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The Ultimate Story of Consciousness can now be told. Just Joking.
Consciousness is the underlying reality that underlies everything that anyone can ever say about reality, and yet in-and-of-itself, it can only be described as nothingness, since it is nothing perceivable. That is why it is called spiritual. It is the perceiving reality, not a part of the perceivable reality. It has no story because all stories belong to the perceivable reality, and yet a story can be told that is all about how consciousness realizes the true nature of what it really is. That realization is called spiritual enlightenment.
The Matrix isn’t just an exciting sci-fi/fantasy action/adventure movie. The Matrix is a very serious philosophical discussion of the nature of reality. The Matrix is very much in the tradition of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The essential question asked in the Matrix "What is real?" can now be answered scientifically in terms of modern physics. The answer of course is "Nothing is real".
The ancient Vedic wisdom, with its concepts of Atman and Brahman, has addressed this issue of what is real and what is illusion. The essential distinction is between the Atmanic level of reality and the Brahmanic level of reality. Atman is understood as an individual spiritual presence of consciousness, while Brahman is the undivided spiritual source of that individual spiritual presence of consciousness. Individual existence only exists at the Atmanic level of reality, which in some sense is an illusion, like the projected and animated images of a virtual reality. At the Brahmanic level of reality, there is no individual existence. All is One. Individual existence does not exist at the ultimate Brahmanic level of existence, and yet in some mysterious way, individual consciousness ultimately returns to and reunites itself with undivided consciousness. In the words of Shankara:
Brahman is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Atman and Brahman.
You cannot exist without desire. The individual being that you call you can only exist in a state of duality as you perceive things, but your perception of things requires your expression of desire. When you stop expressing desire, you do not exist. When you become desireless, you perceive nothing. In that desireless state in which nothing is perceived, your individual being dissolves into the nothingness of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. You no longer exist as an individual being. You become the ocean of undivided being. When you dissolve into undivided being, you become one. That is the ultimate truth.
In the non-dual language of Advaita Vedanta, I Am is Atman is the Self is the Observer of its own observable world. Brahman is both the Source of that observable world and the Source of the observing consciousness of Atman. At the level of observing your own observable world, you are Atman. At the ultimate level of your dissolution into the Source of your consciousness, like the oceanic experience of a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean, you are the Source. Ultimately, Atman is Brahman. That is the truth of your own existence. The only hard part of accepting that truth is seeing the world you are perceiving as no more real than a dream that you are dreaming. Brahman is the dreamer and the observable world is its dream. In the language of modern physics, the observable world is a holographic illusion, no more real than a computer generated virtual reality. The world only appears real when you perceive it. You have to perceive the world for it to appear to come into existence. If you don't perceive it, the world disappears from existence from your own point of view. Spiritual enlightenment in the sense of the Buddha awakening from its dream is the realization from your own direct experience that you still exist as Brahman even when everything in your world disappears from existence and nothing remains. You still exist when you perceive nothing. Nothing in the dream can exist independently of Brahman, not even Atman. Brahman is that absolute nothingness. That is the ultimate truth of what you are.
You cannot express the truth because you have to express desire and expend energy in order to express anything. As soon as you express desire, you create falseness. The creation of that falseness begins with the creation of your own self. The truth is desireless and selfless. You cannot express the truth. You can only be the truth.

Why People Don’t Awaken

Why People Don’t Awaken

The awakening process is a self-destructive process of destroying your own ego. The problem is, people don’t want to destroy their own ego and so they don’t awaken. That’s where all the resistance to awakening comes from. The resistance people have to awakening reflects that they really don’t want to destroy their own ego. People express this resistance in spite of what they consciously say to themselves about wanting to awaken. In spite of what they say, they really don’t want to awaken because they have an unconscious fear of awakening. This resistance arises from their underlying fear about destroying their own ego. They really don’t want to destroy their own ego because they don’t want to die at the level of the ego. They’re afraid of ego death. They’re afraid of not existing at the level of being a Self or at the level of individual existence.

What exactly does it mean to destroy your own ego? This is the question you have to ask yourself if you really want to awaken. There’s no way to understand the answer to this question unless you clearly understand what you’re really doing is playing a computer-generated virtual reality game, like depicted in the Matrix. Your character in the game, which appears to be a person is the world you perceive, is really no more real than an animated image that is projected from a computer screen to your own point of view. What you really are is the presence of perceiving consciousness that is present at that point of view. You are really nothing more than a point of consciousness as you perceive the projected and animated images of the virtual reality game and play the game. You play the game by focusing your attention on the game. This point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to the screen is called the Self. Everything you can perceive in your own world, including the person in the world you take yourself to be, is no more real than an animated image projected from the screen to your own point of view.

The Self always carries with itself its own sense of individual existence, which is called I Am. This sense of I-Am-ness is the sense of being present in the present moment as the Self perceives its own world. The perception of that world always occurs in the present moment. The Self is not only a point of perceiving consciousness as it perceives the virtual reality game, but also is a point of moving consciousness that animates the game. The energy of the motion of the Self animates the images of the game. In the language of modern theoretical physics, the Self is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. The energy of that accelerated motion is what energizes and animates the projected images of the game. This energy of accelerated motion naturally arises as the Self focuses its attention on the projected images of the game, which animates the images of the game. The number one image the Self animates as it focuses its attention on the game is its character in the game, which appears to be a person in the world. In reality, the person in the world is no more real than an avatar in a virtual reality game the Self plays as it focuses its attention on the game. The energy animating a person in the world is called emotional energy. The Self is investing its own emotional energy in the game as it focuses its attention on its character in the game. That’s how its character is emotionally animated.

The emotional animation of its character in the game explains why the Self identifies itself with its character. The Self feels emotionally self-limited to the form of its character as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates its character. The emotionally animated form of its character is really only an image of the game that is projected from the computer screen to its central point of view as the Self perceives the image, but when the moving Self expresses the emotional energy that animates that image with its own motion, and when the perceiving Self feels emotionally self-limited to that image as it perceives the animation, the Self emotionally identifies itself with that image. The Self is creating the conditions that lead to its emotional self-identification with the form of a person as it expresses the emotional energy that animates that form and then perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that form, which makes it feel emotionally self-limited to that form. That expression of emotional energy naturally arises from its own motion as it focuses its attention on the animated life of the person in the world it takes itself to be and emotionally identifies itself with that animated form.

Emotional self-identification of the Self with the form of a person that appears in the virtual reality game it plays leads to the mental construction of an emotionally animated self-concept. The mental construction of a personal self-concept is like the self-referential narration of the virtual reality game by the central character of the game. The central character is referring to itself as the personal self-concept is mentally constructed. The self-concept can only become mentally constructed as a personal self-image is emotionally related to the image of some other thing the Self perceives in the virtual reality game. The personal self-image can only be constructed out of memory, just like the memory that operates inside a computer, since the personal self-image is just another aspect of the computer-generated virtual reality game. The construction of a personal self-image out of memory requires an emotional projection from the present moment to past or future events. The personal self-image can only be constructed out of memory when past events are remembered or when future events are anticipated. The emotional construction of a personal self-image is always an emotional projection out of the present moment into the remembered past or the anticipated future.

When the Self only pays attention to its emotionally constructed self-concept, it is only paying attention to a personal self-image that is an emotional projection to past or future events, and is not paying attention to what actually happens in the present moment. That’s why the Self is not aware of itself as a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment. The Self is ignoring its own sense of being present or I-Am-ness when it only focuses its attention on its personal self-image. That personal self-image is always emotionally constructed in the mind as the self-image is emotionally related to the image of some other thing that appears in the virtual reality game that the Self is playing. The Self is not aware of itself because the Self is only paying attention to its personal self-image that can only be emotionally constructed out of memory through an emotional projection to past or future events. The Self loses awareness of itself by only paying attention to its emotionally constructed self-concept, which is no more real than the self-referential narration of the virtual reality game by the central character of the game.

This analysis of personal self-identification assumes there really is a Self, which is a moving point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world that plays a computer-generated virtual reality game as images of that world are projected to its central point of view. Other than your own direct experience of your Self, which you can become aware of as you focus your attention on your own sense of being present as you perceive the world, what is the scientific evidence that the Self really exists as a moving presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own world, and that the world it animates and perceives is like a computer-generated virtual reality game?

The scientific answer is the holographic principle of quantum gravity. The Self as a moving point of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own world can be understood as an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. That accelerated motion gives rise to an event horizon that surrounds the observer’s central point of view and limits the observer’s observations of things in space. The holographic principle tells us that the observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen due to the screen encoding bits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own world, just like an observer that observes the images of a computer-generated virtual reality projected from a computer screen to its point of view. The screen is a two dimensional surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. Things only appear to be three dimensional in that bounded region of space because they’re like holographic images. In reality, all the bits of information for those images are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface. The holographic principle incorporates relativity theory because the holographic screen arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reverence. The holographic principle incorporates quantum theory because the bits of information are understood to arise as quantized bits of information, which are called qubits.

The bounding surface of space that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference is the nature of the computer screen that gives rise to the projected images of the computer-generated virtual reality game. The images, which are forms of information that arise from the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen, are projected from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The screen only arises because of the observer’s accelerated motion, and the energy of that motion is what animates the projected images. That’s how the computer-generated  virtual reality game is created. It begins with the creation of a quantum computer. You have to create a quantum computer before you can create and play a virtual reality game. The quantum computer is created due to the accelerated motion of the observer that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen when it encodes qubits of information.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

The Observer’s Holographic Screen

The encoding of qubits of information on a holographic screen is easiest to understand with the mathematical concept of matrices. An SU(2) matrix gives a mathematical representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its eigenvalues also encode information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable in quantum theory that can only point up or down similar to a computer switch that is either on or off. An nxn SU(2) matrix can encode n quantized bits of information on the surface of a sphere in a rotationally invariant way. These qubits of information are naturally entangled because they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix. This geometric mechanism explains how a holographic screen encodes n qubits of information. Each qubit of information is encoded on an area element that acts like a pixel on the screen, which is called the Planck area. The Planck area is defined in terms of the gravitational constant, the speed of light and Planck’s constant as ℓ2=ħG/c3, and the number of qubits encoded on the screen is given in terms of the surface area A of the observer’s event horizon as n=A/4ℓ2.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

We really do live in the Matrix because everything we can perceive in the world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that encoding of information can be understood in terms of matrices. Just as was depicted in the movie the Matrix, we really do live in a computer-generated virtual reality.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good scientific answer. The laws of physics are like the operating system or computational rules that govern the operation of this computer-generated virtual reality. This turns out to be fairly easy to show from the holographic principle. The laws of physics that govern whatever appears to happen in any bounded region of space can be easily deduced from the way qubits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space and the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to that bounding surface as the observer’s event horizon. The laws of physics are not really anything fundamental, but are more like a thermal average description of what appears to happen when things are near thermal equilibrium, like a thermodynamic equation of state. Both Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the law of gravity, and all quantum field theories that give a representation of particle physics, can be understood to arise as thermal average descriptions of what appears to happen in some bounded region of space. In physics, these are called effective field theories. The more fundamental description of what appears to happen in any bounded region of space is the way qubits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space, which can always be understood to arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and the energy inherent in that accelerated motion. This fits in nicely with the holographic principle, which tells us that whatever appears to happen in that bounded region of space is like the holographic projection of an image from the screen and the animation of that image in the flow of energy that is inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The projected image is a form of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the screen. That image is animated by the observer’s own motion and is projected from the screen to the observer’s central point of view as the observer perceives it. The animation and projection of those images is only possible because the observer is focusing its attention on its own computer-generated virtual reality as it plays the virtual reality game.

Every observer observes events in its own world as it observes the animation of images projected from its own holographic screen to its central point of view. That screen arises as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. What about a consensual reality that is shared by many different observers, each located at its own point of view?

The answer is a consensual reality shared by many observers arises from information sharing, just like in a computer-generated virtual reality game that is played by many different observers. Each observer plays the virtual reality game on its own computer screen, but when there is information sharing among different screens, as happens when the screens are connected by the internet, information is shared among the different observers. In the language of the holographic principle, when bounding surfaces of space overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram, those screens  can share information. Many observers, each located at their own central point of view, can share a consensual reality when their respective screens overlap and share information.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space

The holographic principle is telling us that the Self, understood as a moving point of perceiving consciousness present at the center of its own world, is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. The computer-generated virtual reality game the Self plays arises from that accelerated motion as an event horizon that encodes qubits of information and acts as a holographic screen that projects the animated images of the observer’s world to its central point of view. The motion of the Self explains the animation of the images, but what explains the projection of the images?

The answer is the light of consciousness that illuminates the observer’s world. The observer can be understood as a moving point of perceiving consciousness that animates and perceives everything in its own world. The light of consciousness is what illuminates those things as the illuminated images of those things are projected from the observer’s screen to its central point of view. In this sense, the Self can be understood as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness that illuminates, animates and perceives everything in its own world.

This explanation nicely explains how the Self plays the computer-generated virtual reality game. The key point is that the Self must be present as it focuses its attention on the game. The Self becomes aware of itself when it focuses its attention on its own sense of being present. If the Self only focuses its attention on its own personal self-image or self-concept, then the Self loses its awareness of its own sense of being present. That’s how the Self identifies itself with its character in the game. That’s how the Self identifies itself with its personal self-concept or ego.

This explanation also explains how the Self awakens to the truth of what it really is. The Self must first become aware of its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own world that only exists in the present moment. The Self has to stop focusing its attention on its personal self-image and stop emotionally projecting itself into a non-existent past or future through the manipulation of memory. That’s the only way the Self can stop emotionally constructing a personal self-concept in its mind. That’s the only way the Self can stop emotionally identifying itself with its central character in the virtual reality game it’s playing.

This self-destructive process of no longer constructing a personal self-concept in your mind is the meaning of destroying your own ego. You have to stop feeding your ego the emotional energy it needs for your mind to construct it. The only way you can stop feeding your ego this emotional energy it needs to emotionally construct a personal self-concept in your mind is by withdrawing your attention away from your ego. When you stop paying attention to your ego and withdraw your attention away from your ego, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy that emotionally constructs and animates your ego in your mind. That’s the only way you can destroy your ego. You have to stop paying attention to it. You have to lose interest in it.

The only way you can lose interest in your ego is if you clearly see it to be an illusion of what you really are, and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When you clearly see your ego to be an illusion of what you really are, you lose interest in it and stop paying attention to it. When you withdraw your attention away from it, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in its mental construction. That’s the only way you can destroy it.

Awakening is only about destroying your ego as a false concept of what you really are. There are no true concepts that can explain what you really are. All self-concepts are false. The hardest part of awakening is realizing that even the concept of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness is false. The Self is an untruth because the sense of individual existence or I-Am-ness is an untruth. At the ultimate level of reality, which is the ultimate level of your own existence, there is no sense of individual existence or being a Self.

The sense of being a Self, the sense of individual existence and I-Am-ness, the sense of being present as you perceive your own world, can only arise in a subject-object relation as you perceive things in that world. The subject, which is called the Self or I Am, can only arise as the Self perceives some object in its own world. The relation between the subject and its object is perception. Only this subject-object relation can define self and other. The holographic principle is telling us that the object, which is a form of information, is like an image projected from a screen to the central point of view of the observer. That image can always be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer can only identify itself with a self-image it perceives when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to that image. That feeling of emotional self-limitation arises from the observer’s own motion. The observer can only project that self-image when the observer illuminates the image with its own light of consciousness.

This subject-object relation is only created when the observer is present to perceive its own world. The observer has to focus its attention on the events of that world. Understanding that world as a computer-generated virtual reality game the Self plays tells us that the Self has to focus its attention on playing the game to be present for the game. If the Self withdraws its attention away from the game, the Self is no longer present to play the game. If the Self refuses to play the game, the Self is no longer present to play the game and the game is over.

When the Self is no longer present to perceive or play the game, the game is over. When the Self no longer focuses its attention on the game and no longer perceives the game, there no longer is a subject-object relation that defines self and other. There no longer is a sense of being present, a sense of I-Am-ness, or a sense of being a Self. What remains when the game is over?

Nisargadatta says the Self is the doorway through which you pass when you become enlightened. The Self is the nature of the gateless gate you pass through in the sense of Zen or the doors of perception in the sense of William Blake. You bring yourself to the doorway as you focus your attention on your own sense of being present as the perceiving Self at the center of your own world. You can only pass through the doorway when you become selfless. That’s why you have to destroy your own ego. The ego is really nothing more than the Self emotionally identifying itself with its emotionally constructed personal self-concept. The Self emotionally constructs its personal self-concept in its mind as it focuses its attention on its personal self-image. That emotional construction is always an emotional projection out of the present moment to the memory of past or anticipation of future events. That’s why the Self loses its awareness of itself as a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment. To become aware of itself in the present moment, the Self has to stop making emotional projections that construct a personal self-image through the manipulation of memory and stop emotionally constructing a personal self-concept in its mind. The Self has to stop expressing the emotional energy that underlies the mental construction of its ego. That’s the only way the Self can stop emotionally identifying itself with its ego. That’s what it means for the Self to destroy its own ego.

The final self-concept you have to destroy before you can awaken to the truth of what you really are is your own sense of individual existence, which is your sense of I-Am-ness or being a Self as you perceive your own world in the subject-object relation of perception that defines self and other. At the ultimate level of reality that defines the true nature of your existence, there is no sense of being a Self because there is no other. All is One. Only undivided being remains at the ultimate level of existence. That ultimate level of existence is not something that you can perceive. That ultimate level of existence is not limited by a bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen that projects the images of everything you can perceive in your own world to your own point of view. That ultimate level of existence is not only undivided, but is also unlimited. It cannot be limited to something you can perceive or to the point of view that perceives something. It cannot be conceptualized in terms of any concept you can conceive. It can only be described in terms of negation as absolute nothingness or void.

When you become enlightened, you have the direct experience of that unlimited and undivided absolute nothingness, but not in the sense of something that you can perceive or conceive. You can only directly experience it by becoming it. To know it is to be it. Your individual being has to dissolve back into it like a divided drop of water that dissolves back into the undivided ocean. This can only happen when you become selfless and pass through the doorway of the Self.

You have to become selfless before you can pass through the doorway of the Self and become enlightened. You bring yourself to the doorway as you focus your attention on your own sense of being present, but you can only pass through the doorway when you become selfless. You only become selfless when you become desireless. You become desireless when you take all emotional energy out of the mental construction of your self-concept. You do that by withdrawing your attention away from the virtual reality game you’re playing, which withdraws your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game.

When you refuse to play the game, the game is over. When you are no longer present to perceive and play the game, the game disappears from existence from your own point of view. This can only happen when you destroy your own ego or self-concept. You have to stop emotionally identifying yourself with your character in the game, which can only happen when you stop emotionally animating your character in the game. You withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game when you withdraw your attention away from the game. That’s the only way you can become selfless, desireless and motionless.

When you become selfless and desireless, you also become motionless. At the level of the Self, which is a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness, you stop expressing emotional energy when you stop moving. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality game you’re playing and withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game, you stop expressing that emotional energy. You stop moving. That’s how you become motionless. In the language of modern theoretical physics, when you become motionless, you enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference. That’s when the world you perceive disappears from existence from your own point of view because you no longer have an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. That’s when you fall into the void. That’s when your individual being dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. That’s when you stop being a Self.

After you become enlightened and perceive your own world again, you no longer perceive things as the Self. You see things from a higher level of consciousness, as though the things you perceive only arise as the animated images of a movie that are projected from a movie screen to your own point of view. You see how you’re illuminating the images as you shine the light of consciousness on them and how you’re animating them with the motion of your Self. You become aware of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of your Self from the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void, which is the Source of the selfless nondual awareness that creates and perceives the whole thing. You no longer are a part of the dualistic world of self and other. You have come out of that world and no longer are a Self. The dualistic awareness of self and other comes to an end. You only experience things as the unlimited and undivided selfless awareness of the Source. You may appear to be in the world as the Self, but you are really not of that world. You are truly beyond that world. You are the Source. You know the true nature of your existence is the absolute nothingness that is the Source of your own Self and the Source of everything that can appear to come into existence in the virtual reality game you play. You know you are the Source of the Self, which is not something the Self can perceive in its own world. You know you are absolutely nothing, which is the Source of everything. To discover the Source, you have to look within.

This is the reason why people don’t awaken. This is where all the resistance to awakening comes from. People are unwilling to awaken because they don’t want to destroy their own ego, but what really drives this unwillingness to awaken is the fear of not existing at the level of individual existence. This is the fear of not existing at the level of being a Self. Only the Self has its own sense of individual existence. The nature of any self-concept with which the Self can emotionally identify itself doesn’t really matter that much. Any self-concept is better than no self-concept. The fear that drives the resistance to awakening isn’t really the fear of non-existence, but instead the fear of being nothing. People don’t really care that much who they appear to be as long as they appear to be somebody rather than nobody. The fear of not existing at the level of individual existence or being a Self is what drives all the resistance to awakening. That’s why people don’t awaken. They’re afraid of being nothing, which Nisargadatta calls the fear of impersonal being. People are afraid to stop being a Self and to become the Ocean of Being.

Three Levels of Reality Revisited

Q: Perhaps ‘son of Man/Mary’ is more indicative of person(ality) hence ego, leaving ‘son of God’ as the appropriate parallel to your previously defined ‘soul’?

A: Brahman=God the Father=Void=Undifferentiated or Undivided Consciousness=The Ocean of Being=The Source=Ultimate Reality

Atman=Spirit of God=Soul=Differentiated or Divided Presence or Point of Consciousness=The Self=Individual Being=I Am=Connection of Ultimate Reality to Virtual Reality

Person in the World=Son or Daughter of God=Avatar in Virtual Reality=Unreal=No Being

Brahman is Pure Impersonal Being. Atman appears to be a personal (human) being when it identifies itself with the form of a person, but the form of a person has no being since it is no more real than a holographically projected and emotionally animated image. Personal being is an illusion of emotional self-identification. Atman only feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person. The projected and animated images of a movie have no real being. They’re unreal. When Atman goes through an enlightenment experience, Atman knows that its true being is the impersonal being of Brahman. Atman doesn’t really become enlightened. Atman is the light of consciousness that is focalized at a point of view in relation to a screen that projects the images of the virtual reality to that perceiving point of view. The light of consciousness is what illuminates the images. Atman doesn’t become enlightened because Atman is the light. You become enlightened when you become Brahman. That’s when you become aware of Atman. You (Brahman) become aware of Atman as a moving point of light (of consciousness) from the darkness and stillness of the void. When you (Brahman) become aware of Atman, Atman knows it is you (Brahman) and not the person in the world it perceives, which is no more real than an animated and projected image of a movie it is watching.

When people speak of their soul, they’re speaking about Atman identified with their personal form. The soul only appears to be personal because of personal self-identification. When you become enlightened, you can no longer speak about a personal soul. You know that the appearance of a personal soul is an illusion. That illusion falls away and disappears when you know your true being is the impersonal being of Brahman.

The Connection of the Ultimate Reality of the void to the Virtual Reality of a person in the world is an illuminating and perceiving point of consciousness. That connection is Atman. That’s how the void is connected to a screen that projects the illuminated images of that world and how the projected images are perceived. This moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness not only illuminates and perceives the images, but also animates them and constructs the screen. The thing that confuses people is that both Atman and Brahman are consciousness, but Brahman is the ultimate nature of consciousness, while Atman is a derivative state of consciousness. The ultimate nature of consciousness is undivided, while the derivative state is divided.

The Nature of Delusion in a Nutshell

The illusion of having a personal soul is the same illusion as the illusion of having a personal Self, which is the same illusion as the illusion of having personal consciousness. These illusions all arise from the illusion of personal self-identification. Impersonal consciousness is identifying itself with the form of a person. That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The expression of personally biased emotions makes impersonal consciousness feel emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person. The expression of personally biased emotions arises from personal bias in the focus of attention of consciousness. In spite of personal bias in the focus of its attention, the true nature of consciousness is always impersonal. At its core, delusion is nothing more than impersonal consciousness falsely believing that it is a person.

Awakening simply means awakening to the truth of what you really are. If you want to awaken at the level of either the integrated state or the ultimate state, you have to overcome this false belief that you are a person. You have to break the hypnotic spell. The way you break the hypnotic spell at the level of the integrated state is by surrendering the personally biased expression of your individual will to the unbiased expression of divine will. That’s how the motion of the Self comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. Personally biased emotions are no longer expressed when you surrender and personal self-identification comes to an end. The way you break the hypnotic spell at the level of the ultimate state is by destroying the Self. The Self is destroyed when you become selfless and desireless. That’s when the Self becomes motionless and you fall into the void. That’s when the individual being of the Self dissolves back into the undivided being of its Source like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. That’s when you stop being a Self and know the true impersonal nature of what you are.

The Integrated State versus the Ultimate State

The only good part of becoming enlightened is what Jed McKenna calls the integrated state and Bernadette Roberts calls the mystical union of the Self with God. You don’t have to destroy your Self to be integrated. You just have to bring yourself into alignment with the expression of divine will, which can also be called the normal flow of things. This is where surrender comes into play. When you express your personally biased individual will, you’re only interfering with the normal flow of things and making things worse for yourself. You’re creating an emotional disturbance in the normal of things. When you enter into the integrated state, your own expression of emotional energy that animates your body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things and you feel connected. When you enter the ultimate state, you experience nothing. McKenna says the ultimate state has nothing to recommend it. McKenna recommends the integrated state for everybody and the ultimate state for nobody.

It’s worth discussing the nature of the integrated state in some detail. The normal flow of things does not mean that things are predetermined. There is always potentiality in the way things play out. In the language of modern theoretical physics, the computer-generated virtual reality is not governed by a classical computer but by a quantum computer, and there is always potentiality in the way events play out in the virtual reality. Potentiality is built into the operation of the quantum computer. You always have a choice in terms of what you’ll experience in the virtual reality as you focus your attention on things. That’s why you can express an intent, and as long as that intent is not self-limited or personally biased, the potentiality of the virtual reality will make that intent into an actuality. The intent has to be unbiased and best for all involved. You also have to focus your attention on expressing and manifesting that intent. You have to work to manifest that intent as you focus your time and energy on its manifestation. When you focus your attention in this way, you’re redirecting the normal flow of things to manifest the intent. Potentiality is becoming an actuality, which is pretty much guaranteed to happen as long as the intent is not selfish or personally biased and is expressed in a way that is best for all involved.

Expression of potentiality is the reason expressions of creativity are possible. The computer generated virtual reality is a holographic world constructed through the creation of geometry. The Source of that world, which we call the void, has the potentiality to create geometry. That is the ultimate source of all creativity. Both information and energy are geometrically created. When you enter into the integrated state, you automatically partake of that expression of creativity. Wherever you are right now, you have the potential to redirect the normal flow of things by expressing a pure, unbiased, unconflicted intent, and you can end up wherever you want to be as long as that desire is not selfish or personally biased. Expressing creativity and manifesting desires is an inherent aspect of the integrated state. Right actions and feelings of connection are also inherent aspects of the integrated state when you allow yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. To feel disconnected and express wrong actions, you have to create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things by expressing personally biased individual will, which you do as your focus of attention becomes personally biased.

There’s an important difference between the expression of unbiased divine will and personally biased individual will. Unbiased divine will arises from the potentiality of the void to create a world, which the holographic principle tells us is like a computer-generated virtual reality. The potentiality of the void is unlimited, which means everything that can possibly happen will eventually happen. The potentiality of the void is expressed through geometric mechanisms, like the accelerated expansion of space that gives rise to dark energy, and the encoding of qubits of information on an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference and acts as a holographic screen. The expression of this potentiality is always unbiased in nature, which leads to the normal flow of things. Quantum theory tells us that the normal flow of things tends to follow the path of least action, which is like the shortest distance between two points in a curved space-time geometry, and so again, arises through a geometric mechanism. The upshot is this unbiased expression of potentiality is always for the best.

On the other hand, the expression of personally biased individual will is always an interference with the expression of unbiased divine will, and typically arises as an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things and makes things worse. Expression of personally biased individual will reflects that a presence of consciousness is identifying itself with the emotionally animated form of a person, and so its focus of attention becomes personally biased, which leads to the expression of personally biased emotions. These personally biased emotions are expressed as fear and desire. Over eons of time, evolution and natural selection have selected these emotions to defend the survival of the body that expresses these emotions. In evolutionary theory, this is called the survival of the fittest body. The expression of fear and desire are survival emotions that have as their only purpose the defense of body survival.

Personal bias arises from the pleasure-pain principle. Whatever promotes the survival of the body is experienced as pleasure, which feels good, and whatever threatens the survival of the body is experienced as pain, which feels bad. Personal bias arises from the desire to feel good and the fear of feeling bad. Again, the expression of these survival emotions are only survival mechanisms that operate at the level of the body as they defend body survival. Whatever feels good promotes body survival and whatever feels bad threatens body survival. When you’re expressing fear and desire, you’re seeking the good and avoiding the bad. Eating feels good, while being eaten feels bad. The problem is, bodies have to eat each other in order to survive, and so an emotional conflict naturally arises at the level of the body as the desire to eat comes into conflict with the fear of being eaten. The expression of desire, which is a movement toward, is always in conflict with the expression of fear, which is a movement away. This emotional conflict cannot be resolved at the level of the emotionally animated body.

When you express personally biased individual will, you’re exacerbating this emotional conflict and making things worse for yourself. You’re only creating an emotional disturbance that interferes with the normal flow of things. Your best strategy is always to allow yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. You’re always better off if you surrender your personally biased individual will to unbiased divine will. When you do that, you enter into the integrated state, which leads to feelings of connection, expressions of creativity and right actions.

When you become firmly established in the integrated state, you no longer know yourself to be a person in the world you perceive. You can only know yourself to be a presence of consciousness at the center of the world you perceive. Surrender to divine will is the natural state of that presence of consciousness. The emotional conflict that operates at the personal level of a body is resolved because you’re no longer expressing personally biased individual will. You’re no longer a person. That’s the inherent nature of the death-rebirth transformation that happens when you surrender to divine will. You die in identity to the body and are reborn of the spirit.

You don’t have to destroy your Self to become integrated. You only have to surrender to divine will and allow yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things you perceive in the world. When you’re integrated, your body is just another one of those things. At the level of the motion of the Self, your own motion is coming into alignment with the normal flow of things. That’s the nature of the mystical union between the Self and its Source. You’ve surrendered your own individual will to divine will, which is how you come into alignment. On the other hand, to enter the ultimate state, you do have to destroy your Self. Your individual being has to dissolve back into undivided being. There is no self or other in undivided being. All is One. You can only dissolve back into the undivided Source if there is no divided Self.

The potentiality you experience as you focus your attention on things in the world is the reason you can become enlightened. As you express this potentiality, what you are really doing is playing a virtual reality game. Everything you experience in the virtual reality game is a choice you make as you focus your attention on things. You always have the choice to withdraw your attention away from the game and stop playing the game. Becoming enlightened and entering the ultimate state is the end result of your refusal to play the game. When you are totally out of the game, you experience nothing, which is why McKenna says the ultimate state has nothing to recommend it and why the Buddha stated he attained nothing from total enlightenment.

The Book of Genesis is a Description of the Holographic Principle

In the language of nonduality, the perceivable world is often described as a dreamstate, which is very much like a computer-generated virtual reality. Understanding the perceivable world as a computer-generated virtual reality allows us to translate the concept of nonduality into scientific concepts and to understand spiritual enlightenment in scientific terms. Modern physics with its holographic principle of quantum gravity goes a long way in terms of making that translation. The holographic principle tells us that the perceivable world we appear to live in is just like a computer-generated virtual reality. Images of that virtual reality are forms of information that are projected from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer. The holographic screen arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerated observer is a moving point of perceiving consciousness. The energy of that motion is what animates the projected images of the observer’s world. That energy arises through a geometric mechanism, like the accelerated expansion of space that expands relative to the observer’s central point of view. The energy of the expansion of space is called dark energy, which gives rise to a cosmic horizon that surrounds the observer’s central point of view and acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen encodes quantized bits of information, called qubits, through some other kind of geometric mechanism, like non-commutative geometry. In effect, the laws of physics are nothing more than the operating system or computational rules that govern the operation of this computer-generated virtual reality.

Every observer observes the projected and animated images of its own holographic world defined by the information encoded on its holographic screen and the energy inherent in its accelerated frame of reference. A consensual reality shared by many observers, each of which is present at its own point of view, becomes possible when those holographic screens overlap in the sense of Venn diagram and share information. This is just like the kind of information sharing we see in a computer-generated virtual reality game when each player of the game plays its own game on its own computer screen. There is information sharing between different players when their computer screens are connected by the internet. When a player decides to stop playing the game and turns off its computer screen, the game disappears from existence from the point of view of that particular player. That’s basically what happens when you become enlightened. You refuse to play the game. You withdraw your attention away from the game.

When you withdraw your attention away from the game, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game. You also stop illuminating the game with the light of consciousness and stop projecting and animating the images of the game. That’s how you become selfless, desireless, and motionless. Nisargadatta says the Self is the doorway through which you pass when you become enlightened. You pass through the doorway as you become selfless, desireless, and motionless. In the language of modern theoretical physics, you enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference in which you no longer have a holographic screen. That’s when the world you perceive disappears from existence from your own point of view. That’s when you fall into the void and your individual being dissolves back into the undivided being of the void. That’s when you stop being a Self.

All of physics is part of the dreamstate. If we think of the dreamstate as a computer-generated virtual reality, then physics and mathematics are the operating system for the computer, which are the computational rules that govern the operation of the computer. Physics and mathematics as the operating system of the computer are at a deeper level than what we observe in the dreamstate, which are like the computer-generated images projected from the computer screen to our point of view, but they’re still a part of the computer-generated virtual reality. The dreamstate is conceptual in nature, and all physical and mathematical concepts are a part of that conceptualization. You have to have a mind to create concepts, and a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information is the nature of that mind. The qubits of information encoded on the screen are how the computer-generated images are created. The creation of those images is governed by the computer’s operating system, which are the laws of physics. This is a quantum computer, not a classical computer, and so potentiality is built into the operation of the computer. You always have a choice in terms of what you observe in the sense of how you focus the attention of your consciousness on whatever you’re observing.

That’s the reason you can become enlightened. You always have the choice to withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality and observe nothing. When you observe nothing, your observations become unlimited because you no longer have a holographic screen that limits those observations. You no longer have a mind. The irony is that it is the Self as a focal point of consciousness that is observing its own mind. When you have No-mind, you have No-self.

You want to know what’s beyond the computer-generated virtual reality of the dreamstate. The only answer that can be given is No-mind and No-self. The answer is absolute nothingness. The answer is the void. The problem is absolute nothingness cannot be conceptualized because it has No-mind to create those concepts. It has No-self to perceive those concepts. It cannot be conceptualized and can only be discussed in terms of negation. The concepts of physics and mathematics have nothing to say about it. If you’re looking for a conceptual answer in physics and mathematics, you’re looking in the wrong place. You’re looking in the dreamstate. Absolute nothingness can be experienced, but it cannot be conceptualized. The way you experience it is by leaving the dreamstate behind and becoming it. You go beyond the dreamstate when you become absolute nothingness. When you come back to the dreamstate after this realization experience and try to conceptualize what you’ve experienced, you’re wasting your time.

The mystery of the existence of the void cannot be solved, but there is a second mystery that can be solved, which is the mystery of how the void creates the virtual reality. The void has the potentiality to create geometry. Energy is created through a geometric mechanism like the accelerated expansion of space. Information is created through a geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry. This is what the holographic principle is telling us.

The next obvious question is why does the void create the virtual reality? The simple answer is why not? The void is pure potentiality, and the nature of potentiality is that everything that can possibly happen will eventually happen. The void creates the virtual reality because it can. In some sense, the void is stretching its muscles as it expends energy and creates the virtual reality. People stretch their muscles for no other reason than they can and it feels good. In a similar way, the void creates the virtual reality because it can and it feels good. This is exactly what the book of Genesis is telling us about that creation:

And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light

And God saw the light, that it was good

And God divided the light from the darkness

Genesis even tells us that this creation is conceptual in nature. The light of course is the light of consciousness, which is the light by which the Self must illuminate the world that it perceives. The darkness is the void. To illuminate and perceive its own world, the Self must divide itself from its Source, which is the void. The Self is also called I Am, which is the first concept that must be created before any other concepts can be created. The Self said I Am when it divided itself from the darkness. Why does creation happen? For no other reason than it can and it feels good. Creation is the potentiality of the void. Genesis even describes the Self as a point of consciousness that must move in relation to its own holographic screen for that screen to display all the projected and animated images of its world, which are called forms:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

And the earth was without form and void

And darkness was upon the face of the deep

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters

The face of the deep is the holographic screen and the Spirit of God is the Self moving in relation to its screen, which is how the screen arises as an event horizon. Forms are images projected from the screen, which are illuminated as the light of consciousness is divided from the darkness of the void. The forms are animated due to the energy that arises from the motion of the Self. The Self is creating the holographic screen with its own motion and is both illuminating and perceiving the forms. The waters refer to the void as an ocean of consciousness, which is also called the deep. The face of the deep is a surface of the ocean, which arises as an event horizon due to the motion of the Self. The Self as a point of consciousness must divide itself from the ocean of consciousness for this creation to occur. Why does this creation occur? For no other reason than it can and it feels good. Creation is the potentiality of the void.

There’s one last aspect of creation that needs to be mentioned if we really want to understand what’s going on here. Creation is the potentiality of the void, which is how the virtual reality game is created, but the Self must be willing to play the game. The Self becomes willing to play the game as it divides itself from its Source and declares I Am. Only individual consciousness can play the game. The Self as a presence of illuminating and perceiving consciousness becomes willing to play the game as it focuses its attention on the game. If the Self withdraws its attention away from the game, the gamer is over. That’s how you become enlightened. When the game is over, the individual consciousness of the Self must return to the undivided consciousness of its Source. That return is a dissolution of individual consciousness into undivided awareness. After enlightenment, when you come back to the game, your consciousness is no longer limited to the individual consciousness of the Self. Your consciousness has become selfless awareness. In that selfless awareness, you perceive the Self just as the Self perceives its own world. In effect, you are perceiving the Self from a higher level of consciousness even as the Self perceives its own world from a higher level of consciousness as it illuminates that world. The highest possible level of consciousness, which is called selfless awareness, can only be described as the darkness, emptiness, stillness and silence of the void. If you read the testimony of enlightened beings, like Nisargadatta Maharaj, you’ll see that this is exactly what they’re describing.

The Holy Grail as a Metaphor for Spiritual Enlightenment

People just don’t get the metaphors. The T S Eliot epic poem The Wasteland is based on the grail legend. People want to make their spiritual metaphors into something concrete so they don’t have to look at what the metaphor is really pointing to. In Christianity, the grail metaphor has been corrupted into the idea of a chalice that Christ used at the last supper, but this is just a way to misunderstand what the metaphor is pointing to. In the grail legend, the wasteland refers to the waste of time and energy you spend when you look for the grail in the wrong place. The grail is a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment, which is best understood as returning to the Source of the light of consciousness. The light of consciousness is what illuminates the world. When you look for the grail in the illuminated world, you’re looking in the wrong place and you’re wasting your time and energy. You’re looking in the wasteland. You have to look into the Source of the light of consciousness, which can only be described as the darkness. When Genesis says that God divided the light from the darkness, the light refers to the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the darkness refers to the Source of the light of consciousness. Genesis refers to the motion of the Self in relation to the surface of the ocean when it says the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. The deep refers to the Source as an ocean of consciousness. The face of the deep refers to the surface that displays all images of the illuminated world. That world is void and formless and in darkness until illuminated by the light of consciousness. If you want to discover the grail and return to the Source, you have to look in the darkness. Don’t be like the man who loses his keys in the darkness but decides to look under a lamp post because the light is better there. Be like Neo in the Matrix. Put on your dark glasses and look in the darkness.

Burning, burning, burning, burning, O Lord, Thou pluckest me out–The Fire Sermon

If you look long enough into the darkness, you become the darkness. In that self-destructive process of becoming the darkness, you destroy the Self that illuminates its own world. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality game, you refuse to play the game. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality world, you stop illuminating that world. When the light of consciousness is extinguished and all illuminated things disappear from existence, only the darkness, silence, emptiness and absolute nothingness of the void remains. When you become the darkness, you also become enlightened as you become aware of the illuminating Self. You know yourself to be the Source of the Self that illuminates its own world.

If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss also stares into you–Nietzsche

What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

When you become enlightened, you can only know your Self to be a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness that arises in the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. When you enter into a state of surrender to divine will, that moving point of consciousness vibrates at a higher level as its motion comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. You feel connected when you are vibrating at a higher level. You also see things from a higher level of consciousness. You see the true nature of the virtual reality world you’re perceiving as you see how images of that world are projected from a screen to your own point of view. You see how you’re animating those images with the energy of your own motion and how you’re illuminating and projecting those images with your own light of consciousness.

It’s only possible to speak about what appears to happen in the virtual reality world from the point of view of a particular observer of that world. Whatever appears to happen in the virtual reality from the point of view of any particular observer may not be what appears to happen from other points of view. A consensual reality is only shared between different points of view to the degree information is shared between those different points of view. The virtual reality is a subjective reality, not an objective reality. Every observer creates its own subjective reality from its own point of view. When you enter into the integrated state, you know your Self to be a presence of consciousness at the center of that world. When you enter the ultimate state, that world disappears from existence from your own point of view, you fall into the void, and your individual being dissolves back into the undivided being of the void. You can enter into the integrated state or the ultimate state and other observers may have no clue where you are.

What Actually Moves?

When you’re self-identified with your body, you feel like you’re moving with your body, but that sense of body motion is an illusion. In reality, you’re only perceiving emotional body feelings. When you enter into the integrated state, you know your Self to be a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world as things in that world, like your body, appear to move in that world. You have come out of that world, and your body is just another thing that appears to move in the world you perceive. Those things are like the illuminated and animated images of a movie that are projected from a screen to your central point of view as you perceive them. When you enter the ultimate state, you become aware of the motion of your Self. You know your Self to be a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of your Self from the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. You become aware that in your ultimate state of existence, you are truly motionless and do not move. Only an illusion of what you really are can appear to move.

The Virtual Reality Game

What you are really doing is playing a virtual reality game. Everything you experience in the virtual reality game is a choice you make as you focus your attention on things in the game. You always have the choice to withdraw your attention away from the game and stop playing the game. Becoming enlightened and entering the ultimate state is the end result of your refusal to play the game. When you are totally out of the game, you experience nothing, which is why the Buddha stated he attained nothing from total enlightenment.

Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment–Buddha

When you withdraw your attention away from the game, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game. You also stop illuminating the game with the light of consciousness and stop projecting and animating the images of the game. That’s how you become selfless, desireless, and motionless. That’s when you pass through the gateless gate. In the language of modern theoretical physics, you enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference in which you no longer have a holographic screen. That’s when the world you perceive disappears from existence from your own point of view. That’s when you fall into the void. That’s when your individual being returns to and dissolves into the undivided being of the void. That’s when you stop being a Self.

The Matrix Cannot Tell You Who You Are

If we think of the physical world as a computer-generated virtual reality, no perception of the physical world can tell you anything about the true nature of the perceiver of that virtual reality. Every perception of the virtual reality is no more real than the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of the perceiver and the animation of that image in the flow of energy. No matter how real that virtual reality looks and feels, no perception can tell you anything about the true nature of the perceiver. No perception can tell you anything about who is actually playing the virtual reality game. A virtual reality can never tell you who you are.

The flow of time and the flow of energy are two sides of the same coin, but the flow of energy is more fundamental than the flow of time. The perceiver always exists in the present moment. In the present moment, the perceiver can perceive the images of things projected from the computer screen to its point of view in that moment and the flow of energy that connects two moments and animates those images. That flow of energy is perceived as emotional energy in the sense of an emotional body feeling. Emotional energy is what animates the form of a body over the course of time. The flow of time is only perceived as an emotional projection from the present moment that gives rise to the perception of the memory of the past and the anticipation of the future. We only perceive the flow of time because we make emotional projections to the past and future.

When you become motionless and stop expressing that emotional energy, you stop making emotional projections into the past and future. You can only know yourself as you exist in the present moment. That’s when enlightenment happens. Your Individual being dissolves back into its motionless source of undivided and unlimited being. When you become motionless, you become desireless and selfless. What you see in that desireless state is that your own light of consciousness is illuminating your virtual reality world. When you become motionless and stop animating that virtual reality world, you also turn off the light of your own consciousness and stop illuminating that world. That’s when you return to the darkness, stillness, silence and emptiness that is the ultimate nature of your existence and the source of everything you can experience as things appear to come into existence in the virtual reality world you perceive.

Enlightenment is the result of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self, but you only pass through the gateless gate when the Self becomes selfless. You have to focus your attention on your own sense of being a Self as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of I-Am-ness or being present, but you also have to become selfless, which means you have to destroy your ego and become desireless. The reason you have to destroy your ego is because the Self identifies itself with the ego. Self-identification is the nature of delusion. You have to destroy your ego, which is your personal self-concept, before you can become selfless.

Ultimately, you have to destroy your own sense of being a Self, which is your own sense of individual existence. The final step in the process of destroying delusion is to destroy your own sense of being a Self. That’s when enlightenment occurs. Individual being dissolves into undivided being. The Self dissolves into No-self. When you become enlightened, you become aware of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the darkness, silence, stillness, emptiness and nothingness of the void.

That darkness is the Source of the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the Source of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. When you become enlightened, you can turn off the light of consciousness and stop illuminating the world you perceive. You do that by withdrawing your attention away from the world you perceive. When you stop illuminating the world, you return to the darkness. When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the darkness of the Source, not the illuminating Self.

There’s a paradox here, which Shankara expressed as Atman is Brahman. Ultimately, Atman dissolves into Brahman, which is to say Brahman is the Source of Atman, just like the ocean is the source of a drop of water that ultimately returns to and dissolves into the ocean. Atman knows itself to be Brahman when Brahman becomes aware of Atman. That’s what you know when you become enlightened, which happens when you pass through the gateless gate. The experience of becoming enlightened is the experience of individual being dissolving into undivided being. That happens when you return to the darkness, stillness, silence and emptiness.

The Ending of the Matrix Explained

At the end of the first Matrix, Neo undergoes a death-rebirth transformation. He can clearly see the Matrix for what it really is: a computer-generated virtual reality. He can see the data for that virtual reality is encoded on the walls of the room he appears to be in, which is the boundary of the world he perceives, just like a holographic screen. When he sees the Matrix for what it really is, he is seeing things from a higher level of consciousness. This born again experience is a necessary step in his awakening, but is not the final awakening.

At the end of the third Matrix, Neo undergoes the final awakening. The Oracle tells him that Agent Smith is his alter-ego. What she means is that Agent Smith represents the negative energies while Neo represents the positive energies. The Oracle also tells him that she is helping him because they’re all in it together and she wants them to get along. She wants peace. At the end of the story, Neo’s positive energies annihilate with Smith’s negative energies like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair that annihilates back into the vacuum. The positive energies annihilate with the negative energies back into nothingness. That’s how Neo destroys his Self. The Self is his consciousness identified with his ego. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed. The Self identified with ego is a thing. The One is No-thing or No-self. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed and he becomes No-thing. The Oracle also tells Neo that Everything that has a beginning has an end. Only the One has no beginning and no end because it is not-a-thing. In his final awakening, Neo has to surrender and sacrifice his Self to end the war. Self-sacrifice literally means to make the Self sacred. The Self becomes sacred when it is destroyed. That’s how the Self becomes the One. That’s how Neo awakens and ends the war. This final awakening is the end of the war, which is a war you fight with your Self to destroy your Self. When the war is over, there is peace. In that peace, there is harmony between the expression of positive and negative energies because your individual will is no longer being expressed. It is all an expression of divine will. You no longer express individual will because you no longer are an individual. You are the One. That is the only way peace is really possible.

Why the Cross is a Powerful Symbol

At the end of the Matrix, after Neo sacrifices his Self and the war comes to an end, the machines say It is done. You are only done with your awakening process when you become selfless. That is the only way you can become the One. You have to become selfless and destroy your Self before you can become the One. You have to become willing to undergo a process of Self-sacrifice, which is symbolized by your willingness to get up on your own cross and sacrifice your Self. The cross is a symbol for crossing over to the other side that occurs when you become the One. The virtual reality side of that crossing over is characterized by self and other. The concept of self and other only exists in the dualistic reality of a world, which is a virtual reality. The concept of self and other only arises as the Self perceives things in that world. The concept of Self is what is destroyed and dies when you cross over to the other side, which is an ego or I-death. The other side of the absolute nothingness of nondual reality has no concept of self and other. All is One.

Testimony of Enlightened Beings

Adapted from Osho:

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

That Being is void.
-Osho

Adapted from Nisargadatta Maharaj:

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own, you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

To the Self the world is but a passing show. The world just sprouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing. As long as the Self is merely aware, there is no problem.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

You must realize yourself as the silent witness of all that happens. Your consciousness raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer.

The witness that stands aloof is the watchtower of the real, the point at which awareness, inherent in the unmanifested, contacts the manifested.

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

In ignorance the seer becomes the seen and in wisdom he is the seeing.

When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?

Find the immutable center where all movement takes birth. Be the axis at the center, not whirling at the periphery. Nothing stops you except fear. You are afraid of impersonal being.

The Self stands beyond the mind, aware, but unconcerned. You are the Self, here and now. Stand aware and unconcerned and you will realize that to stand alert but detached, watching events come and go, is an aspect of your real nature.

In pure being consciousness arises.
In consciousness the world appears and disappears.
Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality.
The center is a point of void and the witness a point of pure awareness; they know themselves to be as nothing.
But the void is full to the brim.
It is the eternal potential as consciousness is the eternal actual.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. As long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. Names and shapes are hollow shells. What is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness.

What begins and ends is mere appearance. The world can be said to appear but not to be. It is your memory that makes you think that the world continues. Memory creates the illusion of continuity. I see the world as it is, a momentary appearance in consciousness.

Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation nothing is perceived. The root idea is I Am. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas which in their totality constitute God’s world. The I Am remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

All limited existence is imaginary.
Even space and time are imaginary.
Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not limited.
All limitation is imaginary.
Only the unlimited is real.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

The state of pure witnessing is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains.

There is no such thing as an expression of reality. Neither action nor feeling nor thought express reality. I know that life itself is only a make-believe. I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.

The world is but a mistaken view of reality, unreal to its core.

The unreal appears to be real only because you believe in it. You impart reality to it by taking it to be real. Doubt it and it ceases.

The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it nor meaning.

From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously.
I do nothing. I just see them happen.

Some unknown power acts and you imagine that you are acting.

You are merely watching what happens.

As long as there is the sense of identity with the body, frustration is inevitable. It is because of your illusion that you are the doer.

As long as you have the idea of influencing events, liberation is not for you. The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is bondage.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.

To imagine that you are in control is the aberration of the body-mind. There is a universal power that is in control. The illusion of personal control is in the mind only. Stand without desire and fear, relinquishing all control. This is the shortest way to reality.

The world you can perceive is a very small world, entirely private. The world is but a reflection of imagination. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. By forgetting who you are and imagining yourself a mortal creature you create so much trouble for yourself that you have to wake up, like from a bad dream.

Some go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dreamlands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important.

Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up, but you do not see because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you long for the ending of the dream. You become willing to pay any price. The price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream.

Self-identifications are patently false and the cause of bondage.

Your attachment is your bondage.

There is trouble only when you cling to something.
It is your desire to hold onto it that creates the problem. Let go.
When you hold onto nothing, no trouble arises.

All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient.
Fear makes one a slave.
Freedom from attachment is natural when one knows one’s true being.

You create bondage when you desire and fear and identify yourself with your feelings.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.
Your bonds are self-created as chains of attachment.
Cut the knot of self-identification.

It is disinterestedness that liberates. If you lose interest, you break the emotional link that perpetuates the bondage.

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

Selfishness is due to self-identification with the body.

If you look into the living process closely, you will find cruelty everywhere, for life feeds on life.

Selfishness is always destructive. Desire and fear are self-centered states. Between desire and fear anger arises, and with anger hatred.

