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Sri Aurobindo, an Indian philosopher and sage of the highest order, tells us that "An evolution of consciousness is the central motive of terrestrial existence." 1  The evolution of consciousness is also the evolution of the soul, both on the individual level and the Universal level.

 

Those who have explored the ancient philosophy of the East or the modern physics of the West are aware of the strange concepts and ideas being expressed. They will have a head start in recognizing the intuitive beauty of the parallels. Yet the most important and exciting ideas can be grasped by anyone who is interested in exploring the deepest mysteries of the Universe. No doubt it will require some mental gymnastics. A little geometry, however, can be of considerable help with that.

Our worldview is typically based on logic and objective reason, but it turns out that those deepest mysteries of the Universe challenge the very foundation of that worldview. Today's physics, for example, shows us that to think of the Universe as being composed of separate particles scattered around in space is actually a limited view of an underlying unified state of reality. The experience of separateness does indeed seem to be illusory, just as sages and mystics have been telling us since before we can remember.

 

The Metaphysics of Nondualism

The synthesis of scientific and spiritual thought, which has actually been happening for a very long time, requires (1) the recognition that science has already transcended the physical world, and (2) that spiritual reality be understood at the metaphysical level. At the same time, metaphysics deals with universal principles which naturally transcend religious dogma. Of course, everyone must follow their own path to spiritual realizations.

The central principle of the great wisdom of the East is Nondualistic Mysticism: There is only one True Reality, and That never changes, a single state of Reality, transcendental, timeless, formless. Ultimately, there is only that One Reality.

transcendental, yet omnipresent
timeless, yet the source of spacetime
formless, yet the creative essence of all form

The physical Universe is merely a fragmented and transient expression of that One Reality. In essence, transcendental unity is the primary state of existence. It is Spirit. It is Consciousness. Although we in the West tend to refer to it as Eastern philosophy, the mystical foundation is common to all spiritual traditions and has been better referred to as the Ancient Wisdom.

It has long been pointed out that this vision of Oneness from the ancient teachings seems to find a modern parallel in science's vision of a Universal Superforce which creates everything. The most exciting aspect of the parallel, however, is the way in which one discipline can help us to understand the other. For those seekers of spiritual understanding not willing to ignore what science has learned, a modern metaphysical system of understanding is invaluable.

Of course, no metaphysical system can represent the transcendental in its true form. By definition, transcendental reality is unknowable, and to attribute any form whatsoever to the One Reality is idolatry. A metaphysical system is merely a tool to help bring forth realizations of those higher realities which cannot be fully represented in three-dimensional space, let alone on a two-dimensional page.

 

The reason we can talk about higher-dimensional realities within three-dimensional space is because, in the same way we can understand how a circle drawn on paper can represent a sphere, we can use the conceptual space of our mind to understand how a limited objective model can represent a higher reality. This conceptual mind-space takes us beyond the simple logic of concrete thought and gives us the capacity for abstract and complex conceptual thought. In metaphysical philosophy, it is called the higher mind and is understood to reside within the higher dimensions of depth-consciousness known as the soul, and those dimensions do indeed go beyond three-dimensional physical space.

Consciousness and the mind do not originate from, nor are they contained within, the brain. Multidimensional depth-consciousness is the body-soul-spirit connection, the realm of meditation, like an axis of transcendence from the physical body, through the soul, to the spiritual essence of being. Its source is our force of spirit, our innermost reality, which is always unified with the One Reality. That is the essence of Nondualism and the Ancient Wisdom.

The metaphysical difference between the soul and the spirit is important and basically simple. The spirit is timeless while the soul evolves. The spirit is eternal, unchanging, and is as ethereal as a vector of force. It is the light, the lifeforce, within the soul. The soul has depth, higher-dimensional structure, and evolves with time, both during an incarnation and between incarnations.

It is interesting to note that since the soul is made of the higher dimensions of the Universe, it always remains within the higher dimensions. The soul never actually travels through physical space. It is the true self around which external realities manifest, even between incarnations. During a transition, the soul vacates the body by retracting from the physical and going within, into the higher dimensions, like the way consciousness retracts into the astral realm during sleep. Even though there may be a temporary experience of being outside the body within the physical world during an out-of-body experience, for example, the soul itself is never actually separated from the higher dimensions. The timeless unity of the higher dimensions is fundamental to the nondualistic nature of the One Reality.

It is our higher mind, giving us the capacity for abstract thought as well as for transcendental realization and enlightenment, that distinguishes us from the other animals of our world. According to theosophical sources, it arises from the fact that we have an individualized soul, while animals have a group soul according to their species. Without a higher mind, a chimpanzee is not likely to ponder the infinity of space, but having a group soul, it will have superb powers of species-level instinct. They each have their own individual spirit, but not an individualized soul. All souls, individual or collective, reside within and never leave the same higher-dimensional region of the Universe.

