Soul Series and I did learn a lot from that, but I'd like to find our more of how to do what Dr. Taylor did, without having a stroke of course!
Thin how many of us are living too much in the head, and not the heart. And of course, you can't get more left brain than a Harvard Brain Scientist. Isn't it ironic that she should be the one to have the stroke and transform from the quintessential left brainer into this ""seen the light"" disciple of finding inner peace?
I hope this movement keeps going. Maybe there will be My Stroke of Insight classes where we can practice what Jill Bolte Taylor is preaching.