« Not having an illusory self has some real benefits | Main | There are no essences, just interpretations »

March 22, 2021


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

" All life is a movement in relationship. There is no living thing on earth that is not related to something or other."

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Could it be Bishop Berkeley, who "contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are ideas perceived by the minds and, as a result, cannot exist without being perceived," was closer to reality than subsequent philosophical thought?

Change Berkeley's "perceived" to "relationship to other things" described by Rovelli and the Berkeley idea offers pre Heisenberg quantum theory antecedents.

Stop looking in the mirror and the self will be found and relativity and quantum jumps disappears, is not existent.

The [false] mirror is the world and everything it contains.

What is seen in the mirror cannot change the onlooker and the onlooker cannot change what is to be seen in the mirror.

Great article. Fun reading.

Again, what piques my curiosity is the "as Buddhism surmises" part.

Although, to be frank, in this case that last clause is a bit of a stretch. I don't really think Buddhism "surmises" anything like quantum mechanics at all. That everything is inter-related, as a general statement, is very different than the kind of inter-connectedness QM indicates.

But that minor quibble apart, my pain point is, even if not in this specific instance, nevertheless Buddhism -- secular Buddhism, shorn of the mumbo jumbo -- does "surmise" a great many things that the scientific method seems to be bearing out.

And what I wonder is, how the heck did Buddhism surmise all of this? How on earth did that crazy prince who abdicated his throne in order to spend his days navel gazing, end up surmising so many remarkable things?

(And the Pali canon is pretty well authenticated, so even if the Buddha story were myth -- which I doubt, given the numerous corroborations -- but even if it were myth, even then there's no doubt that these 'teachings' were in place latest some two or three centuries after the time the Buddha was alleged to have lived and taught and died. Way way way way way before the scientific method, and all of our modern knowledge, could even have been imagined. One can't help wondering, how on earth did such modern ideas find their way into those works, in the absence of the solid work and the knowledge that must necessarily precede the formulation of such narratives? --- Especially given that these narratives were not mere speculation, but clearly formulated and followed and lived by?)

@ A.R.

Do you suggest that the teachings were given to the prince ... by some alien force?

Hello, um.

No, no, absolutely not, nothing of the kind! I happened to see your comment, addressed to me, and rushed in to correct that misapprehension of yours. Rest assured, I'm not here to surreptitiously peddle some crazy ancient-aliens theory under the guise of rationalism.

(That's a thing, unfortunately. People go all out denouncing the irrationality of some whipping boy that is the flavor of the month, like GSD, or the Pope, or whatever; and then, astonishingly, they then with a straight face go ahead and try to slip in advocacy for some equally crazy irrationality, be it religious or be it political. I've seen that enough times, both IRL as well as right here on this site, to no longer be surprised at this kind of craziness. And I wanted to set the record straight without delay, that I'm most emphatically not suggesting that aliens from Alpha Centauri appeared to the Buddha and whispered to him the secrets of life, the universe and everything, absolutely not!)


But what then are my thoughts about this exactly? You are within your rights to wonder, given my previous comment. Here's my take on it:

Like I'd said, absolutely, many things in Buddhism appear to find corroboration in current, cutting-edge science. Which is remarkable, because what is being corroborated are the central tenets of Buddhism.

Now lots of people have said lots of things across the ages. That some of things might turn out to be true, purely by chance, is something only to be expected. You know, the monkey-throwing-darts thing.

Except, that isn't what's happening here. Allegedly the Buddha made these psychological discoveries about our selves -- pardon the pun! -- and devoted his life, which could have been spent in opulence, teaching those things. Further, many many many people also followed his steps, and came to those same conclusions as the Buddha originally had. And all of this happened many hundreds of years ago, starting with actually two-and-a-half millennia back.. This is all well enough documented.

Which is why it is ...unsettling, to find these things now being corroborated by science. It's amazing, if you ask me. Most definitely not a matter of pure chance, not monkeys throwing darts.

So, how come?


And the answer is, I don't know how come! I don't know, and I was asking here. Both thinking aloud, and inviting comments from others, Brian as well as commenters here, who might have thoughts about this.

