John Samsen Bio

 

Along with careers in Aerospace Engineering and car designing, John studied the sciences, mythology, religions, psychology, and philosophy, in a search to understand the “big questions”. Many   paranormal experiences and human potentials practices opened his mind and prepared him for a metanoia, a transformation of consciousness.

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My Essays

Said a philosopher to a street sweeper, “I pity you. Yours is a hard and dirty task.”

And the street sweeper said “Thank you sir. But tell me, what is your task?”

And the philosopher answered, saying,

“I study Man’s mind, his deeds, and his desires.”

Then the street sweeper went on with his sweeping and said “I pity you too.”

Khalil Gibran

 

The metanoia had broken my faith in the intellect as a path to “truth”, yet I still appreciated its value in finding more relevant understandings of our world and selves. As time went by, I returned to the sciences and philosophies, and was surprised at how rapidly new discoveries were happening, and how our understandings were changing. What quantum physics was finding about the nature of matter was stimulating interest in the phenomena of consciousness among philosophers and some scientists. I thought about the mysteries I had encountered, and worked on some explanations of the phenomena we all experience and take for granted. Such as our perceptions of the world we are imbedded in. How our thinking works, how it creates our experiences. Our brains, and how they create our realities by manipulating consciousness and its power of imagination. Often, I would awake in the middle of the night and new insights and ideas would flow into my mind for hours. I tried to write down some of the ideas, but that broke the stream of information. I decided to just listen to it, assuming that the material would be available later while writing. Sometimes it would come to mind when I decided to write; other times I had to wait until I felt the inspiration.

The following chapters are my essays on topics relevant to this book.

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My vision

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.

Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air

and giving fresh strength to our people

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

When flying across the country, I usually get a window seat, where I spend a lot of time watching the earth below.  From thirty thousand feet, humans are invisible, except through strong magnification, as I once watched one-cell creatures though my microscope.  But the evidence of human presence is everywhere.  The patch-work quilts of farms; large lakes created by dammed rivers; cities, ever spreading their tentacles outward, “spider webs” of roads and highways; and the many crop circles dotting arid lands, their irrigation pumps sucking up the ground water.  Across theUnited States, as over most lands, I see many plumes of chemical smoke rising up thousands of feet, to finally merge into the global layer of haze, pollution, and gasses, that are trapping more and more solar heat into the earth’s atmosphere.

It is difficult not to see our earth as being infected by a powerful virus, ever growing, and consuming the resources of its host.  Great oxygen producing forests are being fed into paper mills, to be made into our news and toilet papers, and eventually to be consumed and converted into carbon dioxide.  As are the great deposits of oil, coal, and methane gas, laid down over millions of years, not to be replenished in humanity’s lifetime.  Thousands of Life’s species becoming obsolete as the pandemic spreads.  A great extinction is happening now.

Forty years ago, that poetic anthropologist Loren Eisely wrote “The Invisible Pyramid”, in which he told of a parasite slime mold, Mucoroides, found on the floor of many forests worldwide.  They are one-cell individuals too small for us to see without a microscope, who forage around consuming nutrients.  When there is not enough food left to support their population, the individuals congregate and climb upon each other to form tall structures.  At the top of the towers, some individual cells become parts of a capsule, and harden, trapping gasses which increase in pressure.  Other cells go into hibernation in the capsule, becoming spores.  Cells at the top of the capsule become light-sensitive, and inform the rest of the tower so that it leans toward the sun.  The pressure inside the capsule finally ruptures it, and the spores are fired a considerable distance away, where they eventually awaken and start new colonies.

Eiseley saw a parallel between the mold cells and us humans, as our ever-increasing population and economies dependent on perpetual growth consume our limited planet.  Like the parasitic mold, we are also building gantry towers for spacecraft, and our scientists are searching for places in our solar system, or even in the vast space beyond, where we might establish colonies.  What no one addresses is the fact that only a tiny sample of our population, our spores, would get chosen to leave our planet, while the rest are left to fight over the remaining scraps of food and energy.  This is not a “doomsday” scenario for the future; it is what is happening, right now.  In the light of this dismal picture, can I still assert that “all is well!”?  All is perfect?  Let us continue.  This overview begs the question, one of the biggest- why?  Why are we doing this?  Why do we want to infect more worlds?  To what end?  The scientists cannot answer this.  The writers of science-fiction novels and movies cannot.  This drive behind our human activities is beyond questioning.  It may be what some call the “life force”; the same drive that has populated our planet with countless species of life forms.  It may perhaps be part of the mix of incredible forces that evolved the first vibrating energies into atoms, then into galaxies of stars and other phenomena.

To us humans, the universe is anything but friendly.  Galaxies are colliding, stars are exploding, and countless worlds fall into black holes.  The struggles on our planet are peanuts, compared to what has been going on in the cosmos.  A process of building up, then tearing down goes on.  Energy forms eat other energy forms, then are eaten.

As long as we are human minds, connected to human bodies, we cannot but see from a human perspective, and we do not see a perfect world.  Our brains, as versatile as they are, can only get a dark and distorted understanding of what is behind this world of phenomena, and within our minds.  We perceive only a three-dimensional projection of a world that is at least four dimensional.  Based on our experiences, human mentality believes that whatever exists must have been created, and that creating requires a creator.  That is simple logic.  Three-dimensional logic.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that our civilization is experiencing an unprecedented crisis; a breakdown of our economic system and a meltdown of our environment.  The problems are a side-effect of our “human nature”; and until a radical transformation of our beliefs and attitudes occurs, we will be experiencing a breakdown of the culture that made us the dominant species on this planet.  Our history is one of struggle, pain, and hardship as human groups fought each other to control territory and resources, and impose their world views and culture on others.  This struggle continues unabated, using economic and ideological, as well as military, weapons.  Our great advancements in science and technology, largely powered by this competition, has resulted in a building process that has created a global culture, providing many great benefits to many of us.  Unfortunately, our short-term vision and blind optimism has kept us from seeing the dark side of our “progress” which is already beginning to tear down what we have created.  This book is not a prophecy of future hard times; it is a “wake-up call”, warning of dire events that are already happening to our word and personal lives.  There are two ways we can react to this crisis; we can try to ignore it and hope things will work out for the better, or we can focus our attention and intelligence on it, and do what we can to make the transition to a new “human nature” smoother and with less pain.  For, I believe, this transition will happen whether or not we work toward it, but if we let nature take its course, I fear that there will be a breakdown of our civilization, with nations dissolving into groups led by “war lords” who will fight over the dwindling food, water, and energy resources.  This may become another “dark age”, during which the human population will be severely reduced, and its survival threatened.  As the development of language and verbal thinking gave our prehistoric ancestors the means to survive the devastating climate changes of the ice ages, and build a new human culture, it is my hope that this, perhaps greatest, challenge will produce a less self-centered, more unitive, consciousness in many people that will enable us to build a much better world.  This is not a prediction of an Armageddon, or end of the world; it is a vision of hope for a better civilization built by a more spiritual humanity.  It is a call to those who care about our future generations and will commit to a metanoia, a transformation of their personal attitudes, not only for their own sakes, but for the good of all.

