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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.

What is the Meaning of Consciousness?

What is the meaning of consciousness? This is an absurd question. There is no answer, and there can never be an answer, because the question is absurd. Consciousness is the ultimate nature of existence. Consciousness is the true nature of being. In-and-of-itself, the only true thing that anyone can ever say about the existence of consciousness is that Consciousness Exists. It Is. In-and-of-itself, the existence of consciousness has no meaning. The existence of consciousness has no meaning since it exists prior to the giving of all meaning by consciousness. Only consciousness can give meaning.

Only actions have meaning. Consciousness gives meaning to actions as it expresses and observes them. Only consciousness can express actions as it expresses energy, and only then can it give meaning to those actions. Only consciousness can give meaning to the actions it expresses and observes as it expresses the energy inherent in those actions. In-and-of-itself, without the expression of that energy and the expression of those actions, consciousness does nothing. It gives no meaning if it expresses no actions. Consciousness must express actions before it can give any meaning to the actions that it expresses.

Consciousness can only give meaning to actions in the context of the energy it expresses as it observes those actions. As a corollary, if no actions are expressed and no meaning is given, then nothing is observed.

Confusion arises because there is a third level of reality that is below the ultimate primary level of reality, which is the existence of consciousness, and the secondary level of reality, which is the expression of energy by consciousness. The third lowest level of reality is the level of information that is organized into forms of information as energy is expressed. Those forms of information are animated by the expression of energy and are what appear to carry out those actions. Those forms of information are like images projected from a computer screen to the point of view of the consciousness of the observer that perceives them. Confusion only arises as those forms of information are projected like images from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer and are animated in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. Confusion arises in the consciousness of the observer as the observer gives meaning to that animation.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The third level of reality is purely imaginary since it is no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a computer screen to the observer, just like a computer generated virtual reality. Consciousness is the observer out in the movie audience that is only watching the virtual reality movie displayed on the computer screen and only playing the virtual reality game as it expresses the energy that animates the game, but the whole thing feels real to consciousness as it perceives the flow of energy it expresses as it animates the virtual reality movie. The expression of energy feels real to consciousness because consciousness is expressing that energy. That is the meaning that consciousness gives to its own actions as it expresses them.

Confusion arises because consciousness identifies itself with an animated form of information that appears in the virtual reality. Self-identification can only occur because consciousness feels self-limited to that animated form as it perceives the flow of energy that it is expressing that animates that form. Self-identification is the meaning consciousness gives to the expression of its own actions as it animates that form. Consciousness takes the animated form to be itself as it perceives that form and feels self-limited to that form. Self-identification is nothing more than a mistaken feeling of self-limitation. Consciousness is conflating its own true being with an imaginary form of information that appears in the virtual reality movie it creates for itself, just like a dreamer that identifies itself with a dream character that appears in the dream the dreamer is dreaming.

In reality, the imaginary form of information has no being. The imaginary form of information can only appear to have being when consciousness identifies itself with that form. The whole thing is delusional since it is only based on a mistaken perception. Consciousness believes itself to be something that it perceives, which is the imaginary dream character that appears in the dream that it is dreaming. Only consciousness is real and has being. The imaginary form of information is unreal and has no being. This state of affairs is perfectly stated in the Bhagavad-Gita:

The unreal has no being. The real never ceases to be.

Remarkably, modern physics has recently discovered a way to scientifically understand this strange state of affairs based on the holographic principle of quantum gravity. This website is an exploration of what the holographic principle is telling us about the true nature of reality.

Continue reading on this website or see the PDF documents listed below:

What Does Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower Really Mean

The Mystery of Creation

What Is Real

All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

The Story of Consciousness

The Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality

Topics in Quantum Theory

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

Appendix of Nondual Wisdom

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

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What Does Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower Really Mean?

There must be someway out of here, said the Joker to the Thief,
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
No reason to get excited, the Thief he kindly spoke,
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke,
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

All Along the Watchtower is alluding to a spiritual way of seeing the world from a higher level of consciousness. The song can only be correctly understood with a discussion of spirituality, as in seeing the world in a spiritual way from a higher level of consciousness. Leonard Cohen alluded to this spiritual way of seeing the world in Suzanne when he wrote:

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water,
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower,
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,
He said all men shall be sailors then until the sea shall free them.

The Watchtower is a metaphor for this spiritual way of seeing the world from a higher level of consciousness. The Sea is a metaphor for the spiritual Source of that seeing, which is the Source of consciousness. The basic idea for this spiritual way of seeing the world goes back to Plato and the Allegory of the Cave. In the Allegory, Plato described the perceivable physical world is like a movie that the true spiritual nature of consciousness is watching from its seat out in the audience. The spiritual nature of consciousness out in the movie audience only mistakenly believes that it is a part of the movie it is watching when it falsely identifies itself with its character in the movie.

The other analogy is a computer generated virtual reality, like Neo in the Matrix. Just like a movie, the animated images of the virtual reality are projected from a computer screen to an observer that plays the virtual reality game and watches the virtual reality movie. The observer, which is the spiritual nature of consciousness, is always out in the audience, but falsely believes itself to be a part of the virtual reality movie when it identities itself with its character in the movie. When that spiritual presence of consciousness detaches itself from its character and sees the movie with a sense of distance from the movie, the observer sees things from a higher level of consciousness. It is as though the observer comes out of the movie, but it never really was a part of the movie in the first place. It only falsely believed it was a part of the movie when it identified itself with its character in the movie.

Plato calls a spiritual presence of consciousness ‘a prisoner‘ if it believes the false belief about itself that it is its character in the movie it is watching. A higher level of consciousness that allows the observer to see things with a sense of distance and detachment from them is the way Plato describes spiritual freedom in the Allegory.

The first line of All Along the Watchtower alludes to this kind of spiritual freedom when it says: ‘There must be some way out of here‘. The word ‘here‘ refers to the perceivable physical world. The ‘way out‘ refers to the spiritual freedom the spiritual nature of consciousness achieves when it no longer identifies itself with its physical character in that physical world, which happens naturally when it sees that world with a sense of distance and detachment from a higher level of consciousness. The Watchtower is the ‘way out‘. The reason ‘there’s too much confusion‘ is because things are not seen clearly for what they really are. Everything that can be seen in the physical world is only a part of the virtual reality movie the spiritual nature of consciousness is watching.

Things are confusing if consciousness identifies itself with its physical character in that movie. Part of that confusion is ‘talking falsely‘, as when the spiritual nature of consciousness identifies itself with its physical character in that physical world and falsely says ‘I am a physical person in the physical world that I’m perceiving‘. A spiritual presence of consciousness that sees things from a higher level of consciousness would never say such a false thing about itself. A spiritual presence of consciousness that sees things from a higher level of consciousness and knows what it really is can only say about itself: ‘I Am‘, and ‘there appears to be a physical person in the physical world I perceive, which is my character in the virtual reality‘.

The significance of the Joker is that consciousness is playing a joke on itself when it identifies itself with its character in the virtual reality and doesn’t know what it really is. In that sense, ‘life is but a joke‘. Falsely identifying oneself with one’s character in the virtual reality movie of the physical world one is watching is a really bad joke. The significance of the Thief is the loss of the knowledge of the true spiritual nature of what one really is. When one loses this knowledge, one doesn’t know what one really is. The irony of course is that one has stolen that knowledge from oneself by identifying oneself with a physical person in the physical world that one perceives. One is both the Joker and the Thief. To use the Beatles analogy of the Fool on the Hill, one is the Fool who is fooling oneself.

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Levels of Awakening

Here’s a nice classification scheme for the different levels of consciousness that makes a lot of sense:

Ego consciousness: the Self identified with ego. The Self is a presence of consciousness that emotionally identifies itself with its mentally constructed personal self-concept, which is its ego.

Soul consciousness: The Self is aware of itself as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of being present, but is not yet ascended, and so it is still susceptible to falling back into ego consciousness.

Atmanic consciousness: the Self ascends to a higher level of consciousness through a process of emotionally detaching itself from its world. The ascended Self sees its world with a sense of distance and detachment and is no longer susceptible to falling back into ego consciousness.

Source consciousness: the divided being of the Self dissolves back into the undivided being of No-self, which happens in an ultimate state of free fall as its world disappears from existence.

Soul consciousness lived in a state of surrender to divine will is a stable way to live one’s life. Jed McKenna calls this level of awakening the integrated state or born again experience. In a state of surrender, ego consciousness naturally dies away and soul consciousness takes its place. One’s identity dies to ego and is reborn of the spirit. This level of awakening is characterized by feelings of connection, expressions of creativity, and right actions that naturally arise as the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world. A good example of soul consciousness lived in a state of surrender is the life of St Francis as depicted in the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon. McKenna points out this way of living one’s life and this state of consciousness is what most spiritual seekers are actually seeking, and so this is as far as most spiritual seekers are willing to go with their awakening process. Bernadette Roberts calls this state the mystical union of self with God, which is as far as most religions are willing to go. There is little motivation to go further once one gets beyond ego consciousness. The ultimate union of the Self with the Source, as in the dissolution of the divided being of the Self into the undivided being of No-self, really has nothing to recommend it except for the truth.

The Bible has an interesting way of describing ego consciousness. The Bible calls a presence of consciousness the spirit of God, but also sometimes calls this spirit an angel. God gave the angels free will, which means they are free to focus their attention wherever they want to, but God also told the angels to obey God’s will. When an angel focuses its attention in a personally biased way, that angel is disobeying God’s commandment. A personally biased expression of free will is always an interference with God’s will. God’s will is inherently unbiased. A biased expression of personal will opposes and resists God’s will. A fallen angel that disobeys God’s will is called a demon, and is thrown into hell. Hell is literally a life lived in a state of personally biased ego consciousness. An angel becomes a demon when it disobeys God’s will and expresses personally biased individual will, which is the essence of ego consciousness. The Bible refers to a demon as an abomination because of its disobedience to God’s will. Ego consciousness is the abomination.

This fits in nicely with what the book of Genesis says about original sin. Adam and Eve committed the original sin when they ate fruit from the tree of knowledge and knew themselves to be bodies. With this knowledge, they knew the difference between good and evil. Good and bad is always an assessment one must make in a personally biased way from one’s own point of view as one identifies oneself with a body. From the personally biased point of view of a body, eating is good and being eaten is bad. The problem is we live in a world where bodies must eat each other in order to survive. The desire to eat is always in conflict with the fear of being eaten. There is no way to resolve this emotional conflict at the level of a body expressing these survival emotions. This emotional conflict can only be judged to be good or bad if one identifies oneself with a body, which is the original sin. Emotionally identifying oneself with a body is the essence of ego consciousness. If one doesn’t identify oneself with a body, then it’s all good. Everything is good because everything is God’s creation. To see this goodness, one has to rise to a higher level of consciousness, such as soul consciousness lived in a state of surrender to God’s will. When one’s consciousness rises to a higher level in this spiritual way and one sees the goodness of everything in God’s creation, demonic ego consciousness becomes angelic spiritual consciousness.

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Doing Nothing is True Meditation

Doing nothing at a personal level, also known as becoming desireless, is the natural outcome of seeing the person that one takes oneself to be as an illusion, losing interest in paying attention to that illusion, and withdrawing one’s attention and investment of emotional energy away from the illusion. That’s how one becomes willing to do nothing at a personal level. Withdrawing one’s attention away from the illusion allows one to shift one’s attention away from the illusion so that one can look within and redirect one’s focus of attention onto one’s own sense of being present as an individual presence of consciousness with its own inherent sense of individual being. That individual presence of consciousness is called the Self, and that individual being is called I Am.

It serves no useful purpose to avoid being totally blunt about the nature of the problem. As Plato tells us in the Allegory, the perceivable physical world is no more real than a movie that one is watching from one’s seat in the audience, or to use the analogy of the Matrix, is no more real than a computer generated virtual reality game that one is playing. Images of the virtual reality are projected from the computer screen to the point of view of the observer out in the audience. The projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the computer screen. A projected image in essence is a form of information. Those forms of information are animated in the flow of energy that flows through the computer, just like the animated images of a movie that is displayed on a computer screen. Everything that can be perceived in the movie is a form of information animated in the flow of energy. The observer itself is not a form of information, and in this sense, the Self is not-a-thing. The Self is a presence of consciousness out in the movie audience that arises at a point of view in relation to the screen, but it is not-a-thing.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

Everything that can be perceived in the physical world is a form of information projected like an image from a screen to the point of view of the Self that perceives that image, but the observer itself is not-a-thing. Consciousness itself is not-a-thing that consciousness can perceive. As described in Zen, consciousness is the No-thing. The problem is, as long as one is paying attention to things, one is not paying attention to one’s true nature as the Self. One’s attention is so absorbed in the movie that one is watching, one doesn’t know who one really is. Even worse than not knowing who one really is, one mistakenly takes oneself to be the central character of the movie that one is watching. One takes oneself to be a physical person in the movie of the physical world that one is watching. One identifies oneself with that physical person, which is no more real than an animated form of information projected like an image from a movie screen and animated in the flow of energy. One’s self-identification with that physical person is really only a false belief that one believes about oneself, which is otherwise known as a delusion.

The nature of that false belief is a self-concept. One has the self-concept that one is a physical person in the movie of the physical world that one perceives. One’s self-concept is also a part of the movie. In effect, one’s central character in the movie is giving a self-referential narration of the movie and one is identifying oneself with that character. One’s self-concept is created out of nothing more than one’s character in the movie giving a self-referential narration of the movie.

Why the hell would one ever believe this delusional self-concept or false belief about oneself? Remarkably, the answer can be found in the first few lines of the book of Genesis:

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

The key thing to realize is that the Spirit of God is the Self, which is the individual presence of consciousness at the center of its own perceivable physical world. That world is no more real than a movie the Self is watching as animated images of that world are projected from a screen to the central point of view of Self. That world is created as the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. The face of the deep is the movie screen.

There are some big concepts here that need to be unpacked, and there is no way to unpack them without understanding something about modern physics. The Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep can be understood as an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. The idea of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is fundamental to modern physics in the sense of relativity theory. In relativity theory, there really is no such thing as a force, only observers undergoing accelerated motion. This idea is called the Principle of Equivalence:

Equivalence Principle

The observer’s frame of reference essentially defines space-time. Space-time is like a frame of a movie that projects images of the movie to the observer’s point of view with each frame of the movie and animates those images over an animated sequence of frames, just like the animated images of a movie projected from and animated on a computer screen. The key idea is each frame of the movie is defined on a movie screen. Relativity theory tells us exactly where that movie screen comes from. The movie screen is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has an event horizon, which is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space. Nothing is observable to the observer beyond its event horizon. This phenomenon arises in a natural way from the constancy of the speed of light for all observers. The speed of light is independent of the observer’s own state of motion, and is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. Due to this property of the speed of light, every observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

The book of Genesis is telling us that the accelerating observer is the Spirit of God, and that the observer’s event horizon is the face of the deep. The observer’s world is created as the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. The essential nature of that movement is the observer’s accelerated motion. The observer’s event horizon is the computer screen that encodes bits of information, which allows forms of information to become projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view, where the images are perceived by the observer. Those images are animated in the flow of energy. That flow of energy arises from the observer’s own accelerated motion in its accelerated frame of reference.

We still need to explain why the observer’s event horizon encodes bits of information, just like a computer screen. Modern physics has given us this explanation, which is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. In effect, the holographic principle supersedes the equivalence principle. There’s no easy way to explain the holographic principle without getting into the weeds of the mathematical formalism of modern physics, which is basically the idea of how space-time geometry is quantized, but in spite of this difficulty, it is remarkably simple to state the nature of the holographic principle. Basically, every point on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel on a screen, and each pixel on the screen encodes a quantized bit of information called a qubit. Just like the bits of information encoded on a computer screen, each qubit is like a switch that is either on or off, and so encodes information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s. Unlike a classical computer, the qubits are defined on the screen in a rotationally invariant way, much like the spin variables defined in quantum theory that can only point up or down. Due to this rotational invariance, qubits have a property called quantum entanglement. A classical bit of information is like a vector that can only point up or down, but an entangled qubit can point in any direction, which is what gives the qubits their rotational invariance.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

The holographic principle basically says that each pixel defined on the observer’s event horizon encodes a quantized bit of information as a qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. The observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space like the surface of a sphere that limits the observer’s observations of things in space from the perspective of its own central point of view, but can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

Holographic Principle

We now have all the pieces of the puzzle we need to explain how the observer’s world is created. When the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, its event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen that encodes bits of information for everything the observer can observe in its world. Everything the observer observes is a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy. Not only does the observer’s screen arise in its own accelerated frame of reference, but the flow of energy also arises due to the observer’s accelerated motion. Just as the book of Genesis says, the observer’s world is created as the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. The Spirit of God is the observer in accelerated motion, and the face of the deep is the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The key thing about the holographic principle is to realize that things don’t actually exist in three dimensional space. The observer’s perceivable world is a holographic world. All the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world, the qubits, are defined on an event horizon that is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that limits its observations of things in space. The observation of anything in three dimensional space is a holographic projection of a holographic image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer itself is not a holographic projection. The observer is a presence of consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world, called the Self. The Self is not-a-thing that it can perceive.

At this point it should be crystal clear what Genesis means when it says the world is created as the Spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. There are a few more puzzles in Genesis that we need to sort out. The biggest puzzle is what is meant when Genesis says Let there be light, and God divided the light from the darkness. The key concept is a holographic world can only be created through holographic projection. Just like the animated images of a movie, the light of a movie projector must project those images. This is where things get a bit tricky. Just as the observer itself, which is a presence of consciousness called the Self, is not-a-thing that it can perceive in its holographic world, the light that is projecting the holographic images of that world is not physical light. In quantum theory, physical light is understood as a quantum particle, which is called a photon of electromagnetic radiation. Like everything else that can be perceived in a holographic world, that quantum particle can be reduced to quantized bits of information, the qubits, encoded on a holographic screen. A photon is just another form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. A photon, which is a quantum particle of physical light, cannot be the light that Genesis refers to, which is like the light of a movie projector that projects images from the observer’s screen back to the observer.

What is the nature of this light? The answer of course is, the light Genesis refers to is the Light of Consciousness. The presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, called the Self, is not just a presence of perceiving consciousness in the sense of the observer, but is also the light of consciousness that projects the images of that world back to the observer. The observer is perceiving those images, but the light of consciousness has to project those images back to the observer from its own holographic screen. The Self has both a perceiving aspect, which is the observer, and a projecting aspect, which is the light of consciousness.

This situation is really weird, but creation of a world is not really possible any other way. The observer’s holographic screen arises as an event horizon due to its own accelerated motion, which is literally the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. All the quantized bits of information, the qubits, that define everything in that holographic world are encoded on that holographic screen. Everything the observer can observe in its world is a form of information projected like an image from its own screen to its central point of view. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information arises from the observer’s own accelerated motion. To cap things off, we now find out that the light of the movie projector that projects those images is the light of consciousness that also emanates from the central point of view of the observer. The light of consciousness is the light that is illuminating the observer’s own holographic world.

Why did God divide the light from the darkness? This is where we have to get really deep. What does Genesis mean when it refers to the deep or the darkness or the void? These words refer to the Source of Consciousness, but the Source can only be described in terms of negation, as in the darkness is the absence of the light or the void is the absence of everything. The Source of Consciousness is the Source of the Self, which is an individual presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything perceived in that holographic world is a form of information. The perceiving Self is not-a-thing, and so the Source can only be described in terms of negation as formless nothingness, or without form and void. The Source of the Light of Consciousness can only be described as darkness. The light of consciousness that is needed to illuminate a holographic world is divided from the darkness of the Source.

The individual being of the Self, called I Am, is divided from the undivided being of the Source. The Source is pure undivided being, or pure oneness. Unlike a holographic world that is limited by a holographic screen, the Source is unlimited. That unlimited being is infinite. The reason the Source is called the deep is because it is unlimited or infinite. Unlike a holographic world where everything perceived is like an image projected from a holographic screen, nothing is perceived in the Source. The Source is nothing perceivable, which is pure nothingness of being. Unlike a holographic world where everything perceived is imaginary, the pure being of the Source is real.

The Source is the ultimate nature of reality. As the ultimate nature of existence, it can also be called the ground of being. The true nature of being belongs solely to the Source. The imaginary images of a holographic world have no real being. They’re unreal. Only the Source has being and is real. The Source is real because it is the ground of being, and can never cease to be. It is the ultimate nature of existence that can never cease to exist. Unlike the imaginary images of a holographic world that are in a constant state of flux and constantly change over the course of time, the Source is timeless being that can never change. The Bhagavad-Gita perfectly states this essential distinction between the virtual reality of a holographic world and the absolute reality of the Source when it says:

The unreal has no being; the real never ceases to be.

The Source is the Creator. A holographic world is its creation. Things get complicated because the Source does not directly perceive that holographic world. The individual being of the Self is divided from the undivided being of the Source so that holographic world can be created and perceived. The Self is a presence of consciousness that perceives its own holographic world, and that world is created as the Self enters into an accelerated frame of reference, which is the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. The face of the deep is the holographic screen that defines that holographic world. The Self is not only the perceiving consciousness of the observer at the center of that world, but is also the light of consciousness that illuminates that holographic world. Just as the individual being of the Self is divided from the undivided being of Source, the illuminating light of consciousness is divided from the darkness of the Source.

God saw the light, that it was good. This is another way of saying that God’s creation is good. That’s why a holographic world is created for the Self to perceive. That creation is inherently good. Creation is inherently good as long as the Self only perceives that holographic world from a higher level of consciousness, like an observer out in a movie audience that is only watching the movie. A problem arises when the observer begins to identify itself with its character in the movie and no longer knows what it really is. That problem is called self-identification. The Self out in the movie audience mistakenly identifies itself with its character in the movie and does not know what it really is. Instead of knowing what it really is, the Self identifies itself with a personal self-concept, which is a false belief that it believes about itself. That’s the nature of delusion. All personal self-concepts are delusional. The Self mistakenly believes that it is a physical person in the movie of the physical world that it is watching from its seat out in the movie audience.

As previously mentioned, this delusional self-concept is no more real than the self-referential narration of the movie by the central character of the movie. Why would the Self believe this false belief about itself? The problem has to do with emotions. Emotional expressions are the energy that animates forms of information, like the animated form of a body. This animating energy fundamentally arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, which is literally the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. Emotional expressions literally arise from the observer’s own accelerated motion. Emotions are the energy of accelerated motions, and only the observer can really move. Everything else that appears to move in a holographic world is a holographic illusion that arises as forms of information are projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view and as those images are animated in the flow of energy, which fundamentally arises from the observer’s own accelerated motion. The observer is literally creating its own emotional expressions with its own accelerated motion.

In order to understand how this actually happens, we have to understand something about the quantum state of potentiality that describes the potential for all possible motions. The quantum state is like a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space. Quantum theory tells us that each possible path is weighted with a probability factor that is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. The quantum wavefunction in turn depends on a quantity called the action, which is like a measurement of distance between two points along some path in the information configuration space. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the path that measures the shortest possible distance between those two points. Quantum probability is like any other probability distribution. That probability distribution can only be accurately measured if it is measured in an unbiased way. An unbiased measurement is what physicists call a random measurement or a random choice along the lines of randomly flipping a coin, or to use Einstein’s famous metaphor, randomly throwing dice.

Quantum State as the Sum Over all Possible Paths

The essential problem of quantum theory is the problem of choice. In quantum theory, whenever one wants to measure something, also known as making an observation of something, one has to make a choice. The quantum state of potentiality only determines probability amplitudes with which any possible choice can be made. In more specific terms, every point along some path in the information configuration space is a decision point about what to observe at that point and which path to follow. The other way to say this is the quantum state of potentiality for the world is a sum or superposition over all possible observable states of the world and all possible paths that can be taken in the world. Every point along some path is a decision point about what to observe in the world at that point and which path to follow through the world. One always has a choice about what to observe and which path to follow. The way we express our choices is in terms of how we focus our attention on the world. Through our focus of attention, we are always free to choose what we will observe in the world and which path we will follow through the world.

Decision Point

Although we have the freedom to make these choices, the laws of physics as incorporated into the quantum state of potentiality constrain the way we can make choices. For example, if one makes the choice that one wants to walk on water, the law of gravity is an important constraint on one’s ability to make this choice. All laws of physics can be expressed as an action principle, and are incorporated into the quantum state in terms of the action that measures distance along some path in the information configuration space. The action in turn determines the quantum wavefunction, which gives the probability amplitudes for making any possible choice. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the path that measures the shortest possible distance between any two points, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action is only the most likely path if choices are made in an unbiased or random way. If bias arises in the way choices are made, then all bets are off. If the dice are loaded, then the game is rigged. The laws of physics only have predictability if choices are made in an unbiased way. If bias arises in the way choices are made, the laws of physics lose their predictability. As Morpheus tells Neo in the Matrix, the laws of physics, which are like the computational rules that govern the operation of a computer, can be bent or broken. If the law of gravity is bent enough, it does become possible to walk on water.

There is No Spoon

How does one bend or break the laws of physics? The answer is through bias in the focus of one’s attention. When one’s attention becomes biased enough, it becomes possible to choose to follow a path that significantly deviates from the path of least action. With sufficient bias in the focus of one’s attention, it becomes possible to choose to observe something in the world that would otherwise be very unlikely in terms of quantum probability. These choices seem to violate the laws of physics. The laws of physics really aren’t immutable laws, but more like guidelines that determine the likelihood of any choice as long as that choice is made in an unbiased way.

In terms of spirituality, this state of affairs has profound implications. Individual choice is always made by an individual presence of consciousness, which is the Self. Only the Self has free will and the ability to make choices through the focus of its attention. The problem is the Self is only a fragment of the Source. The individual being of the Self, which is called I Am, is divided from the undivided being of the Source. The Source creates the world for the Self, and the Self, as a presence of consciousness, perceives that world. The Self has free will in the sense it is free to perceive anything in that world and follow any path through that world that it wants, but this is only at the level of individual will. When the Source creates the world, this is an expression of God’s will.

God’s will is always unbiased. There is a normal flow of energy through the world that reflects unbiased choice. The best example of God’s will is that things tend to follow the path of least action as long as choices are made in an unbiased way. That’s why we have a classical law of gravity.

Normal Flow of Energy Through the Observer’s Perceivable World

To use the metaphor from the Bible, when the Self divided itself from the Source, the Source gave the Self free will, which is its ability to freely focus its attention anywhere it wants to in the world it perceives, but the Self was also told to obey God’s will. God’s will is inherently unbiased. If the Self focuses its attention in a biased way, then the Self is violating God’s will. Through its biased choices, the Self is interfering with, opposing, and resisting God’s will.

There are two important aspects of this state of affairs we need to discuss to make sense of the world. The first has to do with the idea of a consensual reality. The holographic principle tells us every observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen, and yet we have the impression that there are multiple observers in the world. Where does this impression come from? Why doesn’t one have the sense that one is the only observer in one’s own world?

The answer is information sharing. Every observer does indeed have its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen, which is called the one-world-per-observer paradigm, but those holographic screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information, like the kind of information sharing we see in an interactive network of overlapping screens, like the internet. Information sharing is what allows multiple observers to share a consensual reality.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of Multiple Observers Sharing a Consensual Reality

The second important aspect of this state of affairs is the nature of ego consciousness. To again use the biblical metaphor, when the Self divided itself from the Source and the Source gave the Self free will, the Self was told to obey God’s will. When the Self began to disobey God’s will by expressing its will in a personally biased way through personal bias in the focus of its attention, the Self became a fallen angel. The Self fell from a higher level of consciousness down to the lowest level of ego consciousness. The Self became a demon and was thrown into hell. That demon is the ego, and hell is ego consciousness. This is the hell of living a personally biased life in the world, the hell of living a life as a person in the world.

There is no simpler way to say it. When the Self identifies itself with its ego, which is its mentally constructed personal self-concept, that state of personal self-identification is hell. Why would the Self allow its level of consciousness to fall down in this lowly way? The answer has to do with the nature of emotions. To understand the ego we have to understand emotions.

At a fundamental level, emotions arise from the accelerated motion of the Self in its accelerated frame of reference, which is literally the spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. Only the Self can really move. The face of the deep is a holographic screen that projects the appearance of a holographic world. Everything perceived in that holographic world is a form of information projected like an image from the screen to the point of view of the observer, which is the Self. Those images are animated in the flow of energy through that world, which fundamentally arises from the accelerated motion of the Self. The apparent motion of the observer’s body in that world is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection and animation.

As long as the observer observes its world in an unbiased way, which is to say the Self does not interfere with or oppose God’s will with bias in the focus of its attention, things are seen from a higher level of consciousness and there is no problem. The problem of ego consciousness only arises when the Self emotionally identifies itself with its body and begins to express emotions in a personally biased way. Those personally biased emotions are expressed because the Self is observing its world with personal bias in the focus of its attention.

Once personally biased emotions are expressed, the Self feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body as it perceives those self-limiting emotional expressions. A personally biased emotional expression is always an interference with the unbiased expression of God’s will. God’s will allows for the normal flow of things through the observer’s world. By expressing personally biased emotions, the Self is creating an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things through its world. With this emotional disturbance, the observer’s body is animated in a way that is not in alignment with the normal flow of things, creating feelings of disconnection.

These self-limiting feelings of disconnection are the essence of the problem the Self creates for itself when it perceives its world with personal bias in the focus of its attention and expresses personally biased emotions that make it feel self-limited to the form of its body. When the Self perceives the emotional animation of its body in a way that is not in alignment with the normal flow of things through its world, this emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things makes it feel self-limited to the form of its body, which leads it to emotionally identify itself with its body.

Once the Self emotionally identifies itself with its body, it then feels compelled to defend the survival of its body as though its existence depends on it. This is the essential problem of ego consciousness. The Self no longer knows what it really is as a presence of consciousness that only perceives its own holographic world. It has lost touch with the true nature of its existence, which is its own inherent sense of individual being, its sense of I-Am-ness, that is independent of whatever it perceives in its world. It has fallen down to the lowly level of ego consciousness where it no longer knows what it really is when it emotionally identifies itself with a person.

The basic problem of ego consciousness are the emotional expressions of fear and desire. In the moment, an expression of fear or desire can be a part of the normal flow of things, but with personal bias in the focus of attention, these expressions become amplified and distorted, like an out-of-control positive feedback loop. This amplification and distortion causes an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. Only personal bias in the focus of its attention can lead to the expression of personally biased emotions that causes the Self to identify itself with the emotionally animated form of a person as it perceives those self-limiting emotional expressions.

To be clear about things, organs of sensory perception inside the observer’s body only transmit information about the state of the observer’s holographic world. Some of those perceptions are external perceptions of the world, like sight and sound, and some are internal perceptions of the body, like emotional body feelings. When the observer emotionally identifies itself with its body, the observer in effect is creating a boundary between self and other, where self is defined as internal to the body and other is defined as external to the body. The surface of the body creates a boundary between self and other. In the sense of a personal body-based self-concept, the observer takes itself to be a body-based self when it emotionally identifies itself with its body.

The holographic principle tells us the true nature of self and other is an observer that can only be identified with a point of view that arises in relation to a holographic screen and the forms of information that are projected like images from the observer’s screen to its central point of view. The fundamental nature of self and other is an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. The Self is a point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to the screen and the object is a form of information projected like an image from the screen to that central point of view. The true nature of the subject is the Self. In reality, everything perceivable is external to the Self because everything perceived in a holographic world is projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Nothing is really internal to the Self. The Self is the presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. There is only a holographic illusion that a body-based self exists within that holographic world. That holographic illusion is the nature of the ego.

The only reason the Self believes it is its ego is due to its perception of self-limiting emotional expressions that arise through personal bias in the focus of its attention. The Self is focusing its attention on its ego and its world in a self-defensive way to defend the survival of its ego as though its existence depends on it. That false belief the Self believes about itself is the essential lie at the core of all the personal self-concepts it has that it is a person in the world it perceives.

At this point its worth a discussion of the nature of survival emotions, since these expressions lie at the core of all body-based personal self-concepts. Fear and desire are survival emotions. The only purpose of expressing fear and desire is the survival of the body. There are fundamental energetic reasons why a body can only survive in the world if the body expresses these survival emotions. These energetic reasons have to do with the balance between random kinetic energy, which tends to make the body fall apart, and attractive potential energy, which allows the body to hold together. A body can only hold together and self-replicate its form in a recognizable way if the balance favors attractive potential energy over random kinetic energy. To self-replicate its form in a recognizable way over a sequence of perceivable events, the body must incorporate attractive potential energy into itself. In the sense of thermodynamics, in order to self-replicate its form in a recognizable way, the body must add the potential energy of attractive forces to itself while it also sheds random kinetic energy, which is called heat, into its environment.

We call the addition of potential energy to a body the process of eating. The question is where can the body find that potential energy? The answer is the body finds that potential energy in other bodies. This is the fundamental energetic reason why bodies must eat other bodies in order to survive in the world. It literally is a body-eat-body world. That’s the fundamental nature of body survival in the world, and it does us absolutely no good to deny this fact about the world.

In order to survive in the world in the recognizable form of a body that self-replicates its form, the body must eat other bodies. This is emotionally expressed as the desire to eat. The problem is there is also a competing emotion expressed as the fear of being eaten. In order to survive in the world in the recognizable form of a body that self-replicates its form, the body must avoid being eaten by other bodies. The environmental selection pressure called the survival of the fittest body will insure that only those bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat while they also express the fear of being eaten will appear to survive or self-replicate their forms and reproduce their forms. This creates an emotional conflict. The expression of the desire to eat is a movement of the body toward another, while the expression of the fear of being eaten is a movement of the body away from another. There is no way to resolve this emotional conflict at the level of emotions, which is the level of the movement of bodies. Living an embodied life in the world is inherently a life that must be lived in emotional conflict. At the level of bodies and the survival emotions that they express, there is no way out of this emotional conflict.

This is the essential problem of ego consciousness when one emotionally identifies oneself with one’s body. Ego consciousness is a low level perspective, which is a low level way of seeing the world. One sees the world at the level of bodies because one emotionally identifies oneself with one’s body. There is absolutely no way to resolve the emotional conflicts that arise between the survival emotions of fear and desire when one sees the world with this low level perspective.

The only way this emotional conflict can be resolved is if one’s consciousness rises to a higher level and one sees the world from that higher level of consciousness. This resolution of the emotional conflict in large part is what it means to awaken. Spiritual awakening is the awakening of consciousness to its true nature. When consciousness awakens to its true nature, it knows what it really is. That knowledge is inseparable from its rise to a higher level of consciousness.

We’re finally at a point that we can discuss the spiritual awakening process. The first step in that awakening process is called surrender to God’s will. At this point in the discussion, the reason for surrender should be obvious. Lowly ego consciousness can only take hold when there is personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. Only personal bias leads to the expression of the personally biased self-limiting emotions that make one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person, which is the only way the Self can identify itself with that form.

These self-limiting emotions are the survival emotions of fear and desire that have no other purpose than the defense of the survival of the body. With personal bias in the focus of one’s attention, these survival emotions become amplified and distorted, which creates the emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things through one’s world that makes one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a body. The Self is literally creating these emotions for itself through its accelerated motion in an accelerated frame of reference. The emotions are created through personal bias in the focus of its attention, which always interferes with and opposes the normal flow of things through its world that arises with the unbiased expression of God’s will.

The only way the Self can bring to an end the creation of this emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things is if it surrenders to God’s will. The Self must give up its desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way. The desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way is always an expression of personally biased individual will that opposes God’s will. God’s will is inherently unbiased. When one surrenders to God’s will, one gives up that personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. Instead, one puts one’s trust in God’s will to sort out what is for the best, and accepts every outcome in life as for the best. God’s will is always for the best. In a state of surrender, one accepts everything as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different that it is in the moment. With surrender, one’s attention is always focused on the present moment, which is the only place that one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of being present. One finds oneself in the present moment as the individual spiritual being that is called I Am.

When the Self discovers itself in this spiritual way, it knows itself to be a pure presence of consciousness at the center of its own world. This level of consciousness can be called soul consciousness, since the Self becomes aware of itself as a spiritual presence of consciousness.

Soul consciousness lived in a state of surrender to God’s will is often described as a mystical union of the Self with God. This mystical union is often described as the born again experience. One’s identity dies to ego and is reborn of the spirit.

Soul consciousness lived in a state of surrender to God’s will is also called the integrated state. When one surrenders to God’s will, the flow of animating energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world, which is experienced as feelings of connection to everything in that world. One no longer feels disconnected or self-limited to the form of one’s body. With surrender, expressions of creativity and right actions also arise as the flow of energy comes into alignment. In terms of the biblical metaphor, the integrated state is the way God intended the Self to live a life in the world when the Self was told to obey God’s will.

Soul consciousness lived in a state of surrender to God’s will is not so much a higher level of consciousness as it is a higher vibrational mode of being. When the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world, this state of non-interference allows for a higher vibrational mode that is perceived as feelings of connection.

There’s a lot to recommend about the kind of life one lives in a state of surrender to God’s will, but this is not the highest level of consciousness. If one wants to rise to a higher level, one has to detach oneself from one’s world. The problem of emotional attachments was described in the Bhagavad-Gita, when the great warrior Arjuna was about to give the order to launch the great war, but he saw that his beloved relatives were on the other side and would be killed in the war. Rather than give that order, he fell down to the ground trembling with fear. After a long discussion about the true nature of reality, Lord Krishna convinced him to get back up and give the order.

This story is a metaphor about going to war with one’s own ego. The ego is really nothing more than a tangled mess of fears and desires that are self-limited to the personal form of a body. The Self emotionally identifies itself with its ego when it feels self-limited to this personal form. The emotional energy that animates the ego is not just the personally biased survival emotions of fear and desire that defend the survival of that form, but also the emotional energy of emotional attachments. When one goes to war with one’s own ego, one not only has to surrender to God’s will, which deals with the self-defensive emotions, but also sever one’s emotional attachments.

Just as survival emotions are an inherent part of living an embodied life in the world, emotional attachments are also an inherent part of that embodied life. The problem is the newborn infant and young child is totally dependent on its caregivers, primarily its mother, in terms of the care and nurturing that its caregivers provide. The baby must be fed and taken care of. The needs of the baby must be met. The desires of the baby must be satisfied by the caregivers. If these needs are not met, the baby will not survive. This energetic state of dependency is described by the emotional attachment of the baby to its caregivers, and the reciprocal emotional attachment of the caregivers to the baby. The imprinting of the ego early in life arises mostly from this state of emotional attachment. The body-based personal self-concept develops primarily during the first two or three years of life in the context of these emotional attachments.

When one goes to war with one’s ego, one has to sever emotional attachments. Severing an emotional attachment feels like something dies inside. Part of one’s emotionally energized ego structure dies away as the emotional attachment is severed. The ego is mentally constructed in a subject-object relation of self and other as a body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing one perceives in one’s world. The ego is a false self-concept, since the true nature of the subject is not anything that it can perceive in its world. There is only an illusion that a body-based self exists in the body. The true nature of the subject is the Self, which is a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. For the Self to realize the truth of what it really is, its ego must be deconstructed. Surrender to God’s will is the first step in that deconstruction process. The next steps are severing emotional attachments.

The problem of emotional attachments is like the Gordian knot. One does not have to know how the knot was tied or how to untie the knot. One only has to take out one’s sword and cut the knot. Cutting the knot of emotional attachment is what it means to go to war with one’s own ego.

The way one cuts the knot of emotional attachment is by seeing the ego as an illusion and by losing interest in paying attention to that illusion. Putting attention on the ego only reinforces it. When the ego is seen to be an illusion, one naturally loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. When one withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion, one also withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy that is animating the illusion. That withdrawal of emotional energy is how the emotional attachment is severed. That’s how the ego dies away. Without that investment of emotional energy in the ego, there is no ego. The ego was only an illusion created as one invested one’s emotional energy in it because one focused one’s attention on it.

The reason Arjuna got back up and launched the great war against his ego was because he saw his ego was an illusion created out of his own emotional attachments to things. Symbolically, he became willing to kill everything that he loved in his world in order to destroy that illusion.

The willingness to detach oneself from things leads to a state of spiritual maturity. The ego with its immature emotional attachments vacillates between the state of a frightened child and the state of a sentimental child, like a frightened baby attached to its mother. The oppositional ego only creates more frustration for itself when it tries to control what cannot be controlled in an immature self-defensive way. The spirit has no need for either emotional attachments or to defend itself since the true nature of its existence is never threatened by anything that appears to happen in the world it perceives. Spiritual maturity is the natural state of a spiritual presence of consciousness perceiving its world from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment.

When one emotionally detaches oneself from things in the world one perceives, one rises to a higher level of consciousness and sees that world with a sense of distance and detachment. This way of spiritually seeing the world is called the detached witness. In effect, one has to put some space around oneself and no longer identify oneself with anything one can perceive in that world. It is as though one has come out of that world, but one was never really in that world in the first place. One only falsely believed that one was a part of that world when one emotionally identified oneself with one’s personal character in that world. Just as Plato and the holographic principle tell us, the perceivable physical world that one perceives is no more real than a movie that one is watching, and the physical person that one takes oneself to be is only like the central character of that movie. When one’s consciousness ascends to a higher level and one sees the movie as a movie, one can only know oneself to be a detached witness outside the movie, out in the movie audience. One’s seat in the movie audience is one’s point of view at the center of one’s own holographic world, which is a point of view in empty space. One knows that one is nothing that one can perceive in the movie. One can only identify oneself with that nothingness.

This state of consciousness of the detached witness, which can be called the ascended Self, is a natural result of severing emotional attachments to things one perceives in one’s world. One sees that world from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. This happens naturally as one sees that world to be an illusion and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. As one withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion, one withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy in the illusion. Just as surrender to God’s will deals with the emotional energy of self-defensive emotions, detachment deals with the emotional energy of emotional attachments. As one rises to this level of consciousness, one becomes desireless, which is a necessary condition if one is to take the next step in the awakening process.

When one knows oneself to be a detached witness of things, existing in empty space at the central point of view of one’s own world, one knows that one is not-a-thing. One can only know oneself to be a pure presence of consciousness with its own inherent sense of I-Am-ness, the sense of being present, the sense of individual being. One has withdrawn one’s attention away from one’s world to achieve this knowledge. The next step is to shift the focus of one’s attention onto one’s Self and look within into the emptiness of one’s own being. When when looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being in this desireless state, something miraculous happens.

The miracle is called spiritual enlightenment. In Zen, spiritual enlightenment is described as passing through the gateless gate. The gate is a metaphor for the Self, which is one’s own individual being as a presence of consciousness. The gateless gate is a metaphor for the Self becoming selfless. The Self becomes selfless through a process of becoming desireless, which is the state of ego-death that results from one’s surrender to God’s will and one’s willingness to sever one’s emotional attachments to everything in one’s world. This desireless state is what is meant by doing nothing. The true meditation that allows one to awaken to the truth of what one really is, is this desireless state of doing nothing. Only when one looks into the emptiness of one’s own being in this desireless state of doing nothing can one pass through the gateless gate of a selfless Self and experience spiritual enlightenment. Doing nothing is the true meditation.

Looking into the emptiness of one’s own being is the same as looking into the darkness that is the Source of the light of consciousness that illuminates one’s own holographic world. One cannot find oneself or discover the true nature of what one really is in that holographic world. One is not really in that world. One only perceives that world. The perceiver cannot find itself in the world that it perceives. The only way the perceiver can find itself is if it becomes willing to look into the darkness that is the Source of the light of consciousness. Like Neo in the Matrix, one has to put on one’s dark glasses and become willing to look into the darkness.

William Blake described the Self as the doors of perception. As Blake described, the doorway can only open when the Self is cleansed of all sense of self. The doorway opens when one becomes desireless. The open doorway is a selfless Self. When the doorway opens and one experiences spiritual enlightenment, one knows oneself to be infinite, just as Blake described.

The mind blowing thing about this experience of spiritual enlightenment is that the experience can be scientifically understood. The Self only has a holographic world to perceive when the Self is in an accelerated frame of reference. This is literally the spirit of God moving over the face of deep. The spirit of God is the observer in accelerated motion, and the face of deep is its holographic screen. When that accelerated motion comes to an end, the observer no longer has a holographic screen because it no longer has an event horizon that limits its observations in space. When the observer no longer has a holographic screen, it no longer has anything to observe because it no longer has a holographic world. Everything it can observe in its world is a form of information projected like an image from its holographic screen to its central point of view. Paradoxically, when its observations become unlimited, it also observes nothing.

In physics, a non-accelerated frame of reference is called a freely falling frame of reference. In an ultimate state of freefall, the observer’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, it observes nothing. An ultimate state of freefall is the very definition of doing nothing or becoming desireless. No energy or force is expressed in an ultimate state of freefall because the observer experiences no acceleration. When one becomes desireless and nothing is done in an ultimate state of freefall, the observer’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, nothing is observed. What is the resolution of this paradox?

The answer is spiritual enlightenment. All enlightened beings describe their experience of becoming enlightened in terms of falling into the void. When one looks into the emptiness of one’s own being in a desireless state and the gateless gate opens, one falls into the void. One does not fall into the void in the sense of seeing the void, but rather as an experience of being the void. The individual being of the selfless Self dissolves into the void, which is understood as the Source of the Self. The Source is pure undivided being, which is the nature of one being. The Source is unlimited being, which is the nature of infinite being. The Source is timeless being in the sense that no energy is expressed in the void and nothing can happen or change. The Source is the nature of the nothingness of being. Since nothing is perceived in the void, there is no subject-object relation to define self and other. In this sense the Source is No-self.

Atman-Brahman

With spiritual enlightenment, the individual being of one’s divided Self dissolves back into the undivided being of No-self like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. One no longer exists as an individual being. One becomes the ocean of being. This only happens in an ultimate state of freefall as one becomes desireless. When one looks into the emptiness of one’s own being in the desireless state of a selfless Self, the gateless gate opens and one falls into the void. In that ultimate state of dissolution into the oneness of undivided being, one becomes the One.

Osho has given the perfect description of spiritual enlightenment:

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.
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.

The Tao perfectly describes the mystery of existence:

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

When one passes through the gateless gate, one is All-One or alone in one’s world:

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

To which can be added the wonderful description that Chuang-tzu gives of No-self:

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

Nisargadatta Maharaj has given this wonderful description of the mystery of being:

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.

♦♦♦

To Burn Away Your Ego, You Must First Examine Your Ego

Burning, Burning, Burning, Burning, O Lord Thou Pluckest Me Out-Fire Sermon

When one experiences disillusionment, one sees one’s ego to be an illusion. One’s ego causes one’s suffering due to the frustration that arises from the ego’s desire to control what can’t be controlled because the normal flow of things through one’s world isn’t under the ego’s control. When one’s ego causes enough suffering and frustration that one cannot stand it anymore, one becomes willing to die at the level of one’s ego rather than continue to suffer and live the life of that illusion. Only in that state of disillusionment and suffering does one really become willing to begin an examination of one’s ego. That’s when one becomes willing to look really hard at one’s ego and dissect its structures. One must make a thorough examination of one’s ego to see it for what it really is, to know what it is, and see the fear that underlies it. An examination is needed because the ego operates autonomously but subconsciously, under the radar so to speak. The ego operates in the shadows of one’s mind, below the normal level of conscious awareness. Before it can be clearly seen, it must be illuminated by the full power of one’s focused attention. Only in a state of intense ego examination can the ego begin to burn away or die away.