It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

You must remove the wall. Realize that the wall and both sides of it are one single space.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically.
Scrutinize every idea about it.
Everything must be scrutinized and the unnecessary ruthlessly destroyed.
There cannot be too much destruction.
For in reality nothing is of value.

Freedom means letting go.
Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything.

Discrimination will lead to detachment.
You gain nothing.
You leave behind what is not your own and find what you have never lost:
Your own being.

Death gives freedom. To be free in the world you must die to the world.

Liberation is never of the person, it is always from the person.

The difference between the person and the witness is as between not knowing and knowing oneself.

You can see a person but you are not a person.

There is no such thing as a separate person. Everything is the cause of everything. Everything is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.

The reward of Self-knowledge is freedom from the personal self.

The dissolution of personality is always followed by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off.

Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being.

When you are in dead earnest, you bend every incident, every second of your life, to your purpose. You do not waste time and energy on other things. You are totally dedicated, call it one-pointedness of the mind.

In the end you get fed up with the waste of time and energy.

When you refuse to play the game you are out of it.

As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body and a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.

As long as you are locked up with your mind and ego, you cannot go further. Were you really at war with your ego, you would question its reality. You don’t question because you are not really interested. You are moved by the pleasure-pain principle, fear and desire, which is your ego. You are going along with your ego, not fighting against it. You are not even aware how totally swayed you are by personal considerations. Be in revolt against your ego, for the ego narrows and distorts. It is the worst of all tyrants. It dominates you completely.

Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not: body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. Nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand that on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being human should be discarded. Abandon all self-identifications, abandon all self-concern, abandon every desire. Stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now. You need absolutely nothing.

Nothing stands in the way of your liberation here and now except for your being more interested in other things. You must see through them as mere mental errors.

We have enclosed ourselves in a cloud of personal desires and fears, images and thoughts, ideas and concepts.

Your difficulty stems from the idea that reality is a state of consciousness.

The desire to live is a tremendous thing. Still greater is the freedom from the urge to live.

Moments when one feels empty and estranged are desirable moments, for it means the soul has cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places.

There is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself.

As long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk from the final leap into the unknown.

You must begin by being the dispassionate observer. Then only will you realize your full being. As long as you are enmeshed in the tribulations of a particular personality, you can see nothing beyond it. Ultimately you will come to see that you are neither the particular nor the universal. You are beyond both.

Giving up is the first step. The real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own.
Give up all and you gain all.
Then life becomes what it was meant to be: Pure radiation from an inexhaustible source.
In that light the world appears dimly like a dream.

Everything is depicted in the pictures on the screen, including the person you take yourself to be; nothing in the light. You are the light only. You are the pure light appearing as a picture on the screen and becoming one with it.

Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. Whatever you are conscious of, is not you. Yours is the cinema screen, the light and the seeing power, but the picture is not you.

You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth, all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself. Realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself. All you need is to stop searching outside what can only be found within.

Turn within. I Am you know. Be with it all the time, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.

By its very nature the mind is outwardly turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves. To be told to look for the source within is the beginning of a new life.

Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning flows. It is not the superficial mind that can give meaning. You are not what you think yourself to be. You cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced. You are the perceiving point, the nondimensional source of all dimensions, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything. You can know what you are not, but you cannot know your real being. You can only be what you are.

As long as you are engrossed in the world, you cannot know yourself. To know yourself, turn your attention away from the world and turn within.

Remain as the silent witness only; a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless.

Give attention to the witness to break the spell of the known, the illusion that only the perceivable is real. As long as you believe that only the perceivable world is real you remain its slave.

To become free your attention must be drawn to the witness.

The point of I Am is the bridge between the watcher and its dream.

I Am both inside and outside the dream, but what I see in dream, I am not.

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

By itself nothing has existence

All appearance and disappearance presupposes a change against a changeless background.

There must be a source from which all flows, a foundation on which all stands.

Consciousness itself is the source of everything.

The supreme state is the very center of consciousness and yet beyond consciousness. The center of consciousness is That which cannot be given name and form, for it is without quality and beyond consciousness. It is a point in consciousness which is beyond consciousness. It is an opening in the mind, a void, through which the mind is flooded with light. It is but an opening for the light of consciousness to enter the mental space.

Know yourself as you are. Stay with the sense I Am.

Wherever you go, at all times, you carry with you the sense of being present and aware, here and now. It means that you are independent of space and time. Space and time are in you, not you in them. It is only your self-identification with the body, limited in space and time, that gives you a sense of limitation. In reality, you are limitless.

Your world is created with the emergence of the I Am idea. In your world everything has a beginning and an end. Timeless being is entirely in the now.

Once you are well established in the now, you have nowhere else to go.

Externalization is the first step in liberation. Step away and look. Separate yourself and watch. The physical events will go on happening, but in themselves they have no importance.

Seeing that you are not the person you take yourself to be, step out and look from the outside.

All you can do is to shift the focus of consciousness beyond the mind.

Your questions are about a non-existing person. Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that whatever happens, comes and goes, is not real; that you alone are, the changeless among the changeful. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications. Be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness.

Whatever you perceive is not you. It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents.

All you need to do is to cease taking your Self to be within the field of consciousness. To look for it on the mental level is futile. It is here and now-the I Am you know so well.

Even the sense I Am is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek.

The witness only registers events. All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense I Am dissolves. There is no I Am without the mind.

In silence, or void or abeyance, the three-experiencer, experiencing, experience-are not. Unidentified being remains.

To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness. It is not difficult but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the truth so difficult to see. Discard what is not your own until nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left is nothing.

In reality nothing happens. Nothing happens to space itself. In pure consciousness nothing ever happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go as light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the pictures.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Every moment returns to its source, just as every wave subsides into the ocean.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

Absolute reality imparts reality to whatever comes into being.
It is the very source of reality.
It is what is, pure being, the timeless reality.
It is not perceivable; it is what makes perception possible.

Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space.

Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.

All that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness.
I Am in and beyond that consciousness.
I Am in it as the witness.
I Am beyond it as Being.

I am dead already. Physical death will make no difference. I am timeless being.

If you desire nothing, then you are as good as dead, or you are the Supreme.

The Supreme is both creation and dissolution, the beingness of all beings, the ground from which all grows, alone. Words do not reach there, nor mind.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

Before the mind happens, I Am.
Before all beginnings, after all endings, I Am.
All has its being in the I Am that shines in every living being.

The dreamer is one.
I Am beyond all dreams.
I Am the light in which all dreams appear and disappear.

Do nothing. There is nothing to do. Just be.
To be, you must be nobody.
You make yourself mortal by taking yourself to be a body.
That which is alive in you is immortal.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Your true home is in nothingness.

Whatever depends is not real. The real is truly independent.

Awareness is beyond all.
Awareness is primordial; it is the original state.
Awareness is undivided, aware of itself.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
I Am is the door. Stay with it until it opens. It is always open, but you are not at it.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Reality is essentially alone.
To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

“I cannot live with myself any longer”. This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with. Maybe, I thought, only one of them is real.

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words ‘resist nothing’, as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void.

I knew that something profoundly significant had happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left was my true nature as the ever-present ‘I am’: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious--Eckhart Tolle

When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out--Bernadette Roberts

He must dare to leap into the Origin so as to live by the Truth and in the Truth, like one who has become one with it. He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way, undergo new transformation. If he survives its perils then is his destiny fulfilled; face to face he beholds the unbroken Truth, the Truth beyond all truths, the formless Origin of origins, the Void which is the All; is absorbed into it and from it emerges rebornEugen Herrigel

In the knowledge of the Atman, which is a dark night to the ignorant,
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life, which is darkness to the sage–Bhagavad Gita

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery–Tao-Te-Ching

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone–Mu-mon

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody–Chuang Tzu

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be–Bhagavad Gita

Download the PDF documents:

Nondual References

The Bhagavad-Gita (1909): Edwin Arnold trans. (Harvard Classics)

Jed McKenna (2002, 2004, 2007): Spiritual Enlightenment Trilogy (Wisefool Press)

Jed McKenna (20013): Jed McKenna’s Theory of Everything (Wisefool Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973): I Am That (Acorn Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1990): Prior to Consciousness (Acorn Press)

Osho (1974): The Book of Secrets (St Martin’s Griffin)

Osho (1977): The Search: Talks on the Ten Bulls of Zen (Tao Publishing)

Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki (1957): Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Tuttle Publishing)

Bernadette Roberts (1993): The Experience of No-Self (State Univ of New York Press)

Lao Tsu (1989): Tao Te Ching. Gia-Fu Feng trans. (Vintage Books)

Scientific References

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Antonio Damasio (1999): The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace)

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

N. Gregory Hamilton (1988): Self and Others (Jason Aronson)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

Stuart Kauffman (1995): At Home in the Universe (Oxford University Press)

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Nancy McWilliams (1994): Psychoanalytic Diagnosis (Guilford Press)

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A. Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

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Three Levels of Reality

Three Levels of Reality

The concept of nonduality tells us that the ultimate level of reality can only be described in the sense of unity, but there are two lower levels of reality that explain the nature of duality. Duality is always defined in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. The relation between the subjective observer and its observable object is perception. This fundamentally defines self and other, which is the defining characteristic of duality. This subject-object relation can be understood as the trinity of perception, but there is a more fundamental trinity underlying perception. This idea of a more fundamental trinity, as expressed in both the Vedas and Christianity, is pointing toward the three levels of reality.

The ultimate level of reality, which is understood in the sense of unity as One or nondual, is called the Source, which in the Vedas is called Brahman and in Christianity is called the Father. Both traditions clearly identify the Source as a void of absolute nothingness that is inherently unlimited and undivided in the sense that Nothingness is also One and Infinity. Both traditions identify the Source as timeless and unchanging in the sense that Nothingness is Eternity.

The next level of reality is called the Self or I Am, which in the Vedas is called Atman and in Christianity is called the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God. The Self is the observer of its own observable world in the subject-object relation that defines duality. The lowest level of reality is a person in that observable world, which the Vedas call an Avatar and Christianity calls the Son, completing the holy trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The key thing that both the tradition of Advaita Vedanta and modern physics tell us is that the observable world is like a virtual reality, and the person in the world is like a character or avatar in a virtual reality game. Modern physics tells us that images of that virtual reality world, which are forms of information, are projected from a holographic screen to the point of view of the observer. The holographic screen is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and encodes quantized bits of information, called qubits, through a geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry. The energy of that accelerated frame of reference arises through a geometric mechanism like the accelerated expansion of space. The accelerated observer is nothing more than a moving point of perceiving consciousness. Perception arises through the projection of images from the observer’s screen to its central point of view.

Genesis also describes the world as a holographic virtual reality. In the beginning, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the world was void and formless. The deep, the darkness, and the void, all refer to the Source, which is described as a motionless ocean of undivided and unlimited consciousness. The face of the deep refers to the surface of the ocean, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer or Self is described as the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. The observer’s world is in darkness until illuminated by the light of consciousness, which is divided from the darkness when the Self is divided from its Source and begins to observe its own illuminated observable world.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form and void
And darkness was upon the face of the deep
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light
And God saw the light, that it was good
And God divided the light from the darkness

What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

When you become enlightened, you can only know your Self to be a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness that arises in the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. When you enter into a state of surrender to divine will, that moving point of consciousness vibrates at a higher level as its motion comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. You feel connected when you are vibrating at a higher level. You also see things from a higher level of consciousness. You see the true nature of the virtual reality world you’re perceiving as you see how images of that world are projected from a screen to your own point of view. You see how you’re animating those images with the energy of your own motion and how you’re illuminating and projecting those images with your own light of consciousness.

It’s only possible to speak about what appears to happen in the virtual reality world from the point of view of a particular observer of that world. Whatever appears to happen in the virtual reality from the point of view of any particular observer may not be what appears to happen from other points of view. A consensual reality is only shared between different points of view to the degree information is shared between those different points of view. The virtual reality is a subjective reality, not an objective reality. Every observer creates its own subjective reality from its own point of view. When you enter into the integrated state, you know your Self to be a presence of consciousness at the center of that world. When you enter the ultimate state, that world disappears from existence from your own point of view, you fall into the void, and your individual being dissolves back into the undivided being of the void. You can enter into the integrated state or the ultimate state and other observers may have no clue where you are.

What Actually Moves?

When you’re self-identified with your body, you feel like you’re moving with your body, but that sense of body motion is an illusion. In reality, you’re only perceiving emotional body feelings. When you enter into the integrated state, you know your Self to be a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world as things in that world, like your body, appear to move in that world. You have come out of that world, and your body is just another thing that appears to move in the world you perceive. Those things are like the illuminated and animated images of a movie that are projected from a screen to your central point of view as you perceive them. When you enter the ultimate state, you become aware of the motion of your Self. You know your Self to be a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of your Self from the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. You become aware that in your ultimate state of existence, you are truly motionless and do not move. Only an illusion of what you really are can appear to move.

The Virtual Reality Game

What you are really doing is playing a virtual reality game. Everything you experience in the virtual reality game is a choice you make as you focus your attention on things in the game. You always have the choice to withdraw your attention away from the game and stop playing the game. Becoming enlightened and entering the ultimate state is the end result of your refusal to play the game. When you are totally out of the game, you experience nothing, which is why the Buddha stated he attained nothing from total enlightenment.

Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment–Buddha

When you withdraw your attention away from the game, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game. You also stop illuminating the game with the light of consciousness and stop projecting and animating the images of the game. That’s how you become selfless, desireless, and motionless. That’s when you pass through the gateless gate. In the language of modern theoretical physics, you enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference in which you no longer have a holographic screen. That’s when the world you perceive disappears from existence from your own point of view. That’s when you fall into the void. That’s when your individual being returns to and dissolves into the undivided being of the void. That’s when you stop being a Self.

Brahman is the only Truth, the world is illusion, and ultimately, there is no difference between Atman and Brahman–Shankara

In the knowledge of the Atman, which is a dark night to the ignorant,
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life, which is darkness to the sage–Bhagavad Gita

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery–Tao-Te-Ching

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone–Mu-Mon

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody–Chuang Tzu

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be–Bhagavad Gita

Why Use Theoretical Physics to Explain the Concept of Nonduality?

Q: Why use terminology like “non-commutative geometry” if you are communicating to everyday people? My guess is that you lose most of the people you are trying to communicate to when they encounter such an abstruse and uncommon term. Especially if you are trying to explain something basic like “Three Levels of Reality” simple English is far more useful to get across what you mean. Of course, that means sacrificing terminology understood only by the most erudite, unless your motive is to show off rather than to be understood.

A: Good point. Here’s my answer. The concept of nonduality was fully developed by Shankara centuries ago, before the science of physics was even invented. Shankara’s concept of nonduality was based on his own experience and the ancient wisdom of the Vedas, which have been around for millennia. Inherent in the concept of nonduality is the concept of three levels of reality, which in the language of the Vedas Shankara called Brahman, Atman and an Avatar. In the language of Christianity, Brahman is God the Father, Atman is the Spirit of God and an Avatar of God is a person in the world, which is like a character in a virtual reality game, which Christianity calls the Son of God. If you understand that a person in the world is like an avatar in a virtual reality game, then you understand what Shankara meant when he described the world as an illusion.

In recent years, Nisargadatta Maharaj has given an exquisitely detailed description of this state of affairs. The most detailed description can be found in the spiritual classic I Am That, which has been read by millions of people. Nisargadatta described the perceivable world as no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a movie screen to the central point of view of an observer, and identified the person in the world as the central character of the movie, the observer as Atman and the empty space within which both the central point of view of the observer and the movie screen arise as the nature of Brahman. Like Shankara, Nisargadatta states that only Brahman is truly real. Atman is only the connection between the reality of Brahman and the unreality of a person in the world, which is no more real than the animated and projected images of a movie. The connection between the perceivable world and the ultimate reality of Brahman that creates that world is the perceiver of that world, which is Atman. Perception is the connection in all subject-object relations that define the duality of self and other. Nisargadatta says that Atman is the doorway through which you pass when you become enlightened, which Zen calls the gateless gate and William Blake calls the doors of perception. Nisargadatta also describes that the movie of the perceivable world only arises because of the motion of Atman, which is the energy that animates the movie. This is the concept in physics of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is a moving point of perceiving consciousness. In the language of physics, the movie screen is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Nisargadatta also describes that images of the movie only arise because the light of consciousness is projecting the images of the movie from the movie screen to the observer’s central point of view. Both the observer’s animating motion and the projecting light of consciousness arise with the observer’s focus of attention on the movie.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

The Observer’s Holographic Screen

All of this is described in I Am That in exquisite detail. Nisargadatta is revered as a saint, and yet just about everything he had to say about the nature of the perceivable world has been grossly misinterpreted by the same people who revere him as a saint. Nisargadatta became so disgusted by the tendency of people to misinterpret what he was saying that he stopped giving detailed explanations later in life, and only would talk in absolute terms about reality as Absolute Nothingness. The problem is, it’s hard to make the connection between Absolute Nothingness and the virtual reality world we appear to live in without the detailed explanations that explain how Absolute Nothingness creates a virtual reality world. This is again where theoretical physics is helpful. If we’re going to understand the world as a computer-generated virtual reality, then we have to understand how the computer is created. An accelerating observer explains how the computer screen is created in the sense of an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, but that’s not enough to create a computer. We also have to understand how the computer encodes bits of information. Theoretical physics explains the encoding of information in terms of qubits of information. If you don’t want to hear an explanation in terms of non-commutative geometry, then it can be explained in terms of matrices. We really do live in the Matrix because information is encoded in terms of matrices. An SU(2) matrix gives a mathematical representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but the eigenvalues of the matrix also encode information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down like a computer switch that’s either on or off. An nxn SU(2) matrix encodes n bits of information on the surface of a sphere in a rotationally invariant way, which in quantum theory is understood as the nature of quantum entanglement. Quantum entanglement only arises because entangled bits of information arise from the eigenvalues of a matrix. Entangled quantized bits of information are called qubits. This geometric mechanism explains how an observer’s event horizon becomes a holographic screen. This explains how a quantum computer is created that gives rise to a computer-generated virtual reality.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Near the end of his life, Nisargadatta expressed his final wish that the concept of nonduality be translated into scientific concepts. That’s why we have an organization called SAND. Nisargadatta expressed this wish because he was fed-up with people misinterpreting what he was saying about nonduality. He had the idea that if the concept of nonduality was translated into rigorous scientific concepts, people wouldn’t be able to misinterpret him anymore. There are no more rigorous scientific concepts than mathematical concepts. That’s why I’m using the concept of non-commutative geometry and matrices to explain how the quantum computer encodes qubits of information. This is a necessary concept in understanding how a computer-generated virtual reality is created. This allows us to understand how the Matrix is created. It all has to begin with an observer in its own accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen when qubits of information are encoded on the screen. Theoretical physics gives a perfectly good scientific explanation for how this happens, which is not open to misinterpretation as long as you remain consistent with the logic of the mathematics. Theoretical physics is a way to eliminate the misinterpretation.

I’m not trying to show off or demonstrate how smart I am when I use scientific concepts. I’m only eliminating the misinterpretation created by the self-concept when I use abstract scientific concepts. I’ll use any concept I need to use to eliminate the confusion and misinterpretation. When you’re on a journey of awakening, you must become willing to use concepts in this self-destructive way. You have to use concepts to destroy other concepts. Your ultimate goal is to destroy the self-concept. The journey of awakening is a search and destroy mission. Any concept that helps you destroy the self-concept is fair game, even the most abstract concepts of modern theoretical physics. Concepts are your only weapons in your search and destroy mission. That’s how you destroy the confusion and misinterpretation created by the self-concept.

Why is there so much misinterpretation of what Shankara and Nisargadatta had to say about the nature of nonduality? The answer of course is the ego. The process of becoming enlightened is a self-destructive process of destroying your own ego, and the ego does not want to be destroyed. The ego wants to be stroked and feel important. The ego wants to be flattered. The ego wants people to pay attention to its importance. As long as you want to stroke your ego and make it feel important, you cannot awaken to the truth of what you really are. As long as the ego is in charge of your life, you cannot awaken to your own truth. You can only awaken if you destroy your ego, which demonstrates the absolute unimportance of the ego. People are inclined to misinterpret the concept of nonduality because they don’t want to destroy their own ego. That’s where all the resistance comes from. Nisargadatta wanted to take the ego out of nonduality by making the concept a purely abstract scientific concept that intrinsically has no ego. Pure mathematics has no ego. If you want to awaken, that’s the direction in which you have to travel. You have to eliminate the ego from your journey. The journey of awakening is really nothing more than a self-destructive process of destroying your own ego.

At the end of the Matrix trilogy, Neo sacrifices his Self in order to bring the war to an end. Self-sacrifice literally means to make the Self sacred. That’s how you become the One. You only become the One when your Self is destroyed. The journey of awakening is a war you fight with your Self to destroy your Self. The Matrix used the metaphor of positive and negative energies annihilating back into the nothingness of empty space, like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair that annihilates back into the vacuum state. Agent Smith represented the negative energies of Neo’s alter-ego, which annihilated with the positive energies of Neo’s ego when Neo sacrificed his Self. That’s how he became the One. That’s what you’re really doing when you awaken. You’re destroying the emotional energy of your own ego. You have to destroy both the positive and negative aspects of that emotional energy. The ego is only destroyed when you truly become desireless. That’s when you become motionless and pass through the gateless gate. In the language of modern theoretical physics, that’s when you enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference and fall into the void. That’s when you no longer have a holographic screen. That’s when your world disappears from existence from your own point of view. That’s when your individual being dissolves back in the undivided being of the void like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. That’s when you stop being a Self.

I really don’t care if other people understand what I’m saying here or not. I’m following the advice of the Bhagavad-Gita when it says Act but do not be attached to the fruits of your actions. I’m only saying things in the most truthful way I know how to say them. I’m only fulfilling the final wish of Nisargadatta, which is to translate the concept of nonduality into scientific concepts. I’m using the most abstract mathematical concepts of theoretical physics currently available to eliminate all possibility of misinterpretation. If people want to do the work that’s necessary to understand these concepts, that’s great. It’s yours if you want it. A good example is Amanda Gefter. She had no background in physics, and yet she was able to figure it all out for herself and explain it in her book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn because she did the work. Her understanding of physics is far deeper than the vast majority of people who work professionally in theoretical physics. She was able to do this because she took her ego out of the equation. If people want to ignore these concepts because they’re too hard to understand and don’t want to do the work, that’s fine too. I’m only putting these concepts out there for public consumption, and people can do whatever they want to do with them. If people want to continue to misunderstand the concept of nonduality in order to stroke their own ego and make the ego feel important, by all means, continue doing whatever you’re doing. If you want to understand things at a deeper level, the scientific knowledge is available, but it’s up to you to do the work and decide to use it. Of course, you really don’t need the scientific knowledge to become enlightened. You only have to become willing to destroy your own ego. That’s what Nisargadatta did.

Three Levels of Reality Revisited

Q: Perhaps ‘son of Man/Mary’ is more indicative of person(ality) hence ego, leaving ‘son of God’ as the appropriate parallel to your previously defined ‘soul’?

A: Brahman=God the Father=Void=Undifferentiated or Undivided Consciousness=The Ocean of Being=The Source=Ultimate Reality

Atman=Spirit of God=Soul=Differentiated or Divided Presence or Point of Consciousness=The Self=Individual Being=I Am=Connection of Ultimate Reality to Virtual Reality

Person in the World=Son or Daughter of God=Avatar in Virtual Reality=Unreal=No Being

Brahman is Pure Impersonal Being. Atman appears to be a personal (human) being when it identifies itself with the form of a person, but the form of a person has no being since it is no more real than a holographically projected and emotionally animated image. Personal being is an illusion of emotional self-identification. Atman only feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person. The projected and animated images of a movie have no real being. They’re unreal. When Atman goes through an enlightenment experience, Atman knows that its true being is the impersonal being of Brahman. Atman doesn’t really become enlightened. Atman is the light of consciousness that is focalized at a point of view in relation to a screen that projects the images of the virtual reality to that perceiving point of view. The light of consciousness is what illuminates the images. Atman doesn’t become enlightened because Atman is the light. You become enlightened when you become Brahman. That’s when you become aware of Atman. You (Brahman) become aware of Atman as a moving point of light (of consciousness) from the darkness and stillness of the void. When you (Brahman) become aware of Atman, Atman knows it is you (Brahman) and not the person in the world it perceives, which is no more real than an animated and projected image of a movie it is watching.

When people speak of their soul, they’re speaking about Atman identified with their personal form. The soul only appears to be personal because of personal self-identification. When you become enlightened, you can no longer speak about a personal soul. You know that the appearance of a personal soul is an illusion. That illusion falls away and disappears when you know your true being is the impersonal being of Brahman.

The Connection of the Ultimate Reality of the void to the Virtual Reality of a person in the world is an illuminating and perceiving point of consciousness. That connection is Atman. That’s how the void is connected to a screen that projects the illuminated images of that world and how the projected images are perceived. This moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness not only illuminates and perceives the images, but also animates them and constructs the screen. The thing that confuses people is that both Atman and Brahman are consciousness, but Brahman is the ultimate nature of consciousness, while Atman is a derivative state of consciousness. The ultimate nature of consciousness is undivided, while the derivative state is divided.

The Nature of Delusion in a Nutshell

The illusion of having a personal soul is the same illusion as the illusion of having a personal Self, which is the same illusion as the illusion of having personal consciousness. These illusions all arise from the illusion of personal self-identification. Impersonal consciousness is identifying itself with the form of a person. That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The expression of personally biased emotions makes impersonal consciousness feel emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person. The expression of personally biased emotions arises from personal bias in the focus of attention of consciousness. In spite of personal bias in the focus of its attention, the true nature of consciousness is always impersonal. At its core, delusion is nothing more than impersonal consciousness falsely believing that it is a person.

Awakening simply means awakening to the truth of what you really are. If you want to awaken at the level of either the integrated state or the ultimate state, you have to overcome this false belief that you are a person. You have to break the hypnotic spell. The way you break the hypnotic spell at the level of the integrated state is by surrendering the personally biased expression of your individual will to the unbiased expression of divine will. That’s how the motion of the Self comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. Personally biased emotions are no longer expressed when you surrender and personal self-identification comes to an end. The way you break the hypnotic spell at the level of the ultimate state is by destroying the Self. The Self is destroyed when you become selfless and desireless. That’s when the Self becomes motionless and you fall into the void. That’s when the individual being of the Self dissolves back into the undivided being of its Source like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. That’s when you stop being a Self and know the true impersonal nature of what you are.

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The Enlightenment Myth

The Enlightenment Myth

You are always enlightened. Enlightenment is your true nature. The only question is whether you know it or not. When you enter into a state of delusion and identify yourself with something that you are not, something that you perceive, you don’t know it anymore. You don’t know it because you’ve become deluded. When you become enlightened, you know your true enlightened nature. Nothing changes except what you know yourself to be. When you’re enlightened, you know your true nature. When you’re deluded, you believe yourself to be something you’re not. You believe false beliefs about yourself. The whole thing is ridiculous because your true nature is always enlightened. You have to become deluded and not know what you are before you can make a big deal about knowing that you’re enlightened. That’s why enlightened beings never make a big deal about their so-called enlightenment. They simply know what they really are without any delusion. In the process of becoming enlightened, all they really did was to destroy delusion, which is only a set of false beliefs they believed about themselves when they were deluded. The process of becoming enlightened is nothing more than a self-destructive process of destroying those false beliefs that you believe about yourself.

To Awaken to the Truth of What You Really Are, You Have to Examine Your Ego

There is no way to awaken to the truth of what you really are unless you make a thorough and detailed examination of your ego. You have to dissect your ego like you’re a medical student in anatomy class. You have to break down every detail of your ego structure and make a complete examination of what it’s all about. What you’ll discover is that what your ego is all about is fear and denial. The ego only has one real purpose, which is to defend and emotionally reinforce your self-identification with the emotionally animated form of the person you take yourself to be.

The first question is, who are you really? The only possible answer is that you are a presence of consciousness that is identifying itself with its ego. To identify yourself with your ego, you have to perceive your ego. In the sense of a subject-object relation, you are the subject and your ego is an object that you’re perceiving. You are the subjective perceiver, which is called I. The ego is also called I, but the ego is a false I, since the ego is something that you can perceive. The true subjective nature of the I is the perceiver, which can only be described as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness. The true nature of the perceiver cannot be something it perceives.

The second question is, why does the perceiver identify itself with its ego? The answer is weird, but there is no other possible answer. Everything you can perceive is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Images of that virtual reality are projected from a screen to your point of view and are animated in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. The computer screen encodes bits of information, and that information is organized into the form of images that are projected to your point of view. Modern physics tells us those bits of information are encoded as qubits on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, and that event horizon always arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The laws of nature are simply the computational rules that govern the operation of the computer, which are like the operating system of the computer.

Images of the computer-generated virtual reality are projected from the screen to your point of view as the observer of the images and are animated in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. You play the virtual reality game as you focus your attention on those images. You not only perceive the images that are projected from the screen to your own point of view, but you also animate those images by energizing them with the expression of your own energy. That energy arises from your motion as a point of consciousness. You also project the images as you focus your attention on them by shining your own light of consciousness on them. The word enlightenment refers to your own light of consciousness that is reflected off the screen as that light projects the images from the screen back to your own point of view. You shine the light of consciousness on the images and illuminate them as you focus your attention on them.

This moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness is called the Self. The Self is the subject in the subject-object relation that defines self and other. The Self always carries with itself its own sense of individual existence, which is called I Am. This sense of I-Am-ness is the sense of being present as the Self perceives its own virtual reality world. The ego is part of that virtual reality world, like the central character or an avatar in a virtual reality game. When the Self identifies itself with its ego, it is as though the ego is the perceiver of that virtual reality world, but the true nature of the perceiver is always the Self. There is only an illusion that the ego can perceive that virtual reality world when the Self identifies itself with its ego.

How does self-identification occur? The virtual reality world is emotionally animated, and that emotional energy arises from the motion of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. The subject-object relation of self and other becomes perverted as the Self takes itself to be its ego and sees all the objects in its world as separate from its ego. In reality, its ego is just another object the Self perceives, but when the Self identifies itself with its ego, it seems as though its ego is the perceiver of all those other objects. Self-identification always creates a sense of separation. The ego is always mentally constructed as a personal self-concept, and the self-concept is always emotionally energized and body-based. In the mental construction of the ego, a body-based self-image is emotionally related to the image of some other thing the Self perceives. That emotional relation makes the Self feel emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body as it perceives that emotional energy. When the Self feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body, it falsely identifies itself with its ego. Self-identification with its ego is only a false belief the Self believes about itself due to its feeling of self-limitation, which is no more real than an emotional body feeling it perceives in its virtual reality world.

Why does that expression of emotional energy make the Self feel self-limited to the form of its body? The expression of emotions, as in the expression of fear and desire, are about defending the survival of the body in the virtual reality world. The body only survives in the virtual reality world because it expresses self-defensive emotions. That’s the only purpose of expressing self-defensive emotions. Their expression defends body survival. When the Self emotionally identifies itself with its ego and feels emotionally self-limited to the form of its body, it feels compelled to defend the survival of its body and ego in the virtual reality world as though its existence depends upon it. The way the Self defends the survival of its ego is by focusing its attention on its ego in a personally biased way, which leads to the expression of more personally biased self-defensive emotions that emotionally reinforce its self-identification with its ego.

Delusion arises because the Self is defending the survival of its ego as though its existence depends upon it. That’s how the Self emotionally constructs all the false beliefs it believes about itself. Those false beliefs are emotionally constructed in its mind as self-concepts. Expressions of fear and desire are self-defensive emotions that have no other purpose than to defend the survival of the body and the ego. When the Self feels compelled to defend the survival of its body and ego in the virtual reality world that it perceives as though its existence depends upon it, those are the self-defensive emotions the Self will express with its personally biased focus of attention.

Something else weird happens when the Self expresses these emotions and identifies itself with its ego. The self-concept requires the mental construction of a body-based self-image. That personal self-image is always constructed out of memory of past events and anticipation of future events. The construction of a personal self-image requires an emotional projection into either the past or the future. The personal self-image can only be constructed out of the memory or the anticipation of events. The problem is, the Self as a presence of consciousness is only present in the present moment. When the Self emotionally constructs a personal self-image through emotional projection into past or future events, the Self is no longer aware of itself as a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment. That lack of awareness of itself is an essential aspect of how the Self falsely identifies itself with its ego. Memory of the past and anticipation of the future is an aspect of the virtual reality world the Self perceives. As the Self perceives its personal self-image constructed out of memory and anticipation, this leads the Self to identify itself with its ego that can only appear to exist in that virtual reality world.

When the Self emotionally identifies itself with its ego, it feels compelled to defend the survival of its ego as though its existence upon it. All expressions of fear and desire defend the survival of the ego because they defend the survival of the body. The ego really only cares about defending its own survival in the virtual reality world, which is what the Self cares about when it identifies itself with its ego. The most important way the ego defends its survival is by expressing the desire to be in control and to feel powerful. The ego defends its survival in relation to other things that appear in the virtual reality world by expressing the desire to control things and have power over others. The desire to be in control and have power over others is always self-defensive. That’s how the ego defends its survival. The desire to defend itself arises from its fear of death and nonexistence, and the desire to be in control and feel powerful is a denial of death. At its very core, the ego is only motivated by fear and denial.

To awaken to the truth of what you really are, you have to move beyond fear and denial. The way you move beyond your fear and denial of death is by accepting death. The death you have to accept is the death of your ego. Before you can allow your ego to die away, you have to make a thorough examination of your ego and clearly see how your ego is motivated by fear and denial.

The way you move beyond your desire to be in control and defend yourself is through surrender. You have to give up your desire to be in control and defend yourself. When you surrender and give up your personally biased desire to control things and defend yourself, you accept things as they are and come into alignment with the normal flow of things. When you surrender and stop defending yourself, you accept the death of your ego. The way you move beyond the emotional construction of your ego in your mind is by severing emotional attachments. Your emotional attachments are what emotionally relate your personal self-image to the image of other things you perceive in the virtual reality world. You have to become willing to let go before you can move beyond that virtual reality world. When you sever an emotional attachment it feels like something dies inside because part of your emotionally energized ego structure dies away. When you stop emotionally constructing your ego, you stop emotionally projecting yourself into a nonexistent personal past or future. You have to stop doing that before you can know yourself to be a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment.

When the Self identifies itself within its ego, the Self is only motivated by fear and denial. This leads straight to delusion since the death the Self fears and denies is the death of its ego, not the true nature of its existence. The true nature of existence of the Self cannot die because it’s never born. The Self can only falsely identify itself with the emotionally animated form of its body and ego that appears in the virtual reality world its perceives. The only true thing the Self can ever know about itself is its own sense of being present or I-Am-ness as a presence of consciousness that exists in the present moment, but even that sense of individual existence is not the true nature of the existence of the Self. The true nature of the existence of the Self is beyond the virtual reality world that the Self perceives and beyond the Self as the perceiver of that virtual reality world. The true nature of existence is called the Source, which is beyond the Self.

When you know your true nature as the Source of the Self, you become enlightened in the sense of perceiving the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the highest possible level of consciousness that can only be described as emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness. When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the Source of that selfless awareness that perceives the Self.

Awakening to the truth of what you really are is about becoming desireless. When you become desireless, you become selfless. That’s how you destroy your ego. The ego can only appear to exist when it enters into a state of emotional conflict. Emotional conflicts are an inherent part of living an embodied life. The body can only appear to survive in the virtual reality world the Self perceives because of the expression of fear and desire, which are always in conflict. At the level of the body, the desire to eat another body is in conflict with the fear of being eaten by another body. Movement toward is always in conflict with movement away. At the level of the ego, this emotional conflict is expressed as the desire to be close to another in conflict with the fear of being controlled by another. There is no possible way to resolve this emotional conflict at the level of motion. The desire to move toward cannot be resolved with the desire to move away. The mental construction of the ego is intrinsically based on the expression of emotions that inherently are in emotional conflict. These emotional conflicts cannot be resolved at the level of motion. Emotional conflicts cannot be resolved at the level of the body.

The only way to resolve emotional conflicts is to become desireless. At the level of the Self, becoming desireless is the same as becoming motionless. The expression of all emotions arises from the motion of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness.  That motion is the nature of expressing emotional energy. The expression of emotions is always in conflict at the level of the body since movement away is always in conflict with movement toward. Emotional conflicts are the nature of how a body-based ego is mentally constructed.

The only way to resolve these emotional conflicts and deconstruct the ego is to become desireless, which at the level of the Self means becoming motionless. When the Self becomes motionless and desireless, it also becomes selfless. Becoming desireless and selfless is the key step that leads to enlightenment. The Source of the Self is motionless, which is like a motionless ocean, and the Self is like a drop of water that moves relative to the ocean. The energy inherent in the motion of the Self creates waves on the surface of the ocean. The Source is a motionless ocean of consciousness, the Self is a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness that moves relative to the ocean, and the waves that appear on the surface of the ocean are a result of that motion. In more modern language, the surface of the ocean is like a computer screen that displays the images of a computer-generated virtual reality. The form of those images are illuminated by the light of consciousness, energized and animated by the motion of the Self, projected from the screen to the point of view of the Self, and perceived by the Self.

When the motion of the Self comes to an end in a desireless and selfless state, the virtual reality world the Self perceives disappears from existence from the point of view of the Self. The virtual reality world disappears from existence since the surface of the ocean disappears when there is no motion. In its true motionless state, the ocean has no surface and is undivided and unlimited. When the motion of the Self comes to an end, the Self returns to this undivided and unlimited state of existence. This motionless state is described as a state of freefall, as in falling into the void. That’s when enlightenment happens. Falling into the void is the nature of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self. Passing through the gateless gate only becomes possible when the Self becomes selfless. When the motion of the Self comes to an end and the Self becomes desireless and selfless, the Self dissolves back into its motionless Source like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. At the level of being, the individual being of the Self dissolves into the undivided and unlimited being of its Source.

When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the Source of that selfless awareness that perceives the Self. You become aware of the Self from the highest level of consciousness. That selfless awareness can only be described as the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. In the Vedic language of nonduality, ultimately, Atman is Brahman. In an ultimate state of dissolution, there is no difference between the individual being of Atman and the undivided and unlimited being of Brahman. When you become enlightened, Atman knows itself to be Brahman as Brahman becomes aware of Atman, which is another way to say I Am Brahman.

Brahman is the only Truth, the world is illusion, and ultimately, there is no difference between Atman and Brahman–Shankara

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be–Bhagavad Gita

In the knowledge of the Atman, which is a dark night to the ignorant,
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life, which is darkness to the sage–Bhagavad Gita

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody–Chuang Tzu

Disclaimer

The only purpose of this discussion is to make a map. No matter how good you are at map making, at the end of the day, you’re only making a map. The problem is, a map can only point out travel directions, and if you’re not willing to make the journey, you’re not going anywhere.

The only obstacle to becoming enlightened is the ego. The ego is the only obstacle, the only thing that stands in the way of enlightenment. The ego is what must be destroyed to become enlightened. When delusion is destroyed, only the truth remains. The problem is, the ego is only like a costume we wear, and it’s not enough to destroy the costume to become enlightened. What really needs to be destroyed is that part of us that identifies itself with the ego. What really needs to be destroyed is our own sense of being a Self, our own sense of individual existence. The Self is what identifies itself with the ego. The Self is an untruth. When the Self is destroyed, only the truth of existence remains. When the Self is destroyed, we can see it never really existed. If you’re going for the truth, you’re not taking anything with you, not even your own Self.

Final Thoughts

Only what has independent existence is real. Individual existence is an illusion because it does not have independent existence. The illusion of individual existence is dependent on the reality of the independent existence of undivided existence. In other words, Brahman, as the source of Atman, is the only truth. Only Brahman, undivided existence, is truly independent and truly real.

There is no such thing as individual freedom. The expression of individual free will, which is the illusion of being a doer at the level of an emotionally animated body, is bondage because it leads to self-identification with a body, and the behaviors of the body are motivated by fear and denial. The expression of individual will only leads to bondage and fear, and there is no freedom in that.

Beyond the Present Moment

Is there anything beyond the present moment? Does a dog have Buddha nature? Yes and no, but no matter how you answer this question, you lose your own Buddha nature. At the level of the body, the answer is no. The body can only disappear from existence. At the level of the Self, the answer is yes. The individual being of the Self can dissolve back into undivided being. Whether you answer this question yes or no, you lose your own Buddha nature. Atman, the Self, the sense of individual existence at the level of I Am, only exists in the present moment. Beyond the present moment is Brahman, the Source of Atman, the void of undivided existence.

You have to be present in the present moment to ask and answer questions. When you go beyond the present moment, into the void, no questions can be asked and no questions can be answered.

When you go beyond the present moment and your individual being dissolves into the void of undivided being, you experience eternity. When you come back to the present moment from the timeless experience of eternity, the present moment becomes an eternal now.

The Holy Grail as a Metaphor for Spiritual Enlightenment

People just don’t get the metaphors. The T S Eliot epic poem The Wasteland is based on the grail legend. People want to make their spiritual metaphors into something concrete so they don’t have to look at what the metaphor is really pointing to. In Christianity, the grail metaphor has been corrupted into the idea of a chalice that Christ used at the last supper, but this is just a way to misunderstand what the metaphor is pointing to. In the grail legend, the wasteland refers to the waste of time and energy you spend when you look for the grail in the wrong place. The grail is a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment, which is best understood as returning to the Source of the light of consciousness. The light of consciousness is what illuminates the world. When you look for the grail in the illuminated world, you’re looking in the wrong place and you’re wasting your time and energy. You’re looking in the wasteland. You have to look into the Source of the light of consciousness, which can only be described as the darkness. When Genesis says that God divided the light from the darkness, the light refers to the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the darkness refers to the Source of the light of consciousness. Genesis refers to the motion of the Self in relation to the surface of the ocean when it says the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. The deep refers to the Source as an ocean of consciousness. The face of the deep refers to the surface that displays all images of the illuminated world. That world is void and formless and in darkness until illuminated by the light of consciousness. If you want to discover the grail and return to the Source, you have to look in the darkness. Don’t be like the man who loses his keys in the darkness but decides to look under a lamp post because the light is better there. Be like Neo in the Matrix. Put on your dark glasses and look in the darkness.

Burning, burning, burning, burning, O Lord, Thou pluckest me out–The Fire Sermon

If you look long enough into the darkness, you become the darkness. In that self-destructive process of becoming the darkness, you destroy the Self that illuminates its own world. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality game, you refuse to play the game. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality world, you stop illuminating that world. When the light of consciousness is extinguished and all illuminated things disappear from existence, only the darkness, silence, emptiness and absolute nothingness of the void remains. When you become the darkness, you also become enlightened as you become aware of the illuminating Self. You know yourself to be the Source of the Self that illuminates its own world.

If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss also stares into you–Nietzsche

The Ending of the Matrix Explained

At the end of the first Matrix, Neo undergoes a death-rebirth transformation. He can clearly see the Matrix for what it really is: a computer-generated virtual reality. He can see the data for that virtual reality is encoded on the walls of the room he appears to be in, which is the boundary of the world he perceives, just like a holographic screen. When he sees the Matrix for what it really is, he is seeing things from a higher level of consciousness. This born again experience is a necessary step in his awakening, but is not the final awakening.

At the end of the third Matrix, Neo undergoes the final awakening. The Oracle tells him that Agent Smith is his alter-ego. What she means is that Agent Smith represents the negative energies while Neo represents the positive energies. The Oracle also tells him that she is helping him because they’re all in it together and she wants them to get along. She wants peace. At the end of the story, Neo’s positive energies annihilate with Smith’s negative energies like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair that annihilates back into the vacuum. The positive energies annihilate with the negative energies back into nothingness. That’s how Neo destroys his Self. The Self is his consciousness identified with his ego. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed. The Self identified with ego is a thing. The One is No-thing or No-self. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed and he becomes No-thing. The Oracle also tells Neo that Everything that has a beginning has an end. Only the One has no beginning and no end because it is not-a-thing. In his final awakening, Neo has to surrender and sacrifice his Self to end the war. Self-sacrifice literally means to make the Self sacred. The Self becomes sacred when it is destroyed. That’s how the Self becomes the One. That’s how Neo awakens and ends the war. This final awakening is the end of the war, which is a war you fight with your Self to destroy your Self. When the war is over, there is peace. In that peace, there is harmony between the expression of positive and negative energies because your individual will is no longer being expressed. It is all an expression of divine will. You no longer express individual will because you no longer are an individual. You are the One. That is the only way peace is really possible.

Why the Cross is a Powerful Symbol

At the end of the Matrix, after Neo sacrifices his Self and the war comes to an end, the machines say It is done. You are only done with your awakening process when you become selfless. That is the only way you can become the One. You have to become selfless and destroy your Self before you can become the One. You have to become willing to undergo a process of Self-sacrifice, which is symbolized by your willingness to get up on your own cross and sacrifice your Self. The cross is a symbol for crossing over to the other side that occurs when you become the One. The virtual reality side of that crossing over is characterized by self and other. The concept of self and other only exists in the dualistic reality of a world, which is a virtual reality. The concept of self and other only arises as the Self perceives things in that world. The concept of Self is what is destroyed and dies when you cross over to the other side, which is an ego or I-death. The other side of the absolute nothingness of nondual reality has no concept of self and other. All is One.

The Matrix Cannot Tell You Who You Are

If we think of the physical world as a computer-generated virtual reality, no perception of the physical world can tell you anything about the true nature of the perceiver of that virtual reality. Every perception of the virtual reality is no more real than the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of the perceiver and the animation of that image in the flow of energy. No matter how real that virtual reality looks and feels, no perception can tell you anything about the true nature of the perceiver. No perception can tell you anything about who is actually playing the virtual reality game. A virtual reality can never tell you who you are.

The flow of time and the flow of energy are two sides of the same coin, but the flow of energy is more fundamental than the flow of time. The perceiver always exists in the present moment. In the present moment, the perceiver can perceive the images of things projected from the computer screen to its point of view in that moment and the flow of energy that connects two moments and animates those images. That flow of energy is perceived as emotional energy in the sense of an emotional body feeling. Emotional energy is what animates the form of a body over the course of time. The flow of time is only perceived as an emotional projection from the present moment that gives rise to the perception of the memory of the past and the anticipation of the future. We only perceive the flow of time because we make emotional projections to the past and future.

When you become motionless and stop expressing that emotional energy, you stop making emotional projections into the past and future. You can only know yourself as you exist in the present moment. That’s when enlightenment happens. Your Individual being dissolves back into its motionless source of undivided and unlimited being. When you become motionless, you become desireless and selfless. What you see in that desireless state is that your own light of consciousness is illuminating your virtual reality world. When you become motionless and stop animating that virtual reality world, you also turn off the light of your own consciousness and stop illuminating that world. That’s when you return to the darkness, stillness, silence and emptiness that is the ultimate nature of your existence and the source of everything you can experience as things appear to come into existence in the virtual reality world you perceive.

Enlightenment is the result of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self, but you only pass through the gateless gate when the Self becomes selfless. You have to focus your attention on your own sense of being a Self as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of I-Am-ness or being present, but you also have to become selfless, which means you have to destroy your ego and become desireless. The reason you have to destroy your ego is because the Self identifies itself with the ego. Self-identification is the nature of delusion. You have to destroy your ego, which is your personal self-concept, before you can become selfless.

Ultimately, you have to destroy your own sense of being a Self, which is your own sense of individual existence. The final step in the process of destroying delusion is to destroy your own sense of being a Self. That’s when enlightenment occurs. Individual being dissolves into undivided being. The Self dissolves into No-self. When you become enlightened, you become aware of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the darkness, silence, stillness, emptiness and nothingness of the void.

That darkness is the Source of the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the Source of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. When you become enlightened, you can turn off the light of consciousness and stop illuminating the world you perceive. You do that by withdrawing your attention away from the world you perceive. When you stop illuminating the world, you return to the darkness. When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the darkness of the Source, not the illuminating Self.

There’s a paradox here, which Shankara expressed as Atman is Brahman. Ultimately, Atman dissolves into Brahman, which is to say Brahman is the Source of Atman, just like the ocean is the source of a drop of water that ultimately returns to and dissolves into the ocean. Atman knows itself to be Brahman when Brahman becomes aware of Atman. That’s what you know when you become enlightened, which happens when you pass through the gateless gate. The experience of becoming enlightened is the experience of individual being dissolving into undivided being. That happens when you return to the darkness, stillness, silence and emptiness.

Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment–Buddha

Further Conversations on the Nature of Nonduality

Q: I have just finished reading „the experience of no-self“ and „trespassing on Einstein’s lawn“ and found them intriguing. As to your comments below, I still have a few questions. For example, why should I follow Nisargadatta‘s advice to pay attention to the sense of self, which seems like something real, if only No-self is true? Is the sense of self identical to the concept of ego and can be transcended; is the sense of self the illusion to overcome, or is it real? I‘d like to fully grasp this spiritual advice.

A: The only thing I can tell you is that enlightenment is the result of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self, but you only pass through the gateless gate when the Self becomes selfless. You have to focus your attention on your own Self as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of I-Am-ness or being present, but you also have to become selfless, which means you have to destroy your ego and become desireless. The reason you have to destroy your ego is because the Self identifies itself with the ego. Self-identification is the nature of delusion. You have to destroy your ego, which is your personal self-concept, before you can become selfless.

Ultimately, you have to destroy your own sense of being a Self, which is your own sense of individual existence. The final step in the process of destroying delusion is to destroy your own sense of being a Self. That’s when enlightenment occurs. Individual being dissolves into undivided being. The Self dissolves into No-self. When you become enlightened, you become aware of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the darkness, silence, stillness, emptiness and nothingness of the void.

That darkness is the Source of the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the Source of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. When you become enlightened, you can turn off the light of consciousness and stop illuminating the world you perceive. You do that by withdrawing your attention away from the world you perceive. When you stop illuminating the world, you return to the darkness. When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the darkness of the Source, not the illuminating Self.

I know there’s a paradox here, which Shankara expressed as Atman is Brahman. Ultimately, Atman dissolves into Brahman, which is to say Brahman is the Source of Atman, just like the ocean is the source of a drop of water that ultimately returns to and dissolves into the ocean. Atman knows itself to be Brahman when Brahman becomes aware of Atman. That’s what you know when you become enlightened, which happens when you pass through the gateless gate. The experience of becoming enlightened is the experience of individual being dissolving into undivided being. That happens when you return to the darkness, silence and emptiness.

Q: Thank you very much for your article, which was a bit too challenging for me to grasp. I’d be extremely glad if I could speak to you in person.

A: My preference is to communicate by email. I like to write my thoughts down and look at them before communicating them. I find that speaking extemporaneously in person is too haphazard to be of much value except for trivial things, like talking about the weather.

After some reflection, I’ve decided to try to answer your question in a more down-to-earth way. The problem with the answers I’m giving, which as you say are challenging to grasp, is what Jed McKenna calls cognitive dissonance. The answers I’m giving are in conflict with your belief system. The problem isn’t the answers I’m giving. The problem is your belief system. That’s what you need to examine. Examining your belief system means examining your ego structure.

The number one piece of advice Nisargadatta gives in I Am That is to focus your attention on your own sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness, which he calls I Am or the Self. You have to know yourself to be a presence of consciousness at the center of the world you perceive, but that’s not the only advice he gives. He also stresses the need for letting go and detachment. The nature of letting go is severing emotional attachments. He also stresses the need to examine your ego and destroy the ego, which he calls the I-am-the-body idea. By the ego, he means the mentally constructed personal self-concept, which is emotionally energized.

Severing emotional attachments is the nature of deconstructing the ego. Nisargadatta doesn’t like to use the word surrender, but he does stress the need to give up the desire to be in control, which is how both Osho and Jed McKenna define surrender. You not only have to let go or sever your emotional attachment to things to deconstruct your ego, but you also have to give up in the sense of surrender, which means giving up your desire to be in control of things. The reason we want to control things is because we live in the fear of death. When we feel like we’re in control, we feel powerful and are able to push away the fear of death and make it unconscious, which is a denial of death. When we surrender and stop defending ourselves, we’re accepting death. You can only deconstruct your ego in a state of surrender in which you accept the death of your ego. Severing emotional attachments can only go forward in a state of surrender because what you’re really doing by detaching yourself from things is killing your ego. You have to accept that death.