Individuals who have experienced “awakening” tell of a state of bliss, of “peace that passes understanding”.  Yet, they do not stay in that state.  We have a dual nature; we seek bliss and peace, yet become bored, and need action, discovery, and experiences.  We return to the human world of insecurity, dangers, and fear.  Perhaps this is a clue to the big WHY.  If we are a part of the consciousness behind the cosmos, as we find during “enlightenment”, then exploring the almost infinite possibilities for forms and interactions of energy provided by the creation of a space-time universe may be what super-cosmic consciousness is doing.  From that perspective, despite what it looks like to little, local, minds, everything is actually perfect.

From the perspective gained by living through many decades of the depression, hot and cold wars, natural and human-created disasters, inventions, a rapid development of technology, transportation, communication, commerce, and witnessing a growing compassion for suffering humanity outside the boundaries of race, nationality, and religion, I see that we, and our world, are in a state of unprecedented change; in almost a quantum-leap in the spectrum of cosmic time.  We are caught in, and often overwhelmed by, the changes going on in our Egoworld, our society.  Our economic, educational, and political systems, our families, our religious institutions, are all in a state of flux.  The crisis caused by climate change, which has already begun to impact our lives, could have a perhaps devastating effect on food, water, and energy needs at a time when the world population is increasing rapidly, and developing nations are demanding their share of the resources and economics.  Our financial systems, already staggering under the weight of an increasing debt burden, may be later overwhelmed by inflating prices for energy, food, water, transport, and housing, and the costs from natural disasters.  The people in the “third world” countries are already suffering through what may be the future for the developed countries.

There is a reaction to the anxiety of it all, and a desire to retreat to the known, the traditional ways and beliefs.  The easiest way is to do nothing, to let things take their course; and they will, over time, at a cost of unprecedented suffering.  Some may throw up their hands and say “Lets end it all; this is the end of the world! Bring on Armageddon!”  But if we can call on the best in us, and stand up to these crises as we have many previous ones, working together as a global family, we can keep our world together far into the future; but it must become a different world.  There is much in our present world that is better left behind.  And there is much in our little ego personalities that must be transcended, if our future world is to become a better world.  Whether we know it or not, we are all on a quest for self-discovery; to “know thyself”.  In the process, we will be creating nothing less than a new species of human beings; ”Homo Sapiens”. Wise Human.  We who have been born in this time of the great transformation have a great opportunity to help create a better world.  This is our mission, and we must take responsibility for it.

I am, by nature, an optimist. I never liked “doomsday” scenarios, and prefer to look for a better one.  And I think there is one.  If the super-cosmic consciousness (and we should be wary of endowing it with human like traits) is into exploring possibilities, then the human brain, a product of millions of years of evolution, can provide them.  Besides exploring the space around earth, it has the potential for creating and evolving new life forms, even remaking humans.  Many species have destroyed their environments, and become extinct.  But now there is one that can think about what it is doing; that can invent and devise ways to adapt to changing conditions, to repair what it has been destroying.  There is definitely a case for a human presence in this part of our galaxy for a very long time.  But what is required is a fundamental shift in human consciousness.

Dinosaurs dominated the earth for millions of years, and then became extinct while mammals ere just beginning to evolve.  Thinking humans have been around for only a small fraction of time compared to the dinos, but have accomplished much more for themselves in terms of power to control the environment.  If we are to continue for centuries to come, we must give up our viral, planet-devouring ego-nature, and develop an ecologocal sense and a sustainable way of life.  This is possible, as hunter-gatherer peoples lived for tens of thousands of years in relative balance with their environment.  A few pockets of this culture still survive today, but not for long, as civilization encroaches on their natural habitats.  A new sustainable world culture will be different from those native cultures in many details, but it must contain the population growth and develop sustainable food, clean water, and clean energy resources.  Fortunately, there are many groups of people worldwide who are working toward this end, and a planetary shift to the new consciousness is underway.  Unfortunately, governments, big businesses, and conservative religions, are structured around the old ego-driven consciousness, and are retarding the emerging movement.  Many will not change until their systems are collapsing.

The major underlying and rapidly growing threat to our world is the growth of human population.  Little is said about this, but we all see what is happening as cities and towns, highways and roads, become more crowded, busier; and competition for the land and resources becomes more intense.  Our world economies are based on perpetual growth; GNP must keep growing; more and more energy, food, and clean water, must be produced and consumed.  More and more health care is needed.  Education facilities are strained.  And, more and more trash accumulates in our world, as its resources are depleted.  Our planet is limited.  This growth cannot continue forever; it must be contained.

We cannot expect world political leaders and big corporations to fix our problems.  You, me, and everyone else, are the cause of the problems.  We want children, and grandchildren.  We are accustomed to using great amounts of energy to heat and cool our homes, to power our televisions, our computers.  We use a large amount of petroleum, not only in the gasoline we burn, but in the huge variety of plastic products we buy.  We consume a huge amount of paper products, which were once oxygen producing trees.  We waste volumes of fresh water.  As long as we people keep up this consumption, the corporations and the politicians who support them will not change their ways- until the whole system fails.