When something burns away, all the energy within that thing dissipates and escapes away. One’s ego only burns away as one withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy away from it, which one does as one withdraws one’s attention away from it. When one sees one’s ego to be an illusion, one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion and withdraws one’s attention and investment of emotional energy away from it. Paying attention to the ego only reinforces it. Once one has thoroughly examined one’s ego and seen it to be an illusion, one stops paying attention to it. One’s ego burns away as all the energy within it is withdrawn away from it. The ego collapses down to nothing because it’s no longer emotionally energized.

One’s ego is always created out of two different but related kinds of emotional energies. The first kind of emotional energy are the primitive survival emotions of fear and desire that defend the survival of the body in a body-eat-body world where bodies must eat each other in order to self-replicate their forms in a recognizable way or appear to survive in the world one perceives. Body survival is not possible unless a body expresses the desire to eat other bodies, which is motion toward, and the fear of being eaten by other bodies, which is motion away. This creates an unresolvable emotional conflict at the emotional level of the motion of bodies. When one identifies oneself with the form of a body that appears in the world one perceives, one becomes a victim of unresolvable emotional conflicts. One’s ego is really nothing more than this tendency to emotionally identify oneself with the form of a body, which is plagued by emotional conflicts.

These emotional conflicts not only operate at the level of the motion of bodies, but also at the level of the motion of thought, which is a symbolic representation of the motion of bodies. The symbolic representations of thoughts are mentally constructed in a subject-object relation of a body-based self-concept in emotional relation with some object that appears in the world that one perceives. This subject-object relation defines self and other in the sense of an observer observing some observable thing in its world. The problem is the body-based self-concept is as much an object perceived in that world as any other object. The holographic principle tells us the true nature of the subject is a presence of consciousness at the center of its holographic world, called the Self, and all objects are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Those perceivable objects include the observer’s body. Organs of sensory perception inside the observer’s body are only transmitting information about the state of the observer’s world, and the body’s brain is only like a computer or an information processor. Organs of sensory perception and brains can’t perceive anything, but can only transmit and process information. Only the Self at the center of its own holographic world can perceive those projected forms of information, like images projected to an observer from a computer screen. There can only be an illusion that the Self is body-based when the Self emotionally identifies itself with its body-based self-concept and takes itself to be a body. The Self’s identification with the body can only occur when the Self feels emotionally self-limited to its body, which occurs in the context of expressing and perceiving self-limiting emotions. Since the motion of the body is plagued by emotional conflicts, all mentally constructed thoughts that give a symbolic representation of that body motion are also plagued by emotional conflicts.

The second kind of emotional energy is that of emotional attachments. A body cannot survive in the world without the survival emotions of fear and desire, but the newborn infant or young child is also dependent on the care given by its caregivers, primarily its mother, and cannot survive in the world unless that care is given and its needs are met. This state of emotional dependency is the nature of emotional attachments. The child is emotionally attached to its mother, just as the mother is emotionally attached to the child. That state of emotional attachment is the only way the child can survive long enough until enough maturation occurs that the child’s body can fend for itself. Until that maturation occurs, the immature child is dependent on its caregivers. The structures of the ego are largely imprinted in the mind during this state of immature emotional attachment. The mentally constructed body-based self-concept, which is the nature of the ego, primarily develops during the first two or three years of life in the emotional context of these immature emotional attachments. The ego develops in a young child because it has survival value for that child within a society. The ego gives the child a role to play in that society relative to other members of the society, which makes the child’s survival more likely in that society. Any role that a person plays in a society, beginning in early childhood, is an expression of ego. The problem is those roles are inherently plagued by unresolvable emotional conflicts and all roles develop early in childhood in the context of immature emotional attachments. All emotional expressions of ego defend body survival, either at the level of conflicted self-defensive emotions or at the level of immature emotional attachments. The symbolic representation of thoughts, which gives rise to mental construction of the ego as a body-based self-concept, is inherently plagued by unresolvable emotional conflicts and immature emotional attachments.

The body is afflicted with the emotional conflicts of fear and desire, since motion of the body toward another body, which expresses desire, is always in conflict with motion of the body away from another body, which expresses fear. The ego as a symbolic representation of the body also suffers from the same emotional conflicts, which are unresolvable at the emotional level of the motion of the body, but the ego has some unique problems of its own. The ego is a mentally constructed body-based self-concept, and all concepts are constructed from memory through emotional projection, which means the body-based self-concept is emotionally clouded by the very same emotions that are necessary to emotionally project that concept from memory.

This emotionally clouded body-based self-concept is then emotionally related to the concept of another thing that is emotionally projected from memory. The concept of the other thing is also emotionally clouded. The basic problem of the ego is these emotionally clouded concepts and emotional relationships that relate the body-based self-concept to the concept of another develop early in childhood in the emotional context of immature emotional attachments. The ego largely develops during the first two or three years of life, which is a time during which the child is dependent on the care given by its caregivers for its survival, and that survival requires the immature emotional attachment of the child to its caregivers. The ego basically gives the child a role to play in society relative to other members of that society. The family is structured like any other society. The role the child plays relative to the other family members has survival value, which is the basic reason the ego develops. The ego is like an actor on a stage that plays a role relative to other members of the society that are also playing their roles on the stage.

The role the child plays has survival value just like the role any other member of the society plays. The function of the ego is to give the child a role to play in the society, which increases the chances of the child’s survival. These roles develop early in childhood in the emotional context of the child’s immature emotional attachments to its caregivers. The ego is just like a needy dependent child that plays a role in the family, sometimes frightened, sometimes demanding, sometimes oppositional, sometimes sentimental, but always immature. The needy ego always wants the approval and recognition of others, since that’s a sign that the role it plays in society has survival value. Survival is the ego’s only function, either while expressing the survival emotions of fear and desire, which are always expressed as unresolvable emotional conflicts, or while playing a role in society that develops early in childhood in the emotional context of immature emotional attachments, which is always playing an immature role.

To defend its survival, the ego wants to control things, either by the direct force of its power over others or by indirect manipulation, and when it can’t control things, feels anger and frustration. Out of that frustration, the ego doubles down and tries even harder to make itself even more powerful. The ego becomes even more selfish and self-centered. The ego’s desire to control things leads to the expression of more self-defensive emotions. Out of those self-defensive expressions, self-limiting feelings are created that lead one to identify oneself with one’s ego.

When one examines one’s own mentally constructed ego-structure, one is examining these unresolvable emotional conflicts and immature emotional attachments. Energetically speaking, that’s all the ego really is. The ego only consists of this bundle of emotional energy that gives rise to a self-concept. The ego is only a tangled mess of fears and desires limited to the form of a body that arises from unresolvable emotional conflicts and immature emotional attachments.

Burning away the ego is really nothing more than withdrawing this emotional energy away from this mentally constructed ego-structure, which happens naturally when one sees one’s ego to be an illusion, loses interest in paying attention to an illusion and withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion. Withdrawing one’s attention away from the illusion comes in two steps.

The first step is one’s surrender to divine will that deals with the self-defensive aspects of one’s ego. The ego is frightened to death that it won’t self-replicate its form in a recognizable way and survive in the world one perceives. Out of that fear of death and nonexistence, the ego attempts to control things in a self-defensive way, but that self-defensive desire to control things is always personally biased and interferes with the unbiased expression of divine will and the normal flow of things through that world. That interference creates an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. The ego is always opposing, resisting, fighting and interfering with the normal flow of things as it expresses its desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way. One’s ego can only create more frustration and suffering for oneself when it tries to control what can’t be controlled because the normal flow of things isn’t under its control. The only way one can stop emotionally energizing one’s ego in this self-defensive way is if one surrenders to divine will. One gives up one’s desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way.

When one surrenders, one stops interfering with the normal flow of things. One puts one’s trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accepts every outcome in life as for the best since it’s all an expression of divine will. One accepts everything as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is. That acceptance and trust is what allows one to withdraw one’s attention away from one’s ego and stop energizing it in this personally biased self-defensive way. One becomes willing to surrender when one sees one’s ego is only an illusion of what one really is and loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. In a state of surrender, one only becomes interested in paying attention to what is real, which is one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of individual being, its sense of I-Am-ness. One can only find one’s own sense of being present when one focuses one’s attention on the present moment and looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being.

The other way one burns away one’s ego is by detaching oneself from things. One’s ego isn’t only emotionally energized by the energy of survival emotions, but also by the emotional energy of immature emotional attachments. One’s ego is like an immature dependent child that must emotionally attach itself to its mother to ensure that its needs are met, but then wants to control the behavior of its mother, which only leads to feelings of frustration when it can’t control things. One’s ego vacillates between the states of being a frightened child and a sentimental child due to its emotional attachments, like a baby attached to its mother. When one sees the immaturity of one’s ego and the futility of its desire to control things, not to mention its illusory nature, one naturally loses interest in paying attention to it, which is how one severs immature emotional attachments and stops emotionally energizing it. One severs immature emotional attachments by withdrawing one’s attention away from them. That’s how one’s ego burns away and finally dies away. One stops caring about one’s ego and whatever appears to happen to it in the world one perceives. One stops being interested in one’s ego when one sees it’s an illusion of what one really is. One stops paying attention to it, which allows the ego to die away. The ego burns away as one withdraws one’s attention away from it and investment of emotional energy in it.

As one severs emotional attachments, one’s consciousness rises to a higher level and one sees one’s world and everything in one’s world with a sense of distance and detachment. In effect, one puts some space around oneself and no longer identifies oneself with one’s ego or attaches oneself to anything in the world one perceives. In this ascended detached state of being, one can only know oneself to be a detached witness of things, existing in empty space at the center of one’s own world, which is no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a screen to one’s central point of view. Only one’s own consciousness or being is real. Once one knows oneself to be a detached witness of things existing in empty space, one shifts the focus of one’s attention away from that unreal holographic world and looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being. Through one’s surrender to divine will and one’s willingness to sever emotional attachments to things in that world, one has become desireless. One no longer wants anything from that world. One no longer fears anything in that world. One has become free of fear and desire. When one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being in that desireless state, one then takes the final step that allows one to realize the true nature of what one really is. One becomes willing to leap into the unknown. The only thing one has to do to take that final leap into the unknown is to do nothing, which is to become desireless by giving up in the sense of surrendering to God’s will and letting go in the sense of detaching oneself from things.

Eugen Herrigel has given this wonderful description of the final leap into the unknown:

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.

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A Brief Introduction to the Symbolic Representation of Thoughts and Psychoanalysis

The symbolic representation of thoughts is complicated due to the way memory works in the construction of concepts. All thoughts are emotionally constructed in terms of emotionally related concepts that give a symbolic representation of the motion of bodies. This mental construction occurs in a subject-object relation as a body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing. Both the body-based self-concept and the concept of the other thing, which is called an object, are forms of information, and so both concepts are really objects, which is why in psychoanalysis, the construction of thoughts in the creation of the self-concept is called object relations theory. Thoughts are really emotionally relating one object, the body-based self-concept, to another object, but the true perceiving subject, which is the Self understood as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, is then emotionally identifying itself with the body-based self-concept. Even in psychoanalysis, the Self is distinguished from the self-concept, and is called the observing ego. In some sense, the purpose of psychoanalysis is to detach the observing ego from its self-concept, which is called integration. In this sense, psychoanalysis can be understood as a spiritual practice that leads to the kind of spiritual awakening that Jed McKenna refers to as the integrated state.

Psychoanalysis describes integration as one’s willingness to accept things as they are in reality rather than to demand or wish that things were as one wants them to be in one’s fantasy, which sounds an awful lot like surrender to divine will. Psychoanalysis prefers to use words for this like resignation rather than surrender, but this is mostly a distinction without much of a difference. In psychoanalysis there is even the description of the detached observing ego observing things with a sense of distance and detachment, which sounds an awful lot like McKenna’s description of ascending to a higher level of consciousness and awakening within the dream.

The symbolic representation of thoughts is complicated since both the body-based self-concept and the concept of the object the self-concept is emotionally related to must be constructed from memory, and memory is also emotionally constructed. There really is no such thing as a static information configuration state of memory sitting inside the brain that one can tap into when one remembers something. All one really has access to is the state of information for one’s world that exists right now in the present moment and the flow of emotional energy that connects one moment to the next moment. Everything we can remember about the past or anticipate about the future is an emotional projection from the state of information that exists right now in the present moment. The only reason that the state of information for one’s world right now in the present moment has memory for past moments and can anticipate future moments is because in the sense of the laws of physics things tend to follow the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between two points in the information configuration space. When one remembers something, one is making an emotional projection to the past. When one anticipates something, one is making an emotional projection to the future. That emotional projection is always made from the state of information that exists right now in the present moment.

This situation is very much like the trajectory a particle follows as it moves through space over the course of time. If we know the particle’s position in space right now and know its velocity through space right now, we can make a projection to where it was on its trajectory in the past and where it will be on its trajectory in the future. If we know something about its acceleration, we can even make more refined predictions about that trajectory. That’s really all classical physics does in terms of predicting the motion of particles and the trajectories they follow, but this kind of projection to the past or future assumes things will follow the path of least action.

In a similar way, remembering the past or anticipating the future is an emotional projection from the state of information that exists right now in the present moment. The state of information for the present moment contains memory for the past and anticipates the future as long as things tend to follow the path of least action, which is the normal way things move as long as choices are made in an unbiased way. To make this projection, we not only need to know the state of information for things right now, but also how they’re moving right now, which is their emotional state of movement. That’s why memory of the past and anticipation of the future is always an emotional projection from the state of information that exists in the present moment.

All concepts must be constructed from memory. When we conceptualize something, in effect we are making an emotional projection of the state of that thing. All things are forms of information, but when we conceptualize something, we are making an emotional projection of the state of information for that thing as it’s available right now in the present movement to some past moment or some future moment. By their very nature, all concepts of things remember the thing as it was in the past or as it’s anticipated to be in the future, and that memory and anticipation is always an emotional projection from the present moment. Emotional projection means that the concept of the thing is dependent not only on the state of information that exists right now, but also on the emotional state that exists right now. Memories are inherently clouded by emotions because all memories are emotional projections, and the emotional state that exists right now will cloud that memory. We never remember things exactly the same in any two memories.

Every time we remember something, we have to make an emotional projection, and since the state of our emotions changes from moment to moment, the way we remember things will change from memory to memory. We never remember things the same way twice. Each memory is its own unique emotional projection, and depending on our emotional state at the moment we make that projection, that memory will be clouded by that emotional state.

All concepts are constructed from memory, and so all concepts as conceptualized in the present moment are clouded by the emotional state of the present moment. Conceptual thought or the thinking process as it occurs in the present moment by its nature is clouded by the emotional state of the present moment. The symbolic representation of thoughts that emotionally relate a body-based self-concept to the concept of some other thing, called the object, is clouded by the emotional state of the present moment. This is really a double whammy. The first problem is the self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of the object by the emotions that arise within the emotional state of the present moment. The double whammy is that those concepts can only arise from memory in the present moment through emotional projection, and so those concepts are also clouded by the emotional state of the present moment. Both the self-concept and the concept of the object are clouded by the emotional state of the present moment, even as those concepts are emotionally related to each other by the emotional state of the present moment.

In psychoanalysis, this state of affairs is referred to as good objects and bad objects. Depending on one’s emotional state in the present moment, one’s self-concept can either be a good object or a bad object. One’s concept of the other object, say one’s mother, can also be a good object or a bad object. It all depends on one’s emotional state how one will construct these concepts from memory in terms of good or bad. Good is defined in terms of what gives pleasure and bad is defined in terms of what gives pain. Eating is good. Being eaten is bad. Emotionally speaking, the good is desired and the bad is feared. These good and bad concepts are then emotionally related to each other. For example, a good self-concept can be angry at the bad concept of the other, or a bad self-concept can be afraid of the good concept of the other. These concepts can change from moment to moment as one’s emotional state changes, which leads to emotional conflicts. The desire to feel close to the good other can rapidly change into the fear of being controlled by the bad other. This is an unresolvable emotional conflict since the desire to move toward the other can never be reconciled with the fear of the other or desire to move away from the other. Even weirder, the self-concept can become an object to itself. The good self-concept can hate the bad self-concept. At the level of emotionally projected concepts, one hates oneself.

This is the inherent problem of symbolic thought as a representation of the motion of bodies. Both the concept of self and the concept of the other can only be constructed from memory as an emotional projection that depends on one’s emotional state in the present moment, and then these concepts are emotionally related to each other, again depending on one’s emotional state in the present moment. The double whammy of emotional projection and emotional relationship is what makes conceptual thought so confusing. One’s concepts are always clouded by one’s emotional state, and then those emotionally clouded concepts are emotionally related. When the confusion of unresolvable emotional conflicts is added to that confusion, one is really in hell. Now add on the immaturity of emotional attachments, and one is really in a pickle.

The only possible resolution of this difficult position that one finds oneself in when one identifies oneself with one’s body-based self-concept is to stop identifying oneself with that self-concept. That is the only possible way to solve the problem. In psychoanalysis this solution is described as the observing ego detaching itself from its emotionally constructed self-concept and seeing that self-concept with a sense of distance and detachment. In that detached state, one just accepts things as they are in reality rather than demanding or wishing that things were as one wants things to be in one’s fantasy. In the language of spirituality, one accepts things as they are every moment with no desire that things be any different than they are when one surrenders to divine will, and one’s consciousness rises to a higher level when one detaches oneself from things. One undergoes a death-rebirth transformation as one’s identity dies to ego and is reborn of the spirit. That spirit is the Self, the presence of consciousness at the center of its own world.

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Focus and Intent and the Ten Bulls of Zen

Jed McKenna points out that the awakening process can only go forward in an intense state of focus and intent. One has to focus one’s attention on the awakening process like a laser beam and have a clear and unconflicted intent. Focus and intent are inherently related since the flow of energy that underlies any intention can only arise when one focuses one’s attention on that intention. The world one observes does not have its own objective existence independent of one’s observation of that world, but rather only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until one observes it. That potentiality not only includes the potentiality for information configuration states that underlie the form of all things that one observes, but also the potentiality for the flow of energy that animates those things. Just as one chooses what one observes in one’s world with one’s focus of attention, one also chooses how those things will become animated. In the sense of quantum theory, one not only chooses what one observes at every decision point on one’s path, but one also chooses which path one will follow as one makes those choices. The choices can only be made as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own world.

In the Ten Bulls of Zen, the Bull is a metaphor for the life-force, which is the flow of energy that animates one’s own body, mind and world. One’s intentions in life can only arise from that flow of energy. Since the way that flow of energy arises only arises from the way one focuses one’s attention on one’s world, one’s life-force and one’s focus of attention are intrinsically related. In the Fourth Bull, called Catching the Bull, the Bull is described as wandering around in the forest, and the Bull’s mind is described as stubborn and unbridled. This is a metaphor for one’s focus of attention tending to wander around and get lost in thoughts. The forest is a metaphor for one’s head. One is stuck in one’s head when one is lost in thoughts. One must discipline one’s focus of attention if one is to make any progress in the awakening process. The metaphor for gaining that discipline is described as raising one’s whip and taming the Bull. One’s focus of attention must submit to the greater goal of one’s intention to awaken by becoming disciplined. That’s what it means to focus one’s time, energy and attention on the awakening process like a laser beam. The laser beam is a metaphor for one’s light of consciousness that becomes focused as one focuses one’s attention on the awakening process. The light of consciousness is an aspect of one’s focus of attention, since this is the light that projects one’s own holographic world.

Comment: He dwelt in the forest a long time, but I caught him today. Infatuation for scenery interferes with his direction. Longing for sweeter grass, he wanders away. His mind still is stubborn and unbridled. If I wish him to submit, I must raise my whip.

Even when one is not lost in thought in one’s own head, one can become distracted by events in one’s world, which is an obstacle to awakening. The usual undisciplined state of one’s focus of attention is to wander around in an aimless outwardly way as one focuses one’s attention on the world. This natural tendency of the focus of attention to wander around in an outwardly way is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is the nature of curiosity about the nature of the world, but if one wishes to awaken, then one must become disciplined and redirect one’s focus of attention inwardly onto the true nature of one’s own being. This redirection of one’s focus of attention away from the world that one outwardly perceives and turned within onto one’s own sense of being present for that world requires discipline, just as redirecting one’s focus of attention away from one’s own thoughts about oneself onto one’s own sense of being requires discipline.

The Ten Bulls of Zen can be understood as a roadmap that points out travel directions in the journey of awakening or as an operator’s manual for how to become enlightened. Each step in the awakening process can be analyzed in the context of modern physics and the holographic principle since this principle tells us how the conceptual nature of delusion is created.

To back up a bit, the First Bull, called the Search for the Bull, is about becoming aware that there is something to search for, which is the true nature of one’s consciousness and being. One’s true nature is never lost. One always is what one is. The only problem is the confusion created by delusion, when one takes oneself to be something that one is not. That confusion arises from all the thoughts one has about oneself that one is an embodied person in the world one perceives, which is one’s body-based self-concept. When one is stuck in one’s head and lost in thoughts, that is what one thinks about oneself. That’s the nature of delusion.

Comment: The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

One’s true nature is consciousness. One’s true nature has never been lost. One is what one is. Only because of the confusion created by delusion is one apparently separated from one’s true nature. One actively believes oneself to be something that one is not. One takes oneself to be something that appears in the holographic virtual reality movie of the world one is watching as animated images of that world are projected from a holographic screen to one’s central point of view out in the audience of empty space. One takes oneself to be the projected form of a person in that world because that is how the movie is emotionally animated. One feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that person as one perceives the flow of emotional energy that is animating that form. One becomes entangled with the emotional expressions of fear and desire, which makes one feel like one is really a person. One becomes tangled up with one’s personal self-concept. These personally biased emotional expressions can only arise due to emotional bias in the focus of one’s attention. In effect, one is wasting the expression of one’s life-force on defending the survival of a character in a virtual reality movie that one is watching.

The first step in the awakening process is to realize there is something to search for, which is the true nature of one’s consciousness and being. This realization naturally leads to willingness to begin the search. The problem is one can never find the true nature of one’s consciousness and being in the external world one perceives, as that world is something of an illusion, no more real than the animated images of a holographic virtual reality movie one is watching as those images are projected from a holographic screen to one’s central point of view in empty space. One can also never find the true nature of one’s being in the thoughts that arise in one’s mind that tell one that one is a person in the world one perceives. The awakening process can only begin with one’s willingness to turn the focus of one’s attention away from that world, away from the thoughts one thinks about oneself, and look within. One must become willing to look within and focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world, called I Am or the Self, is the only true thing that one can ever really know about oneself.

Comment: Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Then I learn that, just as many utensils are made from one metal, so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self. Unless I discriminate, how will I perceive the true from the untrue? Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.

The central teaching of Zen the Second Bull alludes to, called Discovering the Footprint, is that the only thing one can focus one’s attention on that is truly internal to oneself as one looks within, is one’s own sense of being present. The central teaching of Zen that one is given as one begins the search for the true nature of what one really is, is to look within and focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness. The footprint of the bull is a metaphor for one’s attention focused on one’s own sense of being present for one’s world, which is not something that one can ever discover in the world that one perceives.

The path of awakening is a process of looking within and discriminating the true from the untrue. The true nature of one’s Self as a presence of consciousness must be discriminated from the untruth of all the things that one perceives in one’s world. The true nature of one’s Self must be discriminated from the form of a person one mistakenly takes oneself to be in that world, from all false beliefs that one actively believes about oneself, and from all false personal self-concepts.

All the false beliefs or self-concepts one actively believes about oneself can only arise when one takes the perception of internal body feelings and internal thoughts and memories to be internal to oneself. That untruth is what one must discriminate from the truth of one’s own being. Nothing is truly internal to one’s own being, which is the being of a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own holographic world. One must directly see that one is actively creating all the false beliefs one believes about oneself that one is a person in the world one perceives as one actively expresses personally biased emotions through emotional bias in one’s attention focused on those false beliefs. Once those false beliefs are seen to be an illusion of what one really is, one naturally loses interest in paying attention to an illusion and withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion, thereby withdrawing one’s investment of emotional energy that is necessary to animate the illusion. Without that animating emotional energy, the illusion dies a natural death.

What does it mean to say the untruth of everything one can perceive in the world is created out of the truth of one’s own Self? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good scientific answer. The Self is a pure presence of consciousness or an observer that arises at a point of view in space in relation to a holographic screen that projects all images of things that appear in space. Those perceivable things are all forms of information encoded on the screen and projected like images from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The observer’s holographic screen only arises as an event horizon that limits the observer’s observation of things in space when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer itself creates the holographic appearance of its world. All bits of information encoded on its holographic screen only arise because of the observer’s acceleration. Even the energy animating that world only arises because of the observer’s acceleration. The whole thing is observer-dependent, since it depends on an accelerating observer’s frame of reference. The energy of that accelerating frame of reference can only arise with the observer’s attention focused on its holographic world, since the observer’s attention on its world is what allows for the actual expression of that energy, which is the only way the life-force that animates the observer’s world can come into being.

Comment: When one hears the voice, one can sense its source. As soon as the six senses merge, the gate is entered. Whenever one enters, one sees the head of the bull. This unity is like salt in water, like color in dyestuff. The slightest thing is not apart from self.

The gate Zen refers to in the Third Bull, called Perceiving the Bull, is the gateless gate. The gate refers to the sense of self, which can only be perceived in the sense of being present as a pure presence of consciousness at the center of its own world with its own inherent sense of being present. This presence of consciousness, called the Self, is always present at the central point of view of the world it perceives. The head of the bull refers to this focal point of perceiving consciousness. Perceiving the bull refers to the attention of one’s consciousness focused on its own sense of being present. With this shift in the focus of one’s attention, one’s consciousness becomes aware of the true nature of oneself as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness.

When one begins to discipline one’s focus of attention, one no longer allows one’s attention to wander around aimlessly and become distracted by events that occur in one’s world. One no longer allows one’s attention to become stuck in one’s head and become lost in self-referential thoughts about oneself. When one disciplines one’s attention, one refocuses that attention on one’s Heart, which is a metaphor for the Self. One focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. One also focuses one’s attention on the feelings of connection that naturally arise with one’s surrender to divine will as the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things in one’s world. That sense of being present and those feelings of connection are the very nature of one’s own Heart. As one disciplines one’s attention, one becomes willing to get out of one’s head and bring one’s attention back to one’s Heart.

As one disciplines one’s attention and only focuses on one’s Heart, on feelings of connection and the sense of being present, one stops allowing one’s attention to wander around and stops it from getting lost in thoughts. One gets out of one’s head and stabilizes attention on one’s Heart, on feeling connected and present. Then one knows oneself only to be a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. One is not anything one perceives in that world. One is the presence of consciousness perceiving that world. One knows oneself by knowing one’s own sense of being present for that world. There is nothing else that one can know about oneself. One is only a pure presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. One is not-a-thing one can perceive in that world. One can only identify oneself with that nothingness. One knows that nothingness when one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being.

As one brings oneself back to one’s Heart, one gets out of one’s head and body. One is no longer distracted by events in one’s world, lost in self-referential thoughts, or identified with one’s body. As one brings one’s attention back to one’s Heart, one can only know oneself to be a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. One’s Heart is that presence of consciousness, which is one’s Self. One brings oneself back to oneself by knowing oneself to be that presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. One knows what one is and remains aware of oneself by focusing attention on one’s own sense of being present, the sense of I Am. One knows where one is by remaining centered. One knows that one is in one’s Heart when one feels connected. One knows oneself by feeling connected and by being present and centered. One brings oneself back to oneself, to one’s Heart, by feeling connected, present and centered. That sense of being present is the only true thing one can ever know about oneself.

Comment: When one thought arises, another thought follows. When the first thought springs from enlightenment, all subsequent thoughts are true. Through delusion, one makes everything untrue. Delusion is not caused by objectivity; it is the result of subjectivity. Hold the nose-ring tight and do not allow even a doubt.

The Fifth Bull, called Taming the Bull, is about destroying delusion. Delusion is created through all the false beliefs that one believes about oneself as one thinks all the self-referential thoughts that one has about oneself that one is a person in the world that one perceives. Delusion is only created in self-referential thoughts as a personal body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing one perceives in one’s world. Delusion is a purely subjective process that one must actively create for oneself through personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. That subjective bias is what gives rise to the expression of personally biased emotions, which makes one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person as one perceives the self-limiting emotional energy that animates that personal form. When this delusional and subjective emotional bias expresses itself at the conceptual level of a mentally constructed personal self-concept that one emotionally identifies oneself with, the ego is born.

One can only awaken if one goes to war with one’s own ego and becomes willing to kill one’s own ego. The only thing that stands in the way of one’s awakening is one’s own ego, which is the mentally constructed self-concept one emotionally identifies oneself with as one perceives it. The ego is a false belief one believes about oneself, which tells a false story about what one is. This false self-referential story about a personal self is all about the emotional drama of living a personal life in the world. The awakening process is really just a process of removing this false self-image from one’s mental field of view. One has to destroy one’s own false self-image, which occurs through a process of ego-death. The ego can only become created through personal bias in the focus of one’s attention since that is the only way personally biased emotions can become expressed. Ego-death is the natural result of one’s surrender to divine will and one’s willingness to sever emotional attachments, which is how one loses that personal bias.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, when the warrior Arjuna was about to give the order to launch the great war, he saw that everyone he loved was on the other side, and he fell to the ground in a state of emotional paralysis rather than give that order. This is a metaphor for one’s war with one’s ego. One does not have to go to war with the world or destroy anything in the world to awaken. What appears to happen in the world is mostly irrelevant in terms of awakening. The only things that need to be destroyed are one’s emotional attachments to whatever one loves in one’s world. That self-destructive process goes forward by severing emotional attachments and surrendering to divine will. Arjuna eventually got back up and gave the order to launch the war. Again, this is a metaphor. Arjuna got back up because he saw that the world he was living in was an illusory make-believe world, that everything he loved in that world was a part of the illusion, and that he was only living a make-believe life. One can only go to war with one’s ego in that state of mind.

Ego is like a tyrant that wants to control everything. Like a tyrant, ego wants to rule the world. Jesus was not interested in ruling the world like Caesar. Jesus was only interested in saving souls from their emotional bondage of self-identification with ego. The message of Jesus was a purely spiritual message, not a worldly message. The message was about breaking free of ego and discovering the truth of who one really is, which is the truth that sets one free from ego.

Ego wants to control things because ego wants to defend its survival in the world. The desire to feel powerful and in control is always in the service of defending the survival of ego. Everything one can do in the world in the sense of controlling events is self-defensive and has as its only purpose the defense of ego. Everything one can do in the world in this self-defensive sense of controlling events is a denial of death and denial of the truth of who one really is. The only way one can ever awaken and discover the truth of who one really is, is through a self-destructive process of ego-death. The self-defensive desire to control things that is expressed in the service of defending the survival of ego is always a denial of death since it denies the self-destructive process of ego-death that is the only way that one can ever awaken to the truth of who one is.

Jed McKenna points out the process of letting go and detaching oneself from things is a kind of death. When one severs an emotional attachment, it always feels like something dies inside. McKenna calls this self-destructive process a process of ego death as a means to no-self.

One has to let go of everything to awaken. Anything one holds onto and attaches oneself to will only hold one back. As one surrenders to divine will, one puts one’s trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accepts all outcomes as for the best. One accepts everything as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is in the moment. One also has to let go and detach oneself from things. Any concept one has about the nature of things, no matter how valid that concept seems, is just another attachment that holds one back as one holds onto it. One has to let it all go. One cannot take anything with oneself when one awakens, not even concepts. One has to let go of all concepts and accept that one knows nothing. Awakening is the knowing of that nothingness, which one can only know when one lets go of everything.

Appearances are deceiving. One is only deceived by appearances if one believes false beliefs about oneself as one actively creates and perceives false beliefs. It all depends on what one takes oneself to be. What one really is does not change whether one is deceived and believes false beliefs about oneself or not. When all the false beliefs of a self-concept are removed from one’s mental field of view, one is only undeceived. Only an illusion comes to an end.

Comment: This struggle is over; gain and loss are assimilated. I sing the song of the village woodsman, and play the tunes of the children. Astride the bull, I observe the clouds above. Onward I go, no matter who may wish to call me back.

The Sixth Bull, called Riding the Bull Home, alludes to the shift in one’s focus of attention as one withdraws one’s attention away from the world one perceives and away from the self-referential thoughts one thinks about oneself. One looks within and refocuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. One rides the bull home as one shifts the focus of one’s attention away from one’s false concept of oneself as a person in the world. One rides the bull home as one looks within and focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. One comes to know oneself to be a pure presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world.

One assimilates gains and loses as one becomes willing to lose everything by detaching oneself from everything. The awakening process is all about one’s willingness to lose things as one detaches oneself from things. In the end, everything is lost and nothing is gained. Every step in the detachment process is a loss, and as long as there is more to lose, there are more steps to take. One gains nothing. The irony of the awakening process is this nothingness is the true nature of one’s being. One doesn’t really gain anything since one never really lost one’s being in the first place. One only discovers the true nature of one’s being when one stops believing that one is something that one is not. One is only undeceived when one stops believing false beliefs.

At the same time one withdraws one’s attention away from one’s world and self-concept, one must also become willing to shift one’s focus of attention onto one’s own sense of being present, so that one can come to know oneself to be a pure presence of consciousness. One must bring together one’s focus of attention, which is the projecting aspect of one’s consciousness or one’s life-force, with the perceiving aspect of one’s consciousness, which is the witness, and merge them into one consciousness. One comes to know oneself as the consciousness of the Self emanating the light of consciousness. Once this shift in one’s focus of attention is stabilized on one’s own sense of being present, the awakening process can go forward to its final conclusion.

The key to awakening is focus and intent. To awaken, one has to be serious about the process and focus one’s attention on the process in a serious way with a clear, unconflicted intent. One has to discipline oneself about where one will focus one’s attention. One cannot awaken if one allows one’s attention to wander around in an aimless way and become distracted by events in the world. One cannot awaken if one is stuck in one’s head and lost in thoughts about oneself and that world. One cannot awaken if one’s attention is lost in the world or lost in thoughts.

One has to get out of one’s head, out of one’s body, and out of one’s world. One has to bring one’s attention back to one’s Heart and bring oneself back to one’s Self. One’s Heart is one’s Self, the presence of consciousness at the center of one’s world. One remains aware of oneself as one remains aware of one’s own sense of being present as that presence of consciousness at the center of one’s world. The only true thing one can ever know about oneself, the only thing that is truly what one is, is that sense of being present. One becomes aware of oneself as one focuses attention on that sense of being present. One knows what one is by focusing on one’s own sense of being present. One knows where one is by being centered. One knows that one is in one’s Heart when one feels connected. Feelings of connection naturally arise when one lets go, surrenders to divine will, and allows the flow of energy through one’s body to come into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world. One brings one’s attention back to one’s Heart and brings oneself back to one’s Self as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present, being centered and feeling connected. That’s how one awakens.

As one shifts one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present, one comes to know oneself as the detached witness. One’s consciousness rises to a higher level as one detaches oneself from things and sees things with a sense of distance and detachment. Without one’s attention focused on the life of the person in the world that one can only mistakenly take oneself to be as one perceives that world, one’s mind becomes silent and one stops emotionally constructing a personal self-concept. This naturally stops happening when one sees one’s self-concept is only an illusion of what one is, and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. With a silent mind one also becomes aware of the inherent stillness and silence of the empty space from which one observes things. One goes deeper into the stillness and silence of this emptiness as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. One is looking deeper and deeper in the emptiness of one’s own being.

When one detaches oneself from and empties oneself of all things, one exists within emptiness as the detached witness of all things. One stabilizes one’s attention within emptiness as one focuses one’s attention on the sense of being present as the witnessing consciousness. This is an experience that anyone can have right now if one becomes a detached witness, but beyond this emptiness of being is the nonconceptual nothingness that is the source of the witnessing consciousness. The detached witness is often called the Heart or the Self, but its source of nondual awareness is beyond emptiness. When the Heart Waits refers to the Heart waiting to go further into its Source of nondual awareness and nonconceptual nothingness.

Comment: All is one law, not two. We only make the bull a temporary subject. It is in the relation of rabbit and trap, of fish and net. It is as gold and dross, or the moon emerging from a cloud. One path of clear light travels on throughout endless time.

The experience of subjectivity, as in a subject-object relation of self and other that arises as the subject observes some object in its observable world, can only arise with the focus of attention of a presence of consciousness. The usual outgoing focus of attention of consciousness on the world it perceives arises as the projecting light of consciousness emanating from that perceiving point that is illuminating all objects in that world. That light is reflected off a holographic mental screen as all the illuminated images of objects in that world are projected back to the observer’s focal point of perceiving consciousness. There is only One Source of the light of consciousness, just as there is only One Source of perceiving consciousness. The Seventh Bull, called the Bull Transcended, alludes to bringing together one’s focus of attention that arises with the outgoing projecting light of consciousness with the incoming perceiving consciousness of the observer and merging them into one consciousness. Transcending the Bull is the process of redirecting and refocusing the focus of attention of one’s consciousness onto the sense of being present of the perceiving consciousness and merging them into one unified consciousness.

Understanding the usual outgoing nature of the focus of attention of consciousness as the light of consciousness that is projecting all sensory and mental images of one’s world as that light is reflected off one’s mental screen allows for an understanding of the life-force. The witness is the incoming perceiving nature of consciousness, and the life-force is the outgoing projecting nature of consciousness. Not only are the forms of all things perceived with each projective event, but the flow of energy animating all things is also perceived over a sequence of projective events. The witness, which is a pure presence of perceiving consciousness, perceives both the form of things and the flow of energy through things as the life-force is expressed.

When the observer becomes enlightened, the observer directly sees that it is its own light of consciousness that is projecting the images off the screen, like the light of a movie projector that projects movie images as that light is reflected off a screen. The enlightened observer becomes aware of itself as a point of perceiving consciousness in empty space and directly sees that all the images it perceives are projected off the screen by its own reflected light of consciousness.

An enlightened observer that sees this is the nature of the ascended or Atmanic Self, but that is not the final destination of the journey of awakening. The final destination is the ultimate place without concepts. One must go further than the Atmanic Self, which is the highest possible level of Self. It is this going further that one can never wrap one’s conceptual mind around. The mind in the final analysis is a holographic screen that is a bounding surface of space that limits one’s observations in space. The mind as a mental screen is always a limitation of consciousness.

Going further means going beyond the limitations of the mind, which is beyond the limitations of a holographic screen and beyond all concepts that can be encoded on a mental screen. When the observer has no holographic screen, there are no limitations of the observer’s observations, but paradoxically, there is also nothing to observe and there is also no observer. When there is no limitation of a mind or a holographic screen, the highest level of self, the Atmanic Self, no longer exists, but consciousness does not stop existing. In the sense of dissolution, the divided being of the Self dissolves into the undivided being of No-self like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. One no longer has the individual being of I Am. One becomes the ocean of being.

William Blake wrote about the doors of perception as the gateway to the truth of one’s being. When he wrote the doors of perception must be cleansed before one directly experiences this truth, he was alluding to cleansing the sense of self. Nisargadatta also discusses this doorway and the need to cleanse oneself of all sense of self before passing through the open doorway. Nisargadatta says “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”. In Zen, the gateless gate paradox is alluding to the same cleansing of the sense of self. One can only pass through the gateless gate when one is without a sense of self. The gateless gate is a selfless Self.

In the journey to awakening, one brings oneself to this doorway as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. Being present at the doorway is knowing oneself as the highest level of Self or the highest level of consciousness present at the center of one’s world, which is the point of singularity of that world. That world always appears to come into existence from one’s own point of view when one is present to observe it, but can also disappear from existence when one is not present to observe it. When one knows oneself to be this conscious presence, one brings oneself to the edge of the abyss that separates being present to observe one’s world as that world appears to come into existence from the disappearance of that world when one is no longer present to observe it. At this point of singularity, the highest level of Self, the ascended I Am Self, becomes an I am not. The edge of the abyss is crossed, the abyss opens, and one dissolves into the abyss, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. Crossing over the edge of the abyss to the other side is described as falling into the void.

The journey of awakening is always taken by a self in a time-bound world, but the crossing over to the other side and the experience of enlightenment is outside of time and has no sense of self. One can only cross over if one is without a sense of self. In a very real sense, the doorway or gate is the highest sense of Self that one can ever have while one perceives one’s own world, which is the highest level of consciousness one can have while one is present to observe one’s own world. The gate only opens or becomes gateless when one becomes selfless. When one becomes selfless, when I am not, one is no longer present to observe one’s own world.

The grail legend is another metaphor for discovering the true nature of one’s being. When one searches for the grail as a person in the world, one is wasting one’s power to awaken to the true nature of one’s being. That power is one’s focus of attention, which one wastes as one focuses one’s attention on the world. This waste of time and energy is the meaning of the wasteland in the grail legend. One only discovers the grail if one withdraws one’s attention away from one’s life as a person in the world and shifts one’s attention onto the true nature of one’s being.

The search for the grail is all about the search, and is never really about finding the grail. One can never really find the grail. One is the grail. One can only be what one really is. The grail is the true nature of one’s being. Everything else that one takes oneself to be is delusional.

Living a life in the world is never about finding one’s true self. There is no such thing as one’s true self. Such a thing does not really exist. Living a life in the world is only about creating a false self. One is actively creating the false sense of self through one’s false belief in it, and that creation is always emotional. This active emotional creation of the false sense of self can only arise with the expression of personally biased emotions, which arise with personal bias in one’s focus of attention. This is an active process of expressing one’s desire to create a false self. The sense of a personal self can only arise with this active process of expressing that desire.

Awakening from delusion is only a process of giving up that desire to create this false sense of self so that one can discover the true nature of one’s being. This discovery can only be made when one is without a sense of self. One becomes selfless by becoming desireless. When one no longer has any desire to create a false sense of self one naturally becomes desireless and selfless. In this desireless state, one’s discovery of the true nature of one’s being is effortless.

In the journey of awakening, one can only go further if one kills the Buddha. The Buddha is the highest sense of self, the ascended Self at the central point of singularity, which is the highest level of consciousness one can have while one still perceives one’s own world. As long as one has a sense of self, one is seeing two, while in reality, there is only one. As long as one has a sense of self, one also has a sense of other. To go further into the source of consciousness, one must become selfless. The source is pure oneness, and has no sense of self. To go further, one must kill one’s own sense of self before one can experience this ultimate state of No-self.

“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him” is another version of the Zen saying: “When you reach the top, keep climbing”. The highest sense of Self is not the final destination of the journey. There is still further. One is not done with one’s journey until one is without a sense of self, no matter how high that self might be. The goal of the journey is not to become a high and mighty Self, but to become selfless. One’s journey is only done when one is truly selfless.

The word further is like the Zen koan: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain. The mountain is a metaphor for one’s perceivable world. One is only done with one’s journey of awakening when the mountain disappears from existence. No further means no mountain.

Going further into the nondual source of consciousness requires one to kill the Buddha both at the level of self and the level of other. One must kill the Buddha both at the level of an internal concept of self and at the level of an external concept of other. Duality is always created in a subject-object relation of self and other as an observer observes some observable thing in its world. One only transcends duality by going further into the nondual source of consciousness.

Spiritual enlightenment is one’s direct experience of the true nature of what one really is. It is the Holy Grail of being what one really is. One confirms when everything in one’s world disappears from existence, including one’s own sense of self, one does not stop existing. One verifies the true nature of one’s existence is unlimited, unchanging and undivided consciousness.

The final destination of the journey of awakening, the ultimate place without concepts, the furthest reaches of further, is unlimited consciousness. There is no further or going beyond unlimited consciousness since infinity has no boundary. This ultimate unlimited nature of consciousness can be called Brahmanic consciousness. In the sense of being unlimited, it is infinite. In the sense of being unchanging, it is timeless. In the sense of being undivided, it is one. In the sense of being formless nothingness, it is emptiness or void. In the sense of being the source of Atmanic consciousness, it is the source of the light of consciousness, but can only be described in-and-of-itself as darkness. In the sense of being nonconceptual and without a sense of self or a concept of self, it can be called No-self.

The nature of a subject-object relation can only exist at the level of the Self. All subject-object relations inherently relate self with another. At the level of forms of information, the relationship is some sort of energetic connection that relates one form to another form, but the ultimate subjective nature of the Self experiencing the relationship can only be understood as the consciousness perceiving this energetic relation between forms. Objects in the world are all energetically related forms of information. Objects only have distinct forms in terms of their ability to self-replicate form in a recognizable way over a sequence of perceivable events.

The ultimate subjective nature of the Self cannot be an object it perceives in its world. It can only be a presence of consciousness perceiving objects in its world. Perceivable objects are organized forms of information projected like images from a holographic screen to the point of view of that presence of consciousness and animated in the flow of energy like the images of a movie. Everything perceivable is such an object. There is only one subject for all perceivable objects in any world, which is the presence of consciousness at the center of its own world. That world is always created on a holographic screen that limits the observer’s observations of things in space, which is always a limitation of consciousness. All subject-object relations arise from a limitation of consciousness. Without that limitation, there are no subject-object relations.

There are no subject-object relations in unlimited Brahmanic consciousness, since there is nothing to perceive. There is no self or other in Brahmanic consciousness, only one undivided, unlimited, unchanging, nondual awareness, which in some inexpressible sense is awareness aware of nothing more than its own undivided, unchanging and unlimited true nature.

In the sense that everything is conceptual and that all concepts, including all concepts of self, arise from a limitation of consciousness, everything is an illusion of unlimited consciousness, including the sense of self. There is only one truth, which is the true unlimited and undivided nature of consciousness. Everything is an illusion of unlimited consciousness that arises from the limitation of consciousness. In Advaita Vedanta, this is expressed as Brahman is the only truth. In the sense of ultimately bringing that illusion of limitation to an end, Atman is Brahman.

Even spiritual experiences can become confusing when one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness is taken to be the presence of God. This can only happen when one identifies oneself with the form of a person. From that apparently subjective personal point of view, it appears God is present for the person. In reality, this is only a twisted point of view that arises when one identifies oneself with a person and becomes aware of one’s own presence.

When presence identifies itself with a person and becomes aware of its own presence from a personal point of view, it appears its own presence is the presence of God that is present for that person. In reality, this is a twisted point of view that arises as presence identifies itself with a person and becomes aware of its own presence from that personal point of view. Presence is seeing two where there is really only one. By identifying itself with a person and then becoming aware of its own presence from that apparently subjective personal point of view, presence has become an object to itself. Presence becomes aware of itself from an apparently subjective personal point of view and sees that personal point of view as something separate from itself rather than seeing the person as something that is actually external to itself. As long a presence takes itself to be a person, there will appear to be a personal God that is present for the person.

Enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us that truth is very simple, only the mind is complex, but to convince the mind to even consider the truth requires a great deal of repetition and practice, like any new skill that one learns. There is only one truth, which is very simple, so simple it cannot be further simplified. It isn’t possible to remove anything from nothing.