You can read many spiritual gurus about the need for surrender and to detach yourself from things, but they all say essentially the same thing. I read Nisargadatta, Osho and McKenna, and that was enough for me. To be clear about things, your ego is a mentally constructed personal or body-based self-concept that is emotionally energized. You kill your ego by severing emotional attachments and letting go. That’s how you take the emotional energy out of your ego, but you can only kill your ego if you accept the death of your ego. That’s why you have to sever your emotional attachments in a state of surrender. You surrender by giving up the desire to be in control of things. That desire to be in control is a denial of death. Before you can surrender, you have to confront your own fear of death, stop denying it, and accept it.

The reason you have to kill your ego is because the Self, which is the presence of consciousness at the center of your world that perceives everything in that world, identifies itself with the ego. Self-identification with ego is the nature of delusion. The whole goal of this killing the ego thing and destroying delusion is to bring personal self-identification to an end, but that can only happen if you deconstruct the ego. You deconstruct the ego by taking emotional energy out of its mental construction. You do that through a process of severing emotional attachments in a state of surrender. You can only let go if you also give up. Severing an emotional attachment always feels like something dies inside. To kill your ego you have to accept the death of the ego.

Before you can sever an emotional attachment to another, you have to see how you’re trying to control their behavior in order to force them to satisfy your own desires. You have to see the immaturity of your desire to control them, like a baby that wants to control its mother. You have to see the futility of your desire to control them because nobody wants to be controlled and your attempts to control them will always be resisted. You can only sever your emotional attachment to another when you give up your desire to control them. Giving up the desire to be in control is a surrender. You have to give up your desire to be in control and have power over others before you can sever your emotional attachment to them and let go. Severing emotional attachments can only go forward in a state of surrender when you give up your desire to be in control.

When you sever an emotional attachment, it feels like something dies inside because part of your ego structure dies away. Your ego is always mentally constructed in an emotional relationship between self and other, where the concept of self is mentally constructed as a personal body-based self-concept and the concept of other is mentally constructed as the concept of whatever the other thing appears to be that is in emotional relationship with the self-concept. The other thing is usually another body. When you take the emotional energy out of that relationship by severing the emotional attachment, the relationship falls apart. That’s how you deconstruct your ego. You’re bringing the emotional relationship between self and other to an end. At the level of the body, you’re no longer expressing those emotions. At the level of the Self, which is the presence of consciousness that perceives the whole thing, the motion of the Self is no longer expressing that emotional energy. The Self is withdrawing its attention away from the relationship between self and other when the emotional attachment is severed. When the Self withdraws its attention away from the relationship, the Self also withdraws its investment of emotional energy in the relationship. The Self can only identify itself with its ego when it feels emotionally self-limited to the form of the body, and that feeling of self-limitation only arises when the self-limiting emotions inherent in all emotional attachments are expressed. Those self-limiting emotions relate the body to another body, but their expression comes to an end when the emotional attachment is severed. That’s how the emotional relationship between self and other comes to an end, which brings to an end the Self’s emotional identification with its ego. That’s the only way the Self can stop emotionally identifying itself with its ego.

The next question is what are these emotional attachments that you need to sever? This is where everybody is different. Everybody has different emotional attachments, although there are some general similarities, like our attachments to our parents and significant others. I can’t tell you what your emotional attachments are. You have to discover them for yourself. Jed McKenna calls this the search and destroy mission. In my case, I was highly motivated to understand my ego at a psychological level because of the emotional pain my ego gave me. This sent me searching for books on psychoanalysis, specifically on how the ego is constructed. One of the first useful books I discovered was Our Inner Conflicts by Karen Horney. If you’re interested in what psychoanalytic theory says about how the ego is constructed, there are a number of books I can recommend like Self and Others by Gregory Hamilton and The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. If you’re interested in the neuroscience of how the ego is emotionally constructed in the mind, I’d recommend The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio.

In any case, the emotional construction of your ego is what you have to examine, and that means you have to discover the emotional attachments that you need to sever in your search and destroy mission as you deconstruct your ego. This is the most down-to-earth advice I can give.

Q: Thank you for all your efforts you put into this, this is quite helpful. So to summarize and check if I understand this, if there is a path to enlightenment at all, it has two main components:

– Paying attention to the sense of self (“awareness of awareness” practice)

– Surrender the ego

Can you explain why the “paying attention to the sense of self” practice is required and why it is successful? As I understand it, the sense of self is an illusion, so if I focus on this illusion, will it vanish one day? As to surrender, does that mean that I have to accept and leave everything as it is? For example, if I’m having a quarrel with my wife that frustrates me, does surrender simply mean to become aware of the frustration and accept it (giving up controlling it)?

A: Nisargadatta says the Self is the doorway through which you pass when you become enlightened (the gateless gate in the sense of Zen or the doors of perception in the sense of William Blake). Nisargadatta says you have to be at the doorway to pass through the doorway. The doorway (the Self) is a presence of consciousness at the center of its own world that perceives its own world. When you’re perceiving your own world, you are that presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. That presence of consciousness always arises in a subject-object relation that defines self and other as it perceives things in its own world, which is why it is called the Self. The relation that defines the subject-object relation of self and other is the perception of things by the Self. That presence of consciousness always carries with itself its own sense of being present, which is called I Am. That presence of consciousness always exists in the present moment, which is why it has to focus its attention on the present moment to become aware of itself. You bring yourself to the doorway when you focus your attention on your own sense of being present as the Self in the present moment.

The problem of delusion arises when that presence of consciousness identifies itself with its mentally constructed, body-based, emotionally energized, personal self-concept, which is called the ego. Delusion arises when the Self identifies itself with its ego. The self-concept is always constructed in terms of a personal self-image that is emotionally related to the image of some other thing the Self perceives in its world. The self-image is body-based, which is another thing that the Self perceives in its world, but when the Self identifies itself with its ego, the Self believes that it is its body, which Nisargadatta calls the I-am-the-body-idea. When the Self identifies itself with its ego, the Self believes that its existence is dependent on the survival of its body in the world it perceives. Believing that your existence as a presence of consciousness is dependent on the survival of your body in the world you perceive is the essence of delusion.

Why does the Self believe this false belief about itself? The problem is the Self feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body when it perceives the expression of self-limiting emotions that animate the form of the body. Self-limiting emotions are always expressed in an emotional relationship that relates the personal self-image to the image of some other thing as the self-concept is emotionally constructed in the mind. The Self emotionally identifies itself with its ego when it feels emotionally self-limited to the form of its body. That’s why the Self believes its existence depends on the survival of its body. Self-limiting emotions are survival emotions that are always expressed in defense of the survival of the body. That’s the nature of expressing fear and desire. You’re defending the survival of your body as though your existence depends upon it. That’s the core false belief at the center of delusion.

Delusion is only possible because you are not aware of your Self as a presence of consciousness that exists in the present moment. You are not aware of your Self because your attention is totally focused on your self-concept, which is always an emotional projection into the past or future. You can only construct a personal self-concept when a personal self-image is constructed out of the memory of past events or the anticipation of future events. You have to make an emotional projection to the past or future to construct a personal body-based self-image out of the memory of the past or the anticipation of the future. That emotional projection is why you’re not focused on the present moment, which is where you actually exist. Your attention is focused on an illusory self-concept that only appears to exist in a nonexistent past or future. When you identify your Self with this illusory body-based self-concept, you falsely believe that your existence depends on the survival of your body in the world you perceive.

If your existence does not depend on the survival of the body, then what does it depend on? The answer is the Source of the Self. Metaphorically speaking, the Source can be described as an undivided and unlimited, motionless ocean of consciousness. The Self, as an individual center of perceiving consciousness, has to divide itself from the undivided ocean. The Self always arises at the central point of view of its own world. The Self perceives that world from its central point of view. That world is like a virtual reality as images of that world are projected from a surrounding screen to the central point of view of the Self. The Self projects those images as it focuses its attention on that world by illuminating that world with the light of consciousness. The Self also animates that world with the energy of its motion as a moving point of perceiving consciousness.

This moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness is divided from the motionless ocean of consciousness when the world the Self perceives appears to come into existence. Enlightenment happens when the Self returns to its Source, which is the ocean of consciousness. That return is described as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

The first step in becoming enlightened is knowing yourself to be the Self. You have to focus your attention on your own sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness that only exists in the present moment. That’s the only true thing you can ever know about your Self. Everything else you think you know about your Self is delusional and is emotionally constructed as false beliefs you believe about your Self. Those false beliefs are the nature of your ego, which is your mentally constructed, body-based, emotionally energized, personal self-concept. Knowing yourself to be the Self is only possible when you destroy those false beliefs you believe about your Self. You have to destroy your ego at the level of a personal self-concept.

The final step in becoming enlightened is passing through the gateless gate. You first bring your Self to the doorway by focusing your attention on your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment, and then you finally pass through the doorway. You pass through the doorway when the Self becomes selfless. The Self only becomes selfless when it becomes desireless, which is only possible when the ego is destroyed. When the Self becomes selfless and desireless, it also becomes motionless. That’s when the Self dissolves back into the undivided and unlimited, motionless ocean of consciousness. Individual being dissolves back into undivided being like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean.

Before any of this can happen, you have to become selfless and desireless, which means you have to destroy your ego. The way you destroy your ego is through a process of surrender and detachment. You surrender when you give up the desire to be in control of things. That’s how you stop defending the survival of your ego. You detach yourself when you sever your emotional attachment to things. The emotional relationships that relate the personal self-concept to the concept of other things are only constructed out of the emotional energy of self-defensive emotions and emotional attachments. When you surrender and sever emotional attachments, you take the emotional energy out of that emotional construction of the ego. Without that emotional energy that relates the concept of self to the concept of another, the emotional relationships between self and other fall apart. That’s how the ego is deconstructed and eventually destroyed.

It may help to tell a short personal story. I had never heard the term nonduality until I was in a romantic relationship with a woman I’ll call JC. JC was interested in the paranormal aspects of psychology, and had a copy of Jed McKenna’s first book on Spiritual Enlightenment, which she thought was funny. At her suggestion, I read the book and became fascinated with the concept of nonduality. There was something about this concept that I just couldn’t dismiss out-of-hand as being unscientific. This fascination would eventually lead to my understanding of nonduality in scientific terms along the lines of the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which I was only able to put together after I read Amanda Gefter’s book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn.

My relationship with JC was important for another reason. It was in this relationship that I first experienced surrender and detachment. JC was in conflict with herself. She wanted a romantic relationship, but she was also afraid of being controlled in that relationship the way her father controlled her in childhood. She was in awe of her father as an intellectual man who inspired her own intellectual life, but she was also afraid of him due to his tendency to control her. The more I tried to get close to JC, which I knew she wanted, the more she pushed me away due to her fear of  being controlled. This led me to try to force myself on her, which sent her into a panic.

We ended up seeing a therapist who was very insightful and almost immediately pointed out to me in a very unkind way that I was being selfish and immature like a child that wants to control his mother in order to force his mother to satisfy his desires. My desire to control JC was also futile since she didn’t want to be controlled and resisted all my attempts to control her. When I clearly saw the selfishness, immaturity and futility of my actions, it was like my whole world collapsed down on top of me. Almost instantaneously, I gave up my desire to control JC, and when that happened, I also severed my emotional attachment to her.

Am I recommending that you sever your emotional attachment to your wife when you feel frustrated? Absolutely not. I can recommend you enter into a state of surrender in which you stop trying to control things, accept things as they are, and allow things to play out in the normal way. If you can do that, you won’t feel frustrated anymore.

When I severed my emotional attachment to JC, I saw how I was trying to control her behavior to force her to satisfy my own desires. I saw the immaturity of my desire to control her, like a baby that wants to control its mother. I saw the futility of my desire to control her since she didn’t want to be controlled and would always resist my attempts to control her. I severed my emotional attachment to her when I gave up my desire to control her. Giving up the desire to be in control is a surrender. I had to give up my desire to be in control before I could sever my emotional attachment to her and let go. Severing emotional attachments can only go forward in a state of surrender in which the desire to be in control is given up. When I severed my emotional attachment to her it felt like something died inside of me. What died was a part of my ego.

The reason I’m telling this story is because surrender and detachment is the only way the ego can be deconstructed and eventually destroyed. That’s the only way you can become selfless and desireless. You have to become selfless before the Self can pass through the gateless gate. The Self has to become desireless and motionless before the Self can dissolve back into its Source, like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean.

To be clear about things, I’m not recommending that you become enlightened. This is a decision you have to make for your Self. As Jed McKenna says, the price of truth is everything. The process of becoming enlightened is a war you fight with yourself to destroy your Self. When the Self is destroyed, who wins? When you refuse to play the game, you’re out of the game, which means the game disappears from existence, but so too does the player of the game. When you become enlightened, you lose everything, including your own Self. You have to seriously ask your Self, do you really want to trade in everything you have, including your own sense of Self, and receive nothing in return? Do you want to be nothing, do nothing and know nothing?

The only real purpose of what I’m doing here is to understand spiritual enlightenment in scientific terms. I’m translating the concept of nonduality into scientific concepts. Modern physics with its holographic principle of quantum gravity goes a long way in terms of making that translation. The holographic principle tells us the perceivable world we appear to live in is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Images of that virtual reality are forms of information that are projected from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer. The holographic screen arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerated observer is a moving point of perceiving consciousness. The energy of that motion is what animates the projected images of the observer’s world. That energy arises through a geometric mechanism, like the accelerated expansion of space that expands relative to the observer’s central point of view. The energy of the expansion of space is called dark energy, which gives rise to a cosmic horizon that surrounds the observer’s central point of view and acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen encodes quantized bits of information, called qubits, through some other kind of geometric mechanism, like non-commutative geometry. In effect, the laws of physics are nothing more than the operating system or computational rules that govern this computer-generated virtual reality.

Every observer observes the projected and animated images of its own holographic world defined by the information encoded on its holographic screen and the energy inherent in its accelerated frame of reference. A consensual reality shared by many observers, each of which is present at its own point of view, becomes possible when those holographic screens overlap in the sense of Venn diagram and share information. This is just like the kind of information sharing we see in a computer-generated virtual reality game when each player of the game plays its own game on its own computer screen. There is information sharing between different players when their computer screens are connected by the internet. When a player decides to stop playing the game and turns off its computer screen, the game disappears from existence from the point of view of that particular player. That’s basically what happens when you become enlightened. You refuse to play the game. You withdraw your attention away from the game.

When you withdraw your attention away from the game, you withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the game that animates your character in the game. You also stop illuminating the game with the light of consciousness and stop projecting and animating the images of the game. That’s how you become selfless, desireless, and motionless. You bring your Self to the doorway of the Self as you focus attention on your own sense of being present. You pass through the doorway as you become selfless, desireless, and motionless. In the language of modern theoretical physics, you enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference in which there is no holographic screen. That’s when the world you perceive disappears from existence. That’s when you fall into the void. That’s when your individual being returns to and dissolves into the undivided being of the void. That’s when you stop being a Self.

Q: Your outlook on enlightenment doesn’t sound like a sales pitch if the end result is just an annihilation of what I believe I am. “Nothingness” doesn’t sound like bliss or Nirvana, so I’m not sure if I’m ready for this. Bernadette Roberts speaks about a unitive state where you feel a sacred oneness, but according to your (and her) description, that’s not the final step of the enlightenment process, but just an intermediate step until the entire notion of Self is no longer existent.

Your scientific description is a quite fascinating read, although I probably haven’t understood half of it. Amanda Gefter’s book was a challenge, too, since I completely lack the physics background. But I like the idea that you are trying to reconcile spirituality and science. That’s what brought me to you in the first place.

I have purchased Jean Dunn’s “Prior to Consciousness” as per your bibliography. I’m sure I’ll find a few more answers there, although communicating with you was probably better than any book I read. So thanks again for the time you spent with me to describe your point of view.

A: Your assessment of enlightenment is correct. The only good part of becoming enlightened is what you call the intermediate state, which Jed McKenna calls the integrated state and Bernadette Roberts calls the mystical union of the Self with God. You don’t have to destroy your Self to be integrated. You just have to bring yourself into alignment with the expression of divine will, which I prefer to call the normal flow of things. This is where surrender comes into play. When you express your personally biased individual will, you’re only interfering with the normal flow of things and making things worse for yourself. You’re creating an emotional disturbance in the normal of things. McKenna says the ultimate state has nothing to recommend it. McKenna recommends the integrated state for everybody and the ultimate state for nobody.

It’s worth discussing the nature of the integrated state in some detail. The normal flow of things does not mean that things are predetermined. There is always potentiality in the way things play out. In the language of modern theoretical physics, the computer-generated virtual reality is not governed by a classical computer but by a quantum computer, and there is always potentiality in the way events play out in the virtual reality. Potentiality is built into the operation of the quantum computer. You always have a choice in terms of what you’ll experience in the virtual reality as you focus your attention on things. That’s why you can express an intent, and as long as that intent is not self-limited and personally biased, the potentiality of the virtual reality will make that intent into an actuality. The intent has to be unbiased and best for all involved. You also have to focus your attention on expressing and manifesting that intent. You have to work to manifest that intent as you focus your time and energy on its manifestation. When you focus your attention in this way, you’re redirecting the normal flow of things to manifest the intent. Potentiality is becoming an actuality, which is pretty much guaranteed to happen as long as the intent is not selfish and personally biased and is expressed in a way that is best for all involved.

Expression of potentiality is the reason expressions of creativity are possible. The computer-generated virtual reality is a holographic world constructed through the creation of geometry. The Source of that world, which we call the void, has the potentiality to create geometry. That is the ultimate source of all creativity. Both information and energy are geometrically created. When you enter into the integrated state, you automatically partake of that expression of creativity. Wherever you are right now, you have the potential to redirect the normal flow of things by expressing a pure, unbiased, unconflicted intent, and you can end up wherever you want to be as long as that desire is not selfish and personally biased. Expressing creativity and manifesting desires is an inherent aspect of the integrated state. Right actions and feelings of connection are also inherent aspects of the integrated state when you allow yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. To feel disconnected and express wrong actions, you have to create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things by expressing personally biased individual will, which you do as your focus of attention becomes personally biased.

When you become firmly established in the integrated state, you no longer know yourself to be a person. You can only know yourself to be a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. That’s the inherent nature of the death-rebirth transformation that happens when you surrender to divine will. You die in identity to the body and are reborn of the spirit.

The potentiality you experience as you focus your attention on things in the virtual reality is the reason you can become enlightened. As you express this potentiality, what you are really doing is playing a virtual reality game. Everything you experience in the virtual reality game is a choice you make as you focus your attention on things. You always have the choice to withdraw your attention away from the game and stop playing the game. Becoming enlightened and entering the ultimate state is the end result of your refusal to play the game. When you are totally out of the game, you experience nothing, which is why McKenna says the ultimate state has nothing to recommend it and why the Buddha stated he attained nothing from total enlightenment.

What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

When you become enlightened, you can only know your Self to be a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness that arises in the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. When you enter into a state of surrender to divine will, that moving point of consciousness vibrates at a higher level as its motion comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. You feel connected when you are vibrating at a higher level. You also see things from a higher level of consciousness. You see the true nature of the virtual reality world you’re perceiving as you see how images of that world are projected from a screen to your own point of view. You see how you’re animating those images with the energy of your own motion and how you’re illuminating and projecting those images with your own light of consciousness.

It’s only possible to speak about what appears to happen in the virtual reality world from the point of view of a particular observer of that world. Whatever appears to happen in the virtual reality from the point of view of any particular observer may not be what appears to happen from other points of view. A consensual reality is only shared between different points of view to the degree information is shared between those different points of view. The virtual reality is a subjective reality, not an objective reality. Every observer creates its own subjective reality from its own point of view. When you enter into the integrated state, you know your Self to be a presence of consciousness at the center of that world. When you enter the ultimate state, that world disappears from existence from your own point of view, you fall into the void, and your individual being dissolves back into the undivided being of the void. You can enter into the integrated state or the ultimate state and other observers may have no clue where you are.

What Actually Moves?

When you’re self-identified with your body, you feel like you’re moving with your body, but that sense of body motion is an illusion. In reality, you’re only perceiving emotional body feelings. When you enter into the integrated state, you know your Self to be a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world as things in that world, like your body, appear to move in that world. You have come out of that world, and your body is just another thing that appears to move in the world you perceive. Those things are like the illuminated and animated images of a movie that are projected from a screen to your central point of view as you perceive them. When you enter the ultimate state, you become aware of the motion of your Self. You know your Self to be a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of your Self from the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. You become aware that in your ultimate state of existence, you are truly motionless and do not move. Only an illusion of what you really are can appear to move.

Prior to Consciousness is challenging to read. My impression is that Nisargadatta got totally fed up with how his discussions of enlightenment were grossly misinterpreted, and he stopped giving detailed answers so that people wouldn’t misinterpret him anymore. I Am That is much more detailed in his discussions of enlightenment, and I found it much more useful to read as long as I didn’t misinterpret what he was saying. This is where understanding the theory at a conceptual level can be helpful, but you have to be careful to keep your concepts straight and avoid logical contradictions. That’s why theoretical physics can be helpful. The math doesn’t tell lies.

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Sudden Enlightenment

Sudden Enlightenment

There are two key steps that must occur before sudden enlightenment can occur. These two key steps can be understood as the processes of purifying yourself and disidentifying yourself. When you purify yourself, you discriminate the true from the false. You have to discriminate the true nature of being, which is called pure being, from everything that appears to have being but in reality has no being. The unreal has no being. That’s why the unreal is called an illusion or false. The unreal is no more real than the animated images of a computer-generated virtual reality that are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives them. The hardest part of purifying yourself is seeing that everything you can perceive is no more real than animated images of a computer-generated virtual reality. That’s the point you have to come to before you can purify yourself. You have to see that everything you can perceive is unreal and false. Every feeling you can have, every concept you can conceptualize, every perception you can perceive, is false. Every idea you have about yourself is false because everything you can perceive is false. You are the perceiver, and nothing you can perceive can be your true nature. Only the consciousness of the perceiver is true, but that is not perceivable. Your discrimination of the true from the false in a process of self-purification is the first key step in the process that leads to sudden enlightenment. The second key step in the process is your willingness to disidentify yourself from everything you can perceive. You have to reject the false and embrace the truth. You have to become willing to identify yourself only with the truth of what you really are, which is the unperceivable consciousness or pure being of the perceiver. While you are in the process of carrying out these two key steps, all you can do is wait for sudden enlightenment.

While you wait, all you can do is reject all your false self-identifications with everything you can perceive and focus your attention on your own sense of being present as the perceiver. The way you reject all the false ideas you have about yourself and all your false self-identifications with everything you can perceive is by becoming desireless. When you become desireless, you become selfless. That’s when you can pass through the gateless gate and sudden enlightenment can happen. Your consciousness rises to the highest possible level of selfless awareness.

This purification and disidentification process is the process of becoming desireless and selfless. The way you become desireless is through your surrender to divine will and your willingness to detach yourself from things. You surrender to divine will when you give up your desire to be in control and defend yourself. The operative word is giving up. You stop interfering with the normal flow of things. You put your trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accept everything as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is in the moment. You stop emotionally projecting yourself into a nonexistent past or future by creating personal memories of the past or anticipations of the future. Without that emotional projection into a nonexistent personal past or future, you stop emotionally constructing a personal self-concept. You accept the present moment as it is and know yourself to be a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment. You know yourself to be that presence of consciousness by looking within and focusing your attention on your own sense of being present.

To complete this purification and disidentification process of becoming desireless and selfless, you have to let go and sever your emotional attachments. The operative word is letting go. When you sever an emotional attachment, it feels like something dies inside. What dies away is your mentally constructed ego structure or personal self-concept, which is the false idea you have about yourself of being a person in the world you perceive as you emotionally identify yourself with the form of a person. Personal self-identification is no more real than an emotional body feeling you perceive. You only construct a personal self-concept in your mind when you feel emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person, which is called a body.

Your emotionally energized personal self-concept or ego structure dies away when you sever your emotional attachments to things and become desireless, but there is a core self-concept that must die away before you can really become selfless. Your core self-concept is your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness. That core sense of individual existence is called I Am. To truly become selfless, you must lose that sense of individual existence. The sense of individual existence is always constructed in a subject-object relation as you perceive things, which gives rise to the sense of self and other. The Self is the subject or perceiver, the object or other is whatever you perceive, and the relation between them is perception.  The Self as a presence of perceiving consciousness always arises with its own sense of individual existence or I-Am-ness. The problem in terms of becoming enlightened is you are only present as a presence of consciousness or the Self in order to perceive your own world, and that world of your perceptions is the nature of falseness or illusion. The world of perceptions you perceive is an illusion that is only created because you are present to perceive that world. That world of perceptions is no more real than the projected and animated images of a computer-generated virtual reality. That’s what makes the world of perceptions unreal. The Self as the perceiver of that world is as much a part of the illusion as the world it perceives. The problem in terms of becoming enlightened isn’t just the problem of delusion that arises when the Self falsely identifies itself with something it perceives. The problem is that the Self is an untruth because individual existence is an untruth. The truth of existence is undivided and has no sense of individual existence or sense of being a Self. When there is no Self, there is also no other. The truth has no sense of self and other. The subject-object relation of self and other can only appear to exist at the level of the computer-generated virtual reality that the Self perceives, which is inherently an untruth and unreal. The truth is undivided and One. Pure being is One being. Sudden enlightenment is only possible if you truly become selfless and lose your own sense of being a Self and having individual existence. The sense of being a Self is the core self-concept that must come to an end before you can become enlightened.

In the process of purifying and disidentifying yourself, you have to give up with your willingness to surrender to divine will and let go with your willingness to sever your emotional attachments. That is the only way you can become desireless. You have to purify and disidentify yourself and become desireless and selfless before sudden enlightenment can happen, but to truly become selfless, you also have to lose your own sense of individual existence. You have to lose your own sense of Self-ness and I-Am-ness. Surrender and detachment are the only things you can do at the level of becoming desireless, which paradoxically is your willingness to do nothing. You then have to wait before you can become nothing and know nothing. You wait as you look within and focus your attention on your own sense of being present while in this desireless state. You have to wait until you truly become selfless. When you truly become selfless, you no longer have a sense of being present, Self-ness or I-Am-ness. That’s what you have to wait for. When you are no longer present to perceive your own world, you no longer have a Self that perceives that world. Both that Self and the world the Self perceives disappear from existence. That’s when you truly become selfless. That’s when the gateless gate opens. That’s when both the Self and the world the Self perceives disappear from existence. This opening of and passing through the gateless gate is described as falling into the void. When you fall into the void, you also dissolve into the void. This dissolution into nothingness is described as being like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. The Self as a point of perceiving consciousness is like the drop of water and the void of undivided consciousness is like the ocean. In this dissolution, individual being dissolves back into pure undivided being. That’s the nature of sudden enlightenment.

After this sudden enlightenment experience, you again perceive your own world, but you no longer perceive that world as the Self. Your consciousness rises to the highest possible level of consciousness, which is called selfless awareness. Abiding in this state of selfless awareness is also called abiding nondual awareness or abiding in the source. The Source refers to the source of consciousness and the Self. The Source is the void of pure undivided being or the ocean of consciousness. When you abide in the source, you become aware of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the highest possible level of consciousness within the darkness, silence, stillness and emptiness of the void. You become aware of the Self even as the Self perceives its own illuminated and animated world.

Testimony of Enlightened Beings:

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

That Being is void.
-Osho

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own, you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

To the Self the world is but a passing show. The world just sprouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing. As long as the Self is merely aware, there is no problem.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

You must realize yourself as the silent witness of all that happens. Your consciousness raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer.

The witness that stands aloof is the watchtower of the real, the point at which awareness, inherent in the unmanifested, contacts the manifested.

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

In ignorance the seer becomes the seen and in wisdom he is the seeing.

When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?

Find the immutable center where all movement takes birth. Be the axis at the center, not whirling at the periphery. Nothing stops you except fear. You are afraid of impersonal being.

The Self stands beyond the mind, aware, but unconcerned. You are the Self, here and now. Stand aware and unconcerned and you will realize that to stand alert but detached, watching events come and go, is an aspect of your real nature.

In pure being consciousness arises.
In consciousness the world appears and disappears.
Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality.
The center is a point of void and the witness a point of pure awareness; they know themselves to be as nothing.
But the void is full to the brim.
It is the eternal potential as consciousness is the eternal actual.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. As long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. Names and shapes are hollow shells. What is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness.

What begins and ends is mere appearance. The world can be said to appear but not to be. It is your memory that makes you think that the world continues. Memory creates the illusion of continuity. I see the world as it is, a momentary appearance in consciousness.

Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation nothing is perceived. The root idea is I Am. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas which in their totality constitute God’s world. The I Am remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

All limited existence is imaginary.
Even space and time are imaginary.
Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not limited.
All limitation is imaginary.
Only the unlimited is real.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

The state of pure witnessing is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains.

There is no such thing as an expression of reality. Neither action nor feeling nor thought express reality. I know that life itself is only a make-believe. I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.

The world is but a mistaken view of reality, unreal to its core.

The unreal appears to be real only because you believe in it. You impart reality to it by taking it to be real. Doubt it and it ceases.

The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it nor meaning.

From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously.
I do nothing. I just see them happen.

Some unknown power acts and you imagine that you are acting.

You are merely watching what happens.

As long as there is the sense of identity with the body, frustration is inevitable. It is because of your illusion that you are the doer.

As long as you have the idea of influencing events, liberation is not for you. The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is bondage.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.

To imagine that you are in control is the aberration of the body-mind. There is a universal power that is in control. The illusion of personal control is in the mind only. Stand without desire and fear, relinquishing all control. This is the shortest way to reality.

The world you can perceive is a very small world, entirely private. The world is but a reflection of imagination. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. By forgetting who you are and imagining yourself a mortal creature you create so much trouble for yourself that you have to wake up, like from a bad dream.

Some go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dreamlands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important.

Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up, but you do not see because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you long for the ending of the dream. You become willing to pay any price. The price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream.

Self-identifications are patently false and the cause of bondage.

Your attachment is your bondage.

There is trouble only when you cling to something.
It is your desire to hold onto it that creates the problem. Let go.
When you hold onto nothing, no trouble arises.

All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient.
Fear makes one a slave.
Freedom from attachment is natural when one knows one’s true being.

You create bondage when you desire and fear and identify yourself with your feelings.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.
Your bonds are self-created as chains of attachment.
Cut the knot of self-identification.

It is disinterestedness that liberates. If you lose interest, you break the emotional link that perpetuates the bondage.

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

Selfishness is due to self-identification with the body.

If you look into the living process closely, you will find cruelty everywhere, for life feeds on life.

Selfishness is always destructive. Desire and fear are self-centered states. Between desire and fear anger arises, and with anger hatred.

It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

You must remove the wall. Realize that the wall and both sides of it are one single space.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically.
Scrutinize every idea about it.
Everything must be scrutinized and the unnecessary ruthlessly destroyed.
There cannot be too much destruction.
For in reality nothing is of value.

Freedom means letting go.
Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything.

Discrimination will lead to detachment.
You gain nothing.
You leave behind what is not your own and find what you have never lost:
Your own being.

Death gives freedom. To be free in the world you must die to the world.

Liberation is never of the person, it is always from the person.

The difference between the person and the witness is as between not knowing and knowing oneself.

You can see a person but you are not a person.

There is no such thing as a separate person. Everything is the cause of everything. Everything is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.

The reward of Self-knowledge is freedom from the personal self.

The dissolution of personality is always followed by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off.

Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being.

When you are in dead earnest, you bend every incident, every second of your life, to your purpose. You do not waste time and energy on other things. You are totally dedicated, call it one-pointedness of the mind.

In the end you get fed up with the waste of time and energy.

When you refuse to play the game you are out of it.

As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body and a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.

As long as you are locked up with your mind and ego, you cannot go further. Were you really at war with your ego, you would question its reality. You don’t question because you are not really interested. You are moved by the pleasure-pain principle, fear and desire, which is your ego. You are going along with your ego, not fighting against it. You are not even aware how totally swayed you are by personal considerations. Be in revolt against your ego, for the ego narrows and distorts. It is the worst of all tyrants. It dominates you completely.

Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not: body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. Nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand that on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being human should be discarded. Abandon all self-identifications, abandon all self-concern, abandon every desire. Stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now. You need absolutely nothing.

Nothing stands in the way of your liberation here and now except for your being more interested in other things. You must see through them as mere mental errors.

We have enclosed ourselves in a cloud of personal desires and fears, images and thoughts, ideas and concepts.

Your difficulty stems from the idea that reality is a state of consciousness.

The desire to live is a tremendous thing. Still greater is the freedom from the urge to live.

Moments when one feels empty and estranged are desirable moments, for it means the soul has cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places.

There is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself.

As long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk from the final leap into the unknown.

You must begin by being the dispassionate observer. Then only will you realize your full being. As long as you are enmeshed in the tribulations of a particular personality, you can see nothing beyond it. Ultimately you will come to see that you are neither the particular nor the universal. You are beyond both.

Giving up is the first step. The real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own.
Give up all and you gain all.
Then life becomes what it was meant to be: Pure radiation from an inexhaustible source.
In that light the world appears dimly like a dream.

Everything is depicted in the pictures on the screen, including the person you take yourself to be; nothing in the light. You are the light only. You are the pure light appearing as a picture on the screen and becoming one with it.

Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. Whatever you are conscious of, is not you. Yours is the cinema screen, the light and the seeing power, but the picture is not you.

You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth, all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself. Realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself. All you need is to stop searching outside what can only be found within.

Turn within. I Am you know. Be with it all the time, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.

By its very nature the mind is outwardly turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves. To be told to look for the source within is the beginning of a new life.

Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning flows. It is not the superficial mind that can give meaning. You are not what you think yourself to be. You cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced. You are the perceiving point, the nondimensional source of all dimensions, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything. You can know what you are not, but you cannot know your real being. You can only be what you are.

As long as you are engrossed in the world, you cannot know yourself. To know yourself, turn your attention away from the world and turn within.

Remain as the silent witness only; a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless.

Give attention to the witness to break the spell of the known, the illusion that only the perceivable is real. As long as you believe that only the perceivable world is real you remain its slave.

To become free your attention must be drawn to the witness.

The point of I Am is the bridge between the watcher and its dream.

I Am both inside and outside the dream, but what I see in dream, I am not.

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

By itself nothing has existence

All appearance and disappearance presupposes a change against a changeless background.

There must be a source from which all flows, a foundation on which all stands.

Consciousness itself is the source of everything.

The supreme state is the very center of consciousness and yet beyond consciousness. The center of consciousness is That which cannot be given name and form, for it is without quality and beyond consciousness. It is a point in consciousness which is beyond consciousness. It is an opening in the mind, a void, through which the mind is flooded with light. It is but an opening for the light of consciousness to enter the mental space.

Know yourself as you are. Stay with the sense I Am.

Wherever you go, at all times, you carry with you the sense of being present and aware, here and now. It means that you are independent of space and time. Space and time are in you, not you in them. It is only your self-identification with the body, limited in space and time, that gives you a sense of limitation. In reality, you are limitless.

Your world is created with the emergence of the I Am idea. In your world everything has a beginning and an end. Timeless being is entirely in the now.

Once you are well established in the now, you have nowhere else to go.

Externalization is the first step in liberation. Step away and look. Separate yourself and watch. The physical events will go on happening, but in themselves they have no importance.

Seeing that you are not the person you take yourself to be, step out and look from the outside.

All you can do is to shift the focus of consciousness beyond the mind.

Your questions are about a non-existing person. Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that whatever happens, comes and goes, is not real; that you alone are, the changeless among the changeful. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications. Be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness.

Whatever you perceive is not you. It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents.

All you need to do is to cease taking your Self to be within the field of consciousness. To look for it on the mental level is futile. It is here and now-the I Am you know so well.

Even the sense I Am is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek.

The witness only registers events. All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense I Am dissolves. There is no I Am without the mind.

In silence, or void or abeyance, the three-experiencer, experiencing, experience-are not. Unidentified being remains.

To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness. It is not difficult but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the truth so difficult to see. Discard what is not your own until nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left is nothing.

In reality nothing happens. Nothing happens to space itself. In pure consciousness nothing ever happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go as light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the pictures.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Every moment returns to its source, just as every wave subsides into the ocean.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

Absolute reality imparts reality to whatever comes into being.
It is the very source of reality.
It is what is, pure being, the timeless reality.
It is not perceivable; it is what makes perception possible.

Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space.

Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.

All that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness.
I Am in and beyond that consciousness.
I Am in it as the witness.
I Am beyond it as Being.

I am dead already. Physical death will make no difference. I am timeless being.

If you desire nothing, then you are as good as dead, or you are the Supreme.

The Supreme is both creation and dissolution, the beingness of all beings, the ground from which all grows, alone. Words do not reach there, nor mind.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

Before the mind happens, I Am.
Before all beginnings, after all endings, I Am.
All has its being in the I Am that shines in every living being.

The dreamer is one.
I Am beyond all dreams.
I Am the light in which all dreams appear and disappear.

Do nothing. There is nothing to do. Just be.
To be, you must be nobody.
You make yourself mortal by taking yourself to be a body.
That which is alive in you is immortal.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Your true home is in nothingness.

Whatever depends is not real. The real is truly independent.

Awareness is beyond all.
Awareness is primordial; it is the original state.
Awareness is undivided, aware of itself.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
I Am is the door. Stay with it until it opens. It is always open, but you are not at it.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Reality is essentially alone.
To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

“I cannot live with myself any longer”. This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with. Maybe, I thought, only one of them is real.

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words ‘resist nothing’, as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void.

I knew that something profoundly significant had happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left was my true nature as the ever-present ‘I am’: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious--Eckhart Tolle

When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out--Bernadette Roberts

He must dare to leap into the Origin so as to live by the Truth and in the Truth, like one who has become one with it. He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way, undergo new transformation. If he survives its perils then is his destiny fulfilled; face to face he beholds the unbroken Truth, the Truth beyond all truths, the formless Origin of origins, the Void which is the All; is absorbed into it and from it emerges rebornEugen Herrigel

In the knowledge of the Atman, which is a dark night to the ignorant,
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life, which is darkness to the sage–Bhagavad Gita

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody–Chuang Tzu

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be–Bhagavad Gita

If You’re Going for the Truth, You’re Not Taking Anything with You

Adapted from the writings of Jed McKenna:

Battling past the ego to get to the truth has been at the heart of countless spiritual teachings.

Ego-death as a means to no-self is what this journey is all about. Anyone headed for truth is going to get there over ego’s dead body or not at all.

Spiritual enlightenment is self-defeating. It is a battle we wage upon ourselves. Truth is a uniquely challenging pursuit because the very thing that wants it is the only thing in the way of it. It’s a battle we must die to win. The great enemy is the very self that wages the war. When self is destroyed, who wins?

Enlightenment is untruth-unrealization, and self is an untruth. Despite the apparent paradox, being enlightened means there’s no one left to be enlightened.

Spiritual awakening is about discovering what’s true. Anything that’s not about getting to the truth must be discarded. Truth isn’t about knowing things. It’s about unknowing. It’s not about becoming true, it’s about unbecoming false so that all that’s left is truth.

The deepest truth of any person is no-person. You don’t wake up by perfecting your dream character; you wake up by breaking free of it. There’s no truth to the ego so no degree of mastery over it results in anything true. Putting attention on the ego merely reinforces it.

The process of awakening looks like it’s about destroying ego, but that’s not really accurate. You never completely rid yourself of ego-the false self-as long as you’re alive, and it’s not important that you do. What matters is the emotional tethers that anchor us to the dreamstate; that hold us in place and make us feel that we’re a part of something real. We send out energetic tendrils from the nexus of ego like roots to attach ourselves to the dreamstate, and to detach from it we must sever them. The energy of an emotion is our life force, and the amount of life force determines the power of the emotion. Withdraw energy from an emotion and what’s left? A sterile thought. An empty husk. In this sense, freeing ourselves from attachment is indeed the process of awakening, but such attachments aren’t what we have, they’re what we are

All attachments to the dreamstate are made of energy. That energy is called emotion. All emotions, positive and negative, are attachments. Humans are emotion-based creatures and all emotions derive their energy from one core emotion; fear. Fear cannot be confronted or slain because it is fear of nothing, of no-self. The desire to slay fear is itself a fear-based emotion. Fear can only be surrendered to; the thing feared, entered.

It is the emotional energy of fear that erects and maintains the egoic shell.

We are madly, desperately, insanely afraid of the truth, and it is that fear that walls us off from our unbounded nature.

Fear of what? Fear of no-self. The nameless, faceless dread of non-being. Not just fear of death, which anyone can deny or explain away, but fear of nothingness, which no fairytale can fix.

All belief systems are just the stories we create in order to deal with the void. Ego abhors a vacuum, so everybody’s scrambling to create the illusion of something where there’s nothing. Belief systems are simply the devices we use to explain away the unthinkable horror of no-self.

We erect ego to compensate for the lack of direct self-knowledge. There is no true self to perceive, there is only false self and no-self. One looks for true self and finds nothing. It’s the dread of that nothingness that keeps one’s attention outwardly fixed.

The wall separating the awakened and unawakened states is a force field empowered by the emotional energy of fear. Only ego death defeats the barrier because the barrier is ego itself.

The enlightened view life as a dream, so how could they possibly differentiate between right and wrong or good and evil? How can one turn of events be better or worse than another? Of what real importance is anything in a dream? You wake up and the dream is gone as if it never was. All the characters and events that seemed so real have simply vanished. The enlightened may walk and talk in the dream world, but they don’t mistake the dream for reality. Members of movie audiences don’t leap out of their seats to save characters in the film. If they did, they would be hauled off to the nearest mental health facility and treated for a delusional disorder.

The only sin is ignorance. Ignorance of what? It’s not the kind where you don’t know something. It’s the kind where you do know something that’s not true. The false self is ignorance. Ego. The personality. Everything you think of as you.

Ignorance isn’t an aspect of self; it’s the essence of self. It’s not nothing where there should be something, it’s the delicate weaving of something from nothing. That nothingness woven into somethingness is what you call reality. The part you call you is ego.

Truth is, non-truth isn’t. The false is purely an apparition; it exists only in the eye of the beholder. There is no true self and the false self is irrelevant, a character in a dream.

Truth doesn’t need to be sought because it isn’t lost. It’s not at the end of some path waiting to be discovered. It’s not the result of practice or growth or learning. Truth is everywhere at all times, never absent, never distant. Truth isn’t the tricky thing, it’s the simplest thing there is. Truth is that which cannot be simplified further.

The fact is that no amount or combination of knowledge can bring about truth realization. It’s not an emotion or a state of consciousness. Truth realization isn’t a state of consciousness.

There is no such thing as objective reality. Nothing can be shown to exist. Nothing but the subjective I am is true.

Understanding consensual reality as a dreamstate is unbreakable. Life is but a dream. Reality has no basis in reality.

It is not possible to knowledgeably choose or want spiritual enlightenment. To desire it is to misunderstand it. Ego cannot desire egolessness. One does not undergo the process of awakening out of love for the true but out of hatred for the false; a hatred so intense that it burns everything and spares nothing.

To know the lie is to hate it; to see it is to slay it.

If you want to be more true, then the way to do that is by becoming less false. Go inside yourself with the spotlight of discrimination and illuminate it. Illumination destroys it. Lies disappear when you really look at them because they never had real substance, they were only imagined.

Success in realizing one’s true nature is absolutely assured because it’s one’s true nature. The greatest wonder isn’t that you’ll make it back, it’s that you made it away. Struggling to achieve truth is as preposterous as struggling to achieve death. Neither death nor gravity, nor tomorrow’s sunrise is as certain as the fact that everyone will end up fully “enlightened”, regardless of the “path” they take.

Everything is in a constant process of returning to its true state. To really be ‘off the path’ would mean to be outside of consciousness. There is no such place.

Enlightenment is about truth. It’s not about becoming a better or happier person. It’s not about personal growth or spiritual evolution. There is no higher stakes game in this world or any other, in this dimension or any other. The price of truth is everything, but no one knows what everything means until they’re paying it. In the simplest terms, enlightenment is impersonal, whereas what is commonly peddled as enlightenment is personal in the extreme.

There’s nothing wrong with being a dream character, unless it’s your goal to wake up, in which case the dream character must be ruthlessly annihilated. If your desire is to become the best dang person you can be, then rejoice, you’re in the right place, the dream state, the dualistic universe. If your interest is to cut the crap and figure out what is true then you’re in the wrong place and you’ve got a very messy fight ahead and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.

You have to have a clear desire, a strong and specific intent. If you don’t know where you’re going then there’s no basis for judging one direction better or worse than another.

I want to stop being a lie. I want to stop not knowing who and what and where I am. I want to stop being confused and unclear. I want to stop pretending lies are true and that I understand things when I don’t. I want to stop playing make-believe and find out what’s real. I want to know what’s true. I will give anything to do it. I would rather be dead than continue a life of ignorance and self-deceit.

People completely in character. No inkling that things may be other than they seem. Still shackled in Plato’s cave. The degree to which one is unaware of one’s fraudulent nature might be considered the degree to which one is the grip of Maya, delusion, the dreamstate. Increased awakeness would naturally translate into greater dissatisfaction with fraudulence, falseness and delusion, and a corresponding desire to know what is real. Extend the line forward and it results in a complete break with ego and an awakening into one’s true nature.

The worms won’t care how your epitaph reads and the truth of you will outlive time itself.

We need the boundaries ego provides. They’re a necessary part of life in the amusement park. Self is the complex, shifting set of dimensions that give us shape and form and which distinguish us from other shapes and forms. The amusement park isn’t ‘come as you are’, it’s a costume party. Who you come as doesn’t matter, only that you come as someone.

Spiritual enlightenment is the state in which the self is free of all delusion, including self itself. The process of becoming enlightened is a deliberate act of self-annihilation. It is the false self that does the killing and the false self that dies; a suicide in all but the physical sense. Because there is no true self to fill the vacancy created by the passing of the false self, no self remains.

Before enlightenment I believed my ego was me, then enlightenment comes along and no more ego, only the underlying reality. Now it’s after enlightenment and this ego might be slightly uncomfortable or ill-fitting at times, but it’s all I’ve got. The idea that your ego is destroyed in the process of becoming enlightened is roughly correct, but it’s not complete. Before enlightenment, you’re a human being in the world, just like everyone you see. During enlightenment you realize the human being you thought you were is just a character in a play, and that the world you thought you were in is just a stage, so you go through a process of radical deconstruction of your character to see what’s left when it’s gone. The result isn’t enlightened-self or true-self, it’s no-self. When it’s all over it’s time to be a human being in the world again, and that means slipping back into costume and getting back on stage. Now you’re actually in the audience, watching the drama. I could never mistake the play for reality again, or my character for my true state. Happily, I never know what my character is going to do or say until he does it or says it, so the whole thing stays interesting.

Ego doesn’t need to be killed because it was never really alive. You don’t have to destroy your false self because it’s not real, which is really the whole point. It’s just a character we play. What needs to be killed is that part of us that identifies with the character. Once that’s done-really done, and it can take years-then you can wear the costume and play the character as it suits you, in the character but not of the character.

The difference between us isn’t that I’m enlightened and you’re not. The difference between us is that I know it and you don’t. I possess selfless awareness and you don’t.

To me you’re a minor character in my dramatic dreamscape. A semi-coherent energetic pattern making a brief appearance on the stage of my awareness.

You’re not struggling to climb from hell into heaven, you’re just having an in-the-body experience. It’s not evil, it’s just life, and when it’s over, you die, easy as falling off a log.

We live in fear of death. We don’t want to think about it, we don’t want to look at it, we don’t want to acknowledge that it exists.

No matter how we might try to deny it, death is the fact of life.

We can turn away from it, but we can’t push it away. It is always with us.

Death is what’s left when everything else is gone.

Death awareness is a vehicle out of the state of death denial in which we reside.

This isn’t about death in the abstract; it’s about death in the most personal, intimate sense.

Death is the meaning in the dream, the dreamstate shadow of no-self.

What’s more mind bending than your own looming death? What could be more devastating to ego than the contemplation of meaninglessness and insignificance, of nothingness, of no-self?

We have taken death out of life and that allows us to live unconsciously. Death never left, we just turned away from it. If we wish to awaken-and that’s a mighty big if-then we must welcome death back into our lives.

Death awareness is the universal spiritual practice. Death always delivers. It slices through every lie, ridicules every belief, mocks every vanity and reduces ego to absurdity. Death doesn’t lie. Death awareness is about life awareness and life awareness is about waking up. Death isn’t morbid, fear is morbid. Death doesn’t oppose life, fear opposes life.

Death denial, the fear of no-self, is at the very heart of the paralysis that grips all spiritual aspirants and everyone else as well.

Death denial, in all its many forms, is the hole at the bottom of which we sit huddled and trembling, scared to death of our own lives.

Death awareness is the act of coming out of that hole and beholding the world in which we live and the creation of which we are a part. To venture out of that hole, to declare freedom from childish beliefs, to turn toward death, to look the unslayable arch-demons of futility and insignificance in the eye, this is where the journey begins, and no journey begins elsewhere.

Futility. No belief is true. Life has no meaning. Nothing we do matters. All is vanity and a striving after wind. We’re going to die and it will be as if we never lived. Everything we think is true is false, all our beliefs are delusions, and everything we know is a lie. Nothing we do can make any possible difference.

It doesn’t require knowledge to be enlightened any more than it requires knowledge to obey the law of gravity or to be bathed in sunlight. Enlightenment is nothing more than truth realization. If anything requires knowledge and effort and seemingly superhuman powers of imagination it’s not truth but delusion.

The process of waking up can look a lot like a massive breakdown, a complete break from what one has assumed to be reality. That’s why depression can be a perfectly rational response to a highly irrational situation, namely, life, especially when the depression revolves around futility and insignificance. You can’t be much more futile or insignificant than a character in a dream. The way to defeat rational depression is not to try to turn back from it or to cling to the illusion of meaning, but to plow right on through it and see what’s on the other side.

The only escape possible is one person on their own, alone, slipping off by themselves into the black. You have to go into that darkness you’ve spent your life avoiding and denying. You have to get to the place where you’d rather go into that blackness than continue avoiding it.

The fundamental conflict in the spiritual quest is that ego desires spiritual enlightenment, but ego can never achieve spiritual enlightenment. Self cannot achieve no-self. The fundamental conflict can only be resolved by altering the equation. It’s cheating, but everyone is okay with it. Spiritual enlightenment gets redefined as something attainable by ego. Ego gets to continue the noble quest. No one gets the grail, but no one really wanted it anyway. The quest for the grail is about the quest, not the grail.

Enlightenment is exactly the same for anyone, anytime, anyplace, whereas the journey to it is as unique and varied as there are people to make it, the nature of delusion, the ego, false constructs, and human nature.

For this whole dualistic universe thing to work, it’s important that everyone doesn’t just go wandering off; that they stay on stage and play their role. Fear is the glue that holds the whole thing together and keeps everyone in character.

The vast majority of spiritual seekers are motivated by desire so the failure of their search is a foregone conclusion, as is amply evidenced by mankind’s history of near total inability to find the one thing that can never be lost. How is it possible that something as simple as seeing what is manages to elude our most devout seekers and our greatest minds? Because no one really wants what awakening really is. The true desire that drives the process of awakening is more akin to a psychotic madness-a wickedly profound and protracted crisis.

Waking up from the dreamstate is a very straightforward business. It doesn’t take decades. It doesn’t look like tranquility or like a calm, peaceful mind. It doesn’t look like saving others or saving the world or even saving yourself. It doesn’t look like a thriving marketplace where merit is determined by popular appeal or commercial success. Waking up looks like a massive mental and emotional breakdown because that’s exactly what it is, the granddaddy of all breakdowns.

Have you already confirmed duality as truth? Have you confirmed that you are a separate physical being in a physical universe with the ability to perceive?

To move forward, you must figure out exactly what is obstructing you. Whatever it is, it isn’t really there; it has no reality, no substance. It’s your own creation, a phantom lurking in the shadows of your mind, a shadow demon. Your obstructions are your demons, and your demons are shadow dwellers. They live and thrive in the half-light of ignorance, so the way to slay a demon is by illuminating it with the full force and power of your focused attention; by looking at it, hard. Banish shadow with light and see for yourself that no obstruction exists, nor ever did. We create our demons and we feed them. To awaken we must slay them.