One answer is, obviously, like I'd said earlier, that we possess some faculty, other than just reason, to arrive at some essential truths about ourselves. Because reason would require detailed work, guided by the scientific method, to arrive at these conclusions, and none of these were available back then. So yeah, that's one possibility.


But you know what I think is far more probable than that rather outlandish speculation? I think what's most probable is that this similarity, between science and Buddhism, is only apparent, only a surface similarity that isn't really corroboration at all.

Like in this case? Buddhism says that everything is connected to everything, et cetera. And quantum mechanism discovers this weird phenomenon of paired particles being affected irrespective of where the other set of the pair is located within the universe. And we rush to think, wow, how'd the Buddha know this? And the answer is, no, he didn't know it at all. He'd said something that sounds kinda sorta similar, but not really,


Both of those takes of mine, the outlandish one, as well as the more mundane one that I think is more probable, are my speculation. I do not speak with either actual knowledge or authority on this.

To actually pronounce on this would need two things. Someone would need, first, to know in great detail exactly what the Buddha had actually taught. I do have an idea of what that was, but that rough idea isn't enough. Someone actually needs to pore through the actual Pali canon, and all of those commentaries dating back to a few centuries after the Pali canon.

And then that someone would also need to get a detailed idea about what QM actually entails. Again, I do have some idea, but "some idea" won't do. You need to actually understand the math, because in QM the math is everything -- as Brian himself says, in his article -- as well as mainstream interpretation (including, again as Brian himself points out, the shut-up-with-the-interpreting-and-just-calculate interpretation).

If after that we find there is some actual similarity between the two, not just a surface similarity and but actual corroboration of the one by the other, that is when we need to sit up and try to find out how on earth such a thing might be possible.


So no, no green aliens I'm afraid. At least not in my pocket! :--)

@ Appreciate reader.

Thank you.

>> ........... we possess some faculty, other than just reason.........> ............. this similarity, between science and Buddhism, is only apparent,... <<
If a child says "god is everywhere" or and adult, or an theologian, a clergy man of this or that monotheistic faith or an mystic, it is doubtful they mean all the same, It has to do with the content of the concept and the realization thereof ... something you pointed ad also.

Unfortunately there are some people I know, that have fallen to this "similarity reasoning". Unfortunately, because to me they appear like people that have joint a sect or are addicted to drugs and can only be brought back to the common grounds by "deprogramming" .

@ A.R.

The answer that appears is not the answer that I wrote ... I don't understand why parts are missing so just read the first sentence ... I am not going to re-formulate what I forgot.

Quote um:

"Unfortunately there are some people I know, that have fallen to this "similarity reasoning". Unfortunately, because to me they appear like people that have joint a sect or are addicted to drugs and can only be brought back to the common grounds by "deprogramming" ."


True, such people, who are programmed into crazy belief systems, are all too common. We actually live in the midst of so many of them, even in this day and age, that it is difficult to say which is the "common ground", theirs or ours, the craziness or what we think of as sanity.

And unfortunately, and especially of late, sanity is everywhere ceding ground to the craziness, or so it seems to me. Instead of striding forward into greater lucidity, we as a species seem to be faltering, taking two steps back for every step that we take towards light.

Which is why it is important to stay on guard against irrationality at all times. It may or may not always be possible to engage with such ideas in the public arena, because the personal costs for doing that may sometimes/often turn out to be greater than we are prepared to put up with, but there's nothing stopping us from ourselves taking care to stay clear of contamination from irrational superstitions.


In this context, I'm reminded of something I'd read, I think on David Lane's website but I may be mistaken: it was kind of a motto, to the effect that especially when investigating things spiritual, you need to keep your critical thinking sharpened, something along those lines. While critical thinking is always an asset and its obverse always a liability, it is when we turn to spirituality, as some of us are drawn to, that it becomes really ...critical, to keep our thinking clear and unsullied by superstition.

"The answer that appears is not the answer that I wrote ... I don't understand why parts are missing so just read the first sentence ... I am not going to re-formulate what I forgot."