Enlightened beings tell us that the only thing that ever stops one from recognizing the truth is delusion. Only the false beliefs that one actively believes about oneself that one is a person in the world one perceives get in the way of seeing the truth. Only these false beliefs need to be removed to see the truth. Only one’s attention focused on the false belief of a personal identity, like a hypnotic spell that one is under that monopolizes one’s attention, ever stops one from redirecting one’s attention onto the truth of who one really is. Ironically, the truth of who one really is, is the one who is seeing everything, which in-and-of-itself cannot really be seen except as nothingness. One can only be what one really is, even if what one is, is really nothing.

Awakening is fundamentally the antidote to delusion, and delusion is inherently conceptual. The basic problem is the nature of the self-concept, which is a false belief that one actively believes about oneself. One believes one is a person in the world one perceives, while one’s ultimate or true nature is the unlimited and undivided Brahmanic consciousness that energetically creates that world and perceives that world through its division into Atmanic consciousness.

Confusion about identity naturally arises due to the interplay of potentiality with actuality in the process of creation and manifestation. Uncreated Brahmanic consciousness is the ultimate source of creation in the sense of potentiality, but that potentiality can only become an actuality through observation. A pure presence of Atmanic consciousness must be present to project and perceive the images of a manifested world for that potentiality to become an actual creation.

The pure being of the void is the potentiality to create the actuality of all things a presence of consciousness can perceive in its world. A world is created in a state of duality on a bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen that projects forms of information for that world like images to the observer’s central point of view. The perceivable world encoded on that surface can only appear and disappear in relation to the central perceiving point of an observer.

Like the myth of Narcissus, a presence of consciousness falls in love with the personal form of its own projected self-image that it perceives. Its emotional attachment to that form underlies its self-identification with that form. Once self-identified, it feels compelled to defend the survival of that personal form as though its existence depends on it, which is the essential lie that underlies its emotional self-identification with form. Its focus of attention on form leads to further emotional expressions that make it feel self-limited to a personal form and perpetuate the vicious cycle of the hypnotic spell of its self-identification with that personal form. In reality, it both projects and perceives that self-image as it emotionally identifies itself with that self-image. It can only project and emotionally identity itself with that personal self-image if there is personal bias in the focus of its attention. That personal bias underlies its emotional projection and self-identification.

This hypnotic spell is only perpetuated because the observer feels compelled to defend the survival of that self-replicating form of information as though its existence depends on it, which is the lie at the heart of the false belief of a self-concept it believes about itself. The emotional energy at the heart of the lie is the expression of fear and desire, which is all about defending the survival of a life-form. The perception of the emotional energy animating the life-form makes the observer feel self-limited to that form, which is how the whole twisted mess is perpetuated through the vicious cycle of self-identification and self-defense.

A person caught up in this twisted mess feels like it must escape from this mess, but the person can never escape. The person is at the heart of the mess through its emotional animation. The person is searching for the truth of its true nature, but the person can never know that truth. The person can only disappear from existence. The person is in the way of seeing the truth. One can never know the truth as long as one takes oneself to be a person. Consciousness itself must stop believing the twisted false belief it believes about itself that it is a person that it perceives.

The only real power a presence of consciousness ever really has is its focus of attention on whatever it chooses to perceive in its world. The only way a presence of consciousness can awaken to the true nature of what it really is, is if it withdraws its attention away from the life of the person in the world it perceives to the point where the person and its world disappear from existence. The only reason a presence of consciousness will ever do this is if it sees the life of the person in the world it perceives is an illusion of what it really is and it loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. This can only happen if the presence of consciousness shifts the focus of its attention away from its world and onto its own sense of being present. The presence of consciousness is only an observer that is observing things in its own world. The only real power the presence of consciousness has is its focus of attention as it chooses what it will observe in its world. This is a limited power as it chooses what things it will observe in its world, but is an absolute power as it chooses whether or not to observe that world. Ultimately, the presence of consciousness chooses whether or not to be present to observe its world. When it chooses not to be present to observe its world, its world disappears from existence and nothing remains. In the Eighth Bull, called Both Bull and Self Transcended, that nothingness is called No-Thing.

Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment-Buddha

Comment: Mediocrity is gone. Mind is clear of limitation. I seek no state of enlightenment. Neither do I remain where no enlightenment exists. Since I linger in neither condition, eyes cannot see me. If hundreds of birds strew my path with flowers, such praise would be meaningless.

Transcending both the Bull and the Self is a state of No-self. When there is no self, there is also no other. There is only One. This ultimate state of No-self is a state of nothing perceivable. That ultimate nothingness is the ultimate nature of existence, which can only be experienced when everything else has disappeared from existence. One is transcending both the perceiving consciousness of the Self and the life-force of the Bull, which can only arise with the focus of one’s attention and the light of consciousness. One only reaches this state of No-self when one has returned to the Source. The Source of the light of consciousness can only be described as darkness. The Source of perceiving consciousness can only be described as nothingness.

One can only return to the Source in an ultimate state of freefall. That is the only way one’s own holographic world and everything in that world can disappear from existence. In an ultimate state of freefall, one experiences no acceleration, no force and no flow of energy. Without that experience of acceleration, one has no event horizon that limits one’s holographic world, and no holographic screen that projects images of things in that holographic world. In an ultimate state of freefall, one’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, one perceives nothing.

Before this ultimate state of freefall can occur, the observer must redirect its focus of attention inward and stabilize its attention on its own sense of being present. The outgoing projecting light of consciousness must be redirected inward in order to bring together one’s life-force with one’s perceiving consciousness and merge them into one consciousness. This is the highest level of consciousness one can have while one is still present to perceive one’s own world, which is the nature of the ascended Atmanic Self. Although this consciousness is ascended, one is still perceiving one’s world in a subject-object relation and seeing two when there is really only one.

This highest sense of self in the sense of a subject-object relation is the Ascended Self. This is the highest sense of self one can have while one still perceives things in one’s world, but there is still further. One is still in a state of duality and is seeing two, while in reality there is only one. One must go further to discover the source of one’s consciousness, which is purely nondual. There is no sense of Self in the nondual awareness that is the Source of consciousness.

The highest sense of Self is the highest level of consciousness, but there is still further. The ultimate state is not a state of consciousness. The ultimate state is the ultimate nature of existence, which is nonconceptual. The highest level of consciousness or Self is characterized by the sense of being present or I Am. In a very real sense, I Am is the first concept that must be expressed before any other concepts can come into existence. The entire perceivable world is conceptual, and I Am must be expressed before the world comes into existence. I Am is the perceiver of that perceivable world, which can only come into existence from one’s own point of view when perceived. I Am must come into existence before that world is perceived, but I Am is not the ultimate state. The source of I Am is the ultimate nonconceptual nature of existence.

The I Am or Atmanic Self must become free of all sense of self before going further. At the end of the awakening process, the Atmanic consciousness brings itself into focus and knows itself to be nothing more than the pure being of a presence of consciousness. It brings itself to the edge of the abyss that separates being present for its world from the void of not being present. At this point of singularity, it passes through the gateless gate and reunites itself and becomes one with the Source of consciousness. Through dissolution into the Brahmanic consciousness of No-self, one knows oneself to be that formless, timeless, undivided and unlimited pure being.

The Atmanic consciousness of an observer observing its own observable world is always a limitation of consciousness that arises from an observation-limiting holographic screen, which is a bounding surface of space that encodes all the information for everything the observer can observe in its holographic world. Brahmanic consciousness is inherently unlimited since it has no boundary. It has nothing observable since it encodes no information from which forms of information can be constructed. It has no energy that can give rise to the animation of forms.

Since all concepts are energetically animated forms of information, Brahmanic consciousness is inherently nonconceptual. No concept can ever describe it. Brahmanic consciousness can only be described in terms of the negation of all concepts as limitless, timeless, formless, selfless, emptiness and nothingness. Since it is undivided, it can also be described as oneness. Atmanic consciousness can only be divided from Brahmanic consciousness when a limiting holographic screen is constructed. Ultimately, when a limiting holographic screen is no longer constructed, limited and divided Atmanic consciousness must return to, reunite itself with and become one with unlimited and undivided Brahmanic consciousness. It is then possible to say as Shankara stated long ago: There is ultimately no difference between Atman and Brahman.

Comment: From the beginning, truth is clear. Poised in silence, I observe the forms of integration and disintegration. One who is not attached to form need not be reformed. The water is emerald, the mountain is indigo, and I see that which is creating and that which is destroying.

The Ninth Bull, called Reaching the Source, describes the Source as that which is creating and destroying the forms of integration and disintegration. It is both the Source of the Self and the Source of the light of consciousness. The Source is only describable as darkness, emptiness, silence and nothingness. That is the one truth. One sees this truth when one becomes the truth. To know the truth is to be the truth. Undivided awareness is aware of its true undivided nature. That is the truth that sets one free from the bondage of one’s emotional self-identification with the form of a person. Freedom is freedom from emotional self-identification with and attachment to the form of a person. Undivided awareness need not reform itself into a new form if it has no desire to do so. One who is not emotionally attached to form need not be reformed.

There is nothing mysterious about things disappearing from existence when a presence of consciousness is not present to observe them. This happens each night when one falls into a deep sleep and everything disappears from existence from one’s own point of view. One does not become unconscious in deep sleep. One becomes aware of nothing, which is the ultimate nature of what one really is. The only real difference between deep sleep and awakening is that with awakening from delusion one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present to the point that one becomes aware that the true nature of one’s existence is that nothingness.

The second thing awakening from delusion proves is that one still exists even when everything in one’s world disappears from existence and nothing remains. Like awakening from a dream, the true nature of the dreamer remains when the dreamer awakens and its dream disappears from existence. Awakening proves that everything in one’s world is no more real than a dream. The ultimate nature of the dreamer is the nothingness that remains when everything disappears from existence. The formless nothingness that remains is the dreamer’s underlying reality, or the ground of being, which is the ultimate reality of the dreamer’s existence. That ultimate existence is timeless and can never cease to exist. It can only be described in the nonconceptual terms of negation as unlimited, undivided, formless nothingness, which is the mystery of One Being.

Awakening is knowing the truth of what one is. One always is what one is. One can only believe a false belief that one is something that one is not. That false belief is called a delusion. One can never stop being what one is. One can only take oneself to be something that one is not. The only thing that ever prevents one from awakening is delusion. At the end of the awakening process when everything disappears from existence and nothing remains, one no longer takes oneself to be something that one is not. One knows oneself to be that formless nothingness.

There are no subject-object relations in the nondual awareness that is the Source of perceiving consciousness, only No-self. The Source of the observer and its observable world can only be described in terms of negation as selfless, formless, timeless, nonconceptual nothingness. In that undivided and unlimited formless nothingness, being and knowing are the same. In that formless nothingness, one can only know what one is if one is what one knows. To know is to be. One can only know what one really is if one knows nothing, does nothing and is nothing.

Comment: Inside my gate, a thousand sages do not know me. The beauty of my garden is invisible. Why should one search for the footprints of the patriarchs? I go to the marketplace with my wine bottle and return home with my staff. I visit the wine shop and the market, and everyone I look upon becomes enlightened.

The Tenth Bull, called In the World, describes that after one reaches the Source and chooses to return to the world, one lives an integrated life in the world. This integrated life is characterized by surrender to divine will. One gives up the illusion of control. When one no longer expresses any personal bias and no longer interferes with the normal flow of things, the animating flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of energy through one’s world, and one feels connected to all things. When one detaches oneself from all things, one sees things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment, like a movie that one is watching. One no longer has any desire to interfere with or direct the normal course of events in the movie. One just relaxes and allows things to play out in the normal way. One no longer tries to direct events in the movie. One is only watching as the movie plays for one’s amusement. One knows oneself to be the perceiving consciousness out in the audience that is watching the movie. One has ascended to the highest possible level of consciousness.

An integrated life is lived both at a higher level of consciousness and a higher vibrational state. The connectedness of an integrated life is inherent in a holographic world, where all the bits of information for that world are holistically connected in the sense of quantum entanglement.

An integrated life is also characterized by expressions of creativity, since that is the nature of the normal flow of things. The behavior of one’s character comes into alignment with the normal flow of things, and is characterized by right actions. An integrated life is characterized by a sense of gratitude for all that is given, which is also tinged with a sense of sadness for all that is lost. When one lives an integrated life, one still has likes and dislikes that arise from the way one’s character is organized as a life-form, since all living organisms must express emotions as they live a life in the world. The significant distinction from living a self-identified life is that an integrated life is lived without personal bias, but with a sense of being connected to all things, the expression of creativity, and the sense of right action, as the emotional energy animating one’s character comes into alignment with the flow of energy through one’s world. Instead of personal bias, there is a sense of trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is best for one’s character and world. An integrated life is a life lived in the best of all possible worlds.

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

Empty yourself of everything

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

The wise are impartial

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

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

Passing Through the Gateless Gate of a Selfless Self
Transcended Self is No-self
Alone is All-One
One is No-thing
No-thing is Unlimited Being
One is Undivided Being
Selfless is Desireless is Timeless Being

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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 University of New York Press)

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

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Download the PDF documents:

What Does Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower Really Mean

The Mystery of Creation

What Is Real

All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

Topics in Quantum Theory

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What Is Real

What Is Real?

What Modern Physics Tells Us About The Nature Of Reality

Question: What is Real?
Answer: Nothing

Do not try to bend the spoon. That is impossible
Only try to realize the truth
What truth?
There is no spoon

In a central scene in the Matrix, Morpheus asks Neo “What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can perceive, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” The reason this quote is so important is it starts us down the path of a scientific investigation into the true nature of reality. The problem with the answer that Morpheus gives Neo is the brain and its electrical signals are just more stuff that can be perceived. The really big question is how can reality be defined in a way that is independent of perception?

Amanda Gefter stumbled on the answer in her recent book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn. Gefter surveyed the landscape of modern physics by interviewing the best investigators in the world that work in the area of quantum gravity, which is often touted as a Theory of Everything that unifies quantum theory with relativity theory. She found there was very broad consensus among these investigators that the most fundamental thing we know about the world is the holographic principle of quantum gravity. This scientific concept basically says that perceivable reality is defined on a bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen.

Perceivable reality is not really defined in three dimensional space, but on a two dimensional holographic screen. The perceivable world is really a holographic world. Everything that can be perceived in the perceivable world is a form of information projected like an image from a screen to the point of view of an observer, just like the images projected from a computer screen. Nothing actually exists in three dimensional space. Everything that can be perceived in three dimensional space is really a holographic illusion that can only arise as forms of information are projected like images from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The holographic principle says that all the bits of information for everything perceivable in the three dimensional perceivable world are encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen. Everything that is perceivable and that can appear to exist in the perceivable world is a form of information projected like an image from the screen to the point of view of an observer. That is what makes the perceivable world a holographic world.

The bits of information for all the projected images are encoded on a holographic screen. The screen encodes bits of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s, much like a computer screen. Each bit of information is encoded on a pixel defined on the screen. In quantum gravity the pixel size is called the Planck area. This way of encoding bits on information for everything perceivable on a two dimensional bounding surface of space is called the holographic principle.

The Holographic Principle

The holographic principle gives a straightforward scientific explanation for how the observer’s holographic screen arises in the first place. The observer’s holographic screen is an event horizon that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. An event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space, but that event horizon can only arise in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

When the holographic principle is applied to that two dimensional bounding surface of space, the observer’s event horizon becomes a holographic screen that encodes bits of information for everything the observer can observe in that three dimensional bounded region of space. The observer’s observation of anything in that bounded region of space is a holographic projection of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view. The observer’s holographic screen is observer-dependent in the sense that the screen can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only an accelerating observer has a holographic screen that encodes information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world. The observer’s holographic world in a very real sense is defined by its own holographic screen that encodes information for everything observable in that world.

This brings us back to the incredible discovery about the nature of reality that Amanda Gefter stumbled upon when she investigated the holographic principle. Gefter asked herself: What is ultimately real? This is the same question Morpheus asked Neo: What is real? How do you define real? The only definition that made any sense to Gefter was to define ultimate reality or what is ultimately real in terms of what is invariant for all observers. If all observers can’t agree upon the nature of their observations, then whatever they observe can’t really be real. Whatever an observer observes may appear to be real from the point of view of that particular observer, but if other observers disagree about what is being observed, then those differing observations can’t ultimately be real. For something to be ultimately real, there must be total agreement among all observers about whatever is being observed. In other words, ultimate reality can only be defined in terms of what is invariant for all observers.

Gefter then began an investigation into the nature of modern physics to discover what could possibly be invariant for all observers. At the end of the day, what observations will all observers be in total agreement upon? The strange thing about modern physics is that it tells us there is no such thing as an observation that is invariant for all observers. No such observation actually exists. The holographic principle is really the final nail in the coffin that puts an end to the mistaken idea that there is any such thing as an observation that all observers will agree upon.

The reason the holographic principle ends this debate is because whatever any observer can observe is a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view. The observer’s holographic screen arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. Every observer is surrounded by its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. The observer itself is only the point of view at the center of that frame of reference. Everything observable must be projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its own point of view.

If that’s the case, how can different observers agree upon any observation? The answer is that different observers that are located at different points of view can share a consensual reality to the degree that their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information, like the kind of information sharing we see in an interactive network of screens like the internet. Each observer’s holographic screen is a bounding surface of space that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, but those bounding surfaces can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of Observers at Different Points of View Sharing a Consensual Reality

The problem is the overlap is not perfect. There will always be observations that one observer can observe that another observer cannot observe since their respective holographic screens do not perfectly overlap. In the language of relativity theory, one observer can observe something that another observer cannot observe when that thing appears within the first observer’s event horizon but is outside the second observer’s event horizon. The second observer cannot observe anything outside its event horizon, but with overlapping horizons that do not perfectly overlap, it’s possible that thing will appear within the first observer’s horizon, and therefore is observable to the first observer. Using Gefter’s definition that only whatever is invariant for all observers can ultimately be real, we then have to conclude that the thing the first observer observes that appears within its event horizon is not ultimately real, since the second observer cannot observe it. The second observer cannot observe what is outside its event horizon.

Of course, the appearance of the thing appearing within the first observer’s event horizon is only a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection of an image of that thing from the first observer’s holographic screen to its own point of view. When their respective holographic screens do not perfectly overlap, the second observer cannot observe that thing since it would appear outside its event horizon if it was observed. The upshot is the holographic principle tells us that nothing can be invariant for all observers. Nothing can be ultimately real since different observers located at different points of view in different accelerated frames of reference will never agree about all their observations.

There is a paradox here that Gefter did not recognize or was not willing to confront. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. If the observer’s acceleration comes to an end, then the observer has no event horizon and has no holographic screen. In relativity theory, a non-accelerated frame of reference is called a freely falling frame of reference. In a freely falling frame of reference, a non-accelerated observer has no event horizon and therefore the observer’s observations in space become unlimited, but the freely falling observer also has no holographic screen and therefore has nothing to observe. The holographic principle tells us everything the observer can observe is only a holographic projection of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view. In a freely falling frame of reference, the observer’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, there is also nothing to observe.

This is the answer to Gefter’s original question about what is ultimately real. The only thing that is invariant for all observers, the only thing that all observers can be in total agreement upon, is that they observe nothing when they are in an ultimate freely falling frame of reference. Nothing is ultimately real because that is what all observers agree upon when they enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference. They all are in total agreement that they observe nothing from their own points of view when they enter into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference.

The reason this paradox is so important is it gives a scientific explanation for the nature of spiritual enlightenment. The observer itself is only a point of view that arises in relation to a holographic screen that projects images of all things the observer can observe in its holographic world as those images are projected from its screen to its own point of view. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The observer itself is only a point of view that perceives things, which is a focal point of perceiving consciousness. When that point of perceiving consciousness enters into an accelerated frame of reference, the observer’s holographic world appears to come into existence. When that point of perceiving consciousness enters into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference and the observer no longer has a holographic screen, that holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In that ultimate freely falling frame of reference, the observer observes nothing. That nothingness is the only thing that can ultimately be real.

This nothingness is the ultimate nature of reality that remains when everything disappears from existence. In the language of spirituality, this nothingness is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness. The only thing that is ultimately real is not really a thing. It is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that remains when everything disappears from existence.

This underlying reality is the ground of being. The ultimate nature of reality is the ultimate nature of existence. Everything that is perceivable is unreal in the sense of being a holographic illusion. The projected images of a holographic world have no real existence. They have no real being. Their apparent existence is totally dependent on the existence of an observer that must bring them into existence in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. What is ultimately real is the underlying reality that remains when everything disappears from existence in an ultimate freely falling frame of reference, which is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness. It is the ultimate nature of existence that can never stop existing. It is the ground of being.

The Bhagavad-Gita perfectly summarizes the true nature of existence or being in terms of what is real:

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be

Spiritual enlightenment is the direct experience of this underlying, ultimate reality. When an observer enters into an ultimate freely falling frame of reference and everything disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view, the observer’s observations become unlimited but the observer perceives nothing. The observer directly but timelessly experiences itself to be the unlimited and undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness.

Atmanic Versus Brahmanic Consciousness

The ancient Vedic wisdom, with its concepts of Atman and Brahman, has addressed the 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 the 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.

Atmanic consciousness is the nature of an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. The holographic principle tells us the observer is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to a holographic screen, and all objects are forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. Everything the observer can observe is a form of information. The observer can also observe the flow of energy within which those forms of information are animated, just like the animated images of a movie projected from a screen. In some mysterious way, the Atmanic consciousness of the observer, the holographic screen that encodes bits of information and projects forms of information to the observer, and the flow of energy within which these forms are animated, must all arise from Brahmanic consciousness, which is the source not only of the observer’s perceiving consciousness but also the observer’s perceivable holographic world.

With spiritual enlightenment, the observer’s perceiving consciousness returns to and reunites itself with its source of Brahmanic consciousness. In some mysterious way, that focal point of perceiving consciousness dissolves back into the formless nothingness of its source like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. This dissolution into undivided and unlimited formless nothingness can only occur in an ultimate state of freefall in which the observer no longer has a holographic screen and no longer perceives a holographic world.

Atman-Brahman

Osho has given the perfect description of this experience of spiritual enlightenment:

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.

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.

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There Is No Such Thing As Objective Reality

There is no such thing as an observer-independent objective reality out there that different observers can observe and measure. Instead, different observers can share a consensual reality, but each observer has its own observer-dependent observable reality defined on its own holographic screen. The holographic principle tells us that every observer is located at its own central point of view in relation to its own holographic screen that defines its own holographic world. Different observers located at different points of view can share a consensual reality when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information, but each observer’s own holographic world is only observed by that particular observer, and is observer-dependent since it can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. It only appears there is an objective reality out there that different observers can observe due to information sharing among overlapping holographic screens. In reality, every observer observes its own observer-dependent holographic world in a subject-object relation, where the true nature of the subject is a point of perceiving consciousness and the object is a form of information projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view. A consensual reality shared by many observers located at many different points of view gives the appearance of an observer-independent objective reality, but no such thing really exists. Each observer must create its own observer-dependent observable reality in its own accelerated frame of reference. Only the observer has its own independent existence, but the true nature of that existence is nothing perceivable. It is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness.

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Life Has No Meaning AKA No Belief Is True 

The whole scientific enterprise as epitomized by modern physics is flawed since it is based on giving a mathematical or computational description of whatever can be perceived. Scientists can’t even talk about things scientifically without talking about what can be perceived, but their discussion about what can be perceived then requires them to discuss the nature of perceiving consciousness, which they can never do. It is scientifically impossible to discuss the nature of perceiving consciousness since it is nothing perceivable. If perceiving consciousness was itself something perceivable, that would create a paradox of self-reference that would make the whole scientific description logically inconsistent in the sense of the Godel incompleteness theorems that prove a logically consistent system of computational rules can never prove its own consistency. Perceiving consciousness is what proves the consistency of the computational rules as it perceives them, which means its true nature can never be reduced to computational rules without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The upshot is that perceiving consciousness is itself nothing perceivable, which makes the whole scientific enterprise a waste of time if we’re trying to explain the nature of meaning that is given to the perceivable world.

The nature of meaning is best epitomized by the second law of thermodynamics, which says a life-form, which is a form of information that is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way as that form is animated, can only become self-replicated in form if its entropy decreases, which requires the entropy of the life-form and its environment to increase as the self-replicating form incorporates the organizing potential energy of attractive forces into its form while it also sheds disorganizing thermal energy into the environment. That is how all life-forms are self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. That’s what we call life, which inherently requires the life-form to eat potential energy and to shed thermal energy into its environment. The problem is, where can the life-form find the potential energy it needs to eat in order to self-replicate its form? The answer is it finds that potential energy in other life-forms. To self-replicate its form, the life-form must eat other life-forms while it also avoids being eaten by other life-forms. We call these survival behaviors the emotional expressions of fear and desire, which are absolutely necessary behaviors the life-form must emotionally express in order for its form to become self-replicated in form in a recognizable way.

The self-replication of a life-form in a recognizable way is described by computational rules that govern how information is organized into form. The problem is the nature of the perceiving consciousness that is recognizing that form cannot itself be described by computational rules. That kind of scientific description would create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. All meaning is given when perceiving consciousness recognizes a form of information that is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. The problem of recognition and giving meaning is not a scientific problem since the nature of recognition can never be reduced to computational rules. Recognition and the giving of meaning is inherent to perceiving consciousness and can never be described scientifically since its true nature cannot be reduced to computational rules.

Without the perceiving consciousness that gives meaning to all life-forms as it perceives them, life has no meaning. All meaning is given to life by the perceiving consciousness that perceives it. That meaning can only be given in the emotional context that animates all life-forms.

As Jed McKenna points out, the inversion of the statement: life has no meaning, is no belief is true. When perceiving consciousness recognizes itself to be the life-form it perceives, it gives that life-form the meaning of self-identity. By giving meaning to the life-form, perceiving consciousness identifies itself with the life-form. That is the nature of its self-recognition. The problem is that self-identification is only a false belief that perceiving consciousness believes about itself. Peceving consciousness believes itself to be the life-form that it perceives. This self-recognition is always emotionally driven by expressions of fear and desire.

All perceivable self-concepts are created in a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. In psychological terms, this subject-object relation defines self and other. The true nature of the subject can only be understood as perceiving consciousness, while the nature of the object is whatever is being observed, which modern physics tells us is a form of information. A self-concept is just another perceivable thing that is being observed. As the perceiving consciousness itself, the subject is nothing perceivable. This tells us no self-concept is true. All perceivable self-concepts are false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself.

Self-identification of perceiving consciousness with the life-form it perceives can only be driven by the expression of emotional energy that makes perceiving consciousness feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that life-form as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that life-form. That expression of emotional energy is what creates the false belief that perceiving consciousness believes about itself that it is the life-form it perceives. In reality, perceiving consciousness is nothing perceivable. The true nature of perceiving consciousness can only be described in the sense of negation as the formless nothingness of pure consciousness. Nothing that perceiving consciousness can ever believe about itself can ever be true since it is nothing perceivable. Hence, the perfect inversion of the statement life has no meaning is no belief is true.

Why isn’t love the meaning of life? In a selfless kind way, it is. The critical thing to realize is only perceiving consciousness can give meaning to the life it perceives. If we’re talking about the selfish kind of possessive love that arises in the personally identified state of consciousness through the expression of personally biased desires and individual will, that selfish kind of love is all vanity, which the bible tells us is an act of futility that is ultimately no more attainable than chasing after wind. Everything is ultimately lost. If we’re talking about the selfless kind of love that arises in the integrated state of consciousness with its surrender to divine will, which is experienced as feelings of connection to all things, that kind of selfless love has no specific object of desire. This kind of selfless love is only experienced by perceiving consciousness when it knows itself to be a non-identified detached witness. In some sense, this is the love of the Creator for its creation. If we’re talking about the ultimate state of existence in which an individual presence of perceiving consciousness returns to and reunities itself with its undivided source of pure consciousness, in that ultimate reunion there is no experience of self, there is no experience of love, and no other experiences. There is only the undivided, unlimited formless nothingness of pure consciousness that is timelessly aware of its true unchanging nature.

Nisargadatta Maharaj has perfectly expressed the nature of love:

Love says I Am Everything

Wisdom says I Am Nothing

To which we can add:

Delusion says I Am a person

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Why Forms of Information Hold Together in the Form of Bodies

Bodies can only hold together and self-replicate their forms in a recognizable way due to the emotional expressions of fear and desire that hold them together, but we might ask why these self-limiting emotional expressions arise in a body in the first place? Biology has pretty much answered this question with the idea of environmental selection pressures and the survival of the fittest body. A body only appears to survive in the world if its form is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way over a sequence of events that arise in the flow of emotional energy that animates the body. It turns out that for a variety of reasons that have to do with the balance between potential and kinetic energy that a body can only self-replicate its form if attractive potential energy is added to the body. The addition of attractive potential energy to a body alters the balance between the tendency for random disorganization of form to occur, which physicists call an increase in entropy, and the tendency for coherent organization of form to occur, which can either be understood in terms of the attractive forces that hold forms together or the quantum entanglement of the bits of information inherent in those coherently organized forms.

At the level of physics, either attractive forces have to hold forms together or quantum entanglement of information has to be at play to result in the coherent organization of information inside forms. Entangled bits of information naturally tend to align together over a sequence of perceivable events, which results in the coherent organization of information inside forms. The potential energy of attractive forces that hold forms together is an inherent aspect of this organization.

The upshot is the form of a body is only self-replicated in form in a recognizable way if potential energy is added to that form. We call the addition of potential energy to a body the process of eating. The big question is where can a body find the potential energy that it needs to eat in order to self-replicate its form and survive in the world? The answer is that potential energy is found in other bodies. This is the fundamental reason why bodies can only survive in the world if they eat other bodies. Bodies must eat other bodies so that they can add potential energy to their forms, which allows that form to become self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. Even plants must eat the photons that arrive from the sun in order to self-replicate their forms.

As previously stated, there is always a balance between the tendency for entropy to increase and the flow of random kinetic energy to disorganize the form of the body and the tendency for the potential energy of attractive forces to hold the form of the body together and maintain that coherent organization of information. If the balance favors an increase in entropy and the flow of random kinetic energy, the body falls apart and becomes disorganized. If the balance favors the potential energy of attractive forces, the body holds together as its form becomes self-replicated in form and that coherent organization of form is maintained. The only way this second scenario can occur is if the body adds potential energy to its form, which requires the body to eat other bodies. A body can only self-replicate its form and survive in the world if it eats other bodies.

Bodies only survive in the world because they eat other bodies. There is a natural selection pressure called the survival of the fittest body that basically says that those bodies that are best able to eat other bodies and avoid being eaten by other bodies are the bodies that are most likely to self-replicate their forms and survive. Self-replication of form is always emotionally driven, since the survival of the fittest body is inherently dependent on emotional expressions by bodies. The coherent organization of information inside a body that allows for self-replication of form in a recognizable way inherently requires the coherent organization of the flow of emotional energy that allows for that self-replication of form as the form of the body is animated. The natural selection pressure of the survival of the fittest body tells us those bodies that are best able to eat other bodies and avoid being eaten by other bodies are the bodies most likely to survive and self-replicate their forms. This natural selection process is always emotionally driven by the expression of emotions that have no other purpose than the survival of the body. These survival emotions are expressed as the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. The bodies that are best able to survive in the world are those bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat other bodies while they also express the fear of being eaten by other bodies.

Living an embodied life in the world is inherently a life that must be lived in conflict. This is not only the emotional conflict that one body expresses against other bodies as that body struggles to survive in a world where bodies must eat each other in order to survive, which gives rise to natural selection and the survival of the fittest body, but also the emotional conflict that occurs within each body as each body expresses the desire to eat other bodies, which is a movement toward, in conflict with the fear of being eaten, which is a movement away. Within each body an emotional conflict is expressed as movement toward, which is an expression of the desire to eat, in conflict with movement away, which is an expression of the fear of being eaten. Even the expression of anger, which is movement against, is in conflict with these expressions of fear and desire. There is no way to resolve emotional conflicts at the level of a body since these conflicts are the only way bodies can survive in the world and self-replicate and reproduce their forms.

The reason these unresolvable emotional conflicts are so important at the level of living an embodied life in the world is because these emotional conflicts are what underlie all the mentally constructed beliefs one has about oneself that one is a body living an embodied life in the world. The mentally constructed body-based self-concept is not only emotionally energized but is also in emotional conflict with itself. These emotional conflicts in large part are what create all the confusion that leads one to believe that one is an embodied person living a life in the world that one perceives. One believes the false belief that one is an embodied person living a life in that world. Unresolvable emotional conflicts are at the core of all the false beliefs people believe about themselves that they are bodies. Awakening from delusion is the process of disbelieving these false beliefs, but awakening can never occur at the same level that these false beliefs are created since the emotional conflicts that underlie them can never be resolved at that level.

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Why People Believe What They Believe

People believe whatever they want to believe because that’s what they want to believe, which is another way of saying all beliefs are emotionally driven. All beliefs are mentally constructed in a subject-object relation as a personal self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing the subject perceives in its world. The self-concept is body-based, which is what makes all beliefs false, since the perceiving subject is identifying itself with the form of a body it perceives in its world. That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven, since the perceiving subject really feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that body as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that body.

The holographic principle tells us that the perceiving subject can only be a point of perceiving consciousness that arises at the central point of view of its own holographic world in relation to its own surrounding holographic screen, and that every object that appears in the observer’s world, which is everything the subject can perceive in its world, is a form of information that is projected like an image from the screen to the observer’s central point of view and is animated in the flow of energy. Each projection of an image is like a screen output, and the animation occurs over a sequence of screen outputs. The whole thing is observer-dependent since the projection and animation of images can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, which is how an event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates the animation can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The problem is a perceivable self-concept is just another animated form of information.

The true nature of the subject-object relation is an observer observing some observable thing, where the subject is a point of perceiving consciousness and the object is a projected form of information. When that form of information is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way as the form is emotionally animated, the observer recognizes itself in that form and identifies itself with that form. Emotional self-identification is what creates all the false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself, as the observer identifies itself with the form of a body-based self-concept that is emotionally related to the form of some other thing the observer perceives in its holographic world.

That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The emotional expressions of fear and desire are all about defending the survival of the emotionally animated body. These kinds of survival-oriented emotional expressions are absolutely necessary in a world where bodies must engage in a struggle for survival for the simple reason that a body must eat other bodies while it avoids being eaten by other bodies in order to self-replicate its form in a recognizable way. That is the nature of the survival of the fittest body. Natural selection will ensure that only the fittest bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat other bodies while they also express the fear of being eaten by other bodies will survive and self-replicate and reproduce their recognizable forms.

This brings us back to the question of why people believe whatever they want to believe. The answer is people believe what they want to believe because their beliefs are emotionally driven. Once the perceiving subject emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body it perceives, the perceiving subject feels emotionally compelled to defend the survival of that body as though its existence depends on it. That is the essential lie at the center of all false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself. The perceiving subject mistakenly believes that its existence depends on the survival of a body.

Body survival is always emotionally driven, which means all the mentally constructed beliefs the perceiving subject has and falsely believes about itself that it is a body in the world it perceives are emotionally driven. Bodies can only survive in the world if they express survival emotions. Those survival emotions are what emotionally energize all body-based self-concepts, which are all false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself. At the core of these false beliefs is the perceiving subject’s desire to survive in the world in the form of a body. People believe what they want to believe because at their core they want to survive in the world in the emotionally animated form of a body. They want to live an embodied life in the world, and the only way that embodied life is possible is if the survival emotions of fear and desire are expressed. That is why they express survival emotions and why they believe what they believe. The whole thing is based on the false beliefs they have about themselves that they are bodies. At their core, beliefs are about body survival. All beliefs are about defending the survival of a body-based self-concept, which itself is only a belief. That is the nature of all the false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself when it emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body it perceives.

To be clear about things, the perceiving subject is only perceiving things through the organs of sensory perception of a body. Organs of sensory perception are only transmitting information about whatever is being perceived. Some of the perceptions are external sensory perceptions, like sight and sound, and some are internal sensory perceptions, like emotional body feelings. The observer is mistakenly dividing its world into internal and external based on the boundary of a body. The surface of the body creates a false division between self and other, where self is defined as internal to the body and other is defined as external to the body. The holographic principle tells us that in reality everything the observer can observe is external to itself. Every observable object the observer can observe is a form of information projected from its own holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer itself can only be understood as a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. The observer only has a mistaken perception that a body-based self exists within its own holographic world.

In reality, the perceiving subject is not a body. The true spiritual nature of the perceiving subject is pure consciousness. Pure consciousness has no need for beliefs because it has no need for survival emotions. Pure consciousness does not survive in the world in the form of a body. The body is another perceivable form of information consciousness perceives in the world. The true spiritual nature of pure consciousness timelessly exists. It is the ultimate, underlying reality or ground of being that timelessly exists when everything else disappears from existence. Its true formless form is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that timelessly exists.

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Individual Will Versus Divine Will

In order to understand the nature of individual will and divine will, we need to make a short digression into the nature of quantum theory. Quantum theory tells us that every observable thing that can be observed in the world does not actually exist as an observable thing in the world. Instead, everything is included in a quantum state of potentiality. The quantum state of the world is like a sum or superposition of all possible observable states of the world. With any observation of any actual observable state of the world, that specific observable state must be chosen from the quantum state of potentiality that sums over all possible observable states of the world. This sum is usually expressed as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space, where each point along each of the paths corresponds to a possible observation of the world. In the sense of potentiality, different paths correspond to different possible observations of the world, where a choice must be made at each possible observation of the world about what to observe in the world and which path to follow through the world. Each point along some path is a decision point about what to observe and which path to follow.

Quantum State of Potentiality as a Sum Over All Possible Paths

Quantum theory tells us each path is weighted with a probability amplitude that is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. The quantum wavefunction in turn depends on a quantity called the action, which is like a measure of the distance along that particular path in the information configuration space. The laws of physics enter into the quantum state since they can always be expressed as an action principle. The laws of physics are inherent in the action that measures distance along the path. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between two points in the information configuration space, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action is only chosen as the most likely path if choices are made in an unbiased way. Physicists call unbiased choice random choice. In a very real sense, without unbiased choice, the laws of physics lose their predictability and the path of least action is no longer the most likely path. In terms of throwing dice, if there is bias in the way choices are made, the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This leads to a natural explanation of the difference between divine will and individual will. Divine will always makes its choices in an unbiased way. Individual will is always personally biased. Individual will can only arise when a presence of perceiving consciousness identifies itself with the form of a person it perceives in its world. That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The perceiving subject feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that person as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. Once the perceiving subject emotionally identifies itself with that personal form, the focus of its attention becomes personally biased to defend the survival of that form as though its existence depends on it. With personal bias in the focus of its attention, choices are made in a personally biased way, which leads to the expression of more personally biased survival emotions.

Unbiased choices lead to the normal flow of things. The normal flow of things naturally arises in the flow of energy through the observer’s world as unbiased choices are made and things tend to follow the path of least action. Biased choices are always an interference with the normal flow of things. This interference creates an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things as survival emotions are expressed in a distorted and amplified way, like an out-of-control positive feedback loop. This interference with the normal flow of things leads to distorted and amplified expressions of personally biased survival emotions that make the observer feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person that expresses biased survival emotions. In a very real sense, the observer is distorting the flow of energy through its world as it expresses those personally biased emotions. This is only possible because the emotional energy that underlies the expression of those emotions arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, but even that accelerated frame of reference can only arise in the normal flow of energy through the observer’s world. That normal flow of energy can only arise as an expression of divine will.

Normal Flow of Energy Through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The only reason these personally biased choices can be made is because the quantum state of potentiality allows for the possibility of choice. The quantum state in turn is characterized by computational rules that we call the laws of physics. Where do these computational rules come from? The answer of course is the holographic principle. It is fairly easy to show that all the laws of physics can be deduced from the holographic principle. The law of gravity is described in relativity theory by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which can be deduced in a straightforward way from the holographic principle. The details of how this goes forward are explained elsewhere in this website. Once we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for gravity from the holographic principle, it’s possible to deduce all the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics from Einstein’s field equations. All the quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics naturally arise from Einstein’s field equations through the usual unification mechanisms of modern physics. The quantum fields of the electromagnetic and nuclear force particles are understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric with extra compactified dimensions of space. The quantum fields of the matter particles arise with supersymmetry. This is explicitly demonstrated in M-theory, where 11-dimensional supergravity is understood as a low energy limit. It is therefore possible to deduce all the laws of physics or the computational rules that govern the universe from the holographic principle.

Where does the holographic principle come from? We’ve already discussed that whenever an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference an event horizon arises that acts as the observer’s holographic screen. The basic problem is to explain how bits of information are encoded on that screen. String theory and M-theory supply a possible answer, but it turns out that string theory is a special case of a more general kind of geometry called non-commutative geometry. Even fractal geometries can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry. Whenever non-commutative geometry is applied to an event horizon as a way to specify quantized position coordinates on the horizon, those quantized position coordinates are smeared out into area elements like pixels on a screen, and each pixel naturally encodes a quantized bit of information, which is called a qubit. At the most fundamental level, an event horizon only turns into a holographic screen because of non-commutative geometry. This is the most general geometric mechanism we scientifically know about that can explain how an event horizon turns into a holographic screen. This geometric mechanism fundamentally explains where all the computational rules come from that govern events in the observable universe.

This is a very nice scientific story, but who the hell chooses non-commutative geometry as the fundamental geometric mechanism that gives rise to the computational rules that govern events in the observable universe? Why should the observable universe be governed by computational rules? We’re back to the problem of divine will. In some mysterious way, divine will is making this choice. To say that the observable universe is governed by computational rules along the lines of the holographic principle is basically to say the observable universe is a virtual reality.

The observable universe is a virtual reality, just like the Matrix. This is really no different than the kind of computer-generated virtual reality that is displayed on a computer screen as animated images of that virtual reality are projected from the screen to the point of view of an observer that is playing the virtual reality game. In a metaphysical sense, we can say that the virtual reality game is an expression of divine will. Divine will is creating the virtual reality game.

The problem is the observer must be willing to play the game. If the observer is not willing to play the game, the game is over. If the observer is not willing to play the game, the observer is out of the game. Playing the game means the observer must enter into an accelerated frame of reference, since that is the only way the observer’s holographic screen can arise as an event horizon. Playing the game means the observer must focus its attention on the game, since that is the only way the observer can make choices in the game. Playing the game means the observer must be present for the game, since that is the only way the observer can perceive the game. Being present for the game means the observer must focus its attention on the game.

To make things more interesting, the observer not only focuses its attention on the game, but also identifies itself with its character in the game. That kind of personal self-identification is what makes the game interesting in the sense of an observer appearing to live an embodied life in the world it perceives. With personal self-identification, the observer believes it is its character in the game it is playing. The problem is the observer’s self-identification with its character is only an emotionally energized false belief the observer believes about itself. That false belief can only arise with personal bias in the observer’s focus of attention that leads to the expression of personally biased survival emotions that defend the survival of the observer’s character in the virtual reality game as though the observer’s existence depends on it. The observer no longer knows what it really is. It mistakenly believes itself to be a character in the virtual reality game it is playing rather than the perceiving subject outside the game that is only playing the game.

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Awakening Within The Dream Versus Awakening From The Dream

The process of becoming enlightened goes forward in progressive steps, just like a journey that one makes. Spiritual enlightenment is called awakening from delusion since the process is like awakening from a dream. When one believes oneself to be something that one can perceive in a dream that one is dreaming, that false belief is delusional. One’s true nature is the dreamer, not a dream character. When one awakens from one’s dream, the entire dream and everything in the dream disappears from existence from one’s own point of view and only one’s true nature remains. That true nature is the undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness.

Prior to awakening from the dream, the usual path one takes is to awaken within the dream, sort of like lucid dreaming. When one awakens within the dream, one can only know oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things, like an observer in a movie audience that only watches as animated images of the movie are projected from a movie screen to one’s point of view out in the audience. When one knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things, one is no longer in the movie. One has come out of the movie. One was never really in the movie. One only falsely believed oneself to be a part of the movie when one identified oneself with one’s character in the movie. In reality, one is only watching the movie from one’s point of view in the audience outside the movie. One awakens within the dream when one knows oneself not to be a part of the dream. One knows oneself to only be a non-identified detached witness of the dream.

This process of awakening within the dream is only possible if one surrenders to divine will and detaches oneself from things. When one surrenders to divine will, one gives up one’s personally biased desire to control things in a self-defensive way. Jed McKenna calls surrender the willingness to relinquish the illusion of control. One stops resisting the normal flow of things, which can only arise in the flow of energy through one’s world as an expression of unbiased divine will. The expression of personally biased individual will always reflects personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. There is no personal bias in the expression of divine will. All expressions of personally biased individual will can only interfere with the normal flow of things. All personally biased self-defensive attempts to control things can only create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. All feelings of personal self-limitation that one perceives can only arise from that emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. Without that emotional disturbance, only feelings of connection are perceived.

When one surrenders to divine will, one puts one’s trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best. One accepts things as they are every moment with no desire that things be any different than they are in the moment. One accepts what is as it is every moment. One does not fearfully anticipate the future or regretfully remember the past. All desires for future achievements and resentments about past events come to an end. One’s attention is only focused on the present moment. The present moment is the only place that one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness when one’s attention is focused on one’s own sense of being present.

When one detaches oneself from things, one’s personal self-identification dies away. As one severs one’s emotional attachments to things, one stops identifying oneself with the emotionally animated form of a person that appears in the world one perceives. Severing an emotional attachment always feels like something dies inside since one’s personal self-concept can only become mentally constructed through the expression of emotional attachments. As one severs emotional attachments, one’s personal self-concept or ego-structure dies away. Detaching oneself from things can only go forward in a state of surrender, since one must become willing to die at the level of ego-death. As long as one is defending one’s self-concept as though one’s existence depends on its survival, one will not surrender or detach oneself from things. When one sees one’s ego-structure or personal self-concept is only a false belief that one believes about oneself, one becomes willing to suffer ego-death rather than continue to live the life of a lie. Jed McKenna calls this part of the awakening process ego-death as a means to no-self.

Surrender is the willingness to give up the desire to control things. Underlying the desire to control things is the expression of the fear of things, which is a self-defensive emotional response. Detachment is the willingness to let go and let things come and go. Underlying all emotional attachments is the expression of the desire to possess things. Expressions of fear and desire have as their only purpose the defense of body survival. Personal self-identification is always body-based and emotionally driven. All personal self-concepts are emotionally energized. Emotional expressions are what makes one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person as one perceives that flow of animating emotional energy, which leads to personal self-identification. Emotional expressions occur naturally whenever bodies engage in a struggle for survival, but with personal bias in the focus of one’s attention, these personally biased emotional responses become distorted and amplified and create a vicious cycle that perpetuates personal self-identification.

Awakening within the dream is only possible if these personally biased emotional expressions are seen for what they really are and one loses interest in expressing them. One has to see for oneself that the only thing these emotional expressions accomplish is to perpetuate personal self-identification, which is the essential problem of falsely believing that one is a person in the world one perceives. Emotional expressions are what creates that false belief that one believes about oneself. The only way that false belief can come to an end is if one stops believing it and one stops emotionally energizing it. The expression of personally biased emotions only reflects personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. The only way one can awaken within the dream is if one loses that personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. That is only possible through one’s willingness to surrender to divine will and emotionally detach oneself from things. One must become willing to give up and let go. Awakening is not about gaining anything, but is only about losing things. Ultimately, everything is lost and nothing is gained. Every step forward in the awakening process is a loss. As long as there is more to lose, there are more steps to take. The essential nature of moving forward is the willingness to give up and let go. Ultimately, one only becomes willing to lose everything when one sees that everything one has is an illusion.