The person on a search and destroy mission must have a way of making-the subtle demonisms of life and thought-assailable. Destroying thoughts with thoughts. Seeing things clearly. Nothing false can survive illumination by a steady and focused mind.

Come up with the right question. There’s always only one. All other questions are fear-based ego-sparing time-killers. Forget concepts and ideas, forget past and future, forget mankind and society, forget God and love, forget truth and spirituality. Find that one question; the exact question that ego doesn’t want you to ask. Put your full attention on it. That’s how progress is made. Everything else is a stall tactic.

“Who am I?” That is the question. That’s the question at our very center. Life turns on that center, and everyone who is alive has one of two relationships to that center: Toward or Away. Toward is perfectly simple. Away is infinitely complex.

Stay with the question. Don’t worry about the answer, just get the question right. Examine your assumptions. Soon enough the question itself has been destroyed and, along with it, many layers of delusion.

The question itself is the obstacle to progress, not the lack of an answer. The question is the key. Once we truly understand the question, we’ll have the desired answer. The desired answer is always the removal of the obstruction a correct question represents.

The answer is never the answer. It’s not that I know the answers, it’s that I don’t know the questions. I see that the questions that haunt a mind have no reality outside of it. There’s only one true answer and it lies at the exact center of the question.

You want answers, but there are no answers, just beliefs, and if you want to awaken, either within or from the dreamstate, beliefs are not your friends. They only hold you back. Demanding answers and explanations is an egoic stall tactic.

The same tactic employed by all people all the time in order to maintain the state of denial necessary to continue a meaningless existence in a fictional universe.

Enlightenment is comprehensive. It’s an entirely different paradigm.

I view dualistic reality as a dream.

My reality is not your reality.

In the world but not of the world means that you’re playing a role on the stage, but you don’t confuse your role with yourself or the stage with reality. It means you know that you’re playing a character. It’s like lucid dreaming. You achieve normal waking consciousness within the dream so that you’re in the dream but not of the dream. There’s no benefit to understanding it. It’s something you’re familiar with because it’s your reality or you’re not because it isn’t.

We are both protagonist and antagonist in this conflict, both attacker and defended. We can’t win by fighting. The very thing that fights, that resists, is the thing we seek to overthrow. Only by vanquishing ego can we prevail. Only in surrender can we find victory. This is the part so few get, and fewer get beyond. If you want to say all religions and spiritual teachings share a core truth, it can only be this: Surrender is victory.

To surrender is to relinquish the illusion of control, which initiates the death part of the death/rebirth process, which is the transition from the bondage of the womb-like Segregated State to the freedom of the ever-expanding Integrated State. No faith or belief is required to accomplish this act of surrender, only clear-seeing. When one begins to understand ego and fear for what they really are, this process becomes as easy and natural as dropping a heavy weight.

The person who arrives at this point is not the person who goes beyond. In this process, resistance is conquered and non-resistance takes its place; acceptance, recognition, surrender. The segregated self is slain and the integrated self is born. To the onlooker it looks like one thing becomes the other, but to the participant it is quite unmistakably the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The necessary letting go is itself a kind of death. It is the primary death/birth process, and nothing proceeds until it happens.

Surrender follows naturally from seeing what is.

Ego is obstruction, surrender is flow. Surrender is the basis and precursor of growth. There is no growth possible within egoic constraints, only the illusion of growth. Once we free ourselves, we come into alignment.

Nothing else means anything. No amount of knowledge or understanding or spiritual experience could be of any value if you’re still stuck in the segregated state. You have one goal, die to the flesh and be born of the spirit.

There is only one possible objective, you must die to be reborn, and to do that begin the process of thinking clearly and freeing your thoughts from emotion-dense clouds of self-limiting belief.

It’s all about finding and illuminating the next obstacle to our progress. It is not concerned with finding answers, but questions. There are no answers to be found, only questions that define our limitations. Understand the question, and you destroy the limitation. It is through courageous thought and clear-seeing that delusion is destroyed.

This isn’t about personal awareness or self-exploration. It’s not about feelings or insights. It’s not about personal or spiritual evolution. This is about what you know for sure, about what you are sure you know is true, about what ‘you are’ that is true. With this process you tear away layer after layer of untruth masquerading as truth. It burns bridges that can never be rebuilt, and the only real reason to do it is because you can no longer stand not to.

Every step in the process of awakening has three components: Seeing what needs to be killed, killing it, and cleaning up the mess. You must process the loss.

With every step we leave behind that which we move beyond. The pain giving thing is the thing removed; when it’s gone, so is the pain.

A step begins with seeing and understanding. That seeing and understanding becomes the very thing that destroys the thing seen and understood. But it doesn’t end there. Just because you killed something doesn’t mean you killed your attachment to it. Seeing the thing is the beginning of killing the thing, and killing the thing is the beginning of detaching from it.

Every step is a loss and as long as there’s more to lose, there are more steps to take. Everything is lost. Nothing is gained.

How can you want nothing? Words ascribed to the Buddha are often fraudulent, but there’s one very clear exception: “Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment”. It’s not so much that he didn’t gain anything as that he did gain nothing.

Waking up isn’t a theoretical subject one masters through study and comprehension, it’s a journey one makes, a battle one fights.

All we’re really talking about is unbelieving what is untrue, not seeing what is not really there, getting back to our clean uncontaminated uncorrupted state.

The idea of the individual self, valid and separate, unravels very quickly under any serious scrutiny. All beliefs do. What takes time and effort is to put the idea of self under such scrutiny and make sense of what’s left after the belief is gone.

All beliefs, all concepts, all thoughts, they’re all false. If you’re going for the truth, you’re not taking any of them with you. Nothing that says two, not one, survives.

Self is an untruth.

The end of illusion is the end of you.

From the unawakened side, the gate blocking one from enlightenment is enormous and impassable. Delusion fills one’s entire field of view because it resides prior to perception. Once delusion has been destroyed, we can see it never really existed.

No one can say ‘I am enlightened’ because there is no ‘I’ to it. There is no such thing as an enlightened person. My personality, my ego, what appears to be me, is just an afterimage-a physical apparition based on residual energy patterns.

Even now it takes a conscious effort to maintain my false self, my dream character, to animate it, to keep it running. And this trajectory I’m on will take me as close to nonexistence as anyone can get and still have a body. In other words, I will continue to channel progressively less and less energy into my dreamstate being, my teaching will reduce down to its most refined and least tolerant form, my interest will withdraw from the world, and I will become as minimal as a person can be.

You, the reader, are at the exact center of the universe, your universe. It’s all yours, it’s all about you, and you are all alone in it. Anything that tells you otherwise is a belief, and no belief is true.

Truth is beyond opposites. Duality is a dream. The truth contains no element of the false and the false contains no truth. There is only truth and illusion, and within illusion there is only fear and denial. Fear of truth is the foundation upon which Maya’s Palace of Delusion is erected. She has no power but that we give her. Denial of fear is the motivation underlying all activities in which humans engage. This is Vanity in the biblical sense: I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

The you that you think of as you is not you. The you that thinks of you as you is not you. It’s just the character that the underlying truth of you is dreaming into brief existence. Enlightenment isn’t in the character, it’s in the underlying truth.

The Gita is the dialogue between the false self and the true state; the bridging of the paradigm gap. The prize to be won in this battle is not wealth or fame or power, but the transition from untrue to true, from dream to awake, from delusion to reality.

There is nothing to learn, nothing to know, nothing to practice, nothing to become.

Why is nothingness better than somethingness? Why is unity better than duality? Why is truth better than the lie? Why is the infinite better than the finite? Why is awake better than dreaming? Our fragile little bubbles are what let us float around in the infinite, able to enjoy the experience of somethingness-good and bad-where only nothingness exists. The bubble is a magnificent amusement park and leaving it is a damn silly thing to do unless you absolutely must.

The dreamstate is a big amusement park and I would never encourage anyone to try to escape.

That would be as absurd as suggesting that you commit suicide for your own good.

Enlightenment is literally the biggest nothing of all time. Enlightenment is life-negative. Spiritual enlightenment is pointless and meaningless, and should only be sought by those who have absolutely no choice in the matter.

Who wants to spend the rest of their life tumbling through infinite space?

The truth of the situation is that eventually, there’s nothing. Infinity. Eternity. The void.

That’s where I am now. Empty space is my reality. The void. No-self. I abide in non-dual, non-relative awareness.

Truth is one, is non-dual, is infinite, is one-without-other. Truth is dissolution, no-self, unity.

There’s nothing to say about it, nothing to feel about it, nothing to know about it. You are true or you’re a lie, as in ego-bound, as in dual, as in asleep.

There is the place where all the paradoxes disappear and where no questions remain, but there’s no point trying to describe this place.

Come see for yourself.

Like a child flicking a switch that turns the world off like a light. What can you say when the thing that ends isn’t within a context, but context itself?

The word Further is like a talisman, a power object. We must pull it out and gaze upon it after every battle, every time we think we must be done, that we must, at last, have arrived. As much as it may seem otherwise, there’s always Further.

Done means done.

When you reach the top, keep climbing.

Now she’s in freefall. At the precise moment of impact, the planet will disappear, and nothing will take its place. Her freefall won’t end, but it will no longer feel like falling because there will no longer be anything to reference it against. This is where dual awareness ends. From then on she will live in boundless awareness, never again able to differentiate between self and non-self.

Abiding non-dual awareness.

Osho’s Path in the Journey of Awakening–Surrender and Let Go

We know only this world, we don’t have any comparison. This is the only reality we know. That’s why when Buddha says the world is Maya, illusion, it is difficult for us to understand.

You can take from this world only that which you have brought in.

Only that which cannot be taken away by death is real. Everything else is unreal.

It is made of the same stuff dreams are made of.

You cannot exist without desire, without striving. The phenomenon of the ego, of the self, is not a thing, it is a process. It is not a substance sitting there inside you, you have to create it each moment. The ego exists because we go on pedaling desire, because we go on striving to get something, because we go on jumping ahead of ourselves. That is the very phenomenon of the ego, the jump into the future, the jump into the non-existential creates the ego, it comes out of the non-existential like a mirage. It consists of desire and nothing else.

You cannot stop desire, you can only understand it. In the very understanding is the stopping of it. The desire has to be understood. You can understand it, you can just see the futility of it.

A direct perception is needed.

You create your own dream world around you. Unless you become awake you will continue to dream. The world is unreal because the world you know is the world of your dreams.

There is a reality. Once you come to know it, this so-called reality becomes unreal. In the dream, the dream is real. In the dream there is only one reality, everything is as unreal as everything else so there is no comparison.

There is an awakening, compared to the reality of that awakening, this whole reality becomes unreal. You open your eyes and another reality is there.

Man is asleep. You are not conscious about yourself. You do not know yourself. You know many things in the objective world but you do not know the subject. Your state of mind is as if you had gone to see a film. On the screen the film is running, and you have become so absorbed in it that the only thing you know is the film, whatever is appearing on the screen.

Dreaming is just the film. It is the mind reflecting the world. In the mirror of the mind the world is reflected. You are so deeply involved with it, so much identified with it, that you have completely forgotten who you are. The dreamer is lost in the dreaming.

This self-ignorance is the sleep. Dreaming creates a film over the consciousness. Unless dreaming ceases completely you cannot awaken unto yourself.

We are not really in the world. The world consists not of things outside us but of our dreams.

Everyone lives in his own dream world. If suddenly all dreaming disappeared from the consciousness, your world would disappear because your world was your dreaming.

What you see is not the truth, it is a projected lie. Your world is created by a self. Your world is a projected world. You are using the real world as a screen and projecting your own ideas on it.

Enlightenment is nothing but awakening. For the enlightened person all our lives are just dreams. They may be good dreams, they may be bad dreams, they may be nightmares, but all the same they are dreams.

Enlightenment is a very individual process. It is not a question of enlightenment, it is a question of the conditionings, and everyone has different conditions so no two person’s paths are going to be the same.

Enlightenment is your very nature. The whole thing is ridiculous because we are born enlightened and to try for something that is already the case is the most absurd thing. If you already have it you cannot achieve it; only those things can be achieved which you don’t have, which are not intrinsic parts of your being. It is your nature, so how can it be an attainment.

Existence cannot be forced to go according to you; it flows its own way. Mind is always afraid of the unknown. Mind consists of the known. The unknown is not part of the mind. Life is always moving into the unknown and you are afraid.

You are afraid of death because you are afraid of life. The mind wants one thing and denies the other. Life cannot exist without death. But the mind says “I want only life, I do not want death, life is good, death is bad”. The mind moves into a dream world which exists nowhere, and it starts fighting with everything.

Surrender means that you surrender the ego. You surrender the separating wall. You become one. That is reality. Whatever you surrender is just a dream, a concept, a false notion. You are not surrendering reality, you are surrendering a false attitude.

The moment you surrender, you become one with existence.

Fear is a feeling of no contact with existence.

Man has become incapable of love because he has become incapable of death. He cannot die to anything. He clings to life. Love is death, death of the ego. Man is afraid of death.

Surrender is death. One who is ready to lose will gain. One who clings will lose everything.

Surrender is not a method. You surrender only when every method has become futile.

You have done whatever you can do and now you feel helpless. In that total helplessness surrender happens.

You cannot ask how to surrender; the very question is absurd. Can you ask how to love? Love is being totally open, vulnerable. It is dangerous. Love happens, surrender happens. Love and surrender are deeply one.

The secret of love is surrender. Ego creates the barrier. Ego wants to control everything. You become scared of what you cannot control. You become afraid, you close the door. You cannot lose yourself, and love is losing, dispersing, dissolving, melting.

With love you cannot be in control. You have to let yourself go.

To move beyond yourself, surrender is the way, let go is the path.

Life is a flux. Ego can only exist when it fights.

The river is not fighting with you, you are fighting with the river. You are trying to float upstream. If you just let go and start floating with the stream, then you become part of the stream, your identity is lost, you become a drop in the ocean.

Energy is just natural, the basic energy you are born through, the energy you are born with, the energy of your body. It is your energy.

Be aware of the desire; do not create any fight. When you move into desire with full consciousness you transcend it. If you fight then the ego will be there. Accept the world, accept the body, accept everything.

Accept death. Through acceptance you become one, not through fight.

No-fight is the central teaching.

How is it that you have not surrendered? The real problem is your defense structure, how you have lived without love. We live with the ego, centered in the ego. Without knowing who I am, I go on announcing ‘I am’. This ‘I-am-ness’ is false because I do not know who I am. This false ‘I’ is the ego. This is the defense. This protects you from surrendering.

You cannot surrender but you can become aware of this defense measure. If you have become aware of it, it dissolves.

The moment you come to feel ‘I am not’ surrender happens.

Surrender happens when you are not, so ‘you’ cannot surrender.

You are the hindrance. When you are not, surrender is there.

Your ego is the bondage. You can be free only when ego disappears. When there is no ego, you become one with existence, and only that oneness can be freedom. When you exist separately, this separation is false. You are not separate, you are part of existence.

Your ego gives you a false feeling of separate existence. Because of that false feeling, you start fighting existence. When you fight you are in bondage. When you fight you are bound to be defeated, because the part cannot win against the whole. Because of this fight with the whole, you feel limited.

The wall is nowhere in existence, it moves with your ego, a part of your separate feeling.

In your struggle against existence you will be defeated; in that defeat you feel limitation.

The only way to go beyond death is to accept death. Then it disappears. The only way to be fearless is to accept fear. Then the energy is released and becomes freedom.

You are not separate. You cannot be defeated because there is no one to be defeated. You cannot die because there is no one to die. You cannot be in misery because there is no one to be in misery. The moment you surrender the ego, the whole nonsense, misery, bondage, limitation, is surrendered. You are no more.

It is not that you become free. When you are not, freedom is.

Freedom is not freedom of the ego, it is freedom from the ego.

No one can make you free. You are in bondage because of your karma. You can make yourself a slave, you can liberate yourself.

Surrender and freedom are the same. You become one with existence. That oneness is freedom. It is not God to whom you surrender. You are that to which you surrender.

If you can surrender everything to nature then there is no effort, then you don’t do anything. You just float. You are in a deep let go. Things happen to you, but you are not making any effort for them. Whatever happens, happens. Life flows by, you flow in it.

If you surrender, this very moment you are out of time, and all that can happen will happen.

The body is part of the karma, it is part of the mechanical circle of cause and effect, but the consciousness can be beyond it, it can transcend it.

Witnessing is not an interference. You go beyond; you become a watcher on the hill.

Things go on, but they don’t belong to you. You are just an onlooker. It is as if they are happening in a dream, or in a film on the screen. You are not interfering. You are not within the drama, you have come out. Now you are not an actor, you have become a spectator.

You are just a witness.

If you interfere you will create more misery for yourself. Don’t interfere with karmas, but go beyond, be a witness to them. Take them as a dream, not real. Just look at them and be indifferent. Don’t get involved.

Your body suffers, look at the suffering. Your body is happy, look at the happiness.

Don’t be identified. Simple awareness is inclusive of all.

When you are non-doing then everything happens around you. Nothing disturbs you. Everything happens and you know it, you witness it.

There is no duality; it is only an appearance.

If your body and your soul are two, if you and God are two, then they cannot be put together.

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

Enlightenment happens in silence. How can you bring that silence into words? The moment truth is asserted it becomes false. There is no way to communicate truth.

Every enlightened person will have a deep silence. Whatever happens makes no difference to his contentment. He will not have any questions left, not that he knows all answers but all questions have dissolved.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. Buddha has called this nothingness, emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. Then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery. You cannot feel it and you cannot know it. You cannot observe it. If you observe it, the ego is there. When the inner space is there, you are not. When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there. When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.

You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

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People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

People don’t know what they don’t know. People don’t know what consciousness is because they don’t know what they really are. They’re mistakenly identifying themselves with something they can perceive. The perceiver identifies itself with something it perceives. That’s the nature of delusion. People don’t know what consciousness is, what they really are, at either the Atmanic or Brahmanic level of consciousness. When your consciousness rises to the level of selfless awareness, you become aware of your Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of your Self from silence, stillness, emptiness and darkness.

In the knowledge of the Atman, which is a dark night to the ignorant,
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life, which is darkness to the sage–Bhagavad Gita

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody–Chuang Tzu

At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time.

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am

Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being.

Even the sense I Am is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

The witness only registers events. All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense I Am dissolves. There is no I Am without the mind.

In silence, or void or abeyance, the three-experiencer, experiencing, experience-are not. Unidentified being remains.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space.

Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Reality is essentially alone.
To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be–Bhagavad Gita

In selfless awareness, there is witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver. This ultimate state of selfless awareness arises from silence, stillness, emptiness and darkness, which is called the void. That is what you really are.

The Enlightenment Myth

You are always enlightened. Enlightenment is your true nature. The only question is whether you know it or not. When you enter into a state of delusion and identify yourself with something that you are not, something that you perceive, you don’t know it anymore. You don’t know it because you’ve become deluded. When you become enlightened, you know your true enlightened nature. Nothing changes except what you know yourself to be. When you’re enlightened, you know your true nature. When you’re deluded, you believe yourself to be something you’re not. You believe false beliefs about yourself. The whole thing is ridiculous because your true nature is always enlightened. You have to become deluded and not know what you are before you can make a big deal about knowing that you’re enlightened. That’s why enlightened beings never make a big deal about their so-called enlightenment. They simply know what they really are without any delusion. In the process of becoming enlightened, all they really did was to destroy delusion, which is only a set of false beliefs they believed about themselves when they were deluded. The process of becoming enlightened is nothing more than a self-destructive process of destroying those false beliefs that you believe about yourself.

To Awaken to the Truth of What You Really Are, You Have to Examine Your Ego

There is no way to awaken to the truth of what you really are unless you make a thorough and detailed examination of your ego. You have to dissect your ego like you’re a medical student in anatomy class. You have to break down every detail of your ego structure and make a complete examination of what it’s all about. What you’ll discover is that what your ego is all about is fear and denial. The ego only has one real purpose, which is to defend and emotionally reinforce your self-identification with the emotionally animated form of the person you take yourself to be.

The first question is, who are you really? The only possible answer is that you are a presence of consciousness that is identifying itself with its ego. To identify yourself with your ego, you have to perceive your ego. In the sense of a subject-object relation, you are the subject and your ego is an object that you’re perceiving. You are the subjective perceiver, which is called I. The ego is also called I, but the ego is a false I, since the ego is something that you can perceive. The true subjective nature of the I is the perceiver, which can only be described as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness. The true nature of the perceiver cannot be something it perceives.

The second question is, why does the perceiver identify itself with its ego? The answer is weird, but there is no other possible answer. Everything you can perceive is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Images of that virtual reality are projected from a screen to your point of view and are animated in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. The computer screen encodes bits of information, and that information is organized into the form of images that are projected to your point of view. Modern physics tells us those bits of information are encoded as qubits on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, and that event horizon always arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The laws of nature are simply the computational rules that govern the operation of the computer, which are like the operating system of the computer.

Images of the computer-generated virtual reality are projected from the screen to your point of view as the observer of the images and are animated in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. You play the virtual reality game as you focus your attention on those images. You not only perceive the images that are projected from the screen to your own point of view, but you also animate those images by energizing them with the expression of your own energy. That energy arises from your motion as a point of consciousness. You also project the images as you focus your attention on them by shining your own light of consciousness on them. The word enlightenment refers to your own light of consciousness that is reflected off the screen as that light projects the images from the screen back to your own point of view. You shine the light of consciousness on the images and illuminate them as you focus your attention on them.

This moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness is called the Self. The Self is the subject in the subject-object relation that defines self and other. Then Self always carries with itself its own sense of individual existence, which is called I Am. This sense of I-Am-ness is the sense of being present as the Self perceives its own virtual reality world. The ego is part of that virtual reality world, like the central character or an avatar in a virtual reality game. When the Self identifies itself with its ego, it is as though the ego is the perceiver of that virtual reality world, but the true nature of the perceiver is always the Self. There is only an illusion that the ego can perceive that virtual reality world when the Self identifies itself with its ego.

How does self-identification occur? The virtual reality world is emotionally animated, and that emotional energy arises from the motion of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. The subject-object relation of self and other becomes perverted as the Self takes itself to be its ego and sees all the objects in its world as separate from its ego. In reality, its ego is just another object the Self perceives, but when the Self identifies itself with its ego, it seems as though its ego is the perceiver of all those other objects. Self-identification always creates a sense of separation. The ego is always mentally constructed as a personal self-concept, and the self-concept is always emotionally energized and body-based. In the mental construction of the ego, a body-based self-image is emotionally related to the image of some other thing the Self perceives. That emotional relation makes the Self feel emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body as it perceives that emotional energy. When the Self feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body, it falsely identifies itself with its ego. Self-identification with its ego is only a false belief the Self believes about itself due to its feeling of self-limitation, which is no more real than an emotional body feeling it perceives in its virtual reality world.

Why does that expression of emotional energy make the Self feel self-limited to the form of its body? The expression of emotions, as in the expression of fear and desire, are about defending the survival of the body in the virtual reality world. The body only survives in the virtual reality world because it expresses self-defensive emotions. That’s the only purpose of expressing self-defensive emotions. Their expression defends body survival. When the Self emotionally identifies itself with its ego and feels emotionally self-limited to the form of its body, it feels compelled to defend the survival of its body and ego in the virtual reality world as though its existence depends upon it. The way the Self defends the survival of its ego is by focusing its attention on its ego in a personally biased way, which leads to the expression of more personally biased self-defensive emotions that emotionally reinforce its self-identification with its ego.

Delusion arises because the Self is defending the survival of its ego as though its existence depends upon it. That’s how the Self emotionally constructs all the false beliefs it believes about itself. Those false beliefs are emotionally constructed in its mind as self-concepts. Expressions of fear and desire are self-defensive emotions that have no other purpose than to defend the survival of the body and the ego. When the Self feels compelled to defend the survival of its body and ego in the virtual reality world that it perceives as though its existence depends upon it, those are the self-defensive emotions the Self will express with its personally biased focus of attention.

Something else weird happens when the Self expresses these emotions and identifies itself with its ego. The self-concept requires the mental construction of a body-based self-image. That personal self-image is always constructed out of memory of past events and anticipation of future events. The construction of a personal self-image requires an emotional projection into either the past or the future. The personal self-image can only be constructed out of the memory or the anticipation of events. The problem is, the Self as a presence of consciousness is only present in the present moment. When the Self emotionally constructs a personal self-image through emotional projection into past or future events, the Self is no longer aware of itself as a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment. That lack of awareness of itself is an essential aspect of how the Self falsely identifies itself with its ego. Memory of the past and anticipation of the future is an aspect of the virtual reality world the Self perceives. As the Self perceives its personal self-image constructed out of memory and anticipation, this leads the Self to identify itself with its ego that can only appear to exist in that virtual reality world.

When the Self emotionally identifies itself with its ego, it feels compelled to defend the survival of its ego as though its existence upon it. All expressions of fear and desire defend the survival of the ego because they defend the survival of the body. The ego really only cares about defending its own survival in the virtual reality world, which is what the Self cares about when it identifies itself with its ego. The most important way the ego defends its survival is by expressing the desire to be in control and to feel powerful. The ego defends its survival in relation to other things that appear in the virtual reality world by expressing the desire to control things and have power over others. The desire to be in control and have power over others is always self-defensive. That’s how the ego defends its survival. The desire to defend itself arises from its fear of death and nonexistence, and the desire to be in control and feel powerful is a denial of death. At its very core, the ego is only motivated by fear and denial.

To awaken to the truth of what you really are, you have to move beyond fear and denial. The way you move beyond your fear and denial of death is by accepting death. The death you have to accept is the death of your ego. Before you can allow your ego to die away, you have to make a thorough examination of your ego and clearly see how your ego is motivated by fear and denial.

The way you move beyond your desire to be in control and defend yourself is through surrender. You have to give up your desire to be in control and defend yourself. When you surrender and give up your personally biased desire to control things and defend yourself, you accept things as they are and come into alignment with the normal flow of things. When you surrender and stop defending yourself, you accept the death of your ego. The way you move beyond the emotional construction of your ego in your mind is by severing emotional attachments. Your emotional attachments are what emotionally relate your personal self-image to the image of other things you perceive in the virtual reality world. You have to become willing to let go before you can move beyond that virtual reality world. When you sever an emotional attachment it feels like something dies inside because part of your emotionally energized ego structure dies away. When you stop emotionally constructing your ego, you stop emotionally projecting yourself into a nonexistent personal past or future. You have to stop doing that before you can know yourself to be a presence of consciousness that only exists in the present moment.

When the Self identifies itself within its ego, the Self is only motivated by fear and denial. This leads straight to delusion since the death the Self fears and denies is the death of its ego, not the true nature of its existence. The true nature of existence of the Self cannot die because it’s never born. The Self can only falsely identify itself with the emotionally animated form of its body and ego that appears in the virtual reality world its perceives. The only true thing the Self can ever know about itself is its own sense of being present or I-Am-ness as a presence of consciousness that exists in the present moment, but even that sense of individual existence is not the true nature of the existence of the Self. The true nature of the existence of the Self is beyond the virtual reality world that the Self perceives and beyond the Self as the perceiver of that virtual reality world. The true nature of existence is called the Source, which is beyond the Self.

When you know your true nature as the Source of the Self, you become enlightened in the sense of perceiving the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the highest possible level of consciousness that can only be described as emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness. When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the Source of that selfless awareness that perceives the Self.

Awakening to the truth of what you really are is about becoming desireless. When you become desireless, you become selfless. That’s how you destroy your ego. The ego can only appear to exist when it enters into a state of emotional conflict. Emotional conflicts are an inherent part of living an embodied life. The body can only appear to survive in the virtual reality world the Self perceives because of the expression of fear and desire, which are always in conflict. At the level of the body, the desire to eat another body is in conflict with the fear of being eaten by another body. Movement toward is always in conflict with movement away. At the level of the ego, this emotional conflict is expressed as the desire to be close to another in conflict with the fear of being controlled by another. There is no possible way to resolve this emotional conflict at the level of motion. The desire to move toward cannot be resolved with the desire to move away. The mental construction of the ego is intrinsically based on the expression of emotions that inherently are in emotional conflict. These emotional conflicts cannot be resolved at the level of motion. Emotional conflicts cannot be resolved at the level of the body.

The only way to resolve emotional conflicts is to become desireless. At the level of the Self, becoming desireless is the same as becoming motionless. The expression of all emotions arises from the motion of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness.  That motion is the nature of expressing emotional energy. The expression of emotions is always in conflict at the level of the body since movement away is always in conflict with movement toward. Emotional conflicts are the nature of how a body-based ego is mentally constructed.

The only way to resolve these emotional conflicts and deconstruct the ego is to become desireless, which at the level of the Self means becoming motionless. When the Self becomes motionless and desireless, it also becomes selfless. Becoming desireless and selfless is the key step that leads to enlightenment. The Source of the Self is motionless, which is like a motionless ocean, and the Self is like a drop of water that moves relative to the ocean. The energy inherent in the motion of the Self creates waves on the surface of the ocean. The Source is a motionless ocean of consciousness, the Self is a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness that moves relative to the ocean, and the waves that appear on the surface of the ocean are a result of that motion. In more modern language, the surface of the ocean is like a computer screen that displays the images of a computer-generated virtual reality. The form of those images are illuminated by the light of consciousness, energized and animated by the motion of the Self, projected from the screen to the point of view of the Self, and perceived by the Self.

When the motion of the Self comes to an end in a desireless and selfless state, the virtual reality world the Self perceives disappears from existence from the point of view of the Self. The virtual reality world disappears from existence since the surface of the ocean disappears when there is no motion. In its true motionless state, the ocean has no surface and is undivided and unlimited. When the motion of the Self comes to an end, the Self returns to this undivided and unlimited state of existence. This motionless state is described as a state of freefall, as in falling into the void. That’s when enlightenment happens. Falling into the void is the nature of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self. Passing through the gateless gate only becomes possible when the Self becomes selfless. When the motion of the Self comes to an end and the Self becomes desireless and selfless, the Self dissolves back into its motionless Source like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. At the level of being, the individual being of the Self dissolves into the undivided and unlimited being of its Source.

When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the Source of that selfless awareness that perceives the Self. You become aware of the Self from the highest level of consciousness. That selfless awareness can only be described as the emptiness, silence, stillness and darkness of the void. In the Vedic language of nonduality, ultimately, Atman is Brahman. In an ultimate state of dissolution, there is no difference between the individual being of Atman and the undivided and unlimited being of Brahman. When you become enlightened, Atman knows itself to be Brahman as Brahman becomes aware of Atman, which is another way to say I Am Brahman.

Brahman is the only Truth, the world is illusion, and ultimately, there is no difference between Atman and Brahman–Shankara

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be–Bhagavad Gita

In the knowledge of the Atman, which is a dark night to the ignorant,
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life, which is darkness to the sage–Bhagavad Gita

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody–Chuang Tzu

Disclaimer

The only purpose of this discussion is to make a map. No matter how good you are at map making, at the end of the day, you’re only making a map. The problem is, a map can only point out travel directions, and if you’re not willing to make the journey, you’re not going anywhere.

The only obstacle to becoming enlightened is the ego. The ego is the only obstacle, the only thing that stands in the way of enlightenment. The ego is what must be destroyed to become enlightened. When delusion is destroyed, only the truth remains. The problem is, the ego is only like a costume we wear, and it’s not enough to destroy the costume to become enlightened. What really needs to be destroyed is that part of us that identifies itself with the ego. What really needs to be destroyed is our own sense of being a Self, our own sense of individual existence. The Self is what identifies itself with the ego. The Self is an untruth. When the Self is destroyed, only the truth of existence remains. When the Self is destroyed, we can see it never really existed. If you’re going for the truth, you’re not taking anything with you, not even your own Self.

Final Thoughts

Only what has independent existence is real. Individual existence is an illusion because it does not have independent existence. The illusion of individual existence is dependent on the reality of the independent existence of undivided existence. In other words, Brahman, as the source of Atman, is the only truth. Only Brahman, undivided existence, is truly independent and truly real.

There is no such thing as individual freedom. The expression of individual free will, which is the illusion of being a doer at the level of an emotionally animated body, is bondage because it leads to self-identification with a body, and the behaviors of the body are motivated by fear and denial. The expression of individual will only leads to bondage and fear, and there is no freedom in that.

Beyond the Present Moment

Is there anything beyond the present moment? Does a dog have Buddha nature? Yes and no, but no matter how you answer this question, you lose your own Buddha nature. At the level of the body, the answer is no. The body can only disappear from existence. At the level of the Self, the answer is yes. The individual being of the Self can dissolve back into undivided being. Whether you answer this question yes or no, you lose your own Buddha nature. Atman, the Self, the sense of individual existence at the level of I Am, only exists in the present moment. Beyond the present moment is Brahman, the Source of Atman, the void of undivided existence.

You have to be present in the present moment to ask and answer questions. When you go beyond the present moment, into the void, no questions can be asked and no questions can be answered.

When you go beyond the present moment and your individual being dissolves into the void of undivided being, you experience eternity. When you come back to the present moment from the timeless experience of eternity, the present moment becomes an eternal now.

The Holy Grail as a Metaphor for Spiritual Enlightenment

People just don’t get the metaphors. The T S Eliot epic poem The Wasteland is based on the grail legend. People want to make their spiritual metaphors into something concrete so they don’t have to look at what the metaphor is really pointing to. In Christianity, the grail metaphor has been corrupted into the idea of a chalice that Christ used at the last supper, but this is just a way to misunderstand what the metaphor is pointing to. In the grail legend, the wasteland refers to the waste of time and energy you spend when you look for the grail in the wrong place. The grail is a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment, which is best understood as returning to the Source of the light of consciousness. The light of consciousness is what illuminates the world. When you look for the grail in the illuminated world, you’re looking in the wrong place and you’re wasting your time and energy. You’re looking in the wasteland. You have to look into the Source of the light of consciousness, which can only be described as the darkness. When Genesis says that God divided the light from the darkness, the light refers to the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the darkness refers to the Source of the light of consciousness. Genesis refers to the motion of the Self in relation to the surface of the ocean when it says the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. The deep refers to the Source as an ocean of consciousness. The face of the deep refers to the surface that displays all images of the illuminated world. That world is void and formless and in darkness until illuminated by the light of consciousness. If you want to discover the grail and return to the Source, you have to look in the darkness. Don’t be like the man who loses his keys in the darkness but decides to look under a lamp post because the light is better there. Be like Neo in the Matrix. Put on your dark glasses and look in the darkness.

Burning, burning, burning, burning, O Lord, Thou pluckest me out–The Fire Sermon

If you look long enough into the darkness, you become the darkness. In that self-destructive process of becoming the darkness, you destroy the Self that illuminates its own world. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality game, you refuse to play the game. When you withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality world, you stop illuminating that world. When the light of consciousness is extinguished and all illuminated things disappear from existence, only the darkness, silence, emptiness and absolute nothingness of the void remains. When you become the darkness, you also become enlightened as you become aware of the illuminating Self. You know yourself to be the Source of the Self that illuminates its own world.

If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss also stares into you–Nietzsche

The Ending of the Matrix Explained

At the end of the first Matrix, Neo undergoes a death-rebirth transformation. He can clearly see the Matrix for what it really is: a computer-generated virtual reality. He can see the data for that virtual reality is encoded on the walls of the room he appears to be in, which is the boundary of the world he perceives, just like a holographic screen. When he sees the Matrix for what it really is, he is seeing things from a higher level of consciousness. This born again experience is a necessary step in his awakening, but is not the final awakening.

At the end of the third Matrix, Neo undergoes the final awakening. The Oracle tells him that Agent Smith is his alter-ego. What she means is that Agent Smith represents the negative energies while Neo represents the positive energies. The Oracle also tells him that she is helping him because they’re all in it together and she wants them to get along. She wants peace. At the end of the story, Neo’s positive energies annihilate with Smith’s negative energies like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair that annihilates back into the vacuum. The positive energies annihilate with the negative energies back into nothingness. That’s how Neo destroys his Self. The Self is his consciousness identified with his ego. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed. The Self identified with ego is a thing. The One is No-thing or No-self. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed and he becomes No-thing. The Oracle also tells Neo that Everything that has a beginning has an end. Only the One has no beginning and no end because it is not-a-thing. In his final awakening, Neo has to surrender and sacrifice his Self to end the war. Self-sacrifice literally means to make the Self sacred. The Self becomes sacred when it is destroyed. That’s how the Self becomes the One. That’s how Neo awakens and ends the war. This final awakening is the end of the war, which is a war you fight with your Self to destroy your Self. When the war is over, there is peace. In that peace, there is harmony between the expression of positive and negative energies because your individual will is no longer being expressed. It is all an expression of divine will. You no longer express individual will because you no longer are an individual. You are the One. That is the only way peace is really possible.

Why the Cross is a Powerful Symbol

At the end of the Matrix, after Neo sacrifices his Self and the war comes to an end, the machines say It is done. You are only done with your awakening process when you become selfless. That is the only way you can become the One. You have to become selfless and destroy your Self before you can become the One. You have to become willing to undergo a process of Self-sacrifice, which is symbolized by your willingness to get up on your own cross and sacrifice your Self. The cross is a symbol for crossing over to the other side that occurs when you become the One. The virtual reality side of that crossing over is characterized by self and other. The concept of self and other only exists in the dualistic reality of a world, which is a virtual reality. The concept of self and other only arises as the Self perceives things in that world. The concept of Self is what is destroyed and dies when you cross over to the other side, which is an ego or I-death. The other side of the absolute nothingness of nondual reality has no concept of self and other. All is One.

The Matrix Cannot Tell You Who You Are

If we think of the physical world as a computer-generated virtual reality, no perception of the physical world can tell you anything about the true nature of the perceiver of that virtual reality. Every perception of the virtual reality is no more real than the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of the perceiver and the animation of that image in the flow of energy. No matter how real that virtual reality looks and feels, no perception can tell you anything about the true nature of the perceiver. No perception can tell you anything about who is actually playing the virtual reality game. A virtual reality can never tell you who you are.

The flow of time and the flow of energy are two sides of the same coin, but the flow of energy is more fundamental than the flow of time. The perceiver always exists in the present moment. In the present moment, the perceiver can perceive the images of things projected from the computer screen to its point of view in that moment and the flow of energy that connects two moments and animates those images. That flow of energy is perceived as emotional energy in the sense of an emotional body feeling. Emotional energy is what animates the form of a body over the course of time. The flow of time is only perceived as an emotional projection from the present moment that gives rise to the perception of the memory of the past and the anticipation of the future. We only perceive the flow of time because we make emotional projections to the past and future.

When you become motionless and stop expressing that emotional energy, you stop making emotional projections into the past and future. You can only know yourself as you exist in the present moment. That’s when enlightenment happens. Your Individual being dissolves back into its motionless source of undivided and unlimited being. When you become motionless, you become desireless and selfless. What you see in that desireless state is that your own light of consciousness is illuminating your virtual reality world. When you become motionless and stop animating that virtual reality world, you also turn off the light of your own consciousness and stop illuminating that world. That’s when you return to the darkness, stillness, silence and emptiness that is the ultimate nature of your existence and the source of everything you can experience as things appear to come into existence in the virtual reality world you perceive.

Enlightenment is the result of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self, but you only pass through the gateless gate when the Self becomes selfless. You have to focus your attention on your own sense of being a Self as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of I-Am-ness or being present, but you also have to become selfless, which means you have to destroy your ego and become desireless. The reason you have to destroy your ego is because the Self identifies itself with the ego. Self-identification is the nature of delusion. You have to destroy your ego, which is your personal self-concept, before you can become selfless.

Ultimately, you have to destroy your own sense of being a Self, which is your own sense of individual existence. The final step in the process of destroying delusion is to destroy your own sense of being a Self. That’s when enlightenment occurs. Individual being dissolves into undivided being. The Self dissolves into No-self. When you become enlightened, you become aware of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. You become aware of the Self from the darkness, silence, stillness, emptiness and nothingness of the void.

That darkness is the Source of the light of consciousness that illuminates the world and the Source of the Self as a moving point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness. When you become enlightened, you can turn off the light of consciousness and stop illuminating the world you perceive. You do that by withdrawing your attention away from the world you perceive. When you stop illuminating the world, you return to the darkness. When you become enlightened, you know yourself to be the darkness of the Source, not the illuminating Self.

There’s a paradox here, which Shankara expressed as Atman is Brahman. Ultimately, Atman dissolves into Brahman, which is to say Brahman is the Source of Atman, just like the ocean is the source of a drop of water that ultimately returns to and dissolves into the ocean. Atman knows itself to be Brahman when Brahman becomes aware of Atman. That’s what you know when you become enlightened, which happens when you pass through the gateless gate. The experience of becoming enlightened is the experience of individual being dissolving into undivided being. That happens when you return to the darkness, stillness, silence and emptiness.

Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment–Buddha

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Being It versus Being In It

Being It versus Being In It

Being it versus being in it sums up the journey from delusion to enlightenment. When you believe you’re in it, when you believe you’re something you can perceive in it, that’s the nature of delusion. You believe a false belief about yourself. The subtlety that most seekers don’t get is that the Self, as the perceiver of things, is a part of the delusion. Self in the sense of the individual being of the perceiver, called I Am, is itself an untruth. You can only know the truth when you have the direct experience of being it. You can’t know the truth by perceiving the truth. The Self cannot know the truth. The Self is an untruth. You can only know the truth by being the truth.

What is it? It is the true nature of being. Knowing the truth is synonymous with being it. To know it is to be it. You cannot know it at the level of something you can perceive or any concept you can conceptualize. It is not conceptual or perceivable in nature. It can only be described in terms of negation. That’s why it is described as the absolute nothingness of the Void. When you believe you are something in it, something you can conceptualize or perceive, you’re suffering from delusion. Before you can conceptualize or perceive anything, you have to have a Self that perceives and conceptualizes things. That’s why the Self is part of the delusion.

The ultimate reality of the Void creates everything that can be perceived or conceptualized as a virtual reality. That creation occurs within the true nature of the Void. The ultimate reality of the Void is unlimited and undivided, while the created virtual reality is limited and divided. The Void creates the virtual reality for its Self so that the Self can have the experience of perceiving the virtual reality, but in that process of creation, the Self must divide itself from the Void. The Self is the perceiver of the virtual reality. When the Self believes it is a part of the virtual reality, it suffers from delusion. When the Self returns to and reunites itself with the Void, delusion comes to an end and enlightenment is experienced, but the Self does not become enlightened. When enlightenment is experienced, the illusion of individual being ceases to exist and only the reality of undivided being exists. Only the true nature of being exists.

Self is an untruth, both at the level of all mentally constructed self-concepts the Self believes about itself and at the level of the Self as a presence of consciousness called I Am that believes its self-concepts. The Self and its self-concepts are inextricably entangled and cannot come into existence independently of each other. Self is an untruth because both its mentally constructed self-concepts are false and its belief in them is false. False self-concepts can only be created in the mind because the Self falsely believes in them. The core self-concept the Self believes about itself is its concept of individual existence, which is its own sense of I-Am-ness. The Self cannot come into existence without its core sense of I-Am-ness. That is its core self-concept. This core self-concept, I Am, must be expressed before any other self-concept, like the concept of personal self-identification, I am a person, can be expressed. When the Self stops believing in all of its self-concepts, including this core self-concept of its individual existence, the Self destroys itself. The Self self-destructs without its core self-concept. The false concept of individual existence disappears from existence and only the truth of undivided existence remains.

Enlightenment is simply the end of delusion. Truth is what remains when the false is destroyed. Enlightenment is only experienced when the Self is destroyed. The Self is an untruth and cannot become enlightened. The journey from delusion to enlightenment is simply the end of the false belief you have about yourself that you’re in it and brings to an end the false belief of being in it. Enlightenment is the direct experience of being it. The true nature of that being has no Self.

I am it as the unlimited & undivided ultimate reality of the Void. I’m in it at the limited & divided level of the virtual reality the Void creates for its Self. The truth of being can only be discovered in the ultimate reality of the Void, not in the virtual reality the Void creates for its Self.

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be – Bhagavad Gita

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

That Being is void.
-Osho

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time, effortlessly and spontaneously.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation nothing is perceived. The root idea is I Am. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas which in their totality constitute God’s world. The I Am remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

All limited existence is imaginary.
Even space and time are imaginary.
Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not limited.
All limitation is imaginary.
Only the unlimited is real.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

The state of pure witnessing is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains.

There is no such thing as an expression of reality. Neither action nor feeling nor thought express reality. I know that life itself is only a make-believe. I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.

The unreal appears to be real only because you believe in it. You impart reality to it by taking it to be real. Doubt it and it ceases.

Self-identifications are patently false and the cause of bondage.

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

You create bondage when you desire and fear and identify yourself with your feelings.

It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

You must remove the wall. Realize that the wall and both sides of it are one single space.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically.
Scrutinize every idea about it.
Everything must be scrutinized and the unnecessary ruthlessly destroyed.
There cannot be too much destruction.
For in reality nothing is of value.

Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being.

Even the sense I Am is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek.

The witness only registers events. All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense I Am dissolves. There is no I Am without the mind.

In silence, or void or abeyance, the three-experiencer, experiencing, experience-are not. Unidentified being remains.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own, you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness. It is not difficult but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the truth so difficult to see. Discard what is not your own until nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left is nothing.

In reality nothing happens. Nothing happens to space itself. In pure consciousness nothing ever happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go as light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the pictures.

All that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness.
I Am in and beyond that consciousness.
I Am in it as the witness.
I Am beyond it as Being.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

Absolute reality imparts reality to whatever comes into being.
It is the very source of reality.
It is what is, pure being, the timeless reality.
It is not perceivable; it is what makes perception possible.

Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space.

Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.

Do nothing. There is nothing to do. Just be.
To be, you must be nobody.
You make yourself mortal by taking yourself to be a body.
That which is alive in you is immortal.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Reality is essentially alone.
To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody – Chuang Tzu

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Postscript

There is only One consciousness, which in its true ultimate state is the absolute nothingness of the Void. The One consciousness creates a virtual reality within its true unlimited and undivided nature for its Self to experience, and expresses diversity in that virtual reality with the creation of many forms, each form a body that expresses a personality as the body is emotionally energized. Each form or personality is anchored to the central point of view of its own Self, which perceives the virtual reality. This act of creation is like the creation of a virtual reality game on a computer screen. The images of the virtual reality game can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The images are forms of information that are projected from the screen to the perceiver’s point of view and are animated in the flow of energy through the computer. Each point of view perceives the images of its own virtual reality on its own computer screen, but a consensual reality is created due to information sharing among overlapping computer screens. The One consciousness creates the virtual reality game by creating the computer screen, which it does as it creates energy and information. What we call the laws of nature are simply the computational rules of the computer that govern the operation of the virtual reality game.

The virtual reality game is a state of consciousness that is created within the true nature of consciousness, which is the ultimate nature of reality. The role the Self plays in this act of creation is to divide itself from its Source. Individual consciousness must divide itself from One consciousness to perceive and play its role in the virtual reality game. Delusion arises when the Self emotionally identifies itself with the form of its personality in the virtual reality game it plays and perceives. Delusion is a state of feeling emotionally self-limited to that emotionally animated form, which arises from the perception of emotions. Enlightenment occurs when the Self refuses to play the game and emotions are no longer expressed. In that desireless state, the perceiver’s virtual reality disappears from existence from its own point of view. The Self destroys itself at an individual level and returns to its true undivided state of One consciousness.

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Welcome to the Matrix

Welcome to the Matrix: An Exploration of the Connection Between Spirituality and Modern Physics

The easiest way to understand the nature of spirituality is to understand the nature of your own consciousness. The first thing to be clear about is that your consciousness isn’t something that it can perceive. Your consciousness is what is perceiving things. That perception of things can always be understood as arising from a point of view. In a very real sense, your consciousness always arises at a focal point of consciousness. That focal point of consciousness can always be understood as a presence of consciousness that carries with itself its own sense of being present.

In the Bible, that sense of being present is called I Am. When Moses asks the Burning Bush its name, the answer is I Am That I Am. In the book of Psalms, that sense of being present is referred to as Be Still and Know that I Am. When Jesus says Before Abraham was, I Am, he is referring to the sense of being present as a presence of consciousness. This sense of being present not only refers to the nature of consciousness as a perceiving presence, but also as an illuminating presence. A presence of consciousness isn’t only perceiving things in its own world from its own point of view, but is also illuminating things in its own world. This illuminating presence of consciousness is often referred to as the light of consciousness. The Burning Bush in the book of Exodus is a metaphor for the light of consciousness. When the book of Genesis says God divided the light from the darkness, this again refers to the light of consciousness. When Jesus says I Am the Light, this again refers to the light of consciousness. Just as the Burning Bush is a metaphor for the light of consciousness, climbing Mount Sinai is a metaphor for achieving a higher level of consciousness. The very idea of Exodus, as in freedom from bondage, is a metaphor for the freedom one achieves when a presence of consciousness realizes the truth of what it really is. That’s what Jesus meant with the saying the truth shall set you free.

There is always a reciprocal relationship between the light of consciousness that illuminates things and the presence of consciousness that arises at a point of view as it perceives things in its own world. The best analogy is the light of a movie projector that is illuminating the images of a movie on a movie screen. Those images are then reflected from the screen to the point of view of an observer in the movie audience that perceives those images. The light of consciousness is always arising at the same focal point of consciousness as the point of view of the observer. The observer is illuminating things in its own world as it shines the light of consciousness on the screen, and is then perceiving things as the images of things are reflected back to its own point of view. This reciprocal relation between illuminating things and perceiving things always arises in relation to a screen that arises in relation to a focal point of consciousness.

The light of consciousness that illuminates things in its own world is inherently related to the focus of attention of a presence of consciousness that perceives things in its own world. The observer is focusing its attention wherever it shines the light of consciousness. Whatever the observer focuses its attention on is what it perceives. Things are only perceived if the observer focuses its attention on those things. The observer must illuminate those things by shining its light on those things before the observer can perceive those things. Where it shines its light is where it focuses its attention. Only a focal point of consciousness can focus its attention.

The observer’s focus of attention is related to another aspect of the observer called energy. It’s common knowledge that to accomplish any action in this world, you have to focus your time, energy and attention on that action. Before you can do anything in this world, you have to be focused on that task. The observer always carries with itself its own energy as it focuses its attention on things in its world and perceives those things. The observer’s expression of energy is a necessary aspect of carrying out actions and doing things in its world. At the level of the observer as a focal point of consciousness, that energy can be understood as the motion of that point of view. In a very real sense, the focal point of consciousness is undergoing vibratory motion as it expresses its own energy. The observer’s expression of energy is consciousness in motion in the sense of the vibratory motion of that focal point of consciousness.

There is a peculiar relationship between the screen that displays images of the observer’s world and the observer’s focal point of consciousness that illuminates and perceives those images. In the book of Genesis, this relationship is described as the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. Genesis says that when God created the world, the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, until the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters, and the light was divided from the darkness. There are a number of metaphors here that need to be unpacked. The first metaphor is what the darkness, the deep, the void, or the waters refer to.

These metaphors all refer to the ocean of consciousness. The Spirit of God is like a drop of water that arises from the ocean. In the sense that the ocean of consciousness is an infinite void, the Spirit of God is a focal point of consciousness. When that focal point of consciousness moves relative to the motionless nature of the ocean of consciousness, the ocean appears to have a surface from the point of view of that particular observer. That surface is what the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep is referring to. The surface of the ocean only arises because the observer is in a state of motion relative to the unmoving ocean. That surface is what acts as a screen that displays images of the observer’s world, which are called forms. Without the energy of the observer’s motion, they are no forms. Those images or forms  must be illuminated, which is why the light of consciousness must be divided from the darkness of the void.