It would be a loving, peaceful world, if all people could be “awakened”, but for millennia, there have been schools and methods for doing this, and despite the intense efforts of many, only a small minority seems to have achieved this state.

I wish I could share my experience of life with others.  But it is for each person to find.  It is through seeking and failing, finding and losing, struggling through all the disappointments and obstacles that life presents, and finally surrendering completely all imagined power to do anything, that one awakens.  For the persons like me, who are driven to seek “liberation”, I say “go for it”, but I do not think it necessary to go through the, often traumatic and dangerous radical transformational process.  I see more and more people gradually evolving a more aware and accepting consciousness, and can experience the peace and love of “enlightened living” without having gone through a traumatic “ego death”.  It requires constant observation of one’s self, and a practicing of mindfulness with acceptance and unconditional love.  Accept and love yourself and your world completely.  As long as there is any resentment, there cannot be unity; you will remain in the illusion of ego.

Regardless of what we want to believe about our ultimate nature and destiny, we are all identified with our human bodies and mentality, and must live out our lives in this world we have created.  For the sake of our personal well being, and that of the many who share our world, and those who will follow us, we want to do what we can to make our world a better experience, a friendlier, happier experience.  And we can.

Over many decades, I have watched a great change developing in the consciousness of humanity.  During my early years, people were focused on their family ties, their locality, and political and religious organizations they belonged to.  They were not as concerned with the tragic events that were happening to people in other parts of the globe, particularly to people of different races and religions.  As communication developed and expanded, a deepening and wider compassion developed for all people in trouble.  An end to segregation and apartheid was demanded.  A global concern for the preservation of animal species, and their habitats, has been growing.  And recently, people around the world have become more active in reducing pollution and greenhouse gasses.

A small group of thoughtful people

could change the world. Indeed,

it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

 

As a growing response to this crisis, thousands of groups of people all around the globe are forming, and connecting.  A search of the internet brings up many pages full of their information.  Their purpose is to communicate, educate, and activate the world population.  The consciousness of humanity is now shifting; the ideas of a sustainable population and economy are spreading despite the lingering growth mentality of governments and business.  The concept of integration between people of differing cultures and beliefs is becoming more widespread.  Yet, there is resistance to change from those who do not want to see what is happening.  It is a time of turmoil, and conflict, as are all great shifts in human culture.

Each of us can participate in this, perhaps climactic, movement.  We can use less energy, less clean water, recycle materials, and vote for leaders who are dedicated to changing the old political and economic system.  The most important thing we can do is to develop our awareness.  To be aware “in the moment” of whatever we are doing, what we are thinking, and what we are saying.  The more aware we are, the less we will operate mechanically, responding from old beliefs and habits.  We will naturally respond according to our true nature, which is caring, compassionate, and loving.  Joining groups who share our common interests can be very helpful.

Many seek love, and happiness, thinking it can come from outside themselves, from things, beliefs, or other people.  But it is within, and by giving it freely, one finds it and is completed.  And we influence many around us to become as we are, more spiritual.  As we become more accepting and loving, our world becomes more beautiful, more divine.

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Perfection

 

For millenia, Awakened persons have told us that our world, and everything in it, is perfect.  They experienced it as perfect.  Our human minds cannot accept this.  How can this be?  We see a world with problems.  Many are concerned about what is happening in 2012. People and other creatures are suffering.   Can we say that a child, suffering and dying from disease, abuse, or injuries, is perfect? No, not from our personal human consciousness.

The basic law of life on our planet is that all creatures must consume other creatures in order to survive and propagate their kind.  Killing and eating other creatures has been going on since life began, and we humans have to obey this law.  We are compassionate creatures, and often feel sorry for the creatures we must kill. When I was young, I wondered what I was doing in such an ugly system. I couldn’t understand why the creator would have made this kind of world.

Now let’s consider the world long before humans appeared.  One hundred million years ago.  The only mammals around were small rodent types.  Reptiles, fish, and dinosaurs roamed the land masses and oceans, killing and eating.  I’m sure they were conscious and experienced pain.  There were no brains like ours around with the ability to think about anything.  So, there was no questioning, no judgment of right and wrong. No prejudices, no wanting things to be different. No complaining, no hoping.  Complete acceptance of the world as it was.  The Garden of Eden.

When we suspend our thinking, we see the world as it is, not as we think it is through our filters of past ideas, images, and beliefs.  My personal self is a virtual creation, a program created by my brain.  It was created by thinking and remembered images, concepts, and interpretations of experiences.  When thinking stops, the personal self ends.  There is only that which is in consciousness.  No duality.  Consciousness identifies with that which is, in our physical reality..  Consciousness is not something that exists in time and space.  It is timeless. Our mind, brain, and body is of space-time and is part of the passing show.  When we suspend thinking, and see the world as it is, there is complete acceptance. No divisions between me and the other. It is beautiful, it is sacred, it is love, it is perfect.  The Kingdom of Heaven.  To creative consciousness, all is perfect just as it is.  And as it changes, that is perfect too.   To pure consciousness, the suffering individuals we care about are only characters in a passing show. 

Does God care about the suffering individuals, and heal through prayer?  Yes, God consciousness in the forms of us humans, does.  We must take responsibility for creating the kind of world we want.  It will be perfect, too.

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THINKING…verbal and non-verbal

 

Faith (knowing) is an oasis in the heart

that will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.

Khalil Gibran

 

The fields of philosophy and science are uniquely human endeavors to better understand and control the world we live in, including our bodies and all that make them up.  Before modern humans entered the world, during a vast time span of billions of years, a great many creatures have lived their lives without a question, or theory, entering their consciousness.  The verbal language we evolved not only provided us with a much better communication system than the  body-language and sound communication of our animal ancestors, but led to the ability to think about things by “talking in our heads”.  Being able to think about our problems, needs, and desires, gave us a great adaptability.  We now could survive the great climate changes which eliminated many other species.  Our verbal thinking has transformed us, and our world, and we have a great faith in it.  We hope it can eventually give us complete understanding of our world, and ourselves.