As one detaches oneself from things, one sees things from a higher level with a sense of distance and detachment, like a movie that one is watching from one’s point of view in the movie audience. Things are seen to be no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a movie screen to one’s point of view out in the audience. One only knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things. One is no longer inside the movie but is outside in the audience. The person one perceives with its emotional reactions is just another character in the movie that one is watching. One no longer emotionally attaches oneself to the character or emotionally identifies oneself with the character. This state of emotional detachment and non-identification is the nature of awakening within the dream. One is no longer part of the dream. One has come out of the dream. One knows oneself to be a detached witness of things.

Awakening from the dream follows awakening within the dream. When one sees the dream to be an illusion of what one really is, one naturally loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. One stops caring about what appears to happen in the illusion. One withdraws one’s focus of attention away from the illusion. The only other place one can focus one’s attention is on one’s own sense of being present. As one shifts the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness, one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being. As one stabilizes one’s focus of attention on one’s own sense of being present, one is being present for one’s own beingness. One is being with the emptiness of one’s own being.

Something strange happens when one withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion. The illusion disappears from existence. The illusion only consists of images and is no more real than a movie one is watching as animated images of the movie are projected from a screen to one’s point of view in the audience. The images of the movie are only projected to one’s point of view when one is present to perceive them as one focuses one’s attention on them. In terms of the holographic principle, the images of the movie are forms of information that can only become projected from the screen to one’s point of view when one focuses one’s attention on them. When one is not present to perceive them, the images disappear from existence. Even stranger, the images of the movie are only animated in the flow of energy as one focuses one’s attention on them. The images are only animated in the flow of energy when one is present to perceive them. One must be present to perceive the images and focus one’s attention on the images for the images to become projected from the screen and become animated in the flow of energy.

When one is no longer present to perceive the images and withdraws one’s focus of attention away from the screen, the images are no longer projected from the screen and are no longer animated in the flow of energy. When one sees the images to be an illusion and loses interest in paying attention to an illusion, one naturally withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion. By withdrawing the focus of one’s attention away from the illusion, one is also withdrawing one’s investment of emotional energy in the illusion. The emotional energy that animates the illusion can only arise when one is present to perceive the illusion and focuses one’s attention on the illusion. When one loses interest in the illusion and stops paying attention to the illusion, the expression of that emotional energy comes to an end. When the expression of all energy that animates one’s world comes to an end, that world is no longer animated and comes to an end. That energy is only expressed in one’s own accelerated frame of reference and comes to an end in a freely falling frame of reference. In an ultimate state of freefall, one has no holographic screen and no images of one’s holographic world can become projected or animated.

When one totally withdraws one’s attention away from the world one perceives and is no longer present to perceive that world, the images of that world are no longer projected or animated and the appearance of that world must come to an end. When one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present while that holographic world disappears from existence, one enters into an ultimate state of freefall. This experience is described as falling into the void. As long as one is present for one’s own beingness, one will remain conscious of oneself as one falls into the void. At this point something wonderful happens. One’s individual consciousness dissolves back into its undivided source of pure consciousness like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. In this ultimate state of dissolution, consciousness timelessly knows itself to be the undivided and unlimited formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the true nature of what it really is, the true nature of the dreamer’s underlying reality that remains when the dreamer awakens from its dream and its dream disappears from existence.

The First Step

In the sense that one’s awakening is a journey that one makes, one has to start somewhere with the first step. As the Tao says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Seeing that one’s own ego structure is an illusion of what one really is can be that first step. Looking within and focusing attention on one’s own sense of beingness and presence can also be that first step. In the first case, one is experiencing disillusionment, and in the second case, one is looking within for the truth of what one really is. There are many more steps one must take to reach the final destination of one’s journey, but one has to start the journey by taking the first step.

One can only move forward in the journey through a process of detaching oneself from things, and that detachment process can only go forward in a state of surrender to divine will. Severing an emotional attachment is a painful experience due to the resistance one feels when one tries to detach oneself. That resistance is the unwillingness to let go and the desire to control things. The desire to control things leads to feelings of frustration when things can’t be controlled, which leads to the expression of anger, and those feelings of anger and frustration are painful. Once one becomes willing to let go and give up the desire to control things, the pain is gone. Giving up and letting go is how one detaches oneself from things. After one detaches oneself from things, there is no more pain because one has become desireless and wants nothing.

This detachment process in which one ultimately becomes desireless is the only way the ego can be deconstructed. The ego is only a bundle of fears and desires held together by emotional attachments and defended by the desire to control things. That bundle of fears and desires creates memories of past experiences and anticipation of future experiences. By remembering the past, the ego is always looking to defend itself in the future. The ego is really nothing more than a presence of consciousness that emotionally identifies itself with this bundle of fears and desires. This bundle of fears and desires is self-limited to the form of a person. This emotional energy animates the behaviors of that personal form, which is called a body. By its nature, self-identification is body-based. This bundle of fears and desires is deconstructed and that body-based self-identification comes to an end when one severs emotional attachments and gives up the desire to control things. This is inherently a process of giving up and letting go. Once one’s ego is deconstructed, one’s attention naturally becomes refocused on the present moment, which is the only place one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness with its own inherent sense of beingness.

The essential problem of awakening is the ego. The ego is the obstruction that prevents one from moving forward in one’s journey of awakening. The only way one can move forward in that journey is to remove the obstruction. The hydra-head ganglion structure of the ego must be deconstructed before one can awaken, and the only way one can do that is through a painful process of detaching oneself from things. This is a painful process because detaching oneself is a kind of death. Severing an emotional attachment feels like something dies inside, and that never feels good. This painful process of detaching oneself is the only way to die at the level of ego-death. Every step along the way is a painful death. One has to come to hate one’s ego so much that one would rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live the life of a lie. This can only happen when one clearly sees the falseness of one’s own ego. Detaching oneself from things only becomes a real possibility when one sees that everything one attaches oneself to is an illusion with the ego at the center of that illusion. Until that ego center is destroyed, it is not really possible to become aware of oneself at the true center of Atmanic consciousness.

Only after one reaches the true center can one experience Brahmanic consciousness, which has no center and has no boundary. The experience of Brahmanic consciousness has no self because it has no other. There can be no experience of an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other in Brahmanic consciousness since nothing is perceived, and yet this undivided consciousness is aware of its true nature in an unlimited and unchanging way. This is the mystery of existence that can never be conceptualized except in terms of negation. The idea of one’s own self-realization is only applicable at the level of Atmanic consciousness, which is a necessary step one takes along the way to the experience of Brahmanic consciousness. At the level of Brahmanic consciousness, there is no self to realize, only truth.

♦♦♦

Surface Experiences Versus Depth Experiences

The book of Genesis refers to a holographic screen as the face of the deep. Genesis describes the creation of the world in terms of the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. The Spirit of God is a presence of perceiving consciousness. In the language of modern physics, that presence of perceiving consciousness is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration or movement is what gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that projects all observable images of the observer’s world. In the language of modern physics, those observable images are forms of information. Images of the observer’s world are not only projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view, but are also animated in the flow of energy that animates everything in the observer’s world. Modern physics is telling us with the holographic principle that all the energy that animates the observer’s world can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is a surface experience. The experience of time as experienced in terms of the past appearing to become the future or the memory of past events or the anticipation of future events are all surface experiences that can only be experienced in terms of the observer’s own holographic screen. Surface experiences are forms of information that are projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to the observer’s own point of view and are animated in the flow of energy. All of these surface experiences can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

This is how Nisargadatta Maharaj describes the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep as it creates its own holographic world:

The I Am in movement creates the world.

Nisargadatta also describes the creation of a holographic world:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the world is a mistaken view of reality:

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

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.

Nisargadatta also describes the observer’s holographic screen:

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”.

Nisargadatta describes the observer as a point of 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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the creation of the world in terms of the movement of consciousness:

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 describes that creation is driven by desire, and in turn desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other:

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

Nisargadatta describes that all limited existence is imaginary, like the projection of images from a screen:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the Great Illusion in terms of mental projection:

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.

Spiritual experiences are all depth experiences. These depth experiences do not exist in time. Depth experiences only exist in the present moment, which is an eternal now. The experience of one’s own beingness and presence, called I Am, which is the experience of being present as a presence of consciousness that perceives its own holographic world, is a depth experience that can only be experienced in the present moment. As one looks deeply into one’s own beingness, one looks into the emptiness of one’s own being. The experience of the ascension of consciousness to a higher level, which is really a higher dimension, can only be experienced in the present moment. A presence of perceiving consciousness experiences itself to exist in a higher dimension when it no longer identifies itself with anything it can perceive in its own holographic world. It only knows itself to exist as a non-identified detached witness of things, existing in the present moment and existing at the central point of view of its own holographic world as images of that world are projected from its own holographic screen to its own point of view.

Nisargadatta describes that awareness comes from a higher dimension:

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

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

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

Nisargadatta describes the need to see things clearly:

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.

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

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.

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

Nisargadatta describes that memory creates the illusion of continuity:

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.

Nisargadatta describes that names and forms are hollow shells:

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.

Nisargadatta describes that everything is a play of ideas:

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.

When Genesis refers to the light being divided from the darkness, this refers to an individual presence of perceiving consciousness being divided from the undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness that Genesis refers to as the deep. The light Genesis refers to is the light of an individual presence of perceiving consciousness that illuminates its own holographic world. That light of consciousness must be divided from the darkness of the deep for that holographic world to appear to come into existence. When that light of consciousness reunites itself with the darkness of the deep and no longer illuminates its own holographic world, everything in that world must disappear from existence. Only the formless nothingness of the deep remains.

Nisargadatta describes the light of consciousness:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the light of consciousness as real and the projected images as unreal:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the world as a passing show:

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the role attachments play in the bondage of personal self-identification:

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the illusion of control:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the desire for embodied existence is the root cause of trouble:

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble. You imagine you were born and you will die if you do not take care of your body.

Selfishness is self-concern for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body.

To be attached is to be selfish. As long as you have a self to defend you must be violent.

Selfishness is due to self-identification with the body.

A man who knows he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish. He has nothing to be selfish for.

The body and mind are limited and therefore vulnerable. They need protection which gives rise to fear. As long as you identify yourself with them you are bound to suffer.

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

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

Nisargadatta describes the way to truth lies through destruction of the false:

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.

To question is the essence of revolt.
Without revolt there can be no freedom.

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

You progress by rejection.

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.

Nisargadatta describes freedom from attachment:

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the nature of freedom as letting go:

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

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.

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

Nisargadatta describes that liberation is never of the person:

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

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.

Nisargadatta describes the need to remain as a detached witness:

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

Nisargadatta describes the need to look within:

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.

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.

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.

There is nothing more to it. The attitude of pure witnessing, of watching events without taking part in them.

Nisargadatta describes a quiet mind focused in the present:

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the role of self-surrender:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the vanity of personal self-identification:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the role the ego plays in personal bondage:

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.

Your thoughts dominate you only because you are interested in them. Turn away from your desires and fears and from the thoughts they create and you are in your natural state.

Whenever a thought or an emotion of desire or fear comes to your mind, just turn away from it.

Turn away. Refuse attention.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the critical role the focus of attention plays in breaking the hypnotic spell of self-identification:

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

As long as there is consciousness of something, its witness is also there.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the search for reality:

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.

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.

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

Nisargadatta describes the final leap into the unknown:

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

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

The deepest spiritual experience one can ever have is the experience of falling into the void that can only occur in an ultimate state of freefall, in which an individual presence of perceiving consciousness returns to and timelessly reunites itself with the undivided and unlimited formless nothingness of pure consciousness. This timeless reunion can only occur in the eternal now of the present moment. That is the only place an individual presence of perceiving consciousness can ever find itself with its own sense of beingness and presence. That individual presence of perceiving consciousness must find itself before it can timelessly reunite itself with the deep.

This is how Nisargadatta describes the experience of the deep:

The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

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.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness. Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

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

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.

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.

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

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

Your true home is in nothingness.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.
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 is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

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.

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.

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The Wisdom of Sadhguru

In many recent videos, the Indian mystic Sadhguru compares the mind to a computer, much like the computer inside a smartphone. He compares the intellect of the mind to the software programs that run the computer. This software is only a collection of computational rules. He points out that the purpose of the mind’s intellect is purely survival, as in defending the survival of the personal form of a body. Survival behaviors are highly instinctual and are evolutionarily determined by natural selection in terms of the survival of the fittest body. The essential nature of survival behaviors are emotional responses like fear and desire that defend the survival of the body in the sense of the self-replication and the reproduction of the form of the body.

Sadhguru then compares the mind’s memory to the state of information stored inside the computer. The computer encodes bits of information and stores this information in specific information configuration states, which constitute memory. The software programs, which are the computation rules, operate on these stored configuration states of memory. In terms of the mind, this memory is largely genetically determined. Just as the survival behaviors of emotions are instinctual, memory is mostly evolutionarily determined through genetics.

Sadhguru describes the next level of the mind is identity. Personal identity is constructed as a body-based self-concept. To continue the computer analogy, personal identity is like a personal self-image displayed on the computer screen. The computer screen is the information output device of the computer, but to whom is this information being outputted? Who is using the data?

Sadhguru then describes what he either calls intelligence or consciousness. Consciousness is the observer of the computer screen that is using the data being outputted by the computer. The essential thing to realize is consciousness is not part of the computer. Consciousness is outside the computer screen, only observing the images projected from the computer screen as it uses the outputted data. In the sense the mind is only a computer, consciousness is not really a part of the mind. Consciousness only takes itself to be a part of the mind when it identifies itself with the personal self-image it perceives as projected from the computer screen to its point of view outside the screen. This personal self-identification is always emotionally driven in that the only way consciousness can identify itself with the personal self-image it perceives is when it feels emotionally self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form of information.

Sadhguru points out that in this situation of personal self-identification, the mind-computer is using consciousness for its own purposes rather than consciousness using the mind for its own purposes. The purpose of the mind is the survival of the body. This purpose is evolutionarily determined by natural selection in terms of the survival of the fittest body. The expression of instinctual survival emotions like fear and desire are all about defending the survival of the body, and genetic memory has no other purpose than to promote this survival behavior. The mind is using consciousness for its own purposes when consciousness emotionally identifies itself with the personal form of a projected self-image and feels compelled to defend the survival of that projected self-image as though its existence depends on it. Personal self-identification is what gives rise to all expressions of personal self-aggrandizement and self-defense. Sadhguru points out that all the man-made problems of the world are created through this process of emotional self-identification that leads to expressions of personal self-aggrandizement and self-defense.

Sadhguru then points out that a spiritual path begins when consciousness begins to use the mind-computer for its own purposes rather than the other way around. The essential problem of the spiritual path is for consciousness to stop identifying itself with the personal form of the self-image it perceives that is projected from the computer screen to its point of view outside the screen. Consciousness must create some space for itself and put some distance between itself and what it is perceiving. Consciousness itself is the perceiving subject outside the computer screen. All the objects that consciousness perceives are only images projected from the screen.

When consciousness creates some space for itself and puts some distance between itself and whatever it perceives, consciousness is following a spiritual path and is using the mind for its own purposes rather than the other way around. The objects consciousness perceives include the personal self-concept. When consciousness puts enough distance between itself and that perceivable self-concept, its personal self-identification with that self-concept snaps. When consciousness creates enough space between itself and that self-concept, the emotional link between itself and its personal self-concept is broken. Breaking the emotional link is the process of detaching oneself from one’s self-concept. Once consciousness no longer identifies itself with that personal self-concept, it is able to use the mind-computer for its own purposes, which are always expansive and exploratory rather than self-aggrandizing and self-defensive.

Once consciousness puts some distance and space between itself and whatever it perceives, consciousness comes to know its true spiritual nature and comes to peace with itself. This peacefulness or restfulness can only be described in terms of stillness and silence. The space within which this stillness and silence arises can only be described as emptiness. In the book of Psalms, this experience is described as Be still and know that I Am. Consciousness itself is what is called I Am, and that stillness is consciousness at peace with itself. This awareness that consciousness comes to know about itself in the sense of its own beingness and presence is the nature of following a spiritual path. When consciousness is at peace with itself, it naturally partakes of a more peaceful world. This only becomes possible when consciousness creates some space around itself and sees that world with a sense of distance, which allows itself to know its true spiritual nature. This is the essence of the wisdom Sadhguru expresses in his teaching.

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You Do Not Exist

In a recent video, Sadhguru says modern physics has hit the wall between what is knowable and what is unknowable. That wall is a holographic screen. In another video, Sadhguru says that whenever one has a self to defend, one builds a self-protective wall around oneself. The essential nature of that self-protective wall is a holographic screen. Sadhguru also says that all self-protective walls eventually turn into prisons, and then one needs a door so that one can escape. The essential nature of the doorway that lets one out of the prison of self is the observer of the screen.

William Blake describes this doorway as the doors of perception, and says that only when this doorway is cleansed can one escape and know one’s true nature, which is infinite. This doorway that opens and lets one out of the prison of self is the nature of the perceiving consciousness of the observer, which is also called I Am or the Self. It is the Self itself that must be cleansed of all sense of self before the doorway will open. In Zen, this open doorway is described as the gateless gate. The Self is the gate that only opens when the Self becomes selfless.

Nisargadatta Maharaj describes this process of the Self becoming selfless as: 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. Being at the doorway means being present for one’s own sense of beingness. One only becomes selfless when one knows oneself to only be a pure presence of perceiving consciousness with its own inherent sense of beingness and presence.

Sadhguru says that God does not know that you exist. Only you know that you exist. That self-knowledge is the essence of the problem. The One God is a metaphor for the undivided and unlimited formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the ultimate nature of existence. At the ground level of the ultimate nature of existence, nothing is known because that nothingness is what ultimately exists. That formless nothingness is selfless and has no sense of self. The sense of self can only arise when the perceiving consciousness of the Self is divided from that undivided nothingness. Only the Self knows I Am. Only the Self knows it exists as a divided presence of perceiving consciousness that perceives things in its own holographic world in a subject-object relation of self and other. Only when the Self is cleansed of all sense of self can the doors of perception open and the Self reunite itself with the formless nothingness of pure consciousness. In that ultimate reunion, there is no self, only nothingness. In that ultimate state of reunion, the Self does not exist. Only the formless nothingness of pure consciousness exists.

Spiritual enlightenment is only about experiencing this ultimate level of existence, which only becomes possible when one becomes selfless. The Self itself is the gate that prevents one from becoming enlightened when one has a personal self-concept. That personal self-concept is always energized by the expression of personal desires that can only arise as one emotionally attaches oneself to things in the world one perceives. One can only become selfless when one detaches oneself from things. One can only become desireless as one severs one’s emotional attachments to things. When one withdraws one’s attention away from the world one perceives, one becomes desireless as one withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy away from that world.

This naturally happens when one sees that world as an illusion and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. In this desireless state, one naturally shifts the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a pure presence of consciousness at the center of that world. The only way the doorway of self can open and one can escape from the prison of self is when one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of beingness while one remains in this desireless state. This open doorway is experienced as falling into the void. Only in an ultimate state of freefall can the perceiving consciousness of the divided Self reunite itself with and dissolve into the undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the only way one can know the truth of what one really is and experience the mystery of existence.

The Tao wonderfully expresses the mystery of existence:

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 gateless gate paradox expresses this mystery in terms of the Self becoming selfless:

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

To which can be added the wonderful description Chuang-tzu gives of No-self:

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

Becoming selfless is the same as becoming desireless. The expression of desire requires the expression of energy, which requires accelerated motion. It is the observer itself that expresses this energy in its own accelerated frame of reference. In an ultimate state of freefall, that expression of energy comes to an end. In that state, one has no holographic screen and one’s holographic world disappears from existence. Becoming selfless and desireless in the state in which one enters into an ultimate state of freefall is experienced as falling into the void.

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. You become one.

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Nonduality Cannot Be Experienced From Duality

You cannot experience nonduality from duality. The nature of duality is an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. By its very nature, the observer’s perception of things is dualistic. The only way anyone can experience nonduality is to leave duality behind. You must become willing to leave duality behind to perceive nothing. The irony is when you leave duality behind and perceive nothing, you also leave you behind. There is no you in nonduality. There is no self and other in nonduality.

This is how Jed McKenna describes the last remnants of duality:

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.

McKenna describes that enlightenment isn’t in the character, it’s in the underlying truth:

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 essential instruction for awakening is to withdraw attention away from the world one perceives and shift the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of that world. One has to be present for one’s own beingness. One has to look deeply into the emptiness of one’s own being. If one looks deeply enough into the emptiness of one’s own being for long enough, one eventually will fall into the void and experience nonduality by perceiving nothing. The nature of perceiving nothing is to be nothing. To be nothing, one has to become willing to do nothing and want nothing. One has to become desireless, but without desire, there is no you. The individual being that you call you can only exist in a state of duality as you perceive things. The perception of things requires the expression of desire. When you become desireless, you do not exist. When you perceive nothing, your individual being dissolves back into the nothingness of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves back 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 oneness is the ultimate truth.

Osho describes that you are the hindrance to your own awakening. That hindrance is the feeling of personal self-limitation that arises from the defense structure of the ego. The ego’s defenses can only be removed in a state of surrender, in which state you are not:

How is it that you have not surrendered? The real problem is your defense structure.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

No one can make you free.

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.

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

Osho describes the ascension of consciousness to a higher level, like an observer in a movie audience that only watches as animated images of the movie are projected from the movie screen to the observer’s point of view out in the audience. Like Nisargadatta, Osho calls the ascended observer the witness:

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.

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.

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.

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.

There is no duality; it is only an appearance.

Nisargadatta describes the awakening process in terms of looking deeply into the source of being as a way to become the source:

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there. The realized man has returned to the source and realized his true nature.

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.

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. There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

Osho has given the perfect description of enlightenment:

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.

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.

This description by Eugen Herrigel is also worth contemplating:

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.

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What This Website Is All About

All that’s really being written about on this website is to interpret what modern physics says about the nature of reality with the holographic principle and correlate that with what enlightened beings say about their own experience of becoming enlightened. The actual realization experience cannot be described since the truth of what we are, the truth of being, cannot be conceptualized. The process of becoming enlightened can be discussed and conceptualized because it’s like a journey that one makes.

Jed McKenna makes the point that in this journey one’s mantra always must be Further. The word Further is like a talisman that one has to gaze upon wherever one is sure that one is done with one’s journey and has arrived at the final destination. As much as it may seem otherwise, there is always further until there is no further. Done means no further.

McKenna likes to quote the Zen koan, when you reach the top of the mountain, keep climbing. The other way to say this is when you think you’ve reached the top, you’re really only halfway up the mountain. Halfway up the mountain is what McKenna calls awakening within the dream, sort of like lucid dreaming. No further means awakening from the dream. You keep climbing until there is no mountain. The top of the mountain is no mountain. When you’re done, the mountain disappears. When the mountain disappears, there is no further.

The mountain was a part of the dream and disappears from existence when you awaken from the dream. The irony is that you are also a part of the dream and you disappear from existence when you awaken from the dream. McKenna likes to say the end of illusion is the end of you.

This brings us back to what the holographic principle tells us about the nature of reality. The observer’s holographic world is only created when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. That’s the only way an event horizon can arise that acts as a holographic screen that projects images of that holographic world to the observer’s central point of view. The observer itself is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to the holographic screen, which in various nondual traditions is called the Self, I Am, the witness, Atman, or the spirit of God. This individual being must be divided from undivided being in order to create a holographic world, which can only occur in an accelerated frame of reference. Undivided being can be called Brahman or the Absolute, which is One Being since it is undivided, Infinite Being since it is unlimited, the Nothingness of Being since it is nothing perceivable, and No-self since it has no subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. The concepts of self and other can only exist at the Atmanic level of reality, not at the ultimate Brahmanic level.

When the individual being of the observer enters into an ultimate state of freefall, the observer no longer has a holographic world because it no longer has a holographic screen that limits and divides it from the totality of reality. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer’s individual being also disappears from existence. This ultimate state of freefall is what enlightened beings describe as falling into the void. At that point, the individual being of the observer dissolves back into the totality of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. In this ultimate state of dissolution, there is no further because the totality of undivided being is infinite. Individual being no longer exists. Only undivided being exists. When you dissolve into undivided being, you become one.

McKenna says we must constantly project the illusion of self because if we don’t, we aren’t. Only an observer in an accelerated frame of reference can project the illusion of self as images of its own holographic world are projected in a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. That projection defines self and other. In an ultimate state of freefall, there is no holographic projection, there is no self and other, and the observer and its holographic world disappear from existence. Individual being ceases to exist. Only undivided being exists.

This is how McKenna describes this ultimate state of dissolution:

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.

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

McKenna tells us to come see for ourselves:

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?

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.

McKenna also describes the ultimate state of freefall:

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.

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

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.

This brings us to the final point. After one awakens from the dream, one becomes awake within the dream. Being awake within the dream is what it means to be enlightened, but the realization that leads to enlightenment is awakening from the dream.

This distinction is nicely explained by Zil Chezero who points out enlightenment in the sense of awakening within the dream follows naturally from the realization of awakening from the dream, but can also occur independently of realization:

“If your book was about realization, the title would be: You are not what you are,” says the man, grinning and still looking at me with the same friendliness as before. Unmoved kindness, I find myself thinking. I didn’t know that was possible. But still his answer makes no sense to me. “I don’t understand,” I blurt, trying desperately to get a grip on his answers. You’re not what you are? How, what…?

“Of course you don’t understand,” he replies, “because if you could, it wouldn’t be about realization. But can you follow it?” Now I am totally lost, and when I hear myself answer “Yes,” it feels like I have just lost my last ally-still being looked at by those unmoved friendly eyes.

For an instant there is silence: while I can hear the murmuring sounds around me, this noise seems to be drawn into a bottomless pit and I’m sucked into it too. I’m here, but I’m also gone. What is happening?

Just as this question comes to my mind, the man says: “Now you are what you are again.”

“Yes,” I hear myself stammer. “But a moment ago, you were not,” he adds–upon which the pit opens up again.

“You are capable of wavering,” I hear him say. “That is the beginning of bliss and all you can ever still wish for. After this the wish might still be there, but just like a shimmer in the background. You have disappeared to nurture it.”

“While you’re simply here, you are not. You might be able to understand there is something like realization, but that’s always looking back, even at that seeming moment. During you can only follow.”

The eyes don’t let go of me. “This you follow,” the voice observes. “But you will never understand. Not this. You might understand all the images and conceptions clinging to it, claiming they’re ‘it’, but not this. This is what you are.”

“What are you doing?” I manage to ask. “Nothing. You did something. You followed.”

The man puts down his book and again I’m caught by the friendliest placidity I’ve ever seen. “Enlightenment can be the effect of realization. Even more so, where realization is a fact, enlightenment by definition is the manifest effect. But the other way around, enlightenment and realization don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other.”

Again I am able to follow totally what he is saying, and this time I can understand him too. For some reason this in fact makes my hunger to know more win out: “Sorry for asking, but are you a guru, are you realized yourself?”

“Nobody is realized,” the man says. “You may call me Zil Chezero. And I don’t work as a guru.”

One cannot perceive nonduality from duality. Anyone who says: I see the void, is still stuck in duality. Seeing the void implies a subject-object relation of self and other, as one sees the void. There is no seeing the void in nonduality. In nonduality, one can only be the void. The individual being of one’s divided Self becomes the void through a process of falling into the void and dissolving into the undivided and unlimited being of the void. In a state of nonduality, one can only say: I Am the void, but even that statement of the ultimate truth of what one is, must be expressed from duality when one is looking back at this experience of dissolving into the void.

The experience of dissolving into the void is the nature of awakening from the dream, which is followed by the experience of being awake within the dream. After awakening, one sees the dream from a higher level of consciousness, like a movie that one is watching from one’s point of view out in the audience of empty space. One has come out of the movie. After awakening, one can only know oneself to be the non-identified detached witness of that movie.

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The Jed McKenna Scheme for Classifying Different Levels of Awakening

  1. The first level of awakening is the integrated state, which occurs with one’s surrender to divine will and with one’s willingness to give up one’s personally biased desire to control things in a personally identified self-defensive way. The integrated state is characterized by feelings of connection, right actions and expressions of creativity that arise as the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world. With the integrated state, one puts one’s trust in divine will to sort out whatever is for the best. One no longer feels self-limited to the form of a person but can only know oneself to be a spiritual presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. Surrender to divine will leads to a mystical union of one’s self with the divine. Jesus referred to this mystical union as the born-again experience, in which one dies to one’s self-identification with the body and is reborn of the spirit.
  2. The second level of awakening is awakening within the dream that occurs as one detaches oneself from things. As one severs one’s emotional attachments to things and lets go, one sees things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment, and one can only know oneself to be a non-identified detached witness at the center of one’s own world as one perceives things in that world.
  3. When one sees all things to be illusions, one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion and withdraws attention away from the illusion. One shifts one’s attention onto one’s own sense of beingness and looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being. As one looks deeply into the emptiness of one’s own being in this desireless state, one ultimately awakens from the dream as one’s individual being enters into an ultimate state of freefall and dissolves back into undivided being. One dissolves into the undivided and unlimited Source of existence, which is experienced as the formless nothingness of the void.

At every level of awakening there is stillness and silence, which becomes deeper as one looks deeper into the emptiness of one’s own being, until one is absorbed into the ultimate stillness and silence of emptiness and nothingness. Stillness and silence are not something that one can actively achieve by the force of one’s own personal will. One’s personally biased will is the problem that arises when one emotionally identifies oneself with the form of a person and feels compelled to defend the survival of that personal form as though one’s existence depends on it. Personal bias in the focus of one’s attention and expression of the personally biased emotions of fear and desire only arise when one feels emotionally self-limited to a personal form. Stillness and silence are what one discovers about oneself when one surrenders to divine will. One doesn’t have to do anything except to allow oneself to discover the stillness and silence inherent in the emptiness of one’s own being that is a natural aspect of one’s own awareness as a pure presence of consciousness. One doesn’t have to do anything to discover stillness and silence except to surrender to divine will, give up one’s desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way, let go and detach oneself from things. One only has to give up and let go.

In the Christian mystical tradition, the first level of awakening is called mystical union of the self with God, which is understood to be a consequence of surrender to God’s will. There’s a nice book by the Christian mystic Bernadette Roberts called The Experience of No-Self, where she describes going beyond this kind of mystical union of self with God into a state where either the Self is awake within the dream, or full awakening from the dream, which she calls No-self. She understands the experience of No-self along the lines of how Meister Eckhart wrote about this experience as absorption of the Self into the Oneness of the Godhead, which in the sense of the experience of Nirvana is the extinction of the flame of life as a way to dissolve into the oneness of the Source. Extinguishing the flame of life is the same as turning off the light of consciousness, which is the only way the individual being of the Self can dissolve into the darkness of the Source. In this final dissolution into undivided and unlimited nothingness, Atman (the Self, the individual spirit) becomes one with Brahman (the Supreme spirit), not in the sense of a mystical union of the Self with God, but at the ultimate existential level of existence, which is undivided oneness.

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Why There Really Aren’t Any Paradoxes in Quantum Theory

The resolution of all the paradoxes of quantum theory is at the level of Atmanic consciousness. Atmanic consciousness is inherently an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. The holographic principle tells us that the true nature of the subject, which can be called Atman for lack of a better word, is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. That focal point of perceiving consciousness, called the observer in relativity theory, is in an accelerated frame of reference, which is how an event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen that encodes all the bits of information for whatever can be observed in that holographic world. The encoding of quantized bits of information on the event horizon, called qubits, can be understood in terms of string theory and M-theory, but more directly can be understood in terms of non-commutative geometry. The nature of a perceivable object is a form of information that is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. This is the basic explanation that Amanda Gefter gives in her book, but can also be found in the papers of Tom Banks and Ted Jacobson.

The paradoxes of quantum theory are resolved because every observer has its own perceivable holographic world defined on its own holographic screen. That’s where all the fundamental quantized bits of information, the qubits, for every object that can be perceived in that holographic world are defined. An object is a projected form of information. These projected forms of information not only include what we call elementary particles, like a photon of light, but also the dynamical nature of space-time geometry that we call gravity. Since every observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen, the paradoxes of quantum theory that arise from assuming that many observers exist inside the same observable world are all resolved. This is what Gefter calls the one-world-per-observer paradigm, which is consistent with what Carlo Rovelli calls the relational interpretation of quantum theory. The paradoxes of quantum theory can only arise when multiple observers are mistakenly assumed to exist in the same observable world. The solution for multiple observers sharing a consensual reality is information sharing among overlapping holographic screens in the sense of a Venn diagram.

The paradoxes of quantum entanglement are resolved because all the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are entangled. When two entangled particles appear to separate in three dimensional space, that apparent separation is really only a holographic illusion that arises from holographic projection. Three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection, which inherently arises as a form of information is projected like an image from a two dimensional holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer. Each holographic projection is like a screen output to use the computer analogy. The solution for the dimension of time is the animation of those projected images over an ordered sequence of screen outputs that arise in the flow of energy. This assumes there is a normal flow of energy through the world just like there is a flow of energy through a computer.

Thermodynamics explains that normal flow of energy in terms of heat that tends to flow from hotter to colder objects as a purely statistical effect since hotter objects radiate away more heat. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, has a temperature, which is called the Unruh temperature. Every observer’s observable holographic world is defined by an event horizon called a cosmic horizon that arises from the expansion of space along the lines of Hubble’s law. Hubble’s law describes the expansion of the observable universe in terms of the expansion of space. That observable universe is always characterized by a cosmic horizon, which is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space from the perspective of its central point of view. As the observer’s observable world increases in size, which is a basic assumption of the big bang in terms of the expansion of space, that cosmic horizon increases in surface area since its radius increases, but its temperature decreases, which explains the normal flow of heat through the observer’s holographic world as that world increases in size. The observer’s cosmic horizon decreases in temperature as its observable world increases in size, which allows heat to flow in a thermal gradient. The entropy of that world increases since the cosmic horizon encodes more bits of information as its surface area increases. That’s basically what the second law of thermodynamics says. Entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. That thermal gradient is established as the cosmic horizon increases in radius with the expansion of space as the observer’s observable world increases in size from the big bang event.

The Big Bang Event as the Expansion of Space

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Assumptions Underlying This Scientific Argument

This scientific argument begins with the assumption of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which assumes three dimensional space. The observer itself can only be understood as a point of perceiving consciousness that either accelerates through space in the sense of an accelerating world-line, or as the central point of view of an accelerated frame of reference that arises from the accelerated expansion of space that always expands relative to the observer’s central point of view. The second possibility assumes dark energy, which is the energy inherent in the accelerated expansion of space. In order for the observer to have an event horizon, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space, the speed of light must be assumed to be a constant independent of the observer’s state of motion. The speed of light must also be assumed to be the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. When the holographic principle is applied to the observer’s event horizon, the horizon turns into a holographic screen that encodes bits of information, like a computer screen that encodes bits of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s, with each bit of information encoded on a pixel. In quantum theory, the most natural geometric mechanism that turns the observer’s event horizon into a holographic screen is non-commutative geometry. Each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element that encodes a quantized bit of information as a qubit. The total number of quantized position coordinates defined on the horizon is given in terms of the surface area, A, of the event horizon as n=A/4ℓ2. The Planck area is given in terms of Planck’s constant, the gravitational constant and the speed of light as ℓ2=ћG/c3. This value of n defines the entropy of the event horizon as S=kn.

Qubit of Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

The idea of a qubit or quantized bit of information is inherent in non-commutative geometry. The holographic principle is in effect whenever non-commutative geometry is applied to a bounding surface of space, like an event horizon. In non-commutative geometry, defining non-commuting variables on the surface is the fundamental way that space-time geometry is quantized. The way this usually works is to define the non-commuting variables in terms of a matrix, typically in terms of an n x n SU(2) matrix, which represents rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere. A 2 x 2 SU(2) matrix represents a spin ½ variable in quantum theory, which can only take on the quantized eigenvalues of spin up or spin down, and represents information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s like a switch that is either on or off. An n x n SU(2) matrix can represent n bits of information since it has n eigenvalues, which are entangled. This tells us a holographic world is characterized by the holistic entanglement of information. In quantum gravity, the value of n, which is the number of non-commuting variables defined on the bounding surface of space, is given in terms of the surface area A of that surface as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ћG/c3 is the Planck area. A Planck size event horizon can only encode two quantized bits of information, which are represented by a 2 x 2 SU(2) matrix, just like a spin ½ variable. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point to the north or south poles on the surface of a sphere, but these two states are typically entangled, which can be represented by a vector that can point to any location on the surface of the sphere, and so the two eigenstates are defined in a rotationally invariant way. For an event horizon that is larger than the Planck size, more states of information can be defined. For an event horizon that has a surface area A=4nℓ2, n entangled eigenstates can be defined in a rotationally invariant way by an n x n SU(2) matrix, which is how n qubits of information are defined on the surface. It is as though each quantized position coordinate defined on the surface by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element of size 4ℓ2 like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information.

In order to deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric from the holographic principle, it is also necessary to assume the Unruh temperature, kT=ħa/2πc, where a is the observer’s acceleration. The Unruh temperature is the temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the observer in its accelerated frame of reference. This temperature arises from the observed separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon. When a virtual particle becomes separated from its antiparticle at the event horizon, that particle turns into a particle of thermal radiation that the observer can observe as the particle is radiated away from the event horizon. This observed thermal radiation gives the observer’s event horizon an apparent temperature as observed by the accelerated observer.

Separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at an event horizon as observed by an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is called Hawking radiation. Hawking radiation is the nature of the thermal radiation the accelerated observer observes that is radiated away from the event horizon and gives the event horizon an apparent temperature. The idea of Hawking radiation is confusing because it mixes up holographic ideas with the point particle formulation of quantum theory. In quantum theory, virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can spontaneously be created in the vacuum due to uncertainty in energy. These virtual pairs are created out of nothing and rapidly annihilate back into nothing, but their separation at an event horizon is what gives the horizon an apparent temperature as observed by the accelerated observer. In terms of the holographic principle, a radiated particle of thermal radiation is fundamentally reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. That’s where all the fundamental qubits for a holographic world are encoded, but that encoding of qubits on a holographic screen gives the appearance of thermal radiation radiated away from the event horizon to the accelerated observer. The idea of the event horizon having a temperature can only be discussed at the level of the point particle formulation of quantum theory, but that formulation is inherent within the holographic principle.

Hawking Radiation

The virtual particle-antiparticle pairs were entangled in the sense of quantum entanglement, which means the entropy of the event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the holographic screen are also entangled. Once the horizon entropy is defined in terms of the holographic principle as S=kn and the horizon temperature is defined in terms of the Unruh temperature, Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric can be deduced from the second law of thermodynamics that says a change in the thermal energy E of any bounded region of space must be proportional to a change in the entropy of that bounded region of space as ΔE=TΔS. As thermal energy flows across the bounding surface of that bounded region of space, the energy of that region of space changes, which means the entropy changes. The holographic principle then tells us the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded space.

Thermodynamics tells us this change in the geometry of the bounded space is described by Einstein’s field equations, which are understood as thermodynamic equations of state. All the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics then arise from Einstein’s field equations in terms of extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and supersymmetry. The problem is neither Einstein’s field equations for gravity nor the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics are fundamental. They all arise from the holographic principle as thermodynamic equations of state. The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us the nature of observation is the projection of a form of information from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. That form of information is projected like an image, which is animated in the flow of energy that is inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. These projected and animated forms of information not only include what are called elementary particles, but also the dynamical nature of space-time geometry that is called gravity. Everything else that is discussed in this scientific argument can be deduced from these assumptions.

The temperature of a holographic screen represents the thermal energy of the screen due to the thermal motion of the bits of information encoded on the screen as each bit of information tends to randomly flip between the 1 and 0 position. A higher temperature of the screen corresponds to more thermal energy and more thermal flipping. The basic thermodynamic relation between the total energy of a holographic screen, E, and the entropy of the screen, S=kn given in terms of the number n of bits of information encoded on the screen, is written as ΔE=TΔS, which tells us that each bit of information carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT. This relation defines the temperature of the screen in terms of the amount of thermal energy carried by each bit of information encoded on the screen. In terms of the holographic principle, the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the holographic world defined by that holographic screen. That holographic world is a region of space bounded by the holographic screen that is a bounding surface of space. In the usual point particle formulation of quantum theory, the point particles that appear in that holographic world are taken to be the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that carry thermal energy due to their apparent thermal motion through space. The holographic principle tells us that this point particle formulation of quantum theory is not really fundamental. The apparent existence of a point particle in space and the apparent motion of that particle through space is a holographic illusion that results from the holographic projection of a form of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The apparent existence of that point particle existing in space and moving through space is like an image projected from the screen to the observer’s central point of view with each holographic projection and animated over an animated sequence of holographic projections. Point particles do not actually exist in a bounded region of space that gives the appearance of a holographic world. At a more fundamental level, the dynamical degrees of freedom for those point particles are all encoded as bits of information defined on the bounding surface of space that is called a holographic screen. The appearance of a point particle existing in space and moving through space is only a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection to the observer’s central point of view.

In all nondual discussions of the nature of reality, from the Book of Genesis (God divided the Light from the Darkness) to the New Testament (I Am the Light) to the Bhagavad-Gita (By Thy Grace I remember my Light, and now gone is my delusion), the light that is being referred to is the Light of Consciousness, not physical light. The only way to understand this distinction with physics is with the holographic principle. The Light of Consciousness is what illuminates a holographic world, just like the light of a movie projector illuminates all the images of a movie projected from a movie screen to the point of view of the observer out in the movie audience. The consciousness of the observer not only perceives the movie images, but also projects and illuminates the movie images with its own light of consciousness. There is nothing in physics that allows for an understanding of how this is possible except for the holographic principle. The movie screen is a holographic screen, and everything perceived in the holographic world defined by that screen, including all the elementary particles of that world, are forms of information projected like images from the screen to the central point of view of an observer. A photon of electromagnetic radiation is just another image projected from the screen. The perception of physical light is a holographic illusion, as is everything else perceived in a holographic world.

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What is the Value of these Scientific Concepts?

What is the value of these concepts? Like a roadmap, one needs a map before one makes a journey so that one knows where one is going and in which direction to travel. One needs a plan of action before one can put that action into effect. The value isn’t in the plan of action, which is only a bunch of concepts, but in the action that results in the desired effect. The value isn’t in the roadmap, but in arriving at the final destination of the journey. Like the Cheshire cat tells Alice in wonderland, if you don’t know where you’re going, then it doesn’t matter which road you take.

The irony of the journey of awakening is that in terms of the perceivable world, the direction that one must travel is no direction. One has to look within, but that place within that one is looking into is nowhere. One looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being, which is nowhere to be found in the perceivable world. One has to look into the darkness, not at the world the light of consciousness is illuminating. The darkness is the source of the light of consciousness that illuminates the perceivable world. The action that one must take is no action. One has to become willing to do nothing. One has to become desireless and selfless. One has to become willing to die. Giving up and letting go in the sense of one’s willingness to surrender and detach oneself from things is the process of dying, not at the level of body death but at the level of ego-death.

The ego is only a tangled mess of fears and desires limited to the form of a body. As long as one is expressing one’s own personally biased individual will, the ego is the emotional energy that animates the form of that body. That personally biased emotional expression is the only thing that makes one believe that one is a person in the world that one perceives. Before one can find oneself as a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world and discover one’s true nature, one must disentangle oneself from this tangle of fears and desires. One can only disentangle oneself through a self-destructive process of ego-death by giving up and letting go, as one surrenders to divine will and severs emotional attachments to things in that world.

Living a life in the world is only about creating a false sense of self. There is no true self to be discovered in the world one perceives or in what is beyond that world. There is only the false sense of self that one emotionally creates in the world one perceives and the truth beyond that world, which has no sense of self. Awakening from delusion is the journey that leads to No-self. As Jed McKenna points out, this journey is a process of ego-death as a means to No-self.

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.

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.

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 only thing that stops anyone from awakening is one’s unwillingness to become selfless and die at the level of ego-death. All the worldly activities that one appears to engage in within the world that one perceives are only distractions that prevent one from awakening. These worldly activities are all a denial of death. The fear of death, as in the fear of no-self and nonexistence at the level of self, is the motivating factor underlying all the worldly activities that are enacted in service of the denial of death. Ego-death is the only real path to awakening. As Jed McKenna puts it: We must constantly project the illusion of self because if we don’t, we aren’t.

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Death Gives Freedom

Awakening from delusion is a process of dying, or as Jed McKenna puts it, a self-destructive process of ego-death as a means to no-self. This self-destructive process can only go forward in a state of surrender to divine will, since all personally biased expressions of individual will are only about defending the survival of a mentally constructed body-based self-concept. One only becomes willing to surrender and give up the desire to defend oneself when one sees that one’s self-concept is an illusion of what one really is. Only when one sees the illusory nature of that self-concept will one become willing to surrender and give up the desire to control things in a self-defensive way. Even Freud was confused about why people become self-destructive, and described this phenomena as the death instinct, but in the sense of spirituality, the death instinct makes perfectly good sense as the spiritual longing one has to return to one’s true nature.

Surrender to divine will is only a part of the process that leads to ego-death. The ego is not only emotionally animated through the expression of self-defensive emotions, but also by the emotional energy inherent in emotional attachments. One must become willing to detach oneself from things to undergo ego-death. Detaching oneself from things is a process of death and dying that leads to the acceptance of the loss of things and acceptance of death. One must accept the loss. Severing an emotional attachment always feels like something dies inside since part of one’s mentally constructed ego-structure dies away as the attachment is severed. This ego deconstruction or dying process is inherently a process of giving up and letting go.

Nisargadatta describes that death gives freedom:

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

Self-defensive expressions are often in conflict with the desire to attach oneself to things. For example, the desire to feel close to another may be in conflict with the fear of being controlled by the other. Emotional conflicts are unresolvable at the same level that they’re being created, just like the desire to eat in conflict with the fear being eaten. There is no way to resolve the conflict between the desire to move toward another and the desire to move away from another at the level of movement. Emotional conflicts create all the confusion in the world that leads to identity confusion. The only way to resolve this identity confusion is to see things from a higher level. As one detaches oneself from things, which is the self-destructive process of ego-death, one sees things from a higher level of consciousness, but then one only knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things. One has come out of the world of things that one perceives and is no longer a thing. That is the only real way to resolve the identity confusion. When one knows that one is not-a-thing in the world one perceives, one is no longer confused about the true nature of one’s identity. One can only identify oneself with that nothingness. The only true freedom that one can ever have in the world is when one’s self-concept dies away.

Jed McKenna describes the apparent paradox of returning to the world after one has become enlightened through a self-destructive process of ego-death as a means to no-self. During the experience of becoming enlightened, which is the realization of the truth of what one is, one becomes the ultimate underlying reality of existence, which can only be described in terms of negation as the unchanging, undivided and unlimited pure being of the void, or the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that timelessly exists beyond the time-bound world of forms that one perceives. In terms of the holographic principle, forms of information about that world are projected like images from a holographic screen to one’s point of view in the audience of empty space and are animated in the flow of energy through that world. One’s own motion is animating that world in the sense of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. One is that point of perceiving consciousness that is moving over the face of the deep, which is one’s holographic screen. When that motion comes to an end in an ultimate state of freefall, one can only fall back into the void and dissolve into the formless nothingness of undivided being.