At this point, many people will object to the idea that the perception of things in this world is like the perception of the images of a movie projected from a movie screen, but this is where people are simply wrong and where modern physics comes into the story. Modern physics says the perception of things in this world by an observer is exactly like the perception of the images of a movie projected from a movie screen to the observer’s own point of view. This idea about the perception of things in terms of projected images is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. Modern physics explains where the surface of the ocean comes from in terms of a holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated reference frame. The face of the deep is literally an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

This idea about the true nature of the perception of things is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. The history of the holographic principle goes back to the early 1970’s when John Wheeler and Jacob Bekenstein were trying to understand what happens to the information content of an object when that object is thrown into a black hole. A black hole is defined by an event horizon, which is a spherical surface in space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape away from the black hole. An observer that perceives things from a stationary point of view outside the event horizon of a black hole cannot see anything beyond the event horizon because a light ray that originates inside the event horizon cannot cross the horizon and escape away from the black hole. In technical terms, the escape velocity at the event horizon is the speed of light, and since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, nothing inside the event horizon can ever cross the horizon and escape away from the black hole. Everything that tries to escape gets sucked back into the black hole by the force of gravity.

Black Hole

A problem arises when we try to understand the force of gravity as due to the exchange of a quantum particle called the graviton between other massive particles the same way we’re able to understand the electromagnetic force as due to the exchange of the quantum particle called the photon between electrically charged particles. The exchange of a quantum particle between other particles like electrons implies there is a space-time geometry within which that particle can propagate. In order to formulate the quantum field theory of electromagnetism in this way, we have to assume there is a background space-time geometry of flat Minkowski space within which the photon can propagate. A problem arises when we try to understand the graviton in the same way. The graviton is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, but to understand the graviton as the quantum particle of the gravitational field, we have to assume that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space, since that is the only way we can formulate quantum field theory. There is something logically inconsistent with assuming that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space while it also gives a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of the gravitational force.

The other problem with trying to understand gravity as a quantum field theory is the problem of black holes. A black hole is a region of space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. That region of space is defined by a bounding surface of space called an event horizon. At the event horizon, the velocity of escape from the black hole, called escape velocity, is the speed of light. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in relativity theory, nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light.

The event horizon of a black hole is a special spherical surface where the velocity of escape from that surface is the speed of light. Einstein’s theory of relativity determines the radius of the event horizon in terms of the mass of the black hole, which is called the Schwarzschild radius.

Schwarzschild Radius of the Event Horizon of a Black Hole

The event horizon of a black hole is always defined in an observer’s frame of reference, which is a coordinate system with an observer at the origin or central point of view of that coordinate system. An observer always measures its own space-time geometry in that coordinate system. The observer measures distances in space and intervals in time between events that take place in its own frame of reference or coordinate system that defines its own space-time geometry. The space-time metric is a way of mathematically representing those measurements of distances in space and intervals in time. At the event horizon of a black hole, those measurements break down. Nothing can be measured by the observer beyond the event horizon of the black hole. The observer’s own space-time geometry breaks down at the event horizon of the black hole. The observer can measure nothing beyond the event horizon, which is to say the event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. That limitation arises from the finite nature of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. That limitation also arises because the speed of light is the same for all observers independent of their relative states of motion.

We normally think that the event horizon of a black hole is created by the force of gravity that arises from the mass of the black hole, but that is not quite correct. The event horizon of a black hole is an observer-dependent observation. The effects of the event horizon of a black hole only appear to an accelerating observer when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. It is only an accelerating observer in an accelerated frame of reference that observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. An observer in a freely falling frame of reference observes no effects of the event horizon. As far as the freely falling observer is concerned, there is no event horizon. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon.

In relativity theory, this distinction between the different effects that different observers observe in different accelerated frames of reference is called the principle of equivalence. This principle says there is no way to distinguish the effects of a force from the effects of an acceleration. The exertion of a force is always equivalent to an acceleration. Any force, like the force of gravity, is equivalent to an observer’s acceleration, like an observer in a rocket-ship that accelerates through space. This equivalence specifically applies to the effects observed by an accelerating observer. An accelerating observer observes the same effects as those caused by the exertion of a force. In no significant way can the force of gravity be distinguished from an observer’s acceleration. An accelerating observer observes the same effects of gravity as caused by the exertion of a force.

Principle of Equivalence

In terms of the event horizon of a black hole, the effects of the event horizon are only observed by an accelerating observer that remains in a stationary position outside the event horizon of the black hole. An observer that hovers in a stationary position just outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration as that caused by the force of gravity that pulls the observer into the black hole. It is as though the observer is in a rocket-ship that accelerates away from the black hole in order to maintain its stationary position. This acceleration defines the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. A freely falling observer that falls into the black hole observes no effects of an event horizon.

The effects of the event horizon of a black hole are solely observer-dependent effects that arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes them. This is odd, since at the event horizon of the black hole, the observer’s space-time geometry appears to break down. For example, the effect of time dilation appears to become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, it appears that for the things that fall into the black hole, it takes an infinite amount of time for those things to approach the event horizon, and they never really cross the horizon. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, nothing ever actually crosses the event horizon as things appear to fall into the black hole. As observed by the accelerating observer, everything that falls into the black hole seems to get stuck at the event horizon since it takes an infinite amount of time for things to approach the event horizon. For the freely falling observer, there is no effect of time dilation or an event horizon. The things that fall into the black hole with the freely falling observer just fall into the black hole unimpeded by an event horizon.

This breakdown of an accelerating observer’s space-time geometry at the event horizon of a black hole has profound consequences when we try to quantize the gravitational field the same way we quantize any other quantum field theory. Like the effect of time dilation at the event horizon that tells us that time intervals between events become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, the problem has to do with the measurement of distances. The bottom line is that there is a smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. This smallest possible distance scale is called the Planck length. The basic problem is that in quantum theory, the way we measure any distance scale is by scattering a quantum particle, like a photon of light, off of whatever object we are trying to measure. If we want to accurately measure the distance scale of that object, we have to use an appropriate amount of energy inherent in the photon of light. The energy of the photon is given in terms of its frequency as E=hf. This relation between energy and frequency is what defines the photon as a quantum particle or excitation of the electromagnetic field. The photon’s frequency is related to its wavelength in terms of the speed of light as f=c/λ, and so the photon’s energy is given in terms of its wavelength as E=hc/λ.

The way we measure the distance scale of an object is by matching the photon’s wavelength to the object’s distance scale. This means we have to use higher energy photons to measure smaller objects. For example, we can visualize a biological cell with an ordinary light microscope, but if we want to visualize a virus, we need to use an electron microscope. The wavelength of light generated by an electron microscope is in the range of x-rays, which is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Correspondingly, an x-ray photon carries much more energy than a visible light photon. The smaller the object we want to measure, the higher the energy and the smaller the wavelength of the photon we need to use to make that measurement.

The problem is that when we combine quantum theory with gravity, we discover that there is a smallest possible distance scale that we can measure. Since energy is equivalent to mass as E=Mc2, if we concentrate enough energy into a small enough distance scale or region of space, we create a black hole. Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that this distance scale is defined by the radius of an event horizon given in terms of the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. If this distance scale is set equal to the wavelength of a photon of energy E=hc/λ, where R≈ℓ≈λ and E is given in terms of the mass of a black hole, then the distance scale ℓ at which a black hole must form is approximately given as ℓ≈hG/ℓc3. The Planck length is defined by ℓ2=ħG/c3.

Planck Length

The Planck length is the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. If we try to measure smaller distance scales, we concentrate so much energy into such a small region of space that we create a black hole. If we concentrate even more energy into an even smaller region of space, we only make the black hole bigger. The event horizon of a black hole is a limitation on our ability to measure things in space since nothing is observable beyond the limits of an event horizon as observed by an accelerating stationary observer outside the event horizon. In effect, just like infinite time dilation at the event horizon, the event horizon is a breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry. This breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry beyond the limits of the event horizon is reflected in a smallest possible measurable distance scale. The Planck length as the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured by an accelerating observer signifies this breakdown in the observer’s measurement of its own space-time geometry.

The logical inconsistency of all attempts to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory or to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory reflects this breakdown in an accelerating observer’s ability to measure its space-time geometry beyond the limits of an event horizon or to measure distance scales smaller than the Planck length. Due to this intrinsic limitation imposed on an accelerating observer by the effects of gravity in terms of measuring its own space-time geometry, it is not possible to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory. This means all attempts to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory are doomed to failure. The problem boils down to the very nature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories are not consistent with gravity because they’re not consistent with the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories can only be defined in gravity-free flat Minkowski space. On the other hand, the curvature of space-time geometry is not consistent with quantum field theory. Putting gravity and quantum theory together implies the breakdown of space-time geometry as reflected by the Planck length, which is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

This state of affairs was an impasse that theoretical physics faced until John Wheeler and Jacob Bekenstein tried a new approach to solve the problem of unification. The new approach was to think of gravity in terms of thermodynamics. The bottom line was to think of the law of gravity not as a fundamental thing, but more like a thermodynamic equation of state, like the ideal gas law or the equation for sound waves. In other words, there was something more fundamental than the law of gravity, something more fundamental that underlies the law of gravity. Wheeler and Bekenstein had the idea that this more fundamental thing was a quantized bit of information.

The big question they had was about where or how the quantized bits of information that underlie the effects of gravity are encoded. The big clue they had was to consider the role played by the event horizon of a black hole. They imagined a photon of light falling into a black hole. They wanted to consider the simplest possible photon, a photon characterized by a single quantized bit of information. That quantized bit of information can be understood as the polarization state of the photon, which can be circularly polarized in either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise direction relative to the direction of motion of the photon. The circular polarization of the photon in either a right-handed or left-handed state represents the spin state of the photon, similar to a spin ½ particle that can only spin in either a spin up or spin down state. This spin state represents a single quantized bit of information encoded in a binary code.

In order to make the photon as simple as possible and to carry no other information other than its spin state, the wavelength of the photon was assumed to be the same size as the radius of an event horizon of a black hole. As this photon fell into the black hole, only a single quantized bit of information was added to the black hole. The question they wanted to answer was about the black hole’s entropy, which is the total number of quantized bits of information that characterize the black hole. They also wanted to know where those bits of information were encoded.

Wheeler and Bekenstein were interested in the information content of objects thrown into a black hole. What happens to that information? The first thing to be clear about is that all objects are characterized by their information content. To return to the analogy of images projected from a computer screen, the information content of the images arises from the way bits of information are encoded on the computer screen. The computer screen is composed of pixels, and each pixel encodes a single bit of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s, which is physically encoded in terms of electronic switches that are either on or off. This kind of binary encoding of bits of information is also true for elementary particles, like a photon or an electron. In quantum theory, an elementary particle is characterized by certain quantities, like its mass, electric charge and energy, which is quantized in terms of the frequency of vibration of its wave function as E=hf. The elementary particle is also characterized by its spin angular momentum, which is also quantized. For the spin ½ electron, its value of spin is quantized as either spin up or spin down, like a spinning top that spins in the clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. For the massless spin 1 photon that must travel at the speed of light, its value of spin is also quantized in terms of its polarization state as either right-handed or left-handed spin relative to its direction of motion.

Spin State

Both the photon and the electron carry a single quantized bit of information given in terms of its spin state, which is encoded in a binary code just like a computer switch that is either on or off. This quantized bit of information is called a qubit, which in quantum theory can be understood in terms of the mathematical formulation of matrices. A 2×2 SU(2) matrix gives a mathematical representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but also encodes information in a binary code in terms of its two eigenvalues, which are like a spin ½ particle that can only spin up or spin down or a massless spin 1 particle that can only spin in a right-handed or a left-handed polarization state. In terms of quantum theory, the two eigenvalues of the matrix are entangled, which is what preserves their rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere. In quantum gravity, the smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single quantized bit of information on the surface of a sphere is a Planck size event horizon, which explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on the Surface of a Sphere

Bekenstein asked what happens to a single quantized bit of information when it’s thrown into a black hole. What he discovered surprised him. It is as though the event horizon of the black hole encodes bits of information on pixels, like a computer screen. Each pixel on the screen encodes a single quantized bit of information. When a single quantized bit of information is thrown into the black hole, the event horizon of the black hole increases in size by a single pixel.

The calculation performed by Bekenstein was only an approximation based on very general principles. Stephen Hawking was able to perform a more exact calculation, and found essentially the same thing. The number of quantized bits of information that characterize a black hole is given in terms of the surface area A of the event horizon of the black hole as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is called the Planck area. It is as though every four Planck areas on the surface of the event horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a single quantized bit of information. In terms of the idea of matrices encoding this information, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric event horizon are given in terms of the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix. The surface area of the event horizon is equivalent to the number of pixels or qubits encoded on the horizon. In a very real sense, space-time geometry is being created from information.

Black Hole Entropy

The Hawking calculation was confusing, and unlike Wheeler and Bekenstein, Hawking was not willing to characterize the event horizon of a black hole in terms of pixels. This confusion persisted for about 20 years until Leonard Susskind and Gerard ‘t Hooft again reconsidered characterizing the event horizon of a black hole in terms of pixels, with each pixel encoding a single quantized bit of information. They called this idea the holographic principle.

Holographic Principle

The holographic principle was a speculative idea, but was based on very general and widely accepted principles of modern physics. This speculative idea gained credibility when the exact mathematics of string theory confirmed it in a concrete example. This example is called the AdS/CFT correspondence, which proves that it is possible to mathematically construct a holographic world. The boundary of that holographic world is an event horizon, just like the event horizon of a black hole. This boundary arises with a negative cosmological constant, which in the sense of relativity theory gives rise to the accelerated contraction of space. The event horizon is a bounding surface of space. Within that bounded space, the force of gravity is active, and is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. On the boundary of that space, there is no force of gravity, only a quantum field theory. This quantum field theory is a super-symmetric version of an SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces, but has the special properties of a conformal field theory.

In the language of quantum theory, the boundary of AdS is described by a conformal field theory that is characterized by qubits of information. There is no force of gravity on the boundary. The interior of AdS is characterized by the force of gravity as described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. This is an explicit demonstration of a holographic world. All the qubits of information characterizing that world are encoded on the boundary of that world. The interior of that world is characterized by the force of gravity, but there is no gravity on the boundary. The boundary of AdS is only characterized by a conformal field theory, which essentially is reducible to qubits of information, while the interior of AdS is characterized by gravity as described by 11-dimensional super-gravity, which is a low energy limit of M-theory.

At this point, many people will object that our world is not AdS, but this objection is again simply wrong. Our world is characterized by de Sitter space. Around the same time that Susskind and ‘t Hooft proposed the holographic principle in the mid 1990’s, astronomers were trying to get a handle on the expansion of the universe. The idea of the big bang assumes that the universe is expanding from the moment of its creation, which is like an outward explosion from a single point. If that expansion is opposed by the attractive force of gravity, that expansion should be slowing down. That’s what astronomers expected to find. Instead, what they discovered is the expansion is speeding up. The expansion is accelerating. In relativity theory, this expansion is understood in terms of a positive cosmological constant, which gives rise to the accelerated expansion of space. The astronomers were actually measuring a positive cosmological constant.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

The reason the accelerated expansion of space is important is because that expansion gives rise to the boundary of the observable universe. From the point of view of an observer at the center of its own observable universe, that boundary is an event horizon called a cosmic horizon. From the point of view of the observer at the central point of view, space expands away from the observer at the speed of light at the boundary of that cosmic horizon, and so nothing is observable beyond the observer’s cosmic horizon. The strange thing about relativity theory and the accelerated expansion of space that arises with a positive cosmological constant, is that every observer is at the center of its own observable world, which is bounded by the observer’s own cosmic horizon.

Accelerated Expansion of Space

In relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than the central point of view of that observable world. Just like for the event horizon of a black hole, or for the boundary of AdS that is characterized by the qubits of information encoded by a conformal field theory, the boundary of that world encodes qubits of information for everything that can be observed in that observable world. The observer’s cosmic horizon encodes all the qubits of information for that world.

Even without the accelerated expansion of space, any observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. In the general case of an accelerating observer, this event horizon is called a Rindler horizon. By the very fact of the observer’s acceleration, nothing is observable beyond this horizon since a light ray that originates on the other side of the horizon can never cross the horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

The observations of things by an accelerating observer are always limited by an event horizon. In relativity theory, the accelerating observer is described as being in an accelerated frame of reference, but that frame of reference is only a coordinate system with the accelerating observer at the origin or central point of view of that coordinate system. Relativity theory in the sense of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric only describes the space-time geometry the observer observes in its own frame of reference. The force of gravity is nothing more than the curvature of that space-time geometry that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

If the holographic principle is applied to the observer’s event horizon, then all the qubits of information that characterize all the observable things the observer can observe in its own space-time geometry are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. That’s the essential nature of the holographic principle, which tells us the observer’s observable world is very much like a computer-generated virtual reality displayed on a computer screen. All the qubits of information that characterize all the observable things the observer can observe in its own observable world are encoded on the observer’s own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

There are still some minor points we need to clean up to have a complete explanation. How do we understand the energy inherent in the observer’s acceleration? Where do the laws of physics come from? Why does that computer-generated virtual reality seem to obey computational rules?

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. The laws of thermodynamics are not really laws of physics, but rather very general statistical relations that specify how thermal energy flows from hotter to colder objects in terms of the dynamical degrees of freedom of those objects. This specifies how objects carry thermal energy, which is understood as the random kinetic energy of those objects. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental nature of the dynamical degrees of freedom of all objects are qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen, which is the nature of the entropy that characterizes those objects. The holographic principle gives entropy in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen as S=kn. The fundamental reason for this thermodynamic relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature at thermal equilibrium. The laws of thermodynamics assume thermal equilibrium. Each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good answer, as Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have both demonstrated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between all matter particles also obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks a lot like 11-dimensional super-gravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. It makes no sense to try to understand the nature of the physical universe in terms of equations that are not fundamental and only give an approximate thermal average description of the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon. The normal flow of heat in the thermal gradient created as the observer’s world increases in size with the expansion of space explains the direction of time’s arrow and the normal flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. The direction of time’s arrow is literally directed in the direction of the expansion of space that gives rise to the creation of the physical universe.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of the physical universe is an essential aspect of explaining why coherently organized forms of information, like a body, appear in the world. These forms hold together because of their coherent organization, which can be understood in terms of quantum entanglement. It’s well known in physics that entangled qubits of information, like entangled spin variables, tend to align together over a sequence of observable events. This effect is seen in spin networks and in the coherent light of a laser that creates the coherent interference pattern of a physical hologram. This entanglement of qubits of information leads directly to coherent effects that can create coherently organized forms of information, like the form of a body, that tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of observable events.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of coherent organization is always opposed by the random thermal motion that arises at thermal equilibrium. In terms of the holographic principle, at thermal equilibrium, all the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen that characterize a holographic world are thermalized in the sense of carrying an equal amount of random thermal energy, but when that holographic world is not at thermal equilibrium, the effect of the entanglement of those qubits of information can create coherently organized forms of information that tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of observable events. There’s always a balance between the effects of entanglement that lead to the creation of coherent forms and the effects of thermalization that tend to randomize or disorganize those coherent forms. In terms of the coherent self-replication of the form of a body, this is the balance between life and death. A coherently organized body is always emotionally animated, and that emotional animation, expressed in terms of fear and desire, is always a struggle between life and death.

The other thing to be clear about is the purpose of emotions. Emotions, as in the expression of fear and desire, defend the survival of the self-replicating coherently organized form of a body. The body must express these emotions in order to survive over a sequence of observable events, which we call the course of time. In effect, emotions either express the desire to live in the form of a body or the fear of body death. Living in the form of a body requires the self-replication of that coherently organized form in a recognizable way, while the death of the body occurs with the disorganization of that form that results in the body no longer being recognizable.

There are two critically important aspects of the survival of the self-replicating form of a body in a recognizable way. The first aspect is: Who exactly is recognizing that self-replicating form? Who is not only recognizing that form but also identifying itself with that form? The answer of course is a presence of consciousness. That presence of consciousness is present at the central point of view of its own holographic world as it perceives the animated images of that world that are projected from its own holographic screen to its own point of view.

The second aspect of body survival has to do with the energetic nature of the expression of emotions. The body must be self-replicated in form in a recognizable way to be recognized. In physics this self-replication of form in a recognizable way is described as a low entropy state. The coherent organization of form that allows for self-replication of form in a recognizable way implies a low entropy state. This low entropy state is maintained by the expression of survival emotions, like fear and desire, that have no purpose other than to maintain that low entropy state and defend the survival of the body as a recognizable self-replicating form.

The maintenance of this low entropy state requires the expenditure of energy. The reason is actually quite simple. At thermal equilibrium, which is a high entropy state characterized by the thermal randomization of information, all forms become disorganized. At thermal equilibrium, random thermal energy disorganizes all forms. The forms literally fly apart because of the random motion of their constituents. The big question is what holds the form together? What binds the constituents into a form? At the level of particle physics, those constituents are things like elementary particles, atoms and molecules that bind together under the influence of the electromagnetic force, but at the level of the holographic principle, those constituents are qubits of information that align with each other under the influence of quantum entanglement.

Coherently organized forms, like the form of a body, can only self-replicate their forms in a recognizable way in a non-thermal equilibrium state, which implies that energy is flowing in a thermal gradient. The self-replicating form literally has to feed off of this flow of energy in order to maintain its form. The reason for this fact is the form must add the organizing potential energy of attractive forces to its form while it also sheds disorganizing thermal energy into its environment. There’s always a balance between the potential energy of attractive forces that tends to maintain the organization of forms and the kinetic energy of random thermal motion that tends to disorganize those forms. Forms only maintain their coherent organization if the balance favors the potential energy that holds the form together over the random kinetic energy that pushes the form apart. In order to tip the balance in favor of potential energy, the form must add potential energy to its form while it also sheds thermal energy into its environment. Although the form is being maintained in a low entropy state as it adds organizing potential energy to its form, the total entropy of the form and its environment is actually increasing as disorganizing thermal energy is shed into the environment, and so the second law of thermodynamics is not violated.

The addition of potential energy to a form is called eating. A form can only self-replicate its form if it adds potential energy to its form. Where does the form find that potential energy? The form finds that potential energy in other forms. In order to self-replicate its form, the form must eat other forms. Body survival is only possible if bodies eat each other. It literally is a body-eat-body world, since that is how a body adds potential energy to its form. Even plants must eat the form of photons that arrive from the sun. In order to survive in the form of a body, the body must express the desire to eat other bodies. At the same time, in order to survive in the form of a body, the body must avoid being eaten by other bodies and express the fear of being eaten. The expression of fear and desire, which are survival emotions that defend the survival of the body, must be expressed by a body for that body to survive and self-replicate its form.

Biology tells us there’s an environmental selection pressure called the survival of the fittest body. The bodies that are best able to express their desire to eat while they also avoid being eaten are the bodies that are most likely to survive and reproduce their forms. The bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat and the desire to reproduce while they express the fear of being eaten are the bodies that are most likely to survive and reproduce their forms, which in the sense of natural selection, selects those bodies that are best able to express fear and desire.

The survival of the body is only possible in a non-thermal equilibrium state since the body must feed off of the flow of energy that flows in a thermal gradient. That is the only way the low entropy state of the body can be maintained. By its very nature, body survival requires the expression of survival emotions, which at the most elementary level are the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. That’s the only way the form of the body can be self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. This brings us back to the presence of consciousness that recognizes that form. Why does that presence of consciousness identify itself with that form? The answer is quite simple. The presence of consciousness feels emotionally self-limited to that form as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. That feeling of emotion self-limitation, which can only arise with the expression of fear and desire that defends the survival of the body, leads that presence of consciousness to emotionally identify itself with that self-replicating form.

What’s Wrong with Particle Physics?

The correct way to think about physics is in terms of the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that characterize physical reality. In the point particle formulation of physics, those dynamical degrees of freedom are taken to be particle coordinates that arise in some fixed background space-time-time geometry, like Minkowski space. The problem with the point particle formulation of particle physics is this is a mistaken assumption. In reality, there are no point particles and there is no fixed space-time geometry. The most general way that particle physics can formulate these point particle dynamical degrees of freedom is in terms of the quantum wave function, which in quantum field theory is formulated in terms of quantum fields. There are some technical issues in terms of first quantization and second quantization, but in essence the quantum field is the quantum wave function that specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry, which is usually taken to be Minkowski space. For example, the quantum field of the Dirac equation specifies the quantum probability that the electron can be localized as some point in space at some moment of time. The Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom is just a non-relativistic limit of the Dirac equation. In quantum field theory, we also have Maxwell’s equations for the photon field. The electron and photon are both quantum particles, each characterized by their own quantum field. Electrons can interact with each other through the electromagnetic force by emitting and absorbing or by exchanging photons, and with second quantization, photons can create virtual electron-positron pairs that can annihilate back into photons, which is like the electromagnetic interaction run backwards in time.

The key point is that the quantum wave function specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry. If that quantum wave function is highly localized like a delta-function, then we can recover the Newtonian version of classical particle physics that describes the particle as following a point particle trajectory x=x(t) through the fixed background space-time geometry. This particle trajectory can always be understood in a classical sense as a path of least action, where the quantum state is understood as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space. Action is like a measure of distance along some path that connects two points in the information configuration space, and the classical path of least action is like the shortest possible path between those two points. The laws of physics can always be expressed as an action principle, which is how they enter into the quantum state. The quantum wave function depends on the action, but the wave function only specifies a quantum probability of measurement. This way of formulating quantum theory for point particles that follow trajectories through space is only possible since the quantum wave function ѱ=ѱ(x,t) is defined in the fixed background space-time geometry. The point particle coordinates are taken to be the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the point particle formulation of particle physics, which can only be defined in a fixed background space-time geometry.

Quantum State as the Sum Over all Possible Paths

A big problem arises when we try to add the force of gravity to the other fundamental forces, like electromagnetism. By its very nature, gravity is the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. There is simply no logically consistent way to quantize gravity as a quantum field theory since we would then have to assume that we have a fixed background space-time geometry, which contradicts the very idea of gravity as the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. The very idea of a quantum particle called the graviton propagating through some fixed background space-time geometry contradicts the idea of gravity as the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. Gravity cannot be quantized as a quantum field theory.

The holographic principle is the only known logically consistent way to resolve this problem. The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of physical reality are not point particle coordinates defined in some fixed background space-time geometry, but rather qubits of information defined on a holographic screen. The holographic screen in turn is understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s event horizon is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. Particle coordinates defined in that bounded three dimensional region of space are not fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom, but can only arise in some approximate sense in terms of a thermodynamic equation of state. All the quantum field theories of particle physics along with Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric as a formulation for gravity can only arise as thermal averages in the sense of a thermodynamic equation of state.

The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that actually define physical reality are qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, but even the qubits are not really fundamental. To turn the event horizon into a holographic screen and encode qubits of information on the screen, we have to invoke some sort of geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry that explains how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. We also have to assume there is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference before we can invoke this geometric mechanism. At the end of the day, an observer in its accelerated frame of reference is more fundamental than its holographic screen. In other words, the consciousness of the observer and the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference are both more fundamental than the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that act as the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the observer’s holographic physical world.

The holographic principle is telling us that the fundamental nature of the universe is qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The observer’s holographic screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable in the observer’s holographic world arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of that world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s exactly what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

By its very nature, an observation of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Modern physics has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the true nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer-generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

What about the problem of multiple observers observing the same observable world? The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in and observe the same observable world are all the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the Wigner friend paradox. The solution for this problem is the idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers, each of which arises at its own point of view in relation to its own holographic screen. A consensual reality can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view defined on its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, but those screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has pointed out.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world from its own point of view eliminates all paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. This way of understanding the nature of observation raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The time evolution of that world, as represented by the quantum wave function, only applies to the unobserved state of potentiality of that world. Measurement of that world, as represented by quantum state reduction or collapse of the wave function, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s body and the brain that appears in that holographic world can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the independent existence of the observer’s consciousness.

Prior to Consciousness

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

Duality in a Nutshell

The only reason that we can discuss the absolute nothingness of the void is because we all have the direct experience of our own consciousness. In its ultimate formless form, consciousness is absolute nothingness. The ultimate, primordial, formless form or stateless state of consciousness is absolute nothingness. In this ultimate state, nothing is perceived. This ultimate state is undivided, which is why it is called one. This ultimate state is unlimited, which is why it is called infinity. This ultimate state is timeless and unchanging, which is why it is called eternity.

This is where a critical distinction must be made. When things are perceived, those things are always perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the perceiver, the object is whatever is being perceived, and the relation between them is perception. This subject-object relation defines self and other at the level of perception, as demonstrated in the statement I see you. In the ultimate state of absolute nothingness, nothing is perceived. There is no subject-object relation, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness is called nondual. There is no self and other, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness can be called No-self. Nothing is perceived in this ultimate state of consciousness, which is why it can also be called No-thing. No concepts or other forms of mental imagination are perceived, which is why it can be called No-mind.

In the nondual tradition of Advaita Vedanta, this ultimate state of absolute nothingness is called Brahman. If the only thing in existence was the absolute nothingness of No-thing or No-mind, then there would be no purpose for a conceptual explanation of reality. You have to have a mind that can create concepts before you can create a conceptual explanation of reality. In the ultimate state of consciousness, there is no mind, there are no concepts and there are no explanations.

This brings us to the conceptual problem of how anything is created. How are concepts created? How is something created from nothing? How is a mind created? This is where the conceptual framework of Advaita Vedanta makes its great leap forward. Before you can create a mind, before you can create concepts, before you can create anything, you have to have a Self, since that Self is what perceives things in a subject-object relation. Where does the Self come from?

Advaita Vedanta answers the question of where the Self comes from in terms of Brahman. The Self is called Atman, which is divided from Brahman. The Self is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness that perceives things in a subject-object relation, which is a secondary or derivative state of consciousness. This derivative state of consciousness has the nature of duality, as things are always perceived in a dualistic state of self and other, but the source of this dualistic state is the nondual nature of Brahman. Brahman is the source of Atman, which is why Brahman is also called the Source. Atman can only come into existence when it is divided from Brahman.

To use a useful metaphor, the Source is like the ocean, and the Self is like a drop of water that is spit out of the ocean. The reason this metaphor is useful is because the Self always perceives things from its own point of view. To continue the metaphor, that point of view is the drop of water spit out of the ocean. The Self always carries with itself its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness that perceives things from its own point of view as it perceives things in subject-object relation. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view is often referred to as I Am, which is why the Self is also called I Am. This sense of being present at a point of view is a sense of individual existence that must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source, which has no sense of individual being. The Self can only come into its own individual existence when that drop of water is divided from the ocean.

In some sense, the sense of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self is the first concept that must be expressed before any other concepts can be created. Those other concepts are always perceived in a subject-object relation, and the concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self must come into existence before those other concepts can be created and perceived by the Self. This first concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source before anything else can be created and perceived by the Self.

There are two other qualities of the Self besides its sense of being present that are critical for this explanation. The first quality is the concept of energy. The Self always carries with itself its own energy. That energy can be understood as the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean. The point of view of the Self, the drop of water so to speak, is moving relative to the unmoving ocean. That motion can be understood as a vibration that gives the Self its own energy.

In the nondual sense of absolute nothingness, the ocean has no motion and has no energy. When we say the ocean spits out the drop of water as the Self is divided from its Source, that is not quite correct. The drop of water of the Self begins to congeal around itself due to its own motion or vibration as it begins to express energy. The drop of water differentiates itself from the ocean by expressing its own energy. The ocean doesn’t spit out the drop of water. The drop of water spits itself out of the ocean due to its relative motion or vibration that gives it energy.

The energy of the Self is often referred to as consciousness in motion, which is literally the point of view of the Self in motion relative to the unmoving ocean. The individual being of the Self, with its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view as it perceives things in a subject-object relation, is literally in a state of motion or vibration relative to the unmoving ocean. The Self is literally spitting itself out of the ocean due to its own motion or expression of energy. That expression of energy is how the Self divides itself from its Source.

Something strange happens when the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy. The ocean appears to have a surface. In its unmoving state, the ocean has no surface and is unlimited, but when the Self divides itself from its Source, the ocean appears to have a surface from that particular point of view. That surface arises because the Self is expressing energy in a state of motion. There is really no good way to understand how this happens without using concepts of modern theoretical physics and the holographic principle.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the ocean appears to have a surface, and that surface limits the perceptions of the Self. To use another useful analogy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. In terms of the holographic principle, the surface acts as a holographic screen that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, which literally arises from the accelerated motion of the observer relative to the motionless nature of the absolute nothingness of the void.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Like a computer screen, the surface encodes bits of information that give rise to the appearance of images projected from the screen to the point of view of the Self that perceives those images. Encoding bits of information on the surface is the essence of the holographic principle. This is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness since the Self must divide itself from its Source to perceive those images, and the surface must limit the perceptions of the Self before those images can be projected from the screen to the Self. This perception of images by the Self is only possible because the Self has divided itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy that gives rise to the appearance of the surface that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality.

The second quality of the Self besides its own expression of energy is its focus of attention. The Self has to focus its attention on whatever it is perceiving. The Self has to focus its attention on the images it perceives projected from its own surface of the ocean that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Those images are projected to the point of view of the Self, and the Self must focus its attention on those images for that projection to occur. There is a reciprocal relation between the Self focusing its attention on the images and the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self where the images are perceived, which is the inherent nature of the subject-object relation.

The focus of attention of the Self is also referred to as the light of consciousness since it is like the light of a movie projector that projects images from a movie screen to the point of view of the Self, which is like an observer out in the movie audience that perceives the images. The Self as a focal point of perceiving consciousness is also the source of the light of consciousness that projects images from the screen back to the Self through its focus of attention on those images.

The Self literally projects images of its own virtual reality as it focuses its attention on different aspects of that virtual reality. The perception of images of that virtual reality by the Self can only occur through the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self. That projection only occurs due to the Self focusing its attention on those images. The virtual reality is not only a projected reality, but also an animated reality. That animation arises over a sequence of projections. It is literally the energy of the Self that arises from the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean that creates that animation. These two aspects of the Self explain the nature of the virtual reality. The focus of attention of the Self gives rise to the projection of images. The motion and energy of the Self gives rise to the animation of images. The animation of the projected images is often described as waves that appear on the surface of the ocean.

Even more central to the Self than its expression of energy or its focus of attention is its own sense of being present. Before the Self can focus its attention on the images of its virtual reality and project those images and before the Self can express its energy and animate those images, the Self must be present to play the virtual reality game. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then images of the game cannot be projected and images of the game cannot be animated. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then there is no sense of the individual being or I-Am-ness of a presence of consciousness that perceives and plays the game.

If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then the individual existence of the Self ceases to exist as an individual presence of consciousness present at its own point of view. What happens to that presence of consciousness? The Self must return to its Source. This state of return is described as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

What is the purpose of playing the virtual reality game? The answer is quite simple. The purpose is to live a life. The Self appears to live a life as it identifies itself with its character in the virtual reality game that it plays. The Self is both projecting the image of its character and animating that image as it plays the game. The Self literally expresses the energy that animates that life as it expresses the desire to live that life. What is the purpose of appearing to live that life? This is the same question as why is something better than nothing. The only alternative to appearing to live a life in the virtual reality game that the Self creates for itself as it plays the game is to return to the absolute nothingness of its Source. The virtual reality game is inherently conceptual in nature, and there are many interesting questions that the Self can ask itself and then look for answers. The virtual reality game is amusing, and the Self can amuse itself by playing the game.

The Self is willing to play the game as long as the game is amusing, but when the game is no longer amusing, what other option does the Self really have? The Self can always choose not to play the game. The Self has a limited ability to choose what it perceives in its own virtual reality through its focus of attention that projects images of the virtual reality and the way it expresses its energy that animates images of the virtual reality, but the Self has an absolute ability to choose whether or not to play the game. When the Self chooses not to play the game and it no longer focuses its attention on the game or expresses its energy in the game, the Self must return to its Source. When the Self is no longer willing to play the game, it returns to its true home.

The Origin of Connectedness

In terms of nondual reality, the source or origin of connectedness can be understood in terms of the undivided and unlimited nature of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, which can also be called undifferentiated consciousness. At the level of a holographic world, connectedness in action can be understood in terms of quantum entanglement. A holographic world is inherently an entangled world. Where does this entanglement come from? The answer is really quite simple. A holographic world is just like a computer-generated virtual reality that must inherently incorporate the ideas of energy and information, which is called entropy. In the last 25 years modern physics has given a perfectly good scientific explanation for how the virtual reality is created in terms of very general principles of potentiality. The basic idea is that the building blocks of the virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information and the flow of energy. In quantum theory, the basic idea of a quantized bit of information is called a qubit. The simplest mathematical representation of a qubit is in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, while its two eigenvalues define information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down. The surface of the sphere can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, like the event horizon of a black hole or a cosmic horizon that arises with the accelerated expansion of space, which is called dark energy or a cosmological constant. An nxn SU(2) matrix defined on that spherical surface can encode n qubits of information. This is the fundamental nature of the holographic principle of quantum gravity that tells us the accelerated observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world.

Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things not only include the elementary particles of the standard model of particle physics, but also the dynamical nature of space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity. Everything observable is reducible to qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. An emotionally animated human life-form that appears in the observer’s holographic world is also reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Mental phenomena can also be added as another aspect of the observable things, such as thoughts, memories, self-concepts, and other forms of mental imagination. The holographic principle not only explains the nature of information in terms of qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which are inherently entangled as they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix, but also explains the thermodynamic flow of energy through the observer’s world in terms of the Unruh temperature of its event horizon, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration in its accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration is always relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness. Physicists made the mistake in the late nineteenth century of assuming that the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, which they called the ether, was a part of their holographic world, but it’s not. Absolute nothingness is beyond a holographic world, which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Only the motion of the observer is relative to the unmoving nature of absolute nothingness. The observer itself must arise from that absolute nothingness at a point of view like a drop arises from the ocean.

The big mistake people make is to assume that absolute nothingness is a part of the world they perceive. It is not. The world is a holographic world which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Absolute nothingness is beyond that holographic world. Only the motion of the observer itself is relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, but the observer is only a point of view that separates or divides itself from the undivided totality of that absolute nothingness. The observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness, which is called the Self. The Self must divide itself from its Source through the energy of its relative motion. That point of view always arises in relation to a holographic screen that encodes information and projects images of a holographic world.  The holographic screen is an event horizon that only arises because of the observer’s accelerated motion relative to absolute nothingness. Things only appear to move in that holographic world because of holographic projection and animation. Only the observer is really moving and really exists. Everything else that appears to move and exist is a holographic illusion created by holographic projection and animation. Everything else is no more real than a freaking holographic movie. Only the observer really exists and moves, but the observer must divide itself from absolute nothingness for that holographic movie to appear to exist.

The concept of duality is only valid at the level of perceiving things. There must be a source of the things being perceived and a source of the perceiver who is perceiving things. The source of perception can only be described as absolute nothingness, which is inherently nondual. The Self divides itself from its Source by expressing energy and moving relative to its unmoving Source. That motion is what creates the limitation of a holographic world. The Source is not only undivided but also unlimited. The Source cannot be conceptualized except in terms of negation.

Duality only applies at the level of a subject-object relation that defines self and other. There must be a Self that is perceiving things, and there must be something that is being perceived. Duality only applies at the level of perceiving things in the world, or in the mental imagination of thoughts, memories and daydreams, or in an actual dream. Where is your duality when you fall into a deep sleep and everything in your world disappears from existence from your own point of view? People in neuroscience would like you to believe that you become unconscious in deep sleep, but that’s not true. You’re never really unconscious because you’re consciousness itself. In deep sleep you become aware of nothing, but you don’t remember you were aware of nothing because there is a gap in your memory. Lack of memory is no proof that you didn’t continue to exist as consciousness when you were in deep sleep and were aware of nothing. In deep sleep, you’re aware of existing as that nothingness. There is no duality at the level of self and other in the awareness of nothingness, only the absolute nothingness of consciousness in its ultimate nondual stateless state. When that ultimate state of being aware of existing as nothingness is reached, like the Buddha, you can say “Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment“.

Nonduality is an essential aspect for any explanation for the nature of the world understood in terms of the holographic principle since there must be a source of the perceiving consciousness of the observer of that world and a source for the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic world is defined on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for that world, which only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The energy of that acceleration is expressed when the desire to live a life in that world is expressed. When that acceleration comes to an end, the observer’s world must disappear from existence. When everything disappears, nothing remains.

The holographic principle, as a conceptual framework for the nature of information and energy, interpreted in the conceptual framework of nonduality, as an understanding for the nature of consciousness, is the only known logically consistent way for how to create a world that is free of paradoxes of self-reference that arise when the observer of that world is equated with some observable thing in that world, which along the lines of Godel’s incompleteness theorems would shake the foundations of the mathematical consistency of that world, and free of the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the the Wigner friend paradox, that arise whenever multiple observers are assumed to exist in the same observable world. The price we pay for the logical consistency of that world is that world isn’t really real. It’s a holographic world. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Why is there life on planet earth? Consciousness is manifesting its desire to live that life. The emotional energy of that desire is expressed in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the energy of that accelerated motion, and that desire is manifested in terms of how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its accelerated frame of reference. The whole freaking thing is a holographic illusion. Images of the holographic virtual reality are projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy over a sequence of holographic projections. Only the consciousness or divided spiritual being of the observer (the individual spirit or Self) is real, which is the nature of Atmanic consciousness that is divided from Brahmanic consciousness and limited by a holographic screen. The Source of the whole freaking thing is the undivided and unlimited spiritual being of Brahmanic consciousness (the One undivided spirit). The irony of the One is the Source can only be described in terms of negation or non-conceptual terms as absolute nothingness, which is not only one in the sense of being undivided or non-dual but also infinite in the sense of being unlimited and nothing in the sense of being absolute nothingness.

What Science and Modern Physics are Really Trying to Tell Us

The hard mathematical science of modern physics tells us that the world is no more real than a virtual reality, like a virtual reality game that one plays on a computer screen. Modern physics in the context of the holographic principle tells us that the perceivable world consists of nothing more than forms of information projected like images from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer outside that screen and the animation of those images in the flow of energy that animates that world. That’s the nature of a holographic world. It isn’t really real. It’s a virtual reality. As the Bhagavad-Gita says, it’s unreal. It has no being. The true nature of being solely belongs to nondual reality. Only nondual reality is really real. It never ceases to be.

When the word truth is used in any nondual tradition, this refers to the true nature of being, which is inherent to the nondual reality of the void. What about mathematical truth? Mathematical truth is inherent in the potentiality of the void to create geometry. As mathematicians have long known, all mathematical truths are geometrical in nature. Great mathematicians have been Platonists in the sense they know they only discover mathematical truths inherent in the potentiality to create geometry. Geometrical mathematical truth is what underlies the geometric creation of the holographic illusion of a holographic world.

The void has no limits in terms of its expression of potentiality, but in order to create that holographic world in the form of a virtual reality in which living organisms appear to live, its expression of potentiality to create that geometry must become constrained in a way that leads to the expression of mathematical rules governing that world that are consistent with the expression of life. In physics, this constraint on the expression of potentiality by the void to create geometry in a way consistent with the expression of life is called the anthropic principle.

The anthropic principle is like natural selection on a cosmic scale. Each observer chooses what is best for itself from its own point of view in its own holographic world in terms of being able to live the best possible life in that world, but the choices of different observers are intertwined due to information sharing among their overlapping holographic screens. Entangled qubits of information for each observer’s holographic world are encoded on its own cosmic horizon that arises due to the expansion of space. The acceleration rate with which space expands is called the cosmological constant in relativity theory. A change in this acceleration rate of the expansion of space results in a change in the radius of the observer’s cosmic horizon. In physics this kind of change is conceptualized to occur as a phase transition from a less stable meta-stable state to a more stable meta-stable state as the acceleration rate takes on a lower value, which results in a larger radius of the cosmic horizon. Each phase transition in the value of the acceleration rate is like a new big bang event as the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in size, decreases in temperature, and encodes more qubits of information. It’s well known in physics that this kind of phase transition, called spontaneous symmetry breaking, can reset the parameters in the laws of physics, like the mass or charge of the electron. Every reset of the laws of physics is a kind of fine-tuning of those laws that allows the laws to be more compatible with the expression of life.

The anthropic principle reflects this fine-tuning of the laws of physics that occur during the phase transition with the resetting of the laws of physics. Each phase transition is like a new big bang event that creates a new universe, which is only possible because the acceleration rate of the expansion of space is transitioning to a lower value. Choices made during the phase transition in terms of resetting the parameters in the laws of physics are made in such a way as to be more compatible with the expression of life in the new universe. These choices always reflect an interplay of the expression of divine will that gives rise to the expansion of space that creates the geometry of a holographic world and the choices each observer makes in its own holographic world as it appears to live the best possible life of a living organism in that world.

The choices an observer makes in its own world allows the observer to become a co-creator of that world in conjunction with the totality of all choices made by all other observers that share a consensual reality with that particular observer and the expression of divine will. Divine will allows for the creation of geometry in the sense of the accelerated expansion of space that gives rise to each observer’s cosmic horizon and the encoding of information on each horizon along the lines of some geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry. Even the flow of energy through the observer’s world must arise from the expression of divine will along the lines of the expansion of space. An observer becomes a co-creator of its own world when it allows its choices to come into alignment with the expression of divine will. The anthropic principle tells us that those choices are directed in such a way as to best allow for the expression of life.

Ultimate truth cannot be equated with mathematical truth, but they are related. Ultimate truth is consciousness in its ultimate stateless state, which can only be conceptualized in terms of negation as absolute nothingness, but because it is undivided, it can also be called one, and because it is unlimited, it can also be called infinity. What it can’t be called is two, hence the designation nondual. Nondual consciousness is the Source (Brahman). When the Source creates a dualistic world for its Self (Atman) to perceive in a subject-object relation, it can also be called three in the sense of the trinity of the Source (the Father), the Self (the Holy Spirit) and the person in the world (the Son). In the process of creating that dualistic world, Atman is divided from Brahman, and that dualistic world is limited by a holographic screen. The reason the Source can create something from nothing is because consciousness is becoming divided and limited. By its very nature, a holographic screen limits and divides Atman from Brahman as it encodes information for the holographic world that Atman perceives. A holographic screen and the images of a holographic world projected to Atman are inherently a geometric creation. The reason the Source can create a dualistic world is because the Source has the potentiality to create geometry. Mathematical truth only enters into the equation in terms of the creation of geometry. As mathematicians have long known, geometry underlies all mathematical truth, but ultimate truth underlies geometry. Ultimate truth has the potential to create mathematical truth whenever it creates geometry, which is an essential aspect of creating a holographic world.

Unless you’ve investigated the true nature of your own consciousness, you really have no idea what you’re talking about when you talk about yourself. The problem is called delusion. Only consciousness has its own independent existence, but when consciousness identifies itself with a person in the world it perceives, it believes delusional beliefs about itself. Consciousness exists prior to the creation of that world, is present at the creation of that world, and is present for everything that appears to happen in that world. Consciousness exists before that world appears to come into existence and after that world disappears from existence. Whatever appears to happen in that world, consciousness is present to observe that happening. This isn’t about anybody’s consciousness in particular, but about the ultimate nature of consciousness. Everybody’s consciousness is only a fragment of that ultimate consciousness. Consciousness is not personal. Consciousness does not belong to a person. A person is a physical organism, which is essentially an animated body that only appears in the world perceived by a presence of consciousness. There is only confusion about this fact because of the nature of delusion. The mind falsely tells consciousness that it is a person in the world it perceives as self-referential thoughts are created in the mind, and consciousness believes the lie of this false self-concept, which are the false beliefs that consciousness believes about itself, because those thoughts are emotionally energized by the same emotional energy that animates the form of a body. As consciousness perceives that flow of emotional energy, it feels self-limited to the form of that emotionally animated body and identifies itself with that body. That personal self-identification is the nature of delusion, which is inherently driven by the expression of emotions.

An interesting project is to cross-reference what Nisargadatta Maharaj has to say about personal self-identification in I Am That with what neuroscientists say about personal self-identification. A good book to read on this subject is The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio. If you read Damasio closely, you’ll see that neuroscience really has no explanation for the nature of consciousness in the sense of the perceiving observer who is perceiving thoughts and feelings, and has no idea who is identifying itself with the body. This is the reason that almost all people who work in neuroscience and artificial intelligence have come to the conclusion that perceiving consciousness is an illusion. They only acknowledge the reality of the things being perceived, like the emotional energy that energizes thoughts and the information content that’s inherent in thoughts. They have no idea about the nature of the observer that is actually perceiving that energy and information content inherent in a thought.

Damasio describes the movie-in-the-mind, but then denies the existence of the observer out in the audience. For Damasio, the person and the world depicted in the movie are the only things that are real. Nisargadatta also describes the movie-in-the-mind, but doesn’t deny the existence of the observer. For Nisargadatta, everything in the movie, including the person and the world, are unreal. Only the observer out in the audience, called the Self, is real. For Damasio, the movie-in-the-mind is a virtual reality created in the brain, while the body and the brain exist in a real world. For Nisargadatta, the world is a virtual reality depicted as the movie-in-the-mind. For Damasio, the movie screen is created in the brain. For Nisargadatta, the movie screen is the boundary of the observer’s world, which in modern physics is called a holographic screen. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and so there is a natural place for the observer as the perceiving consciousness present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. For Damasio, there is no natural place for the observer since the movie screen has to arise inside a brain inside the world. Like all neuroscientists, Damasio denies the existence of perceiving consciousness. The problem for neuroscience is the logical inconsistency of trying to create a movie-in-the-mind that depicts the life of a person in the world inside the brain of that person inside that physical world. The only natural place to depict that movie is on a holographic screen that bounds that world.

The denial of the existence of perceiving consciousness by neuroscience is very odd since all thoughts, like everything else in the world, is perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the observer and the object is composed of the energy and information content inherent in the thing being perceived. Neuroscience and artificial intelligence are denying the existence of the subject, which is the perceiving consciousness of the observer. This is very odd because every observer has its own inherent self-knowledge that it exists as the perceiving subject of whatever it is observing. Every subject has the inherent sense of being present as an observer of things and knows that it exists, and yet neuroscience and artificial intelligence researchers deny the existence of perceiving consciousness and call that sense of your own existence an illusion.

The remarkable thing about modern physics and the holographic principle is it turns the nature of illusion totally around. The perceivable world is the holographic illusion created through holographic projection. Everything in the perceivable world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic screen can always be understood to arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Understanding the observable world in this way tells us that the world is the holographic illusion and only the perceiving consciousness of the observer has its own independent existence. The existence of the perceiving subject exists before that holographic world appears to come into existence, while events are being perceived in that world, and after that world disappears from existence. Where do you think you go when you fall into a deep sleep at night and your world disappears from existence? Once you stop identifying yourself with the person in the world you take yourself to be as you perceive that world and know yourself only to be the perceiving subject of that world in the sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of that world, then you know the answer to this question.

Physicists that buy into the conventional physicalism paradigm that physical reality is the only reality and deny the independent existence of the reality of consciousness will object that a person’s body still appears to exist in the world when that person is in a state of deep sleep. This observation really has nothing to do with the reality of consciousness, but only pertains to the consensual reality shared by multiple observers that appears to exist due to information sharing. Multiple observers, each present at their own point of view and each observing their own holographic world defined on their own holographic screen, can share a consensual reality when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. Even when an observer’s own holographic world disappears from existence from its own point of view, other observers can continue to observe that particular observer’s inanimate sleeping body in their own holographic worlds due to information sharing. When multiple people play an interactive virtual reality game on their own computers, each connected to the internet, and one of the people turns off the game, the avatar of that person still appears in the game played by the other people, except that particular avatar will no longer be animated when its owner no longer plays the game. Falling into a deep sleep is analogous to turning off the game.

Physicists that buy into the physicalism paradigm deny the possibility of individual choice in a world of potentiality and deny the independent existence of consciousness as the observer of that world, and are often forced into the camp of the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory along with elements of quantum decoherence if they want to maintain any semblance of logical consistency, but that’s not the correct way to understand the world. The correct starting point is to assume the independent existence of the consciousness of the observer and show how the holographic principle naturally leads to what we call physical reality. Physical reality is not really something fundamental, but is more like a virtual reality, sort of like the Matrix.