Our ancestors believed that there was magic and power in words and names, and many present day people carry on that tradition with their faith in prayers and holy writings.  Many of us, and also scientists and philosophers, sometimes forget that verbal thinking, writing, and mathematics are, by their nature, only attempts to describe things and events, and not “things in themselves”, or noumenon, as Kant put it.  Many believe that “truth” can be found in written descriptions, or mathematical equations.  As powerful as our tools of language and verbal thinking are, they are limited.  And our addiction to their use limits us.

As soon go kindle fire with snow,

 as seek to quench the fire of love with words.

William Shakespeare

 

The most important ability that distinguishes us from all the other creatures on this planet is the way we think about things.  Now, there are creatures with extensive vocabularies like whales and dolphins that communicate with each other; and, primates like the Chimps communicate with a wide variety of facial expressions, body language, vocal sounds, etc. (we inherited some of these).  I have heard it said many times, that other creatures do not think, and that they are “unconscious” compared to us.  To me, this attitude of superiority may be inappropriate.  It is obvious to me that other animals do complex thinking, and are quite conscious of what they are doing.  “Conscious” meaning “aware”.  But we have developed an unique way of “thinking about” with a verbal language.

I define “thinking” as “information processing and problem solving”.  This definition not only includes humans and many animals, but mechanical computers and even some of the smallest organisms.  A bird flying through a bush must quickly take in visual information, form a three-dimensional map of the bush, and locate itself in that map, then avoid branches and leaves, while beating and controlling its wings; all in split-second timing.  This its brain does, functioning in somewhat similar fashion to a very fast and complex computer.

I like to watch the activities of animals. It always surprises me how well they do what they do.  They use their abilities to the fullest.  They almost always are “all they can be”.  A squirrel runs up a tree.  Its feet rapidly find footholds in the bark even though it has not been in this particular tree before.  It calculates the distance to the branches of a nearby tree, the necessary trajectory required to reach the branch it wants, and launches itself, adjusting its glide with its tail as breezes affect its path; and it usually lands right where it planned to.  A performance worthy of a circus acrobat. Or better.

When we talk about “thinking”, we usually mean verbal thinking.  Talking “in our heads” This kind of thinking has radically changed our planet, and created supernatural worlds and strange creatures in our minds.  It has been so successful that we have become obsessed with it, and believe it can ultimately answer every question and mystery we have.

Right now, my brain is composing this writing, and your brain is reading it.  We usually give credit to the pronouns “I” and “you”.  For millions of years, pre-humans, like other animals, thought non-verbally.  Like most primates, they were social creatures, living in groups, cooperating with each other out of necessity.  They developed vocabularies of sounds, expressions, and body movements, that represented things and activities they were concerned with.  Over time, the vocabularies became larger and more sophisticated.  Those who study animals know that they have good communication skills and obviously have a way of thinking. Their minds must form images of many things in their worlds that combine visual, auditory, odor, and other sensations, and associate these images with the sounds and gestures they make to each other.  Our ancestors, perhaps during a time of great climate changes, needed better communication and cooperation to survive the threatening environment.  Their verbal sounds and associated mental images became more complex and represented more things and more actions.  Nouns and verbs were invented, and then adjectives and adverbs.  As talking developed, verbal thinking began to occur in the minds of a few individuals, and they began to think about the past, and plan for the future.  This ability gave them a great advantage, and they learned to bring down large, powerful animals and to kindle and maintain fires.  Control of fire was perhaps the first great technological achievement of homo sapiens, the extravagant name we give our ancestors.  The ability to think verbally probably developed slowly in each individual, and matured only in the older members of the groups who were probably revered as wise elders. Even they probably used the new thinking mode infrequently, only when it was more useful than non-verbal thinking.  Verbal thinking is actually a tool, an application created by the brain.  Although it is much slower, verbal thinking had great advantages over non-verbal in developing reasoning and logic.  For planning for the “future”, a concept created by verbal thought.

Most of us are unaware of the non-verbal thinking that precedes the words that flow into our consciousness.  Verbal thinking is a translation into language, of our non-verbal thinking.  I find that little study has been done on “non-verbal” thinking, which I have found to be our primary mode of information-processing.  During my years of self-observation, it seems that I have discovered, or realized something about ourselves that we may have overlooked, intentionally or unconsciously.  I think that everyone thinks non-verbally, but is conscious of it only on certain occasions.  I am presenting what may be a new concept for many people.  I find it very difficult to believe that the great thinkers in the fields of psychology, mind research, or self-discovery, have not been more aware of this faculty.  I am aware of it much of the time, and often suspend my verbal thinking.  Then I know a kind of thinking goes on, without words or images that I am conscious of.  I can choose to think in this way, which is almost instantaneous, compared to our verbal “talking in our heads”.  I have searched for articles on this topic, and found very little; there have been some who speculated that animals think in this mode, as they do not have sophisticated languages.  Some writers say that non-verbal thinking happens seldom; brought on by unusual conditions, like illness.  I claim that we all think non-verbally almost all the time, and after that occurs, we get a translation into our verbal language, which we observe as thinking and talking.  Perhaps this has been addressed before, and I am ignorant of it.  If so, I think that the importance of it seems to have escaped most of the public, and needs more consideration and study.  I see it happening in people all the time, although they do not seem to be aware of it.  Non-verbal thinking does not present images or sounds to our waking consciousness, yet somehow we can know what it is about, and follow it.  Verbal thinking, like talking and writing, is a linear process.  Analog.  One thought, or word, follows another in a chain.  Tape and disc recordings are linear when they have information coded in a long chain, on tape, or in a groove, and when played back, the converted audio or visual information is presented one frame following another in time.  Verbal thinking is very slow, compared to non-verbal, which seems almost instantaneous, and memories recorded far back in time can be accessed as quickly as recent memories, similarly to the way random access memory works in computers.  Here is an example of one of my early experiences that made me aware of non-verbal thinking:

I am driving my car back to Fort Wayne from an Indiana lake, with some friends as passengers.  Another car with young people in it has been attempting to pass me, but gets trapped behind slower cars that I pass.  I am traveling faster than I should.  Cresting a hill, I see a long line of stopped cars ahead, in my lane.  I immediately get on the brakes, but know I cannot stop the car before crashing into the rear of the car ahead.  Without words, the mind looks at the oncoming cars in the other lane, and decides not to cross over.  It looks at the right side of the road, and determines that the ditch would probably roll our car.  It checks the mirror, and sees the kids’ car bearing down from behind at high speed.  Then it sees that cars in the front of the stopped line are beginning to move ahead, and opening spaces in the line.  Can we pass the stopped cars and get back into our lane before the oncoming car collides with us?  Probabilities are calculated, and a decision is reached; the best chance to avoid a crash is to turn into the other lane.  The oncoming car will probably apply brakes seeing our car coming at it.  If we can’t get into a space in time, we may be able to go off the road on the other side, where the land does not look too rough.  A commitment is made, and I steer us over into the path of the oncoming cars, getting off the brakes to avoid a skid.  A space is opening; the oncoming car is slowing.  I hear a crash as the kids’ car slams into the car that was ahead of ours.  A quick push on the brakes, swerve over into the right hand lane, get on the brakes; we made it; we are safe.

All this took place within a few seconds.  I realized then that there had not been verbal thinking- it would have been far too slow.  People often call non-verbal thought “instinct”.  This was not a pre-programmed behavior; more than habit patterns were involved.  The mind had to do a lot of very rapid thinking, without mental chatter.  I put this information into my mental filing cabinet, for study later.

Years later I am practicing meditation.  Sometimes I can sit in silence for half a minute before words start popping up.  Usually they trick me, like “wow! I’m doing good!- oops!”  Then, during a moment of silence, I become aware of a kind of thinking going on, without words; without images.  I know what the thinking is about, but have no clue as to how I know it.  I decide to spend the following day observing my thinking.  Where does it come from?  I decide to observe my thoughts and actions.

I wake in the morning.  A thought pops up: what time is it?  I check the clock.  Another thought: what day is it?  Memory says “Thursday”.  A thought forms; can I lie in bed a little longer?  A reply: I had better get up so I won’t be late for work.  A decision is made somewhere, and I arise.  I realize that “I” can’t take credit for this thinking and deciding- “I” just observed it.  I watch my thinking as I drive to work, and again many times during the day.  I realize that my waking ego-self is not the originator of my thinking and deciding.  Ego seems to be like the driver of a military tank, who receives instructions from the commander, who sits above him and pokes him with his feet.  “Ego” is just an observer, an interface with other people, with the world.  But it loves to take credit for all the thinking and deciding.

An athlete practices new movements with verbal thinking directing them.  It is a slow process of trial and error learning.  Then, when the skills have been developed and he or she is involved in a game where conditions are rapidly changing, like football, basketball, or soccer, very little verbal thinking goes on.  The player just knows what to do, and does it appropriately.  Verbal thinking can disrupt concentration, and slow the responses.  We all operate this way, but we don’t think about it, so we don’t remember.  We like to get credit for the good thinking we do, for the decisions we make, especially the instantaneous ones when there is no time to deliberate.  A great amount of our behavior seems automatic; we say we sometimes operate from habit, without thinking.  If we watch closely, we can see that a lot of information processing is going on silently.  We say that walking is a habit; we don’t have to think about it. But as we walk, new situations are constantly arising, obstacles get into our way.  Uneven pathways are encountered.  Much information has to be processed, and many decisions must be quickly made, so that we can continue on our way without problems.  And we probably have other things on our minds, and are unaware of the complicated mental processes that made our walking successful.  Many people have had the experience, while driving on a monotonous road, that they suddenly realize they have driven many miles without a memory of having done it; as though they had been driving asleep.  Obviously, they had been controlling the car and navigating well, without verbally thinking about what they were doing.

The writers of “The Zen of Golf”, and similar books, know the value of performing skills without thinking about what the player is doing.  Obviously they know the mind, or brain, is in control, and doing much better than the ego which likes verbal thinking.  Perhaps non-verbal thinking is well known, and it is no “big deal”. I’m sure it is taken for granted.  If we carefully observe the thinking and deciding that we ego’s like to take credit for, we may find that there is much more to ourselves than we had supposed.

It seems obvious to me that our human brains still operate the way animal brains do. However, our brains have evolved a new way of thinking; “talking in our heads”, which is linear, and much slower.  It had great survival value in that it  opened a new avenue of communication to others in our community.  A better way to study, analyze, reason.  A better way to share information, to teach, to accumulate knowledge through writings.  But we have become addicted to verbal thinking, and try to use it in everything we do.  We are the clumsiest of animals.  We know we do not operate to our capacity, that we are very inefficient.  Our thinking about whatever we do gets in the way of our performances.  If we could learn to use verbal thinking only where it is appropriate, we all might be like circus acrobats, or athletic stars.

An old cliché says that we use only a small fraction of our brain capacity.  If we weren’t using all of it, we would soon lose it- a fact of nature.  The whole brain is working and thinking, in its fashion; we (conscious egos) are just not aware of it.  Of course, there is much more our brains could do.  The possibilities are huge!  If we could learn to use verbal thinking only where it is appropriate, and if we could consciously direct the rapid-fire non-verbal thinking, we would be far more efficient.  I have learned to be aware of non-verbal thinking, and can direct its activity.  But most of the time, from habit, I use verbal thought.  Non-verbal is the best mode for fast action in the present, and verbal is best for logical reasoning and communication, for “thinking about” the past and possible futures.

When we speak or write quickly, we do not think about what words we are going to choose; they just flow into our consciousness.  We usually do not think about this phenomenon, but take it for granted.  When we are aware of it, we sometimes think it is being channeled into our mind, especially if it seems to be of much higher quality than what we usually experience. Many creative people; writers, poets, designers, and scientists, have told how their best ideas seem to come to them, rather than from them.  Goethe said “The best words come- I don’t know how-but suddenly they are there, behind one’s shoulder, like children, and they say ‘here we are!  Love us!’”