One’s perceivable world is an illusion, like a virtual reality game that one is playing. When one leaves that illusion behind in order to experience the reality of what one really is, the illusion disappears from existence. When one returns to the illusion, the illusion reappears, but after enlightenment, one knows that one is only playing a virtual reality game. One has come out of the game and out of the illusion. One knows oneself only to be a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of that holographic world, or a non-identified detached witness of things that is only perceiving and playing the game from its point of view in empty space.

Osho describes what remains after death in terms of what is real:

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.

Excerpts from 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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. You can’t come as no-one.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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, then this process becomes as easy and natural as dropping a heavy weight.

Surrender follows naturally from seeing what is.

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.

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.

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.

Enlightenment is comprehensive. It’s an entirely different paradigm. My reality is not your reality.

I view dualistic reality as a dream.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

What does McKenna mean by tumbling through infinite space? McKenna is describing an observer, which is a point of perceiving consciousness, in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer creates the appearance of its own holographic world in terms of the animated images of that world projected from its own holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer is the spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. When that acceleration comes to an end, that world disappears from existence, and only the formless nothingness of the deep remains. That holographic world can only be created when the light of consciousness illuminates that world. When that light is extinguished, only the darkness of the deep remains.

The spirit of God moving over the face of the deep is described in the Bhagavad-Gita in terms of Atman, and in the Tao-Te-Ching in terms of the Tao:

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.

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

Nisargadatta describes the motion of the spirit of God in terms of I Am:

The I Am in movement creates the world.

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 describes the images of that world can only be perceived through the reflection of the light of consciousness off a surface or a screen, which is the face of the deep:

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.

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

To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real.

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.

To the mind the light of consciousness appears as darkness. It can be known only through its reflections. The highest state of awareness is to be the point of light tracing the world. Beyond the highest state of awareness is to be the source of light.

My stand I take where nothing is.
To the mind it is all darkness and silence.
It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.

The Tao gives the perfect expression of this mystery of existence:

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 Hypnotic Spell of Self-Identification

The awakening process is only about breaking the hypnotic spell of self-identification. It is the perceiving consciousness of the Self, which is the observer at the center of its own world, that emotionally identifies itself with its perceivable self-concept. The observer is the perceiving subject and its self-concept is the perceivable object. This subject-object relation normally defines self and other, but with the twisted nature of self-identification, the perceiving subject identifies itself with its objective self-concept. To be clear about things, the true subjective nature of the observer is only a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world and the nature of all perceivable objects in that world are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. This hypnotic spell of self-identification is emotionally driven in that the observer really feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body-based self-concept as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that personal form. The observer itself is creating that emotional energy in its own accelerated frame of reference through the expression of fear and desire, which are the personally biased emotions that perpetuate its self-identification.

The observer creates this personally biased emotional expression through personal bias in the focus of its attention. These are personally biased survival emotions that defend the survival of the observer’s body as though the observer’s existence depends on it. That is the lie at the core of all self-identification. The observer falsely believes that its existence depends on the survival of its body that appears in the world it perceives. That false belief is what allows the observer to live an apparent embodied life in that world. The observer itself must create these false beliefs through expressions of fear and desire, which it does in its own accelerated frame of reference. That motion is the spirit of God moving over the face of deep, which is how the observer’s world is created, but in that process of creation, the observer emotionally creates all the false beliefs it believes about itself. The false beliefs that the observer believes about itself are its emotionally energized self-concepts, which is how the hypnotic spell of self-identification is perpetuated. The observer no longer knows itself to be the spirit of God, but instead falsely believes itself to be an emotionally animated body that appears in the world it perceives. The observer believes these false beliefs about itself because it is emotionally creating those false beliefs about itself through its expression of fear and desire, which is what makes the whole delusional thing feel real.

Osho nicely describes the delusional nature of this hypnotic spell of self-identification:

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 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.

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.

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. When the dreams drop and you simply encounter the world that is there then the real world appears.

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.

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.

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.

Osho also describes that giving up in the sense of surrender and letting go in the sense of detachment are the only ways to break this hypnotic spell of self-identification. Osho describes that acceptance of death in the sense of surrender and letting go, not at the superficial level of body death but at the deeper level of ego-death, is the self-destructive process of awakening:

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

♦♦♦

Freedom Means Letting Go: Ending the Bondage of the Human Condition

Nisargadatta tells us that spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything. The basic problem is that when we emotionally attach ourselves to things, we then feel the need to control those things to insure that our needs are met. This kind of immaturity is apparent in the life of a baby or young child that must emotionally attach itself to its mother or other caregiver so that its needs are met and its desires are satisfied. The young child is dependent on its caregiver and cannot survive in the world without the care given by its caregiver as those needs are met. The dependent child naturally feels fearful and insecure about its survival and wants to control the behavior of its caregiver to insure its needs are met. The problem is, the more the child tries to control the behavior of its caregiver, the more the caregiver will resist those attempts at control, since nobody wants to be controlled. The more the child wants to control things, the more the child feels frustrated when things can’t be controlled. This frustration that arises from trying to control things that can’t be controlled is the psychic pain that we call misery and suffering.

The desire to control things that can’t be controlled is not only an act of immaturity, like a baby that wants to control its mother to insure that its needs are met, but is also an act of futility, since nothing wants to be controlled. The desire to control things that can’t be controlled can only lead to frustration and suffering. This state of affairs is the inevitable consequence of emotionally attaching ourselves to things. From the insecurity and fearfulness we feel when our desires aren’t satisfied we feel compelled to try to control things in a futile attempt to ensure our desires are satisfied, which only leads to feelings of frustration and suffering when we’re not able to control what can’t be controlled. This state of psychic pain is inherent to the human condition.

The only solution for the human condition is to give up our desire to control things and detach ourselves from things that can’t be controlled. Since nothing can be controlled, we have to sever our emotional attachments to everything. The only thing we do when we try to control things in a personally biased way is create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things, which makes us feel self-limited to a personal form. Giving up and letting go is the only real solution for ending the bondage of the human condition. Giving up and letting go ends the bondage of the human condition because it leads to a state of spiritual maturity. Unlike the human life-form, the spirit has no real need to attach itself to things or control things because its true spiritual nature has no desires that must be satisfied to insure its survival in the form of a human life-form. The human life-form is just another thing that appears to exist in the world the spirit perceives. The true nature of the spirit is always outside that world, only watching as the life-form struggles to survive in that world. Whatever appears to happen to the life-form in that world, the true nature of spiritual being never ceases to be. The spirit can only falsely believe its existence depends on the survival of the life-form when it identifies itself with the life-form. The spirit needs nothing to survive because the true nature of its existence is never threatened by whatever appears to happen in the world it perceives. It needs nothing because the true nature of its spiritual being is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness, which never ceases to exist.

Nisargadatta tells us that freedom means letting go. When the spirit detaches itself from things, it also stops identifying itself with the human life-form, which is the only true freedom it can ever have. That is the only way the bondage of the human condition can come to an end.

Nisargadatta tells us that death gives freedom. Severing an emotional attachment feels like something dies inside because part of one’s emotionally energized ego-structure dies away as the attachment is severed. When an emotional attachment to something is severed, part of one’s ego dies away. Ego-structure can only become created through the emotional energy that relates the body-based concept of self to the concept of some other thing the subject perceives in its world in a subject-object relation of self and other. The true nature of the perceiving subject is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness to which the objective form of all things must be projected like images from a screen to the subject’s own point of view. The subject only has a mistaken perception about itself that a body-based self exists in the world it perceives when the subject emotionally identifies itself with its body-based self-concept, which is really just another thing the subject perceives in its world. Only the perception of emotional energy inherent in the emotional attachments that relate the form of the body to the form of other things can make the perceiving subject feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of the body, which leads the subject to identify itself with that form and to mistakenly take that form to be its self. When the emotional attachments are severed and that emotional energy is no longer expended, that mistaken belief in a body-based self comes to an end. Severing emotional attachments and detaching oneself from things that appear in the world one perceives is the only way one’s emotionally energized ego-structure can be deconstructed. That process of ego-death feels like something dies inside. The ego becomes dead to the spiritual nature of the perceiving subject.

Ego-death is the only true freedom. The perceiving subject, which is the nature of the spirit, only becomes free when its ego dies away and the spirit no longer identifies itself with a body-based self-concept. Freedom is not freedom of the ego, but freedom from ego. The spirit becomes free from ego. Giving up and letting go is the process of cleansing the spirit or self of all sense of self.

Nisargadatta tells us that to be free in the world, you must die to the world. Severing emotional attachments to things in the world is that letting-go process of dying to the world that’s the same as the death of the ego. To become free in the world, emotional attachments must be severed to everything in the world, including the world as a thing. The perceivable world is as much a thing as anything perceived in the world. Dying to the world is the letting-go process of severing emotional attachments to everything in the world, including the world as the whole thing.

This letting-go process only becomes possible when everything in the world, including the world as a thing, is seen to be an illusion and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. Only when one withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion and withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy in the illusion is one’s emotional attachment to the illusion severed. Once its emotional attachment to the illusion is severed, the spiritual nature of the perceiving subject is free to watch the illusion from a higher level of consciousness with a detached sense of distance from the illusion. By detaching itself from the illusion, the perceiving subject has put some space around itself and no longer identifies itself with anything it perceives in the illusion. That sense of detachment from the illusion is the only true freedom the perceiving subject can ever have.

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The Awakening Process in a Nutshell
(Adapted from the Writings of Jed McKenna)

The awakening process is really only about death and dying. You have to accept the loss. You have to accept death, not at the level of body death but at the deeper level of ego-death. The reason you surrender and give up the desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way is so you can undergo ego-death. When you surrender, you put your trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accept what is as it is every moment. You accept things as they are in the moment. That is how the flow of emotional energy through your body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. That is how you feel connected to things, rather than feeling self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a body. You give up expressing self-limiting self-defensive emotional expressions by giving up personal bias in the focus of your attention; by giving up the expression of personally biased individual will. You stop fighting, resisting, defending, interfering and trying to control things. You must give up and surrender before you can undergo ego-death.

You also must let go and detach yourself from things. When you sever an emotional attachment, it feels like something dies inside because part of your emotionally animated ego-structure dies away. Before you can let go, you must accept the loss and accept death. The acceptance of death is an inherent part of the process of death and dying. Before you undergo ego-death, you must accept death. Giving up and letting go is the process of undergoing ego-death. That process of giving up and letting go can only go forward if you accept the loss and accept death.

The reason you undergo this process of ego-death is so you stop identifying yourself with your character in the world you perceive. When you surrender, you stop identifying yourself with your character in that world. This is the fundamental death-rebirth transformation wherein you die to your self-identification with the body and are reborn of the spirit. When you detach yourself from things, you see that world from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. When you see that world is only an illusion and your character is only an illusion of what you really are, you lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When you withdraw your attention away from that world, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in that world that is animating your character. That is how you become desireless. When you shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of beingness and presence and look deeply into the emptiness of your own being while in this desireless state, you enter into an ultimate state of freefall and that world disappears from existence. By falling into and dissolving into the void, you finally realize the truth of what you are.

The only way you can realize the truth of what you really are is to accept death. Everything else you can do in the world you perceive in the sense of your expression of personally biased individual will is a denial of death, which is a denial of the truth of what you really are.

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How Does One Surrender?

The basic problem of self-identification is the perceiving subjective Self emotionally identifies itself with its perceivable objective self-concept. Once self-identified, the subjective Self feels compelled to defend the survival of its objective self-concept as though its existence depends on it, which it does by expressing self-defensive emotions that perpetuate its self-identification with its self-concept. It feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its self-concept as it perceives the flow of emotional energy animating its self-concept. The only way it can break this vicious cycle is if it surrenders, which means it stops expressing self-defensive emotions. The only way it will stop expressing self-defensive emotions is if it sees the true nature of what it really is.

When it sees the true nature of what it really is, it sees that it really has nothing to defend. This becomes possible when it looks within into the emptiness of its own being and sees that it is a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world with its own sense of beingness and presence that has nothing to defend. It sees that all its acts of self-defense are acts of futility since it is only defending the survival of an illusion of what it is and that illusion will not ultimately survive, while the true nature of its being can never cease to exist.

Once it surrenders, it feels connected to all things and naturally puts its trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best. It naturally accepts everything as it is each moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is in the moment. By surrendering, it loses its bias in the focus of its attention. It can only know itself as a non-identified detached witness of things it perceives in its world. With detachment, it sees all things with a sense of distance from them from a higher level of consciousness. It puts some space around itself and breaks its emotional attachment to things. Its self-identification with its personal self-concept snaps. It no longer has an ego or personal body-based self-concept. When its ego is not, when there is no longer any personal bias in its focus of attention, when the expression of personally biased and self-defensive emotions comes to an end, when it gives up its desire to control things in a fearful personally biased self-defensive way, when it stops fighting and resisting the normal flow of things and allows itself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things, that state of nonresistance and acceptance that follows from recognition of what it really is, is its surrender.

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Do Nothing

You cannot surrender. Surrender isn’t something that you can do. Your desire to do things is the problem. Everything you can do is an expression of your personally biased individual will. When you surrender, you do nothing. When you surrender to divine will, you just allow things to play out in the normal way. You simply watch as things play out with no personal bias in the focus of your attention. You become willing to do nothing. That is what it means to surrender to divine will. You give up your desire to do things. You stop doing things. You stop interfering with the normal flow of things, stop defending yourself, and stop fighting, resisting and trying to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way. You just accept things as they are every moment with no desire that things be any different than they are in the moment. You allow the animating flow of emotional energy through your body to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. That is the only way you can come into alignment and feel connected rather than disconnected.

Nisargadatta gives clear instructions about how to surrender:

Things happen by their own nature.

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

You are merely watching what happens.

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

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.

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The Stripped Down Version of Awakening: Naked Through the Gate

The awakening process can be stripped down to your own sense of being present as you become aware of yourself as a presence of consciousness perceiving things in your own world. This presence of consciousness with its own sense of being present as it perceives things in its own world is called I Am or the Self. That presence of perceiving consciousness is what you come to know yourself to be as you begin to awaken and become conscious of yourself as the Self.

You know that you are here now because you have the sense of being present as you perceive things in the world in the present moment. The problem is that when you look within, you cannot find yourself as the perceiver of things. You cannot find yourself in the sense of being another thing that you can perceive as you perceive things. Even as you look within, the perceiver of things cannot be found, and yet you have the sense of being present as you perceive things.

When you look within, you can perceive your thoughts, memories, beliefs, feelings, emotional states, and even your own self-concepts, but those things can’t be what you really are because they’re just more stuff that you can perceive. You have the sense of being present as the perceiving consciousness that perceives all that stuff, but when you look within, you can’t find yourself as the perceiver. Once you’ve removed all the stuff that you can perceive from your field of view, all that’s left is silence, emptiness and nothingness, like the empty space of a room from which all the furnishings have been removed, and yet your own sense of being present remains within this empty space. You still have your own sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness even when you don’t perceive anything else. Even if you remove everything from your field of view and perceive nothing, your sense of being present remains.

The essential nature of the problem is you cannot perceive yourself as the perceiver of things in the sense of being another thing. Your own perceiving consciousness is not-a-thing that you can perceive, and yet you remain aware of this nothingness with your own sense of being present. You remain aware of your own sense of being present even when you perceive nothing.

The only way you can awaken to the truth of what you really are is if you continue to focus your attention on your own sense of being present even as you become willing to perceive nothing else. You must stabilize your attention on your own sense of being present and remain aware of yourself in the sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness even as you become willing to perceive nothing else. Remaining aware of your own sense of being present as you perceive nothing is the whole trick of passing through the gateless gate and awakening. You can only pass through the gateless gate if you are naked of all things. The only thing you can take with you as you pass through the gate is your own sense of being present, which is not-a-thing.

Your willingness to remain aware of your own sense of being present while you perceive nothing is your willingness to look into the darkness of the deep. The darkness is the Source of the light of consciousness illuminating the world you perceive, but you cannot find yourself or discover your true nature in that world. The perceiver of things cannot be found in the perceivable world that it perceives. Like Neo in the Matrix, you have to put on your dark glasses and become willing to look into the darkness before you can discover the true nature of what you really are.

The awakening process is only about stripping everything away until you perceive nothing while you remain aware of your own sense of being present. You have to remove everything from the room you occupy until there is nothing left to perceive in the room except for empty space. Even the walls of the room have to be removed. The reason you surrender to divine will is to undergo the death-rebirth transformation. You have to die in identity to the embodied form of a person you perceive and be reborn of the spirit. That spirit is your own perceiving consciousness that you become aware of with your own sense of being present. The reason you detach yourself from things is so you can know yourself to be a non-identified detached witness of things and see things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment.

Once you see that all the things you perceive in your world are only illusions, including the person you take yourself to be, you lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When you withdraw your attention away from the illusion, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the illusion that animates the illusion. That’s how you become desireless. When you shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of being present and look within into the emptiness of your own being while in this desireless state, you are stripping away everything you can perceive down to the nothingness of empty space. Not only does the room you occupy become empty of things, but even the walls of the room disappear. The walls of the room and everything that appears in the room were only holographic illusions created by the energy the Self expends due to its motion in its accelerated frame of reference. Those illusions disappear in an ultimate state of freefall. The walls of the room, which is a holographic screen, is the only thing that creates a sense of limitation and divides the Self from its true undivided nature. That limitation and division comes to an end in an ultimate state of freefall. This experience of falling into the void is the self-destructive process of ego-death that leads to the experience of No-self.

When the individual being of the Self becomes desireless and selfless and the world of things it perceives disappears from existence, the gateless gate opens. The divided being of the Self, the sense of being present, reunites itself with and dissolves into the undivided being of No-self.

Osho tells us that you can only take from this world that which you have brought in, which is your own sense of being present, the sense of I Am:

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Being Present in the Present Moment

At the level of the Self, what you are is a presence of consciousness that perceives its own world from the center of that world. Everything that you can perceive in that world, which includes all external sensory perceptions of that world, all internal emotional perceptions of your body, all mental perceptions of your mind, all thoughts, memories of the past, anticipations of the future, self-concepts and all other forms of mental imagination, are perceptions created as forms of information animated in the flow of energy, which the holographic principle tells us are like animated images projected from a holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer. That perception always occurs in the present moment, which is an eternal now.

Quantum theory tells us the quantum state of potentiality for the observer’s world not only includes the potentiality for the form of all possible things the observer can observe in its world, but also the potentiality for all possible ways in which energy can flow through the observer’s world and animate all things in that world. Not only do the form of things come into an actual state of existence when they’re being observed, but the animating flow of energy also comes into an actual state of existence when being observed. To be observed, the observer must be present to make the observation, which means the observer must focus its attention on whatever is being observed for the observed things or the observed flow of energy to come into an actual state of existence. If the observer is not present to make the observation, neither the observed form of things nor the observed flow of energy can come in an actual state of existence, and both the form of things and the flow of energy remain in an unobserved state of potentiality.

Everything the observer can perceive in its world, which not only includes the form of all things, which can all be reduced to qubits of information, but also the flow of energy that animates all things, only exists in a state of potentiality until observed, at which moment the observed form of things and the animating flow of energy come into an actual state of existence. The observer must be present at that moment of observation to make the observation. That present moment is always an eternal now for which the observer must be present to observe things.

When the observer is not present to make the observation, neither the observed form of things nor the observed flow of energy can come in an actual state of existence, and both the form of things and the flow of energy remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. When the observer is not present to observe its world, that world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. Not being present for one’s world means withdrawing one’s attention away from that world, which is the same as withdrawing one’s investment of emotional energy in that world. Not only does the observer’s world disappear from existence, but so too does the observer. The individual being of the Self dissolves into the undivided being of No-self. In terms of the holographic principle, that ultimate state of dissolution into nothingness can only occur in an ultimate state of freefall the observer experiences as falling into the void.

Nisargadatta describes the present moment is the only place one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness, called the Self, I Am or the witness, at the center of the world one perceives. Beyond that perceivable world and beyond the Self is the Source of consciousness:

You can only start from where you are. You are here and now. You cannot get out of here and now. You are aware of thinking, feeling, doing. You are not aware of your being. You can only be aware of your being here and now.

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.

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.

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.

The supreme state in 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.

To be born means to create a world around your Self as the center.

When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God, is the tiny little spark I Am.

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.

Everyone sees the world through the idea one has of oneself. As you think your Self to be, so you think your world to be. If you imagine your Self as separate from the world, the world will appear as separate from you and you will experience desire and fear. Your own creative power projects on it a picture and all your questions refer to the picture.

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.

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.

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

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Nothing Has Independent Existence

The holographic principle tells us every screen output from a holographic screen is a holistic phenomena. All the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are entangled, and so everything perceived in a holographic world is connected to everything else perceived in that world at the level of quantum entanglement. Nothing has independent existence. Only the ego can create a feeling of disconnection with its expression of personally biased individual will.

Nisargadatta describes this connectedness of all things perceived in the world, but also tells us everything perceived in a holographic world is no more real than a dream:

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.

By itself nothing has existence.

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 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.

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 your Self 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.

McKenna tells us that the price of truth is everything, but nobody really knows what that price means until they’re paying it. Truth can be found only if everything else is lost in the sense of giving up and letting go. The price of truth is everything, including your own sense of self.

The price of truth is everything. The price of truth is nothing. This is another way of stating the gateless gate paradox.

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Further: The End of an Illusion

Dualistic reality is a dream. Nondual reality is the dreamer. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains. That true nature can only be described in terms of negation as void or nothingness, which is the ultimate nature of existence. The essential nature of duality is an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. The perceiving subject, which is the nature of the Self, is as much a part of the dream as is everything that is observable in the objective world the observer observes. The dualistic universe is a dream. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the observable world disappears from existence, but so too does the observer. When the observable world disappears from existence from the point of view of the observer that perceives it, the observer also disappears as it dissolves into the nothingness of undivided being. There is No-self in nondual reality. The Self is as much a part of the dream as is the perceivable world. Both Self and world disappear from existence when the dreamer awakens.

In the journey of awakening, the key concept is further. One has to continue one’s journey until there is no further. The word further is like the Zen koan: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain. The mountain is a part of the dream, and disappears from existence when the dreamer awakens from its dream. No further means there is no mountain. The mountain is a metaphor for the observable world. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, everything in the observable world, including the world as a thing, disappears from existence and nothing remains. That nothingness is the underlying nature of reality or the ground of being. It is the ultimate truth in that it is the ultimate nature of existence. It is nondual or one in the sense that it is undivided. It is infinite in the sense that it is unlimited. It is nothingness in the sense that it is nothing perceivable. The direct experience of that nothingness is the ultimate awakening.

Maybe you’ve had a limited degree of awakening in the sense of becoming more conscious of yourself as the Self. Congratulations. The problem is this is only an awakening within the dream like lucid dreaming. You’re still dreaming, which means there is still further. Maybe you’ve come to feel connected to things in the dream because you’ve surrendered and stopped fighting against the dream and allowed yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things in the dream. Congratulations, but you’re still dreaming, which means there is still further. You’re still seeing two where there’s really only one. You’re seeing things in a subject-object relation of self and other. The only way to know one is to be one, which is to be nothing. You won’t awaken from the dream and know what no further means until you stop dreaming and the dream disappears from existence. The price of truth is everything, but you won’t know what paying that price means until you’ve lost everything, including your own sense of self. Nondual reality has no sense of self. You’ll only awaken from the dream and experience the nothingness of nondual reality if you become willing to lose everything, including your own sense of self.

The only way you can awaken to the truth of what you really are is if you become willing to lose everything, including your own sense of Self. You have to allow your Self to dissolve into the undivided being of No-self. That is the only way you can become One. Know your Self to be and identify your Self only with That formless nothingness of pure consciousness. It’s not your consciousness. Consciousness doesn’t belong to you. You belong to consciousness.

Further ultimately leads to the end of an illusion. That illusion isn’t only the illusion of the world that one appears to live in as one perceives that world, but also the end of the illusion of the individual being of an observer that perceives that world in a subject-object relation of self and other. Not only does the apparent life of the life-form that one takes oneself to be come to an end, but the individual being of the Self that identifies itself with that life-form as it appears to live an embodied life in that world also comes to an end. In this sense, the ultimate nature of death is the end of an illusion, not just at the level of the body, but also at the level of individual being.

McKenna describes this aspect of the journey of awakening as further:

Whenever you’re sure you’ve arrived, there is always further.

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 is always further.

When you reach the top, keep climbing.

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The Nature of Delusion

What does McKenna mean when he says:

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.

The gate blocking one from enlightenment is the Self, which is the perceiving consciousness of the observer at the center of its own holographic world. Enlightenment only becomes possible when the Self becomes selfless. That is how one passes through the gateless gate, which is the experience of falling into the void and dissolving into undivided being. As long as the individual being of the Self remains divided from undivided being, awakening is not possible. That division is created by all the false beliefs the Self believes about itself, which is the nature of delusion. Those false beliefs are all self-concepts. One’s entire field of view is filled by delusion because the Self is perceiving its own holographic world within which it is emotionally creating those delusional self-concepts. The perceiving consciousness of the Self is prior to that perception. Delusion resides prior to perception because the Self believes these false beliefs about itself.

The false beliefs one believes about oneself create an identity-crisis for the perceiving subject that sees their delusional nature. Only awakening from delusion solves this identity-crisis.

Destroying delusion is the process of destroying false beliefs. That self-destructive process of destroying all self-concepts is the self-destructive process of ego-death. Once all self-concepts have been destroyed, the Self no longer has any false beliefs that it can believe about itself, and so delusion has been destroyed. Delusion never really existed because it was only created out of the false beliefs the Self believed about itself. The Self is emotionally creating its own self-concepts that it believes about itself. Creation is emotionally driven in the sense that the Self expresses fear and desire in its own accelerated frame of reference as it moves over the face of the deep, which is its holographic screen. Delusion is destroyed when the Self becomes selfless, which requires the destruction of all emotionally energized self-concepts. That self-destructive process is the only way the gateless gate can open, which allows one to awaken and become enlightened. As one passes through the gateless gate, the individual being of the selfless Self returns to, reunites itself with, and dissolves into the undivided being of No-self.

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

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Nisargadatta’s Final Wish

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. Just 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 real. It never ceases to be.

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 out in the audience and is outside, 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 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 state 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 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. McKenna says that dualistic reality is an amusement park, and that’s certainly part of it, but maybe it’s also created so that 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 amusement park.

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Download the PDF documents:

What Is Real

All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

The Story of Consciousness

The Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality

Topics in Quantum Theory

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

Appendix of Nondual Wisdom

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

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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)

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All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

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 that was 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”. Alfred North Whitehead remarked that all philosophy is a footnote to Plato for the simple reason that all philosophical arguments about the nature of reality must make reference to Plato’s Allegory. Along the same lines of reasoning, all movies that attempt to make philosophical arguments about the nature of reality are a footnote to the Matrix.

There is a huge irony here that most people just don’t get. What most people call reality is perceivable reality in the sense that perception is reality. The vast majority of people who are now or who have ever been alive on planet Earth define reality as what they can perceive. The irony that they just can’t seem to get is that perceivable reality is no more real than a movie that they are watching. This is not just a metaphor or an analogy. In a very accurate scientific sense that can be mathematically defined by modern physics, perceivable reality is a movie.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

In modern physics, there is a very exact mathematical sense in which perceivable reality is a movie, which is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity that results from unification of quantum theory with relativity theory. This fundamental principle tells us that everything perceivable in the world is defined by bits of information encoded on a two dimensional holographic screen, just like bits of information encoded on pixels on a computer screen. With the holographic principle, the screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space, but when the holographic principle is in effect, that bounding surface acts as a holographic screen that encodes bits of information, just like a computer screen, with one bit of information encoded per pixel on the screen.

The Holographic Principle

With the holographic principle, the perceivable world is defined by bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which is a bounding surface of space that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s perceivable world is defined by the way bits of information are encoded on the screen. The screen is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that defines the bounded three dimensional space of the observer’s perceivable world. Everything the observer can perceive in that perceivable world is a form of information that is projected from the screen like a movie image to the point of view of an observer outside the screen. In relativity theory, we understand the observer as the central point of view that arises at the origin of a coordinate system that defines that three dimensional space.

Every observer in an accelerated frame of reference has its own event horizon that limits its observations of things in space. An accelerating observer is always surrounded by an event horizon. When quantum theory is unified with relativity theory, that event horizon becomes a holographic screen that encodes information for everything the observer can observe in that bounded region of space. The observer’s holographic screen projects all forms of information for everything perceivable in that bounded region of space to the observer’s central point of view, which is the origin of the coordinate system that defines that bounded region of space.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

In relativity theory, we say the accelerating observer follows a world-line through that bounded region of three dimensional space, which implies that the observer itself is only a point of view. Only a mathematical point can trace out a world-line. The observer’s event horizon is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. With the holographic principle, that bounding surface of space becomes a holographic screen in the sense of encoding bits of information for everything the observer can observe in space.

In the sense of relativity theory, the observer always exists in a higher dimension outside the screen. The screen is the observer’s event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, but the observer always exists at the central point of view of the screen, which is the origin of that coordinate system. Perceivable reality is defined on the screen, but the observer isn’t defined on the screen. The observer can only be defined as the perceiving consciousness that is present at a point of view outside the screen to which those perceivable images are projected.

The holographic principle is telling us that perceivable reality is defined on a two dimensional holographic screen, but the observer isn’t. The observer always exists in a higher dimension, which is the point of view at the center of the screen. Perceivable reality is defined by the images projected from the screen, but the observer isn’t. Everything perceivable is a part of the movie that the observer is perceiving, but the observer isn’t. The observer can only be understood as the perceiving consciousness that exists at the central point of view in relation to the screen. The observer itself isn’t part of the perceivable reality that it is perceiving. The reality of the observer is the perceiving consciousness that is perceiving those projected perceivable images. The reality of the observer can only be called perceiving consciousness, which in-and-of-itself, is nothing perceivable. Everything perceivable is a part of the movie that the observer is perceiving, but the perceiving consciousness of the observer itself isn’t. The observer isn’t something perceivable.

Everything perceivable is a part of the movie the observer is perceiving as defined on a two dimensional screen, but the observer itself is nothing perceivable. The observer always exists in a higher dimension outside the screen. The observer’s holographic screen is observer-dependent since it can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The images of the movie are projected from the screen to the observer in the movie audience. The observer doesn’t exist inside the movie. The observer always exists outside the movie in a higher dimension, which is the nature of the movie audience. There is only an illusion that the observer exists inside the movie when the observer identifies itself with its character in the movie.

Plato addressed the issue of why the observer in the movie audience would identify itself with its character in the movie to create the observer’s illusion that the observer exists inside the movie. Plato called the observer a prisoner precisely because the observer is identifying itself with its character in the movie. In reality, the movie only consists of animated images projected from the movie screen to the observer’s point of view in the movie audience. The projected movie images are always defined on a two dimensional screen and the observer always exists in a higher dimension in the movie audience outside the screen. The observer can only have an illusion about itself that it exists inside the movie when it identifies itself with its movie character.

Plato addressed this issue of why the observer identifies itself with its movie character. The movie images are not only projected from the movie screen to the observer’s central point of view as the observer perceives those images, but the movie images are also animated in the flow of energy that animates the movie. Each projection of images is like a screen output from a computer screen, and those projected images are animated over a sequence of screen outputs in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. We call the flow of energy that animates the form of a body emotional energy. Emotional energy is the flow of energy that animates the embodied form of the observer’s movie character. The observer not only perceives the projected images of its movie character with each screen output, but also perceives this flow of emotional energy that animates the behaviors of the form of its movie character over a sequence of screen outputs.

The observer is not only perceiving the form of things that arises with the projection of forms of information that are projected like images to the observer’s point of view with each screen output, but the observer is also perceiving the flow of energy that animates those forms over a sequence of screen outputs. That sequence of screen outputs arises in the flow of energy that animates the computer screen. The flow of energy that animates the form of the observer’s movie character is emotional energy. Emotional expressions are always self-limited to the embodied form of the observer’s movie character because that is the flow of energy that is animating the behaviors of that particular animated form. The observer’s perception of that emotional energy is what makes the observer feel self-limited to the animated form of its character.

We might ask why self-liming emotional expressions arise in the first place. Biology has pretty much answered this question with the idea of environmental selection pressures and the survival of the fittest body. A body only appears to survive in the world if its form is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way over a sequence of events that arise in the flow of emotional energy that animates the body. It turns out that for a variety of reasons that have to do with the balance between potential and kinetic energy that a body can only self-replicate its form if attractive potential energy is added to the body. The addition of attractive potential energy to a body alters the balance between the tendency for random disorganization of form to occur, which physicists call an increase in entropy, and the tendency for coherent organization of form to occur, which can either be understood in terms of the attractive forces that hold forms together or the quantum entanglement of the bits of information inherent in those coherently organized forms. At the level of physics, either attractive forces have to hold forms together or quantum entanglement of information has to be at play to result in the coherent organization of information inside forms. Entangled bits of information naturally tend to align together over a sequence of perceivable events, which results in the coherent organization of information inside forms. The potential energy of attractive forces that hold forms together is an inherent aspect of this organization.

The upshot is the form of a body is only self-replicated in form in a recognizable way if potential energy is added to that form. We call the addition of potential energy to a body the process of eating. The big question is where can a body find the potential energy that it needs to eat in order to self-replicate its form and survive in the world? The answer is that potential energy is found in other bodies. This is the fundamental reason why bodies can only survive in the world if they eat other bodies. Bodies must eat other bodies so that they can add potential energy to their forms, which allows that form to become self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. Even plants must eat the photons that arrive from the sun in order to self-replicate their forms and survive.

As previously stated, there is always a balance between the tendency for entropy to increase and the flow of random kinetic energy to disorganize the form of the body and the tendency for the potential energy of attractive forces to hold the form of the body together and maintain that coherent organization of information. If the balance favors an increase in entropy and the flow of random kinetic energy, then the body falls apart and becomes disorganized. If the balance favors the potential energy of attractive forces, then the body holds together as its form is self-replicated in form and that coherent organization of form is maintained. The only way this second scenario can occur is if the body adds potential energy to its form, which requires the body to eat other bodies. A body can only self-replicate its form and survive in the world if it eats other bodies.

Bodies only survive in the world because they eat other bodies. There is a natural selection pressure called the survival of the fittest body that basically says that those bodies that are best able to eat other bodies and avoid being eaten by other bodies are the bodies that are most likely to self-replicate their forms and survive. Self-replication of form is always emotionally driven, since the survival of the fittest body is inherently dependent on emotional expressions by bodies. The coherent organization of information inside a body that allows for self-replication of form in a recognizable way inherently requires the coherent organization of the flow of emotional energy that allows for that self-replication of form as the form of the body is animated.

The natural selection pressure of the survival of the fittest body tells us that those bodies that are best able to eat other bodies and avoid being eaten by other bodies are the bodies that are most likely to survive and self-replicate their forms. This natural selection process is always emotionally driven by the expression of emotions that have no other purpose than the survival of the body. These survival emotions are expressed as the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. The bodies that are best able to survive in the world are those bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat other bodies while they also express the fear of being eaten by other bodies.

This discussion of biology brings us back to the essential problem of why the observer in the movie audience would identify itself with the animated form of its character in the movie it is watching. The answer is the observer’s self-identification with its character is always emotionally driven by those survival emotions that allow the embodied form of the character to survive in the world. The observer emotionally identifies itself with the embodied form of its character as it perceives the survival emotions of the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten that emotionally animate that embodied form. These survival emotions of desire and fear are absolutely necessary for that embodied form to self-replicate its form in a recognizable way and appear to survive in the world that the observer is perceiving. The perception of these self-limiting survival emotions of desire and fear by the observer are what makes the observer feel self-limited to the embodied form its character as that form is emotionally animated. That emotional perception is what leads the observer to emotionally identify itself with that embodied form as that form is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way and appears to survive in the world that the observer is perceiving. The observer not only perceives that embodied form, but also recognizes that form as itself. The self-replication of form in a recognizable way leads the observer to recognize that form as itself.

The observer emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated embodied form of its movie character because the observer really feels self-limited to that particular animated form as it perceives the flow of that self-limiting emotional energy. That’s how the observer’s illusion of embodied existence is created. This illusion is created from perception. The illusion of embodied existence arises from the observer’s perception of that flow of emotional energy that makes the observer feel self-limited to that particular embodied form. In reality, the observer is always outside the forms of information it perceives, just like an observer in a movie audience is always outside of the movie it perceives. The observer doesn’t really exist inside the movie. That kind of existence can only be created as an illusion. The observer always exists in the movie audience.

This discussion of biology naturally leads to a discussion of self and other. The concept of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. The observer is the subject, which fundamentally is the perceiving consciousness of the observer. The object is whatever the observer observes, which modern physics tells us is a form of information. The holographic principle tells us that form of information is projected like a movie image from a holographic screen to the point of view of the observer that is out in the movie audience. In reality, everything the observer can observe is external to the observer’s point of view since everything is a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view. Nothing is really internal to the observer.

The problem is that when the observer emotionally identifies its with the embodied form of its character in the movie it is watching, that emotional self-identification creates an illusion that the observer exists inside the body of its movie character. In reality, the observer exists at the central point of view of its own holographic world, but when the observer emotionally identifies itself with its character, an illusion is created that the observer exists inside the body of its character.

This illusion is created by the emotional expressions of fear and desire that are necessary for the survival of the embodied form of the observer’s character as that form is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way, which leads the observer to recognize itself as that embodied form. Once the observer recognizes itself as the body of its character and emotionally identifies itself with that embodied form, the surface of the body creates an illusion of self and other. Self is defined as internal to the body and other is defined as external to the body. These definitions of self and other seem very appropriate in a world where bodies must eat each other in order to survive. If the priority is the survival of the body, then it seems necessary and appropriate to defend the survival of the body by expressing the desire to eat other bodies and the fear of being eaten by other bodies. After all, that is the only way bodies can survive in the world.

Once the observer emotionally identifies itself with the form of a body, the surface of the body creates a boundary between self and other, with self internal to the body and other external to the body. It then seems very appropriate to express the self-defensive survival emotions of fear and desire in order to defend the survival of the body. The expression of these self-defensive survival emotions are what makes the observer feel self-limited to the form of its body and perpetuates its emotional self-identification with its body. The observer is recognizing its body as itself.

In reality, nothing is internal to the observer. The observer is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to a holographic screen. Everything perceivable is a form of information projected like an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view. There is only an illusion of self and other based on the mistaken assumption that the surface of the body creates a boundary between self and other, with self internal to the body and other external to the body. That illusion is a necessary part of living an embodied life in the world, which is emotionally driven by the expression of the survival emotions of fear and desire. In reality, the body is just another thing that is external to the observer’s point of view. Organs of sensory perception in the body are only transmitting information about the external state of the world, which the observer perceives as sight and sound, and the internal state of the body, which the observer perceives as emotional body feelings. The observer feels self-limited to the form of the body when it perceives emotional body feelings, which creates the illusion of self and other.

This discussion of the illusion of self and other is very relevant for a discussion of whether or not there is really such a thing as objective reality. Does objective reality really exist, or is it all a big illusion? We’ve pretty much already answered this question since what we call objective reality is only a perceivable reality that arises in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing. The holographic principle settles this question since it tells us the observer is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness and everything perceivable is only a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view.

There are many who will insist that perceivable reality is an objective reality that has its own observer-independent existence, but that kind of idea is based on a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. This logical inconsistency is perfectly demonstrated in quantum theory, where the entire observable world is described by a quantum state of potentiality. The quantum state of the world can always be described by a sum over all possible observable states of the world. In any observation of the world by an observer, that quantum state must be reduced to some actual observable state. The reduction of the quantum state of potentiality of the world to an actual observable state is always a choice that reduces the sum over all possible observable states to an actual observable state. In quantum theory, this sum over all possible observable states of the world is represented by a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space.

Quantum theory tells us that each possible observable state of the world arises in some possible path through this information configuration space. Quantum theory tells us that each possible observable state is weighted with a probability factor that physicists call the wave-function. The wave-function in turn depends on a quantity called the action, which is like a distance measured along some path in the information configuration space. As long as choices are made in an unbiased way, the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest distance between two points in the information configuration space.

Quantum State of Potentiality as the Sum Over all Possible Paths

Quantum theory implicitly assumes that an observer must exist to measure the observable states of the observable world that are observed when the quantum state of potentiality is reduced to an actual observable state. Quantum theory has nothing to say about the nature of the observer, only that the observer must exist to measure the observable state of the world when the quantum state is reduced to an actual observable state. The holographic principle unifies quantum theory with relativity theory and takes quantum theory to its logical conclusion. The observable world is always defined by the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that can only arise as an observer-dependent event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s observation of anything in that observable world can only be understood in the sense of holographic projection of forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The observer itself can only be understood as the perceiving consciousness that exists at the central point of view to which those images are projected.

The holographic principle tells us that the quantum state of potentiality of the world is always defined on a holographic screen that encodes bits of information in all possible ways, which defines an information configuration space. Any observation of the world by an observer must choose an actual observable state of information defined on the observer’s holographic screen. This tells us that the observation of the world by an observer is always a projection of a form of information encoded on that holographic screen to the observer’s central point of view. The holographic screen can only arise as an observer-dependent event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. There is no such thing as an observer-independent objective reality out there that an observer can measure for the simple reason that observable reality is always observer-dependent and can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Quantum theory and relativity theory taken to their logical conclusion in the form of the holographic principle tell us that an observer-independent objective reality cannot really exist.

This conclusion is really not such a big surprise since observable reality is always experienced in a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. The true nature of the subject can only be understood as perceiving consciousness, while the objective nature of things can only be understood in terms of the forms of information being observed. The holographic principle takes this subject-object relation to its logical conclusion since it identifies the observer with the perceiving consciousness that exists at a point of view in relation to a holographic screen that projects the images of the form of all things from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The subject is the perceiving consciousness that exists at a point of view and the object is a projected form of information. The observer’s holographic screen is always observer-dependent since it can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

Where is the so-called observer-independent objective reality that an observer can observe and measure if that objective reality isn’t being observed by an observer? Quantum theory tells us it’s nowhere since it can only exist as an unobserved state of potentiality. There really is no such thing as an observer-independent objective reality out there that the observer can observe, only an observer-dependent observable reality that in some sense the observer must create for itself in its own accelerated frame of reference. If the observer does not observe that observable reality, then nothing appears to exist from the observer’s own point of view. The paradox of this statement is that the reality of the observer can continue to exist even when nothing appears to exist since the reality of the observer is pure consciousness, which is nothing perceivable. When everything perceivable disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view, the reality of the observer can continue to exist as the formless nothingness of pure consciousness.

In the language of modern physics, nothing appears to exist from the observer’s own point of view when the observer is no longer in an accelerated frame of reference since that observer no longer has an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. Everything the observer can observe from its own point of view is defined on its own holographic screen, but the observer no longer has a holographic screen when the observer is no longer in an accelerated frame of reference. That non-accelerated frame of reference is called a freely-falling frame of reference, in which nothing is observable since the observer has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. When that acceleration comes to an end and there is no event horizon, the observer’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, there is also nothing to observe since all the observer’s observations of things must arise from its holographic screen.

All the paradoxes of quantum theory arise from the mistaken assumption that multiple observers can exist in the same observer-independent objective reality as observers observe and measure different aspects of that observable reality. The holographic principle demonstrates the fallacy of this kind of assumption since the observer’s observable reality can only appear to come into existence when the observer observes it. The observer’s observable reality is observer-dependent and can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference since that is how an event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen. Everything the observer can observe in its observable world is a form of information defined on its own holographic screen.

Every observer has its own observable holographic world defined on its own holographic screen. Every observer exists at the central point of view of that surrounding holographic screen that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in that world is a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. In reality, the observer does not even exist in its own holographic world. It always exists outside that holographic world, at the central point of view.

There is still the possibility of a consensual reality shared by many observers that arise at many different points of view due to the kind of information sharing seen in an interactive network of screens like the internet. Every observer’s holographic screen is a bounding surface of space, but those bounding surfaces can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality

There are a few loose ends we need to tie up to finish this scientific discussion of the nature of reality. Just like the mistaken idea of an observer-independent objective reality, there is the mistaken idea that the laws of physics in some way represent ultimate reality. They do not, so where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle again gives a clear answer.

To begin with, the ultimate nature of reality is pure consciousness. Whenever the perceiving consciousness of an observer, which exists at a point of view, enters into an accelerated frame of reference, an observable world appears to come into existence. That observable world is defined on the observer’s holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer itself is the perceiving consciousness that exists at the central point of view of that holographic world. Everything perceivable in that holographic world arises as a form of information that is encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and is projected like an image from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. Those perceivable images are naturally animated in the flow of energy that animates everything in the observer’s world. The observer is not only perceiving the form of all things that appear in its world, but is also perceiving the flow of energy that animates the form of all things in its world. That flow of animating energy fundamentally arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

Normal Flow of Energy in the Observer’s World

The holographic principle describes how bits of information become encoded on the observer’s event horizon. In modern physics, the best way to understand the holographic principle is in terms of non-commutative geometry. Non-commutative geometry is that part of modern physics that best explains how space-time geometry is quantized. A similar explanation can be found in string theory, but string theory is really only a special case of non-commutative geometry.

Whenever non-commutative geometry is applied to a bounding surface of space, like an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, a finite number of quantized position coordinates are defined on the surface by the non-commuting variables defined on that bounding surface of space. The non-commuting variables are quantized position coordinates defined on the surface. These quantized position coordinates are smeared out into area elements like pixels defined on a computer screen. Each of these smeared out area elements encodes a bit of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s, just like the bits of information encoded on the pixels of a computer screen. Non-commutative geometry explains this encoding of information.

Horizon Information

The holographic principle is automatically in effect whenever non-commutative geometry is applied to a bounding surface of space, like an event horizon. The non-commuting variables defined on the surface is the fundamental way in which space-time geometry is quantized. The way this usually works is to define the non-commuting variables in terms of a matrix, typically in terms of an n x n SU(2) matrix, which represents rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere. A 2 x 2 SU(2) matrix represents a spin ½ variable in quantum theory, which can only take on the quantized eigenvalues of spin up or spin down, and thereby represents information in a binary code like a switch that is either on or off. An n x n SU(2) matrix can represent n bits of information in a binary code since it has n eigenvalues. These n eigenvalues are entangled in the sense of quantum entanglement, which basically tells us that a holographic world is characterized by the holistic entanglement of information. In quantum gravity, the value of n, which is the number of non-commuting variables defined on the bounding surface of space, is given in terms of the surface area A of that surface as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ћG/c3 is the Planck area defined in terms of Planck’s constant, the gravitational constant and the speed of light.

The next big question is how do we get a dynamical space-time geometry along the lines of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric from the holographic principle? Einstein’s field equations are the nature of gravity, which we understand as the curvature of a dynamical space-time geometry. This seems to be a problem, since the holographic principle is defined on a two dimensional bounding surface of space, while Einstein’s field equations define the dynamical nature of a 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry. Where do the extra dimensions come from?