Choice is an inevitable aspect of the world due to the potentialities of the world. The quantum state of the world is a superposition of all possible potentialities. In order to reduce this quantum state of potentiality to an observed state of actuality, a choice has to be made. When you come to a fork in the road, you have to choose which path to take. When you order off a menu, you have to make a choice about what to order. If you say that no choice is made, then you’re saying that everything is predetermined in some cosmic Newtonian deterministic mechanism and that there really is no quantum state of potentiality. Either you’re assuming the Einsteinian or Bohmian idea of nonlocal hidden variables that determine everything or you’re assuming the Everett many worlds interpretation of quantum theory. That’s certainly possible, but the correct understanding of the world keeps potentiality an inherent aspect of the world. A choice must be made every time the superposition of potentialities is reduced to an observed state of actuality.

The basic problem with the physicalism paradigm is there is no place for an observer to exist inside the world that the observer perceives. There is no logically consistent way an observer that exists inside an observable world can choose what it observes in that world in the sense of reducing the quantum state of potentiality of that world to an observed state of actuality. It is logically inconsistent to assume that multiple observers exist inside the same observable world and each makes choices in that world that reduce the quantum state of potentiality of that world. That kind of assumption leads to paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. The only logically consistent way to resolve this problem is to assume that every observer observes its own observable world and makes choices in that world as the quantum state of potentiality of that world is reduced to an observed state of actuality, but then the observer really doesn’t exist in that observable world. The holographic principle tells us that the observer exists at the center of its own holographic world as images of that world are projected from a holographic screen to the observer’s central point of view. That holographic world is observer-dependent and only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the observer’s holographic screen arises as an event horizon. Multiple observers, each existing at their own point of view, can only share a consensual reality in the sense of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens. An observer can only choose what it observes in its own holographic world in the sense of how the observer focuses the attention of its perceiving consciousness on events in that world.

Physics says that choices are made in an unbiased or random way, but even a random choice is a choice. There is also the possibility that choices can be made in a biased way. Who would make those biased choices? The answer is the observer makes its own biased choices based on the way the observer focuses its attention on events in the world it perceives. The observer has preferences because the observer has likes and dislikes. For example, the observer likes experiencing pleasure and dislikes experiencing pain. This brings us to the problem of qualia. Physics can only describe mathematical quantities, but when we perceive things, we perceive subjective qualities. Physics can only specify the wavelength or frequency of a light wave, and no one who works in neuroscience or artificial intelligence can explain how that mathematical quantity is perceived as the quality of color. The problem of qualia is inherent to the nature of consciousness itself. Consciousness has its own preferences of likes and dislikes, essentially what feels good and what feels bad, and will always choose to focus its attention in such a way as to choose what it likes and avoid what it dislikes. The reason consciousness can make choices is because the world that consciousness perceives is described by a mathematical quantum state of potentiality. Consciousness is making a choice every time that quantum state is reduced to an actual observed state. Who is making that choice? You are making that choice as the observer or as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of your own holographic world. You make that choice as you focus your attention on that world. At night when you fall into a deep sleep, you withdraw your attention away from that world and that world disappears from existence from your own point of view, but you still exist as consciousness.

Neuroscientists object that the problem of qualia remains unsolved because the information processing of the brain is extremely complex and there’s no telling what form that processed information will take, but this complexity argument is really only a smoke-screen for the logical inconsistency of their argument. The problem is, the input data into the brain is in the form of mathematical quantities, like the rate with which neurons fire their electro-chemical outputs of synaptic potentials. These synaptic potentials are transmitted between neurons, and so there is the transmission of electro-chemical information. When a large number of neurons are involved in this information transfer, as happens in the brain, some kind of information processing does indeed occur. The problem is, the output of this information processing is also in the form of synaptic potentials. The output data is still in the form of mathematical quantities. Neuroscience has absolutely no explanation for how this mathematical output data is perceived in the form of subjective qualities. Just like the problem of how the frequency of a light wave is perceived as a color, how is a neuron firing rate perceived as a subjectively perceived quality? Neuroscience has no answer and never will have an answer because the perception of subjectively perceived qualities is inherent to the nature of the perceiving subject and not to any mathematical quantity that characterizes a perceived object. The problem is that neuroscientists deny the existence of the perceiving subject because they deny the existence of perceiving consciousness, and so they will never be able to find a solution for the problem of qualia. Subjectively perceived qualities like color are not an aspect of the mathematical quantities that characterize perceived objects but rather of the perceiving subject that perceives objects in a subject-object relation.

Physicists make two mistakes when they discuss the holographic principle. The first mistake is they don’t take an observer-centric point of view. They mix up what appears to happen in the bulk with the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen. The bulk description includes space-time geometry, the force of gravity that arises from the curvature of space-time geometry, the particles of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, and all the matter particles that comprise things like atoms, molecules and bodies. Everything we perceive in the world is part of the bulk description. The holographic screen description only describes the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon that bounds the space-time geometry of the observer’s own holographic world. The screen arises from the central point of view of the observer in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

The mistake physicists make is to mix up the bulk description with the screen description. They are mixing up apples with oranges. The only consistent way to discuss the holographic principle is to discuss the way qubits of information are encoded on a holographic screen and whatever the observer that arises in relation to the screen in its accelerated frame of reference observes in its own world as images of things are projected from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The projected images of things aren’t really real since they can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the screen. Only the observer and its screen should be discussed. The images of things that appear in the bulk are only an illusion created by holographic projection.

The second mistake is to assume thermal equilibrium. Physicists assume thermal equilibrium because they are limited in terms of what they can discuss. They can only discuss an isolated simple system like a hydrogen atom, a planetary orbit, or an isolated black hole. To discuss anything more complicated they have to assume thermal equilibrium, but the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium, and so will exhibit levels of complexity that they just can’t discuss.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of the universe is the nature of life. Life can only come into existence in a thermal gradient since it must feed off of the flow of energy that flows through that thermal gradient. When physicists assume thermal equilibrium they’re assuming a single physical mechanism or theory of everything that describes everything that can appear to happen in the universe. They’re restricting the potentialities of the universe to a single physical mechanism. That’s why they have to postulate a multiverse theory in order to recover infinite potentialities, but even the potentialities of a single universe are infinite when consciousness is deciding which potentialities to express. There are an infinite number of physical mechanisms or theories of everything that consciousness can choose to operate in the universe, which is why the physical universe will never be at thermal equilibrium. Consciousness can choose a new physical mechanism to operate in the universe anytime it wants to and create the conditions of non-thermal equilibrium that are conducive for the expression of life so that consciousness can have the experience of living a life in the virtual reality world that it creates for itself. In its own creative process of creating that world, consciousness will express any potentiality it has to in the sense of a physical mechanism or theory of everything that is conducive to living that life.

Physicists argue that there is a single observer-independent objective reality out there that all observers can observe and agree upon as they make their observations, but this is only a flaw or logical contradiction in their argument. This is the same mistake physicists make over and over again due to sloppy thinking. To even ask the question of what appears to happen inside an event horizon versus what appears to happen outside an event horizon requires a meticulous definition of the frame of reference of the observer. What appears to happen can only be defined from the point of view of the observer that makes the observation. What appears to happen from one point of view is not the same as what appears to happen from another point of view. In other words, there is no such thing as an objective reality out there that all observers will agree upon, only many different subjective realities that depend on the point of view of the observer that makes the observation. There is no such thing as an objective reality that is invariant for all observers. Every observer observes its own observer-dependent subjective reality. This conclusion is so obvious it almost seems trivial. Can anyone observe your own private thoughts except for you?

People who work in neuroscience would like us to believe that brain activity creates our thoughts since they can show a correlation between certain kinds of brain activity and certain kinds of thoughts, but this is a fallacy based on unsound scientific reasoning. A correlation gives no proof of causation, and observing brain activity is most definitely not the same as observing a thought. The only way science can give any evidence for cause and effect is through prediction. If a scientific theory can predict future events with a high degree of accuracy, that is strong evidence for a cause and effect. The only science that is able to perform this trick is theoretical physics. A theory like the law of gravity can predict the location of a planet in its orbit around the sun at future moments in time with a high degree of accuracy if the planet’s location is known at some past moment in time. No science other than theoretical physics can make such predictions, and so no other branch of science can say anything important about cause and effect. At most, other branches of science can only show a correlation between events, but that is not evidence that one event caused another event. Our thoughts will always remain private to us as we observe them, no matter what people in neuroscience say about the role brain activity plays in creating our thoughts. No one can predict our thoughts, and no one other than ourselves can observe our own thoughts. Our thoughts are a part of our own subjective reality. Even theoretical physics with its evidence for cause and effect through the prediction of future events no longer supports the false idea held by so many scientists that there is a single observer-independent objective reality out there that we can all independently observe and agree upon as we make our observations. Modern physics with the holographic principle is telling us that every observer observes its own observer-dependent subjective reality. Every observer observes its own holographic world. That holographic world can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle also tells us that everything is the cause of everything else in a holographic world since all the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are entangled. At most, only a consensual reality is shared by many observers when their respective holographic worlds overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. The holographic principle tells us that the observer’s own subjective reality can only arise in its own frame of reference.

There’s no real difference between the perception of mental imagination and perception of the so-called real world. They both consist of animated images projected from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer. In the case of the so-called real world, a consensual reality arises from information sharing among overlapping holographic screens and so there’s consensus among many observers. In the case of mental imagination, there is some kind of disconnection, like occurs during dreaming sleep, and the projected images are perceived by a single observer. This disconnection from other points of view keeps mental imagination a private experience. The only real difference is whether there’s consensus or not among different points of view.

Whatever is observed by an observer in its own observer-dependent holographic world depends on the frame of reference of the observer. Whose point of view are we talking about when we describe what appears to happen from that particular point of view? Unless we frame the question in this way, we’re only spouting nonsense due to sloppy thinking. We’re making the same mistake almost all physicists make when they falsely assume that there is only a single observer-independent objective reality that is invariant for all observers and that all observers will agree upon as they make their observations. Even the apparent existence of a particle is not observer-independent, as is demonstrated by Hawking radiation. From the point of view of a stationary observer that hovers outside the event horizon of a black hole, particles of Hawking radiation appear to exist, but for a freely falling observer that falls through the event horizon, particles of Hawking radiation do not appear to exist. In reality, every observer creates its own observer-dependent subjective reality from its own point of view, but then what is the true nature of the observer? To answer this question requires a discussion not of physics, but metaphysics. What is the true nature of the observer’s existence? A number of metaphysical traditions, like the Tao, Zen, and Advaita Vedanta, attempt to give a conceptual answer to this question, but ultimately this question can only be answered by an observer’s own direct experience of the true nature of its existence, and not by any concept that an observer can ever have about itself.

The holographic principle is really quite simple. The purpose of discussing the physical world in terms of the holographic principle in this article is to put the nondual conceptualization of reality called Advaita Vedanta into a scientific framework. The most advanced version of this nondual conceptualization of reality is described by Nisargadatta Maharaj in I Am That. The purpose of this discussion is to fulfill Nisargadatta’s final wish that the awakening process, as he described it, be translated into scientific terms. It’s possible to make a one to one correspondence with the way Nisargadatta and other enlightened beings have described their awakening process and what the holographic principle is telling us. The physics isn’t really anything fundamental, but by the way the physics is expressed in terms of very general principles of potentiality, the physics is pointing to something, actually the absolute nothingness of the void, that is fundamental.

Nisargadatta’s Final Wish

Nisargadatta at the end of his life expressed his final wish that his conceptual discussions of the nature of the awakening process become scientific concepts. Just like all scientists, all science is part of the virtual reality, but that doesn’t mean that science is wrong when it says the world is a holographic world. A holographic character in a holographic world can realize that it’s living in a holographic world because the consciousness present for that holographic character can have that realization, just as Neo in the Matrix can realize he’s living in a virtual reality. Consciousness isn’t really a part of that holographic world. Consciousness is always outside that world, in the audience, only watching as the holographic movie of that world plays on a holographic screen.

Consciousness only believes it is a part of the holographic movie it is watching when it identifies itself with its holographic character in the movie. The important distinction is the consciousness watching the holographic movie is a divided presence of consciousness, which is called I Am, the Self, Atman, the witness, the spirit of God, or whatever else we want to call it. Anytime it wants to, a divided presence of consciousness can stop watching the movie and return to its true undivided state of nondual reality, but then it knows nothing. Nothing is known, nothing is done and nothing exists in that ultimate undivided and unlimited state of pure consciousness because that nondual absolute nothingness is what ultimately exists at the ground level of existence.

Nisargadatta has given an exquisitely detailed description of this state of affairs. Through his direct experiences, he has described a holographic world in exquisite detail. He also discussed the nature of nondual reality. What’s odd is that his descriptions are so universally ignored by the same people that revere him as a saint. What is it that people don’t want to know?

Nondual reality emotionally creates dualistic reality like the virtual reality of the Matrix so that it can communicate with itself. This kind of verbal communication can only appear to come into existence when emotions are expressed, which is literally how the world is created as the spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. Without that motion, there is only the darkness of the deep, the void, or the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that is truly alone since it is All-One. It has No-self because it has nothing to perceive in a subject-object relation of self and other.

At the ground level of the ultimate nature of existence nothing is known because that nothingness is what ultimately exists. The only way the kind of verbal communication that we experience in the world is even possible is if nondual reality creates a virtual reality for itself to communicate within, and that creation is always emotional. Creation is literally the spirit of God (Atman, the Self, I Am, the witness, or whatever else we want to call it) moving over the face of the deep, which is a holographic screen that allows a holographic world to appear to come into existence, but that holographic world is no more real than the virtual reality of the Matrix.

The irony is that science and the mathematics of modern physics that underlies all of science is just as much a part of the virtual reality as is anything else. Nisargadatta expressed his final wish during the last days of his life that the nature of nondual reality, or more specifically, the journey of awakening that takes one to the direct experience of nondual reality, be discussed in scientific terms. Nisargadatta was fully enlightened and truth realized, and yet he didn’t spend all of his time getting lost in the void in some catatonic or Samadhi trance of experiencing nothingness. He discussed the nature of nonduality in conceptual terms, and expressed his final wish that these concepts become scientific concepts. Of course, his comments were as much a part of dualistic reality as anything anyone else can say. It’s all dualism. Take away dualism and there is only the absolute nothingness of nondual reality, but like a roadmap, the only way anyone can point to the non-conceptual nature of nondual reality is by discussing it in conceptual terms.

Maybe that’s the reason nondual reality creates dualistic reality. Jed McKenna says dualistic reality is an amusement park, and that’s certainly part of it, but maybe it’s also created so nondual reality can communicate with itself about the true nature of what it really is. McKenna calls that communication truth-talk in the dreamstate, but even that talk is just another ride in the park.

Take the Red Pill

Anyone who has read this article to its logical conclusion is at least open to the possibility that physicalism is a false paradigm. The question everyone has to ask themselves is why is there so much emotional resistance to this possibility? The resistance against rejecting physicalism as a false paradigm about the nature of the world is not based on logical reasoning, but solely on emotional reactions against this possibility. Where does this emotional resistance come from?

The answer is the ego. The ego or personal self-concept is entirely an emotional creation, as is well accepted in both psychology and neuroscience. The ego is mentally constructed as a personal body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing. The personal self-concept is a mentally constructed self-image, while the concept of the other thing is a mentally constructed image of the other thing. These mentally constructed images must be emotionally related for the ego to appear to come into existence. The ego can only appear to come into existence, since these mentally constructed images can only be constructed out of what can be perceived in the world. The question the ego can never answer is about the true nature of the perceiver. What is the true nature of perceiving consciousness that perceives these images?

At a more fundamental level than the mental-emotional construction of the ego, the experience of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. The holographic principle is telling us that the true subjective nature of the observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness at the center of the observer’s own holographic world, and that the objective nature of all things in that world are only forms of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which only arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things include the observer’s body and all the mental images constructed in the observer’s mind. A body-based, emotionally energized, mentally constructed personal self-concept cannot be the true nature of the observer since that self-concept is only another form of information the observer perceives.

There can only be an illusion that the observer is a personal self-concept when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body. That emotional  feeling of self-limitation is the only thing that can create the illusion that the observer is a person in the world that it perceives. In reality, the observer has its own independent existence as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. That is the only logically consistent way to interpret the holographic principle.

The holographic principle is a hammer. All that’s being done in this article is to hammer away at the logical inconsistencies inherent in the conventional physicalist way science is understood. This strategy hammers away at the logical inconsistencies inherent within science when science is understood in the context of a personal self-concept that is assumed to understand science. This of course is logically impossible, since a personal self-concept must itself arise from the logical structure of science to be a scientific thing. The critical thing to realize is that scientific things are all observable things. The holographic principle is telling us that the Self in the sense of the observer of the observable things is not itself an observable thing. The Self can only be a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, which is not an observable thing. Only the Self can have its own independent existence, called I Am, independent of all the observable things the Self observes in its own observable world. The Self is aware of its own independent existence with its own sense of being present to observe that observable world.

The observable things are all a part of the holographic world the Self is observing, including the person in that world the Self mistakenly takes itself to be by emotionally identifying itself with the emotionally animated form of a person. To assume that a person is an observing Self is a logical contradiction. That is the logical contradiction in science that’s being hammered away at. What is surprising is that more people in science can’t see that logical contradiction and don’t use the holographic principle to hammer away at it. This really shouldn’t be surprising since the ego will believe any logical contradiction it has to believe to defend its own survival and apparent existence. Who wants to realize their apparent existence as a person in the world they perceive, which is their personal self-concept, is only a holographic illusion? The answer is nobody.

People in science who search for a Theory of Everything are searching for an answer that has already been discovered. The answer is inherent in the logical implications of the holographic principle. The holographic principle as demonstrated by the AdS/CFT correspondence deduced from M-theory or in matrix models that utilize the geometric mechanism of non-commutative geometry gives a perfectly good scientific answer to the questions scientists are asking. The problem is that scientists ignore the answer because they don’t like the answer even though the answer is the only logical possibility. All the other answers they seem to prefer and look for are logically impossible. If they really were good detectives like Sherlock Holmes, they would reject the logically impossible answers and accept the only logically possible answer. When you’ve ruled out everything that’s impossible, whatever remains, no matter how implausible it seems, must be the truth. The true answer only seems implausible to them because they don’t like the answer, not because the answer is untrue. The answers they prefer and find more plausible are the logically impossible answers. If they really carried the logical implications of the holographic principle to its logical conclusion, they would discover what in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta is called nonduality.

The concept of nonduality is all about the Source of the observable physical world and the Source of the observing consciousness that perceives that observable physical world. This is the part of the answer they’re ignoring. They’re ignoring the Source. If they were really serious about discovering a true conceptual answer, they would consider the Source. Ironically, no conceptual answer can ever really describe the nature of the Source since the Source is non-conceptual in nature. That’s why in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta no value is given to any possible conceptual answer, but only to the direct experience of the Source. One has to go beyond conceptual answers to have that direct experience. Of course, if they really did that, there would be no purpose in their search for a scientific answer. They’re trying to answer a question that really can’t be answered, at least not at a conceptual or scientific level.

People in science who continue to believe in the physicalism paradigm have taken the blue pill. They’re unwilling to confront the unpleasant truth about the nature of their own life. They remain in a blissful state of ignorance and believe whatever they want to believe. They take the blue pill because they can’t give up or let go of their emotionally created beliefs. They’re emotionally attached to their beliefs. The core belief they can’t give up is their belief that they are a physical person in the physical world they perceive. The only thing that props up this false belief is the emotional energy inherent in the mental construction of this belief, which makes it feel real.

There is No Spoon

To take the red pill is to go beyond beliefs. To go beyond beliefs is to go beyond the expression of emotions that create all beliefs. That emotional energy is what animates the life of a physical person in the physical world one perceives and makes that life feel real. The core belief that one has to give up in order to go beyond belief is the false belief that one is a physical person in the physical world one perceives. To awaken to the truth of what one really is, one has to become willing to believe nothing. One can only realize the truth without belief because No belief is true. Believing nothing is a necessary step in the process of doing nothing and becoming nothing, which eventually leads to knowing nothing. One eventually knows the non-conceptual absolute nothingness that is the truth of one’s own existence, which is the truth of what one really is.

Final Postscript: On the Nature of Belief

People will believe whatever they want to believe because that is what they want to believe. Their beliefs are emotionally energized and feel real. Beliefs don’t have to have any logical consistency, they only have to feel real. That’s the nature of the ego, which is really only a belief that you believe about yourself. You believe that you are a person in the world that you perceive. You believe this because it feels real as you perceive the expression of emotional energy. That feeling of reality is what makes beliefs believable, not their logical consistency. That’s why when you begin to examine your ego in a serious way, you’re shocked by all the stupid things you believe about yourself. You’re shocked that none of it makes any real sense. There is no logical consistency to the ego, only a feeling of reality that arises from expressing the emotional energy that defends the survival of the ego as a self-concept of what you are. The ego is only about defending its own survival as a concept of what you are, but that self-concept is inherently false. In reality, you are a presence of consciousness that falsely believes that you are a physical person in the world you perceive. As long as you are under the influence of your ego, the ego is what you’ll believe about yourself. In reality, you don’t know who you are when you emotionally identify yourself with your ego. You feel that you are your ego when self-defensive emotions are expressed and you feel self-limited to a personal form as you perceive the emotional energy animating that personal form. That’s why you emotionally identify yourself with your ego.

What people want to feel more than anything else is to feel powerful and in control of things. The ego is all about expressing that desire to feel powerful and in control because that is how the ego defends its own survival. The desire to be in control is self-defensive. That feeling of being in control is a denial of death. The death the ego wants to deny is its own death. The ego denies its death by feeling powerful and in control. To realize the truth of what you really are, you have to give up that desire to be in control. You have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death. The acceptance of death is always a surrender in which you give up your desire to control things and defend yourself. Personally biased emotions are only expressed because of personal bias in the focus of your attention. When you surrender, you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention. You give up the expression of your own personally biased individual will and surrender to something greater than yourself: divine will. What really dies away is the expression of the personally biased emotional energy that animates all the false beliefs you believe about yourself that you are a person in the world you perceive. Only after those false beliefs die away and you no longer believe in a personal self-concept can you discover the truth of what you really are: a spiritual presence of consciousness.

Jesus described this discovery as a death-rebirth transformation, in which your false personal self-identification with the form of a body dies away and you can only identify yourself with your true spiritual nature. You discover the truth that sets you free, the truth of what you are.

The problem with all explanations about the nature of reality is that ultimate reality cannot be conceptualized. Ultimate reality can be directly experienced, but that experience requires you to make a journey from where you are right now as you read these words. At best, explanations can only play the role of a road map that points out travel directions in that journey.

That journey is called the path of return. Although ultimate reality cannot be conceptualized, the best explanation we have is the one given by Shankara in terms of the concepts of Atman and Brahman. The ultimate nature of what you really are is Brahman, which is the non-conceptual absolute nothingness. When you perceive your own world as a presence of consciousness, you are Atman. You have focalized your existence into a point of view, but the world you perceive is really no more real than a virtual reality movie that you’re watching. That point of view is moving relative to the unmoving absolute nothingness. This is where modern physics comes into the story, as it explains how that moving point of view is like an observer in an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that projects all images of that world to your point of view. That motion also explains how images are animated like the frames of a movie. When that motion comes to an end, that world must disappear from existence from that particular point of view, and the unmoving point of view must dissolve back into the motionless absolute nothingness like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. Modern physics even explains this state of dissolution in terms of an observer in a freely falling frame of reference. The path of return is experienced as falling into and dissolving into the void. Ultimately, Atman is Brahman.

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In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form and void
And darkness was upon the face of the deep
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light
And God saw the light, that it was good
And God divided the light from the darkness

Never the spirit was born,
The spirit shall cease to be never,
Never was time it was not.
End and beginning are dreams.

The unreal has no being.
The real never ceases to be.

Now I Am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody.

That which permeates all, which nothing transcends, and which like the universal space around us fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman
That thou art

Brahman is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Atman and Brahman.
-Shankara

He must dare to leap into the Origin so as to live by the Truth and in the Truth, like one who has become one with it. He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way, undergo new transformation. If he survives its perils then is his destiny fulfilled; face to face he beholds the unbroken Truth, the Truth beyond all truths, the formless Origin of origins, the Void which is the All; is absorbed into it and from it emerges reborn-Eugen Herrigel

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

That Being is void.
-Osho

The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
I Am is the door. Stay with it until it opens. It is always open, but you are not at it.

You are and I am, but only as points in consciousness.

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time, effortlessly and spontaneously.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

To the Self the world is but a passing show. The world just sprouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing. As long as the Self is merely aware, there is no problem.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

Delve deeply into the sense I Am and you will discover that the perceiving center is universal. All that happens in the universe happens to you, the silent witness. Whatever is done is done by you, the universal and inexhaustible energy.
There can be no universe without the witness, no witness without the universe.

You are the source of reality, a dimensionless center of perception that imparts reality to whatever it perceives, a pure witness that watches what is going on and remains unaffected.
It is only imagination and self-identification with the imagined that encloses and converts the inner watcher into a person.
The person is merely the result of a misunderstanding.
In reality there is no such thing.
Feelings, thoughts and actions race before the watcher in endless succession.
In reality there is no person, only the watcher identifying itself.

The world you can perceive is a very small world, entirely private. The world is but a reflection of imagination. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. By forgetting who you are and imagining yourself a mortal creature you create so much trouble for yourself that you have to wake up, like from a bad dream.

Some go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dreamlands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important.

Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up, but you do not see because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you long for the ending of the dream. You become willing to pay any price. The price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream.

I am like a cinema screen, clear and empty.
The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before.
The screen intercepts and reflects the pictures. These are lumps of destiny, but not my destiny; the destinies of the people on the screen.
The character will become a person when he begins to shape his life instead of accepting it as it comes-identifying himself with it.
All this I perceive quite clearly, but I am not in it.
I feel myself as floating over it, aloof and detached.
There is also the awareness of it all and a sense of immense distance as if the body and the mind and all that happens to them were somewhere far out on the horizon.
To myself I Am neither perceivable nor conceivable.
There is nothing I can point out and say “this I am”.

Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation nothing is perceived. The root idea is I Am. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas which in their totality constitute God’s world. The I Am remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

All limited existence is imaginary.
Even space and time are imaginary.
Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not limited.
All limitation is imaginary.
Only the unlimited is real.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

You must realize yourself as the silent witness of all that happens. Your consciousness raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer.

The witness that stands aloof is the watchtower of the real, the point at which awareness, inherent in the unmanifested, contacts the manifested.

When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?

Find the immutable center where all movement takes birth. Be the axis at the center, not whirling at the periphery. Nothing stops you except fear. You are afraid of impersonal being.

The Self stands beyond the mind, aware, but unconcerned. You are the Self, here and now. Stand aware and unconcerned and you will realize that to stand alert but detached, watching events come and go, is an aspect of your real nature.

In pure being consciousness arises.
In consciousness the world appears and disappears.
Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality.
The center is a point of void and the witness a point of pure awareness; they know themselves to be as nothing.
But the void is full to the brim.
It is the eternal potential as consciousness is the eternal actual.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. As long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. Names and shapes are hollow shells. What is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

The state of pure witnessing is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains.

You see yourself in the world, while I see the world in myself. To you, you get born and die, while to me, the world appears and disappears. It is your imagination that misleads you. There is a deep contradiction in your attitude which you do not see.

In ignorance the seer becomes the seen and in wisdom he is the seeing.

What begins and ends is mere appearance. The world can be said to appear but not to be. It is your memory that makes you think that the world continues. Memory creates the illusion of continuity. I see the world as it is, a momentary appearance in consciousness.

The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it nor meaning.

The world is but a mistaken view of reality, unreal to its core.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

When you are in dead earnest, you bend every incident, every second of your life, to your purpose. You do not waste time and energy on other things. You are totally dedicated, call it one-pointedness of the mind.

In the end you get fed up with the waste of time and energy.

When you refuse to play the game you are out of it.

From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously.
I do nothing. I just see them happen.

Some unknown power acts and you imagine that you are acting.

You are merely watching what happens.

As long as there is the sense of identity with the body, frustration is inevitable. It is because of your illusion that you are the doer.

As long as you have the idea of influencing events, liberation is not for you. The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is bondage.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.

To imagine that you are in control is the aberration of the body-mind. There is a universal power that is in control. The illusion of personal control is in the mind only. Stand without desire and fear, relinquishing all control. This is the shortest way to reality.

Self-identifications are patently false and the cause of bondage.
Your attachment is your bondage.

There is trouble only when you cling to something.
It is your desire to hold onto it that creates the problem. Let go.
When you hold onto nothing, no trouble arises.

You create bondage when you desire and fear and identify yourself with your feelings.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.
Your bonds are self-created as chains of attachment.
Cut the knot of self-identification.

It is disinterestedness that liberates. If you lose interest, you break the emotional link that perpetuates the bondage.

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

Selfishness is due to self-identification with the body.

If you look into the living process closely, you will find cruelty everywhere, for life feeds on life.

Selfishness is always destructive. Desire and fear are self-centered states. Between desire and fear anger arises, and with anger hatred.

It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

You must remove the wall. Realize that the wall and both sides of it are one single space.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically.
Scrutinize every idea about it.
Everything must be scrutinized and the unnecessary ruthlessly destroyed.
There cannot be too much destruction.
For in reality nothing is of value.

Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being. The false self must be abandoned before the real Self can be found.

Seeing the false as the false is meditation.

Death gives freedom. To be free in the world you must die to the world.

Freedom means letting go.
Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything.

All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient.
Fear makes one a slave.
Freedom from attachment is natural when one knows one’s true being.

You are afraid of what you are. You are afraid that you will lose your identity; afraid of the unknown; not-being, not-knowing, not-doing; the beyond. Unwillingness born out of fear is the only obstacle.

Discrimination will lead to detachment.
You gain nothing.
You leave behind what is not your own and find what you have never lost:
Your own being.

Do not undervalue attention. To know, to do, to discover, or to create you must give your attention to it.

Give your undivided attention to the most important in your life, yourself.

Attention comes from the Self.

All you can do is to shift the focus of consciousness beyond the mind.

Liberation is never of the person, it is always from the person.

The difference between the person and the witness is as between not knowing and knowing oneself.

You can see a person but you are not a person.

There is no such thing as a separate person. Everything is the cause of everything. Everything is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.

The entire universe contributes to the existence of even the smallest thing. Nothing could be as it is without the universe being what it is. Everything is as it is because the universe is as it is. The universe is not bound by its contents because its potentialities are infinite.

The universal trend towards balance, harmony and unity, at every moment, whatever is happening, is always for the best.

The law of balance rules supreme.

Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralizes the action. There is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

By itself nothing has existence

All appearance and disappearance presupposes a change against a changeless background.

There must be a source from which all flows, a foundation on which all stands.

Consciousness itself is the source of everything.

The supreme state is the very center of consciousness and yet beyond consciousness. The center of consciousness is That which cannot be given name and form, for it is without quality and beyond consciousness. It is a point in consciousness which is beyond consciousness. It is an opening in the mind, a void, through which the mind is flooded with light. It is but an opening for the light of consciousness to enter the mental space.

Don’t you experience even when unconscious? Can you exist without knowing? Can you validly talk about your own nonexistence as an actual experience? A lapse in memory is not a proof of nonexistence.

The reward of Self-knowledge is freedom from the personal self.

The dissolution of personality is always followed by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off.

Self-surrender is the surrender of all self-concern. It cannot be done, it happens when you realize your true nature.

When there is total surrender, complete relinquishment of all concern with one’s past, present and future, with one’s physical and spiritual security, when the shell of self-defense is broken, a new life dawns, full of love and beauty. Complete self-surrender by itself is liberation.

When the mind becomes quiet, if you do not disturb this quiet and stay in it, you find that it is permeated with a light and love you have never known, and yet you recognize it at once as your own nature. Once you have passed through this experience, you will never be the same again. Delusions and attachments end and life becomes supremely concentrated in the present.

Know yourself as you are. Stay with the sense I Am.

Wherever you go, at all times, you carry with you the sense of being present and aware, here and now. It means that you are independent of space and time. Space and time are in you, not you in them. It is only your self-identification with the body, limited in space and time, that gives you a sense of limitation. In reality, you are limitless.

Your world is created with the emergence of the I Am idea. In your world everything has a beginning and an end. Timeless being is entirely in the now.

Externalization is the first step in liberation. Step away and look. Separate yourself and watch. The physical events will go on happening, but in themselves they have no importance.

Seeing that you are not the person you take yourself to be, step out and look from the outside.

Your questions are about a non-existing person. Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that whatever happens, comes and goes, is not real; that you alone are, the changeless among the changeful. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications. Be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness.

Whatever you perceive is not you. It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents.

All you need to do is to cease taking your Self to be within the field of consciousness. To look for it on the mental level is futile. It is here and now-the I Am you know so well.

Even the sense I Am is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek.

The witness only registers events. All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense I Am dissolves. There is no I Am without the mind.

The witness consciousness is not permanent. The knower rises and sets with the known. That in which the knower and the known arise and set is beyond time.

In silence, or void or abeyance, the three-experiencer, experiencing, experience-are not. Unidentified being remains.

When the mind stays in the I Am, without moving, you enter a state that cannot be verbalized but can be experienced. The sense I Am is always with you, only you have attached all kinds of things to it-body, feelings, thoughts, ideas. All these self-identifications are misleading; because of them you take your Self to be what you are not.

It is enough to know what you are not. You need not know what you are. What you are cannot be described except as total negation. Let go of your attachment to the unreal.

When the mind is quiet we come to know ourselves as the pure witness.
We withdraw from the experience and stand apart in pure awareness.
The personality continues, but its self-identification with the witness snaps.

As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body and a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.

As long as you are locked up with your mind and ego, you cannot go further. Were you really at war with your ego, you would question its reality. You don’t question because you are not really interested. You are moved by the pleasure-pain principle, fear and desire, which is your ego. You are going along with your ego, not fighting against it. You are not even aware how totally swayed you are by personal considerations. Be in revolt against your ego, for the ego narrows and distorts. It is the worst of all tyrants. It dominates you completely.

Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not: body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. Nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand that on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being human should be discarded. Abandon all self-identifications, abandon all self-concern, abandon every desire. Stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now. You need absolutely nothing.

Nothing stands in the way of your liberation here and now except for your being more interested in other things. You must see through them as mere mental errors.

We have enclosed ourselves in a cloud of personal desires and fears, images and thoughts, ideas and concepts.

Your difficulty stems from the idea that reality is a state of consciousness.

The desire to live is a tremendous thing. Still greater is the freedom from the urge to live.

Moments when one feels empty and estranged are desirable moments, for it means the soul has cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places.

There is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself.

Once you are well established in the now, you have nowhere else to go.

As long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk from the final leap into the unknown.

You must begin by being the dispassionate observer. Then only will you realize your full being. As long as you are enmeshed in the tribulations of a particular personality, you can see nothing beyond it. Ultimately you will come to see that you are neither the particular nor the universal. You are beyond both.

Giving up is the first step. The real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own.
Give up all and you gain all.
Then life becomes what it was meant to be: Pure radiation from an inexhaustible source.
In that light the world appears dimly like a dream.

Everything is depicted in the pictures on the screen, including the person you take yourself to be; nothing in the light. You are the light only. You are the pure light appearing as a picture on the screen and becoming one with it.

Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. Whatever you are conscious of, is not you. Yours is the cinema screen, the light and the seeing power, but the picture is not you.

You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth, all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself. Realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself. All you need is to stop searching outside what can only be found within.

Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning flows. It is not the superficial mind that can give meaning. You are not what you think yourself to be. You cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced. You are the perceiving point, the nondimensional source of all dimensions, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything. You can know what you are not, but you cannot know your real being. You can only be what you are.

As long as you are engrossed in the world, you cannot know yourself. To know yourself, turn your attention away from the world and turn within.

Turn within. I Am you know. Be with it all the time, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.

By its very nature the mind is outwardly turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves. To be told to look for the source within is the beginning of a new life.

Remain as the silent witness only; a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless.

Give attention to the witness to break the spell of the known, the illusion that only the perceivable is real. As long as you believe that only the perceivable world is real you remain its slave.

To become free your attention must be drawn to the witness.

The point of I Am is the bridge between the watcher and its dream.

I Am both inside and outside the dream, but what I see in dream, I am not.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Every moment returns to its source, just as every wave subsides into the ocean.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

Consciousness needs a vehicle and an instrument for its manifestation. When life produces another body, another knower comes into being. The link between successive body-minds may be called the memory body; a record of all that was thought, wanted and done, like a cloud of images held together.

In death only the body dies; life does not; consciousness does not; reality does not. Life is never so alive as after death. It is a reflection in a separate body of the one reality.

Realization is the opposite of ignorance. To take the world as real and one’s Self as unreal is ignorance, the cause of sorrow. To know the Self as the only reality and all else as temporal and transient is freedom.

All is a play in consciousness. All divisions are illusory. You can know the false only. The true you must yourself be.

The supreme gives existence to the mind. The mind gives existence to the body. When you see the person and the witness, the observer, as one, and go beyond, you are in the supreme state.

The supreme state is entirely one and indivisible. The only way of knowing it is to be it. The mind cannot reach it. To perceive it does not need the senses. To know it does not need the mind.

Can you talk of identity without memory?

Who identifies? Identity, individuality are aspects of the mind only. The idea ‘I am this body’ dies; the witness does not. The one witness reflects itself in the countless bodies as I Am. Beyond the body there is only the One.

Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your Self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your Self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there.

My life is a succession of events just like yours. Only I Am detached and see the passing show as a passing show, while you stick to things and move along with them.

You cannot find peace in the world, for the world is full of contradictions.

One becomes self-conscious only when caught in the conflict between pleasure and pain, which demands choice and decision. The personal self by its very nature is constantly pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. The ending of this pattern is the ending of the self. The ending of the self with its desires and fears enables you to return to your real nature.

Suffering is due to non-acceptance. To reach the deeper layers of suffering you must go to its roots and uncover their vast underground network, where fear and desire are closely interwoven and the currents of life’s energy oppose, obstruct and destroy each other. The mental life is one continuous stream of suffering. By watching yourself with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, you encourage the deep to come to the surface. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Alert attention is the mother of intelligence and intelligence is the door to freedom.

To rise in consciousness is to rise from one dimension to another.

It is the very structure of the universe, of manifestation, that the higher can be had only through freedom from the lower. All that lives, works for expanding consciousness, ever raising the level of consciousness, discovering new dimensions.

There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world.

As life before death is but imagination, so is life after death. The dream continues.

What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. Death is preferable to it. There is a chance of waking up.

When you see your dream as dream, you wake up. You need not bring your dream to a definite conclusion. All you need is to realize that you are dreaming. Stop imagining, stop believing. See the contradictions, the incongruities, the falsehood and the sorrow of the human state, the need to go beyond.

Stop imagining yourself to be what you are not. Stop believing.

You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You are not what you think yourself to be; as you believe yourself to be. What you appear to be, you are not.

The unreal appears to be real only because you believe in it. You impart reality to it by taking it to be real. Doubt it and it ceases.

The urge must come from within as a wave of detachment.

There is no such thing as an expression of reality. Neither action nor feeling nor thought express reality. I know that life itself is only a make-believe. I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.

Reincarnation implies a reincarnating Self. There is no such thing. The bundle of memories called the ‘I’ imagines itself existing. All experience is born of imagination. Only those who think themselves born can think themselves reborn. All exists in awareness and awareness neither dies nor is reborn. It is the changeless reality itself. Timelessly, the Self actualizes itself without exhausting its infinite possibilities.

Those who make plans will be born to carry them out. Those who make no plans need not be born; he is not bound for a destination; he has nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to become.

When the mind takes over, remembers and anticipates, it exaggerates, distorts and overlooks. The past is projected into the future and the future betrays the expectations.

You do not need to remember to be. Before you can experience anything, there must be the sense of being. Your being is mixed up with experiencing. Unravel being from the tangle of experiences. Once you have known pure being, you will discern it among experiences and no longer be misled by names and forms. What comes and goes has no being and is unreal.

By desiring you take the shape of your desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural state. All desires must be given up.

Desire is merely the fixation of the mind on an idea. Just turn away, deny it attention. Give it up because you see its valuelessness.

The desire for realization, to put an end to all desires, is a most peculiar desire.

The destroyer is always more real than the destroyed.

I Am beyond all experience. I Am the great destroyer; whatever I touch dissolves into void.

Beyond the moving mind there is the background of awareness, which does not change. The mind is like a river, flowing ceaselessly. Everything appears and disappears in consciousness. Our minds are just waves on the ocean of consciousness. As waves they come and go. Know your Self as the ocean of being, infinite and eternal. Though I appear as a person to you, I Am that infinite ocean of consciousness in which all happens, beyond all things. I Am no-thing.

Consciousness arising, the world arises.

In consciousness there is the ‘I’ who is conscious, while awareness is undivided, aware of itself. Awareness is beyond all, being as well as not being.

In reality nothing happens. Nothing happens to space itself. In pure consciousness nothing ever happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go as light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the pictures.

Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.

The absolute is. The absolute precedes time. Awareness comes first. Awareness contains all space and time. Awareness becomes focalized and a person appears. Remove the light of awareness, as in sleep, and the person disappears.

As long as we imagine ourselves to be separate personalities, we cannot grasp reality which is essentially impersonal.

The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space.

It is all a matter of focus. Your mind is focused in the world; mine is focused in reality.

Attention liberates. You are taking so many things for granted. You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. Demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered.

Truth can be expressed only by the denial of the false. It is useless to search for truth. You must see the false as false and reject it. Renunciation of the false is liberating.

What has no being is false. What has a beginning and end, limited in time and space, has only the name and shape given to it by the mind. It is hollow and has no being.

When the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with a new knowledge. On realization you feel complete. You merely discover what you are.

Realize that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. Nothing affects your real being-this is the absolute truth.

You are the changeless background against which changes are perceived.

The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. The body will survive as long as it is needed. It is not important that it should survive long.

Find out your real being. What am I? is the fundamental question of philosophy and psychology. Go into it deeply.

Deepening and broadening of self-awareness is the royal way. Call it mindfulness or witnessing or attention. Witnessing is awareness of consciousness and its movements.

I am not my body. I am the witness only.

I am beyond the mind. I am perfectly empty of all mental formations-yet fully aware.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Absolute reality imparts reality to whatever comes into being.
It is the very source of reality.
It is what is, pure being, the timeless reality.
It is not perceivable; it is what makes perception possible.

Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

All that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness.
I Am in and beyond that consciousness.
I Am in it as the witness.
I Am beyond it as Being.

I am dead already. Physical death will make no difference. I am timeless being.

If you desire nothing, then you are as good as dead, or you are the Supreme.

The Supreme is both creation and dissolution, the beingness of all beings, the ground from which all grows, alone. Words do not reach there, nor mind.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Your true home is in nothingness.

Awareness is beyond all.
Awareness is primordial; it is the original state.
Awareness is undivided, aware of itself.

Before the mind happens, I Am.
Before all beginnings, after all endings, I Am.
All has its being in the I Am that shines in every living being.

The dreamer is one.
I Am beyond all dreams.
I Am the light in which all dreams appear and disappear.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

Whatever depends is not real. The real is truly independent.

Reality is essentially alone.
To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

Do nothing. There is nothing to do. Just be.
To be, you must be nobody.
You make yourself mortal by taking yourself to be a body.
That which is alive in you is immortal.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is as one always is. One knows nothing, wants nothing, is nothing.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

The I Am in movement creates the world.
The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

♦♦♦

Conversations on Nonduality

Q: You are right in that everyone has to follow his or her own journey, but there seem to be patterns among those who reached the goal. I’m familiar with “I Am That” and much more literature on non-duality and Vedanta Advaita, but it’s one thing to intellecutually understand it and another to experience it. I also read Michael Talbot’s “The Holographic Universe”, although I lack the physics background to completely grasp this stuff. My background is in philosophy, and this continues to be my main point of access, although I must admit that I’ve been trying to meditate and self-enquire for quite a while, unfortunately with poor results. I once tried 5MeO-DMT to experience a non-dual state, but of course it didn’t trigger a permanent loss of the ego. But it was quite interesting to at least see that consciousness can be separated from a “me/I”, which I never thought was possible, because until then, that was always the same. Consciousness without an “I” seemed to be ridiculous.

A: Consciousness without an I is Brahman. Consciousness with an I is Atman. Ultimately, Atman is Brahman. Bernadette Roberts describes the enlightenment experience very accurately in her book The Experience of No-self. Like Meister Eckhart, she describes the experience as a dissolution of the individual spirit (The Self) into the Supreme Spirit (The Source or Godhead). This is an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. In that ultimate state of One-ness, there is No-self. There is no subject-object relation defining self and other. In conceptual or scientific terms, Brahman or the Source is a void of absolute nothingness, Atman or the Self is an observer that arises at a point of view, and the images of a holographic world are displayed on a holographic screen. That holographic screen is a surface of space that arises as an event horizon because the point of view of the observer is moving in an accelerated way relative to the unmoving ocean. When that motion comes to an end, which is to say when the expression of all emotions comes to an end in a desireless state, that holographic world must disappear from existence from that particular point of view because the motionless observer no longer has a holographic screen (the ocean no longer has a surface). Enlightened beings describe this oceanic experience as falling into and dissolving into the infinite void.

Jed McKenna makes the point that enlightenment always follows a death-rebirth transformation that eventually leads to the experience of No-self. The Self is an untruth that must die away before the truth of No-self can be realized. You don’t become enlightened because of your desire for truth. You become enlightened because you hate the falseness so much that you’re willing to let it die away. You have to get to the point of hating the lie so much that you’d rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live the life of a lie. You have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death before you can realize the truth. The truth of existence is what remains when everything false disappears from existence. Everything you can perceive in your own world is unreal in the sense of being an illusion, like in a virtual reality, but the number one illusion is your own ego. Even the Self that identifies itself with its ego is a part of that illusion.

The holographic principle makes an important point that cannot be overemphasized. Expression of desire only creates more falseness. That falseness can only be destroyed in a desireless state. The expression of desire arises with the motion of the Self relative to its motionless Source. That expression of emotional energy is the only thing that gives rise to a holographic screen that encodes information for everything the Self can observe in its own holographic world. The form of all things are projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view and animated in the flow of energy that arises from that motion. That holographic world is the falseness that can only disappear from existence in a desireless state when that motion comes to an end. The falseness is only destroyed when the expression of emotions comes to an end. Since that holographic world can only arise in a subject-object relation as the Self perceives the images of that world, the Self is a part of the holographic illusion. When the Self emotionally identifies itself with the form of an emotionally animated person that appears in that world, the Self is identifying itself with its ego, which only compounds the nature of the illusion.

The ego is emotionally constructed as a body-based personal self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing that appears in the world you perceive. People are social animals, and emotional expressions of fear and desire predominately arise in the setting of emotional attachments to others. The expression of emotions is what creates the emotional relationship between self and other inherent in all emotional attachments that underlie the emotional creation of all personal self-concepts. The Self can only identify itself with its ego because it feels emotionally self-limited to a personal form as it perceives the self-limiting expression of emotional energy that animates that personal form. The emotional relationship between a personal form and the form of another is how the ego is emotionally constructed, but in a twisted way, the Self is emotionally identifying itself with that personal form since it feels emotionally self-limited to that personal form. The Self perceives things in its own world in a subject-object relation, but when the Self identifies itself with its ego, it is as though that personal form perceives things. A personal form can only transmit or process information, while the perception of a form is like the projection of that form from a screen to the point of view of an observer. The Self is the observer present at that point of view in relation to the screen. The Self as a presence of perceiving consciousness arises at a point of view in relation to the screen.

The form of a person is reducible to information encoded on the screen, but the consciousness of the observer is not. The Source of the observer’s consciousness does not arise from a form that appears on the screen. There is only confusion about the Source of consciousness due to the feelings of self-limitation that arise as that personal form is emotionally animated, which leads the Self to emotionally identify itself with that personal form. The Self is confused because that expression of emotion literally arises from the motion of the Self relative to its Source, but the Self ignores its Source and only focuses its attention on the projected personal form. That projected personal form is only an illusion of what the Self really is, but when the Self ignores its Source, it mistakenly attributes the personal form to be its source. The Self is as much a part of the illusion as the personal form it perceives, since its ego can only be emotionally constructed in a subject-object relation. The only way to realize the truth is to totally destroy the illusion. The truth of existence is what remains when the illusion disappears from existence. The only way to destroy the illusion is for the Self to cease to exist as an individual presence of consciousness.

As a presence of Atmanic consciousness, you are always present now, in the present moment. As long as you perceive things in your own world from your own point of view, you are always a presence of consciousness that arises at a point of view, and you are always present now. There is only an illusion of your personal continuity in time because of the memory of past events and anticipation of future events, but even that memory of the past and anticipation of the future is perceived now. You are always present now, but an illusion of your personal continuity in time arises with personal memory that creates the illusion that you are a person in the world you perceive. Memory can only be created as an emotional projection from the present moment, and you have to focus your attention on creating your own memories. The emotional projection of memory is an integral part of the emotional construction of a personal self-concept. You have to focus your attention on your self-concept to emotionally construct your self-concept, but when you focus your attention on your self-concept you’re focusing on your memory of past events or your anticipation of future events. You’re not focused on the present moment. That’s why one of the first instructions in the awakening process is to focus your attention on your own sense of being present in the present moment. When you do that, you not only stop creating memories, but you also stop creating a personal self-concept. You have to stop creating memories and a self-concept before you can focus your attention on your own sense of being present, which you can only bring into focus as you focus your attention exclusively on the present moment.

When you stop the emotional projection process of creating personal memory and a personal self-concept, and focus your attention only on the actual events of the present moment, you allow yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. McKenna refers to this state of alignment as the integrated state, which always follows a death-rebirth transformation as you relinquish your personally biased desire to be in control of events. That desire to be in control is always self-defensive and leads to the expression of personally biased emotions that create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. That emotional disturbance is what creates the feelings of personal self-limitation that underlies the emotional construction of a personal self-concept. This can only happen because of the personal bias in the focus of your attention that underlies the emotional projection of all personal memories. When you give up the desire to be in control, you lose that personal bias and stop creating those personal memories. Without those personal memories, you stop constructing a personal self-concept. Your attention is no longer focused on the events you remember about the past and anticipate about the future, but is only focused on the actual events of the present moment. As a presence of consciousness that observes the events of the present moment, that is the only way you can lose your personal self-concept. You have to stop focusing your attention on it. When you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention, you naturally come into alignment with the normal flow of things.

In religious terms, this state of alignment with the normal flow of things in which you lose your personal bias that creates your personal self-concept is called the born again experience. Your identity as a person dies away. This can only happen when you give up your personally biased desire to be in control, which all religions refer to as a surrender to divine will. When you lose your personally biased individual will and surrender to divine will, you come into alignment. In that state of surrender, you accept the actual events as they actually are and stop opposing them. Instead, you develop a trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best.

Roberts refers to this state of alignment as the first movement of life, which she describes as a mystical union of the Self with its divine Source. The Self is your spirit, and this state of mystical union is the union of the spirit with its spiritual Source. The motion of the Self is literally coming into alignment with the expression of divine will that gives rise to the normal flow of things. In this state of mystical union, you’re no longer opposing the normal motion of things by creating an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. Roberts refers to the second movement of life as the experience of No-self. Ironically, the experience of No-self is inherently the end of that motion. When the motion of the Self comes to a motionless end, the individual consciousness of the Self dies away and only the One consciousness of No-self remains. This experience of No-self is inherently a motionless state in which no emotions are expressed.

When the individual consciousness of the Self dies away, only One consciousness of No-self remains. This death of individual consciousness is the nature of becoming enlightened, which enlightened beings describe as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. It’s often stated that enlightenment follows from looking within and focusing your attention on your own sense of being present or I-Am-ness, but that isn’t the whole story. It’s only when you look into the emptiness of your own being in an egoless and desireless state that you can fall into the void and your individual consciousness can dissolve back into One consciousness.

That fall is the nature of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self, and the gate only opens when the Self becomes selfless and desireless. In that desireless state, individual consciousness dies away in the sense that the I Am becomes an I-am-not. This is an I-death, in which there is no I. Falling and dissolving into the void is only possible in this desireless state. The motion of the Self must come to an end relative to its motionless Source. The end of that motion is the end of the expression of emotions. This desireless state is not only the death of the ego, but also the death of the Self. In that death, everything in the world perceived by the Self disappears from existence, but even the individual existence of the Self ceases to exist at an individual level. In that dissolution, only the absolute nothingness of No-self remains.

