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April 07, 2011


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I bring this up from time to time because for me it is a catalyst for realization.

We have this idea that the universe began at some point such as a big bang and from that point time passed until our moment to live arrived. We live for awile, die and then are dead forever.

We think even if the energy of the big bang dissipates and disappears we will still be dead forever, without end, long after that happens billions of years from now. Incomprehensible.

Here is the problem with that logic. If we are going to be dead infinitely into the future long after the universe ends, we must have been unborn infinitely into the past long before the big bang ever happened.

This is what some people never think about. We must have been unborn forever if we are going to be dead forever. How did our moment to live ever arrive? How could it arrive? See what I mean?

How could our moment to live have ever arrived if there is such a thing as time?

There is no time. Time is only objectifying what is functioning NOW while objectifying.

Birth-life-death are ideas extended in a space-time context and experienced in mind like all psychic manifestations.

Birthless and undying.
How could I 'live'?
Never having 'lived',
How could I 'die'?

Timeless and infinite,
Unextended in space-time,
Unliving, undying,
Unbeing, I AM.

and so are you

Katy, neuroscience (and quite a few sages) does indeed tell us there is no such thing as a "self" that is born and dies. However, clearly entities come and go, arrive and depart, live and die, within the grand interconnectedness of the universe.

So I have no problem conceiving that for billions of years after the big bang the entity known as "me" didn't exist, that I will exist for a while, and then I will cease to exist.

The universe is change. Life is change. You seem to view the cosmos as static, which isn't how it appears to us humans. Maybe on some foundational level it's true that reality remains unchanged, but experientially it doesn't. Even at the basic quantum level particles continually flicker in and out of existence.

I like the idea of being "unliving, undying" like you said. This is a traditional Hindu/Vedantic idea. However, it strikes me now as an appealing belief, and beliefs need some evidence behind them to be accepted as more than wishful thinking.

I will be dead. You will be dead. Katy will be dead. But seeing as how we don't really know what life is, saying we'll be dead is saying nothing.

Come full stop. This moment. Now. Just this as it is without reflection.

We can call this instant I speak of "whole-mind" or mind undivided. Call it "void" as some do. Call it whatever.

It is not an intellectual exercise. I do not expect to be understood in the usual way. I expect to be misunderstood if I am heard conventionally. It is not an idea. It is not formed. It is not something understood via a step by step process. It is a breaking of a conditioned reflex.

If we clearly perceive intuitively the difference between direct perception in whole-mind and relative comprehension by reasoning in mind divided into subject-object, all apparent mysteries disappear.

But the toatality of undivided mind is itself a concept of its own division or duality because relatively it can't be conceived or known at all. If it is known it can only be known relative to what itself is and that isn't it!

All that could ever be known about it is that it must necessarily be devoid of any sort of objective existence whatsoever, other than the totality of all possible manifestations which constitute its relative appearance.

We devise endless religions, paths and methods to approach this realization but all that is acheived is further obfuscation of the truth. What we do is like playing with one of those toys that you put your finger in and the harder you pull to get it out the more stuck you become. We are lost in a conceptual forest of our own imagining.

Fullfillment needs no seeking, and seeking will always maintain the apparent absence of fullfillment. When the forest is cleared we have only to BE what we are, and it is not what we know but what we immediately ARE, and that unborn, unliving, undying, it is here and now forever.

I totally get That and apparently am That...keep talking girl

I like the idea of being "unliving, undying" like you said. This is a traditional Hindu/Vedantic idea. However, it strikes me now as an appealing belief, and beliefs need some evidence behind them to be accepted as more than wishful thinking.

I agree, without evidence, this is just another appealing belief. Yet mystics claim that transcendent reality is provable. But how could their evidence of a transcendent reality be framed for ordinary human consciousness... what u-tube demo, religious tome, or journal paper could ever cinch it totally for them... the evidence would remain "tooth fairy" stuff.