The holographic principle again gives the answer since everything an observer can perceive in its holographic world is defined on a holographic screen that can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration implies the expenditure of energy, which the observer perceives as the flow of energy through its own holographic world. That flow of energy is what animates everything in its world, just like the flow of energy through a computer animates the images that are projected from a computer screen over a sequence of screen outputs. In terms of the holographic principle, the flow of time is a natural consequence of the flow of energy that animates the projected form of things that the observer perceives in its holographic world as those forms are projected like images from its holographic screen to its own point of view. Each observation of something is a holographic projection from the screen, and those things are animated in the flow of energy like an animated sequence of screen outputs.

We still need to explain where the third dimension of space comes from. The observer’s holographic screen is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, but everything the observer observes in its holographic world appears in the bounded three dimensional space of its world. The best explanation for holographic projection comes from string theory, where the bounding surface is understood to encode bits of information along the lines of a conformal field theory. A conformal theory is characterized by a special kind of symmetry called Weyl invariance, which is the kind of symmetry seen in fractal geometries, where the geometric structure of fractals appears self-similar or invariant under a change in distance scale. Conformal symmetry is a symmetry of the changing size of objects that appear self-similar no matter at what distance scale they’re being observed. A holographic screen will always encode bits of information for objects in a way that manifests conformal symmetry. It is as though a light is projecting a shadow of the object on a screen and the observed size of the shadow depends on how far away the object is from the screen relative to the observer. The closer the object is to the screen, or the farther away the object is from the observer, the smaller the shadow appears to the observer. The shadow of the object is defined by the way bits of information are encoded on the holographic screen, which gives the appearance of the object moving in a third dimension toward or away from the observer as the shadow of the object appears to grow or shrink in size. The changing size of the projected shadow gives the illusion of the object moving in a third dimension toward or away from the observer. The appearance of movement in a third dimension is a holographic illusion that only results from holographic projection. The perception of a third dimension is a result of conformal symmetry. Underlying this effect is the conformal symmetry that describes how information is encoded on the screen for the object. This scientific explanation for the appearance of objects moving in a third dimension is eerily similar to how Plato described the appearance of objects as shadows projected on the wall of the Cave in the Allegory.

The holographic principle therefore solves the problem of how a 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry can arise from a two dimensional holographic screen. We still have the problem of the laws of physics, like the law of gravity that Einstein tells us can be understood as the dynamical curvature of a 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry. Where do Einstein’s field equations for the force of gravity as expressed in terms of the space-time metric come from?

The holographic principle gives the answer. The holographic principle not only tells us how bits of information are encoded on a holographic screen, which physicists call entropy, but also tells us about the thermal energy of these bits of information, which physicists call temperature. In the holographic principle, the temperature of a holographic screen arises from the thermal energy of bits of information, which tend to flip back and forth between the 1 and 0 states of information like a quantized spin variable that tends to flip back and forth between the spin up and the spin down states. Thermal energy is a measure of the random flipping of these information states, which is perceived as temperature. Temperature is defined in physics as the amount of thermal energy per degree of freedom when things are at thermal equilibrium. The holographic principle tells us a degree of freedom is a bit of information encoded on a holographic screen.

The second law of thermodynamics is a general statistical statement of how the entropy of any system is related to the total amount of thermal energy in that system and the temperature of that system when the system is at thermal equilibrium. The system of interest is the observable world, which from the point of view of the observer of that world is defined on a holographic screen. The entropy of the observable world is defined in terms of the number of bits of information encoded on that holographic screen, and the temperature of that holographic screen is defined in terms of thermal energy per bit of information. At thermal equilibrium, when the temperature is constant, a change in the total thermal energy of that observable world must be related to a change in the entropy of that world. This is usually written as ΔE=TΔS, where ΔE is a change in the total thermal energy of the world and ΔS=kΔn is a change in the entropy of that world, where the number n is the number of bits of information encoded on the holographic screen that defines that observable world. This makes sense since the temperature of that holographic screen is defined in terms of the thermal energy per bit of information, wherein Δn=1, and so ΔE=kT.

In order to use the second law of thermodynamics, we need to know how S and T are defined with the holographic principle. The answer for S=kn is simple, since the holographic principle says the number of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen is proportional to the surface area A of the screen, which is usually written as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ћG/c3 is the Planck area defined in terms of Planck’s constant, the gravitational constant and the speed of light. The temperature of a holographic screen is given in terms of the Unruh temperature, which is the temperature of the event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature is given as kT=ħa/2πc, where a is the observer’s acceleration.

The thermal energy of the observer’s event horizon as specified by the Unruh temperature arises from the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. Quantum field theory tells us that the vacuum of empty space is full of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs, which are created out of nothing and rapidly annihilate back into nothing. At the observer’s event horizon something very weird appears to happen. These virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. The virtual antiparticle can disappear from view behind the event horizon while the virtual particle can appear to become a real particle that carries thermal energy with it as it travels toward the observer’s point of view. The observer then sees the event horizon to radiate away thermal radiation, which gives it a temperature. This observed thermal radiation that is radiated away from an event horizon to an observer, which can only appear in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking Radiation and the Unruh Temperature of an Event Horizon

We now have all the pieces of the puzzle in place that are needed to understand where Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric come from in terms of the holographic principle. Whenever an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, an event horizon arises that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. The holographic principle tells us that the observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen that encodes information for everything observable in the observer’s world. If thermal energy appears to flow across that bounding surface of space, the second law of thermodynamics tells us the entropy of that world must change as ΔE=TΔS, but the holographic principle then tells us the entropy of that world must change as ΔS=kΔn, where n=A/4ℓ2 is defined in terms of the surface area of that bounding surface of space. In other words, a change in the total thermal energy of the observer’s world is equivalent to a change in the entropy of that world which is equivalent to a change in the surface area of the holographic screen that defines that observable world. A change in the surface area of that holographic screen implies a change in that bounding surface of space, which implies a change in the geometry of that bounded region of space. The amazing thing about the holographic principle, as interpreted in terms of the second law of thermodynamics and Unruh temperature, is that change in the geometry of the bounded space is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations for the metric, which is the field theory for the force of gravity, are a thermodynamic consequence of the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric are not really fundamental, but only arise as thermodynamic equations of state from the holographic principle when things are near thermal equilibrium, sort of like the equations for sound waves arise from atomic theory as thermodynamic equations of state when things are near thermal equilibrium.

Space-time geometry is not really a fundamental thing and neither are Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the field theory for gravity. Dynamical space-time geometry is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection, and Einstein’s field equations for gravity are no more fundamental than the wave equation for sound waves. All we’re really looking at here is a thermodynamic equation of state that is only valid near thermal equilibrium.

What about the quantum field theories for the standard model of particle physics that include the electromagnetic and nuclear forces? Are these equations fundamental? No. The unification of these quantum field theories with Einstein’s field theory for gravity proceeds along the lines of the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and the Kaluza-Klein mechanism of extra compactified dimensions of space. This is how unification is understood in string theory or in M-theory, which includes 11-dimensional super-gravity as a low energy limit. Once we can use the holographic principle to deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric as thermodynamic equations of state, then we understand that all the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics arise from Einstein’s field equations as extra components of the space-time metric. The fermion matter fields arise from super-symmetry and the boson force fields arise with extra compactified dimensions of space. All these quantum field theories are no more fundamental than a thermodynamic equation of state. They are only valid when things are near thermal equilibrium. None of the laws of physics are really fundamental.

If the laws of physics are not really fundamental and even the dynamical space-time geometry of the world is not really fundamental, then what is? The answer is simple. Pure consciousness is fundamental. Pure consciousness is the ultimate nature of existence. Pure consciousness can also be called the ground of being or the ultimate nature of reality. It is what exists when everything else disappears from existence. Everything that appears to come into existence in some sense is a holographic illusion that can only appear to exist when an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, since that is how a holographic screen arises that projects the images of all things to the observer’s point of view. Everything perceivable is a form of information defined on the observer’s holographic screen, which is projected to the observer’s point of view like an image and animated in the flow of energy that arises with the observer’s own acceleration.

When the observer enters into a freely falling frame of reference and that acceleration comes to an end, the observer no longer has a holographic screen and everything perceivable disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. What remains when everything disappears from existence is pure consciousness, which is nothing perceivable, and can only be described in the sense of negation as formless nothingness. Since the observer’s holographic screen is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space, when that bounding surface disappears in a state of freefall, the observer’s observations become unlimited, but nothing is perceived. When the observer’s acceleration comes to an end and that energy is no longer expended, nothing is animated and even the flow of time comes to an end. In the sense of negation, what remains when everything disappears from existence is the timeless, unlimited, undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the ultimate nature of existence.

There is No Spoon

Download the PDF document:

All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

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

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)

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

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

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

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The Story of Consciousness

The Story of Consciousness: The Title of this Article is a Joke

The title of this article is the Story of Consciousness, which is a joke. There is no story of consciousness, and yet in a peripheral sort of way a story can be told that at the end of the day is all about consciousness. The story of consciousness is really about the nature of spiritual enlightenment, which is about consciousness realizing the true nature of what it really is. To use a biblical analogy, this is the story of the prodigal son, where one discovers the truth when one returns home. The homecoming is the truth. This realization of the truth has the nature of a discovery that consciousness discovers about its true nature when it finally knows the truth of what it is. Enlightenment is also called awakening from delusion, since the only thing that prevents consciousness from knowing its true nature are all the false beliefs it actively believes about itself. These false beliefs are called self-concepts. All self-concepts are delusional since consciousness believes itself to be something that it is not. When consciousness no longer actively believes these delusional false beliefs about itself, consciousness discovers the truth of what it really is in an effortless and natural way.

In a twisted sort of way, consciousness is playing a joke on itself. The nature of the joke is that consciousness actively believes itself to be something that it is not. To say this in a different way, consciousness is playing an imaginary make-believe game with itself, but to make things more interesting, consciousness is believing that this make-believe game is real. The essential nature of this joke is wonderfully expressed by the Dylan song All Along the Watchtower:

There must be someway out of here, said the Joker to the Thief,
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
No reason to get excited, the Thief he kindly spoke,
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke,
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

The Watchtower represents an ascended level of consciousness, which is often referred to as the detached witness. This is a higher level of consciousness, not in the sense of height, but in the sense of a higher dimension. The detached witness is in a higher dimension as it watches event unfold in the perceivable world that it observes, like an observer out in a movie audience that watches the events of a movie unfold as animated images of the movie are projected from a movie screen to the point of view of the observer out in the audience. The movie is defined on a two dimensional screen, but the observer is outside the screen in a higher dimension.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

Although this may seem like a far-fetched analogy, this is exactly what modern physics is telling us about the nature of the world. This scientific concept is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which is often mistakenly referred to as the Theory of Everything. There is no such thing as a Theory of Everything, and yet the holographic principle is a valid scientific description of the nature of the world. If we allow ourselves to use this scientific concept to understand the nature of the world, then a story can be told about how consciousness enters into a state of delusion wherein consciousness believes itself to be something that it is not, and a complementary story can be told about how consciousness breaks free of this delusional state and realizes the true nature of what it is, which is the process of becoming enlightened.

Universal Observer

Many readers of this article will have a visceral reaction and voice their objection to the idea that the world they perceive is an illusion of what they really are, like a dream they are dreaming or a movie they are watching or a virtual reality game they are playing. The most direct answer to this objection is to become enlightened and see for yourself. The second best answer is to trust what enlightened beings, like Nisargadatta Maharaj, say about the nature of the world. The third best answer is to trust what modern physics says about the nature of the world. There is broad scientific consensus among the majority of physicists who work in the area of quantum gravity that the holographic principle is the most fundamental scientific concept we have about the nature of the world. The holographic principle gives a perfectly good scientific description of a holographic virtual reality, like a virtual reality game that one plays on a computer screen. This scientific description is completely consistent with all valid scientific concepts of modern theoretical physics, which is why physicists like to call quantum gravity a theory of everything.

This scientific description not only describes the nature of the dynamical space-time geometry of the world, but also all elementary particles in that world, including all the matter and force particles from which everything observed in the world is composed. The holographic principle tells us that whatever can be observed in that world, which not only includes these elementary particles but also the space-time geometry of that world, can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds the three dimensional space of the observable world. Everything observable in that world is a form of information encoded on the bounding surface. The bounding surface acts like a holographic screen that projects images of these forms of information to the observer at the central point of view, like the images of a movie projected from a computer screen to an observer outside the screen. Just like the animated images of a movie, these projected forms of information are animated in the flow of energy. In no significant way is this scientific description different from the animation of a virtual reality on a computer screen as images of that virtual reality are projected from the screen to an observer.

The Holographic Principle

When one believes oneself to be a character in the virtual reality game that one is playing, like the central character of a movie that one is watching, this false belief that one believes about oneself is delusional. All self-concepts are delusional. This is the essential nature of the problem one has when one appears to live a self-centered life and one believes oneself to be a person in the world that one perceives. The process of becoming enlightened is the solution to this problem.

This story of how this delusional state is created and how consciousness can break free of this delusional state is told below in the PDF document on the Ten Bulls of Zen and in the following article of this website:

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

The story of why the holographic principle is the most fundamental concept in modern physics is told below in the PDF document on the Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality:

The Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality

The story of how the holographic principle resolves all the apparent paradoxes of quantum theory is told in the PDF document on Topics in Quantum Theory:

Topics in Quantum Theory

This article on the Story of Consciousness is available as a PDF document:

The Story of Consciousness

Also see the PDF document: Appendix of Nondual Wisdom for more extensive quotes on the nature of awakening and enlightenment from Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jed McKenna, Osho, U G Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Zil Chezero and Eugen Herrigel:

Appendix of Nondual Wisdom

Before Dylan wrote All Along the Watchtower, he wrote a companion piece called Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland. The Watchtower represents an ascended level of consciousness, which is a higher level perspective, while the Lowland represents a lower level perspective. The nature of this lower level perspective is the expression of emotional attachments and their loss, which is the reason the Sad Eyed Lady is sad. Dylan didn’t express this explicitly, but the higher level perspective only becomes possible through a process of letting go and severing emotional attachments. Dylan was implicitly describing the process of detaching oneself from things in the world one perceives so that one can see things from a higher level as a detached witness.

Another companion piece to All Along the Watchtower are these lines of poetry from the Leonard Cohen song Suzanne:

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water,
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower,
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,
He said all men shall be sailors then until the sea shall free them.

Implicit in this poetry is the idea that when one is free of delusion, one is no longer an individual person in the world one perceives. When one becomes enlightened, one becomes the sea. The sea is a metaphor for the ocean of nondual awareness that is the source of the perceivable world and the source of the individual consciousness perceiving that world. This metaphor of the ocean of nondual awareness is often described as the void, the abyss, the darkness, the deep, emptiness, silence and formless nothingness. These are all terms of negation that can only tell us what it isn’t, not what it is. What it is cannot be conceptualized, and therefore no words can describe it. This formless nothingness of nondual awareness is the source of the perceivable world and the source of the perceiving consciousness of that world.

The hardest thing for almost everyone to accept is that the perceivable world and its observer of perceiving consciousness are not the truth of what one really is. The truth of what one really is, is the formless nothingness of nondual awareness, which is the ultimate or underlying nature of reality that underlies the perceivable world and its observer, which can also be called the ground of being or existence. The perceivable world and its observer are more like a virtual reality. This virtual reality is much like a dream that the ultimate nature of reality is dreaming. The nature of delusion can only appear to exist in the virtual reality, since that is the only place where the dreamer can actively believe false beliefs about itself that it is something that it is not.

There is no story of consciousness because the true nature of consciousness is impersonal. All stories are personal and are about the drama of a person living a life in the world. That world is no more real than a virtual reality and the person is no more real than a character in the virtual reality. The true impersonal nature of consciousness is only watching events unfold in that virtual reality, like an observer in a movie audience that is only watching events unfold in the movie. The observer of the movie is always outside the movie and is only watching as the story of the person unfolds in the movie. Consciousness can only appear to have a personal story if it falsely believes itself to be a person in the world that it perceives. All personal self-concepts are delusional false beliefs that consciousness falsely believes about itself.

Spiritual enlightenment is called awakening from delusion. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, its dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains. The dreamer’s true nature is the ultimate nature of existence. Whatever appears in the virtual reality is a form of existence that only appears to come into existence when the dreamer dreams its dream. Everything that appears to happen in the virtual reality is a part of the dream, or to use the movie analogy, everything that appears in the virtual reality is like an animated image projected from a movie screen to the point of view of an observer out in the movie audience. When the dreamer falsely believes itself to be a part of its dream, that false belief is delusional. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains. The underlying reality that remains is the formless nothingness of nondual awareness.

In what sense is the formless nothingness of nondual awareness the source of a perceivable world and the source of the individual consciousness of an observer perceiving that world? In some mysterious way, whenever a perceivable world is created out of the formless nothingness of nondual awareness and forms appear to come into existence in that world, the undivided being of nondual awareness becomes divided into the individual being of the observer of that world of forms. The individual being of this presence of consciousness is referred to as I Am. When that perceivable world of forms disappears from existence, the divided being of this presence of consciousness must return to and reunite itself with the undivided being of nondual awareness. This reunion is described as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

This insight that follows from awakening from delusion is perfectly summarized in the familiar rhyme:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.

Ultimately, the true story of consciousness is no story.

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The Story of Genesis

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

Ignorance of what one really is, is the original sin, just as the book of Genesis says. The original sin of ignorance was committed by Adam and Eve when they knew themselves to be bodies. That kind of ignorant self-knowledge is the nature of the personal self-identification that one makes when one identifies oneself with a body, since personal self-concepts are always body-based. Only when one has a personal self-concept and identifies oneself with a body can one know the difference between good and bad, since good and bad are always judged relative to the survival and welfare of one’s own body. Good and bad are inherently personally biased assessments that one must make in a world where bodies must eat each other in order to survive. The desire to eat and the fear of being eaten are biological imperatives that drive the survival of the fittest body. Eating feels good. Being eaten feels bad. That assessment of good and bad can only be made when one identifies oneself with a body, which is the nature of ignorance about what one really is. The main teaching of all religions is to identify oneself with the spirit and not with the body, which is the only way to refute ignorance. The only hard part of understanding religion is understanding what the spirit of God is and the true nature of what one really is.

The spirit of God is consciousness, more specifically, individual consciousness. The concept of the One God is a metaphor for undivided consciousness. Individual consciousness is always divided from undivided consciousness. In Genesis, this is expressed as God divided the light from the darkness with the creation of the world. The world one perceives is created when one’s individual consciousness is divided from undivided consciousness. That world is like a virtual reality or a movie that one is watching. The only thing that is really real is consciousness, which is one’s being or what one really is, whether divided or undivided. When consciousness is divided, consciousness perceives everything that can appear in a world. When consciousness is undivided, consciousness perceives nothing, which is the hardest thing that one can wrap one’s mind around. Actually, that nothingness is impossible to wrap one’s mind around, since that nothingness cannot be conceptualized.

That nothingness is what Genesis refers to when it says: In the beginning, before individual consciousness was divided from undivided consciousness and the heaven and the earth were created, darkness was on the face of the deep and the world was void and formless. The deep is a metaphor for the nothingness of the void. That nothingness is also called the darkness, which is pure undivided consciousness. When the light of consciousness is divided from the darkness, which is when individual consciousness is divided from undivided consciousness, the world appears like the images of a movie. The best way to understand how the world appears to come into existence is in terms of movie images projected from a movie screen to the point of view of an observer in the movie audience, which is one’s individual consciousness. Genesis refers to the movie screen as the face of the deep and to one’s individual consciousness as the spirit of God.

Consciousness is always outside the images of the movie it perceives, as images are projected from the screen to its point of view. Consciousness is out in the movie audience, and is only watching as the movie plays for one’s amusement. Cycles of life and death or death and rebirth only have to do with the body of one’s character in the movie. One’s consciousness isn’t born and doesn’t die, but is always outside the movie and is only watching the movie from its own point of view in the movie audience. Characters come and go in the normal cycles of life and death, but consciousness only watches them come and go, like characters in a movie. Consciousness can only watch the movie if it’s divided, or it can return to its original undivided state, in which case it knows nothing. It has to become divided to know something. Everything it knows is part of the movie.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

Genesis says that the spirit of God moves over the face of the deep, which is a description of the observer in the movie audience. In modern physics, a moving observer is understood as an observer in an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. In Genesis, that surface is called the face of the deep, which acts like a movie screen. The holographic principle explains how an accelerated observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen, just like a movie screen. An accelerating observer is always expending energy, which is the energy that is creating the observer’s own world. The observer creates its own world through the expenditure of its energy, which occurs with the observer’s accelerated motion. The observer’s energy is creating its own world, which is the nature of its desire. The observer is creating a world for itself to observe because that is the nature of its desire to live a life in that world. Take away that desire, and no world is created, but then the individual consciousness of the observer must return to its original undivided state. When the observer’s acceleration comes to an end and no energy is expended, the observer has no event horizon and the observer’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, there is also nothing to observe, since all images of the observer’s world must be projected from its own holographic screen, just like the images of a movie.

The other way to say this is that one’s own light of consciousness is illuminating one’s own world, like the light of a movie projector. Turn off that light, and there’s only darkness. When one turns off one’s desire that creates everything in the world one perceives, which is when one turns off one’s own light of consciousness, there is no world, only darkness and nothingness. When the dance of life comes to an end, one returns to the darkness, unless one decides to create a new life for oneself and start the whole thing all over again, but that life only has the reality of a virtual reality, like a movie that one is watching. It only feels like one is a part of the movie that one is watching if one emotionally identifies oneself with one’s emotionally animated character in the movie. That emotional feeling of personal self-identification is just another perception that one has because one has decided to express the desire to live a life in that world. The perception of that emotional feeling is what creates ignorance when one mistakenly takes oneself to be the body of one’s character in the world that one perceives, which only becomes possible when one feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that body. That feeling can only arise from one’s own desire to live an embodied life in the world one perceives. One must express that desire to live a life to experience ignorance. Take away that desire and one must return to the darkness of the void, which is the true nature of what one is when one’s consciousness is undivided.

There is no being in the virtual reality that one is perceiving. The virtual reality that one perceives only consists of projected images, like the animated images of a movie. One’s true being, which is the true nature of what one really is, is pure consciousness, whether it is divided into individual being or it is reunited into undivided being. The true nature of one’s being is perfectly expressed in the Bhagavad Gita:

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be

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Seeing is Believing AKA Perception is Reality

In a critical scene in the Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo: “No one can be told what the Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself”. The holographic principle gives a perfectly good scientific description of a holographic virtual reality within which one appears to live, but one can only appear to live in that holographic world if one identifies oneself with one’s character in the virtual reality. That personal self-identification with one’s character is always emotionally driven, as the expression of personally biased emotions make one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated personal form of one’s character. One must express personally biased emotions through the expression of one’s desire to live an embodied life in the virtual reality that one perceives in order to feel self-limited to and emotionally identify oneself with the embodied form of one’s character. In reality, one is always outside of that virtual reality world and is only perceiving that world as images of that world are projected from a holographic screen to one’s point of view in the audience, just like the animated images of a movie. Those projected images are only emotionally animated because one is expressing the desire to live a life in that world, which one does through the expression of emotional energy as one enters into an accelerated frame of reference. The accelerated motion of one’s own accelerated frame of reference is the only way an event horizon can arise that acts as a holographic screen and that projects all the emotionally animated images of one’s world to one’s point of view in the audience. In the language of relativity theory, that accelerated frame of reference is how one bends space through the dynamical warping of space-time geometry.

The problem is this scientific argument will never convince anyone that one is living in a virtual reality, or as Morpheus explains things to Neo: “You’ve been living in a dream world”. One has to see it for oneself, because seeing is believing. As long as one sees oneself as living in the virtual reality world, that’s what one will believe about oneself, because seeing is believing. That belief is emotionally energized through expression of personally biased emotions that make one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated embodied form of one’s character in that world. That emotional expression is what emotionally attaches oneself to that world. Even more than seeing is believing, feeling is believing. One sees oneself as existing in the world that one perceives because one feels self-limited to the embodied form of one’s emotionally animated character in that world through the expression of one’s desire to live an embodied life in that world. As long as emotional attachments persist, people will continue to believe whatever they want to believe, no matter how delusional their beliefs become, because that is what they want to believe.

The only way to solve this problem of personal self-identification is to emotionally detach oneself from the world one perceives. One has to let go and sever one’s emotional attachments to that world. In a state of emotional detachment, one knows oneself to be the detached witness of that world and sees that world from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment, like a movie that one is watching as animated images of that world are projected from a movie screen to one’s point of view out in the movie audience. Emotional detachment is the only thing that allows for the ascension of one’s consciousness to a higher level. Only in a state of emotional detachment can one see the Matrix for what it really is, as a virtual reality.

People believe that they’re a part of the virtual reality world they perceive because of the emotional energy they expend, which they can only do in an accelerated frame of reference as they bend space. In reality, there is no person, only the pure consciousness of an observer bending space due to the observer’s accelerated motion. That accelerated motion is the spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. The face of the deep is the holographic screen that is projecting all the animated images of the observer’s world to the observer’s point of view. That holographic screen only arises as an event horizon due to the observer’s accelerated motion. The observer itself is the spirit of God. That is the truth that one has to see for oneself.

Do not try to bend the spoon. That is impossible, Only try to see the truth.
What truth?
There is no spoon.
Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, but only yourself.

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The Secret of Awakening

The secret of awakening is to know oneself to be a detached witness, which is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness existing in emptiness and silence, and to know everything that appears to exist in the world one perceives is no more real than an image projected from a screen to one’s point of view in emptiness, like the animated images of a movie. This is exactly what Genesis is telling us about the spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. The spirit of God is that point of perceiving consciousness moving over the face of the deep, which is the movie screen.

One expresses energy through one’s accelerated motion. The world one perceives only appears to come into existence when one expresses that energy. The expression of that energy depends on one focusing the attention of one’s consciousness on that world. One focuses one’s attention on that world to express that energy. One makes the appearance of that world possible as one focuses one’s attention on that world. When one turns one’s focus of attention away from that world, one’s motion comes to rest, one no longer expresses that energy, and one’s world disappears from existence.

One does this every night when one falls into a deep sleep, but to awaken to the truth of what one really is, one not only has to turn one’s attention away from the world one perceives, but also turn around and look within into the emptiness of one’s own being. One must look within and focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present even as one comes to rest and turns one’s focus of attention away from the world one perceives. As that world disappears from existence, one must stabilize one’s focus of attention on one’s own sense of being present in emptiness. One must be with one’s own beingness. One must be with the emptiness of one’s own being. One must be at rest but not fall asleep to awaken to and be with the emptiness of one’s own being.

Awakening is a result of one’s own focus of attention. When one focuses one’s attention on the world one perceives, one is experiencing events in that world. When one’s focus of attention becomes personally biased, one emotionally believes oneself to be a person in that world as a result of the expression of personally biased emotions. Even in a state of emotional detachment, when one knows oneself to only be the detached witness of that world, one is still experiencing events in that world. One will experience events in that world as long as one is present to perceive that world. When one is no longer present to perceive that world, that world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view. One can only awaken to the truth of what one really is if one is present for one’s own beingness while that world disappears from existence.

One can only awaken to the truth of what one really is if one is present for one’s own beingness. When one stabilizes one’s focus of attention on one’s own sense of being present, one is being with one’s own beingness. When one is no longer present for the world one perceives, that world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view. If one is present for one’s own beingness while one’s world disappears from existence, one awakens to the truth of what one really is. One knows oneself to be that beingness that is beyond the perceivable world.

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Modern Physics Interpreted in the Context of Consciousness Gives a Perfectly Good Scientific Explanation for the Nature of God’s Will and Individual Will

Any scientific explanation for God’s will must begin with the primordial energy that creates the physical universe in the first place, which modern physics understands as the expression of dark energy and the accelerated expansion of space from a central point of singularity, which is the point of the big bang event. The One God can only be understood in a physical sense as an empty background space with the potential to undergo the exponential expansion of space from this central point of singularity. In terms of the concept of nondual awareness as the ultimate nature of existence, this empty background space can also be understood in the sense of undivided consciousness. With the expression of dark energy and the accelerated expansion of space, which is the physical manifestation of God’s will, undivided consciousness becomes divided into the individual consciousness that is present at the central point of singularity. This central point of individual perceiving consciousness can be called the universal observer or the spirit of God. The accelerated expansion of space places the observer in an accelerated frame of reference, within which a cosmic event horizon arises that limits the observer’s observations of things in space.

The Accelerated Expansion of Space and the Observer’s Cosmic Horizon

The observer’s cosmic horizon is a bounding surface of space that defines a bounded space within which everything the observer can observe in its world is observed. When the holographic principle is in effect, as it is when non-commutative geometry is applied to that bounding surface of space, the observer’s event horizon becomes a holographic screen that encodes all the bits of information for everything the observer can observe in that bounded region of space. Everything the observer can possibly observe in that bounded region of space is like the projection of an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. These observable images of things are naturally animated in the flow of energy through the observer’s world. That flow of energy must arise with the expression of dark energy and the accelerated expansion of space.

The Expression of Dark Energy and the Accelerated Expansion of Space Drives the Creation of the Physical Universe

This idea of dark energy as the primordial nature of all energy that flows through the observer’s world also explains the second law of thermodynamics. A certain amount of dark energy must be expended with the creation of the observer’s world, which through the accelerated expansion of space gives rise to the construction of a cosmic horizon that defines everything observable in the observer’s world in the sense of holographic projection from its holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s cosmic horizon is its ultimate holographic screen. As the observer’s observable world appears to expand in size, modern physics tells us the amount of dark energy in its world transitions from a less stable meta-stable state of higher energy to a more stable state of lower energy, which corresponds to an increased size of its cosmic horizon. As the cosmic horizon increases in size, it encodes more bits of information, which corresponds to an increase in the entropy of the observer’s world, but it also decreases in temperature, which allows heat to flow from hotter states to colder states of the observer’s world. The normal flow of energy through the observer’s world reflects this normal flow of heat in a thermal gradient.

Normal Flow of Energy Through the Observer’s World

Everything observable in the observer’s world arises like images projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen arises in the empty background space simultaneously whenever the observer is present at the central point of singularity of that empty background space. Each projected image is like a screen output. These images are animated over a sequence of screen outputs that naturally become ordered in the flow of energy that arises with the expression of God’s will. The expression of dark energy and the accelerated expansion of space is the primordial energy that drives the flow of energy through the observer’s world, which is the primordial nature of the physical manifestation of God’s will. Everything that is observable in the observer’s world is defined in terms of bits of information encoded on its holographic screen, which defines an information configuration space. The normal flow of things naturally arises in the flow of energy through the observer’s world because things tend to follow the path of least action, which is like the shortest distance between two points in the information configuration space, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action can only arise if choices are made in an unbiased way, which is to say that God’s will is always unbiased. The way bits of information are encoded in the information configuration space reflects all possible ways that information can become encoded in the sense of a quantum state of potentiality that sums over all possible states, and every observation of something is like a choice that chooses a specific or actual state of information from that sum over all possible states. God’s will is unbiased in the sense those choices are naturally made in an unbiased way, which leads to things tending to follow the path of least action and the normal flow of things.

Quantum State of Potentiality as the Sum Over All Possible Paths

The unbiased nature of God’s will can be easily understood since the nature of the One God is undivided consciousness. The individual consciousness of the observer present at the central point of view of its own holographic world is divided from the undivided consciousness of the One God with the creation of that world. That presence of individual consciousness tends to identify itself with the emotionally animated form of a person it perceives in that world, which is like the central character in a virtual reality movie that presence of consciousness is perceiving from its central point of view. This state of personal self-identification naturally occurs because the presence of perceiving consciousness really feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that person as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that personal form. Once that presence of perceiving consciousness identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a person, its focus of attention on the world it perceives becomes personally biased, which leads to the expression of personally biased individual will or biased emotions that tend to deviate from and interfere with the unbiased expression of God’s will. Only an individual presence of consciousness that identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a person it perceives can express emotional bias through personal bias in its focus of attention.

The expression of personally biased individual will is based on a mistaken perception as the presence of individual perceiving consciousness emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a person it perceives in its holographic world. Personal self-identification is entirely based on a mistaken emotional perception. In reality, the individual presence of perceiving consciousness is always present at the central point of view of its own holographic world as long as it remains divided from undivided consciousness and perceives that world. Whatever its perceives in that world is only like an animated image projected from its own holographic screen to its own point of view. In reality, those projected images are no more real than the images of a virtual reality. Only the presence of consciousness at its central point of view in the empty background space is really real and has its own sense of being present. It is always present as long as it perceives that world. This sense of being present as a presence of consciousness with its own beingness is called I Am. The projected images of that world only have a momentary and transitory virtual existence as they momentarily appear to come into existence and then disappear from existence. The projected images of the virtual reality have no real being. The images only appear to have continuous existence as animated over a sequence of perceivable events, like a sequence of screen outputs that animate the images of a movie. There is only an illusion of continuity of the projected images when images become self-replicated in form in a recognizable way while being animated, which is the nature of memory.

Only the presence of individual perceiving consciousness has its own inherent continuity of being and sense of being present. It is always present to perceive the images of its world as long as it remains divided from undivided consciousness and remains present to perceive its own holographic world. When that presence of consciousness surrenders to God’s will, gives up all personal bias in its focus of attention and relinquishes the expression of personally biased individual will, it undergoes a death-rebirth transformation. It dies to its false self-identification with the form of a person and its reborn to its true spiritual nature as consciousness itself. It no longer falsely believes itself to be a person in the world it perceives, but knows itself to be the spirit of God perceiving that world.

The only other real option it ever has is to stop perceiving its holographic world and to return to its primordial state of undivided consciousness. Its return to a primordial state of undivided consciousness is called spiritual enlightenment. It is the spirit of God that is returning to and reuniting itself with the One God. The spirit of God is free to return to its primordial state of undivided consciousness any time it wants to, but this return to unity comes at a price. The price of truth is everything in the words of Jed McKenna. The only way it can return to its primordial state of undivided consciousness and finally know the truth of what it really is, is if the spirit of God becomes willing to no longer be present to perceive its own world.

When it is no longer present to perceive its own holographic world, when its own sense of being present for that world comes to an end, when its own sense of I Am turns into an I am not, that holographic world disappears from existence and nothing remains. Not only does its expression of personal will come to an end, but the expression of God’s will also comes to an end. Without the expression of that creative energy that creates a world, the observer’s world disappears from existence, and the divided consciousness of the observer must return to its primordial state of undivided consciousness. This return is described as a state of dissolution, like a drop of water dissolving into the ocean, or a state of freefall and falling into the void. What ultimately remains when everything disappears from existence is the true nature of undivided consciousness. This underlying reality or ground of being is the formless nothingness of nondual awareness, which is a timeless, unchanging and desireless state of primordial existence in which one is willing to do nothing, want nothing, know nothing, and be nothing. With spiritual enlightenment, one becomes willing to exist as that timeless, unlimited and undivided formless nothingness.

Atman-Brahman

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There is No Such Thing as Objective Reality

Scientists, like most people, want to believe that there is an objective reality out there that they can observe and measure, but without an observer that observes that so-called objective reality, where is that observable objective reality? Even the theories created by scientists that describe the nature of that so-called objective reality are intrinsically a part of that observable reality. In quantum theory, the assumption of an observer-independent objective reality leads to internal inconsistencies in the theory. The quantum state of potentiality is only a sum over all possible observable states, where each observable state is weighted with a probability factor that physicists call the wave-function. The wave-function in turn depends on a quantity called the action, which is like a distance measured along some path that connects two points in some information configuration space. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest distance between those two points. The quantum wave-function is only a measure of that distance. With the unification of quantum theory with relativity theory, all particle wave-functions are understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric that measures distance along some path in a curved space-time geometry.

The holographic principle tells us that even that curved space-time geometry can be understood to arise from an information configuration space in the sense of holographic projection from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer. The bits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen are what gives rise to all the observer’s observations of things, like the observable images projected from a computer screen to an observer’s point of view.

The big problem is the assumption of an observer-independent objective reality leads to logical inconsistencies in quantum theory. Quantum theory implicitly assumes that an observer exists to observe the observable forms of information that are observed whenever the quantum state of potentiality is reduced from a sum over all possible observable states to an actual observable state. Quantum theory has no explanation for the nature of the observer’s existence, only that the observer must exist before the quantum state can be reduced to an actual observable state.

The holographic principle tells us that the existence of the observer is independent of whatever forms of information the observer observes. These observable forms of information are always defined on a holographic screen, but the observer’s holographic screen is observer-dependent since it can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This is explicitly telling us that there is no such thing as an observer-independent objective reality, since an observable reality can only arise in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

This really should not be a big surprise, since an observable reality is always experienced in a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. This subject-object relation is the inherent nature of self and other. Self can only be understood in the sense of the perceiving consciousness that is observing things, while other can only be understood in the sense of whatever is being observed. The holographic principle takes this idea to its logical conclusion. The observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to a holographic screen. Everything observable is defined in terms of bits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, while the observer itself can only be understood as a focal point of perceiving consciousness to which perceivable forms of information are projected, like images projected from a computer screen to an observer’s point of view. The whole thing is observer-dependent since the observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. At the end of the day, there is no such thing as an observer-independent objective reality, only an observer-dependent observable reality that in some sense the observer must create for itself within its own accelerated frame of reference.

This explanation solves the mystery of a consensual reality apparently shared by many different observers. Each observer is the perceiving consciousness present at its own point of view. Each observer is surrounded by its own holographic screen that arises in its own accelerated frame of reference and defines everything observable in its own world. Every observer is at the center of its own observable world. That’s where the observer really exists. Each holographic screen is a bounding surface of space with an observer at the central point of view. Many observers can apparently share a consensual reality when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and thereby share information about their respective worlds, much like the kind of information sharing seen in an interactive network of computer screens, like the internet.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of Observers Sharing a Consensual Reality

This explanation resolves all the apparent paradoxes of quantum theory that arise when an observer-independent objective reality is assumed to be observed by multiple observers. These apparent paradoxes only reflect the logical inconsistency of assuming multiple observers can observe the same observable world. That would be the case if multiple observers could exist in the same observer-independent objective reality, but they cannot. That kind of assumption is logically inconsistent. The observer’s observable world can only appear to come into existence when the observer observes it. The observer must have its own independent existence.

The holographic principle resolves all the apparent paradoxes of quantum theory since it tells us each observer observes its own observable world that is defined on its own holographic screen. Everything observed in the observer’s world is observer-dependent since that holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. There is only an illusion of multiple observers existing inside the same world due to information sharing among overlapping holographic screens. The observer does not even really exist inside its own holographic world. That holographic world is defined on a holographic screen and the observer exists at the central point of view of that world. There is only an illusion the observer exists inside its own holographic world when the observer identifies itself with something like a body that appears inside that world. There can only be an illusion of self and other existing in that holographic world if the observer emotionally identifies itself with its body and separates its world in terms of self and other based on the boundary of its body, with self internal to the body and other external to the body. In reality, the observer is always outside its holographic world at the central point of view of that world, and everything observable is external to the observer’s point of view. The observer always exists at its own point of view in the audience of empty space, just like an observer in a movie audience that watches the animated images of a movie projected from a movie screen to its point of view in the audience.

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Being Present in the Present Moment: The Power of Now

The power of now is really the power of one’s attention becoming focused on the sense of being present in the present moment, which is the only way that one can stop emotionally creating a personal self-concept that one falsely believes about oneself as one believes oneself to be a person in the world that one perceives. At the center of the awakening process, one must stop believing this false belief that one is actively creating and believing about oneself that one is a person in the world one perceives before one can discover the true nature of what one really is.

As a presence of consciousness, one is always present in the present moment. Whatever one perceives, including all memory of past events and anticipation of future events, one can only perceive it all in the present moment. One must be present to perceive whatever one perceives. One’s world can only appear to come into existence from one’s own point of view when one is present to perceive it. One’s world not only includes all external sensory perceptions of that world, like sight and sound, but also all internal perceptions of that world, like emotional body feelings, self-concepts, other forms of thought about that world, memory of past events and anticipation of future events in that world, and all other forms of mental imagination. Organs of sensory perception in one’s body are only transmitting information about the internal state or the external state of one’s world. Although the surface of one’s body appears to create a boundary between internal and external, in reality, everything a presence of consciousness can perceive in its word is external to its particular point of view. This is exactly what modern physics tells us about the nature of the perceivable world in terms of a holographic screen that encodes all the bits of information that specify the information configuration states for the nature of everything an observer can perceive in its world. Everything perceivable is defined by information encoded on its holographic screen, which arises as an observer-dependent event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer itself can only be understood as a focal point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to its holographic screen. There is only an illusion that the surface of one’s body creates a boundary between internal and external. This illusion is created when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to the form of its body as it perceives the flow of emotional energy animating that body. The body-based self-concept the observer emotionally identifies itself with is a result of this emotional perception.

All forms of memory and anticipation are forms of information the observer can only perceive in the present moment. The observer must be present in the present moment to perceive them. Things only seem more complicated than this because these forms of information are not only projected like images every moment from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view, but forms are also animated over an ordered sequence of events like the animated frames of a movie. Every event is a moment of time, which the observer always experiences as the present moment. Memory is really nothing more than forms appearing to self-replicate their forms in a recognizable way from moment to moment. This recognizable self-replication of form can be understood in terms of the coherent organization of information characterizing forms that is a natural result of the entanglement of information in a holographic world.

The observer not only perceives the form of everything that appears in its world every moment, but also perceives the flow of energy through its world that animates those forms. A form like a body that becomes coherently organized and self-replicates form in a recognizable way over a sequence of events can only do so if the flow of energy that animates the form also becomes coherently organized. The organization of information into a complex form, like a body, and the organization of the flow of energy that animates that form in a recognizable way as the form is self-replicated in form, like the emotional energy animating a body, are intrinsically connected.

The observer must be present in the present moment not only to perceive the recognizable form of things, but also must be present to perceive the recognizable flow of energy that animates those things. The observer is recognizing the recognizable form of its own body every moment, and is also recognizing the recognizable flow of emotional energy that is animating that body from moment to moment. When this emotional perception makes the observer feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body, the observer naturally identifies itself with that form and experiences life in its world in terms of internal and external perceptions defined in terms of the surface of its body. The body-based self-concept is then born. Inherent in the body-based self-concept is the assumption that internal is “self” and external is “other”. The concept of self and other is only created out of the body-based self-concept. This body-based self-concept always emotionally relates the form of the observer’s body to the form of some other thing the observer perceives in its world. These emotional relationships are what continue to make the observer feel self-limited to the form of its body and thereby perpetuates its body-based self-concept.

It’s important to recognize the kind of mischief and identity confusion that’s created by emotional expressions. A body only survives in the world if its form is self-replicated in a recognizable way over a sequence of perceivable events. For that self-replication of form to occur, the observer must observe and recognize those events. The observer has to be interested enough in those events to pay attention to them and be present to observe them. The observer only becomes very interested in those events when the observer emotionally identifies itself with its body. The organized form of the body is only self-replicated in form in a recognizable way when the flow of emotional energy that animates the body is also organized, which allows for coherent self-replication of the form of the body. This organized flow of emotional energy is perceived as emotional expressions. In order to self-replicate its form, the body must add energy to its form, which is expressed as the desire to eat other bodies, but in order to maintain that form, the body must also avoid being eaten by other bodies through the expression of the fear of being eaten. At the most primitive bodily level, the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten are biological imperatives that drive the survival of the fittest body in a world where bodies must eat each other in order to survive. These emotional expressions of fear and desire expressed at the level of body survival are what makes the observer feel self-limited to the recognizable form of its body and leads the observer to emotionally identify itself with that self-replicating form.

This complexity of a personal self-concept that ties together memory of the past, anticipation of the future and emotional relationships between “self and other” is the essence of the ego. The body-based self-concept is really just another form of information the observer perceives in the present moment, but is a tremendously complicated form of information due to its emotional animation. Not only is the form of the body emotionally related to the form of some other thing with each self-concept, but these emotional relationships tend to relate these forms in terms of the memory of past events or the anticipation of future events. The form of the body as recalled for a past event or anticipated for a future event is emotionally related to the form of some other thing. “Self” can only be defined as internal to the body, while “other” is always external to the body. The observer perceives these complicated emotional relationships in the present moment, but the complicated nature of the perception creates confusion. The primary confusion is identity confusion that arises when the observer emotionally identifies itself with the form of its body.

The goal of one’s awakening to the true nature of what one really is, is to eliminate this identity confusion. The most important step in one’s awakening process is for one to become aware of one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness with its own independent existence in the present moment. One becomes aware of one’s existence as a presence of consciousness as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present in the present moment. The only way one can achieve this goal is if one turns away from all personal self-concepts that one has about oneself that tell oneself that one is a body-based person in the world one perceives that is emotionally related to the form of some other thing one perceives in that world. The relationships that relate a personal form to another form are always emotional relationships that are built out of forms of information that remember the past and anticipate the future. These mentally constructed and emotionally energized self-concepts, which are built out of personal forms of information that have memory for past events and anticipate future events, are the forms that one has to turn away from before one can look within and focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. When one turns the focus of one’s attention away from these forms, one is no longer present to perceive them or emotionally energize them. Without that animating emotional energy, they naturally die away and disappear from existence.

The only way one can turn one’s focus of attention away from personal self-concepts and stop emotionally energizing them is if one stops being interested in them. One has to see them to be illusions of what one really is and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. One has to stop caring about them. Only the withdrawal of one’s focus of attention away from them can lead to the withdrawal of one’s investment of emotional energy in them. Turning one’s focus of attention away from them is the same as not being present to perceive them. That is the only way one can sever one’s emotional attachments to them. The emotional attachments are severed when one no longer wants to waste one’s time and energy paying attention to an illusion. Severing an emotional attachment always feels like something dies inside because part of one’s self-concept is dying away. It’s not that one dies, but that one’s self-concept becomes dead to oneself. It only feels like death as long as one identifies oneself with that dying self-concept. When one sees one’s personal self-concept is a lie, one becomes willing to die at the level of the self-concept rather than continue to live the life of a lie. The awakening process can only go forward when one emotionally detaches oneself from all self-concepts and allows them to die away. What naturally replaces one’s self-concept is one’s own sense of being present in the present moment. This naturally happens as one shifts the focus of one’s attention away from one’s self-concept and onto one’s own sense of being present.

The mentally-constructed emotionally-energized personal self-concept can only tell a story of the actions of a person in the world, like a story told by the self-referential narration of a movie by the central character of the movie. This story is all about what the person did in the past, what the person plans to do in the future, what other people did or plan to do to the person and what the person did or plans to do to other people. This is a personal story of “self and other”, where “self” is only definable in terms of a person that plays the role of a central character in the movie and “other” is defined in terms of other people in the movie. This story is always told in the form of a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. The absurdity of this story is apparent when the “self” becomes an object to itself, as it appears to be when this personal self-image is observed as a past or future form. The absurdity of this story creates a state of personal bondage when the observer of the movie believes itself to be the central character of the movie. This state of personal bondage is delusional, since the observer of the movie is never really inside the movie, but is always outside the movie, only observing the movie from the movie audience.

