That [the invisible Brahman] is full, this [the visible Universe] is full.
This full [visible Universe] proceeds from that full [invisible Brahman].
On grasping the fullness of this full [visible Universe]
there is left that full [invisible Brahman].
Om is ether, is Brahman. ...

This is the Veda [the means of knowledge],
thus the Brahmanas know.
One knows through it all that has to be known.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad
V Adhyaya, 1 Brahmana, 1

 

 

 

 

 

We find ourselves in a physical universe of extremes, suspended between the singularities of the quantum world and the infinities of space. It is as if our awareness is a polarity between these extremes. Each realm is equally unreachable, yet each is equally fundamental to our experience of 'being here now.'

Not only is science finding it increasingly difficult to keep itself separated from philosophical speculation, but as we develop our abstract understanding of the Universe as a whole, the fields of physics and metaphysics seem to be losing their distinction altogether. More than ever, as we examine our field of spacetime from every possible perspective, we probe our consciousness for the mystical Truth.

Throughout the current cycle of recorded history on this planet, the ancient message of Nondualistic Mysticism has been passed down to us and preserved in various forms of expression and degrees of purity. While the universal principles involved are said to be profoundly simple, they are completely abstract and defy any sort of straight-forward logical expression. Fortunately, the intuitive insight required to understand mystical principles is a special quality of the human mind. This is our gift; and our responsibility.

 

The most fundamental principle of mysticism is transcendental omnipresence, a state of being which is totally independent of spacetime while at the same time is everywhere at once in spacetime. The notion of oneness is intrinsic to the principle since it refers to a single, undifferentiated state of being. The second most fundamental principle is a characteristic of the first, polarity, referring to the dynamic-creative aspect of the transcendental state. It is said to be the essence of consciousness, both at the universal level and the individual level. From these simple principles the entire physical universe is created in all its cyclic diversity, from the highest frequencies of oscillating energy to the lazy ellipses of orbiting planets, from the birth and death of stars to the birth and expansion of the Universe itself.

The scientific fields of cosmology and particle physics can at first seem to be remote and unimportant studies as far as the human condition is concerned, yet they actually provide insight into the nature of consciousness itself, our awareness of existence and how we perceive it. Most intriguing, modern science is recognizing that our Universe is not simply composed of separate particles scattered around in space -- it is uncovering a unified state of the Universe, a higher dimension that exists in its unified state at this very moment, not only in the singularity at t=0 of the Big Bang.

Our consciousness, our bodies, and every particle in the Universe are an inseparable part of this higher dimension, as if the physical world were merely a transient projection from a pristine higher realm that never changes. The various models of unified field theories in today's physics all point toward the same reality, and we should not get so entangle in their differences that we let it get in the way of the infinitely more important realization that there is in fact a unified reality, a transcendental and omnipresent higher reality which creates our experience of being in a universe in the first place.

 

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 and help us get beyond the idea of a personified Creator. 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. It is 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 Metaphysics of Nondualism

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.

 

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.

Consciousness thus proceeds from the more limited to the more comprehensive, from lesser to greater intensity, from lower to higher dimensions, and each higher dimension includes the lower ones by coordinating its elements in a wider and more intricate structure of relationships. ... Thus the reality of a lower dimension is not devaluated or eliminated by the higher one, but only relativized.

Lama Anagarika Govinda
Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness
1976, The Theosophical Publishing House

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 Light of that highest dimension were to suddenly blink out, the entire Universe would just as suddenly cease to exist.

 

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 yoga paths mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita:  Bhakti Yoga (the way of devotion, worship), Karma Yoga (the way of selfless action, good works), and Jnana Yoga (the way of knowledge, intellect). Sometimes a fourth is added, called Dhyana Yoga (the way of meditation), though it is not widely accepted that it is a classification unto itself, but rather should be considered an aspect or form of Jnana Yoga or even Bhakti Yoga, depending on what is meditated upon.

Together, the three primary classifications are called the Trimarga, the three classical paths to enlightenment and liberation of the human spirit. In one combination or other, they form the foundation of all schools of yoga, and even apply to all spiritual traditions. For example, Raja Yoga is primarily Jnana and Bhakti Yoga and Christianity is primarily Bhakti and Karma Yoga.

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 Discrimination

Although Shankara included some aspects of Bhakti Yoga in his teachings, he considered Jnana Yoga to be far superior to any other path. It seems that modern science i 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.

 

Is unified field physics a realization of a transcendental omnipresence? Is such "cosmic awareness" actually illuminating our spiritual dimension within a spiritual universe? These questions, of course, will never be answered by physical theory. They are intrinsically beyond the reach of objective expression. It is increasingly obvious, however, that such questions will also never be rendered frivolous by physical theory, which is instead laying the possibilities clearly in the open. The fact that we are actually in a position to see modern physics as a rediscovery of ancient metaphysics is a measure of Mankind's open-minded progress in spite of our shortcomings and blunders along the way. It has been known for a very long time that objective communication does not lend itself to a precise expression of transcendental concept. "The eye does not go thither, nor speech, nor mind. We do not know, we do not understand, how anyone can teach it." (Talavakara Upanishad I Khanda, 3)

There is no question that an awakening is occurring on our planet. Earth is experiencing a particularly important period of transformation, and we must "get our act together" for a new Age of spiritual awareness. According to the Ancient Wisdom, the most fundamental problems of the human condition are attributed to the ignorance of the true nature of Reality -- a condition called, in Sanskrit, avidya. The 'devilness' of the material world is the way it creates ego-centered action, ultimately traceable to the belief that we are separate, when in fact we should know in our hearts that we are not separate. True spiritual awareness transcends all cultures and all religions while appreciating the beauty in every one of them.

We may be re-learning an ancient system of spiritual understanding but we have the opportunity to understand it on a new and conceptually very clear level. There seems no reason why we should not act with an intuitive mindfulness of transcendental unity in every moment of our lives. Of course, that is the ideal -- to be spiritually aware in every objective action, thus eliminating selfish motivations and actions, the source of bad karma and all the negativity getting in the way of transforming our world into our ideal next Age. It is, of course, easier to talk of ideal conditions than to live them, but if the beauty of the Ancient Wisdom can be shared in a new and powerful way, we could take a big step toward transcending many of today's worst problems.

 

"There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same... Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

By Thy Grace I remember my Light,
and now gone is my delusion.
My doubts are no more, my faith is firm;
and now I can say 'Thy Will be done'.

Bhagavad Gita
18,73