 

To help get a handle on the metaphysics of Nondualism, it is key to realize that the Ultimate Reality of Transcendental Unity is not anywhere ‘out there’ in physical space. The higher dimensions of depth-consciousness are within us in the same way that the higher dimensions of physics are within every atom, and as higher dimensions are reached, higher states of unification are realized. More than a mere parallel, this is where physics and metaphysics actually coincide and reflect each other.

It is important to keep in mind that the lower dimensions are created by the higher dimensions. In fact, as a lower dimension such as the physical plane is transcended, it is recognized as being simply a limited and conditional experience of higher dimensions. From the perspective of a higher dimension, the lower dimensions have no real substance unto themselves because "each higher dimension includes the lower ones by coordinating its elements in a wider and more intricate structure of relationships." (Lama Govinda 2)

Like the surface of a sphere with multiple internal layers, the dimension we know as the physical world with our physical body is simply an outer shell created by higher-dimensional realities, with the central singularity shining forth as the highest dimension, the source of all that is. If the CosmicLight of that highest dimension were to suddenly blink out, the entire Universe would just as suddenly cease to exist.

 

Words and Traditions

Reference to the Sanskrit classics, such as the Vedas (The Knowledge, wisdom) and the Upanishads, is particularly useful because their metaphysical foundation is well-preserved and the terminology is familiar to those who have studied philosophy and comparative religion. Brahman and Atman, for example, refer to the Universal Spirit and the individual spirit, or to Universal Consciousness and individual consciousness. In the nondualism of Advaita Vedanta, the Atman, our spirit and seed of consciousness, is an integral part of Brahman, much like how a ring on a sphere is an integral part of the sphere. The ring is a full dimension less than the sphere and has no reality whatsoever without the sphere.

In the Hebrew mystical tradition of the Kabbalah, the equivalent to Brahman is called Ein-Sof (The Endless One). It should be understood that the underlying principles are universal and are the same for all spiritual traditions. Similarly, all bioforms that happen to share our Universe are, by necessity, part of the same Universal Lifeforce that we are. This becomes obvious as the metaphysical realities and essential Oneness of the Universe are understood.

The state of reality represented by Brahman (Ein-Sof) transcends even the Creator God, Brahma (Yahweh, YHVH), and contains all three aspects of the Hindu Trinity, the Trikaya, within itself. Brahman is simultaneously Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, Creator-Preserver-Transformer, while remaining unchanged (as the Godhead, all three modes of Godhood in one). Obviously, this requires an understanding which goes beyond the idea of 'theological deities with bodies' toward purely abstract mystical principles.

As represented by the simple geometric beauty of the Roman Pantheon, a higher truth underlies all the anthropomorphized body forms of theology. Recognizing this more abstract level of spiritual understanding as being more real is called nontheism (which is not atheism) and is characteristic of Buddhism, for example, and metaphysics in general.

 

Metaphysically understood, the Trikaya represents the creation process, which is happening continuously. All stages of the creation process exist simultaneously, just as all higher dimensions of physics exist simultaneously. Even though Western scenarios tend to express Creation as a time-bound process, such as in Genesis and the Big Bang Theory, it is important to keep in mind that the Trikaya creation process is continuous. "This infinite fullness [the visible Universe] shines forth from That infinite fullness [the invisible Brahman]." (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad)  (Vedic and Kabbalistic texts do speak of pre-Creation states of Being as part of a system of cycles within cycles covering eons of time. Throughout all the cycles, the unified state of the One Reality remains unchanged.)

The metaphysics of Nondualism recognizes the underlying polarity which creates the Trikaya as more fundamental, more real. In this way, duality (separateness) is recognized as an expression of polarity (represented by a vector, an arrow) and the illusion of separateness is transcended. For example, the duality of the positive and negative electric charges arises from the polarity of the electric force field, a single reality, and a more fundamental level of reality.

The polarity inherent in the Trikaya is actually the creative property of Brahman itself, and as a direct result, it is also inherent within Atman. This polarity within Atman is an expression of our force of spirit and is the source of individual consciousness. Its three-fold nature manifests in the past-present-future experience of time. The interaction between Brahman and Atman creates the field of Creation around us, and the geometric relationship between Brahman and Atman and how it initiates the emergence of a diverse Creation from the One Reality is called Sacred Geometry.

 

In Western terms, and in the language of metaphysical philosophy, the Greek word Logos has been used to refer to the creative property of the transcendental Mythos. By definition, Logos (Om, the Word, Lifeforce) is the perfect expression of Mythos, and is therefore also known as the ideal 'object' of meditation.

Logos is the First Cause of Creation ("In the beginning was the Word, ..." Christian Bible, John 1:1), as well as the creative polarity which defines the laws of physics and makes everything happen. We experience it constantly. With the creation process recognized as continuous, the philosophical notion of First Cause does not refer to a time-bound phenomenon that happened in the past, but rather to the timeless (continuous and unchanging) creative cause of the Universe.