Human history has many writings that the authors believed were channeled to them from unseen intelligent entities.  The ancient Greek writers told of spiritual entities they called “muses” who channeled ideas, insights, and artistic expressions into human minds.  Sometimes people thought channeled information came from “God”, or his messenger angels.  Long ago, people accepted these ideas, as they knew nothing about the workings of the human brain. These writings became “sacred” and are still followed as “holy guides” for living and hopefully gaining a better life after death.  These writings do not have the consistency of the works of a single author.  They are often contradictory and contain internal inconsistencies.  If they are of divine origin, then there must be a number of “Gods”, but each religion denies this.  In today’s world, we know of individuals who claim to be informed and sometimes directed by “God”. Sometimes they are led to commit antisocial actions, saying “God told me to do it”.  Few people believe these individuals, although sometimes cults form around them.  In ancient times, many people followed those who claimed that “God” spoke to them.  It seems strange to me that individuals that would be considered psychotic in today’s world are revered as prophets and “holy men” just because they lived so long ago.  Many of today’s religions have grown from groups who followed those “inspired” individuals.  These religions have many positive aspects for people today, but are also the cause of much divisiveness and unhappiness in our society.

I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.

Saint Teresa of Avila

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The illusion of reality/the reality of illusion

 

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Albert Einstein

 

Will Rogers, a homespun humorist of my early years, liked to say “all I know is what I read in the papers”.  I might paraphrase that as “all I know is what I read in my memories”.  The great spiritual teacher Krishnamurti often said “you are your memories”, “you are the past”.  We know the past does not exist in the present.  So, if this is true, we human personalities do not really exist; except as memories.  But we know we exist, don’t we?  Then logically, we are not our personalities, our memories.  What are we?  We believe we are individuals.  We sometimes feel lonely, disconnected from others.  We may not know everything about our selves, but others, even those closest to us, know far less about us.  Our thinking is based on the assumption that we are separate individuals, and the relationships we experience seem to be myself vs. “the other”.  This is our dualistic consciousness.

Many have said that the worlds we live in are illusion; that the selves we think we are, are illusory.  This statement usually comes from the eastern philosophies where “illusion” (maya) is not considered false, but a relative reality.  Our western definition is that “illusion” is a distortion of reality.  I think “phenomenon” is a more appropriate term for us, as it means that which we perceive and experience, whether or not it comes from the physical world.  Our world of matter seems very stable and solid.  We have an innate need to believe our world and our selves as people are real; we need security and meaning.  We were born into a world of reason and science, where matter matters very much, and many mysteries have been explained as mechanical and physical systems in motion.  Most people on our planet accept this self and world concept created by the recently evolved faculty of reason, yet behind the world of appearances they sense more; beauty, love, the sacred.

As some scientists are attempting to create a unified theory that can integrate the mathematical models of the physical world at its fundamental and largest aspects, others are trying to explore and understand the depths of our subjective consciousness and awareness, and how it relates to the physical world.  Paranormal experiences and the whole spectrum of “imaginary psychic entities” which had been largely discredited by our scientific paradigm are being pulled out of the wastebaskets and reevaluated in the light of our latest findings in quantum physics.

I find that the more we learn about our world, and ourselves, the more there is to learn.  We humans have always had a need for security, to have a recognizable and understandable environment.  Yet we also have curiosity, a desire for novelty, excitement, new experiences, new worlds to explore.  We are at a point where our security seems threatened, and we are forced to admit we do not know as much about our selves and our world as we had thought.  We cannot go back to the old world views.  Our world, and our selves, are far too big to fit those small realities.  A new world view is emerging, not yet distinct, perhaps blurred by old ideas we have not yet discarded.  We try to merge ancient concepts with our scientific ones. We try to transform the old, comforting religious beliefs into a new idea of a divine universe, a world of consciousness underlying the solid seeming mask of physical reality.

Nasrudin, that bumbling, naive Sufi character who teaches us how foolish we sometimes are, was looking for something on the ground.  A friend passing by asked him what he was looking for.

“My key”, he replied.  The friend also got down on his knees and looked for it.  Finally he asked Nasrudin

“do you know where you dropped it?”.

“in my house”, Nasrudin replied

“Then why are you looking out here?”

“The light is better out here”, Nasrudin replied.

The sciences have been studying the “objective world”, the world of “things”.  We believe in the reality of what we can see with our eyes and other senses, and with our instruments and tools.  We all experience far more in our lives than what science has been studying.  We each have an interior world of sensations, feelings, a sense of the sacred, of aesthetic appreciation of music, dance, art, etc.  Science sees this as a dark and mysterious world, and prefers to study the brighter “outside” world.  Some scientists want to believe that the interior world is nothing but effects caused by the electro-chemical changes in our brains, which do have a relation to what is going on in our minds.  Perhaps the scientific method and its instruments and formulas are just not up to the exploration into the dark house of consciousness.  And, perhaps each of us has an opportunity to advance knowledge of the realities we share through an exploration into our own personal portal to a vast, largely unknown territory.  Much of my life has been an exploration into the interior world.

“Where does the universe exist?” Nasrudin might exclaim, if he lived in today’s world.

“It just exists all around us”, we might answer.

“Well, how do we know the universe exists?”

“We have a lot of highly verifiable information that it does” we reply.

“And where is that information studied and thought about?”

“In our minds” we reply; and we begin to see where Nasrudin is leading us.

If we were the size of atoms, we might see human bodies as huge galaxies of tiny vibrating lights, the photons released by atoms.  Other bodies around us might look like distant galaxies. The forms we are used to would not be visible.  The world we see depends upon the scale of the bodies we are identified with.  Matter, when seen on an atomic level, is virtually all space, filled with vibrating “force fields” of energy.  So everything we see is in fact phenomenal.  But what a phenomenon!  When we see it as it truly is, it is magnificent!  It has been under construction for many billions of years, as we reckon time.  When we see it as it is, without the filters of conditioned thought and belief, we sense the beauty, love, and the sacred, behind (or within) the phenomena.  Some seekers of Truth believe that we must leave our physical reality and merge into the transcendent “ground of being”, and escape the “wheel of death and rebirth”.  I am sure a temporary journey to our source is a very important experience, but afterward, we want to return to the world of drama and action, loving it much more than before.