The mystic discipline, as I understand it, is about inner - not outer - evidence. It requires a massive effort to focus inward on
consciousness itself, to remain in the "here-now", and to quiet the tsunami of thought and distraction. And the pursuit isn't just a matter of wishful thinking, fantasy, or even genius. Without following a rigorous, inner discipline, whether sinner or saint, Shirley MacLaine or Stephen Hawking, they're unable to view the evidence.

Mystic evidence will always be dismissed in the court of public opinion. But a "good ole boy" jury isn't always competent to render a verdict.


One is ALIVE while having experiences in meditation. How can they possibly prove anything about what happens after death and decay of the physical brain?

Just because something strongly feels like evidence does not mean that it is.

This is the truth about Hines: 57 varieties.

The more a human being attempts to deliberately focus attention on what is assumed to be "within", the more starkly obvious it becomes that there is, quite literally, nothing to be found or discovered.

That absolute nothingness is what is aware. Consciousness is a default functioning of a viable human nervous system. When the nervous system disintegrates, there is no consciousness. There is just: NOTHING.

But it is not a state of blankness without content. Blankness without content is a state of consciousness.

When questions are no longer possible, answers are meaningless.


Is free will, the breaking of the conditioned reflex?

What we are, may be said to be here and now forever. But the knowing/perception of it is not. Knowing arises in dependence of conditions.

When the body-mind dissolves, so will the means of perception/knowing.

Unborn, undying... and without the means of perception, unknowing!

Roger asked about free will and the conditioned reflex. Keep in mind that words are poor tools in such discussions.

I think the idea of free will is perpetuating the conditioned reflex which is... objectifying what is functioning and calling it 'me'.

The moment comes when it is seen there is no actor, only the action. In the absence of an actor who would have will, free or not?

As Reality you are free, but your 'will' is that of infinity.

The blog host wanted evidence for this belief. For me it is not anything like belief, nor do I see any need to provide evidence. I'm just writing here, not trying to prove anything. I have no axe to grind. I'm not looking for membership dues.

It is direct perception, but even perception implies a perceiver. The best word that comes to mind is 'apperceiving', but there is no word for it. Here, words fall short. There isn't one. How about Heinlein's word 'grok' in "Stranger in a Strange Land"?

Why would there be a need to provide evidence like facts on a scientist's clipboard or IPad gadget? We are not trying to form a body of believers to follow some sort of path to go to some sort of goal. There isn't one. No path, no 'where' to go. No money to be made on this one. Can't package it or market it. No shaved heads, badges or alms.

The only guidance is 'not this, not that'. Well, maybe 'this' if there is not the presence of 'that', or 'that' without the presence of 'this'.

How could there be objective evidence of 'not this, not that'?

Knowing,being,BOOM ! Richard Rose

When the consciousness we know as life ceases, I know that I shall still be part and parcel of the world. I was a part before the sun rolled into shape and burst forth in the glory of change. I was, when the earth was hurled out from its fiery rim. I shall return with the earth to Father Sun, and still exist in substance when the sun has lost its fire, and disintegrated into infinity to perhaps become a part of the whirling rubble of space. Why fear? The stuff of my being is matter, ever changing, ever moving, but never lost; so what need of denominations and creeds to deny myself the comfort of all my fellow men? The wide belt of the universe has no need for finger-rings. I am one with the infinite and need no other assurance. -Zora Neale Hurston

"no actor, only the action."
good post Katy

Lets take Zen for example and reverse
it. Lets say the world is dualistic
and has good and evil and the person
exists seperately and is not one with
the universe.

Now add one simple factor to the 'real world'.

The person does not personalise the
thoughts in their head.

Would this not be a selfless person
in a dualistic world ? Does a selfless
person care if the world is dualistic,
or non dualistic ?

The selfless have an actor and a personality. Yet, against Zen example again, they do not act spontaneously, because they use thought as a tool.

But, since they know thought thinks itself
and they have no self to wax, their actions
cannot be selfish.

It is not necessary to stop thought to still
the self (mind).

To still the self, one need only get rid
of the belief one has one. Not get rid
of it by a method, but by seeing it does
not exist.