At the metaphysical level, Logos has the intrinsic property of polarity, the dynamic essence of force, the perfect expression of Mythos. The realization of Logos, in its transcendental wholeness, implies the existence of the otherwise unknowable Mythos. Geometrically thinking, if Logos was a sphere, Mythos would be its central point. As metaphysical principles, Mythos and Logos are equivalent to the first and second bodies of the Trikaya, inseparable aspects of the One Reality. (”… and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1).  In Sanskrit, Logos is called the Dharmakaya, the perfect embodiment of Divine Law.

 

The Way of Jnana Yoga

In the Western world, the term yoga has become associated mainly with posture-based exercises for fitness and stress relief. The Sanskrit word yoga literally means yoking or union, and in its primary and classical sense, refers to a system of practice meant to help one reconnect with the inner spirit, recognizing it as one's primary reality and its timeless unity with the One Reality.

The study of metaphysics, and even conventional physics, provides insight along the path of Jnana Yoga, one of the three classical yoga paths mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita:  Bhakti Yoga (the way of devotion, worship), Karma Yoga (the way of action, good works), and Jnana Yoga (the way of knowledge, intellect).

The knowledge referred to by Jnana Yoga is spiritual wisdom, including the discrimination between what is illusion and what is real, between the transient material world and the unchanging ultimate Reality. Traditionally, such knowledge is attained by deep meditation on the scriptures, particularly the Upanishads. Today, modern physics can also offer insights and realizations into the true nature of the Universe and our ultimate oneness with all of Creation which profoundly affect spiritual awareness and the individual soul.

Devotional ritual and compassion are important in their own right, of course, but a lack of metaphysical education over the ages, especially in the West, has resulted in an intolerance between devotional paths. Most disturbing is the absence of metaphysical understanding and obvious lack of any mystical experience among most religious teachers and clergy. It is fortunate and ironic that the birth of science and the age of reason in the West would eventually lead to a rebirth of metaphysical knowledge and a new way with which to share it.

 

Historically, Jnana Yoga has been more prominent within esoteric mystery schools and among the Gnostics and Kabbalists, for example. Most notably, it is the essence of the Upanishadic texts of the East and the primary method of the famous writings of Shankaracharya, which go directly to the nondualistic foundation of the Vedic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions, known as Advaita Vedanta, and provide a direct approach to spiritual understanding.

Jnana Yoga is more suited to those whose powerful intellects mistrust the emotional fervour
of worship. It is the Yoga of pure discrimination. It transcends the intellect through the intellect.
It needs no Iswara, no altar, no image, no ritual. It seeks a more immediate approach to Brahman.
This path may perhaps be more direct, but it is also hard and steep.

Swami Prabhavananda
from his Introduction to
Shankara's Crest-Jewel of Discrimination3

Although Shankara included some aspects of Bhakti Yoga in his writings, he considered Jnana Yoga to be far superior to any other path to enlightenment. It seems that modern science is providing us with a new language to more easily explore this difficult yet very effective ancient path. While physics cannot provide scientific proof of a spiritual origin or a timeless center to our Universe, with core concepts in line with the principles of nondualistic mysticism, it at least points directly to the possibility.

 

An excellent meditation exercise in Jnana Yoga is to visualize your innermost reality as a pin-point of white light force which has its polar opposite reflected directly in the blackness of infinity around you.

 

The Geometry of Nondualism

The mathematics of Relativity and quantum physics is multi-dimensional and complex, yet it describes a reality which is fundamentally simple and based on geometry -- the geometry of quantum fields within the geometry of spacetime. As a representation of reality, geometry is arguably even more fundamental than the mathematics which describes it. The geometry of spacetime existed long before Einstein developed the equations of Relativity.

Today, we are all familiar with the fact that the bodies we find ourselves living in are made of countless atoms forged eons ago in the nuclear furnaces of the stars. These atoms, in turn, are composed of the primordial quanta born in the first stages of the Big Bang itself. The entire history of the Universe is encoded into the most basic components of our bodies, so as strange as it may seem, we are actually not far removed from the beginning of the Universe even at this very moment.

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force.” (Max Planck)  As convenient as it is for science to think of the universe as being composed of separate particles scattered around in empty space, this classical view of things simply does not provide a complete picture of the way things are.

 

The theoretical core of modern physics deals with Unified Field Theories which attempt to mathematically model our entire physical Universe in the terms of a single Universal Superforce. With subtle differences, they all share the same key principles of Relativity and quantum physics. Which model is 'most correct' is probably not as important as the realization of universal oneness to which they all point.