The world may be illusion, but it is the best illusion we have.

Love it, and make the best of it!

John Samsen

 

What do we really know about our world, about ourselves?  I think that few can deny the world-expanding knowledge that the sciences have developed.  For thousands of years, people lived in a world of superstition, mythology, and magic.  Some claimed to be able to summon and control devils, or talk with the gods.  Paranormal phenomena were commonplace, and there were many “healers” and prophets.  But then no one ever traveled to the moon, eradicated diseases, transported people in aircraft, or gave humans the ability to talk to each other across thousands of miles.  Truly, science has produced the magic that the magi of old only dreamed about.

But, science has its limitations.  It has been unable to see the whole picture of our world, and ourselves.  By definition, science studies only the objective things of the world.  The subjective experiences we all have, what we experience, is off limits.  Yet, the scientists are subjective entities.  They cannot completely separate their hopes, ambitions, feelings, and disappointments, from the “objective” research they do.  Quantum physics, which has been around for almost a century, has proven that there is another factor in the equation of energy-matter; human consciousness.  Perhaps the greatest obstacle to our seeing the big picture is the fact that our human perception is limited to three space dimensions and a separate linear time dimension.

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land,

when they can see nothing but sea.

Francis Bacon

 

Our reality, spacetime, is at least 4 dimensional.  This we were told by Minkowski, Einstein, Maxwell, and others more than a hundred years ago.  Our universe, and everything in it, is at least four dimensional, including our bodies and their brains.  Our brains are designed to perceive the three space dimensions, but do not integrate them with the time dimension, so we measure time separately, as a linear “arrow of time”, or duration of existence.  The logic of mathematics can give us information about four dimensional objects in simple algebraic equations, and they can be translated into geometrical graphics.  Relativistic physics shows us that the faster we travel, the slower time seems to move.  At the speed of light, time stops. Without time there is no movement; without movement, there is no space.  We try to visualize the continuum of space-time, but we can only conceive images which are spatial, not temporal. Science says that matter cannot reach the speed of light, that as it approaches that velocity, time “contracts”, and at the speed of light, time does not exist.  Why is this so hard for us to grasp?  Because we cannot conceive of spacetime, we project four dimensional events onto the three-dimensional screen in our minds, eliminating the time dimension.

Plato told of people living in a cave who tried to interpret outside reality from the two-dimensional shadows of the outside world projected on their wall.  We are in a similar situation.  Our instruments and computers must translate data from the 4 dimensional world into three dimensional logic so we can understand the information, but we can not understand the world as it is, in its four or more dimensions.  The conception of the world presented byNewtonis a three dimensional world existing and moving in time, and it works well in our lives because it is consistent with the way our brains conceive our reality.

When we interpret experimental data and translate our math logic into verbal, we are still projecting the four dimensional events onto our three dimensional mental screens.  We cannot conceive of an electron, or photon, or any fast moving “particle”, as it really is.  So we talk about the properties we have abstracted from “what is”.  We can determine where the particle is in space, but in doing so, we eliminate its time dimension.  When we measure its speed, which is the speed of light, it does not exist in 3D space, so we cannot determine its location.

Quantum physics shows us that at a very small scale, events become indeterminate and probabilistic.  And, that a particle split in two and separated by space still behaves as if the two parts were connected.  Science calls this the “quantum nonlocality” principle, discovered by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, in 1935.  It has been verified many times, and states that objects in quantum scale may seem to be separate, but somehow they are connected in a way we cannot see.  Does this sound similar to the phenomenon of gravity?

Suppose there is a pond, with a two-dimensional surface on which tiny creatures live.  They can go in any direction on the plane of the surface, but not up or down.  Their mentality is two dimensional.  They encounter two impenetrable circular areas some distance apart.  One of the areas moves, and then the other.  The two areas move across the pond, one after the other, staying about the same distance apart.  The more curious of the creatures thinks the two areas are connected, but can not see any way they can be.  If the creatures could suddenly perceive three dimensionally, they could see that there is a huge bird wading in their pond.

We are creatures made up of quantum parts; quarks, electrons, photons, atoms and molecules.  Our physical bodies are connected with all the quantum particles in the universe.  If we could perceive four dimensionally, we could understand this.  The more we can accept this idea of connectedness, the less loneliness, insecurity, and fear we will experience, and the better we will relate to others, and to our world which we once believed to be inert matter.

We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist,

and forever will recreate each other.

Teilhard de Chardin

 

What our limited understanding, based on what we have learned from science, is suggesting (at least to me) is that the space-time universe in which we live, if we could perceive it four-dimensionally, is essentially spaceless and timeless.  To a photon, or electron, which we see moving at the speed of light, there is no time; and without time, there is no motion, and without motion, there is no space.  There is no matter, or things.  At lightspeed, energy is totally potential.  Every event that occurred in the past still exists, timelessly, or eternally, and all possibilities for the future also exist as unrealized probabilities, relative to where we are in the universe.

Let’s think closely about the time we experience.  We say that the future does not exist yet. And, the past is gone.  Is there a “present moment” when things actually exist?  Can we measure the length of a “present moment”?  I suspect that moment is not measurable. A certain amount of time elapses as the light reflected from your face passes through the space between us, and falls on the retinas of my eyes.  The nerve endings in the retinas are stimulated by the intensities and frequencies of light, and send coded information through the nerves to the optic nerve, where it is processed and combined into 3D information.  Then coded information travels through the nerves to the rear of the brain, where it is analyzed, matched with patterns in memory, and identified.  And then the magical power of imagination presents an image of your face to consciousness.  All this happens in a small bit of time, and for all practical purposes, I can assume that I am seeing your face in the present, but the fact is that I am getting an instant replay of your face from the past.  The important fact to realize is that the world we experience has already disappeared into the past by the time we experience it.  For us, as we race through the multidimensional matrix, there is no present moment.  Our world, as the ancients said, is an illusion.  A very persistent illusion, as Einstein said.