The only reason the observer can believe it is inside the movie is because the movie is a virtual reality. The observer not only perceives visual images of the movie, but also perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates the actions of the central character in the movie. The perception of these emotional body feelings makes the observer feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of the central character. The expression of those self-limiting personally biased emotions can only arise when the observer watches the movie with personal bias in its focus of attention. This emotionally-energized personal story of “self and other” creates a hypnotic spell that leads the observer to identify itself with the central character of the movie because the observer really feels self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form. This hypnotic spell creates personal bondage when the observer believes it is the central character of the movie. This hypnotic spell is delusional since in reality the observer is always outside the movie, out in the movie audience. Awakening from delusion is simply a matter of breaking this hypnotic spell.

There is no individual freedom inside the Matrix. The Matrix is the virtual reality movie that the observer is watching. The actions of the central character are animated in the normal flow of energy that animates the entire movie. This normal flow of energy is not under the observer’s control. The observer can only interfere with the normal flow of things and create an emotional disturbance in that flow when the observer expresses personal bias in the movie through personal bias in its focus of attention. There can never be any real individual freedom inside the Matrix.

The only possible freedom is to escape from the virtual reality, but the central character of the Matrix can never escape from the Matrix. Only the observer out in the movie audience can escape from its personal bondage of believing that it is inside the Matrix when it stops believing it is the central character of the virtual reality movie it is watching. Freedom is nothing more than the observer no longer believing that it is its central character. That is how the hypnotic spell of personal self-identification is broken. The only way this hypnotic spell can be broken is if the observer withdraws its focus of attention away from the personal story of “self and other” that creates the hypnotic spell as this self-referential story narrates the actions of its character in the virtual reality movie. The observer withdraws its attention away from the story of “self and other” when it clearly sees this personal story is only an illusion of what it really is and loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. The only other place the observer can focus its attention is on its own sense of being present in the movie audience. The observer can only awaken to its true nature if it turns away from the movie, turns around, focuses its attention on its own sense of being present in the present moment, and looks within into the emptiness of its own being.

In many discussions of the manifestation of desires, manifestation is described as a conscious being creating its own reality through the expression of nonphysical energy. The conscious being is the observer of its own perceivable reality, which it creates through the expression of nonphysical energy, which is the nature of its desire. The nonphysical energy that creates an observer’s world arises with the observer’s own motion. As Genesis tells us, the observer is the spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. The moving observer is an accelerating point of perceiving consciousness that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, which is the face of the deep. That expression of nonphysical energy creates the appearance of the observer’s world as forms of information about that world are projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view and are animated in the flow of energy. The observer is only observing the appearance of those images, but is also creating the appearance of the images with the expression of energy that can only arise with its own accelerating motion.

The only real power the observer ever has is its focus of attention. The observer must focus its attention on the appearance of its world for that world to appear to come into existence. The observer’s focus of attention on its world is what drives its accelerated motion that gives rise to the expression of the energy that creates its world. The normal flow of energy through the observer’s world always arises in an unbiased way, which is the expression of God’s will. If the observer focuses its attention on its world in a personally biased way, which happens when it emotionally identifies itself with the personal form of its character in that world because it feels self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form, personally biased individual will is expressed that is always in resistance or opposition to the expression of God’s will and leads to the expression of personally biased emotions. The expression of personally biased will can only arise with personal bias in one’s focus of attention. This always interferes with the expression of God’s will as it attempts to control things in a personally biased and self-defensive way.

Surrender to God’s will is a state of nonresistance in which this personal bias is no longer expressed, either at the level of personal bias in the observer’s focus of attention on its world or at the level of the expression of personally biased emotions. Surrender only becomes possible when one sees that one is only defending an illusion of what one really is, and that one’s true nature needs no defense. Surrender is natural when one sees that one is only wasting one’s time and energy defending an illusion. Surrender naturally leads to the integrated state in which one feels connected to all things as the flow of energy animating one’s character comes into alignment with the normal flow of energy through one’s world. In this feeling of connectedness, one naturally puts one’s trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best.

Personal self-identification is always a distortion that can only arise with the expression of personally biased emotions, which make one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of one’s character. The expression of personally biased individual will creates an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. Personal self-identification can only arise in a state of resistance to the normal flow things and opposition to God’s will. Without the expression of those personally biased emotions, personal self-identification naturally dies away. When one surrenders to God’s will, one naturally undergoes a death-rebirth transformation and comes to know oneself to be a presence of consciousness that is only perceiving one’s world. One is no longer a doer because one no longer interferes with the expression of God’s will. One can only appear to be a doer if one opposes the expression of God’s will through the expression of personally biased individual will and identifies oneself with the form of a person that appears to do things in one’s world.

The observer must be present for its world and focus its attention on its world to perceive its world, whether in a resistant state of the expression of personally biased individual will or in a nonresistant state of surrender to God’s will. That world always appears to come into existence in the present moment that is the eternal now of the observer’s presence. Whether the observer lives in a state of personal self-identification with the expression of personally biased individual will or lives in the integrated state with surrender to God’s will, the observer can only perceive its world and partake of the experience of living a life in that world if it is present for that world.

The only other real option the observer ever has is to no longer be present to perceive its world. The observer can turn the focus of its attention away from its world and no longer be present for that world, in which case that world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. Spiritual enlightenment is an experiential state that becomes possible when the observer focuses its attention on its own sense of being present while it withdraws its attention away from its world. As that world disappears from existence while the observer focuses its attention on its own sense of being present, a portal opens that allows the observer to go beyond its world and know itself to be the pure beingness that is beyond its perceivable world. This portal or doorway, sometimes called the doors of perception or the gateless gate, is the observer’s own sense of being present, which is also called I Am. This portal is the point of perceiving consciousness that is at the center of the observer’s world, which is also called the Self. The open portal is called the gateless gate because it can only open when the Self becomes selfless. The Self is itself the gate that locks one into one’s world when one has a personal self-concept, but can also open and let one out of one’s world when one becomes selfless. When this portal opens, one experiences the sense of falling into the void and the dissolution of one’s individual consciousness into the undivided unity of the formless nothingness of nondual awareness.

The Self is a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world. It is the observer that observes every observable thing in its world. It is the ultimate expression of a subject-object relation that defines self and other. The Self is an observer in a state of accelerated motion that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that projects all the observable images of the observer’s world to its central point of view, which is the spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. Awakening only becomes possible when the observer is no longer in an accelerated state of motion, which is called a freely falling frame of reference. In an ultimate state of freefall, the observer has no event horizon and has nothing to observe since it has no holographic screen. Without an event horizon, the observer’s observations become unlimited, but paradoxically, there is also nothing to observe since everything observable is projected like an image to the observer from its holographic screen. In this ultimate state of freefall, the observer’s subject-object relation with everything it perceives in its world comes to an end. The separation of existence into self and other comes to an end and the Self becomes selfless. In this ultimate state of dissolution into the formless nothingness of nondual awareness, in which nothing is observed, the divided consciousness of the observer must return to and reunite itself with undivided consciousness. In this ultimate state of undivided existence, there is no self.

There is a normal progression of the awakening process that ultimately leads to the experience of nondual awareness. Every step along the way is a step of letting go and giving up as one surrenders to God’s will and detaches oneself from things in the world one perceives. In a very real sense, every step along the way is a loss as one severs emotional attachments to things and empties oneself of things. In the end, everything is lost and nothing is gained. Every step in the awakening process is a loss, and as long as there is more to lose, there are more steps to take. That’s the nature of detaching oneself from the world one perceives, which is really a rejection of that world as one turns away from that world. One can only awaken from the world one perceives if one totally rejects that world. The natural progression of the awakening process takes one from a state of resistance to nonresistance to the ultimate rejection and turning away from one’s world as one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being.

If one resists whatever appears to happen in the world one perceives, if one interferes with the normal flow of things through that world, if one tries to control whatever appears to happen in that world in a personally biased self-defensive way, then one feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person in that world and emotionally identifies oneself with that person. If one enters into a state of deep nonresistance, acceptance and surrender, then that personal self-identification dies away and one can only know oneself to be the detached witness of that world. If one totally detaches oneself from that world, if one completely rejects everything about that world and empties oneself of everything in that world, if one sincerely wants out of that world, not at the level of physical body death but at the level of ego death, then one awakens from that world like a dreamer awakens from its dream. One does that by losing interest in one’s world to such a degree that one completely turns away from that world and is no longer present to perceive that world, which then must disappear from existence from one’s own point of view. This naturally happens when one sees that world to be an illusion of what one really is and no longer is interested in paying attention to an illusion. As one turns the focus of one’s attention away from the world one perceives while one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being, as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present while one’s world disappears from existence, one can finally awaken from one’s dream of separate existence into the unity of nondual awareness and know the truth of what one really is.

♦♦♦

Stop and Just Be: Be Still and Know that I Am

The simplest way to begin the awakening process is summarized with the simple instructions Stop and just Be. These instructions are all about how one can enter into the integrated state, in which one feels connected to all things in the world one perceives and knows oneself to be a pure presence of consciousness that perceives the normal flow of things in that world. This is the basic instruction of all religions and spiritual paths that point toward a state of spiritual unity that is readily available when one surrenders to God’s will.

Stop means one stops thinking, which means one stops focusing one’s attention on the mental construction of emotionally energized personally biased self-concerned thoughts that one thinks about oneself. One stops thinking about oneself as the emotionally energized form of a person emotionally related to the form of other things one perceives in the world. One stops thinking about oneself in terms of a personal story told in the past and future about what that person did to others or what others did to the person in the past or what that person will do to others or what others will do to the person in the future. Instead of thinking about oneself as a person, one stops thinking about oneself so that one can just be what one really is, which is a pure presence of consciousness that perceives the whole thing. One shifts the focus of one’s attention away from one’s self-concerned thoughts and focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness. One is being present for one’s own sense of beingness. One is being what one really is by being with one’s own sense of beingness. In the book of Psalms, this instruction to Stop and just Be is perfectly expressed as Be Still and Know that I Am.

The simplest way to Stop and just Be is to surrender to God’s will and accept what is as it is every moment. One puts one’s trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best and accepts what is as it is in the moment. When one surrenders in the moment, one stops thinking about the past and the future and just accepts what is in the present moment. One puts oneself in alignment with the normal flow of things and just allows oneself to be carried along by that flow. One feels connected to things because one is no longer resisting the normal flow of things or interfering with that flow or trying to control things and direct events in a personally biased self-defensive way. One is no longer creating an emotional disturbance in that flow that makes one feel self-limited to the emotionally energized form of a person and that leads one to emotionally identify oneself with that personal form. One knows oneself to be a pure presence of consciousness that perceives it all. One knows oneself not to exist in the past or future, which only has an illusory existence, but only to exist in the present moment, which is an eternal now. This knowledge is perfectly expressed with the biblical statement, Before Abraham was, I Am.

When one surrenders to God’s will, one accepts what is as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different than it actually is. One stops wanting things to be different than they actually are in the moment. Wanting things to be different only creates an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. One does this because one has a choice to make. One can either express personally biased individual will with its illusions of personal control, doership and personal identity, or one can surrender to God’s will and know the true nature of what one really is. It has to be one or the other. One can live the illusion of a personal life and pretend to be something that one is not, or one can discover the truth and be what one really is.

If one wants to go further with one’s awakening than the integrated state, one must sever one’s emotional attachments to everything one perceives in one’s world. One must empty oneself of all those perceivable things so that one can know oneself to be the detached witness of things existing in emptiness and silence. If one wants to go even further with one’s awakening than being a detached witness, one must reject the world that one perceives and look within into the emptiness of one’s own being. One must see that world to be an illusion and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When one turns the focus of one’s attention away from that world as one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of beingness, when one is no longer present to perceive that world that then disappears from existence while one is present to be with one’s own beingness, one can finally awaken from the dream of separation into the truth of what one really is. One knows oneself to be the undivided and unlimited unity of the formless nothingness of nondual awareness. With that realization of undivided and unlimited being, there is no further. One is finally done with one’s journey of awakening. One has returned to one’s true home.

♦♦♦

Testimony of Enlightened Beings

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.

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.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.

Everyone lives in his own world.

Everyone creates a world for oneself and lives in it, imprisoned by one’s ignorance. All we have to do is to deny reality to our prison.

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.

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

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.

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

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”.

In the immensity of consciousness a light appears, a tiny point that traces shapes, thoughts and feelings, concepts and ideas.

Look within and you will find that the point of light is reflected as the immensity of light in the body as the sense I Am. There is only light. All else is appearance.

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.

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.

Nothing lasts. The void remains.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

There is nothing more to it. The attitude of pure witnessing, of watching events without taking part in them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

Your thoughts dominate you only because you are interested in them. Turn away from your desires and fears and from the thoughts they create and you are in your natural state.

Whenever a thought or an emotion of desire or fear comes to your mind, just turn away from it.

Turn away. Refuse attention.

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

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.

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.

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.

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble. You imagine you were born and you will die if you do not take care of your body.

Selfishness is self-concern for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body.

To be attached is to be selfish. As long as you have a self to defend you must be violent.

Selfishness is due to self-identification with the body.

A man who knows he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish. He has nothing to be selfish for.

The body and mind are limited and therefore vulnerable. They need protection which gives rise to fear. As long as you identify yourself with them you are bound to suffer.

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

There is nothing wrong in the idea of a body, but limiting oneself to one body only is a mistake.

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.

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’.

You progress by rejection.

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.

To question is the essence of revolt.
Without revolt there can be no freedom.

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

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.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness. Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

To the mind the light of consciousness appears as darkness. It can be known only through its reflections. The highest state of awareness is to be the point of light tracing the world. Beyond the highest state of awareness is to be the source of light.

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.

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.

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.

Your natural state is pure awareness of being, without any self-identification with anything in particular. In that pure light of consciousness there is nothing, only light.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 has returned to the source and realized his true nature.

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.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.

One is undeceived only.

Your true home is in nothingness.

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

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

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.

Mere knowledge is not enough; the knower must be known.

Without knowledge of the knower there can be no peace. I know myself as I am in reality. I am neither the body nor the mind. I am beyond all these.

The person is a very small thing. Actually it is a composite, it cannot be said to exist by itself. Unperceived it is just not there. It is but the shadow of the mind, the sum total of memories. Pure being is reflected in the mirror of the mind as knowing. What is known takes the shape of a person based on memory and habit. It is but a shadow or projection of the knower onto the screen of the mind.

Once you realize that the person is merely a shadow of the reality, but not reality itself, you cease to fret and worry. You agree to be guided from within and life becomes a journey into the unknown.

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.

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.

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.

The sense of identity is like a sequence of pictures on the cinema screen. Without the light and the screen there can be no picture. To know the picture as the play on light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

As long as there is consciousness of something, its witness is also there.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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. 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

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.

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

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

I discovered the secret of the sea in meditation upon a dewdrop.

Now I am darker than the deepest sea, just hand me down, give me a place to be.

Something makes you turn around,
The door is open, you can’t close your shelter.
You try the handle of the road.
It opens. Do not be afraid.
It is you my love, you who are the stranger.

Now I Am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

The soul that with a strong and constant calm
Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently
Lives in the life undying.
That which is can never cease to be
That which is not cannot exist.
To see this truth of both
Is theirs who part essence from accident
Substance from shadow.

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.

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.

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

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.

The wise are impartial

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

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

♦♦♦

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed: The True Nature of the Search

In Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, the Ten Bulls are a depiction of the awakening process in that they give a roadmap to enlightenment. This roadmap is remarkably detailed in that it gives a thorough depiction of the entire awakening process. This roadmap not only points out directions in the awakening process, but also allows for an assessment of where one stands in the process. All the necessary steps that are required to complete the process are depicted. Even more remarkable, these necessary steps can be understood scientifically in the framework of modern physics. This article reframes these steps in terms of what the holographic principle of quantum gravity can scientifically tell us about the awakening process and the nature of enlightenment.

The first thing to be clear about is enlightenment is only about consciousness. Enlightenment is about consciousness becoming aware of its true nature. Enlightenment is synonymous with awakening from delusion. The nature of delusion is consciousness unaware of its true nature, and enlightenment is consciousness aware of its true nature. The problem is actually much worse than simple unawareness. Delusion is consciousness actively believing false beliefs about itself. A delusion is a false belief one believes about oneself, which is the essence of the problem.

Unenlightened consciousness is not just unaware of its true nature, but actively believes itself to be something that it is not. Enlightenment is often called truth realization, but as Jed McKenna points out, the more correct terminology is untruth unrealization. Consciousness only becomes aware of its true nature when it stops believing untrue things about itself. Enlightenment is not an active process of learning the truth, but rather is a natural effortless discovery that consciousness comes to know about itself when it stops actively believing untrue things about itself.

In his discussion of the Ten Bulls, Osho points out this depiction of the awakening process is in the form of a search. Consciousness itself is searching for its true nature. The irony of all this searching activity is that consciousness discovers its true nature in an effortless and natural way once it stops actively believing untrue things about itself. Ultimately, this search comes down to a destructive process of disbelieving and deconstructing false beliefs. Since the false beliefs are self-concepts, McKenna refers to this self-destructive process as spiritual autolysis, which is a process of dissolution that dissolves separated aspects of consciousness back into an undifferentiated primordial state of consciousness, like a piece of ice that dissolves back into water.

The second thing to be clear about is science really has nothing to say about the true nature of consciousness. The true nature of consciousness cannot be conceptualized, and therefore no scientific concept has anything meaningful to say about it. On the other hand, scientific concepts have a great deal to tell us about the nature of delusion. Specifically, scientific concepts can tell us a great deal about the nature of Maya or illusion, which underlies delusion. The holographic principle of quantum gravity is the ultimate scientific concept that explains the nature of illusion.

The nature of delusion is a state of duality, which is always created in a subject-object relation of self and other. The holographic principle is the ultimate scientific concept that allows us to understand how duality is created in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing. The holographic principle explains the dualistic nature of a virtual reality. Underlying this dualistic virtual reality is the nondual reality of consciousness. Enlightenment is the direct experience of the underlying nondual reality of consciousness by consciousness itself. One can only transcend duality by going further into the nondual source of consciousness.

Shortly before his death, Nisargadatta Maharaj remarked that someday his teachings about the awakening process and enlightenment would be understood scientifically. Osho made similar comments during his lifetime. Thanks to the discovery of the holographic principle, that day is now. Even Jed McKenna, who usually views things in a decidedly unscientific way, often uses scientific analogies to explain things. McKenna bases his entire approach on the rigors of logic, but there is no more powerful form of logic than mathematical logic. Theoretical physics is fundamentally based on mathematical logic applied to scientific observations. The overwhelming consensus of theoretical physicists who work in the area of quantum gravity is the holographic principle is the most fundamental scientific concept we have about the nature of the world.

In this reframing of the Ten Bulls of Zen, the holographic principle will be used to discuss each step in the awakening process. Each step is a direction in which one must travel in order to break free of the bonds of delusion. The Ten Bulls understood as a roadmap in the awakening process can be scientifically reframed in this way because science in the framework of the holographic principle has something important to tell us about how the bonds of delusion are created.

Only a brief review of the holographic principle is given in this article, just enough to flesh out the argument. For those who want to delve deeper into the details of modern physics and why the holographic principle is the ultimate scientific concept, a review of the holographic principle and what it can tell us about the nature of reality is available as a PDF document:

The Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality

A related article that discusses the holographic principle in the context of quantum gravity and how the holographic principle can resolve all the apparent paradoxes of quantum theory is also available below as a PDF document:

Topics in Quantum Theory

This article on the Ten Bulls of Zen is also available as a PDF document:

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

In essence, the holographic principle is telling us that the world we perceive is no more real than a virtual reality movie of perceivable images projected from a screen to the perceiving point of view of an observer in empty space. The perceivable images are forms of information encoded on the screen and animated in the flow of energy. The illusion is created as animated perceivable images are projected from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The illusion appears three dimensional since the screen is a holographic screen that projects three dimensional images.

The observer itself cannot be described by any perceivable image it can perceive. The observer can only be described as a focal point of pure perceiving consciousness that arises at a point of view in empty space in relation to the screen. Everything the observer perceives is a form of information projected from the screen, but no perceivable form of information can characterize the observer’s true nature. All the information for everything the observer perceives is encoded on the screen. The act of observation is always a projection from the screen, like the projection of a movie image. Both the screen and the observer’s point of view arise in empty space, but there is really no information encoded at the observer’s point of perceiving consciousness. All the things the observer perceives in space are illusory and only arise with holographic projection.

The observer’s perceiving consciousness exists at a point in empty space, but no information is encoded at that perceiving point. The perceiving point of consciousness exists in a space that is empty of all information. The content of consciousness is defined by information encoded on the screen. The perceiving consciousness of the observer exists at a point in space that is empty of all content. Consciousness in-and-of-itself exists at a perceiving point in space that is empty of all information content, which is to say the observer itself exists in empty space. There is only an illusion of things existing in space due to holographic projection from a holographic screen.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The observer does not really exist as something that appears in the virtual reality movie that it is perceiving from its point of view in empty space. In reality, the observer exists in empty space, and that perceiving point in space is empty of all things. Delusion arises when the observer believes itself to be something and identifies itself with something that it perceives in the virtual reality movie. The observer identifies itself with the personal form of its character in the movie. This kind of personal self-identification is a false belief the observer believes about itself, which is called a self-concept. The observer actively believes that it is a person in the virtual reality movie it is perceiving because that is where it actively focuses its attention.

The observer not only perceives the form of things projected as images from the screen, but also perceives the flow of energy that animates those things. As Jed McKenna points out, this flow of animating energy is the nature of the emotional energy that animates the form of the observer’s character in the virtual reality it perceives. The perception of this flow of animating energy, perceived as an emotional body feeling, is what makes the observer feel like it is a part of something real. The observer really feels self-limited to the animated form of its character as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates its character. That feeling of emotional self-limitation is what leads the observer to emotionally identify itself with its character, but also emotionally compels the observer to defend the survival of its character as though its existence depends on it.

This emotional feeling the observer has about itself that its existence depends on the survival of its character in the virtual reality movie it is perceiving is the big lie at the heart of its personal self-identification with the emotionally animated form of its character. This is the big lie at the heart of the hypnotic spell of the observer’s personal self-identification. This lie is the reason the observer’s focus of attention is monopolized by all the emotional concerns the observer has about the welfare and survival of its character, which is to say the observer’s focus of attention has become emotionally biased by those emotional concerns. That emotional bias in the observer’s focus of attention is what perpetuates the hypnotic spell of personal self-identification with its character and actively generates all the false beliefs the observer believes about itself. This is an active process of self-delusion that can only arise when the observer actively focuses its attention on the survival of its character in an emotionally biased way, which leads to the expression of more personally biased self-defensive emotions that reinforce the observer’s emotional sense of personal self-identification with its character and thereby perpetuate the hypnotic spell.

As Jed McKenna succinctly points out: to know the lie is to hate it; to see it is to slay it. It is natural to hate the lie of personal self-identification when one comes to know with certainty that one is not a person and all personal self-concepts are only false beliefs that one believes about oneself. One can never be any concept that one can perceive and understand, which is to say the true nature of consciousness cannot be conceptualized. It is also natural to destroy the lie when one clearly sees that the lie is only an illusion of what one really is. When one directly sees the illusion as an illusion, one loses interest in paying attention to it, and it is as though the illusion doesn’t even exist. One just ignores it. One no longer emotionally animates the illusion with one’s investment of emotional energy in it when one no longer pays any attention to it. Without that emotional energy, the illusion dies away. Jed McKenna calls this process of awakening to the truth of what one really is a process of ego death as a means to no-self. One is destroying one’s own self-concept. Freud described this self-destructive process as the death instinct. To awaken to the truth of what one really is, one must first die to all false concepts one has about oneself.

The Ten Bulls of Zen are a set of instructions about how to break this hypnotic spell of personal self-identification. These instructions are in the form of a roadmap that gives directions about which way to travel in the awakening process, which is very much like a journey one makes. The only difficult thing about understanding these instructions is they are not about looking outward at the world or making a journey in the world, but rather about looking within and making an inward journey. The observer itself, which is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness, has to look within to discover the true nature of what it really is. The observer must turn the focus of its attention away from the world it perceives and look within to discover its true nature.

The Ten Bulls

Introduction (adapted from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones)

The enlightenment for which Zen aims, for which Zen exists, comes of itself. As consciousness, one moment it does not exist, the next it does. But physical man walks in the element of time even as he walks in mud, dragging his feet and his true nature.

So even Zen must compromise and recognize progressive steps of awareness leading closer to the ever instant of enlightenment.

The bull is the eternal principal of life, truth in action. The ten bulls represent subsequent steps in the realization of one’s true nature.

The Search for the Bull

Comment: The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

Modern physics tells us the world does not exist as an objective reality. Quantum physics tells us the world only exists in a state of potentiality until observed. Only at the moment of observation does the world come into an actual state of existence. The moment of observation is always now, as in the present moment. The way this is formulated in quantum theory is to express the quantum state of the world as a sum over all possible actual states, where each possible state is weighted with a probability amplitude that is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. This sum over all possible states can always be reformulated as a sum over all possible paths through some configuration space of possible states. This reformulation of the quantum state in terms of a sum over all possible paths through a configuration space is called the Feynman sum over all paths.

Sum Over all Possible Paths Formulation of the Quantum State

Each possible path is weighted with a probability factor that is the essence of the wavefunction. The quantum state of the world understood in this way tells us that the world only exists in a state of potentiality until observed. Only at the moment of observation does the world exist in an actual state. That actual state is described by a specific path through the configuration space of all possible states. The observation of an actual state must be observed by an observer, which for lack of a better description we can call the quantum observer. The quantum observer must be present now, in the present moment, to observe that actual state of the world as it appears now.

This quantum description of the world tells us that there is no such thing as objective reality. There is no such thing as an objective world out there that exists independent of an observer. The observation of the world by the quantum observer as the world actually appears to exist now can only appear to exist in a subject-object relation. Whatever the observer observes about the world can only have a subjective kind of existence that depends on the observer observing the actual state of the world as it appears to exist now. This actual state of the world as it appears to exist now is comprised of both the form of distinct things that appear in the world and the flow of energy that animates those forms. Both the form of things and flow of energy that animates things are aspects of the quantum state of the world. When the observer observes an actual state of the world as it appears to exist now, the observer is observing both the form of distinct things that appear in the world and the flow of energy that animates those things.

Confusion arises when we mistakenly assume that the perceivable form of a person in the world is the observer of that world. This kind of mistake is called a paradox of self-reference, which is a logical error in our understanding of the nature of the world. Any scientific or mathematical formulation of the nature of the world is logically inconsistent if we make such a logical error. This isn’t just idle speculation, but has been mathematically proven by the Godel incompleteness theorems. The only way a scientific formulation of the world can be logically consistent is if the observer of that world is outside of that observable world in the sense of mathematical logic.

If the observer of the world is not a person in the world, then what is it? The holographic principle tells us that the observer is a focal point of pure perceiving consciousness that arises at a point of view in empty space in relation to a holographic screen that projects all the images of things that can appear in space. The holographic images that appear in space are an illusion that arises from the way information is encoded on the holographic screen. The images of things that appear in space are forms of information encoded on the screen and projected from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The form of a person is just another one of these projected images.

Confusion arises because it really seems like the person is an observer of its own world, but as is well known, appearances are deceiving. The illusory holographic appearances that are deceiving the real observer are forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s point of view in empty space. All the information for the form of things that appear in space is encoded on the screen. The observer itself cannot be characterized by any form of information, but only as a focal point of pure perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to the screen.

Confusion arises because the observer is perceiving both of the form of things and the flow of energy that animates things. The observer is perceiving things through the organs of sensory perception of a body. Those perceptions include sensory perceptions of the world external to the body, like sight and sound, internal perceptions of the body, like emotional feelings, and internal perceptions of mental imagination, like thoughts and memories. The surface of the body seems to create a boundary between internal and external, but in reality everything perceivable is external to the observer. Everything perceivable is a form of information projected like an image from the screen and animated in the flow of energy. The boundary of a body only creates an illusion that the embodied form of a person is an observer of the external state of its world and its internal emotional and mental state. The observer only feels like it is limited to the personal form of a body as it perceives self-limiting emotional body feelings. That emotional feeling creates a sense of personal self-limitation to a body, leading to personal self-identification. In reality, everything perceivable is external to the observer, which can only be characterized as a focal point of pure perceiving consciousness that arises in empty space in relation to a holographic screen.

How does the observer’s observation of an actual state of the world occur? Quantum theory has something very specific to say about how an observation occurs. The quantum state of the world is described as a state of potentiality, but in the act of observing the world, that potentiality is reduced to an actual state. In the sense of the sum over all possible paths, an actual path is chosen from the sum. The observation of an actual path is always a choice that chooses an actual path from the potentiality inherent in the sum over all possible paths of the quantum state.

How is this choice made? The answer quantum theory gives is the choice is made randomly, like flipping a coin or throwing dice. The reason quantum theory gives this answer is the laws of physics, like the law of gravity, are only inherent in the quantum state in terms of the probability amplitudes that weigh each possible path in the sum over all possible paths. The probability amplitudes are determined by an action principle, and the laws of physics are inherent in the action principle. The action principle is determining the quantum wavefunction. The laws of physics are always expressed as a principle of least action. A classical law of physics, like the classical law of gravity, is understood as the path of least action, which is like the shortest distance between two points in the configuration space of all possible paths. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is the classical path.

The problem is the quantum state as formulated by a sum over all possible paths, which is like a probability distribution, only gives rise to the path of least action as the most likely path if that path is chosen from the quantum state in a random way, without bias. The observation of any path is like a measurement of the probability distribution, and that measurement is only reliable if that path is chosen from the quantum state in an unbiased way. The path of least action is only observed as the most likely path if choices are made randomly. If bias arises in the way choices are made, then all bets are off and the laws of physics lose their predictability. If bias arises in the way choices are made, then to continue the gambling analogy, the game is rigged.

An even more important question than how the choices are made is who is making the choices? The obvious answer if the observer is making the choices. The observer is choosing which path it will follow through the configuration space of all possible states. Every actual state the observer can observe is a choice on the observer’s path. The observer chooses what it observes in its world with each of its observations, which is the same as choosing which path it will follow.

How does the observer make its choices? The obvious answer is the observer makes its choices with its focus of attention. The observer’s choice is synonymous with the observer’s focus of attention. This is where physics can no longer help us understand the nature of things for the simple reason that physicists do not want to talk about consciousness. It is the focus of attention of consciousness itself that is making its choices about what to observe and which path to follow.

This way of understanding the observer’s focus of attention as the nature of choice allows for an understanding of the life-force. The quantum state of potentiality that describes the observer’s world includes the potential for the form of all possible distinct things that can appear in that world and the potential for all possible ways energy can flow through that world as those things appear to be animated in the flow of energy. With each observation of an actual state of its world, the observer observes both the form of things that appear in that world and the flow of energy that animates those things. Each such observation the observer makes of its world is a choice that chooses the actual form of things and the actual flow of energy that animates things.

The observer’s choice about what to observe in its world and which path to follow through its world is the nature of the life-force. The life-force arises because the observer is making choices about what to observe in its world and which path to follow, but the life-force can only arise because the observer is focusing its attention on whatever it is choosing. The life-force can only arise with the focus of attention of the observer itself. Consciousness itself must focus its attention on its world in order to express the life-force in its world. It is the focus of attention of the observer itself that makes the expression of the life-force possible.

This way of understanding the life-force allows us to understand the metaphor of the bull in the Tens Bulls of Zen. The bull is a metaphor for the life-force, which can only arise with the focus of attention of consciousness itself. As the consciousness of the observer focuses its attention on the world it perceives, it makes possible the expression of the life-force in that world. The life-force is the actual flow of energy that is animating the actual form of things in that world, which only becomes possible when consciousness itself focuses its attention on its world.

The Ten Bulls is also a metaphor for awakening to the true nature of what one really is. It is consciousness itself that is discovering its true nature. The first step in the awakening process is called The Search for the Bull. It is consciousness itself that must redirect its focus of attention away from the world it perceives and look within to discover its true nature. The life-force is only active in the observer’s world because the observer’s focus of attention is directed outwardly as it observes that world. In the awakening process, the observer must withdraw its attention away from the world it perceives, which has the effect of withdrawing the energy of its life-force away from that world. That energy must be redirected inwardly as the observer looks within. The process of looking within, which is the first step in the awakening process, is the redirection of the observer’s focus of attention or life-force onto its own true nature as consciousness itself.

This understanding of the life-force is about as far as we can go with the conventional way of understanding quantum theory. Conventional quantum theory is perfectly fine for understanding the flow of energy, but it does not really help much in terms of understanding the form of things. In order to understand the form of things, we not only need to understand the nature of energy, but we also need to understand the nature of information. The holographic principle is what allows us to understand the nature of information that in inherent in the form of all things.

The conventional formulation of quantum theory is very specific in terms of how it allows us to understand the nature of energy. This conventional understanding is called the point particle formulation of physics. In this formulation of particle physics, there is an assumption that the world is composed of point particles that exist in space and time. A point particle is located at some point in space and moves through space over the course of time. Particles carry energy because they move through space, which is called kinetic energy, and because they interact with each other through some kind of attractive or repulsive force, which is called potential energy.

The most mathematically sophisticated formulation of particle physics is called quantum field theory (QFT). A quantum field is the probability amplitude that specifies the probability with which a particle can be measured at some point in space at some moment of time. Every particle has it own quantum field, which plays the role of the quantum wavefunction. In QFT, there are both matter particles, like the electron, and force particles, like the photon. The quantum field that describes the electron is called the Dirac field, and the quantum field that describes the photon is called the electromagnetic field. The Dirac field is characterized by the Dirac equation and the electromagnetic field is characterized by Maxwell’s equations. The electron carries mass, which is characterized by mass energy, but also carries other quantized properties such as spin angular momentum and electric charge. The photon is massless and chargeless, but also carries spin angular momentum. Electrons are conceptualized to interact with each other through the electromagnetic force by exchanging photons. These ideas can be generalized to include all the nuclear particles and nuclear forces. In this way, QFT has successfully characterized all the matter particles and their interactions through the electromagnetic and nuclear forces.

There is a little problem with this formulation of particle physics with QFT. The problem is gravity. In Einstein’s formulation of general relativity, gravity is understood as the curvature of space-time geometry, which is not static, but is dynamical and allowed to change like everything else in the world. The problem is QFT assumes a special kind of static space-time geometry, which is called flat Minkowski space. Flat means it has no curvature, and therefore no gravity, since gravity is conceptualized as the curvature of space-time geometry. The problem is QFT assumes particles can be localized at some point in space at some moment of time. The quantum field of a particle is the probability amplitude that specifies how likely a particle can be localized at a point in space at some moment of time. This assumption only makes sense if space-time geometry is static like flat Minkowski space. If space-time geometry is allowed to be dynamical and curved, then the force of gravity is active and all hell breaks loose.

Curved Space-Time Geometry

This problem is epitomized by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is a measure of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity. If we treat the space-time metric like any other quantum field, such as the electromagnetic field for the photon, the space-time metric is the quantum field that specifies the probability amplitude for measuring the graviton, which is the force particle of gravity, at some point in space at some moment of time. The problem is the space-time metric is also specifying the dynamical nature of the curvature of that space-time geometry. We are trying to use the space-time metric both as a quantum field to determine a probability amplitude for where the graviton can be measured at a point in space at some moment of time and as a way to specify the nature of that dynamical space-time geometry. The problem is we can’t have it both ways. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. Either the space-time metric can be understood as a quantum field for the graviton or it can be understood to specify the nature of the space-time geometry within which the quantum fields of all particles must make reference to, but it can’t do both. The space-time metric can’t specify both the space-time geometry stage upon which the quantization of all particle fields play out and the quantization of the graviton field that must play out on the same stage. QFT only makes sense if we assume a static space-time geometry like flat Minkowski space, but then QFT has no notion of the nature of gravity. There is no way to understand gravity as a QFT.

The problem of trying to understand the space-time metric as a quantum field is that space-time geometry is the stage upon which all the drama of quantum theory is performed. Particles follow paths through space-time. When we measure the position of a particle at some point in space and at some moment of time, that measurement is an event in space-time. The wavefunction is only a probability amplitude that specifies the probability with which that event can be measured.

The problem is Einstein’s theory of general reality tells us that space-time geometry is the stage upon which the drama of a quantized space-time geometry must be performed. Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric determine the curvature of that space-time geometry, but the space-time metric is also the wavefunction for the motion of a particle we call the graviton that follows some path through that curved space-time geometry. Can we have it both ways? Is space-time geometry really a fundamental description of the physical world? Obviously not.

This problem is only compounded when we consider the problem of black holes as predicted by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. A black hole is a gravitational hole in space-time geometry. This sounds weird since gravity is the curvature of space-time geometry, but this gravitational curvature allows for holes in space-time geometry. A black hole is a region of space-time where the force of gravity has become so strong that even light cannot escape from that region. Since a light ray conceptualized as a photon carries energy, and all mass and energy cause gravitational attraction since energy is equivalent to mass, even light is attracted by the force of gravity. The force of gravity for a black hole is so strong that even light cannot escape its gravitational attraction. The region of space called a black hole is a hole in space-time geometry that is characterized by a bounding surface, which is called an event horizon. At the surface of the black hole’s event horizon, the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape.

Black Hole Event Horizon

Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric determine the radius R of the event horizon of a black hole of mass M as R=2GM/c2, where G is the gravitational constant and c is the speed of light. No signal that originates from within the event horizon can escape from the black hole since the force of gravity is so strong at the event horizon that even light cannot escape and nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. All the things that apparently fell into the black hole are trapped inside the black hole forever and can never communicate with the outside world.

In the 1970’s, both Jakob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking tried to understand black holes as thermodynamic objects. A thermodynamic object is something characterized by a total energy, E, a temperature, T, and an entropy, S. The total energy is well understood in quantum theory in terms of the total amount of kinetic and potential energy of all the particles that comprise the object. The temperature is understood in terms of the average amount of random kinetic energy per each dynamical degree of freedom that characterizes the object. For a collection of particles inside an object, each dynamical degree of freedom can be conceptualized as a particle coordinate, such as the particle’s position in space at some moment of time and the particle’s velocity or momentum through space over the course of time. The entropy is understood in terms of the total number of dynamical degrees of freedom that characterize the object.

At thermal equilibrium, which is defined when the temperature is constant and there is no net flow of energy between the object and its environment, these quantities satisfy the second law of thermodynamics, ΔE=TΔS, which relates a change in total energy ΔE of the object to a change in the entropy ΔS of the object. This equation is easy to understand if we conceptualize the total number of dynamical degrees of freedom inside the object in terms of quantized bits of information, similar to the bits of information encoded inside a computer. This is a natural way to understand entropy in quantum theory since the dynamical degrees of freedom of elementary particles, like spin and orbital angular momentum and quantized energy levels, are typically quantized in terms of some integer quantum number. The total number of dynamical degrees of freedom can therefore be represented by an integer n, which can be conceptualized as specifying a total number of bits of information. An example of such a bit of information is the spin angular momentum of a spin ½ particle like the electron, which can only point up or down and therefore specifies information in a binary code like a computer switch that is either on or off. In terms of the total number of bits of information n, entropy can be written as S=kn, where k is Boltzmann’s constant. The temperature is defined in terms of the average amount of thermal energy per degree of freedom, which is written as kT, and so a change in the total energy is related to a change in the total number of degrees of freedom or entropy as ΔE=TΔS. This makes sense, since if Δn=1, then ΔE=kT, which is the average amount of thermal energy per degree of freedom.

A black hole of mass M has a total energy of E=Mc2. The things that fell into the black hole as the black hole formed were all thermodynamic objects characterized by a temperature and an entropy, like a burnt-out star that gravitationally collapses into a black hole, and so a black hole should also have a characterization as a thermodynamic object in terms of temperature and entropy. This was the problem that Jakob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking considered. What they discovered revolutionized our ideas about the fundamental nature of dynamical degrees of freedom, which eventually led to the discovery of the holographic principle.

Hawking was able to calculate the temperature of the event horizon of a black hole. He used quantum field theory to calculate the vacuum energy of a quantum field in the vicinity of the event horizon, and discovered the event horizon emitted a kind of thermal radiation characteristic of a hot object at thermal equilibrium, which is called blackbody radiation. The vacuum energy of a quantum field undergoes quantum fluctuations in the form of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs that are spontaneously created by the vacuum and then rapidly annihilate back into the vacuum. Hawking discovered that as observed by a distant observer outside the event horizon, something very strange appeared to happen. The strange thing that appeared to happen was the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the distant observer. When a virtual particle-antiparticle pair is created near the event horizon, one member of the pair can fall across the event horizon and disappear into the black hole, while the other member of the pair can travel toward the distant observer outside the event horizon and be observed as a particle of thermal radiation. The distant observer will observe a spectrum of thermal radiation characteristic of blackbody radiation from a hot object with a temperature T. This thermal radiation from the event horizon of a black hole is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking was able to calculate the temperature of the event horizon in terms of the radius R of the event horizon as kT=ħc/4πR, where ħ is Planck’s constant and R is given in terms of the mass M of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. This temperature can be written in terms of the acceleration due to gravity at the event horizon, a=GM/R2, in the form of an Unruh temperature, kT=ħa/2πc.

We’re now in a position to calculate the entropy of the black hole. We simply use the second law of thermodynamics ΔE=TΔS, Hawking’s formula for the temperature of the event horizon in the form of an Unruh temperature kT=ħa/2πc, and the total energy of the black hole E=Mc2. Since the acceleration due to gravity at the event horizon is given as a=GM/R2, the entropy S must be proportional to the surface area, A=4πR2, of the event horizon. If we write S=kn=kA/4ℓ2, then ΔS=kΔA/4ℓ2, where ΔA=8πRΔR. Since we can write ΔR=2GΔM/c2 and use kT=ħc/4πR, then ΔE=ΔMc2=TΔS=(ħc/4πR)(8πR)(2GΔM/c2)/4ℓ2=(ħG/c3)(ΔMc2)/ℓ2, and we can identify ℓ2=ћG/c3, which is called the Planck area, where the Planck length ℓ is about 1.6 x 10−33 centimeters.

Planck Length

This is an amazing result. The number of quantized dynamical degrees of freedom or bits of information that characterize a black hole is proportional to the surface area of the event horizon as n=A/4ℓ2. It is as though the event horizon is covered with pixels about the size of a Planck area and each pixel encodes a bit of information. This way of encoding information on an event horizon in terms of a bit of information per Planck size pixel is called the holographic principle.

Information/Entropy Encoded on a Black Hole Event Horizon

This result is also weird. The things that fell into the black hole were also characterized by entropy or quantized dynamical degrees of freedom. Since those things fell into the black hole, it would seem the entropy of the black hole should be proportional to the volume of the black hole, not to the surface area of the event horizon, but that’s not what the math says. The math is telling us that the fundamental nature of the quantized dynamical degrees of freedom that characterize all things, including black holes, do not actually exist within those things, but rather exist on a bounding surface of space, like an event horizon. The bounding surface acts like a holographic screen that encodes bits of information, where the pixel size is about a Planck area. The appearance of something in three dimensional space is something of a holographic illusion that arises from holographic projection, like an image projected from a screen to the point of view of an observer. All the bits of information are encoded on a two dimensional holographic screen.

Observer’s Holographic Screen

There is something else that is weird about this result. The nature of holographic projection is observer dependent. Holographic projection can only arise in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The distant observer outside the event horizon of a black hole is in an accelerated frame of reference due to the gravitational attraction of the black hole. To avoid being pulled into the black hole by the force of gravity, the distant observer must accelerate away from the black hole with an acceleration that is equal to the acceleration due to gravity the black hole is exerting on the observer. If the observer is in a rocketship, the thrusters of the rocketship must exert an equal but opposite acceleration that opposes the acceleration due to gravity for the rocketship to remain in a stationary position. The stationary observer only observes thermal radiation from the event horizon of the black hole because the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference.

What about a freely falling observer that falls through the event horizon? What does the freely falling observer observe? The strange answer is nothing. For the freely falling observer, the event horizon is only an imaginary surface in space, which has no temperature and radiates no thermal radiation. Particles of thermal radiation do not exist for the freely falling observer, only for the stationary observer outside the event horizon in an accelerated frame of reference.

How is this possible? How can particles of thermal radiation appear to exist for the stationary observer in an accelerated frame of reference outside the event horizon but not for the freely falling observer that falls through the event horizon? The answer is holographic projection is observer dependent and depends on the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The thermal energy of the thermal radiation observed by the accelerated observer literally arises from the observer’s acceleration, which gives rise to the temperature of the event horizon. Even the event horizon, understood as a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light as a means of information transfer in three dimensional space, only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The holographic encoding of bits of information on the event horizon can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The whole geometric mechanism that leads to holographic projection is observer dependent as it depends on the observer’s acceleration.

The only way to understand what is going on here is to go back to the foundations of relativity theory. The central assumption of relativity theory is the principle of equivalence, which says every force is equivalent to an acceleration. The classic example is an observer in an accelerating rocketship. If that observer drops an object, the object will appear to accelerate towards the floor of the rocketship as observed by the accelerating observer, but this is really no different than an observer standing on the surface of the earth that drops an apple and watches the apple accelerate towards the ground. In the second case we say the force of gravity made the apple accelerate. In the first case we don’t say any such thing. There are no forces in the first case, only an accelerating rocket-ship that creates the appearance of falling objects accelerating relative to an accelerating observer. In some sense the force of gravity is an illusion that only arises because the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference.

Principle of Equivalence

The idea of relativity theory is based on the principle of relativity and the equivalence principle. The principle of relativity tells us that there is a maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space, which we call the speed of light. The speed of light is the same constant for all observers, independent of their state of relative motion. The equivalence principle tells us that the force of gravity is equivalent to an acceleration. When we lump all the so-called fundamental forces together in a theory of quantum gravity, the equivalence principle tells us that all forces are equivalent to accelerations. Einstein used these two principles to formulate the theory of general reality, which culminated in his field equations for the space-time metric.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

Relativity theory tells us the exertion of every force, like gravity, is equivalent to an accelerated frame of reference. The exertion of a force always implies the expenditure of energy, like a rocketship that must expend energy through the force of its thrusters as it accelerates through space. The force of gravity is always equivalent to an observer in an accelerating frame of reference, which requires the expenditure of energy.

In relativity theory, an observer is understood to be located at the central point of view of a frame of reference or at the origin of a coordinate system. From the observer’s own perspective, the observer does not move through space since space is defined in its own coordinate system, but if that frame of reference is accelerated, the observer will experience a force, which implies the expenditure of energy. From the perspective of another observer in another frame of reference, the accelerating observer appears to follow an accelerated world-line through the space-time geometry of the other observer. The accelerating observer’s observations in space are always limited by an event horizon, which is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space.

The observer’s horizon is a two-dimensional bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light through three dimensional space, even a light ray cannot cross the observer’s event horizon and reach the accelerating observer’s point of view, and so nothing is observable beyond the observer’s event horizon. If the observer stops its acceleration and enters into a freely falling frame of reference, which implies energy is no longer expended, the observer’s horizon apparently disappears and the observer’s observations in space are no longer limited, or so it would seem. The irony of the holographic principle is that when those observations become unlimited, nothing is observed.