Fortunately, an understanding of the mathematics is not necessary to develop an intuitive feel for the concepts involved. Geometry can be used as a very effective tool to represent the most profound scientific and mystical principles. Using multi-dimensional models we can visualize how separate atoms are actually unified in the quantum realm, and how our entire universe radiates from a single point in a higher dimension, a timeless Universal Singularity realized both in the zero-point Superforce of unified field physics and in the time-zero of Big Bang cosmology.

The Gnostics of the 12th Century had a geometric conception of Logos as "an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere".4  Today, this geometric mind-bender could be represented by an infinite hypersphere, a four-dimensional sphere with infinite radius. Rather than a standard spherical plane with a surface and a radius, an infinite hypersphere is actually a spherical state of polarity, the polarity between singularity and infinity, with the infinity being a dimension beyond our three-dimensional experience of infinity.

 

Intriguingly, an interpretation of unified field physics suggests that a Universal Hypersphere, a hyperspherical polarity of the Universal Superforce, is the most fundamental expression of existence which can be realized from the physical plane, like a Geometric Logos. In this picture, all quantum processes which define matter and energy, along with the seed of individual consciousness, are represented by simple geometric elements within the hyperspherical geometry, radius rays (or vectors) and equatorial rings.

This possibility provides a geometric source for the wave mechanics of matterenergy in spacetime, while maintaining an underlying level of all possible realities in an unmanifest state. Many will recognize the key significance of this to the wavefunction of quantum physics and in the way matter and energy seem to behave.

As strange as this might seem, the idea actually makes more sense than having to imagine there must be an infinite number of parallel universes, for example, in order to account for the superposition of all possible realities inherent in the quantum wavefunction. It is especially intriguing considering that it also provides a better understanding of all the other bizarre implications of modern physics, while revealing a fascinating insight into the metaphysics of the Ancient Wisdom.

This is basically an interpretation of the Kaluza-Klein theory, a classic unified field theory from Einstein's era, forms of which are used in string theory today. In the Kaluza-Klein model, we are living in a five-dimensional (or more) spacetime in which the fourth dimension of space is confined to tiny Planck-scale spheres, an infinite number of them filling all of space.

The unification of all things inherent in the quantum entanglement of modern physics, as well as in the philosophy of Nondualism, is realized in the possibility that all of those tiny fourth dimension spheres which fill all of three-dimensional space, are actually different rings on the same sphere within that fourth dimension, representing every quantum process in the Universe combined into one reality

 

With this geometry representing the quantum realm in its most fundamental form, it can be thought of as forming the central reality of any of the current unified field models. It is interesting to note that a four-dimensional hypersphere could be a ring on a five-dimensional hypersphere, which could be a ring on a six-dimensional hypersphere, and so on, each representing a new set of infinite possibilities, and all centered on the same singularity.

The Universal Hypersphere could be thought of as a geometric version of the Wavefunction of the Universe, introduced by Hugh Everett in 1956 in a thesis draft and written up by James Hartle and Stephen Hawking in 1983.5 It is essentially a series of all possible histories through which the Universe could have evolved. (The Wavefunction of the Universe is actually an idealized mathematical expression, using an infinite series of harmonic oscillators, but it does have applications in quantum cosmology.)

 

 

Anyone who has experienced an actual mystical realization of oneness will tell you that if we were not transcendentally unified, we would not even be here. Of course, that is a subjective experience and belief and, like someone who has had a near-death experience, the effect on awareness and overall worldview is very difficult to share with anyone else in a convincing way.

Science does not need a transcendental oneness to do objective modeling of the Universe, but without it, we are left with the very bizarre observations of Relativity and quantum physics, and the great mysteries of the Universal Singularity of Big Bang cosmology and the Universal Superforce of unified field physics remain largely uninterpreted.

Only when we fully integrate mystical knowledge into our worldview do the strange implications of modern science begin to make sense. At the same time, the language of modern science becomes a great help in understanding what the Ancient Wisdom is all about.

Human consciousness has indeed come full circle. We have arrived where we started in the sense that an ancient understanding has once again been brought to light. At the same time, we have taken a quantum leap forward in the evolution of human awareness.

 

Slay therefore with the sword of wisdom the doubt that lies in thy heart.
Be one in self harmony, in Yoga, and arise, great warrior, arise.

from the Bhagavad Gita
(Song of the Holy One)

 

 

 

 

1Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, 1963, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
2Lama Anagarika Govinda, Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness, 1976, Theosophical Publishing House
3Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination (Vivekachudamani), key text of Jnana Yoga and Advaita Vedanta
4Book of Twenty-Four Philosophers, 12th-century text
5J. B. Hartle and S. W. Hawking, “Wave function of the Universe”, Physical Review D, Volume 28 Number 12, December 15, 1983

 

 

 

FIRST DAY:  August 1, 1996
as "of Quasars & Quanta"

(from writings begun in 1984)

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An Exercise in
Jnana Yoga