No problem, um. It's fitting that weird random things should happen when commenting on a blog post that is about QM. Let's just hope you don't have any pet cats running around, or not running around, your house.

The relationships of objects to those around them, to their physical location in space, yeilds information about the location of that object, its velocity, mass and momentum. Objects too small to be detected can be measured by their impact on other objects. We call those waves. The amplitude and frequency of waves tells us about the particles they comprise, both mass and velocity. In quantum physics both wave and particle mathematics are used to describe the location and velocity of particles. But both particle and wave mathematics are imprecise to describe an exact particle location and velocity at a specific moment. Hence the quanta, a packet of space described by both particles and the waves they are part of. The packet exists in a precise location and time, but not the particles they consist of.

What's great about using these tools is that they allow us to theorize and test the existence of various particles and their waves that help explain our world without having the instrumentation to fully detect and record them.

A particle shoots from a gun. But it may really be part of a wave in space whose nearly instantaneous ripple can be detected far away long before that specific particle arrives. And the result of that ripple may be detected in other places, even before the gun was fired! And long after the particle arrives, the ripples from our may be detected for eons.

The connectivity of all things makes this possible. Our conscious awareness is but an infinitesimal particle that is part of a larger wave.

Previously when I read from Baba Jaimal Singh, he said that we would first hear a bell sound.

From there, something like the roaring of a train. I'm not sure if any satsangis/exers have heard any of this in meditation.

I further went to ask Gurinder Singh Ji why I was getting nothing that sounded even close? He told me that his teacher Maharaj Ji Charan Singh said, that these sounds transcended from beyond the quantum levels. And that even if we only heard the type of ringing sound one may experience from getting up from bed too fast. Listen to that!


Honestly... do you think he even believes half the stuff he tells people???

Hi Karim
The only sounds that matter are the ones you can hear.

The meditation practice includes the instruction to spend some time listening to the inner sound, as the second part of a session where repetition on the holy names and contemplation of your Master is the first part.

It is explained that the repetition and contemplation help withdraw your thoughts from many outer worldly things, many outer worldly worries, and impressions, and help you to become focused on just one spiritual subject 'within'.

'Within' or 'going within' meaning that you start focusing and becoming aware of your own general internal impressions, and through focused attention, you begin to actually witness some new inner impressions. But they can be emotional, cognitive as well as physiological /sensory.

You can go to that place even in the midst of battle... Whatever helps the brain concentrate deeply automatically withdraws your consciousness. So some athletes are withdrawn from their own bodies watching and monitoring and adjusting their performance, as a driver in a car. They are not the car, and this concentration and withdrawal helps them perform exceptionally well, with much greater control. People Concentrate on different things for different purposes, but the machinery is the same.

That inner state, which may start as relaxed focus, may start simply as your notion of your master and result in your inner sense of calm and peace, which is its own inner impression. You can call that spiritual because it isn't worldly. Or you can just call that internal experience. Internal experience can include insights, solutions to worldly challenges that you now calmly grasp hold of. And eventually your release from many different worldly thoughts into a singular inner impression of joy and peace. This is its own reward and arises naturally from any gentle effort at concentration. It is given the label "spiritual" but you may use any label for it.

Usually that happens even with minimal concentration. Sometimes when you are relaxed. It's a natural process. Your brain wants to go there when it isn't beleaguered with worldly demands.

But we can get so conditioned to perform all the time in a competitive, obessive lifestyle that we completely lose our ability to relax. Then people take drugs or must climb to mountain tops or go to expensive resorts, or fill their ears with loud music, or dance to hypnotic club beats in a crowd, just to distract from that burdensome adrenaline addiction that we call modern society. But people generally seek out another adrenaline addiction as the solution, to "relax". Go figure! It's momentary and fleeting at best.

You can focus on anything, a flower, your breathing, the cars passing by, the sky, to witness the calm and insight that naturally arises with any form of gentle focused attention. What we attend to gets a broader sensory field in our experience, and leads to other impressions.

Meditation offers a more portable, reliable, stronger and natural solution.

