The older I get, the more I feel like embracing seriously simple approaches to spirituality.
That way, if I become senile, when someone asks me what I believe a ready answer is more likely to spring from my receding lips and failing psyche.
This helps explain why I'm enjoying Stanley Sobottka's Course in Consciousness so much. I've been lugging my laptop into my meditation lair each morning, reading some of his downloaded book-length manuscript before I meditate.
I'm about halfway through. The basic message is exceedingly simple, though it takes over 200 pages to express it.
Consciousness is all there is. That's the essence of Advaita, Vedanta, Buddhism, and some Western philosophies also.
Though countless books have been written about this notion, if you're asked to explain this world view whatever you say or don't say, that's it – already present in your questioner's consciousness, because he or she is conscious.
Over and over Sobottka reminds the reader that everything he's written is a concept, not reality. As is, in his opinion, time and space itself, plus the laws of nature.
What gives his position more intellectual credence is his status as an Emeritus Professor of Physics. Being someone who swings both ways with science and spirituality, I like how he starts off his Course in Consciousness with a solid overview of quantum physics, then heads into the airier philosophic reaches of nonduality.
Much of what Sobottka sets forth is virtually indisputable. Such as, knowledge of reality always comes through consciousness.
Well, yeah. How else could it come? If it's impossible to be conscious of something, what reality does it possess for us? Imagining a unicorn would be a lot more real, because that bit of fantasy would be present in an individual consciousness – which makes it something rather than nothing.
Just not a shared something, a part of supposedly objective reality that we can agree on. I say "supposedly," because Sobottka isn't big on objectivity given his consciousness is everything leaning.
More accurately, he sees subjectivity and objectivity as the same thing – consciousness. So the divisions we usually make between inner and outer, subjective and objective, spirituality and science, and so on, don't really exist for him.
From this perspective Descartes was right when he said, "I think, therefore I am." But he could also have said, "I don't think, therefore I am." More simply, "I am, therefore I am." Or "I am."
Or…anything at all. Like, "1, 2, 3, A, B, C." Whatever.
Whenever I read about nonduality or advaita, I tend to think "This is either the biggest bunch of crap ever, or the truest thing that can be said."
There's no in between, really. Once you say consciousness is all there is, you're committed 100%. Totally right or totally wrong. (Though if you're right, there's no right or wrong.)
Sobottka does a nice job of using quantum physics to support nondual notions. For example, he points out that those who posit some sort of transcendental mystic realm where quantum reality resides don't understand that the quantum wave function is deterministic and requires time and space to function.
So New Age notions about quantum phenomena being metaphysical don't mesh with scientific fact. They also don't mesh with nonduality or oneness, since dividing reality into "physical" and "metaphysical" is decidedly dual.
I also like how Sobottka demolishes the "we create our own reality" fiction. This often is heard from people who know just enough about quantum physics to make misleading philosophical conclusions about it.
He says that while consciousness does play a central role in the collapse of the wave function, which determines what quantum phenomena come into being and which remain potentialities, it must be a universal consciousness that does this – not an individual consciousness.
Again, this points to nonduality. We believe we're unique and separate from others, but it could well be that each manifestation of consciousness actually is an expression of the whole.
One reality. One consciousness. One thing going on.
Many would be tempted to say "too simple." However, that "too" leads to "two." Which could be the way things are. But I've got an affection for one.
I would like to share this. The people in these videos are long-time personal friends of mine.
I hope some of the readers & viewers will think deeply upon by what they see and hear, and even become inspired to live and to go more on the Way of Life.
The world as we now know it... is not worth saving.
Posted by: tAo | April 18, 2008 at 05:36 PM
I've just read your posts where you imply you are 'John E Range'? Did you not once tell me in a private email your real name was Jayan? (which I, btw, NEVER revealed online until now...even though another you told has on another site).
Very strange indeed? Jeez bro, how many discrepancies have you made??
Really worrying dude. Really worrying,
Posted by: Manjit | April 18, 2008 at 05:56 PM
Back at it again, are you Manjit?
Trying so vainly to dig out some minute little discrepency on me I see. ...(yawn)... I used to think you were a bit smarter. But the more you make ridiculously lame attempts such as this, the more I become disappointed with you.
But alas, since you are so desperate and confused and you just can't see the obvious, here's the scoop...
"Jayan" is nothing more than an old spiritual name that a few people happen to know me by in another forum or elsewhere on the net. It is not my real name, and I have never said that it is, either to you in an e-mail, or to anyone else. You apparently came to know of it at the RSS forum. But so what?
I have said this a few times before, and it is no secret: I don't ever use my real name on the net, except in very rare occasions in private e-mails with my relatives or with very close personal friends who I have known for years or even decades, or once in a while with people whom I know for sure I can trust.
So Manjit, it's high time you give it up dude. Grow up and find something better to do besides playing private detective and failing miserably at it. You have proven absolutely nothing here except that you've got nothing of any significance or value to share.
Posted by: tAo | April 19, 2008 at 12:02 AM
Though, as I clearly stated, you told me that was your real name in a personal & private email.
And, there is whole host of what appear to be distortions, discrepancies, inconsistencies and, well, apparent outright lies that you have made. I don't 'play' detective, I just have a memory. And enough sincerity and integrity to point it out to you. If I really wanted to play detective, I would list (a very long one too) every single one of your highly suspect claims. It simply worries and intrigues me, that's all.
A parrot can share things of significant value, on a purely semantic level. And, parrot like or not, I have 'shared' everything you have repeated ad nauseum many many years ago, only with sincerity and integrity.
Please excuse me if I honestly feel that that almost childish group-like mentality and usury of advaitic concepts to contra any kind of tantric or dualistic approach to life, even if it is, as it appears to me a purely semantic and conceptual view, is a little less than the profound you would like it to appear to be.
Replacing one script (the RS one), with another script (the one used by yourself and on this blog), is not really as beneficial or 'liberating' as it may appear on a semantic & linguistic level. In fact, I don't really think anything is gained by it whatsoever, except some kind of intellectual amusement.
Tao, there really is no point trying to cause an argument over this, because I'm merely making observations (and perhaps a little concerned that your obvious lack of honesty be mentioned every now & then to balance superficial appearances, especially when based on that you are giving 'advice' to so many young, naive and impressionable people). Besides, I really think we both know that rather effortlessly (as the genuine cannot be out-danced, to use a Brian metaphor!) I would tear your position to shreads, as you so willingly do to others here with what appears to be glee (and, in fact, you have openly admitted that several times, false denial or not), which I *really* would not have. Again, please sense the concern in my post for those who may be deceived, and my simply balancing your claims *every now & then* by making simple impartial observations. That's all.
I the the_elephant made some very insightful comments, btw. Very intelligent and interesting posting I thought.
Posted by: Manjit | April 19, 2008 at 12:46 AM