This is where direct perception comes in.

It is funny people are trying to get rid
of a self, that doesn't even exist before
they try.

One is ALIVE while having experiences in meditation. How can they possibly prove anything about what happens after death and decay of the physical brain?

That's what transcendence is about...
perceiving an undying truth which mystics argue is at the essence of all. This isn't perception through the end of an electron microscope but a rigorous inward journey into consciousness itself. Because the perception happens in the "vicinity of the brain" doesn't mean the truth discovered won't survive the death of the brain. Or that undying truth is a "bridge too far" because everything is circumscribed by materiality and physical death. The brain and body die; the essence survives... at least according to the mystic.

Just because something strongly feels like evidence does not mean that it is.

That's what the "rigorous inner journey" of the mystic strives for as well. To discard emotion, wishful thinking, and all that is ephemeral. Without following years of discipline in being "here-now" and stilling inner chatter/distractions, the essence remains hidden. Once the preparation is complete, the knowing occurs by a deep intuitive awareness sometimes called "direct perception" according to the mystic. But second-hand evidence will never be compelling to someone who hasn't taken the journey. Nor can it be packaged understandably for someone who hasn't followed the discipline. Only the charlatans try... again according to mystics.


Not sure I really follow your logic either.
Are you saying the universe is finite or infinite?

The Big Bang theory fits the evidence for what appears to be an expanding universe with finite limits. It says that space-time came into being 13.5 billions years ago, so there is not an infinite past.

It also says nothing about an infinite future either? The analogy used is an expanding, yet finite, balloon. Various suggestions have been put forward for a finite future, such as the big crunch, rip, bounce or freeze - but we don’t know.

How about forgetting time and thinking about energy? The 1st law of thermodynamics says the energy in a closed system (the universe) is constant. Energy can be transformed, but not created or destroyed. This appears to be so whether time is eternal or finite.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that entropy (disorder) tends to a maximum. That is, the universe appears to be running down to a state of equilibrium death, in which all atoms are tending towards a state of even distribution throughout the universe. Each body in the universe (be it human or otherwise) is a collection of atoms, but ordered together in a unique configuration. Energy is therefore required to maintain and sustain such order in the face of the 2nd law. From this perspective, a human death is like all other deaths, star, galaxy, etc, but the difference is that the particular ordered configuration of a human body gives rise to consciousness, our own consciousness, which cannot endure, unlike energy or atoms. We will be dead, but energy will continue to exist albeit in a transformed manner tending towards an even distribution.

George says that according to Big Bang theory space-time began 13.5 billion years ago and that time does not go infinitely into the past before that. Why not, at least in our imagination? Even if there is absolutely nothing an imaginary clock can tick.

Maybe our universe began with a big bang 13.5 billion years ago, but maybe someone was keeping track of time in another universe that began with a big bang trillions of years before that and someone in even yet another universe was keeping track of time before that universe began and so on and so on ad infinitum.

In order for something to begin there has to be a time when it wasn't. How long was the universe non-existent before it occured? How will it be non-existent after it ends?

If we are going to be dead forever we must have been unborn forever. How could our time to be have ever arrived?

All this is pointless to try to resolve intellectually. We aren't going to do it. Let's not try.

What I am trying to do is put a different spin on the old Zen koan:

"What did your face look like before your parents were born?"

This koan could be a catalyst for one to recognize the empty nature of reality by looking beyond the nuances of one's socio-cultural-educational biases and their psychological understanding of self, body, and mind.

Katy, The big bang says that time began 13.5 millions years ago, but i am quite happy for you to use your imagination or speculate on alternatives.

What I am saying is that if you forget about time and beginning or ends, and look at our existence from an energy perspective, with energy constantly transforming itself, our consciousness is only sustained temporarily before the 2nd law of thermodynamics wins out and all bodies or forms must change or come to an end, in our case that means a loss of consciousness, i.e. death - but the universe and energy therein remains, just redistibuted.

Limitations of the intellect depends on what is trying to be understood.