Due to the limitation of the speed of light as a means of information transfer in three dimensional space, every observer in an accelerated frame of reference is surrounded by an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. The event horizon is as far out into space as the observer can see things in space. The event horizon is a bounding surface of space, which is understood to act as a holographic screen, like a computer screen. The holographic principle tells us that everything the observer can observe in space is a form of information that is encoded on the screen and that is projected like an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The observation of anything in space can only arise through a process of holographic projection, which is only possible in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

Every accelerating observer has its own event horizon, which limits its observations of things in space. The observer’s event horizon is observer-dependent in the sense it can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. For example, an observer in de Sitter space has a cosmic de Sitter horizon that arises due to the accelerated expansion of space. Even an observer in empty space that undergoes a constant acceleration has an event horizon called a Rindler horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space.

Accelerating Observer’s Horizon

Let’s go back to the problem of how particles of thermal radiation can appear to exist for an accelerating observer in a stationary position outside the event horizon of a black hole but not for a freely falling observer that falls through the event horizon. How can the two observers disagree about the nature of what exists? One possible answer is once the freely falling observer crosses the event horizon, there is no possibility of communication between the freely falling observer inside the black hole and accelerated external observer outside the black hole since no signal that originates from inside the black hole can ever cross the event horizon. The two observers cannot communicate with each other about their differing observations of what exists, and so there is no possibility of disagreement. This question about what really exists becomes meaningless.

The principle of equivalence tells us that every frame of reference has equal validity. There is no absolute or preferred frame of reference. What the accelerated external observer observes is just as valid as what the freely falling observer observes. The problem is the accelerated external observer observes a black hole event horizon that appears to have a temperature and radiate Hawking radiation, while the freely falling observer doesn’t observe any of this stuff. As far as the freely falling observer is concerned, what the accelerating observer observes doesn’t exist.

The key point that allows for a solution to this puzzle is the accelerating observer observes an event horizon that limits its observation of things in space while the freely falling observer has no such limitation of its observations. The holographic principle tells us that the accelerating observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen that allows for the perception of Hawking radiation. The freely falling observer has no holographic screen and observes nothing.

The ultimate solution to this puzzle is the holographic principle. In the strict sense of ontology, nothing perceivable really exists. Everything perceivable is only a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer. The perceivable things are all forms of information that are encoded on the holographic screen. The perception of anything is like the projection of an image from the holographic screen to the point of view of the observer. These perceptions are illusory in the same sense the projection of movie images from a movie screen to an observer out in the movie audience is illusory. The observer itself is not a perceivable thing, but can only be described in the sense of perceiving consciousness that arises at a point of view in relation to the screen. Consciousness itself is not a perceivable thing. Consciousness is what perceives things. We can’t say what consciousness is in the framework of perceivable things because it isn’t a perceivable thing.

Appearances are deceiving because of the way information is encoded for the appearance of things on a holographic screen. Things are characterized by information, but that information does not actually exist within things. The information that characterizes the appearance of things does not actually exist inside of things. Instead, all information is encoded on a holographic screen. The appearance of anything in three dimensional space is a holographic projection of the image of that thing from a holographic screen to the point of view of the observer of that image. The projected images of things correspond to the organization of forms of information on the holographic screen. When the observer observes the image of anything, there is only the appearance of that thing actually existing in three dimensional space in the sense of holographic projection. When something appears to fall into a black hole, that’s only another appearance that results from holographic projection. When the black hole appears to radiate Hawking radiation, that’s only another appearance that results from holographic projection. No matter what appears to happen, the information for those happenings is always encoded on the holographic screen.

Holographic Projection

The perceivable things are all holographic projections from the holographic screen, where all the information for those things is encoded. Different observers in different frames of reference can observe different things due to the nature of holographic projection. Different observers can disagree about the nature of what appears to exist since what appears to exist is only an illusory holographic projection. Every observer is observing the form of things as projected from its own holographic screen. Those perceptions don’t necessarily need to agree since the way information is encoded and organized on different screens can be different for different observers.

The fact that different observers can observe different things and can even disagree about what appears to exist is not surprising since that is a natural consequence of the holographic principle. What is surprising is that different observers can share a consensual reality and can agree about anything. Again, the holographic principle suggests a solution. Each observer observes events as projected from its own holographic screen, but in the sense of a Venn diagram those screens can overlap and share information, much like the kind of information sharing we see in a network of computer screens, like the internet. A consensual reality shared among different observers becomes possible with information sharing among overlapping holographic screens.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space

When Susskind and ‘t Hooft first proposed the holographic principle it was only a good idea in search of a more rigorous mathematical solution, which was soon discovered with the AdS/CFT correspondence. This rigorous mathematical solution about the nature of a holographic screen was possible because of the special properties of anti-de Sitter space, which is a geometric space that only has a single boundary, called an anti-de Sitter event horizon, and a single central point of singularity, which is the central point of view of an observer. The anti-de Sitter horizon is the observer’s holographic screen. The special properties of anti-de Sitter space is what reduces the complexity of the problem and makes an exact mathematical solution possible. In anti-de Sitter space, we don’t have to worry about differing observations of different observers because there aren’t any. In anti-de Sitter space there is only a single observer and a single holographic screen.

In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes the perceivable world in terms of shadows projected on the wall of a cave. Plato describes a source of light that projects shadows on the wall of the cave and describes prisoners that perceive these projected shadows and identify themselves with the shadows. In this allegory, the cave is the observable universe and the wall of the cave is a cosmic horizon that defines the boundary of the observable universe relative to an observer at the central point of view of the observable universe. As a cosmic horizon, the wall of the cave limits the observer’s observations of things in space. In the sense of the holographic principle, the wall of the cave acts as a holographic screen that projects the perceivable images of all things in the observer’s world to the observer’s central point of view. These projected images are forms of information, which Plato refers to as shadows. The projecting light is the light of consciousness and the observer is the perceiving consciousness. Plato refers to the observer as a prisoner since the observer identifies itself with the projected image of a shadow it perceives.

In what sense are images projected from a holographic screen shadows? The formulation of the holographic principle in the AdS/CFT correspondence gives an answer. If all perceivable objects are really defined on a two dimensional holographic screen in terms of where all the fundamental bits of information are encoded, then where does the third dimension come from? An answer is given by the correspondence between conformal field theory (CFT) and gravity in anti-de Sitter space (AdS). The perception of gravity in a bounded region of anti-de Sitter space is equivalent to a conformal field theory encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The perception of a third dimension arises from the Weyl symmetry of the conformal field theory. Conformal invariance is not a symmetry of space-time geometry the way Lorentz invariance is a symmetry of flat Minkowski space, but is a symmetry of the space-time metric that measures the curvature of space-time geometry. Conformal invariance allows anti-de Sitter space to become a holographic space in the sense that whatever appears to happen in that space is a holographic projection from the bounding surface, where all the information for those happenings is encoded, to the central point of view of the observer that perceives those happenings.

Weyl symmetry of the space-time metric is what gives rise to the perception of a third dimension. Conformal invariance is inherently a symmetry of the changing size of objects, which are forms of information. Conformal symmetry is also inherent in the geometric structure of fractals, which appear the same or self-similar no matter the distance scale at which one looks at them. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, all objects in space exhibit conformal symmetry. As objects in space appear to move toward or away from the point of view of an observer and appear to grow larger or smaller in size, the way bits of information are encoded for the objects on the bounding surface of that space also grow larger or smaller in size in perfect proportions of three dimensional perception. It is as though a light is projecting a shadow of the object onto a screen, and that shadow is growing larger or smaller in size as the object moves toward or away from the observer. The holographic principle is telling us that the shadow is the nature of the perception of objects. Objects don’t really exist in three dimensional space except as holographic projections. Their shadows only exist in terms of the information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface. This way of describing the appearance of objects in space as shadows projected on a wall is eerily similar to how Plato describes objects in the Allegory of the Cave.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a metaphor for the holographic principle. In the Allegory, Plato described a cave. The cave is a metaphor for the observable world. The cave has a wall. The wall is a metaphor for the boundary of the observable world. The observable world has a boundary because every observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. The wall of the cave acts as a screen, like a movie screen. Inside the cave there is a source of light that projects images on the wall of the cave, like a movie projector. Also inside the cave are observers that observe the images projected on the wall of the cave, like observers in a movie audience watching movie images projected from the screen. Plato called the observers prisoners because they’re identifying themselves with the images they’re observing. The observers have mistakenly taken the images projected on the screen for themselves and don’t know who they really are. They’ve mistakenly identified themselves with a projected image they perceive and are confused about who they really are.

This sounds weird, but that’s because the holographic principle is weird. The only way we can understand what Plato is saying is to understand the metaphor. The cave is the observable world and the wall of the cave is the boundary of the observable world. That boundary acts as a holographic screen that projects holographic images to the observers in the cave. Everything observable in the cave is a holographic image projected from the screen. What does that make the observers? Are the observers people? The answer is no. The observable image of a person is just another holographic image projected from the wall of the cave. Just like in relativity theory all we can say is the observer is a point of view that corresponds to an accelerated frame of reference. We’ll come back to this later, but the wall of the cave is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Since nothing is observable beyond the event horizon, the event horizon defines the observer’s observable world. It’s the event horizon that acts as the holographic screen. The observer itself is only a point of view at the origin of a coordinate system that defines an accelerated frame of reference. If we want to get fancy about it, we can say the observer is the perceiving consciousness that is present at that point of view.

What about the images? Is there really a movie projector with film inside the projector? The answer is no. The projected images are forms of information. The holographic principle is telling us that the movie screen is really a holographic screen that encodes bits of information in some fundamental way. The holographic screen arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and encodes bits of information due to some kind of fundamental encoding mechanism. We’ll come back to this mechanism latter, but suffice it to say, it is a geometric mechanism. The projected images are forms of information organized on the holographic screen.

What about the light that is projecting the images on the wall of the cave. Is that physical light? The answer is no. To continue the metaphor, the projecting light is not physical light but the light of consciousness. We usually don’t think about consciousness this way, but consciousness has both an outgoing projecting aspect and an incoming perceiving aspect. We call the perceiving aspect of consciousness the observer. The best name for the outgoing projecting aspect of consciousness is the light of consciousness. In a twisted way, the reason why the observers are identifying themselves with the images they’re observing is because they’re also projecting those images with their own light of consciousness. It’s only a projection of their own bullshit.

Genesis tells us that in the beginning, God divided the light from the darkness. The light that Genesis refers to is the light of consciousness. Genesis also say the spirit of God moved over the face of the deep. The spirit of God is the observer in the sense of the perceiving consciousness, just as the projecting light is the light of consciousness. The source of both the perceiving consciousness and the light of consciousness is the darkness. The darkness is also consciousness, but it can’t be described as either perceiving consciousness or the light of consciousness. It’s the source of both. For lack of a better name, it can be called the source consciousness. When Genesis says God divided the light from the darkness, this implies the source is undivided. The source consciousness is one undivided consciousness. In order to create an observable world that is observed by an observer, the observer’s perceiving consciousness and the projecting light of consciousness must be divided from the undivided source consciousness. In some sense, the observer’s perceiving consciousness and the projecting light of consciousness are fragments of the undivided source consciousness. This act of division or fragmentation gives rise to individuality. Individual consciousness is always divided off from its undivided source. Individual consciousness has an outgoing projecting nature, which is the light of consciousness, and an incoming perceiving nature, which is the observer. The source of consciousness cannot be described in either of these ways because it is undivided. The undivided source of consciousness has no individuality, and has neither an outgoing projecting nor an incoming perceiving aspect.

When Genesis says the spirit of God moved over the face of the deep, this is a metaphor for the holographic principle. The spirit of God is the observer in an accelerated reference frame. The motion of the observer is its acceleration. The face of the deep is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The face of the deep is the wall of Plato’s cave. The deep or the darkness or the abyss or the void is a way of describing the undivided source of consciousness in the sense of negation, or what it isn’t. It isn’t possible to describe what it is. Before the observer’s observable world was created, there was only formless darkness or void. The observable world was only created because the consciousness of the observer was divided from the undivided source of consciousness, just like the light of consciousness was divided from the darkness. That observable world is always defined on a holographic screen, which is the face of the deep. The light of consciousness is projecting images of that world from the screen back to the observer, where the projected images are perceived. The whole thing is twisted since the observer only perceives images if its own light of consciousness projects them.

Observer’s Holographic Screen

The AdS/CFT correspondence mathematically proves the holographic principle applies to any world described by anti-de Sitter space. This is a mathematical proof, not just idle speculation. The problem is the world we apparently find ourself to exist within is not anti-de Sitter space, but de Sitter space. Anti-de Sitter space arises as a solution to Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric with a negative cosmological constant. In Einstein’s theory, gravity is a locally attractive force that arises from the local contraction of space. A negative cosmological constant gives rise to a globally attractive force that causes the global contraction of space. In a heuristic sense, anti-de Sitter space arises from the accelerated contraction of space.

Anti-de Sitter space is weird. In a strict mathematical sense, the distance from the central point of singularity to the anti-de Sitter event horizon is infinite, but due to the accelerated contraction of anti-de Sitter space, it takes light a finite amount of time to travel this infinite distance. In a strict mathematical sense, the anti-de Sitter event horizon is a boundary at infinity, but in the sense of the holographic principle, it encodes a finite amount of information for everything that can appear to happen within that bounded region of space. In a very deep sense, anti-de Sitter space is unphysical since it is mixing up the finite with the infinite. This is not a physical space.

The problem with anti-de Sitter space is the negative value of the cosmological constant. The cosmological constant is understood as a vacuum energy, which is the energy of empty space. For a physical space, the lowest possible value of the vacuum energy is zero. A negative vacuum energy does not correspond to a physical space. It is possible in physics to have false vacuums that correspond to metastable states in which the vacuum energy is non-zero, but for these metastable states to be physical, the vacuum energy of these false vacuums must be positive.

The observational evidence is the observable physical universe does exist in a metastable or a false vacuum state with a positive vacuum energy. This positive vacuum energy is the measured cosmological constant, which in Planck units has a numerical value of about 10−123. This value is determined from observations of the rate with which distant galaxies are accelerating away from us, which corresponds to the accelerated expansion of space. There is also evidence from observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the big bang event that early in the history of the universe the cosmological constant had a value of about 1.

Big Bang as the Accelerated Expansion of Space

There must be some mechanism that allows the false vacuum state of the observable physical universe to transition from a higher value of vacuum energy to a lower value of vacuum energy. This would be a transition from a less stable metastable state to a more stable metastable state. Such a transition must have occurred early in the history of the universe to reduce the initial value of the cosmological constant to its current measured value of about 10−123. There may have been more than one transition, and even more transitions may be possible since the most stable state is the true vacuum with a zero value of vacuum energy. The transition mechanism is unknown, but most likely it is a non-equilibrium process like a phase transition.

Metastable False Vacuum State

A non-zero positive value for the cosmological constant corresponds to a metastable state with a positive vacuum energy that through some unknown mechanism can decay into a more stable state with a lower energy. Since this vacuum energy is the energy of empty space, the lowest possible value that can correspond to a physical space is zero. A non-zero positive vacuum energy is a false vacuum, while a zero vacuum energy is the true vacuum. A negative vacuum energy is not physical, and cannot correspond to the physical universe.

The problem with the AdS/CFT correspondence is the kind of cosmological space we find ourselves within inside the physical universe is not anti-de Sitter space but de Sitter space. In relativity theory, anti-de Sitter space arises with a negative cosmological constant, which gives rise to a globally attractive force that corresponds to the accelerated contraction of space, while de Sitter space arises with a positive cosmological constant, which gives rise to a globally repulsive force that corresponds to the accelerated expansion of space. For various reasons, a positive cosmological constant is now called dark energy, and de Sitter space is understood as the accelerated expansion of space that arises as dark energy is expended.

As dark energy is expended, the observer at the central point of view enters into an accelerated frame of reference and space appears to expand away from the observer at an accelerated rate, faster the farther out the observer looks into space. At some point in space, space appears to expand away from the observer at the speed of light, and nothing is observable beyond that point, which defines the surface of the observer’s cosmic de Sitter horizon. The accelerated observer is surrounded by a cosmic horizon, which is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things within that bounded region of space. Nothing is observable beyond the observer’s cosmic horizon due to the accelerated expansion of space, which in relativity theory is understood as an exponentially expanding universe.

Accelerated Expansion of Space

As dark energy is expended, the observer at the central point of view enters into an accelerated frame of reference and space appears to expand away from the observer at an accelerated rate, faster the farther out the observer looks into space. This accelerated observer is then surrounded by a cosmic or de Sitter horizon, which is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things within that bounded region of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes all the bits of information for all the observable things the observer can observe in that bounded region of space. The observation of anything within that bounded region of space is a holographic projection from the screen to the observer’s central point of view, which is at the center of that bounded space.

The AdS/CFT correspondence explicitly demonstrates the holographic principle in anti-de Sitter space, but for various technical reasons cannot be generalized to de Sitter space. However, this correspondence is a special case of non-commutative geometry, and generic non-commutative geometry can be applied to de Sitter space, which is to say non-commutative geometry can be applied to the kind of space we find ourselves within inside the physical universe. Even fractal geometries can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry. Through the magic of non-commutative geometry, the holographic principle can be extended into de Sitter space.

It may seem like an arcane topic of discussion, but non-commutative geometry is the natural way to understand how space-time geometry is quantized. The natural kind of geometry for which non-commutative geometry can be applied is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, like an event horizon. Instead of localizing an infinite number of infinitesimal points on the surface of the horizon, with non-commutative geometry a finite number of quantized position coordinates are defined on the surface. In effect, each quantized position coordinate defined on the surface is smeared out into an area element, like a pixel on a screen, with a well-defined mathematical procedure for defining quantized position coordinates in terms of non-commuting variables.

In quantum gravity, the pixel size is about a Planck area, and the total number, n, of quantized position coordinates defined on the surface is given in terms of the surface area, A, as n=A/4ℓ2. Non-commutative geometry not only gives a mathematical procedure for how quantized position coordinates are defined on the surface in terms of non-commuting variables, but also explains how each quantized position coordinate acts like a pixel that encodes a bit of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s. The bounding surface typically encodes n bits of information as the n eigenvalues of an n x n matrix. Just as the two eigenvalues of an SU(2) matrix can explain how a spin ½ variable is quantized into spin up and spin down states, like a computer switch that is either on or off and encodes information in a binary code, the n eigenvalues of an n x n matrix can explain how n non-commuting variables defined on the surface encode n bits of information. The value of n corresponds to a spin S variable, where n=2S+1. Since the n x n matrix is a higher spin representation of an SU(2) matrix, it can also represent rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, like the spherical surface of an event horizon. Although the surface of the sphere is typically drawn as covered with pixels, each pixel encoding a bit of information, the pixels are actually defined by non-commuting variables in a rotationally invariant way.

Holographic Principle

Since all the information for a holographic world arises as the eigenvalues of an n x n matrix, all the bits of information are naturally entangled in the sense of quantum entanglement. All the paradoxes of quantum entanglement that Einstein referred to as spooky action at a distance have a natural explanation in terms of holographic projection. Entangled objects in a holographic world can appear to separate in distance, but the entangled bits of information that define those objects as encoded on a holographic screen do not separate, and so there is no paradox. The appearance of the separation of objects is an illusion that results from holographic projection.

Quantum Entanglement and Spooky Action at a Distance

Non-commutative geometry gives us a natural operational explanation for how the holographic principle comes into effect. Whenever non-commutative geometry is applied to a bounding surface of space as a way to define n quantized position coordinates on the bounding surface, the holographic principle is automatically in effect and the bounding surface encodes n bits of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s, typically as the n eigenvalues of an n x n matrix. Each non-commuting variable defined on the bounding surface acts like a pixel that encodes a bit of information. The bounding surface of space naturally arises as an event horizon whenever an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, such as a cosmic or de Sitter horizon that arises whenever dark energy is expended and space appears to expand at an accelerated rate away from the central point of view of the observer at the central point of singularity.

This operational explanation explains the nature of everything the observer can observe within the bounded space, which in effect defines the observer’s world. The nature of the observation of anything within the bounded space, which is the nature of everything the observer can observe within the bounded space that arises in its accelerated frame of reference, is a holographic projection from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a bounding surface of space, to its central point of view, which is the central point of singularity of that bounded space.

Remarkably, the holographic principle tells us that everything that can appear to happen from the point of view of an observer in any observable world, which is always a region of space that is bounded by a holographic screen that projects images of that world to the observer’s central point of view, is as though nothing happens. It is as though nothing happens because all the energy for those happenings exactly adds up to zero. This is possible in relativity theory since the negative potential energy of gravitational attraction can exactly cancel out all forms of positive energy. A holographic world is fundamentally a world that is equivalent to nothing. A holographic world is a world that consists of nothing more than forms of information projected like images from a screen to an observer’s point of view, and the animation of those images in the flow of energy. A holographic world is equivalent to nothing due to the nature of holographic projection.

Yin-Yang Balance

The normal flow of energy through the observer’s world is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which describes the random flow of thermal energy. Heat tends to flow from hotter to colder objects, and also from hotter states to colder states of the observer’s world. The observer’s world is not at thermal equilibrium, which is why heat flows. This is purely a statistical consequence of hotter objects tending to radiate away more heat. As heat flows in a thermal gradient, entropy, which is the disordering of information inherent in objects as a consequence of the randomization of thermal energy, tends to increase, which tends to disorder objects, like a piece of ice that becomes more disordered when it melts into water as heat flows into it and chemical bonds are broken, or the flow of heat from the sun to the earth which arises through the dispersion of photons into more randomized states. This normal flow of heat in a thermal gradient and the corresponding increase in entropy that accompanies the flow of heat is what gives rise to the normal flow of energy through the observer’s world.

Normal Flow of Energy in a Thermal Gradient

There is a competing process that tends to balance out the normal increase in entropy or disorder that occurs as heat flows in a thermal gradient. This balancing process is the tendency for coherent organization of information to develop, which allows for the organization of objects into distinct forms that coherently self-replicate their forms and for distinct forms to become inter-related. This tendency for coherent organization to develop is a natural aspect of a holographic world, since all the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen are entangled, typically as the n entangled eigenvalues of an n x n matrix that arises when a finite number of position coordinates are specified on the screen by non-commutative geometry. Entanglement of information implies that every distinct form of information that appears in the observer’s world through the projection of images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view is inherently related to every other distinct form of information. Entangled bits of information naturally tend to align over an animated sequence of holographic projections, and that alignment of information gives rise to the coherent organization of information. Coherence can even be seen on a piece of holographic film as an interference pattern.

This tendency for entangled bits of information to align or bind together is typical of quantum entanglement, like entangled spin variables that tend to align. This tendency for entangled spin variables to align over a sequence of quantum state reductions is demonstrated in a spin network. A holographic screen has that kind of underlying structure. This natural tendency for entangled bits of information to self-organize and form self-replicating distinct forms of information and for the development of inter-relationships between distinct forms is balanced out by the natural tendency for information to become disordered and entropy to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. The temporary and local organization of information into forms is possible in spite of the relentless tendency for entropy to globally increase and eventually disorganize all forms due to the possibility of entropy locally and temporarily decreasing while global entropy increases.

This local and temporary decrease in entropy is possible due to the addition of organizing potential energy to a form while disorganizing random kinetic energy or heat is radiated away from the form into the global environment. We call this addition of organizing potential energy to a form the process of forms eating other forms. The necessity for a life-form to add potential energy to itself by eating other life-forms is a necessary condition for the temporary organization of all life-forms. Life-forms can only survive as self-replicating forms if they eat other life-forms and avoid being eaten by other life-forms. This kind of energetic expression by a life-form is what we call an emotional expression, as in the expression of fear and desire, which is necessary for survival of life-forms. Even plants have to eat photons through the process of photosynthesis.

The organization and disorganization of the forms of all objects and their inter-relationships are always in a balanced state of interplay in a holographic world. This balanced state of interplay is another manifestation of a holographic world fundamentally being equivalent to nothing. Every positive action is ultimately cancelled out by a negative action, just as negative gravitational potential energy cancels out all forms of positive energy. Everything ultimately adds up to zero.

Yin-Yang Balance

Ted Jacobson has shown the dynamical nature of space-time geometry in any bounded region of space, which is the nature of gravity, is a thermodynamic consequence of the holographic way bits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The reason is quite simple. As energy flows across a bounding surface of space, the second law ΔE=TΔS tells us the entropy of that bounded region must change, but the holographic principle then tells us the bounding surface must change, which is reflected in a change in the geometry of that bounded region of space as specified by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The law of gravity as formulated with Einstein’s field equations for the metric is not really a law of nature, but is more like a thermodynamic equation of state that arises as a thermal average when things are near thermal equilibrium. This is analogous to the way wave equations for sound waves arise from atomic theory as thermodynamic equations of state. Einstein’s field equations for gravity are no more fundamental than wave equations for sound waves. The microscopic formulation of bits of information encoded on a bounding surface of space is more fundamental than Einstein’s field equations just as atomic theory is more fundamental than wave equations for sound waves. The scientific term for how field equations arise from information is thermodynamic emergence.

The amazing thing is the second law of thermodynamics interpreted in terms of the holographic principle and the Unruh temperature implies Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the law of gravity for everything that appears in the bounded region of space. The law of gravity is then understood to be a purely geometric result of the way bits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space and the temperature of the bounding surface.

Using the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and the Kaluza-Klein mechanism of extra compactified dimensions of space then gives rise to all the usual quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics. A quantum field is understood to arise as an extra component of the space-time metric, which is a way of unifying all fundamental forces and particles into a unified theory of quantum gravity. The problem is none of these quantum fields are really fundamental as they all emerge through geometric mechanisms, starting with the holographic principle. A theory of quantum gravity is only a holographic description of what appears to happen in a bounded region of space. More fundamental than that description is the way bits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space and the flow of energy within which everything spontaneously emerges.

The holographic principle is a radical departure from the concepts of both classical and quantum physics. In the classical concept of particle physics, the dynamical degrees of freedom of any bound or unbound state of particles observed in the world are described by particle coordinates, which define a phase space in terms of particle position and momentum variables. In quantum theory, particle position and momentum coordinates are represented by non-commuting variables that give rise to quantized values for particle position and momentum. Forces between particles are represented by fields, like the gravitational and electromagnetic fields. With quantum field theory, even these force fields are understood to be composed of force particles like the photon or graviton that arise as localized wave-packets of field energy and momentum. The matter particles like the electron are also represented by quantum fields. With unification, all quantum fields are understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric, which describes the dynamical nature of the space-time geometry of some bounded region of space. In this way, all degrees of freedom of any bounded region of space are represented by dynamical variables. Quantization of dynamical variables gives rise to the entropy of that bounded region of space.

The holographic principle is telling us that none of these classical or quantum concepts are really fundamental. Particle coordinates in any bounded region of space are not really fundamental dynamical variables. The way bits of information are encoded on the bounding surface of that space is the more fundamental description. Non-commutative geometry tells us the fundamental dynamical variables are non-commuting position coordinates on the bounding surface that are smeared out into area elements like pixels and encode bits of information in a binary code. The bits of information encoded on the bounding surface are the fundamental nature of entropy for whatever can be observed in that bounded region of space. This is a radical departure from the way entropy is described in either classical or quantum particle physics.

The amazing aspect of the holographic principle is it tells us this radical departure from the way entropy is described by particle physics in a bounded region of space is equivalent to the way entropy is more fundamentally defined in terms of bits of information encoded on the bounding surface of that space. This equivalence is due to holographic projection. The bounding surface arises as an observation-limiting event horizon in an observer’s accelerated reference frame. The thermal energy of that bounded region of space arises from the observer’s acceleration, which gives rise to the temperature of the bounding surface. Everything the observer can observe in the bounded region of space is like a holographic projection of images from the bounding surface, which acts as a holographic screen, to the observer’s central point of view.

When we observe something, like a point particle that follows a trajectory through space, we are actually observing a sequence of holographic screens, each of which encodes information for the object at some moment of time. Those holographic screens can be layered together, so that each observation of a point on the trajectory corresponds to observing how that point pierces another layer of the screens. Holographic screens are inherently two dimensional, but the layering of screens gives the illusion of three dimensional space. Like all event horizons that arise in an accelerated reference frame, the distance to the screen is set by the observer’s acceleration.

The classic example of this effect is a Rindler horizon, which is an event horizon that arises for an observer that undergoes constant acceleration. The observer’s horizon is entirely due to the observer’s acceleration. If the observer accelerates in a different way, the observer has a different horizon. The Unruh temperature is derived as the temperature of a Rindler horizon, which is given by kT=ħa/2πc when the observer accelerates with an acceleration a.

Unruh Temperature of a Rindler Horizon

In quantum theory, the Unruh effect is understood as a kind of Hawking radiation that results from an accelerating observer observing the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the observer’s event horizon, which turns separated virtual particles into a kind of thermal radiation. The classic way to understand the Unruh effect is for a Rindler horizon that arises for an observer undergoing constant acceleration. The Unruh effect in effect quantizes the thermal energy of each degree of freedom as E=kT=ħω, where the natural frequency of oscillation is given in terms of the observer’s acceleration as ω=a/2πc. It is easy to show that for the event horizon of a black hole of radius R=2GM/c2 this frequency of oscillation implies a wavelength λ as ω=2πc/λ, where the wavelength is approximately the maximal circumference 2πR of the event horizon, which is characteristic of Hawking radiation. This tells us the temperature of the event horizon is inversely proportional to its radius. The other way to look at this result is the Unruh effect implies gravitational acceleration and potential energy if we understand that the wavelength of thermal radiation from an event horizon is quantized in terms of its circumference.

Quantum field theory is the ultimate mathematical formulation of particle physics, but it assumes that flat Minkowski space is the background space-time geometry within which all particle excitations of fields arise. All particle excitations of fields must move within that flat space-time geometry. The problem is that flat Minkowski space has no dynamical curvature, and therefore has no notion of the idea of gravity. It is simply not possible to develop a formulation of quantum gravity with the graviton as the force particle of the gravitational field in flat Minkowski space.

The other problem with this formulation of QFT is the space-time symmetries inherent in flat Minkowski space. For example, time translational invariance of the laws of physics gives rise to the conservation of energy and spatial translational invariance of the laws of physics gives rise to the conservation of momentum. The problem is that once gravity and the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry is allowed, there is no such thing as time or spatial translational invariance.

The weird thing about energy conservation and the invariance of the laws of physics under time translation is there is no such thing. The observable physical universe began at a point of singularity called the big bang event and will end in its heat death when the size of the universe expands to infinity. The singular big bang event is the beginning of time and the end of time is at infinity. There is no invariance under time translation because the universe is not at thermal equilibrium. The asymmetric direction of time, called time’s arrow, is a result of the second law of thermodynamics, which tells us that heat tends to flow from hotter objects to colder objects. Nothing can be hotter than the big bang event and nothing can be colder than the heat death of the universe. The observable physical universe is not invariant under time translation.

The observable physical universe is also not invariant under spatial translations. The universe is expanding in size at an accelerated rate, which tells us the size of the observable universe is limited by a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of an observer at the central point of view. There is really no such thing as invariance of the laws of physics under spatial translations and momentum conservation. At best, the symmetries of space-time geometry that give rise to the conservation laws of energy and momentum are idealizations that arise in some idealized limit when we ignore the asymmetrical nature of the observable universe. These idealizations may have practical value in terms of what can be measured in a physics lab, but do not apply to the asymmetrical nature of the observable universe. The whole concept of the symmetries of space-time geometry is flawed when we speak of the asymmetric observable physical universe.

Since the whole concept of space-time symmetry is flawed, the whole concept of quantum theory built on the conservation laws of that symmetry is also flawed. There must be something more fundamental than either space-time geometry or quantum theory that in some sense underlies these approximate idealizations. As we’ve discovered, the holographic principle is what underlies these idealizations with the more fundamental concept of pure information. The way space-time geometry and quantum theory arise from pure information is called thermodynamic emergence. Both space-time geometry and quantum theory thermodynamically emerge from a more fundamental state of pure information that is described by the holographic principle.

Is space-time really fundamental or is there something more fundamental than space-time? The holographic principle is telling us is that space-time is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. The thing more fundamental than space-time is pure information. The holographic principle is all about describing the nature of the information that underlies the perception of space-time. The holographic principle says that information underlies all perceptions. That’s why the concept of an observer in an accelerated reference frame is so important. The relativistic observer is observing those perceptions. The holographic principle is telling us that all perceptions in some sense are illusions that arise from holographic projection.

On the one hand, we have information that underlies all perceptions, and on the other hand, we have an observer that is observing those perceptions. The only thing that connects them is holographic projection. The perceptions in-and-of-themselves are illusory since they consist of nothing more than holographic projections of forms of information, like the images of a movie projected from a movie screen to an observer out in the movie audience. More fundamental than the illusory perceptions are the bits of information encoded on the screen and the observer out in the audience. The big question is about the true nature of the observer. This is a question physicists don’t like to ask because it’s a question about the nature of consciousness.

Is there some connection between the relativistic observer in an accelerated reference frame and the quantum observer that is observing the observable values of the quantum state? Can we put these two observers together and make them into one unified observer? The answer of course is yes. There has to be a way to put them together. This is exactly what the holographic principle accomplishes. That’s why the holographic principle is the most fundamental principle, more fundamental that the uncertainty principle or the equivalence principle, but this unification comes at a price. The holographic principle is telling us that the price is neither quantum theory nor relativity theory can really be fundamental. Just like space-time is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection, the quantum observables of the quantum state are also holographic illusions that result from holographic projection. In the strict mathematical sense of quantum theory, there is no such thing as a quantum observable. Such a thing is impossible for reasons that will be discussed below. What we call observable values, like the position and the momentum of a particle, are just as illusory as the space-time geometry we observe.

The whole concept of quantum observables in quantum theory is flawed. In the strict mathematical sense of quantum theory, the concept of quantum observables is impossible. A quantum observable is something that in principle can be measured with exact precision. If we know absolutely nothing about a particle’s momentum, in principle we can know everything about the particle’s position. We can measure the particle’s position with absolute certainty as long as its momentum remains totally uncertain. This is a direct consequence of the uncertainty principle. The problem is that when we add gravity to the equation the whole concept of quantum observables evaporates into the mist of holographic projection. Gravity throws a monkey wrench into the whole conceptual framework of quantum observables. That monkey wrench is called a black hole. Relativity theory tells us if we concentrate enough energy into a small enough region of space, we create a black hole. Once a black hole is created, nothing is observable beyond the event horizon of the black hole. If we pour more energy into that region of space, we just make the black hole bigger and even less is observable.

The problem with quantum observables is that in order to measure something with greater and greater precision, we have to use a measuring device that concentrates more and more energy into a smaller and smaller region of space, which eventually leads to the formation of a black hole. The way this happens in practice is more accurate measuring devices use smaller and smaller wavelengths of radiation that carry larger and larger amounts of energy into smaller and smaller regions of space. Eventually we put so much energy into a small enough region of space that a black hole forms and nothing is observable beyond the event horizon of the black hole. Pour in more energy and the black hole’s horizon becomes bigger and even less is observable.

There is something fundamentally incompatible with the concept of quantum observables as formulated in quantum theory and the concept of gravity as formulated in relativity theory. The answer that physicists like to postulate is that observables can only be defined on a boundary at infinity. If we put our measuring devices at infinity, they can measure observables with infinite precision. The concept of observables in any finite bounded region of space just does not make sense due to the problem of black holes, which will always throw a monkey wrench into the whole conceptual framework of observables. Observables simply do not exist in any finite region of space. Gravity does not allow exact quantum observables to locally exist in any finite region of space. Observables can only be defined on a boundary at infinity. The problem with this solution is infinity has no boundary. Once we put a boundary on infinity, it really isn’t infinity any more. A boundary turns infinity into something finite. The real solution to this problem is to give up the concept of the existence of observables. What we call observables only have an illusory existence that arises from holographic projection. Observables do not really exist except as holographic projections of forms of information from a holographic screen to an observer at the central point of view, like the images of a movie projected from a screen.

A closely related problem to the incompatibility of gravity with the usual conceptual framework of observables in quantum theory is the problem of the concept of space-time. This is weird since the whole Einsteinian idea of relativity theory is that gravity is the curvature of space-time geometry. The problem again arises when we try to probe very small distances with very high energies. Since energy is equivalent to mass and mass gives rise to the force of gravity, if we concentrate enough energy into a small enough region of space, we create a black hole. The force of gravity is so strong at the event horizon of the black hole that even light cannot escape away from the black hole. Once we create a black hole, nothing is observable beyond the event horizon. Quantum theory tells us there is always some uncertainty in the amount of energy any measuring device can concentrate into a finite region of space due to the finite amount of time over which that energy is delivered. This uncertainty in energy tells us there is a smallest possible black hole where the uncertainty in energy and the uncertainty in size conspire to create a black hole of the smallest possible size. This tells us that there is a smallest possible distance scale that we can probe, which is the size of the smallest possible Planck size black hole.

Planck Length as the Ultimate Distance Scale

If there really is a smallest possible distance scale that any observer can measure, which is the size of the smallest possible Planck size black hole, then what do the strange happenings inside a black hole tell us about the nature of space-time geometry? How can space-time be a fundamental structure of the physical world if space-time geometry has holes in it within which time itself comes to an end at the central point of singularity of those holes in space-time? The answer is that space-time geometry is not a fundamental structure of the physical world but is only a holographic projection of something more fundamental.

This smallest possible distance scale is called the Planck length, which is about 10−33 centimeters. The smallest possible black hole is called a Planck size black hole. Since nothing is observable smaller than this distance scale, the whole concept of space-time geometry as a continuum does not make any sense. The concept of a continuum is that of infinitesimally small points, like the points on a number line. If the number line is truly a continuum, it is possible to divide it up into smaller and smaller regions with the limit of infinitesimally small points. The problem is that space-time geometry cannot be infinitesimally divided up into smaller and smaller regions since there is a smallest possible distance scale that we can measure. It simply does not make any sense to talk about distances less than the Planck length. Space-time geometry is not a continuum. We could imagine that at the Planck length space-time geometry has some sort of lattice structure, but that also does not make any sense due to the lack of rotational invariance.

Non-commutative geometry solves this problem since the way bits of information are encoded on a spherically symmetric event horizon, like that of a black hole, is in terms of the eigenvalues of an n x n SU(2) matrix, which explicitly expresses rotational symmetry. The only concept that makes any real sense is the holographic principle, which tells us that the space-time geometry we experience is a holographic projection from a holographic screen and is as illusory as the images of a movie we are watching as those images are projected to us from a movie screen.

The event horizon of a Planck size black hole can only encode two bits of information, which can be represented by an SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix is describing rotational symmetry on the surface of the event horizon, but is also the fundamental way two bits of information are defined in quantum theory as a qubit. For a Planck size black hole, n=2 in the area law for entropy n=A/4ℓ2, which is represented by an SU(2) matrix that encodes two bits of information as a [1> or a [0>, but due to rotational symmetry on the surface of the event horizon, the two bits of information can be represented as a quantum superposition over these two states.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on the Event Horizon of a Planck Size Black Hole

The holographic principle is a confirmation of what John Wheeler called It from bit, which more recently has been called It from Qubit, referring to the entangled nature of quantum information. At a fundamental level, the observable universe is encoded in terms of entangled bits of information on a holographic screen, and is observed through holographic projection of forms of information that are projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view.

Universal Observer

What are the fundamental ideas that underlie the nature of the observable physical universe? There are only two. The first is an observer-centric description of the observable world. The second is holographic projection as the nature of observation. Both of these ideas require the existence of an observer. The observer must exist before an observable world can be observed. That observable world is only observed in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, since that is how the observer’s holographic screen arises as an event horizon. The observer is always at the central point of view in relation to the holographic screen, which is observer-dependent as it can only arise with the observer’s acceleration. The observer’s holographic screen encodes all the information for whatever the observer observes in its world. Those observations can only occur as a projection of forms of information from the screen to the observer’s point of view.

The holographic nature of perception tells us that everything appears within consciousness. Everything an observer perceives in its world appears within the perceiving consciousness of its point of view as the observable images of all things are projected from its holographic screen to its central point of view. The apparent existence of all perceivable things in space only appear to come into existence within that consciousness. Nothing can exist outside of consciousness. The irony is that when one becomes enlightened, one knows oneself to exist within that nothingness.

This long scientific digression has finally brought us back to the problem of consciousness and enlightenment. The lessons learned from the holographic principle about the non-conceptual nature of consciousness are relevant in terms of understanding what The Ten Bulls of Zen are telling us about the awakening process. The Ten Bulls can be understood as a roadmap that points out travel directions in the journey to enlightenment or as an operator’s manual for how to become enlightened. Each step in the awakening process can be analyzed in the context of the holographic principle since it tells us how the conceptual nature of delusion is created.

The first step is called The Search for the Bull. The first thing one has to become aware of is that there is something to search for, which is the true nature of one’s consciousness and being. One’s true nature is never lost. One always is what one is. The only problem is the confusion created by delusion, when one takes oneself to be something that one is not. Let’s review the first step:

The Search for the Bull

Comment: The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

The bull is a metaphor for the life-force, which is the focus of attention of consciousness. One’s true nature is consciousness. One’s true nature has never been lost. One is what one is. Only because of the confusion created by delusion is one apparently separated from one’s true nature. One actively believes oneself to be something that one is not. One takes oneself to be something that appears in the holographic virtual reality movie of the world one is watching as animated images of that world are projected from a holographic screen to one’s point of view out in the audience of empty space. One takes oneself to be the projected form of a person in that world because that is how the movie is emotionally animated. One feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person as one perceives the flow of emotional energy that is animating that form. One becomes entangled with the emotional expressions of fear and desire, which makes one feel like one is really a person. These personally biased emotional expressions can only arise due to emotional bias in the focus of one’s attention. One is wasting the expression of one’s life-force on defending the survival of a character in a virtual reality movie that one is watching.

Discovering the Footprints

Comment: Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Then I learn that, just as many utensils are made from one metal, so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self. Unless I discriminate, how will I perceive the true from the untrue? Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.

The first step in the awakening process is realizing there is something to search for, which is the true nature of one’s consciousness and being. This realization naturally leads to the willingness to begin the search. The problem is one can never find the true nature of one’s consciousness and being in the external world one perceives, as that world is something of an illusion, no more real than the animated images of a holographic virtual reality movie one is watching as those images are projected from a holographic screen to one’s central point of view in empty space. The awakening process only begins with the observer’s willingness to turn the focus of its attention away from the world it perceives and look within. The observer must become willing to look within and focus its attention on its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness.

The observer of the virtual reality movie is itself only a focal point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to the screen. All the information for the form of all the things the observer perceives in its world is encoded on the screen. In reality, everything the observer can perceive is external to the observer. The embodied personal form of the observer’s character in the virtual reality movie the observer perceives is just another one of those animated and projected images.

Delusion arises when the observer mistakenly takes the surface of its character’s body to be a boundary between internal and external. The observer mistakenly takes the perception of internal emotional body feelings and internal forms of mental imagination like thoughts and memories to be internal to itself, while in reality these forms of information are all external to the observer, as all the information is encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. In the process of looking within, the observer has to clearly see the nature of its mistake and realize that the perception of these apparently internal forms of information is in reality all external to itself.

The central teaching of Zen the Ten Bulls are alluding to is that the only thing the observer can focus its attention on that is truly internal to itself as it looks within, is its own sense of beingness and presence. The central teaching of Zen that one is given as one begins the search for the true nature of what one really is, is to look within and focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness with its own sense of beingness. The footprints of the bull is a metaphor for the attention of consciousness focused on its own sense of presence and beingness, which is not something that one can ever discover in the world one perceives.

The sense of the observer being present as a pure presence of consciousness with its own sense of beingness, as alluded to in the Ten Bulls, is often referred to as I Am. To be cute about it, it’s possible to reduce the observer’s sense of being present, represented by I Am, to a mathematical equation, which can be expressed as I=presence of consciousness and Am=beingness. In the awakening process, it is this sense of I-Am-ness that must be distinguished and discriminated from all the false concepts one has about oneself that one actively believes about oneself as those self-concepts are emotionally animated. Awakening is a process of breaking free from delusion, and all self-concepts are delusional. One breaks free from delusion by first discriminating and then disbelieving and deconstructing all false self-concepts one actively believes about oneself. This deconstruction process is also an active process of disbelieving false beliefs, but once the deconstruction process is completed, one effortlessly discovers the true nature of one’s being.

The path to awakening is a process of looking within and discriminating the true from the untrue. The true nature of one’s self as a presence of consciousness must be discriminated from the untruth of all the things that one perceives in one’s world. The true nature of one’s self must be discriminated from the form of a person one mistakenly takes oneself to be in that world. The true nature of one’s self must be discriminated from all false beliefs one actively believes about oneself. The true nature of one’s self must be discriminated from all false personal self-concepts.

All the false beliefs that one actively believes about oneself can only arise when one takes the perception of internal body feelings and internal thoughts and memories to be internal to oneself. That untruth is what one must discriminate from the truth of one’s own being, which is nothing more than a pure presence of consciousness. One must directly see that one is actively creating all the false beliefs one believes about oneself that one is a person in the world one perceives as one actively expresses personally biased emotions through emotional bias in ones’ attention focused on false beliefs. Once those false beliefs are seen to be an illusion of what one really is, one naturally loses interest in paying attention to an illusion and withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion, thereby withdrawing one’s investment of emotional energy that is necessary to animate the illusion. Without that animating emotional energy, the illusion dies a natural death.

What does it mean to say that the untruth of everything one can perceive in the world is created out of the truth of one’s own self? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good scientific answer. The self is a pure presence of consciousness or an observer that arises at a point of view in empty space in relation to a holographic screen that projects all the images of things that appear in space. Those perceivable things are all forms of information encoded on the screen and projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen only arises as an event horizon that limits the observer’s observation of things in space when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. It is the accelerating observer itself that is creating the holographic appearance of its world. All the bits of information that are encoded on the holographic screen only arise because of the observer’s acceleration. Even the energy that animates that world only arises because of the observer’s acceleration. That flow of energy arises in the flow of heat that arises from the temperature of the observer’s event horizon, which only arises due to the observer’s acceleration. The whole thing is observer-dependent, as it depends on an accelerating observer’s frame of reference. In turn, the energy of that accelerating frame of reference can only arise with the observer’s attention focused on its holographic world, since the observer’s attention on its world is what allows for the actual expression of that energy, which is the only way the life-force that animates the observer’s world can come into being.

This is what Nisargadatta Maharaj has to say about the true nature of the observer and its holographic screen, which is the same central teaching we find in Zen:

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.

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.

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”.

You are and I am, but only as points in consciousness.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes that ultimate reality exists as formless consciousness, and that all forms are in essence hollow shells, which are holographic projections that arise like images animated in the flow of energy and projected in the light of consciousness:

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.

At this point is the discussion, it helps to back up a bit and discuss the nature of the mind. There is a great deal of confusion about the nature of the mind due to delusion. Although this may be hard to accept, the mind can only be understood as a mental screen, which fundamentally is a holographic screen. The mind is a mental screen that encodes information, which becomes organized into distinct forms as the mind is animated in the flow of energy. In the scientific literature, this animation of forms of information in the mind is called the movie-in-the-mind. These forms of information are projected like images from the mental screen to the perceiving point of view of the observer of the mind, and the projected images are animated in