This I-death only becomes possible when the Self refuses to be present to perceive its own holographic world. That holographic world is always created in a subject-object relation as the Self perceives images of that world. When that world is not perceived, it disappears from existence from that particular point of view. When the Self refuses to be present to perceive its world, that I Am presence becomes an I-am-not. That holographic world is the illusion that must disappear from existence for the truth of No-self to be realized, but that can only happen if the Self is not present to perceive that world. The Self dies away when it refuses to play the game. The only thing that keeps the Self interested in the game is its emotional self-identification with its ego, which is why this I-death is only possible in the setting of ego-death.

The Self must itself die away to realize the truth of No-self, and that can only happen through a self-destructive process of ego-death. You have to examine and deconstruct your own ego. Ultimately, you have to detach yourself from everything to undergo this process of ego-death, since only the emotional energy of emotional attachments, expressed in terms of fear and desire, can emotionally construct the ego. You deconstruct your ego by severing the emotional attachments. When you sever an emotional attachment, it always feels like something dies inside since part of your ego structure dies away. Your ego is entirely an emotional creation. Being without desire is as good as being dead. To awaken to your own truth, you have to go through this dying process. You have to accept your own death. That acceptance of death is always a surrender in which you give up your desire to be in control and defend yourself. You surrender by relinquishing your desire to be in control and you deconstruct your ego by severing your emotional attachments. McKenna is worth reading if for no other reason than to know what the hell you’re getting yourself into with all this enlightenment stuff. Who really wants to know that their life is an illusion and they only really exist at the level of absolute nothingness? The answer of course is nobody. When you die at the level of ego-death, you become nobody.

The irony is that all personal memories, self-concepts and other forms of mental imagination are actual events that are being perceived in the present moment, but their perception by the Self is a private experience that is not being shared within the consensual reality that the Self shares with other points of view. In a convoluted and twisted way, the Self is disconnecting itself from that consensual reality when it emotionally constructs a personal self-concept through the emotional projection of personal memories and emotionally identifies itself with that personal self-concept. In effect, an illusion is being wrapped within an illusion that is being wrapped within an illusion. McKenna describes this wrapping process as the layers of an onion. When you peel away all the layers of the onion, what do you find inside? The answer is nothing.

The Truth of No-self can only be discussed in terms of negation and not at a conceptual level. The direct experience of nondual reality cannot really be discussed since absolute nothingness cannot really be conceptualized. You can experience it but you can’t talk about it in terms of concepts, except for the concepts of a road map that point out travel directions in your journey.

Q: What I’m kind of struggling with is how to interpret those religious terms like “Brahman”, “Atman”, “Supreme Spirit”, “God-head”, etc. Is that which is denoted by those terms really the absolute, or is it just a certain state of consciousness created by a reduced activity of the default mode network? I guess you interpret those terms in the light of the hologram theory of the universe/consciousness, which might provide you with much more scientific evidence. When you speak of enlightened beings, have you ever encountered one, or do you consider any of the well-known non-duality teachers “enlightened”?

A: I always look for consistency when assessing if someone who claims to be enlightened is really enlightened or just pretending to be enlightened. People pretend because they really believe themselves to be enlightened, not because of any malicious intent or intentional deceit. They’re deceiving themselves. The best way to evaluate if they’re deceiving themselves is to assess if they believe in their own Self. Enlightened beings believe in nothing, and certainty don’t believe in the reality of their own Self. They know their Self is an illusion, like everything else they can perceive. Everything is perceived in a subject-object relation, and the Self that perceives things is a part of that illusion. The only thing that is really real is the absolute nothingness of No-self, which can’t be perceived in a conventional way, but can be experienced. The problem is, the absolute nothingness of No-self is inherently non-conceptual, and so that experience can’t be discussed in conceptual terms. When I look for consistency, this is what I’m looking for. As best I can tell, all the followers of Ramana, like Papaji and Mooji are deceiving themselves when they speak about the Self as the ultimate nature of reality. It’s not. No-self is the ultimate nature of reality, but there’s really no point in speaking about it since it can’t be conceptualized. To paraphrase Shankara (with a bit of my own embellishment), No-self is the only truth, the world (as perceived by the Self) is a (holographic) illusion, and ultimately there is no difference between the Self and No-self. Anyone who claims that anything other than the absolute nothingness of No-self is real is a fraud. As the Bhagavad-gita says: the unreal has no being; the real never ceases to be. Ultimately, nothing is real. Amanda Gefter came to that conclusion when she analyzed the holographic principle, which is also the answer to the central question of the Matrix: What is real? The answer is nothing is real, but don’t ask me to explain what that absolute nothingness really is. It’s unexplainable. Like the nihilists in the Big Lebowski, enlightened beings can only say: “We believe in nothing“, which McKenna rephrased as No belief is true.

Adapted from Bernadette Roberts’ The Experience of No-self:

When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out.

The only mystic I know who says something about this step beyond union, beyond self and God, is Meister Eckhart. This could be understood as his breakthrough, his bursting forth into the Godhead, his crashing through to that which is beyond the idea of God and truth, until the soul reaches the beginning of beginnings, the origin or source. This amounts to saying that union depends on separateness. Beyond self this separateness no longer exists-an undefinable essential Oneness for which theology has no words. The difference depends on which side of the breakthrough we stand: whether the self remains, or whether it is dead and buried in the Godhead. Each side represents two different ways of seeing and knowing.

To speak of a union with God is orthodox, but to speak of an essential oneness with God-a oneness in God’s essence-is unorthodox. The problem is not merely one of description or semantics, but rather, one of experience, for with the falling away of the union of two, there remains only the clear identity of the One-the essential Oneness of the Godhead.

The first movement of life culminates in the union of self with God. The second movement culminates in no union-no self and no God for that self. In order to come upon God as he is in Himself-and not as he is in our self-there must be no self. There is no other way.

The root of the problem stems from the biblical statement that God made all things from nothing, and the disagreement in the interpretation of this nothing. Since absolute nothing is incomprehensible, it falls, like the essence of God, into the realm of the unknown. That this unknowable nothing turns out to be God is the final realization of the mystic. What flowed forth from God in the act of creation was some unknowable aspect of Himself. Thus if we were created from nothing it can only mean nothing knowable to the mind. Yet the experiential understanding of how this works is possible once self has fallen away. However we wish to interpret the nothingness or non-being from which we were made, it is difficult to justify any speculation that God did not make us from himself-his will or uncreated energy.

She then quotes the bible:

“He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to naught for me discovers who he is”. To this I would add that in coming to naught he will not only discover who he is, but what he is, for in God these cannot be separated. That he is, what he is, who he is, where he is, in God these are One, and outside this One, nothing is.

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Why The Holographic Principle of Quantum Gravity is a Radical Transformation of our Understanding of Quantum Theory

In recent years, physicists have discovered the holographic principle of quantum gravity, but most physicists have not fully appreciated that the holographic principle is a radical transformation in our understanding of quantum theory. The key idea of the holographic principle is that everything in physical reality can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Most physicists have not fully appreciated that physical reality is an observable reality that must be observed by an observer to appear to come into existence. This lack of understanding reflects that physicists are ignoring the central role the observer must play in constructing its own observable physical reality.

Both Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have stressed the holographic principle of quantum gravity is a radical transformation of our understanding of quantum theory, which most physicists have not fully appreciated. Quantum theory in the conventional sense of particle physics really only applies in some bounded region of space. In the holographic principle, this conventional particle physics formulation of quantum theory can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen that bounds that bounded region of space. The holographic screen is a bounding surface of space that in the sense of relativity theory can always be understood to arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The holographic screen encodes qubits of information through some sort of geometric mechanism, like non-commutative geometry. The AdS/CFT correspondence gives an explicit example of how a holographic world is constructed. Quantum theory is inherently about measurement since the observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is inherently an observer-centric and observer-dependent description of observable reality. Physicists are ignoring the central role the observer must play in constructing that observable physical reality.

Jacobson has shown how Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric arise from the holographic principle as thermodynamic equations of state. Near thermal equilibrium, the laws of thermodynamics specify how change in energy is related to change in entropy and temperature as ΔE=TΔS. Using the Unruh temperature of the Rindler event horizon observed by an accelerating observer, kT=ħa/2πc, given in terms of an observer’s acceleration, a, and the holographic entropy of the region of space bounded by that event horizon, S=kA/4ℓ2, given in terms of the surface area, A, of the event horizon and the Planck area, ℓ2=ħG/c3, Jacobson was able to show how Einstein’s field equations arise from this relation as thermodynamic equations of state.

Using non-commutative geometry, Banks and Fischler have shown that the holographic principle is automatically in effect for any space-time geometry, including de Sitter space, when that space is bounded by a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information. The holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, like a Rindler horizon or a de Sitter horizon. The simplest case is for a spherically symmetric horizon, like that of a black hole. An SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its eigenvalues also encode information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down. On the surface of a sphere, the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix encode n qubits of information in a rotationally invariant way. The qubits of information are inherently entangled in the sense of quantum entanglement since they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix.

Putting these findings of Jacobson and Banks and Fischler together, tells us that gravity is not really a classical theory. Like electromagnetism, gravity is a quantum theory in disguise, but that quantum theory can only be understood at the level of first quantization, and not at the level of second quantization. Recently, Maldacena and Susskind have stressed this point that classical gravity is really a quantum theory with their argument on ER=EPR that wormholes in classical gravity in the sense of an Einstein-Rosen bridge between two black holes gives an example of quantum entanglement in the sense of an entangled EPR pair.

Gravity is a quantum theory, but only at the level of first quantization, not at the level of second quantization. The space-time metric is the quantum wavefunction, and Einstein’s field equations are the quantum wave equation. This is just like electromagnetism, where the electromagnetic field is the quantum wavefunction and Maxwell’s equations are the quantum wave equation. Quantum entanglement is operative at even the level of first quantization since the quantum wavefunction gives the quantum probability that some property of the quantum particle, like its location in space and time or its spin state, can be measured. Entanglement is an inherent property of the quantum state formulated as a superposition of all possible measurable states of the quantum particle, with each possible measurable state weighted with a probability factor that is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. For example, for a spin ½ particle, the quantum state of the particle is a sum over the spin up and spin down states, with each spin state weighted with a probability factor that specifies the likelihood of measuring that particular spin state. Quantum entanglement is inherent in this superposition of measurable states, and the quantum wavefunction specifies the probabilities of measuring these properties of the quantum particle. All measurable states arise as eigenstate solutions of the quantum wave equation, and the most general wavefunction solution is a superposition of eigenstate solutions. The very idea of quantization, as in quantized energy levels, requires some sort of periodic boundary conditions that constrain these eigenstate solutions. For example, the quantized energy levels of the electron in the hydrogen atom require the periodic boundary conditions of periodic orbits, where in effect an integral number of wavelengths of the electron wavefunction must fit into an electron orbital. At the level of first quantization, the Schrodinger equation or the Dirac equation gives a perfectly good description of the electron as a quantum particle, and Maxwell’s equations gives a perfectly good description of the photon as a quantum particle, but to fully characterize the quantized interactions of the electron with the photon requires a second quantization procedure.

The problem is, to fully treat the electromagnetic field as a quantum particle called the photon, and to fully characterize its quantized interactions with other quantum particles like the electron, we have to perform a second quantization procedure. This is only possible if the photon and electron propagate through some fixed background space-time geometry, like flat Minkowski space. Even this second quantization procedure has a limited range of validity since Maxwell’s equations for the photon and the Dirac equation for the electron only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. It’s only valid to consider small quantum fluctuations around thermal equilibrium or the vacuum state. Even this second quantization procedure is not valid for gravity. The graviton cannot be understood as a quantum particle that propagates through some fixed background space-time geometry since gravity must inherently give a representation of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. It only makes sense to understand gravity at the level of first quantization, which essentially is a thermodynamic equation of state.

It’s an interesting exercise to review how quantization occurs in conventional particle physics and how the holographic principle totally reverses this conventional quantization procedure. In conventional particle physics, we start with the idea of a point particle located at some position x at some time t in some fixed background space-time geometry and characterize the motion of that particle in terms of a particle trajectory through that space-time geometry as x=x(t). In the sense of classical Newtonian physics, this particle motion is characterized by an action principle, where action is given in terms of kinetic and potential energy as S=∫dt(KE−PE). The quantum state of the particle is then a sum over all possible paths through the space-time geometry, where each path or trajectory is weighted with the probability factor P=exp(iS/ħ). This quantum state is equivalent to a quantum wavefunction that obeys a quantum wave equation. For classical Newtonian physics, this wave equation is the Schrodinger equation. The classical laws of motion are recovered in terms of the path of least action. This sum over all paths is the first quantization procedure. The second quantization procedure is to sum over all possible configurations of the wavefunction, where each possible configuration of the wavefunction, ѱ=ѱ(x,t), is weighted with the same kind of probability factor P=exp(iS/ħ), but instead we use the action that corresponds to the wavefunction. The quantum wave equation arises from an action principle in the same way classical equations of motion arise from an action principle, by minimizing the action written in terms of the wavefunction. This sum over all configurations of the wavefunction is the second quantization procedure. Feynman diagrams arise from this sum in the sense of perturbation theory by expanding this sum in terms of some coupling constant, like the charge of the electron.

In quantum electrodynamics, the Schrodinger equation is replaced by the Dirac equation, which is the wave equation for the electron, and Maxwell’s equations are used as the wave equation for the photon. The action for quantum electrodynamics is written in terms of the Dirac and Maxwell wavefunctions, and the second quantization procedure is to sum over all configurations of these wavefunctions. This sum generates the idea of the photon and electron as point particles that propagate through space-time and interact with each other through the electromagnetic force. The problem is, the gravitational force cannot be understood in the same way, since it makes no sense to think of the graviton as a point particle that propagates through some fixed background space-time geometry when gravity must give a representation of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle is the only known way to solve this problem.

The holographic principle totally reverses this idea of quantization. Instead, we start with the idea of qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle demonstrates how Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric arise from the way qubits of information are encoded on that holographic screen as thermodynamic equations of state. The space-time metric is the wavefunction for gravity in the sense of first quantization and Einstein’s field equations are the quantum wave equation, but it makes no sense to perform a second quantization procedure on the gravitational field. It does make sense to perform a second quantization procedure on the electromagnetic field that arises from the gravitational field with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, but only with a limited range of validity that is constrained in terms of how all quantum fields arise as thermodynamic equations of state. Second quantization is only valid for small quantum fluctuations around thermal equilibrium or the vacuum state.

All quantum fields can be understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, which M-theory explicitly demonstrates with its low energy limit of 11-dimensional super-gravity. The space-time metric is the quantum wavefunction that is the mother of all quantum fields, but even the space-time metric is not fundamental. The holographic principle demonstrates how the space-time metric arises from qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen as a thermodynamic equation of state. At the level of particle physics, all quantum fields only have the validity of thermodynamic equations of state. That holographic screen in turn must arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. It all has to begin with the observer. This radical transformation in our understanding of quantum theory that most physicists have not fully appreciated reflects that physicists are ignoring the central role the observer must play in constructing its own observable physical reality.

This radical transformation in our understanding of quantum theory that most physicists have not fully appreciated reflects that the laws of physics as represented by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric and all quantum field theories that give a representation of particle physics are not really fundamental. At best, field theories can only give a thermal average description of what appears to happen in some bounded region of space. The more fundamental description of what appears to happen in that bounded region of space is given in terms of how qubits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space and the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to that bounding surface as an event horizon. In some sense, what appears to happen in that bounded region of space over the course of time is like the animated images of a computer-generated virtual reality projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer, and the laws of physics that govern what appears to happen in that bounded region of space are like the operating system of the computer.

In some sense, the observable physical reality the observer observes is unreal, like the projected and animated images of a computer-generated virtual reality. The existence of the observer is more real than whatever appears to exist in the physical reality the observer observes. One of the reasons physicists have not fully appreciated what the holographic principle is telling us is due to their resistance to consider this interpretation of the holographic principle, but this interpretation is a perfectly sound and logically consistent interpretation. It may be the only logically consistent interpretation. This interpretation tells us that only the consciousness of the observer is really real, which may be why there is so much resistance to considering this interpretation of the holographic principle. Physicists seem to be unwilling to contemplate the possibility that the reality of their consciousness may be more real than the physical reality that they observe.

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Scientific References

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Antonio Damasio (1999): The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace)

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

N. Gregory Hamilton (1988): Self and Others (Jason Aronson)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

Stuart Kauffman (1995): At Home in the Universe (Oxford University Press)

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Nancy McWilliams (1994): Psychoanalytic Diagnosis (Guilford Press)

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A. Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

Nondual References

The Bhagavad-Gita (1909): Edwin Arnold trans. (Harvard Classics)

Jed McKenna (2002, 2004, 2007): Spiritual Enlightenment Trilogy (Wisefool Press)

Jed McKenna (20013): Jed McKenna’s Theory of Everything (Wisefool Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973): I Am That (Acorn Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1990): Prior to Consciousness (Acorn Press)

Osho (1974): The Book of Secrets (St Martin’s Griffin)

Osho (1977): The Search: Talks on the Ten Bulls of Zen (Tao Publishing)

Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki (1957): Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Tuttle Publishing)

Bernadette Roberts (1993): The Experience of No-Self (State Univ of New York Press)

Lao Tsu (1989): Tao Te Ching. Gia-Fu Feng trans. (Vintage Books)

Download the PDF documents:

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Be Here Now

Where is here? A point of view. When is now? The present moment. Whose being is here now? The being of a spiritual presence of consciousness. What is that spiritual presence of consciousness being present for? To observe its own holographic world.

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Soulfulness versus Sentimentality

Soulfulness arises with the willingness to let go. There is a sense of loss and sadness. There is also a sense of the irony of life and a self-deprecating sense of humor. You don’t take yourself too seriously. The willingness to let go is always an act of maturity that takes courage as you confront and overcome your own fear of loss and death. You overcome your fear of death by accepting death, which is always a surrender. Sentimentality arises with emotional attachments, which are always immature and fearful, like a baby attached to its mother. There is a sense of neediness and dependency. With sentimentality, you do take yourself too seriously, and you’re unwilling and unable to let go. You’re literally living in fear of losing your own life. Soulfulness is always an act of surrender where you accept the loss of life and accept death. This is a spiritual death-rebirth transformation in which you die in identity to your physical body and are reborn in identity to your true spiritual being. With sentimentality, you are stuck with your false identity with your physical body. You can’t let go because you can’t surrender. You’re unable to move onto the spiritual level of existence because you’re holding onto and stuck at the physical level of existence.

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First versus Second Movement of Life

You have to go through the first movement before you can go through the second movement. The first movement is coming into alignment as your own motion comes into alignment with the motion of the normal flow of things. Your own expression of emotions has to come into alignment with the motion of the normal flow of things. That can only happen through the surrender of your own expression of personally biased individual will to divine will. You have to lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention. You have to give it up. You begin to vibrate at a higher frequency and feel connected. You then have to let go, detach yourself and externalize yourself. You have to see things from a higher level of consciousness. That’s when you can really look within into the emptiness of your own being. The sense of being present only tells you where to look. The second movement only happens when your own motion comes to an end. You have to fall into the emptiness. When you fall into the emptiness, your own sense of self falls away. You become selfless. When you fall into the emptiness, you become the emptiness.

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I Am, Call Home

Like ET, to return to your true home, you have to constantly remind yourself, I Am, call home. You call home as you look within and focus your attention on your own sense of being present. You return home as you stop moving away from home. When you stop moving away from home, you fall home. When you fall home, you are home. When you become motionless and desireless and are at peace with yourself, you are the home you return to. To return home is to be home.

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Sociopaths versus Serial Killers

Sociopaths, like our former president, really only care about themselves. They are selfish and self-centered, and everything they do is to gain something by exploiting and taking advantage of the gullibility of others. They are con-artists. This personality disorder is a particularly malignant form of narcissism that’s based on a grandiose and inflated self-image. Sociopaths have an overwhelming desire to be in control, and the way they express that desire to be in control is by manipulating and taking advantage of others, which is how they keep their grandiose self-image inflated. Everything they do is for personal gain, but what they want more than anything else is to feel powerful and in control. If you’ve read Ernest Becker’s book, this desire for power over others is a denial of death. Sociopaths in the form of fascist political leaders are able to attract followers because the desire to deny death is a powerful psychological motivating factor that arises from the fear of death. That’s why fascism is always organized around a cult of personality. The great leader denies death by expressing absolute power over others. Fascism, like the sociopath that leads a fascist organization, is all about the desire to have power over others as a denial of death, which is a way to expunge and make unconscious the fear of death.

On the other hand, serial killers are something very different. Serial killers see the falseness of the human condition and want to destroy it. The metaphor in Hinduism is Kali the Destroyer, or as the Bhagavad-Gita says: Now I Am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds. This is a very primitive response to seeing the falseness that’s inherent to the human condition, which is the falseness of the ego or personal self-concept. By its very nature, a personal self-concept is a false thing. You have to ask yourself: Who is identifying itself with that personal self-concept? Who am I? One of the Buddha’s noble truths is that all things are without a self. The very concept of self is an untruth. There is no such thing as a true self that is independent of the life a person appears to live. Living a life is inherently about creating a false sense of self, and there is no true self to be found in that life. When you have a personal self-concept or ego, you’re being false.

When you clearly see that falseness, you want to destroy it. When you see that falseness in yourself, you want to kill yourself. That’s how suicides happen. When you see that falseness in others, you want to kill others. That’s how you become a serial killer. Freud was very puzzled by this self-destructive tendency of people and called it the death instinct, but it makes sense in terms of seeing the falseness of the personal self-concept or ego and wanting to destroy it for no other reason than it’s seen to be false. Serial killers are not acting at a personal level for their own personal gain. They are more like religious zealots that have seen the falseness of the world of ego and want to destroy it. They have no desire to be in control or inflate their own self-image. Instead, like all religious fanatics, they have given themselves over to something greater than themselves, which is this primitive desire to destroy the falseness of self. They feel compelled to do this work like a religious calling. In some sense serial killers are the antithesis of sociopaths. Sociopaths want to inflate their own selves, while serial killers want to destroy them.

Can a sociopath become a serial killer? Sure, why not? I am vast; I contain multitudes. The answer isn’t to become either a sociopath or a serial killer, but to realize your true nature as that selfless vastness. To do that, you have to undergo a self-destructive process of ego-death, which as the Buddha discussed in another noble truth, can only happen when you give up the desire to live a self-centered life. You have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death. You have to become desireless. Becoming selfless or egoless is the same as becoming desireless. When you see the falseness of your own ego, living that kind of a false self-centered life is suffering. You have to get to the point where you’d rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live that kind of a false self-centered life. At that point you’d rather die than continue to suffer. Only when you get to that point do you become willing to give up your own selfish desires. That giving up takes the form of your surrender, which is your willingness to die, and your willingness to let go and detach yourself from things by severing your emotional attachments. Only in that desireless and selfless state can you realize the truth of the selfless vastness that you really are.

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Where Not to Look

A man loses his keys in the darkness, but decides to look for them under a light post. When asked why he looks there instead of in the darkness, he answers because the light is better there.

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The Key to Awakening

Living a life is only about creating a false sense of self. You have to first create yourself, which you create as you come into individual existence as the Self, a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. You then compound the problem by emotionally identifying yourself with a personal self-concept that you emotionally construct around the emotionally animated and holographically projected form of a person that appears in the world that you perceive.

The key to awakening is your focus of attention. If you focus your attention on living a life, that’s what you’ll get. If you focus your attention on expressing and manifesting desires in that life, that’s what you’ll get. If you emotionally identify yourself with your personal character and focus your attention on everything you fear about what can go wrong and what you can lose in life, including that life, that’s what you’ll get. When you manifest your fears, you’re just reminding yourself how emotionally attached and identified you are with living the life of your character.

Awakening is really only about withdrawing your attention away from that life and shifting the focus of your attention as you look within until you realize the truth of what you really are. Along the way you have to destroy all false personal concepts you have about yourself, including the concept of self you’ve created for yourself. Truth is what remains when the false is destroyed.

In the awakening process, you have to make a clear distinction and discriminate between living and existing. You have to make a clear distinction and discriminate between surviving as a person in the world you perceive in the emotionally animated form of a body and your own beingness. The body is something that appears in the virtual reality world you perceive. You timelessly exist as the consciousness that perceives that world. You only believe that you exist in the form of a living body because you’ve emotionally identified yourself with that personal form. You only emotionally identify yourself with that personal form when you express emotions and feel emotionally self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form.

In the awakening process, you’re instructed to focus your attention on your own sense of being present or I-Am-ness as much as you can, but you can only look beyond that sense of Self and I-Am-ness, into the emptiness of your own being, when you become desireless. To become desireless you have to externalize yourself and see things from a higher level of consciousness like a movie that you’re watching. The world you perceive is no more real than the projected and animated images of a movie, and you’re always out in the audience only watching the movie. To externalize yourself you have to stop trying to direct or control what appears to happen in the movie as you focus your attention on the movie in a personally biased way. You have to lose that personal bias and just allow things to play out in the normal way. You have to stop interfering and trying to control things. You have to give up your desire to be in control, which arises from your desire to defend yourself when you identify yourself with a personal form. That’s why you have to surrender. When you surrender, you allow things to play out in the normal way. You’re carried along by the normal flow of things in a deep state of let-go. You then have to detach yourself from things by severing your emotional attachment to things. When you sever your emotional attachments and detach yourself from things, you allow things to come and go without trying to hold onto things. When you detach yourself from things in a state of surrender and let-go, you externalize yourself and see things from a higher level of consciousness. That’s when you can really look into the emptiness of your own being in a desireless state. You can only awaken if you become selfless. To become desireless is to become selfless.

Awakening is only about becoming selfless. Self is an untruth, and to awaken to the truth of what you really are, you have to lose your Self. You can’t really lose your Self as long as you perceive your own world from the central point of view of that world since the Self as a presence of consciousness is the perceiver of that world, but you can stop identifying your Self with the concept of being a person in the world that you perceive. You stop emotionally identifying your Self with that emotionally animated person when you lose your personal bias in your focus of attention and stop expressing personally biased emotions. To be a person is to be a selfish, self-centered, self-defensive Self. To awaken is to lose that personal bias and see the whole thing as no more real than a movie you’re watching. You stop identifying your Self with the central character of the movie and lose that personal bias. To detach yourself, you have to stop caring about whatever appears to happen to the person and to the world the person appears to live within in a personally biased way. You just allow the movie to play out in the normal way.

No-self is the only truth, but to realize that truth, you have to destroy the untruth. Truth is what remains when the untruth is destroyed. Self is the untruth. The awakening process is a war that you fight with yourself in order to destroy your Self. Like Neo in the Matrix, you have to become willing to look into the darkness. You have to become willing to put on your dark glasses. The world you perceive as a presence of consciousness is illuminated by the light of consciousness. What you call your Self is that illuminating and perceiving presence of consciousness. The Source of that illuminating and perceiving presence of consciousness can only be described as darkness and emptiness. You cannot find the true nature of what you are in what’s being illuminated and perceived. You have to look into the darkness and emptiness.

When you look into the darkness and emptiness in a desireless state, the doors of perception open. The gateless gate opens when you become desireless and selfless because the gate is the Self. As you pass through the gateless gate, the illuminated world you perceive disappears from existence and you fall into and dissolve into the darkness and emptiness, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. You become the ocean. You become the darkness and emptiness. The ocean is motionless, and you have to become desireless and motionless to return to that motionless state. You have to become selfless. When the untruth of the Self and the illuminated world it perceives is destroyed and disappears from existence, only the truth of No-self remains. When the untruth of the Self is destroyed, only the truth of the Source remains.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

That Being is void.
-Osho

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The great path has no gates
Thousands of roads enter it
When one passes through this gateless gate
One walks the universe alone

Empty yourself of everything

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody.

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The Ending of the Matrix Explained

At the end of the first Matrix, Neo undergoes a death-rebirth transformation. He can clearly see the Matrix for what it really is: a computer-generated virtual reality. He can see the data for that virtual reality is encoded on the walls of the room he appears to be in, which is the boundary of the world he perceives, just like a holographic screen. When he sees the Matrix for what it really is, he is seeing things from a higher level of consciousness. This born again experience is a necessary step in his awakening, but is not the final awakening.

At the end of the third Matrix, Neo undergoes the final awakening. The Oracle tells him that Agent Smith is his alter-ego. What she means is that Agent Smith represents the negative energies while Neo represents the positive energies. The Oracle also tells him that she is helping him because they’re all in it together and she wants them to get along. She wants peace. At the end of the story, Neo’s positive energies annihilate with Smith’s negative energies like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair that annihilates back into the vacuum. The positive energies annihilate with the negative energies back into nothingness. That’s how Neo destroys his Self. The Self is his consciousness identified with his ego. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed. The Self identified with ego is a thing. The One is No-thing or No-self. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed and he becomes No-thing. The Oracle also tells Neo that Everything that has a beginning has an end. Only the One has no beginning and no end because it is not-a-thing. In his final awakening, Neo has to surrender and sacrifice his Self to end the war. Self-sacrifice literally means to make the Self sacred. The Self becomes sacred when it is destroyed. That’s how the Self becomes the One. That’s how Neo awakens and ends the war. This final awakening is the end of the war, which is a war you fight with your Self to destroy your Self. When the war is over, there is peace. In that peace, there is harmony between the expression of positive and negative energies because your individual will is no longer being expressed. It is all an expression of divine will. You no longer express individual will because you no longer are an individual. You are the One. That is the only way peace is really possible.

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Why the Cross is a Powerful Symbol

At the end of the Matrix, after Neo sacrifices his Self and the war comes to an end, the machines say It is done. You are only done with your awakening process when you become selfless. That is the only way you can become the One. You have to become selfless and destroy your Self before you can become the One. You have to become willing to undergo a process of Self-sacrifice, which is symbolized by your willingness to get up on your own cross and sacrifice your Self. The cross is a symbol for crossing over to the other side that occurs when you become the One. The virtual reality side of that crossing over is characterized by self and other. The concept of self and other only exists in the dualistic reality of a world, which is a virtual reality. The concept of self and other only arises as the Self perceives things in that world. The concept of Self is what is destroyed and dies when you cross over to the other side, which is an ego or I-death. The other side of the absolute nothingness of nondual reality has no concept of self and other. All is One.

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Final Disclaimer

The first thing to say is that this website is not an attempt to express ultimate truth. That’s impossible. All that’s really being done here is to correlate what modern physics says about the nature of reality with what enlightened beings, like Nisargadatta Maharaj, say about reality. The correlation is excellent, but don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

The second thing is that the observations made on this website are not judgemental. These are simply critical observations of the world based on the scientific method. If these observations sound judgemental, that’s only at the level of the world as a virtual reality, and not at the level of ultimate truth. Even to say these observations are judgemental is inaccurate. There’s no attempt here to judge what’s right or wrong or what’s good or bad, only to critically distinguish between what’s true and what’s false. Distinguishing the true from the false sounds judgemental at the level of the virtual reality only because when you lean toward the truth in the virtual reality, you naturally come into alignment with the normal flow of things and express right actions. When you come into alignment, you naturally feel connected, which feels good. When you oppose the normal flow of things and are not in alignment, which is always an expression of personal bias at an individual level, you express wrong actions and feel bad because you feel disconnected. Rightness and goodness only reflects coming into alignment with the normal flow of things at the level of the virtual reality, while wrongness and badness only reflects being out of alignment.

Being out of alignment is only the result of the expression of personal bias at the individual level of self. That wrongness or badness is not a judgement of your true nature. It only reflects whether you lean toward the truth or lean toward the false at the level of the virtual reality. The nature of that falseness is self. Self is the core untruth at the center of the virtual reality. Self is an untruth because it’s based on the idea of individual existence and individual consciousness, which is the idea of being an individual self. There is only One true consciousness, One true existence, and One true being, but that One being becomes artificially fragmented and divided up with the creation of a virtual reality. That artificial division, fragmentation and separation gives rise to the illusion of individual existence and consciousness that is the essence of the falseness that haunts the virtual reality like an angry and fearful ghost. The ghost only seems to be angry and fearful because it has falsely identified itself with an angry and fearful person that appears in the virtual reality. The only purpose of the expression of that anger and fear, like the expression of all desire, is to defend the survival or self-replication of the emotionally animated form of the person. The ghost feels compelled to defend personal survival like its existence depends on it and emotionally identifies itself with that personal form because of its feelings of self-limitation to that personal form. That false self-identification always reflects personal bias at an individual level. When that false personal self-identification comes to an end, the ghost naturally loses its anger and fearfulness. That false personal self-identification naturally comes to an end when the idea of individual existence comes to an end, which is the end of the idea of being a separate self. When the idea of being a separate self is destroyed, the ghost can only identify itself with the One consciousness, within which there is no individual existence. There is only the One being.

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It’s All in Your Mind, Man

It’s all in your mind, man. There is nothing that you can perceive that is not created out of mental imagination. This is the obvious conclusion of the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which tells us the mind is really nothing more than a holographic screen that projects the animated images of mental imagination to your own point of view as the observer of the images.

Physicists constantly assume there is an objective physical reality out there that is independent of the observations of an observer, but that’s a false assumption. Observable reality is always created in a subject-object relation. The subject is the observer, the objects are whatever the observer observes, and the relation between them is observation. If the observer doesn’t observe its own observable reality, that observable reality disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. There’s nothing mysterious about what’s going on here. It happens each night when you fall into a deep sleep. If you don’t observe your own observable reality, it disappears from existence from your own point of view. The big question is: Who is the observer?

This subject-object relation implies the observer is not a part of the observable reality it observes. The observer is only the perceiving consciousness that arises at a point of view. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness. The holographic principle of quantum gravity tells us that the observer’s observable reality is defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and by the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated reference frame. The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The whole thing has to begin with the observer and its accelerated reference frame, but the observer is only the consciousness present at an accelerated point of view that arises in relation to its own holographic screen, which defines its observable reality at the level of encoding qubits of information for that observable reality. That holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon due to the observer’s acceleration, which also gives rise to the energy that energizes its observable reality. When the observer no longer observes its own observable reality, which happens when that acceleration comes to an end in what physicists call a freely falling frame of reference, the observer no longer has a holographic screen and its observable reality disappears from existence from its own point of view. If the observer’s observable reality is all in its mind, then what is the mind? The mind is a holographic screen that projects the animated images of mental imagination to the observer.

Everything that you perceive as the observer of your own observable reality is all in your mind, and is no more real than mental imagination. The images of mental imagination are projected from a holographic screen, which is your mind, to your own point of view as the observer of the images. The images of mental imagination are animated in the flow of energy, which is your own energy and the energy of your emotions. Only the expression of that energy of motion can create a holographic screen in the sense of an event horizon that arises due to the observer’s accelerated motion and that limits its observations. The projected and animated images are all reducible to qubits of information encoded on the holographic screen, which is what makes them unreal, just like the images of a virtual reality. The holographic projection and animation of the images is dependent on the observer’s focus of attention on them, which can be understood as the light of consciousness that illuminates them. Just as it is your own energy that is animating the images, which is the energy of your motion as a point of consciousness, and your own focused attention that is projecting the images, which is your own light of consciousness that is illuminating the images, it is your own consciousness, present at a point of view as the observer, that is perceiving the images. Those images do not really exist except in the sense of holographic projection and animation. Only the consciousness of the observer is real and has its own being.

The unreal has no being.
The real never ceases to be.

Questions and Answers

Question: If everything I can perceive only consists of mental imagination and it’s all in my mind, then why can’t I control it?

Everything you can perceive is mental imagination and it’s all in your mind, but it’s not under your control. What you perceive is like a computer-generated virtual reality, and you’re not in control of the computer. Can you control what happens in a dream? When you dream at night, all sensory inputs from your body’s environment are disconnected from your body and your dream consists of nothing more than mental imagination. Can you control what appears to happen in the dream? When you wake up, you’re again connected to sensory inputs from the entire observable world. In effect, the holographic screen that defines your mind has expanded in size to include sensory inputs from the entire observable world. The normal flow of energy through the observable world has a will of its own, so to speak, and is not under your control.

Question: Why can’t I see this focal point of illuminating and perceiving consciousness if that is what I really am?

You can’t discover the truth of what you are when you look out at the world because that’s the world of mental imagination that you’re illuminating and perceiving. That’s the world of your mind. To discover the truth of what you are, you have to look within. You have to look into the source of the illuminating and perceiving consciousness. The reason you don’t see the truth when you look within is because of delusion. When you look within and try to examine what you really are, your field of view is totally filled by all the false beliefs you believe about yourself, which are called self-concepts. Those self-concepts are delusional, but that is all you can see when you look within. You can see nothing else because the self-concepts obscure your field of view. You have to destroy all these delusional self-concepts before you can discover the truth of what you really are when you look within. That’s the only way you can look into the source of the illuminating and perceiving consciousness, which is where you have to look if you want to discover the truth of what you really are. You have to destroy delusion before you can look there.

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You Have to Destroy Your Self to Awaken to the Truth of What You Really Are

In the awakening process, concepts only have value at the level of destroying other concepts. The number one concept you have to destroy to awaken is your self-concept, both at the level of emotionally identifying yourself with the emotionally animated form of a body, and at the level of the individual existence of the Self as the perceiver of those emotional expressions that make you feel self-limited to the body. You only express personally biased self-defensive emotions if you feel emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of the body and emotionally identify yourself with that personal form. You feel compelled to defend the survival of the body as though your existence depends on it. The irony is that individual existence does depend on personal self-defense, but not the true nature of existence. The defense of individual existence is why you focus your attention in a personally biased way as you defend the survival of your personal self-concept by expressing personally biased emotions, which only reinforces the emotional construction of your self-concept. You have to see those personal self-concepts to be false before you can destroy them. They’re false for the simple reason that you must perceive them to emotionally construct them in your mind, and the perceiver cannot be what it perceives. You then have to destroy your own concept of individual existence as the perceiver and the Self.

You’re only afraid of death because you’ve identified yourself with the body. You’re afraid of all the disgusting things that will happen to the body after it dies, but only because you’ve identified yourself with the body. Stop identifying yourself with the body and what happens to the body after death may still be unpleasant to see, but if you don’t identify yourself with the body, you don’t have to look at them. You can withdraw your attention and look away from the body.

That’s the real secret of awakening. You withdraw your attention and look away. You focus your attention only on your own sense of being present as the perceiver, as the I Am consciousness, but eventually you have to look beyond the I Am consciousness, beyond your Self, and look into the source of consciousness, which is selfless. The Self is the light by which you illuminate and perceive your own world, but to awaken, you have to become willing to look into the darkness, emptiness and silence. You have to become selfless to look there. You become desireless by severing emotional attachments. You also have to surrender and give up your desire to be in control and defend yourself. Surrender is a state of let-go in which you sever your emotional attachments and let go. When you sever an emotional attachment it feels like something dies inside. Severing emotional attachments and becoming desireless is the same as dying and being selfless. When you become desireless and selfless, you’re as good as dead. That’s how you awaken. You have to be willing to die at the level of ego-death. You have to see your ego as a lie and come to hate the lie so much that you’d rather die than continue to live the life of a lie. That’s when you can really withdraw your attention away from the world you perceive and look within.

A Woody Allen Joke

Woody Allen joked he wasn’t afraid of death, he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. The reason this joke is funny is because it’s pointing toward the truth. If you don’t want to be there when body death happens, then you have to awaken to the truth of what you really are.

Nisargadatta’s View of Life

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

In death only the body dies; life does not; consciousness does not; reality does not. Life is never so alive as after death. It is a reflection in a separate body of the one reality.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

There is no such thing as an expression of reality. Neither action nor feeling nor thought express reality. I know that life itself is only a make-believe. I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.

The unreal appears to be real only because you believe in it. You impart reality to it by taking it to be real. Doubt it and it ceases.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own, you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness. It is not difficult but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the truth so difficult to see. Discard what is not your own until nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left is nothing.

In reality nothing happens. Nothing happens to space itself. In pure consciousness nothing ever happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go as light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the pictures.

As life before death is but imagination, so is life after death. The dream continues.

To be free in the world you must die to the world.

I Am beyond all experience.

I Am the great destroyer; whatever I touch dissolves into void.

Now I Am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds.

The unreal has no being; the real never ceases to be.

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The Nature of Reality Outlined on the Back of an Envelope

Scientists are desperately searching for a solution to the nature of reality, but the simple fact is the solution at a conceptual level has already been discovered and can be outlined on the back of an envelope. This conceptual solution or scenario was basically outlined in Amanda Gefter’s book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, where she drew the only logically possible conclusion that is consistent with modern physics and the holographic principle of quantum gravity. Here is this scenario about the nature of reality as outlined on the back of an envelope:

One Undivided Consciousness=Brahman=The Void=The Source

Many Divided Points of View of Consciousness=Atman=The Observer=The Self

Quantum Gravity tells us each Self observes its own holographic world, which can be reduced to the information encoded on a holographic screen and the energy inherent in the observer’s frame of reference. The holographic screen is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Relativity theory is inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its holographic screen. Energy arises from that acceleration through a geometric mechanism, like the accelerated expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. Quantum theory is inherent in the way the holographic screen encodes qubits of information, again through a geometric mechanism, like non-commutative geometry. Consensual reality in the sense of the observable world shared by many observers, each of which is present at their own individual point of view, arises from information sharing among overlapping holographic screens, which is the entanglement problem of quantum gravity.

Amanda’s question about “where does the observer come from?” is answered in terms of ultimate reality, which she correctly identified as “nothing is ultimately real”. The source of Atman is Brahman, which is the source of individual consciousness or the source of the Self. The question you have to ask yourself is: Why aren’t more scientists jumping on Amanda’s bandwagon? Why is there so much resistance to this elegantly simple and logically consistent solution?

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More Conversations on Nonduality

Q…If the observer’s observable reality is all in its mind, then what is the mind? THE MIND IS A HOLOGRAPHIC SCREEN.

Thank you for revisiting this (now) profoundly obvious — and possibly unique — conclusion!

A: Everything that you perceive as the observer of your own observable reality is all in your mind, and is no more real than mental imagination. The images of mental imagination are projected from a holographic screen, which is your mind, to your own point of view as the observer of the images. The images of mental imagination are animated in the flow of energy, which is your own energy, the energy of your emotions. Only the expression of that energy of motion can create a holographic screen in the sense of an event horizon that arises due to the observer’s accelerated motion and limits its observations. The projected and animated images are all reducible to qubits of information encoded on the holographic screen, which is what makes them unreal, just like the images of a virtual reality. The holographic projection and animation of the images is dependent on the observer’s focus of attention on them, which can be understood as the light of consciousness that illuminates them. The observer not only animates the images with the energy of its own motion as a point of consciousness, but also illuminates and projects the images as it focuses its attention on them by shining the light of consciousness on them. That is the only way the observer can perceive the images. Those images do not really exist except in the sense of holographic projection and animation. Only the consciousness of the observer is real and has its own being.

The unreal has no being

The real never ceases to be

Putting together all the pieces of the puzzle makes this cryptic statement of the Bhagavad Gita profoundly obvious, as you say.

Q: Ok. Now that we’ve got the mind of [At]man sorted, let’s go ‘further’.

Namely, is the ‘Mind’ of God/Brahman what’s revealed when in quantum gravity holographic parlance, we no longer fuel via emotion our accelerated reference frame and consequently free-fall ala Amanda’s ‘Screwed’? Is the infinite nonperceivable/unconceivable horizon that’s left God’s View? — and ‘ours’, prior to regaining (Atmanic) consciousness?

I’ve read all your posts, and even tried discussing this profundity before, but I just can’t recall a definitive statement on such an (also obvious?) interpretation.

A: I don’t know how to answer your question, which is another way of saying there is no conceptual answer to your question. Nisargadatta says that when you become enlightened, no answers are needed. “The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is left without questions; no answers are needed. There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.”

In terms of the holographic principle, in an ultimate state of free-fall, one has No-mind because there is no holographic screen. Without an observer’s acceleration, there is no event horizon that limits its observations. When observations become unlimited, nothing is observed. In the sense of dissolution, the point of view of the observer dissolves back into its source, like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. The source of consciousness is the void that Nisargadatta calls an ocean of undivided consciousness. The point of view of the observer has to become divided from its source to observe its own holographic world, which can only happen due to the observer’s accelerated motion that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as its holographic screen. When that acceleration comes to an end in a state of free-fall, the observer has no holographic screen and its holographic world disappears from existence. This is a state of No-mind. That’s when the point of view of the observer dissolves back into its source. You don’t realize the truth by observing the truth. You realize the truth by becoming the truth.

It seems to me your question is really about the state of Atmanic consciousness that arises after the enlightenment experience. After the enlightenment experience, when you come back to your own holographic world so to speak, there is a radical transformation in the state of Atmanic consciousness. Here’s what Eugen Herrigel says about both the enlightenment experience and what it’s like after the enlightenment experience: “He must dare to leap into the Origin so as to live by the Truth and in the Truth, like one who has become one with it. He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way, undergo new transformation. If he survives its perils then is his destiny fulfilled; face to face he beholds the unbroken Truth, the Truth beyond all truths, the formless Origin of origins, the Void which is the All; is absorbed into it and from it emerges reborn.” This radical transformation of Atmanic consciousness is a rebirth in the sense of a spiritual death-rebirth transformation. A key aspect of that transformation is the elevation of Atmanic consciousness to a higher level. Nisargadatta describes this higher level of consciousness as a higher dimension “You must realize yourself as the silent witness of all that happens. Your consciousness raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer. The witness that stands aloof is the watchtower of the real, the point at which awareness, inherent in the unmanifested, contacts the manifested. Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.” Nisargadatta can be confusing because he mixes up his descriptions of the realization experience with the transformation of consciousness that occurs after the realization experience “The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality. In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness. Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there. First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.”

Nisargadatta refers to the transformation of Atmanic consciousness that occurs after realization as “abiding in the source“, which Jed McKenna calls “abiding non-dual awareness“, which could also be called “selfless awareness” or the “awareness of No-self“.

A good reference that describes this experience of the “awareness of No-self” is The Experience of No-self by Bernadette Roberts. She gives only a very brief description of her realization experience “When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out.” The rest of her book is her description of the experience of the “awareness of No-self” that occurs after the realization experience. I recommend reading her book to get an idea of what this radical transformation of Atmanic consciousness is really like. McKenna says that it takes about ten years to come to grips with this transformation of consciousness, and during those ten years, things can be very confusing. In the traditions Zen and Advaita Vedanta, those who undergo the realization experience are not allowed to teach others for about ten years so that they can come to grips with what they’ve experienced and how their consciousness has been radically transformed. It takes a ten year adjustment period to make sense of what you’ve experienced and how your consciousness has been transformed after the realization experience.

There’s one last aspect of the transformation of consciousness that follows the realization experience that’s worth mentioning. After the realization experience, after the Atmanic consciousness of the Self is transformed into the “awareness of No-self“, the Source becomes aware of its Self as a point of Atmanic consciousness. Nisargadatta says “Awareness is undivided, aware of itself. The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion. When I look beyond the mind I see the witness. Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence. The supreme gives existence to the mind. The mind gives existence to the body. When you see the person and the witness, the observer, as one, and go beyond, you are in the supreme state. The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space. Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.” Nisargadatta can describe the Self as a point of consciousness because the Source becomes aware of the Self after the realization experience “At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time. To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center. You are that point of consciousness. By your movement the world is ever created. Stop moving and there will be no world.”

Have I answered your question?

Q: Referencing your previously proposed consciousness levels — ego, soul, Atman, Source — it’s the latter my query pertains to. So no, you haven’t yet answered my question.

Many of the 100s of 1000s of words/ideas on this site fulfill Nisarga’s wish for SCIENCE to affirm nonduality. I’m not asking in this case for yet one more nondual take on the various dreamstates (asleep, awakened in or from). Whether Bernadette or Eric or the Jedster or Osho or even Maharishi, these wiseguys/gals are supreme expounders of metaphysics (which I mostly grok and enjoy), not PHYSICS (which I merely grasp and endure).

I’m okay with the mystical answer of futilely wanting to name the unnamed [Tao], or effing the ineffable (another clever nonscience wiseguy called Tony). As you noted above the Atmanic afterglow isn’t readily inexpressible. My frustration with Amanda/Wheeler/Roger is that they fiddle with (the PHYSICS of) nothingness without equating (the metaphysics of) emptiness. That’s what I’m asking you to do, if it is in fact true.

Hence, analogous to your insight of mind as holographic screen, does SCIENCE/PHYSICS — specifically quantum gravity — have anything left to say about what isn’t the dreamstate (what you label Source consciousness)? Or as I phrased it already, is the Mind of God (the Absolute, Paramatman) what’s pointed to by the Prior-to-Consciousness maths of free-fall?

A: All of physics and mathematics are part of the dreamstate. If we think of the dreamstate as a computer-generated virtual reality, then physics and mathematics are the operating system for the computer, which are the computational rules that govern the operation of the computer. Physics and mathematics as the operating system of the computer are at a deeper level than what we observe in the dreamstate, which are like the computer-generated images projected from the computer screen to our point of view, but they’re still a part of the computer-generated virtual reality. The dreamstate is conceptual in nature, and all physical and mathematical concepts are a part of that conceptualization. You have to have a mind to create concepts, and a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information is the nature of that mind. The qubits of information encoded on the screen are how the computer-generated images are created. The creation of those images is governed by the computer’s operating system, which are the laws of physics. This is a quantum computer, not a classical computer, and so potentiality is built into the operation of the computer. You always have a choice in terms of what you observe in the sense of how you focus the attention of your consciousness on whatever you’re observing.

That’s the reason you can become enlightened. You always have the choice to withdraw your attention away from the virtual reality and observe nothing. When you observe nothing, your observations become unlimited because you no longer have a holographic screen that limits those observations. You no longer have a mind. The irony is that it is the Self as a focal point of consciousness that is observing its own mind. When you have No-mind, you have No-self.

You want to know what’s beyond the computer-generated virtual reality of the dreamstate. The only answer I can give is No-mind and No-self. The answer is absolute nothingness. The answer is the void. The problem is absolute nothingness cannot be conceptualized because it has No-mind to create those concepts. It has No-self to perceive those concepts. It cannot be conceptualized. It can only be discussed in terms of negation. The concepts of physics and mathematics have nothing to say about it. If you’re looking for a conceptual answer in physics and mathematics, you’re looking in the wrong place. You’re looking in the dreamstate. Absolute nothingness can be experienced, but it cannot be conceptualized. The way you experience it is by leaving the dreamstate behind and becoming it. You go beyond the dreamstate when you become absolute nothingness. When you come back to the dreamstate after this realization experience and try to conceptualize what you’ve experienced, you’re wasting your time.

The mystery of the existence of the void cannot be solved, but there is a second mystery that can be solved, which is the mystery of how the void creates the virtual reality. The void has the potentiality to create geometry. Energy is created through a geometric mechanism like the accelerated expansion of space. Information is created through a geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry. This is what the holographic principle is telling us.

The next obvious question is why does the void create the virtual reality? The simple answer is why not? The void is pure potentiality, and the nature of potentiality is that everything that can happen will eventually happen. The void creates the virtual reality because it can. In some sense, the void is stretching its muscles as it expends energy and creates the virtual reality. People stretch their muscles for no other reason than they can and it feels good. In a similar way, the void creates the virtual reality because it can and it feels good. This is exactly what the book of Genesis is telling us about that creation:

And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light

And God saw the light, that it was good

And God divided the light from the darkness

Genesis even tells us that this creation is conceptual in nature. The light of course is the light of consciousness, which is the light by which the Self must illuminate the world that it perceives. The darkness is the void. To illuminate and perceive its own world, the Self must divide itself from its Source, which is the void. Ther Self is also called I Am, which is the first concept that must be created before any other concepts can be created. The Self said I Am when it divided itself from the darkness. Why does creation happen? For no other reason than it can and it feels good. Creation is the potentiality of the void. Genesis even describes the Self as a point of consciousness that must move in relation to its own holographic screen for that screen to display all the projected and animated images of its world, which are called forms:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

And the earth was without form and void

And darkness was upon the face of the deep

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters

The face of the deep is the holographic screen, and the Spirit of God is the Self moving in relation to its screen. That motion is how the screen arises as an event horizon. The forms must be illuminated, which is why the light of consciousness must be divided from the darkness of the void. The forms must be animated, and that energy arises from the motion of the Self. The Self is creating the holographic screen with its own motion and is both illuminating and perceiving the forms. The waters refer to the void as an ocean of consciousness, which is also called the deep. The face of the deep is a surface of the ocean, which arises as an event horizon due to the motion of the Self. The Self as a point of consciousness must divide itself from the ocean of consciousness for this creation to occur. Why does this creation occur? For no other reason than it can and it feels good. Creation is the potentiality of the void.