If one is trying to understand the universe, then the intellect is not pointless at all, it has got us everything we know about the universe.

If one is trying to understand supernatural phenomena, i.e. before or beyond the universe, then the intellect is pointless since that requires blind belief.

Every discussion on this blog uses the intellect, in fact so does every communication, since it relies on language and concepts. If the intellect is truly useless then so is any form of speech.

Zen koans are supposedly meant to confuse or shock the intellect to reveal its limitation, but the premise upon which these questions are based are nonsensical and pointless, so it is no surprise that the question itself is nonsenical. Moreover, satori is achieved in this way only via the intellect, albeit the supposed confusion thereof, which to me is more paradoxical and inconsistent than any koan.

"What did your face look like before your parents were born?"

I would answer that quite simply, which is that before you were born you did not have a face so the question is nonsensical. There was no 'you', only matter. 'You' and 'your face' were formed only when matter came together in a uniquely ordered configuration. This order for a form to exist only is only temporary and is constantly changing as is your face, energy is constantly transforming itself and your body is slowly but inexorably moving from an ordered structure or form towards disorder and non-existence of any form. The 2nd law of thermodynamics is universal in application and explains the death of all bodies or forms pretty well.


It depends on what we mean by the truth.

The truth discovered (i.e. what the truth points to) WILL survive the death of the brain.

But the knowledge of that truth will not. This is an important distinction that often gets overlooked in spiritual circles.

This great completeness, this unborn, undying Reality that you ARE can never not be. But the insight into this undying Reality was once overlooked, it came about... and it will dissolve.

This is no big deal unless we are clinging to a self as many eternalists are. When the organism dies so does the tyranical sense of incompleteness that was the fuel for all activity in the first place. The spiritual goal (completeness) only has relevance in relation to this incompleteness. The solution to incompleteness is not something that we need to take with us beyond the life of the organism. The issue is resolved in the great dissolve.

Non-duality(and non-existence) can not be explained through any scientific dualistic language. Now, within duality, yes various laws of science play their role.

Within a "subject/object realm" the intellect may and may not have limitations. And, the unknown will one day become, through discover, become known.

Enough wordiness. Here is all I have to say in seven words:

There has never been a phenomenal subject.

Does that clear things up?

The intellect almost certainly has its limitations, but you cannot learn what those are, or anything else for that matter, by simply saying we are limited or it cannot be done.

Human beings, unlike any other lifeform on earth, have a greater understanding of the universe and their place in it, than any other species or previous generation that has ever existed on earth. We can draw on a range of scientific disciplines to put together piece by piece the story of our universe, planet and life's development - all of this because of one particular human faculty - our intellect.

Not for me, it doesn't, and actually i'd say the limitations of koans and subject/object criteria are more a limitation of language than our intellect. Wittegenstein and many others have recognised this limitation.

Six words will do it:

There has never been a subject!

Subjectiveness cannot be pinned down to anything phenomenal - but it arises in dependence of phenomenal conditions.

How does it do that? I haven't got a clue - and no one else here is about to solve the mind-body problem.

What we do know is that it only takes a matter of seconds with a scalpel for a sense of subjectivity to disappear.


Don't forget, we are blogging here. Blogging is a dualist activity. Being some sort of 'non-dualistic' personality and blogging, probably are going to conflict. Maybe and maybe not.

"Does that clear things up?"

--Are these 'things' found in a subject/object realm? No-things don't need such. In addition, when you respond to messages, at this blog, are you excercising 'free' will? Or, a collapse of free will?

If matter is energy transforming infinitely, then i don't see why consciousness isn't energy transforming infinitely either. Just different rates or degrees of change.

So, it follows:

If there has never been a (phenomenal) subject, there has never been an object (phenomena) either! That is what sages have been saying through the centuries, and that is a solution to the dilemma of 'time'. It rather extinguishes it.

We will never recognize our true nature as long as we look, think and live from an imaginary subjective center.

Recognizing this does not mean we do not continue to function as a personality in an apparent dualistic world. We just perceive it differently. Not a big deal, really.

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