Your mind may still be moving about other thoughts, but not so many, not so quickly, and now you are having the psychological impression that you are in the presence of your Master and feel that love. All of that is huge progress withdrawing from the mind which had been cut into a thousand pieces by outer scattering, stress, attachments, and just outer stimulus. And now you are becoming whole, focusing on that inner place which is the center of your thinking anyway.

This is a very natural and healthy process of repetition and contemplation.

That's a lifetime's work right there for many, and it is a substantial movement in becoming whole, and integrated with who and what we really are.

Then, practicing listening to the inner sounds is using that new power of inner awareness to attach to something that can pull you further within, into that internal experience. Can be sounds, can be light.

Many Satsangis have heard inner sound. Many non - Satsangis hear inner sound. For some of us it is there in any moment of quiet, naturally. Even when we are going about our daily activity. Not always. So when it arises, we make a point to listen, even while we are working, or speaking. The whole world becomes heaven on earth then. And we have that presence of Master.

Focus on inner listening pulls us through different sounds attended with visual experiences.

High pitched sounds can morph into lower, louder sounds. The huge bell that reverberates through us, pulling us past the stars and moon; the thundering wind that feels like it shakes the earth, attended with lightning, and the ripping away of darkness, as we fly into a cathedral of light, are all witnessed as hard repeatable events through practice. Therefore they must have their physiological corrolates.

At some point you will hear many found at once, often just by relaxing. It can sound like an orchestra warming up before a concert. Then you choose which should to attend to, and that becomes dominant.

But to witness them fully the switch to our outer stimuli must be shut off. That happens naturally through our gradual practice of withdrawal into inner focus. Your brain switches off your body and sensory stimuli daily in sleep. So the mechanism is there. Gentle concentration within will naturally trigger it also. Unfortunately, you can inadvertently trigger the whole set of switches for "sleep" also. Control is a matter of practice.

These are natural events, and common among many Satsangis. They may arise little by little over many years of sticking to the same method, developing the atmosphere to support this practice, and letting go of other things. Turning to God within to see us through things we can't avoid, is just another way to keep our focus on that inner center as much as possible, so that our meditation next mornng isn't thrown off by worldly events, making it an unpleasant struggle.

Making it our lifestyle makes withdrawal in meditation, and coming into contact with Sound and light natural and easy. We must accept the sound and light without reaction or expectation, as natural events, so that we don't react to them and lose our focus.... All part of practice. You can say they aren't special, they are built into each of us, though most never choose to go there. Or you can say they are the greatest treasures of life. But definitely the former attitude will help you sustain and grow that experience when you meditate. And the latter attitude will help you build the atmosphere for meditation in your worldly life.

This is 100% psychology. But it is a healthy psychology that brings you into integration with real parts of your own self, right in this physical body.

Are they connected to Quantum mechanics? We are all connected. In one sense we are individual particles. In another, we are all part of the same ocean and move in waves. Our waves move in is. So let's learn to surf them!

Save yourself and the world be damned. That pretty much sums up the rhadasoami philosophy.

Yes. Quantum levels, science has yet to move further. The oligarchs remain, and rule the world.

At least, the remaining ones.

@ S.

You asked Karim:
>> Honestly... do you think he even believes half the stuff he tells people???<<

His uncle now and then would,make it clear to the audience, grabbing his own legs "Look, THIS, is not the master" ... and .... pointing at the audience "YOU are not the soul"

That said, it suggests, that there is a difference or even a discrepancy between the body/mind structure we see and something else.

That allows for the thought that the "embodiment" of that "other" can be anything and need not to even be related to that "other".

That same holds for the people in the audience, those reading and writing here. It would mean that a "soul" seeking his or its, source is encapsulated in a body/mind sustem , the ego, the persona, tthat has no understanding, relation or even communication to its soul.

Like a person is finding his path through life, urged from inside, so can the one sitting on the dias.

Or ..... a beautiful gem can be transported in a rather ...XXXX...... case.
You are free to replace the xxxx's by words of your choice.

Maybe, real masters are as rare as real seekers .... or .... it takes a while, to speak with Patanjali, to walk a path and reach its final goal....he and also Buddhist initiations speak of taking a vow for many lives to come.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.