We hear a lot about “being in the present moment; that’s all there is”.  While being conscious of one’s self as a person, there is no “present moment”.  Only when one forgets one’s self, observing without thinking, does the experience become timeless.  The phenomena of our reality continues to pass by, but awareness is (as always) in the timeless state.

It seems to us that time is flowing, that future probabilities become realized in the “present moment”, and then disappear into the past, which we cannot perceive.  Like a passenger on a smoothly moving train that gets the impression that the station is moving by, we, consciousness, may be moving through the spaceless-timeless continuum at the speed of light, causing probabilities to become realized events, phenomena, then leaving them behind. However, we are not moving in a linear direction, but in all spacial directions, as light seems to do in our experience.  That is four dimensional movement.  Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity tells us that there is no difference in what we experience if we are moving through the space-time continuum, or if the continuum is moving past us.  The motion, and phenomena experienced, are relative.

Now, what is the world like, in itself- not as we see it.  Without light or sound.  Sounds weird!  Consider- light is an experience for us. What is “out there” is a very complicated mix of electromagnetic vibrations and powerful “force-fields”.  A very small part of the spectrum of vibrations is visible to us as colored light.  Other parts of the spectrum we use are infra red, ultra violet, microwaves, radio and tv transmissions, etc.  Light, as we experience it, is produced by our sensory system, brain, and imagination.  Without us or other sophisticated sensory systems, without imagination to create an experience of it to consciousness, there would only be darkness.

And, we experience sound when vibrations in the atmosphere affect the nerve endings in our ears, and the information is passed to the brain for identification and processing.  Then imagination presents us, consciousness, with the experience of sound.  Without the sensory processing, imagination, and consciousness, there would be no experience of sound.  The vibrations would be there, but only silence.  The “big bang” beginning imagined by the astro-physicists would have been silent, and totally dark, without a complex perception system and consciousness to experience it.  We look at the starry sky, and see lights; but without living forms to experience the phenomena, it is totally dark.

Our world as we see it, is composed of many forms of energy-matter, some very large and some very small.  But the forms vary, depending on the sentient being that perceives and imagines them.  To the microbes on my skin, the world would be a radically different place from the one I live in.  And, taking a closer look at the forms, we find that the molecules and atoms are really tiny whirlpools of vibrating energy.  The sub atomic particles (quarks) which make up the atoms do not really exist, until consciousness or a scientist’s experiment chooses them.  So say the physicists.  So the world we experience is a phenomena; an illusion caused by our physical makeup and the magic of imagination and consciousness.

Was there a beginning to our universe?  A “big Bang”?  Maybe yes, and maybe no.  Let’s look at it from “out of the box”.  Way out!.  Suppose there are infinite possibilities for material forms to exist (as phenomena).  Time, movement, and space, does not exist.  Then we, consciousness, begin to move through the matrix of possibilities, in all space dimensions simultaneously, as light seems to do in our observation.  We are moving at the speed of light. Our movement creates the phenomena of matter and forms, which seem to be moving in space and time, as we experience them.  In the timeless, spaceless continuum of probabilities, there are an infinite number of paths to take.  The future is not determined.  We have free will.

When consciousness begins to move, infinite potential energy resists movement, and enormous forces result.  In the beginning of creation, the movement of consciousness, possibilities for all forms of matter exist, even your body, and mine.  If they weren’t possible, we would not have them.  But the probabilities for complex material forms are extremely small at the beginning.  The most probable forms are the tiny energetic particles (quarks) that later assemble into atoms.  As the early vibration forms interact, the great forces of the beginning are bound in space-time bubbles of highly kinetic energy.  The first atoms contain what we see as four primal forces; the strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and the electromagnetic force.  As consciousness moves through the continuum of possibilities, probabilities increase for more complex forms, and molecules develop.  Of course, these forms are only apparent to moving consciousness.

An analogy might be the way a motion picture can be recorded on a disk, and then recreated.  For instance, the movie “Gone with the Wind”.  The disk we have has only little bumps on a spiral track imbedded in its plastic.  A laser light beam moves along the track and variations in the reflected light are transformed by our player’s computer, and light images that seem to us to be moving are projected onto our screen.  Actually, the disk is moving and the laser is stationary, but the effect is the same.  The whole drama is on that disk in the form of information.  We may be watching Scarlet O’Hara walking under the Spanish moss, but the past and future of her life exists at the same time on different parts of the disk.  The laser light moves along, illuminating the “present”, as the future quickly becomes the past.  Everything in Scarlet’s world is connected by the track on the disk, but while we watch the action unfold, we are not aware of the connections.  The difference between Scarlet’s world and ours is that there is only one track ahead in her future.  She has no free will, but must play out the drama as it was written.

Has the speed of light been changing, as it seems to travel through the continuum of possibilities?  (Or, has our velocity through the continuum been changing?)  Scientists have been measuring its apparent velocity for a little over three hundred years, more precisely for one hundred years.  Physics states that it has always been the same as it is now, everywhere in the universe.  Physics has decreed that lightspeed is constant, and the whole edifice of relativity physics has been built on this assumption.  Their mathematical model would require drastic changes if E did not equal MC squared, in all “frames of reference” (C being the constant speed of light).  Yet recently, some scientists have questioned the constancy of time, and revealed that each measurement taken has shown it to be a tiny bit slower.  Perhaps it has been slowing, not enough for us to see much difference yet, but over a million years, it could have slowed significantly.  And in a billion years, a lot.  If light, or consciousness, were going faster early on, then the whole history of the universe, as seen by today’s astro physicists, could be quite different.  If the light from galaxies far from us in time and distance started toward us at a much higher velocity, then those galaxies would be closer to ours than we think, and the idea of an accelerating expansion of our cosmos would be in question.  There would be no need to invent “dark matter” and “dark Energy” to explain the apparent phenomena.  And, the universe would be much younger than science thinks it is.

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