There’s one last aspect of creation that needs to be mentioned if we really want to understand what’s going on here. Creation is the potentiality of the void, which is how the virtual reality game is created, but the Self must be willing to play the game. The Self becomes willing to play the game as it divides itself from its Source and declares I Am. Only individual consciousness can play the game. The Self as a presence of illuminating and perceiving consciousness becomes willing to play the game as it focuses its attention on the game. If the Self withdraws its attention away from the game, the gamer is over. That’s how you become enlightened. When the game is over, the individual consciousness of the Self must return to the undivided consciousness of its Source. That return is a dissolution of individual consciousness into undivided awareness. After enlightenment, when you come back to the game, your consciousness is no longer limited to the individual consciousness of the Self. Your consciousness has become selfless awareness. In that selfless awareness, you perceive the Self just as the Self perceives its own world. In effect, you are perceiving the Self from a higher level of consciousness even as the Self perceives its own world from a higher level of consciousness as it illuminates that world. The highest possible level of consciousness, which is called selfless awareness, can only be described as darkness, emptiness and silence. If you read the testimony of enlightened beings, like Nisargadatta Maharaj, you’ll see that this is exactly what they’re describing.

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Being It versus Being In It

“The ground of all things isn’t separate from us. We are already it and it is also who we are. We don’t have to go any place to look for it. When there is total readiness and surrender, we can glimpse it right now, on this very spot” – Anam Thubten.

I am it as the unlimited & undivided ultimate reality of the Void. I’m in it at the limited & divided level of the virtual reality the Void creates for its Self.

Being it versus being in it sums up the journey from delusion to enlightenment. When you believe you’re in it, when you believe you’re something you can perceive in it, that’s the nature of delusion. You believe a false belief about yourself. The subtlety that most seekers don’t get is that the Self, as the perceiver of things, is a part of the delusion. Self in the sense of the individual being of the perceiver, called I Am, is itself an untruth. You can only know the truth when you have the direct experience of being it. You can’t know the truth by perceiving the truth. The Self cannot know the truth. The Self is an untruth. You can only know the truth by being the truth.

What is it? It is the true nature of being. Knowing the truth is synonymous with being it. To know it is to be it. You cannot know it at the level of something you can perceive or any concept you can conceptualize. It is not conceptual or perceivable in nature. It can only be described in terms of negation. That’s why it is described as the absolute nothingness of the Void. When you believe you are something in it, something you can conceptualize or perceive, you’re suffering from delusion. Before you can conceptualize or perceive anything, you have to have a Self that perceives and conceptualizes things. That’s why the Self is part of the delusion.

The ultimate reality of the Void creates everything that can be perceived or conceptualized as a virtual reality. That creation occurs within the true nature of the Void. The ultimate reality of the Void is unlimited and undivided, while the created virtual reality is limited and divided. The Void creates the virtual reality for its Self so that the Self can have the experience of perceiving the virtual reality, but in that process of creation, the Self must divide itself from the Void. The Self is the perceiver of the virtual reality. When the Self believes it is a part of the virtual reality, it suffers from delusion. When the Self returns to and reunites itself with the Void, delusion comes to an end and enlightenment is experienced, but the Self does not become enlightened.

Enlightenment is simply the end of delusion. Truth is what remains when the false is destroyed. Enlightenment is only experienced when the Self is destroyed. The Self is an untruth and cannot become enlightened. The journey from delusion to enlightenment is simply the end of the false belief you have about yourself that you’re in it and brings to an end the false belief of being in it. Enlightenment is the direct experience of being it. The true nature of that being has no Self.

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The Bible is only an Instruction Manual

The Bible is only an instruction manual. The purpose of these instructions is to instruct, inspire and guide you on your journey. The Bible is full of concepts about the true nature of your reality, but understanding concepts is not the same as directly experiencing the true nature of reality. The concepts are only like signposts that point out travel directions in your journey. Before you can directly experience the true nature of your reality, you have to make the journey for yourself.

Some of the instructions are good because they’re written by people who have actually made the journey and know what they’re talking about, but some of the instructions are misleading because they’re written by people who haven’t made the journey and don’t know what they’re talking about. The bad instructions are misleading commentaries about the good instructions, given by people who’ve misunderstood the good instructions, and will only confuse you. You have to distinguish the good instructions from the bad, and only pay attention to the good instructions.

The number one instruction Jesus gave to awaken to the truth of what you really are, which he referred to as entering the kingdom of heaven, is to be born again. You have to die to the flesh and be reborn of the spirit. Your false identity with the body has to die away, and your identity has to be reborn to your true spiritual nature. You have to identify yourself with what you really are. The problem is, you don’t know what you really are when you identify yourself with the body. This problem is called delusion. The I-Am-the-body idea is the concept inherent in every body-based personal self-concept you believe about yourself. Identifying yourself with the body is only a false concept that you believe about yourself. Believing a false belief about yourself is delusional. The only reason you believe this false belief about yourself is because you really feel self-limited to the body as you perceive the emotional energy that animates the body. Only that feeling of emotional self-limitation can make you believe this false belief about yourself.

You create that false belief every time you express emotions. Emotional energy animates the form of the body. The only real purpose of emotions, as in the expression of fear and desire, is to defend body survival. That emotional expression is how the body survives in the world. When you express emotions and feel self-limited to the body, you emotionally identify yourself with the body and feel compelled to defend body survival as though your existence depends on it. When you emotionally identify yourself with the body and feel compelled to defend the survival of the body as though your existence depends on it, your focus of attention becomes personally biased to express more personally biased emotions that have as their only purpose the defense of body survival. That’s how you perpetuate the vicious cycle of personal self-identification.

That expression of emotional energy is inherent in every body-based personal self-concept, which is always mentally constructed in an emotional relationship that relates your personal body-based self-concept to the concept of some other thing you perceive in the world. When you construct a personal self-concept in the form of the I-Am-the-body idea, you emotionally energize that idea with the expression of personally biased emotions that have no other purpose than to defend body survival, which you defend as though your existence depends on it because you’ve emotionally identified yourself with the emotionally animated form of the body due to emotional expressions that make you feel emotionally self-limited to the body. Only personal bias in the focus of your attention can lead to the expression of those personally biased emotions.

When you believe this false belief about yourself, the I-Am-the body idea, you are in a state of bondage. When you know the truth of what you really are, that is the truth that sets you free.

The big question is: who exactly is this I Am that is emotionally identifying itself with the body? Who is this I Am that is perceiving the emotionally animated behaviors of the body and emotionally identifying itself with the body due to its feelings of emotional self-limitation to the body? Who is this I Am that is focusing its attention on the body in a personally biased way and expressing personally biased emotions that make it feel emotionally self-limited to the body?

The Bible says that I Am is a name of God, as in the Burning Bush telling Moses: I Am that I Am. The problem is, the Bible is only an instruction manual or set of concepts, and understanding the concept is not the same as directly experiencing what the concept is pointing to. When Jesus says you have to be born again to directly experience the true nature of what you are, he is referring to the direct experience of the I Am. He is pointing to something beyond the concept of I Am.

Jesus refers to the I Am numerous times in the Bible, as when he says: Before Abraham was, I Am, and I Am the light. Jesus spoke in the tradition of his ancestor King David, who in the Book of Psalms wrote: Be still and know that I Am. When Jesus speaks about the born again experience, he is speaking about a death-rebirth transformation in which you die to the flesh and are reborn of the spirit. Your false self-identification with the body dies away and your identity is reborn to your true spiritual nature, which is called I Am. That spiritual experience of knowing yourself to be the spiritual I Am is the nature of awakening to the truth of what you really are.

You have to die before you can be reborn. To undergo the spiritual death-rebirth transformation your false self-identification with the body has to die away before you can be reborn in identity to the spirit. You don’t know what it means to be reborn in identity to the spirit until you’ve undergone the death-rebirth transformation. Before that can happen, you have to become willing to die. The Bible only gives a set of instructions about how to awaken to your true spiritual nature. Your only challenge is to follow those instructions and undergo the death-rebirth transformation, but before that can happen, you have to become willing to die.

How does your false self-identification with the body die away? Jesus is very clear about how this happens. You have to surrender to divine will. You have to lose your personal bias in the focus of your attention. You have to stop trying to control things and stop expressing personally biased individual will. When you surrender to divine will, you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention and stop expressing personally biased emotions. When you surrender to divine will, you accept everything as it is in the present moment with no desire that it be any different than it actually is in the present moment. That’s how you bring yourself into focus as a spiritual presence of consciousness existing in the present moment. When you stop trying to defend the survival of your body as though your existence depends on it and allow things to play out in the normal way, you discover that your existence does not depend on the survival of the body. Your existence as the spiritual I Am is independent of body survival. Surrender is the only way that your false personal self-identification with the body can die away. That’s the only way that you can directly experience the true spiritual nature of the spiritual I Am.

When you surrender to divine will, you put your trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best. You accept everything as it actually is in the present moment with no desire that anything be any different than it actually is in the present moment. You accept it’s all for the best because it’s all an expression of divine will. If you express your own personally biased will, you can only create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things and make things worse for yourself. This surrender to divine will is a state of deep let-go in which you’re carried along by the normal flow of things without any desire to make anything any different than it actually is in the present moment. This letting-go is itself a kind of death. In a state of surrender, you no longer emotionally project yourself into a nonexistent past or future by emotionally constructing personal memories of the past or emotionally anticipating a personal future. Without those personal memories and expectations, you no longer mentally construct a personal self-concept. The mental construction of a personal self-concept is always an emotional projection to a nonexistent past or future. Your personal self-concept, which is a fiction of the mind, dies away without that emotional projection. Without that emotional projection to a nonexistent past or future, you can only know what actually exists in the present moment. You can only know yourself to be a spiritual presence of I Am consciousness that exists in the present moment.

The Bible tells us the only true thing you can ever know about yourself is your own sense of being present in the present moment as a spiritual presence of consciousness, which the Bible calls I Am. The problem is, you really don’t know what that spiritual I Am is, what you really are, until you experience that spiritual being and consciousness. It’s not good enough to just give it a name. You have to directly experience it, which you can only do as you focus your attention on your own sense of being present. The instruction is clear: Be still and know that I Am. You have to quiet your mind and look within. That spiritual presence of consciousness is the true nature of what you mean by “I”, which is the subjective aspect of a subject-object relation. The subject is the perceiver, the object is whatever is being perceived, and the relationship between them is perception in the sense of perceiving consciousness. Your body is another object that you perceive. Your thoughts are more objects that you perceive. Your true subjective nature as the “I” is the perceiver, but that can only be understood as a spiritual presence of consciousness.

As the subjective “I” of this subject-object relation, you are not only the perceiver of the objects that you perceive, but you are also the knower. The spiritual presence of I Am consciousness is the knower of whatever it perceives. When this spiritual presence of I Am consciousness awakens to the truth of what it really is, it knows itself to be nothing more than a spiritual presence of consciousness. That awakening is the realization of its true spiritual nature.

Only that presence of consciousness carries with itself its own sense of beingness, which you become aware of as you focus your attention on your own sense of being present. You have to quiet your mind, turn off all your thoughts, which are only more objects that you perceive, and look within. When you perceive an object, you are not only the perceiver in the sense of being a presence of perceiving consciousness, but you are also illuminating that object with your focus of attention, which you do as you shine the light of consciousness on that object. You have to illuminate the object with your focus of attention on it to perceive it. You cannot discover the true nature of what you are, the spiritual I Am, in the objects that you illuminate and perceive.

No illuminated and perceived thought can tell you what you really are. The true nature of what you are cannot be conceptualized with any idea or thought you have about yourself. You have to look within, into the source of the illuminating and perceiving consciousness, to discover what you really are. You have to quiet your mind, look within, and focus your attention on your own sense of being present. That sense of I-Am-ness is where you have to begin your search.

Eventually you have to look beyond that sense of I-Am-ness, beyond that sense of being present as a presence of consciousness, into the darkness and emptiness of the source of consciousness to discover the truth of what you really are. The true nature of your being, which is selfless and undivided, is beyond the sense of I-Am-ness or individual existence you discover with the born again experience. I Am is the nature of your Self, but your true nature is selfless. You have to look beyond your Self, which you can only do when you become selfless and desireless. You have to look beyond the I Am, into the darkness and emptiness of your own being, to discover the truth of what you really are beyond the illusion of individual consciousness and existence.

When you become desireless and selfless and look into the darkness and emptiness of your own being in this desireless state, you discover the undivided selfless oneness of all consciousness and existence. You discover the truth by becoming the truth. Your individual consciousness dissolves back into the undivided source of consciousness like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. That discovery of the undivided oneness of all being is the truth that sets you free.

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The Truth

You cannot express the truth because you have to express desire and expend energy in order to express anything. As soon as you express desire, you create falseness. The creation of that falseness begins with the creation of your own self. The truth is desireless and selfless. You cannot express the truth. You can only be the truth.

What you see is not the truth, it is a projected lie. Your world is created by a self. Your world is a projected world. You are using the world as a screen and projecting your own ideas on it.

We know only this world, we don’t have any comparison. This is the only reality we know. That’s why when Buddha says the world is Maya, illusion, it is difficult for us to understand.

We are not really in the world. The world consists not of things outside us but of our dreams. Everyone lives in his own dream world. If suddenly all dreaming disappeared from the consciousness your world would disappear because your world was your dreaming.

Enlightenment happens in silence. How can you bring that silence into words? The moment truth is asserted it becomes false. There is no way to communicate truth.

You cannot exist without desire, without striving. The phenomenon of the ego, of the self, is not a thing, it is a process. It is not a substance sitting there inside you; you have to create it each moment. The ego exists because we go on pedaling desire, because we go on striving to get something, because we go on jumping ahead of ourselves. That is the very phenomenon of the ego, the jump into the future, the jump into the non-existential creates the ego. It comes out of the non-existential like a mirage. It consists of desire and nothing else.

Your ego is the bondage. You can be free only when ego disappears. When there is no ego, you become one with existence, and only that oneness can be freedom. When you exist separately, this separation is false. You are not separate. You are part of existence. Your ego gives you a false feeling of separate existence. Because of that false feeling, you start fighting existence. When you fight you are in bondage. When you fight you are bound to be defeated, because the part cannot win against the whole. Because of this fight with the whole, you feel limited. The wall is nowhere in existence. It moves with your ego, a part of your separate feeling. In your struggle against existence you will be defeated; in that defeat you feel limitation.

You are not separate. You cannot be defeated because there is no one to be defeated. You cannot die because there is no one to die. You cannot be in misery because there is no one to be in misery. The moment you surrender the ego, the whole nonsense, misery, bondage, limitation, is surrendered. You are no more. It is not that you become free. When you are not, freedom is. Freedom is not freedom of the ego, it is freedom from the ego. Surrender and freedom are the same. You become one with existence. That oneness is freedom-Osho

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the world, with the world, fears, religions, all sorts of systems, all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making. Realize that what you are cannot be born or die and with the fear gone all suffering ends.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own, you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness. It is not difficult but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the truth so difficult to see. Discard what is not your own until nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left is nothing.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

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The Dumbed Down Version of Nonduality

The Dumbed Down Version of Nonduality

Nonduality is a conceptual framework that allows us to understand the nature of reality. This conceptual framework is essentially a theory, but unlike a scientific theory of everything, which must assume many things in order to explain everything else in terms of the assumed things, nonduality assumes nothing and then explains everything in terms of nothing. Nonduality differs from science in that there is no theory of nothing. Absolute nothingness cannot be explained in conceptual terms. Nonduality inherently goes beyond anything science can conceptually tell us because it goes into the realm of the non-conceptual. There’s actually a paradox here. Nonduality uses concepts to discuss the non-conceptual, which is obviously impossible. As a conceptual framework, nonduality can never really explain the non-conceptual nature of nondual reality, but can only point to it in conceptual terms, sort of like a roadmap points out travel directions.

In spite of this difficulty, nonduality can be understood scientifically if we’re willing to broaden our horizons about what science is telling us. Modern physics in the last 25 years has supplied much of this scientific support for the conceptual framework of nonduality. The holographic principle of quantum gravity fits nonduality like a glove on a hand. The correspondence between nonduality and recent developments in modern physics is discussed in detail in the articles that follow this article. The purpose of this article is only to give a dumbed-down, simplified description of this correspondence. The path of awakening that leads to the direct experience of nondual reality, which is called truth realization or spiritual enlightenment, is also discussed in the following articles but not in this article, which solely deals with the conceptual framework.

The only reason that we can discuss absolute nothingness at all is because we all have the direct experience of our own consciousness. In its ultimate formless form, consciousness is absolute nothingness. The ultimate, primordial, formless form or stateless state of consciousness is absolute nothingness. In this ultimate state, nothing is perceived. This ultimate state is undivided, which is why it is called one. This ultimate state is unlimited, which is why it is called infinity. This ultimate state is timeless and unchanging, which is why it is called eternity.

This is where a critical distinction must be made. When things are perceived, those things are always perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the perceiver, the object is whatever is being perceived, and the relation between them is perception. This subject-object relation defines self and other at the level of perception, as demonstrated in the statement I see you. In the ultimate state of absolute nothingness, nothing is perceived. There is no subject-object relation, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness is called nondual. There is no self and other, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness can be called No-self. Nothing is perceived in this ultimate state of consciousness, which is why it can also be called No-thing. No concepts or other forms of mental imagination are perceived, which is why it can be called No-mind.

In the nondual tradition of Advaita Vedanta, this ultimate state of absolute nothingness is called Brahman. If the only thing in existence was the absolute nothingness of No-thing or No-mind, then there would be no purpose for a conceptual explanation of reality. You have to have a mind that can create concepts before you can create a conceptual explanation of reality. In the ultimate state of consciousness, there is no mind, there are no concepts and there are no explanations.

This brings us to the conceptual problem of how anything is created. How are concepts created? How is something created from nothing? How is a mind created? This is where the conceptual framework of Advaita Vedanta makes its great leap forward. Before you can create a mind, before you can create concepts, before you can create anything, you have to have a Self, since that Self is what perceives things in a subject-object relation. Where does the Self come from?

Advaita Vedanta answers the question of where the Self comes from in terms of Brahman. The Self is called Atman, which is divided from Brahman. The Self is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness that perceives things in a subject-object relation, which is a secondary or derivative state of consciousness. This derivative state of consciousness has the nature of duality, as things are always perceived in a dualistic state of self and other, but the source of this dualistic state is the nondual nature of Brahman. Brahman is the source of Atman, which is why Brahman is also called the Source. Atman can only come into existence when it is divided from Brahman.

To use a useful metaphor, the Source is like the ocean, and the Self is like a drop of water that is spit out of the ocean. The reason this metaphor is useful is because the Self always perceives things from its own point of view. To continue the metaphor, that point of view is the drop of water spit out of the ocean. The Self always carries with itself its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness that perceives things from its own point of view as it perceives things in subject-object relation. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view is often referred to as I Am, which is why the Self is also called I Am. This sense of being present at a point of view is a sense of individual existence that must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source, which has no sense of individual being. The Self can only come into its own individual existence when that drop of water is divided from the ocean.

In some sense, the sense of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self is the first concept that must be expressed before any other concepts can be created. Those other concepts are always perceived in a subject-object relation, and the concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self must come into existence before those other concepts can be created and perceived by the Self. This first concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source before anything else can be created and perceived by the Self.

There are two other qualities of the Self besides its sense of being present that are critical for this explanation. The first quality is the concept of energy. The Self always carries with itself its own energy. That energy can be understood as the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean. The point of view of the Self, the drop of water so to speak, is moving relative to the unmoving ocean. That motion can be understood as a vibration that gives the Self its own energy.

In the nondual sense of absolute nothingness, the ocean has no motion and has no energy. When we say the ocean spits out the drop of water as the Self is divided from its Source, that is not quite correct. The drop of water of the Self begins to congeal around itself due to its own motion or vibration as it begins to express energy. The drop of water differentiates itself from the ocean by expressing its own energy. The ocean doesn’t spit out the drop of water. The drop of water spits itself out of the ocean due to its relative motion or vibration that gives it energy.

The energy of the Self is often referred to as consciousness in motion, which is literally the point of view of the Self in motion relative to the unmoving ocean. The individual being of the Self, with its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view as it perceives things in a subject-object relation, is literally in a state of motion or vibration relative to the unmoving ocean. The Self is literally spitting itself out of the ocean due to its own motion or expression of energy. That expression of energy is how the Self divides itself from its Source.

Something strange happens when the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy. The ocean appears to have a surface. In its unmoving state, the ocean has no surface and is unlimited, but when the Self divides itself from its Source, the ocean appears to have a surface from that particular point of view. That surface arises because the Self is expressing energy in a state of motion. There is really no good way to understand how this happens without using concepts of modern theoretical physics and the holographic principle. The interested reader is referred to the articles that follow this article for a scientific explanation for how it’s possible for the surface to arise based on the concepts of modern theoretical physics.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the ocean appears to have a surface, and that surface limits the perceptions of the Self. To use another useful analogy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Again, the interested reader is referred to the following articles that explain in terms of the holographic principle how the surface acts as a holographic screen that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Like a computer screen, the surface encodes bits of information that give rise to the appearance of images projected from the screen to the point of view of the Self that perceives those images. Encoding bits of information on the surface is the essence of the holographic principle. This is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness since the Self must divide itself from its Source to perceive those images, and the surface must limit the perceptions of the Self before those images can be projected from the screen to the Self. This perception of images by the Self is only possible because the Self has divided itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy that gives rise to the appearance of the surface that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality.

The second quality of the Self besides its own expression of energy is its focus of attention. The Self has to focus its attention on whatever it is perceiving. The Self has to focus its attention on the images it perceives projected from its own surface of the ocean that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Those images are projected to the point of view of the Self, and the Self must focus its attention on those images for that projection to occur. There is a reciprocal relation between the Self focusing its attention on the images and the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self where the images are perceived, which is the inherent nature of the subject-object relation.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The focus of attention of the Self is also referred to as the light of consciousness since it is like the light of a movie projector that projects images from a movie screen to the point of view of the Self, which is like an observer out in the movie audience that perceives the images. The Self as a focal point of perceiving consciousness is also the source of the light of consciousness that projects images from the screen back to the Self through its focus of attention on those images.

The Self literally projects images of its own virtual reality as it focuses its attention on different aspects of that virtual reality. The perception of images of that virtual reality by the Self can only occur through the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self. That projection only occurs due to the Self focusing its attention on those images. The virtual reality is not only a projected reality, but also an animated reality. That animation arises over a sequence of projections. It is literally the energy of the Self that arises from the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean that creates that animation. These two aspects of the Self explain the nature of the virtual reality. The focus of attention of the Self gives rise to the projection of images. The motion and energy of the Self gives rise to the animation of images. The animation of the projected images is often described as waves that appear on the surface of the ocean.

Even more central to the Self than its expression of energy or its focus of attention is its own sense of being present. Before the Self can focus its attention on the images of its virtual reality and project those images and before the Self can express its energy and animate those images, the Self must be present to play the virtual reality game. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then images of the game cannot be projected and images of the game cannot be animated. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, there is no sense of the individual being or I-Am-ness of a presence of consciousness that perceives and plays the game.

If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then the individual existence of the Self ceases to exist as an individual presence of consciousness present at its own point of view. What happens to that presence of consciousness? The Self must return to its Source. This state of return is described as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

What is the purpose of playing the virtual reality game? The answer is quite simple. The purpose is to live a life. The Self appears to live a life as it identifies itself with its character in the virtual reality game that it plays. The Self is both projecting the image of its character and animating that image as it plays the game. The Self literally expresses the energy that animates that life as it expresses the desire to live that life. What is the purpose of appearing to live that life? This is the same question as why is something better than nothing. The only alternative to appearing to live a life in the virtual reality game that the Self creates for itself as it plays the game is to return to the absolute nothingness of its Source. The virtual reality game is inherently conceptual in nature, and there are many interesting questions that the Self can ask itself and then look for answers. The virtual reality game is amusing, and the Self can amuse itself by playing the game.

The Self is willing to play the game as long as the game is amusing, but when the game is no longer amusing, what other option does the Self really have? The Self can always choose not to play the game. The Self has a limited ability to choose what it perceives in its own virtual reality through its focus of attention that projects images of the virtual reality and the way it expresses its energy that animates images of the virtual reality, but the Self has an absolute ability to choose whether or not to play the game. When the Self chooses not to play the game and it no longer focuses its attention on the game or expresses its energy in the game, the Self must return to its Source. When the Self is no longer willing to play the game, it returns to its true home.

The Origin of Connectedness

In terms of nondual reality, the source or origin of connectedness can be understood in terms of the undivided and unlimited nature of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, which can also be called undifferentiated consciousness. At the level of a holographic world, connectedness in action can be understood in terms of quantum entanglement. A holographic world is inherently an entangled world. Where does this entanglement come from? The answer is really quite simple. A holographic world is just like a computer-generated virtual reality that must inherently incorporate the ideas of energy and information, which is called entropy. In the last 25 years modern physics has given a perfectly good scientific explanation for how the virtual reality is created in terms of very general principles of potentiality. The basic idea is that the building blocks of the virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information and the flow of energy. In quantum theory, the basic idea of a quantized bit of information is called a qubit. The simplest mathematical representation of a qubit is in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, while its two eigenvalues define information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down. The surface of the sphere can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, like the event horizon of a black hole or a cosmic horizon that arises with the accelerated expansion of space, which is called dark energy or a cosmological constant. An nxn SU(2) matrix defined on that spherical surface can encode n qubits of information. This is the fundamental nature of the holographic principle of quantum gravity that tells us the accelerated observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things not only include the elementary particles of the standard model of particle physics, but also the dynamical nature of space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity. Everything observable is reducible to qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. An emotionally animated human life-form that appears in the observer’s holographic world is also reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Mental phenomena can also be added as another aspect of the observable things, such as thoughts, memories, self-concepts, and other forms of mental imagination. The holographic principle not only explains the nature of information in terms of qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which are inherently entangled as they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix, but also explains the thermodynamic flow of energy through the observer’s world in terms of the Unruh temperature of its event horizon, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration in its accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration is always relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness. Physicists made the mistake in the late nineteenth century of assuming that the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, which they called the ether, was a part of their holographic world, but it’s not. Absolute nothingness is beyond a holographic world, which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Only the motion of the observer is relative to the unmoving nature of absolute nothingness. The observer itself must arise from that absolute nothingness at a point of view like a drop arises from the ocean.

The big mistake people make is to assume that absolute nothingness is a part of the world they perceive. It is not. The world is a holographic world which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Absolute nothingness is beyond that holographic world. Only the motion of the observer itself is relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, but the observer is only a point of view that separates or divides itself from the undivided totality of that absolute nothingness. The observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness, which is called the Self. The Self must divide itself from its Source through the energy of its relative motion. That point of view always arises in relation to a holographic screen that encodes information and projects images of a holographic world.  The holographic screen is an event horizon that only arises because of the observer’s accelerated motion relative to absolute nothingness. Things only appear to move in that holographic world because of holographic projection and animation. Only the observer is really moving and really exists. Everything else that appears to move and exist is a holographic illusion created by holographic projection and animation. Everything else is no more real than a freaking holographic movie. Only the observer really exists and moves, but the observer must divide itself from absolute nothingness for that holographic movie to appear to exist.

The concept of duality is only valid at the level of perceiving things. There must be a source of the things being perceived and a source of the perceiver who is perceiving things. The source of perception can only be described as absolute nothingness, which is inherently nondual. The Self divides itself from its Source by expressing energy and moving relative to its unmoving Source. That motion is what creates the limitation of a holographic world. The Source is not only undivided but also unlimited. The Source cannot be conceptualized except in terms of negation.

Duality only applies at the level of a subject-object relation that defines self and other. There must be a Self that is perceiving things, and there must be something that is being perceived. Duality only applies at the level of perceiving things in the world, or in the mental imagination of thoughts, memories and daydreams, or in an actual dream. Where is your duality when you fall into a deep sleep and everything in your world disappears from existence from your own point of view? People in neuroscience would like you to believe that you become unconscious in deep sleep, but that’s not true. You’re never really unconscious because you’re consciousness itself. In deep sleep you become aware of nothing, but you don’t remember you were aware of nothing because there is a gap in your memory. Lack of memory is no proof that you didn’t continue to exist as consciousness when you were in deep sleep and were aware of nothing. In deep sleep, you’re aware of existing as that nothingness. There is no duality at the level of self and other in the awareness of nothingness, only the absolute nothingness of consciousness in its ultimate nondual stateless state. When that ultimate state of being aware of existing as nothingness is reached, like the Buddha, you can say “Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment“.

Nonduality is an essential aspect for any explanation for the nature of the world understood in terms of the holographic principle since there must be a source of the perceiving consciousness of the observer of that world and a source for the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic world is defined on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for that world, which only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The energy of that acceleration is expressed when the desire to live a life in that world is expressed. When that acceleration comes to an end, the observer’s world must disappear from existence. When everything disappears, nothing remains.

The holographic principle, as a conceptual framework for the nature of information and energy, interpreted in the conceptual framework of nonduality, as an understanding for the nature of consciousness, is the only known logically consistent way for how to create a world that is free of paradoxes of self-reference that arise when the observer of that world is equated with some observable thing in that world, which along the lines of Godel’s incompleteness theorems would shake the foundations of the mathematical consistency of that world, and free of the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the the Wigner friend paradox, that arise whenever multiple observers are assumed to exist in the same observable world. The price we pay for the logical consistency of that world is that world isn’t really real. It’s a holographic world. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Why is there life on planet earth? Consciousness is manifesting its desire to live that life. The emotional energy of that desire is expressed in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the energy of that accelerated motion, and that desire is manifested in terms of how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its accelerated frame of reference. The whole freaking thing is a holographic illusion. Images of the holographic virtual reality are projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy over a sequence of holographic projections. Only the consciousness or divided spiritual being of the observer (the individual spirit or Self) is real, which is the nature of Atmanic consciousness that is divided from Brahmanic consciousness and limited by a holographic screen. The Source of the whole freaking thing is the undivided and unlimited spiritual being of Brahmanic consciousness (the One undivided spirit). The irony of the One is the Source can only be described in terms of negation or non-conceptual terms as absolute nothingness, which is not only one in the sense of being undivided or non-dual but also infinite in the sense of being unlimited and nothing in the sense of being absolute nothingness.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world-Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Can the Insentient Body Awaken?

People who talk about the awakening of the body are really just giving into and indulging in their desire to express the desires of the body, like sexual desires. That’s why this kind of talk attracts so much attention. Nisargadatta calls this “the desire for embodied existence”, which “is the root cause of trouble”. That trouble is called delusion, which is the I-am-the-body idea. The insentient body can’t awaken. The body is part of the dream. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains. The true nature of the dreamer is consciousness, not the body. Only consciousness can awaken to the truth of what it really is. Awakening of consciousness to the true nature of its being is called spiritual enlightenment or truth realization. Consciousness only realizes the true nature of what it is when it awakens and its delusional belief in the I-am-the-body idea comes to an end. Awakening is only the realization by consciousness of the true nature of the existence of consciousness.

There is no such thing as the evolution of consciousness. Evolution only applies to the body. Evolution is driven by the development and expression of emotions. All emotional expressions in the sense of the expression of fear and desire are survival emotions that defend the survival and the reproduction of the form of the body. Evolution in the sense of the survival of the fittest body is selecting those emotions that are best able to defend the survival and the reproduction of the body. That’s the nature of natural selection. Evolution is the reason a body is created and expresses survival emotions. Evolution is all about the survival and the reproduction of the form of the body, but that’s not the true nature of what consciousness really is.

Evolution is messing with consciousness. When the survival emotions of fear and desire are expressed by a body, consciousness emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of that body because it feels emotionally self-limited to the form of that body. That’s why consciousness believes it is a body, but that belief, the I-am-the-body idea, is an emotionally energized false belief. Consciousness only believes that false belief about itself because the belief is emotionally constructed and feels real as consciousness perceives it. Consciousness is messing with itself because consciousness believes this false belief about itself, which is why it focuses its attention on that false belief and continues to emotionally construct that false belief.

When consciousness focuses its attention on that false belief, it allows for the expression of survival emotions that continue to emotionally construct that false belief it believes about itself. Consciousness falsely believes that it is a body. That false belief only arises because evolution allows that false belief to become emotionally constructed through the development and the expression of survival emotions that defend the survival of the body. That’s how evolution messes with consciousness, but consciousness messes with itself when it believes that false belief about itself and continues to allow that false belief about itself to become emotionally constructed, which it can only do as it focuses its attention on that false belief.

Awakening can only happen when consciousness no longer believes that false belief about itself, which means the emotions that underlie the emotional construction of that false belief are no longer expressed. The only way consciousness can stop messing with itself and stop expressing those emotions is if it stops paying attention to them. Consciousness has to see the emotionally energized false beliefs it believes about itself to be an illusion of what it is, lose interest in paying attention to the illusion, and stop expressing the body survival emotions that underlie the emotional construction of those false beliefs. That’s how consciousness awakens from its false belief that it is a body. That awakening is not evolutionary because it’s not about the survival and the reproduction of the form of the body. That awakening is evolution derailed.

Awakening can only occur in a desireless state in which emotions are no longer expressed. When the emotions that animate the form of your body are no longer expressed, you’re as good as dead. Awakening can only happen when you’re willing to die at the level of body death. The body doesn’t really have to die, only the emotionally energized body-based self-concept or ego has to die away. To awaken, you have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death. That can only happen when you become desireless and stop expressing body survival emotions. The problem is, nobody really wants to die. That’s why you have to clearly see the nature of the false beliefs you believe about yourself and come to hate those false beliefs so much that you’d rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live the life of a lie.

Talking about body awakening is an oxymoron. It’s a contradiction in terms. This contradiction in terms is inherent in the I-am-the-body idea, and is the essence of the problem that leads to the emotional construction of the delusional false beliefs that consciousness believes about itself. Consciousness believes it is a body. It believes that false belief about itself because the belief feels real as consciousness perceives the expression of self-limiting emotions that make it feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of the body. The insentient body can’t perceive anything. Only consciousness can perceive things, but in that perception of things, it comes under the sway of emotionally energized false beliefs that it believes about itself because those false beliefs feel real. Being under the sway of these false beliefs is like a hypnotic trance.

The desires of the body are strong because evolution and natural selection have made them strong. Expressions of desire by the body are strong because that’s how the form of the body survives and reproduces its form. If that’s where you focus your attention, that’s what you’ll get. If you focus your attention on the expression and satisfaction of desires, you’ll only get the expression of more desires. That’s how the hypnotic trance is perpetuated. There is no such thing as the awakening of the body. The emotional feeling of the expression of body desires is just what you’re aware of when you focus your attention on expressing and satisfying desires. What is called the awakening of the body is just your intensification of the focus of your attention on the expression of body desires. It only leads to the expression of more body desires.

Awakening is only about seeing the expression of body desires as false since their expression leads to the emotional construction of your body-based self-concept or ego. You have to see their expression as false before you can withdraw your attention away from them. When you see them as false, you lose interest in them, stop paying attention to them, and withdraw your attention away from them. That’s when you can shift the focus of your attention away from them and begin to look within. The first thing you have to focus your attention on when you look within is your own sense of being present or I-Am-ness. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness is called the witness, the Self or I Am. You can only find the witness at the central point of view of your own world. You first have to stabilize your attention on your own sense of being present as the witness. Eventually you’ll have to look beyond the sense of being present, beyond the witness, and look into the emptiness of your own being. That emptiness is called the void. All you’ll find there is emptiness and silence. If you look into the emptiness of your own being in a desireless state in which you’ve given up the expression of all your desires, you’ll eventually fall into the void and dissolve back into the void. In that dissolution, your sense of Self-ness or I-Am-ness falls away, and only the true nature of your being remains.

The void is the motionless background of all perceptions. To fall into and dissolve back into the void, you also have to become motionless. That motionless state is a desireless state free from the expression of all emotions. Awakening is described as an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. In that oceanic experience, there is no witness. There is no body and there is no world for the witness to witness. There is no sense of being present, and no sense of Self-ness or I-Am-ness. There is only the ocean of consciousness. When you awaken, your world disappears from existence and you no longer are a witness. You are the ocean.

Eckhart Tolle describes his awakening experience in The Power of Now:

“I cannot live with myself any longer”. This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with. Maybe, I thought, only one of them is real.

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words ‘resist nothing’, as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void.

I knew that something profoundly significant had happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left was my true nature as the ever-present ‘I am’: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious.

Bernadette Roberts describes her awakening experience in The Experience of No-self:

When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out.

Osho gives a similar description of the awakening experience:

We call Buddha the awakened one. This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. When there is no dreaming you become pure space. This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve. There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know.

When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being. That being is void.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling. That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness. There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless. At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

Nisargadatta describes the awakening experience as the realization of your true being:

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.
When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.
Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen. To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage. To me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

If you desire nothing, then you are as good as dead, or you are the Supreme.

Your true home is in nothingness.

By itself nothing has existence.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness.

There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is as one always is.

The Supreme is both creation and dissolution, the beingness of all beings, the ground from which all grows, alone. Words do not reach there, nor mind.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Realize that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. Nothing affects your real being.

You are the changeless background against which changes are perceived.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension.

You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The I Am in movement creates the world.
The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Reality is essentially alone.
To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.
My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.
It is, while all else merely happens.
It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

The Tao describes the awakening experience:

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

Chuang-Tzu perfectly describes that to awaken to your true being is to become nobody:

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No-self is true self
And the greatest man is nobody.

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♦♦♦

God Sees Everything, but From Many Different Points of View

God Sees Everything, but From Many Different Points of View

You Are One of God’s Many Points of View

Is it possible to understand the true nature of God? Is it possible to understand the true nature of our own existence? The answer is yes, but this answer must be qualified in terms of whether that understanding is only at a conceptual level or whether that understanding arises from one’s own direct experience. The ultimate understanding can only arise when one directly experiences the true nature of one’s own existence, but even without that ultimate experience, it is still possible to understand the nature of that existence at a conceptual level, which is really all that’s possible in this kind of an essay. What’s novel about this essay is that this conceptual understanding will be explained in terms of scientific concepts of modern physics. Understanding the nature of one’s own existence at a conceptual level has been possible for a very long time, but only recently has it become possible to translate this understanding into scientific concepts of modern physics, which has the advantage of clearing up a lot of the confusion that swirls around this conceptual understanding. The scientific concepts clear up the confusion in a straightforward way.

The ancient understanding can be found in many sacred texts, such as the Vedas or the Tao. The ancient understanding that will be relied upon in this essay is that found in Advaita Vedanta, since this resonates most closely with the scientific understanding of modern physics. The first thing to be clear about is what we mean by God. Unlike the western concept of a personal God, in the east, the concept of God is impersonal. In Advaita Vedanta, the ultimate concept of God is called Brahman. To be clear, Brahman is not a person. The impersonal nature of Brahman is often conceptualized in terms of absolute nothingness or the void. The absolute irony of this concept is that absolute nothingness cannot really be conceptualized, and so we’re trying to talk about a concept of something that’s inherently non-conceptual. We’re trying to do something that is impossible. We’re trying to conceptualize something, the absolute nothingness of Brahman, that is inherently non-conceptual in nature. The basic problem is we can only conceptualize the nature of perceivable things that appear in the world. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is beyond the world that we perceive, and cannot be conceptualized. No wonder there is so much confusion when we try to talk about God, but this confusion goes much deeper than that. The confusion has to do with the true nature of what we really are, which at its source is Brahman.

This confusion about the non-conceptual nature of Brahman, which at essence is the true nature of what we really are, is the reason that in all nondual traditions, like Advaita Vedanta, Taoism and Zen Buddhism, no value is given to any possible conceptual explanation. Value is only given to the direct experience of Brahman, which is understood as the direct experience of the truth of what one really is. This direct experience of the true nature of what one is, is called awakening, spiritual enlightenment, or truth realization. Just like with awakening from a dream, when the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains, one realizes that one is not really a part of the dream, but rather the dreamer of the dream. In terms of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, when everything is the world one perceives disappears from existence and only the absolute nothingness of Brahman remains, one realizes that one still exists as that absolute nothingness even though one perceives nothing. Spiritual enlightenment or awakening is the realization of the truth of what one really is in the sense that one knows that one still exists as Brahman even though one perceives nothing. The problem with trying to talk about spiritual enlightenment or awakening is that absolute nothingness cannot be conceptualized.

In spite of this problem, we have to start somewhere, and the best place to start is with the concept of Brahman as absolute nothingness. Brahman is the ultimate impersonal nature of God, which can never really be conceptualized. When we say that God sees everything, we’re talking about the consciousness of God, as in perceiving things. This is where things get a bit tricky. At the ultimate level of absolute nothingness, which is the ultimate level of Brahman, nothing is perceived. The perception of things requires a presence of perceiving consciousness. In Advaita Vedanta, that presence of perceiving consciousness is called Atman. Atman is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world, which perceives everything in that world. The tricky aspect of the explanation is in terms of how we get from the ultimate impersonal consciousness of Brahman, which perceives nothing, to the presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of its own world, which perceives everything in that world.

The way this is understood in Advaita Vedanta is that Brahman is the Source of Atman. Brahman is called the Source, and Atman is called the Self. Atman is also called I Am or the witness. In spiritual terms, Brahman is the spiritual Source of Atman, while Atman is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world that perceives everything in that world.

The key concept that allows for an understanding of this relation of Brahman to Atman is that the consciousness of Brahman is undivided and unlimited, while the consciousness of Atman is divided and limited. The perceiving consciousness of Atman is a divided and limited kind of consciousness that is the nature of all individual consciousness, as in your consciousness or my consciousness, while the undivided and unlimited consciousness of Brahman is the ultimate nature of consciousness, as in the Source of all consciousness. All individual consciousness must be divided from undivided consciousness. That individual consciousness always arises at a point of view. The individual perceiving consciousness of Atman is always present at the central point of view of its own perceivable world as it perceives everything in that world.

The individual consciousness of Atman, present at the central point of view of its own world as it perceives everything in that world, seems as though it is a personal consciousness that belongs to a person in that world, but that perception is an illusion. The form of a person that appears in the world the perceiving consciousness of Atman perceives is just another thing that appears in that world. Atman is present at the central point of view of that world and perceives everything in that world, including the form of the person to which that consciousness seems to belong. In reality, everything in that world, including the form of the person, belongs to Atman. Atman can only appear to be a person in that world when it identifies itself with the form of that person. Personal self-identification is an illusion created as Atman identifies itself with a person.

The illusion of personal self-identification is created due to the expression of emotions. The expression of emotional energy is what animates the form of a person. Atman not only perceives the form of the person but also the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. Organs of sensory perception in the form of a body are only transmitting this flow of emotional energy. The form of a person is like the central character in a virtual reality movie that Atman is watching. As Atman perceives the emotional energy animating that form, Atman feels emotionally self-limited to that animated form, which naturally leads Atman to identify itself with that personal form. In reality, Atman is at the central point of view of its own world and perceives everything in that world, including the form of the person that it mistakenly takes itself to be in that world.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, this refers to the undivided consciousness of Brahman becoming divided into the many different points of view of Atman. Each point of view, which is a presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of its own world, perceives everything in that world. Each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman perceives its own world. That world is inherently limited, and so the presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of that world is not only divided but also limited. These points of view arise within the undivided and unlimited nature of Brahman.

Atman-Brahman

The key concept is that Brahman is the Source of Atman, but there are many different points of view at which a presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman can arise, each at the center of its own world and each perceiving everything in that world. The consciousness of Brahman is unlimited and undivided, while each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that arises within Brahman at the central point of view of its own world is divided and limited. Each point of view of Atman arises within the undivided and unlimited nature of Brahman.

In terms of the true nature of existence, Brahman is understood as the underlying reality or the ground of existence. If we understand that the true nature of being is consciousness, then that underlying reality or ground of existence is undivided and unlimited being. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is the ground of being that is inherently undivided and unlimited. The individual being of Atman, which is inherently divided and limited, arises within the undivided and unlimited being of Brahman. Brahman is the Source of Atman. The individual being of Atman is often referred to as I Am. Atman is aware of its own inherent sense of being present, or I-Am-ness, as it perceives everything in its own perceivable world from the central point of view of that world. The individual being of Atman is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own perceivable world, and is aware of its own inherent sense of being present. Brahman is the spiritual Source of that spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness.

In the sense of personal self-identification, Atman is mistakenly attributing or imparting its own sense of being present or I-Am-ness to the emotionally animated form of a person it perceives in its own world due to its perception of feelings of emotional self-limitation to that personal form. This feeling of personal self-limitation gives rise to a personal self-concept, as self-referential thoughts are created in the form I am a person in the world I perceive that is emotionally related to other things I perceive in that world. The personal self-concept can only arise through the emotional expression of self-referential thoughts. In reality, these self-referential thoughts are no more real than the self-referential narration of a movie by the central character of that movie. In reality, self-referential thoughts are only false beliefs that Atman believes about itself, otherwise known as a delusion. Atman only believes these false beliefs about itself that it is the central character in the movie of the world it perceives due to the emotional energy that animates these thoughts, which makes Atman feel emotionally self-limited to that personal form.

The individual presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman is called the Self because Atman always perceives things in a subject-object relation that defines self and other. Atman is the observer of its own observable world, and that subject-object relation of self and other arises as the observer observes some observable thing in that observable world. The thing to be clear about is that the Self is not a self-concept. The Self is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own perceivable world. A self-concept, which is emotionally created in the form of a self-referential thought, is another thing perceived in that world. The subjective nature of Atman is that spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world, while the objective nature of all things in that world are the perceivable things that can be perceived by Atman. In some sense, those perceivable things are an illusion created as Atman perceives them. The perceivable things can only appear to come into existence as Atman perceives them.

The absolute nothingness of Brahman can be understood as the potentiality to create all the perceivable things that Atman perceives in its own world. Those perceivable things only appear to come into existence as Atman perceives them. If those perceivable things are not perceived by Atman, those things remain in an unperceived state of potentiality. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is the pure potentiality to create the perceivable things, but Atman must perceive them before they can appear to come into existence. If Atman does not perceive that perceivable world, then that world disappears from existence from that particular point of view. In the sense of awakening from its dream, when that perceivable world disappears from existence, the divided perceiving consciousness of Atman, present at the central point of view of that world, must return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of Brahman. This reunion is often described as an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, this refers to the perceiving consciousness of Atman arising at many different points of view within the absolute nothingness of Brahman. Brahman is the Source of each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that arises at the central point of view of its own world as it perceives everything in that world. Many points of view of Atman can arise within Brahman. These different points of view each perceive their own world, but can share a consensual reality in the sense that the perceivable things of one world are related to the perceivable things of another world to the degree that those perceivable worlds overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram. This overlapping of perceivable worlds, each perceived by a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of that world, is possible because each perceivable world is inherently limited.

Overlapping Limited Worlds Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Many Observers, each Present at the Central Point of View of its own Perceivable World

At this point, we’ve gone about as far as we can in terms of explaining the nature of things in terms of the ancient concepts of Advaita Vedanta. If we want to go further in terms of explaining things, we’ll have to rely on scientific explanations, which means we’ll have to use scientific concepts. The remarkable thing is that in the last 25 years, modern physics has supplied us with those scientific concepts in terms of what is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity.

In the explanations that follow in this article, the holographic principle will only be discussed at a basic level, just enough to flesh out the argument. For those interested in the mathematical details, the holographic principle is discussed at greater length and in more detail in following articles. The references also include many scientific books and articles that substantiate these ideas, but to gain a scientific understanding of the nondual concepts of Advaita Vedanta, it is only necessary to understand the holographic principle at a basic level. It turns out that is actually pretty easy to do without the use of much math since the holographic principle is fundamentally a geometric concept, and all of us have the inherent intuitive ability to understand geometry.

The holographic principle is formulated in terms of an observer observing its own holographic world. The observer observing observable things in its own holographic world always defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The objective nature of all observable things the observer can observe are forms of information animated in the flow of energy. The holographic principle tells us that these forms of information can always be reduced to quantized bits of information, called qubits, encoded on a holographic screen. In some sense, the perception of an observable thing by the observer is like the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer outside the screen. The observer’s holographic screen is like a computer that encodes bits of information on pixels, and the perception of a form of information is like the projection of an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view outside the screen. The images of things are always reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Those projected images are then animated in the flow of energy, just like the energy that energizes the operation of a computer.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The holographic principle is telling us that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen. In reality, all the observable things the observer can observe are nothing more than forms of information projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections in the flow of energy, just like the projected and animated frames of a movie projected from and animated on a computer screen.

The observable things the observer can observe in its own holographic world not only include macroscopic things, like bodies, planets, stars and galaxies, but also microscopic things, like atoms and molecules, and elementary particles like electrons and photons of the electromagnetic force that comprise atoms, and quarks and gluons of the strong nuclear force that comprise the atomic nucleus. All of these observable things are forms of information that can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer can also observe the flow of energy through its own holographic world that animates the form of all these observable things. Both the form of things, which are projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view, and the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world, which animates the form of all things, are observable. Only the observer can observe all these observable things, but the holographic principle goes even further in terms of explaining the nature of observable things that can appear in the observer’s holographic world.

The 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is also observable and can be observed by the observer. The holographic principle says that the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. That’s what makes the observer’s world a holographic world. All the qubits of information that define whatever can appear to happen in some bounded three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space, which acts as the observer’s holographic screen. All the observable objects that appear to occupy space in that three dimensional bounded region of space are reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s two dimensional holographic screen that arises as a bounding surface of space. The observable objects are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view and animated in the flow of energy that energizes the observer’s holographic world over an animated sequence of holographic projections, just like the animated frames of a movie projected from a computer screen. The observer’s 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of its own holographic world arises as forms of information are projected from its holographic screen and appear to occupy three dimensional space and are animated in the flow of energy, like the projected and animated frames of a movie. The images of the movie are holographic and appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they’re reducible to qubits of information encoded on a two dimensional holographic screen. The perception of three dimensional space arises through holographic projection. The perception of the dimension of time arises in the sense of the perceivable flow of energy through that holographic world and the holographic animation of those images.

The observer is observing the dynamical nature of its own 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that characterizes its holographic world, which is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world. The dynamical nature of this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity in the sense of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The force of gravity is nothing more than this dynamical curvature of the observer’s space-time geometry, which is formulated in relativity theory in terms of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The space-time metric is a field, just like the fields of the electromagnetic force or the nuclear forces. The space-time metric is the field of the gravitational force, which is understood as the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle says that all of these force fields can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world.

In relativity theory, the observer is understood in the sense of a reference frame. The observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. The holographic principle is telling us that the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity in the observer’s holographic world, can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This is a consequence of the principle of equivalence, which tells us the observed force of gravity is equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. Only an accelerating observer observes the force of gravity since that force is always equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. The only way we can even discuss the dynamical nature of the observer’s curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity is to discuss an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. This idea of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is the key that unlocks all the secrets of the holographic principle. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is what gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. At a very deep level, the observer’s accelerated motion is what is creating the appearance of its own holographic world.

Principle of Equivalence

What gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen? The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. In relativity theory, this two dimensional bounding surface of space is understood to arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has its observations of things in space limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. The speed of light is constant for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion, and that constancy of the speed of light gives rise to the limitation of an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. Nothing is observable to an accelerating observer beyond the limits of its own event horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

How does the observer’s event horizon turn into its own holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world, including the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry? The answer is found in all consistent theories of quantum gravity. The first consistent theory of quantum gravity discovered was string theory. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the qubits of information are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces. There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which also explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale. A Planck sized event horizon is the smallest possible horizon that can encode a single qubit of information.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum gravity, information states are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states for that world. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information states for that world are entangled, and so that holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are in a superposition of states and are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix, which are inherently entangled.

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its